Starting off with 2 new Surettes, but cutting my bank in half to try and make this work this time

FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
For over 4 years I have been seeking help with my batteries from you folks. And you have been VERY helpful. There are several long threads trying to help me. And I had many emails from Steve Higgins, tech support chief at Surette. 

However, once again I have been unsuccessful with 4 new (2 years old) S550s. Two have been junked  (they both had middle cells that just died). They are about to be replaced by 2 brand new of the same. But this time I want to ensure the newbies are broken in properly, principally ensuring that they are regularly recharged to close to 100%. Most of the comments on my problems come up with that as the key factor.

The two I have been using are marginal..if I just try to run absorb cycles they move to float even though they are not nearly charged. I have been running them on EQ steady for 2 months (possibly 30 EQ cycles?). The highest SG I have seen this year on the lowest reading cell (which, once again is a middle cell) is 1.240. That is after 7 hours of EQ and is temperature adjusted.

With these 2 new batts I am trying a new tact. Unless there is some flaw in my system, the issue is probably the lack of  regular full 100% charge cycles. So instead of mixing batteries old and new, I installed a switch so I can separate the strings. I intend to baby the new pair by turning them off (so they do not get drawn down) until I get them up to 100%. I will use the two marginal batteries as pinch hitters and if  they do not get back to full charge I will not worry about them....just protect the new ones and cycle them up and down as per the manual.

I do have more PV than I had previously with other new batts. 1400 watts should be more than enough to power 2 550s and I am going to use the genny when pulling serious loads out.

This is work intensive but I am up for it. If the new pair do not break in properly over August and September,  I will call in a tech to test my components. I have had 2 techs in, but they were not very competent (I learned after paying them). I have found a tech that I think really knows his stuff, but he is hard to get, and expensive. Over the years, and many batteries, I have seen my system go to float while the batteries are way less than 80% charged.  I do not get the absorb time that I set on the Charge Controllers....which I can only guess is due to sulphation?

So, for 2 batteries, should the absorption time be 3 hours at the start? Abosrb setting 14.9?
What about "end amps" or other settings that I may want to adjust? I do not understand end amps, frankly, but want to be correct.

One issue is the three RTS sensors....I guess I just have to move them back and forth when switching the strings.

These will go into service next week and I will let you know how this pair works out...
Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
12 volt Flojet water pump
off grid summer home in northern Ontario
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Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,501 ✭✭✭✭✭
    With solar, it is very difficult to properly commission batteries.  Have the dealer do it before you get them delivered - if you are sure he can do it right.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Set absorb time and voltage initially according to Rolls spec. 3 hours sounds about right.

    End amps is simply an amount of current at which the battery is considered full. Charge current at a given voltage will taper off on a gradually flattening curve that will approach but never reach zero. I have mine set at about 1% of capacity (3a) on a 370ah bank. You may want to set it really low (like 1a) initially to be sure you get the recommended absorb time.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi  Freewilley,

    Surrette does have a Commissioning procedure in the Battery User Manual.   Do you have a copy of this Manual for Flooded and AGM batteries?

    If the batteries that you receive are fairly fresh,  there should not be any real problem Commissioning them.

    After that,  they will need 20,  or so cycles to establish Capacity,   and settle in.   You will probably be fine with fixed Absorb time,   during this break-in.

    IIRC,  the MX-60 has a maximum Absorb time setting of four hours.   This maximum time will probably be fine on batteries that are not deeply-cycled.

    Have you been using Distilled Water for topping up your batteries previously?
    Do you have  a high quality glass Hydrometer with actual SG numbers for readings ...   IIRC,  perhaps you have the MidNite Hydrovolt (?).

    14.9 Vabs should be OK,   read the Battery Manual for details of charge parameters.

    Good that you have more PV power,   seemed that you were lacking in that department,  previously.

    Just did a quick Search on "  surrette battery manual  ",   and it seemed to be an older rev ...   sure DO wish Surrette would use Document Version Numbers and Date of issue ...

    More later,   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.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #5

    Regarding EA settings,   EA will depend upon the Vabs that you are running.  The customary EA range recommendation is  1- 3% of (actual)  20-hour Capacity.   The Surrette banks here had run in the range of about 0.8%  of actual C  when the batteries were young.   As they have aged (nearing 12 years old),  the required Vabs for full charge has needed to be increased.   If for no other reason than age,   the increase in Vabs necessitated an increase in the required EA setting,   to about 1.5% of C. 

