Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

byxbebyxbe Registered Users Posts: 6
I have a xantrex trace series 2400w inverter connected to 16 trojan 6v T-105 deep cycle batteries. I also have 4 solar world 230w solar panels connected to a xantrex c35 charge controller.

Up until recently I have had zero problems, but for a week or so now my inverter constantly gives the F10 warning (high voltage) and then turns to a fault. My batteries today were at 24.7v. I was bringing 30v @ 25 amps in from the panels and my inverter shut off with an F10 fault. Seeing as this is my only source of power - besides running a generator 24/7 - I am a little frustrated.

Any ideas?

Comments

  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    Where is your charge controller connected to the battery buss in relationship to the inverter?? I can't see your setup, but the Inverter may be reading the high volts from the controller, I'd try to move it's connection on the Battery bank. This might not be a ideal answer, but that might tell you something about the issue. I have had this happen once using a stand alone charger on a bank.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,987 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    Hi byx..

    It is a bit difficult to tell too much, but assume that you are in North America, and therefore your not in the depths of Winter, with cold batteries. This is just a guess, based on the equipment that you are using. If you were in the Southern hemisphere, and the batteries were cold, then any temperature compensation could raise the battery voltage to around 30 V, possibly. Many 12 and 24 V inverters will Fault off at 15 V for 12 V ones, and around 30 V for 24 V inverters.

    When you say that you "were bringing in 30 V @ 25 Amps", does this mean that the battery voltage was 30 V at that exact time? Or that the PVs are wired as four parallel strings, with a Vmp of around 30 V? ... Or?

    Thanks, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,177 admin
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    As a start--Take a guess that the original poster is from Haiti or thereabouts.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,987 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    Thank you BB Bill, your guesser is much better than mine! Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter
    byxbe wrote: »
    I have a xantrex trace series 2400w inverter connected to 16 trojan 6v T-105 deep cycle batteries. I also have 4 solar world 230w solar panels connected to a xantrex c35 charge controller.

    Up until recently I have had zero problems, but for a week or so now my inverter constantly gives the F10 warning (high voltage) and then turns to a fault. My batteries today were at 24.7v. I was bringing 30v @ 25 amps in from the panels and my inverter shut off with an F10 fault. Seeing as this is my only source of power - besides running a generator 24/7 - I am a little frustrated.

    Any ideas?

    I have a few ideas, but not enough info to really know what the problem is.

    One possibility is that you have a high resistance connection between the batteries and the controller... this would allow the voltage from the controller to get too high. This may be exacerbated by the details of the wiring... for example, if the controller and the inverter are connected at a common point and the high resistance is between the common point and the battery.

    Another possibility is that the batteries are sulfated and have too low a capacity to buffer the controller output, but the low voltage on the batteries argues against that.

    One reason to suspect sulfation or other battery issues is that you are charging 24 volt batteries with grid tie panels in a hot climate... the hot climate may reduce the panel voltage too low to properly charge the batteries. Other battery issues may stem from having four parallel strings of batteries.

    Do you have an hydrometer and a voltmeter to do some troubleshooting with?

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • byxbebyxbe Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    My charger is about 2 ft away from my battery bank and inverter. My leads from my charge controller go to the same terminals that the inverter connects to. I can change this and see what happens.

    I live in Haiti so cold weather is not a problem. 4 panels were wired in parallel with total Vmp at 30 v. I have since retired to two panels in series and then paralleled together.

    I know the batteries are not bad. I changed the setup and rearranged them so that I could get to them easier and they charged up really nice and held the charge for a long time. However, still can't use the power during the day because of the F10 warning.

    I do not have a hydrometer but could look into getting one brought down. I do have a good volt meter that will do ac/doc amps and volts.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,987 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    Hi byxbe,

    Thanks for the added info.

    Yes, running all of the PVs in parallel will not have sufficiently high voltage to fully charge your batteries. Continuing to use strings of two PVs in series will raise the voltage into the Charge Controller and will help the batteries complete a full charge. If you are suing an MPPT CC, the CC will be able to efficiently use the high input voltage to charge the batteries. A PWM CC will waste a considerable amount of power.

    What CC are you using on this system?

    Here are some diagrams of how to best wire your four strings of 6 V batteries:
    http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html

    It might be a good idea to remove all of your battery cables, and clean all connections. You can use petroleum jelly or similar grease on all of the contact points of the batteries to help keep corrosion in check. Try to tighten all of the battery cable connections tightly to allow the best contact between the battery terminals and the cable lugs.

    What is the wire gauge of the cables that connect all of your batteries?

    YES, you will need a good Hydrometer to check your battery health. Measure and record the Specific Gravity readings from EVERY cell of your battery bank into your battery Logbook. This set of data will help you follow trends on battery SGs. Following this trend will help you make corrective actions in charger settings and charge times, etc.

    How much Distilled Water does your battery bank consume every month or two? Some water consumption is a sign that the batteries are probably getting fully charged fairly often.

    Thanks for these additional answers. Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • byxbebyxbe Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    I am using a xantrex C35 CC right now but in a week my outback FM 80 will arrive with two more panels. However, two panels won't do me much good in my current state.

    I don't know the exact gauge but it is very large welding cable on all of my connections.

    I will work on getting hydrometer. My batteries consume a decent amount of water. we never let them get below 50% charge.

    I will clean all of the connections and grease them up.
    I just looked at the link for connecting batteries and mine are setup like the second illustration. How would I do option 4 with 16 batteries?
  • byxbebyxbe Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    Here is a diagram of the batteries. It is a really cloudy day so I don't know if the inverter will fault today or not but we are good so far with the one change.