    After break-in  you can set a long Absorb time,   and watch the rate of change in the battery charge current.  After some time,  you will note that this rate becomes very low  --  small changes per unit of time.   The measured battery current in this period  is a good starting point for an EA setting.   MEASURING SGs is the only check on just how well this EA value is working(with Flooded batts).   You would want to set Absorb times  to be longer than you would ever expect to be needed to fully charge the batteries,   as EA verses Absorb time  is an OR function  --  which ever one happens first terminates Absorb.

    BUT,  you appear to be using an MX-60&  an FM CC,   see no mention of the FNDC,   OR a Mate.   Do you have s Shunt in the negative battery lead to allow battery charge current to be measured?   Otherwise,  you will be using CC Output currents,  set on each CC ...   this can make things difficult to manage from the standpoint of loads on inverters causing EA to be higher,   and also trying to coordinate how each of the (assumed)  two uncoordinated CCs charging a single battery bank (without the switch).

    How are you measuring EA on the system now?

    Also,  the required EA setting will change when you add a string to the new batt set,   but will not necessarily be exactly twice the previous EA setting.   AND,   the best Vabs for a set of new batteries may well be different than the ideal Vabs for the older ones ...   often not a huge deal.   Sometimes dealing with multiple strings of batteries of differing ages can take time and monitoring.

    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.
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    Yes I used only distilled water and I have a mate. I have a good hydrometer with a thermometer for adjusting SG for heat.
    Yes I have LOTS of surette literature. Some of which is contradictory.

    I am only using the new batteries. Installed the switch and it would not work on setting 1 at all. So it would only work on 1+2 and 2. so I removed that for now. Curious.....but  I will deal with that later...immediate issues now...
    So, the MX 60 does not have end amp setting? Cannot see one.
    The FM 60 is set at ll amps for end amp setting. That is wrong?

    Here is the NEWS....when I reconnected, the MX 60 went to float immediately! The batteries were at 12.4 (resting) and SGs from 1.240 to 1.250. I have LONG been pissed at the CC going to float...that may be a faulty MX 60???? Is this junk now? 
    The FM 60 went to absorb. Lots of sun today so I will see what the absorb cycle looks like.
    I set the MX60 to 14.8 Float setting so that I still get power from that PV string.

    Any ideas???

    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,854 admin
    What is the charging voltage at the battery bank bus and at the CC Vbatt terminals (Voltage drop for 12 volt battery bank should be around 0.05 to 0.10 volts maximum from CC to Battery Bus under full charging current)?

    I don't know details about the Outback... But turn off End Amps charging, make sure the Absorb timer is set to ~2-6 hours (2 hours if lightly discharged, 6 hours if heavily discharged).

    Verify that both charge controller meter and your own DMM are accurate.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    Sorry, I do not understand all of that BB.
    Battery bank bus? Do not have one of those, or do not know what it is....do you mean the terminals?
    CC vbat terminals, that is where the connections are on the CC?
    Verify cc meter??? not sure how to do that.

    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    forgot....not sure how to turn off end amps charging...for now, should I lower it from 11amps?
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • mvasmvas Registered Users Posts: 360 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #10
    As of Oct 2016, per Rolls Surrette Support
    ================================
    All Amp-Hour Capacities are based upon 

    100% SOC = 1.280
     95%  SOC = 1.265
     90%  SOC = 1.250

    You need to figure WHY the MX60 did not go into Bulk Mode and eventually drive the Battery Voltage up to 14.9 Volts.
    Then change to Absorb Mode (hours) at constant 14.9 Volts with the amps slowly dropping down to 1%.
    Then finally Float Mode at 13.5 Volts.

    Do you have a bad connection between the Battery Bank and the MX60?
    The MX60 is chronically under-charging.
    Is the MX60 configured correctly?
    Does the MX60 require the battery to be connected first and then the array?
    That would "rule out" switching between banks.

    Have you tried RESETTING the MX60 back to Factory Defaults and then re-configure?
    Do you need to perform a Battery Voltage Calibration?

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,854 admin
    Battery Terminals... Basically, you want to confirm that the CC is "seeing" the same voltage as the battery bank when running near full charging current--No thin/long wires from controller to battery bank, no lose/corroded connections/wires, etc..