    Another issue with the inverter and or batteries. When my batteries get low during the night, I have to use a generator to charge them. Something has happened to keep the inverter from charging. It will change over to charge mode - show that it is pushing a few amps in and then decide that the batteries are full @ 24.0v and will sit at 0 amps and not charge. Any ideas on this?

    Attachment not found.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    How low are the batteries when it will not charge ?? The charger will not try if it sees below 21-22 V. It makes a difference what the Inverter " Sees " the voltage as, that may be different if it's not calibrated to what you see or think the voltage is.

    It may just have a bad charger board or a bad ribbon cable or bad connection inside. Sometimes just re seating the cables will correct them, hard to tell.

    Hook it up to a couple of good batteries and see if it will try to charge them.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter
    byxbe wrote: »
    I just looked at the link for connecting batteries and mine are setup like the second illustration.

    That is NOT a good solution. In the smartgauge site they indicate that it is better than method 1.

    Use method 3. Method 4 is clever, and theoretically OK, but has more points of failure.

    If you use method 3, you will be in a better position to troubleshoot your problem... you are probably going to need to disconnect some battery strings and test them and charge them in isolation from the rest of the bank.

    One of my criticisms of the smartgauge site is that they make it seem like it's OK to have four battery strings in parallel. It is not OK. short discussion here:
    http://www.wind-sun.com/ForumVB/showthread.php?14674
    byxbe wrote:
    4 panels were wired in parallel with total Vmp at 30 v. I have since retired to two panels in series and then paralleled together.

    That means you are pushing 60 volts at the batteries (through a PWM controller). It also means you have cut the charging current in half because the PWM controller can't use the extra voltage to increase current. That makes it even more likely that your batteries are sulfated. That also means, as I mentioned earlier, that your overvoltage condition may be caused by the inability of the batteries to buffer the high voltage from the controller.

    You really need to separate the batteries and try charging them one string at a time. And get an hydrometer... we need to find out what is going on inside those batteries. You are in danger of ruining the entire bank... that is one of the consequences of running so many batteries in parallel... one battery in one string can go bad and ruin the rest of the bank before you know it. The good batteries mask the bad battery, but meanwhile the good batteries are being ruined. When you finally notice symptoms it is very late in the game, and a lot of damage has been done.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • byxbebyxbe Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    I haven't been able to reconfigure my batteries yet as it will take a lot of different cables and I have to drive 1.5 hrs to go get them. BUT I did isolate them by strings to see if the F10 (over voltage) error would disappear... and it didn't.

    Solar panel leads were not connect during the tests to eliminate the charge controller as the problem. Also a note - I have never registered 60v on my CC - the highest I have ever seen was 30.9v coming in from the panels. The F10 error is supposed to go off at 30 - 31v from the batteries and they have never been that high.

    I also brought in a different inverter (12v) and attached it 2 by 2 and received no errors. Around 7:30pm I turned on the inverter with fully charged batteries (CC giving fully charged LED) and worked fine. Problem seems to lie in the daytime charging of the batteries and the way the inverter reads it.

    Next note, AC in from generator will still not charge the batteries. If over 24v inverter signals that batteries are full and it sits at 0 amps.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter
    byxbe wrote: »
    I haven't been able to reconfigure my batteries yet
    <snip>
    BUT I did isolate them by strings to see if the F10 (over voltage) error would disappear... and it didn't.

    That means very little. If the batteries are of reduced capacity because of sulfation, using one string at a time will only exacerbate the problem.

    Isolating the batteries is for charging them. As I mentioned earlier, there can be a problem getting the current to divide among the batteries while charging... isolating them forces each string (one at a time) to get all the current.
    byxbe wrote: »
    Solar panel leads were not connect during the tests to eliminate the charge controller as the problem.

    Are you saying that you get F10 overvoltage while the controller is disconnected from the system? If so, that changes everything...
    byxbe wrote: »
    Also a note - I have never registered 60v on my CC - the highest I have ever seen was 30.9v coming in from the panels.

    You said earlier that you rewired your panels to be two strings with two panels (in series) per string. When you disconnect the panels from the controller, what voltage do you see on the solar panel leads?
    byxbe wrote: »
    Around 7:30pm I turned on the inverter with fully charged batteries (CC giving fully charged LED) and worked fine.
    The "fully charged LED" is an indication of battery voltage, but does not tell you if the batteries are fully charged or sulfated. You need an hydrometer! You can buy a high quality hydrometer for $20.

    Your batteries are 900 ah at 24 volts. You are trying to charge them with 920 watts through a PWM controller. That is an inadequate charge rate, and having the batteries in 4 strings exacerbates the problem. Perhaps there is something wrong with your Xantrex inverter, but even if there is not something wrong with it, your system is very unbalanced. You have not taken the proper steps to troubleshoot it, and some of the things you have reported do not make sense.

    btw, how old are the batteries?

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • byxbebyxbe Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    This makes the situation even more odd. Since the last post on June 28th - there have been no problems, no errors, faults or anything. Consistent power all day and the inverter even charges now when the generator is running. I haven't done anything to it. So I guess everything is solved unless it comes back.

    I have a hydrometer coming down soon so i will be able to check the batteries correctly.

    Thanks for everyones help with this.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,177 admin
    Re: Problem with Fault on Xantrex Inverter

    Check that the cable connections are tight (put electrical tape on metal wrench handle/far end for insulation) and clean/no corrosion. Also look very closely at the cable/cable ends/connections for any signs of heat (melted plastic, slight browning, etc.). And use a volt meter (set to 2 volt or 0.2 volt full scale) to check across each connection (or battery post to connection).

    Poor connections can be very intermitant... Just a little movement of cables/batteries/equipment can temporarily "fix" bad connections.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
Sign In or Register to comment.