    By measuring the voltage on the CC terminals and the Battery Terminals under charging current (or loads), this is just doing a version of measuring the wiring/connections resistance...
    • V=IR
    • R=V/I
    Standard Ohm meters can only accurately measure down to ~1 Ohm or so... If you had 30 amps charging and 0.1 volt drop, then the resistance would be:
    • R=V/I= 0.1 volts / 30 amps = 0.003 Ohms
    And there are two ways of measuring voltage drop. Measure 29.0 volts at controller, and 28.9 volts at controller... Not really accurate (the last digit is sort of "soft").

    Or, set your meter to 1.999 volts full scale and measure directly between the + terminal on the Controller and + Battery terminal. now it will read 0.050 volts (1/2 of the "round trip" voltage drop).

    I believe that you set End Amps to Zero (0) to turn off EA.

    11 amps sounds a little high for relatively new/good condition FLA batteries... Probably 1% or less (8.56 amps) would be better (assuming you have a 12 volt @ 856 AH battery bank at 20 hour rating). And just FYI, if the stable "tail of the charging curve" is 2% or higher for FLA/any lead acid battery, the batteries are probably in need of replacement (or your float/charging voltage is set too high).

    Of course, with the straight FW controller, EA is only "accurate" if you have zero loads (all charging current goes to battery bank during the day), or you have a fixed load (i.e., 10 amp load + 8.56 EA for battery = 18.56 EA setting for FW). As the FW does not support a battery shunt to measure Battery Only current flow.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #12

    Hi Freewilley,

    First,  the Surrette range of SGs is 1.255 - 1.275 for full charge at 25  degrees C.   The Fill electrolyte is 1.265 for Solar Surrette batteries and that should be what you are shooting for,  especially with new batteries:
    http://support.rollsbattery.com/support/solutions/articles/4347-measuring-specific-gravity

    There IS an EA setting in the MX-60.  It is on Screen 3 of the Misc menu.

    But,  unless you have an FNDC,  you will only be able to use "CC EA" --  this is an EA function that is based only on what  the individual CC's output current happens to be,  and NOT the actual battery charging current,  as measured by a  Shunt.

    The EA function is an OR  --  either the Absorb Time setting,  OR  the EA value will cause the MX to transition to Float,   and ONLY if the CC is in the Absorb stage at that time.

    I have used MX-60 CC EA for a number of years,   but,  it was with only one CC,   and with typical fairly light daytime loads.

    It is not clear why the MX did not start in Bulk ... 
    Do you have a copy of the MX CC Manual?

    Here is a Link to the MX Manual,  if needed:
    http://solpowerpeople.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Outback-charge-controller-manual.pdf

    EDIT:  If you want to turn OFF the EA function,   and have the CC use ONLY the Absorb time setting,  set the EA value to 00 Amps on each CC<

    EDIT 2:  And as I mentioned above,  you really do NOT want to try to use EA,  until your batteries are broken-in  --  usually about 20 - 30 cycles --  after this break-in  the battery behavior will stabilize,   and the EA value will stabilize,   allow more predictable ending of Absorb.<

    Later,    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.
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    Thanks Again Vic. You and Bob just keep on giving. And others of course, but you try and try and try....

    I have the manuals.
    I will turn off end amps, thanks for telling me where to find it on MX.
    It was set at 7 on the MX60.

    MCAS
    Right ...is the MX 60 just  bad? What would cause this. 
    No bad connection. Wires are 0/2 and not long.
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭

    Freewilley,

    This has been suggested earlier;

    Why not try turning off the PV breaker and then the battery breaker for the MX-60 (the MX and FM CCs DO have separate breakers,  four in all,  for the CCs,  Right?

    Wait about 30 seconds,   then turn the MX battery breaker ON,   and next, the PV input breaker to ON,   just to try to let it reboot.   If there is sun,   the MX should start in Bulk.   If the battery is fully-charged,  the Bulk stage would be short   ...

    IIRC,   there is a Float only mode in the MX,   but doubt that anyone would have configured the MX that way.

    OH,   and I must be vision impaired,   as see that you have a Mate...    first in your Sig ...   OOOoooopppsssssss.

    Am thinking about the MX going directly to Float ...    more later,   and you are welcome,   all here are doing our best to help as much as we can.    Good Luck,   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.
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    A deficiency in my system, and you have already told me to fix it...I have breakers between the PV and the CC but not to the battery.
    I paid a guy lots of money to rewire and that is how he did it.
    I think there will be some work coming on this one in the future and I will fix that problem.
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    So I looked at the manual, and I cannot reboot that MX as I do not have a battery breaker....it was off today when I played with the cables, but I know that did not reboot it as I did not have to re-enter the voltages.
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #17

    Hi,    Thanks for the detail.

    Of all of the breakers that are needed for safety,  a breaker on the output of the CC is the most important,   as well as a breaker of fuse between the battery + and your inverter.   These breakers need to be sized for the size of the cable,   at a minimum  --  this just means that the breaker or fuse needs to trip before the cable can become HOT and possible cause a fire.  If you are using very large cable for the CC to battery connection,   there is little reason for the breaker to be much more than about 80 Amps for either CC.  #6 AWG cable is rated for about 65 Amps at 75 degrees C ... 

    MidNite and Outback both offer breakers that are designed for DC service,   and MidNite makes three small electrical boxes that would work well for adding breakers for the CC to battery protection. And, of course the neat thing about breakers,  is that they are rated as switches,  which is very handy.

    Here is a box that accepts up to four Panel Mount breakers:
    https://www.solar-electric.com/mnedc-quad.html

    These are the breakers that fit into that box:
    https://www.solar-electric.com/pamodccibr.html

    This box is for the DIN Rail breakers:
    https://www.solar-electric.com/misobigbabox.html

    And here are the breakers for the Big Baby Box:
    https://www.solar-electric.com/mnepv.html

    Before you would want to order the above,  you would need to choose the best size breaker for your system ...   that should be easy,   and we could help you with that,   should you want to do it yourself.


    ...  later,   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.
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    edited July 2017 #18
    Got the switch installed properly (my son was helping and put the common wire on the #1 bolt) so I can switch between banks.

    Yesterday I ran the MX on float at 14.4 (the one that goes to float or bat full without absorb cycle) and let the FM absorb...for now I need the best technique/setting to allow the FM to run the absorb without it being disrupted by the MX charging higher.
    On a sunny day, once absorb starts I could just shut down one string of PV and the MX and run absorb with 600 watts of panels on the FM string. Any other ideas?
    The 2 new batts got to 1.250 at rest at nightfall and cycled to 1.200 overnight. Surette actually says that it takes 60 cycles to gain the 20% capacity that you can expect.
    I will shortly reboot the MX and set to default and reprogram but I do not expect that will change things.

    You see, for most of my time with this system, (8 years) I have had the problem that the batts do not charge to 100%.. I continually upgrade my PV and replaced batteries to no avail. The FM was added about 2 years ago. When the MX went right to FLOAT or BAT FULL, it was the batts that took the blame. Although at least once I posted the question...could this be my CC?
    So it would make perfect sense that it has been the MX all along, LEADING to bad batts rather than the other way around.

    I suspect I will just have to replace the MX and have found them for about $500 (NOPE on edit over $700) Canadian dollars. Unless the reboot changes or we come up with another solution.

    One big question....now that I have 2 separate batt strings, how can I reset my FM 60 after it does an absorb cycle back to square one so I can run a SECOND absorb on the other string. Is there an easier way than rebooting?

    thanks much!




    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Does the FM have an adjustable rebulk setting? If so, you could set it high enough so the batteries that need charging trigger the new bulk/absorb?
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #20

    Hi Freewilley,

    Good work on adding a breaker,  or switch,   whatever it is,   it needs to be rated for DC use.

    You said,  "One big question....now that I have 2 separate batt strings, how can I reset my FM 60 after it does an absorb cycle back to square one so I can run a SECOND absorb on the other string. Is there an easier way than rebooting?"

    Rebulk is initiated by the battery voltage descending to/below a voltage setting that has been set.

    There is also,   Force Bulk in one of the menus.   But,  if you also have  a  breaker on the output of the FM CC,   it should begin a new Bulk when the battery breaker and then the PV breakers are turned on ...   forget just how well your battery switch is behaving.   If you will be using that batt switch,   the FM may not reboot.

    Think that the Force Bulk in in the Misc menu ...   will check.
    EDIT:  On the FM CC,  go to the Misc menu,   and press Next,   this next menu will show buttons for Force Bulk,  and Force Float<

    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.
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    OK, I have used the   force bulk setting before and it seemed to only work for a bit....but that might have been with the problem MX....will try.
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    I rebooted the MX. It went to absorb as did the FM. 
    Checked 1.5 hours later and it was on Bat Full while the FM was on bulk (sun and cloud this aft so voltage is going down when clouds come in for a bit).
    I did a restart and force Bulk on the MX, it went to Absorb but five minutes later it was on Float.
    30 minutes later the MX is sleeping (after Bat Full for a bit it just goes to sleep) so 60% of my PV is idle and not producing.. The FM was on Bulk.

    Should I order a new FM 60 guys? 
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017 #23

    Freewilley,

    This situation is what happens when there several charge sources charging a battery,   when none of the chargers know anything about the others.

    Did run an MX and a Classic on one of the battery banks here for about one year ...    and there was NO coordination between either CC.  Each was running EA.

    Generally,  if a little easier when using two uncoordinated CCs,  to just use a fixed Absorb time,  but one still runs into the situation where both CCs are in Absorb,  one CC says ahaaaaa,   it is time to end Absorb,   and goes to Float.   The other CC often does not have enough PV power available to maintain Vabs,   and it reverts to Bulk for the rest of the day.

    Since in your situation,  there is no Shunt that is measuring the actual battery charge current,  so coordination would be imperfect,   and is not available anyway (it has been said that with a Mate3,  FNDC,   that there might be this coordination between an FM CC,  and an MX-60  that is running the latest available FW rev.  --  5 rev  5.11).

    Sometimes,   having a PV array on one CC that is quite a bit larger,  than on the other (when you have two CCs),  and perhaps you set the Vabs a bit higher on the CC with more PV,  you can try to make that CC want to go to Float last.  This can increase the odds that the lagging CC has some chance of maintaining Vabs without the help of the other CC,  that just went to Float.

    But,  again   without a Shunt and a device that monitors battery charge current,   and command each CC to go to Float at the same time,   there are just too many variables  --  of course loads on the inverter vary,   so  CC EA would work fairly poorly at times.  There is also the situation where the CCs do not share charge current well when in Absorb,   and this situation can vary  from day-to-day,   and so on.

    From a practical standpoint having one CC hang in Bulk when the other has gone to Float is not such a bad situation,   the CC that has reverted to Bulk,  is just possibly "overcharging"  the battery a bit,  but CC EA is imprecise anyway,   particularly with two or more uncoordinated CCs and no Shunt,  due to variable loads.   There is a bit more detail on how to try to run Shuntless EA  fairly well,   but this is with a single CC ...

    The MidNite Classics can use an inexpensive accessory that measures battery charge current via a Shunt,   and communicates  this data to the Master Classic.   This,  plus the Classic "Follow Me"  function allows the Master Classic to command all of the other Classics to transition to Float at the same time,   based on the measured EA into the battery.   Each Classic just needs an inexpensive 4 conductor phone cable connection between each Classic ...   very slick,   and inexpensive,   of course,  you do not have any Classics ...

    EDIT:   So,   seems to me that there is nothing specific to say that there is anything wrong with your MX-60.   It is often difficult to tweak things (usually slightly different Vabs settings) that will allow multiple CCs to share  output currents well during any voltage-regulated charge stage  --  Absorb,  Float or EQ,   even if there is coordination  of multiple CCs switching from Absorb to Float<

    Just a wordy drive-by Comment.   FWIW,   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.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Have you tried Bill's suggestion from post #11? It kind of sounds to me like the controllers are seeing different voltages, or have different setpoints.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,854 admin
    And, of course, try contacting Outback directly? They might have more information on various failure modes/issues that they can help you resolve.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭

    You will often want each of the CCs to be set to a slightly different Vabs voltage.   There ARE differences in Calibration twix CCs,   different cable lengths (and therefore differing V drops),  Calibration differences between RTSes,   and so on.   Also,   IIRC  the resolution of the OB RTSes is a bit coarse  --    IIRC 8 bits for a wide temperature range.

    It would not hurt to check just what each CC is reading as battery voltage,   but there will still be a number of variables.   Sometimes it can be as effective to slightly adjust one CC,   or the other to try to get some repeatable balance,   or even purposely trying to make one CC a follower or leader.   Often having "only"  0.1 V setting resolution seems a bit coarse,   as well.

    Also,   about 40 - 70 cycles may well be needed to reach ultimate stability on these batteries,  but often one is well on the way to this stability  in 20 or so cycles.   DOD per cycle also applies.   Different battery manufacturers have differing ideas on cycle requirements for break-in,  different battery lines can have differing requirements,   etc.   Surrette has been changing a number of parameters in their recent docs,   it is often hard to keep up,   particularly when there seems to be no revision control/dates on docs ...   hard to know if one is looking at the latest doc,   or not.

    The break-in does not only affect the ultimate Capacity of the battery,  SG variations will also settle down during break-in.   Obviously,  there can be significant differences between cells in ultimate SGs,   etc,   as you well know.

    BUT,  since there is no Shunt,  or coordination of the CCs on this system,  it may well be a bit futile to try to consistently use CC EA ...   it is worth a try though,  but one would really need to keep a close eye on it,   and measure SGs frequently to determine the adequacy of the EA and Vabs settings in each CC,   IMO.CC.

    Freewilley,  what is the PV array size on each of the CCs?

    ALL just my opinions,  but at least based on some experiences with most of this hardware ...    FWIW,   not to try to be too preachy,       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.
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    Vic, your opinion is worth a LOT.'

    I do own a shunt (uninstalled from an attempt at a tirmetric monitor on an RV years ago). Not sure how I could fit that in.

    The MX pv array is about 60% of my 1400 (nominal).

    About the controllers seeing different voltages...the reaouts on the screen jive perfectly...is that reliable?
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    On another note, there is an interesting discrepancy....

    Before the new batts, I would usually see voltage readings on my Mate and CC that were higher than that SG would test. So I could see a 12.0 but test SG and it would be way lower, like 1.175. 
    Since the new batts (two days) it is the opposite. So right now at dusk, the new batts are about 1.255 but the voltage is showing 12.3.
    Starkly different....
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • FreewilleyFreewilley Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭
    edited August 2017 #29
    Maybe the problem is solved, could it be this simple?

    So I took in all thrown at me, and tried fooling with the MX settings. This morning I set the ABS point on the MX to 14.9, one point higher than the FM at 14.8. (I was away all morning, so I am not sure how they synced then, but....
    They are both absorbing this afternoon. They just kicked down to bulk in sync, and went back up to ABS in sync. :#
    The KWH is mostly on the MX , which is about 60% of the array. MX is 1.7 and the FM is .7

    Question; When I look at log 2 on the MX, page 2, are those the readings for the previous day or today? So far I see 0 float time which is very good progress. There is no absorb log?

    thanks!
    Mate, VFX 2812, FM 60 & MX 60, 2 Full River AGM 400 6v, 1400 watt Solar Array, Yamaha 3000iSEB inverter gen
    12 volt Flojet water pump
    off grid summer home in northern Ontario
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2017 #30

    Hi Freewilley,

    This does sound encouraging!  Be prepared for some variability if the behavior of the two independent CCs.   This behavior may well be fairly stable,   or perhaps not so much ...

    Am at a different location now,  there are NO MXes here,   so cannot look. Have not really used the MXes for a number of years,   as they are just "on the wall" as backups.

    In the MX Manual,  there should be a good description of the Log functions.   Some of the Log data,  will not appear until after the end of the Charging day,  at 12-ish Midnight,  IIRC.

    AND,  yes,  there has been a lot thrown at you,   and this does require digestion,   observation,   and making small changer,   one at a time,   unless the system is having big trouble charging the batteries,   etc.

    You are learning much more about system,   and this is a very good thing.  So,  keep up the GOOD WORK!

    Having a Shunt is a good thing,   but the most common Shunt in battery-based systems is  500 A 50mV.   This is a good general-purpose one,  but at any reasonable PV charge current,   its voltage reading (voltage=current,  times a Scale Factor) is SO low,  that most DMMs lack resolution and accuracy to show any meaningful battery charge current data.   If your Tirmetric was working,   it,   and most other good Battery Monitoring devices CAN use this low output voltage and display accurate readings of smallish battery currents (and other currents,  depending on where the Shunts are placed,   and the monitor device ... and so on.

    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.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,978 ✭✭✭✭

    And,  Freewilley,

    Just to try to focus on one part of the possible variability for systems using CC EA (without an FNDC & Shunt);

    SO,  CC EA can end Absorb.   Having two independent CCs each running its own EA based only on the output of that,  and only that CC can have issues.   One of those issues is that the CCs will not necessarily,    predictably share the output current to keep it at the set Vabs.   This can change,  based on each of your two CCs having a differing idea of just what is the battery temperature,  and applying a slightly different amount of compensation.   This can slightly change the share that that particular CC provides in its share.   Such a change can change the current in its connection to the battery,  and there can be a slight change in the voltage drop in that connection,  and across its circuit breaker,  and so on.

    Would place ALL temperature sensors on a single battery (and this is one of the disadvantages of having multiple strings of batts),   half-way down the case of that battery.

    EA will almost never be absolutely perfect.   With Flooded batteries,   nothing needs to be perfect.   All that you are looking for,   is that,  on average the batteries are getting fully-charged on a fairly predictable schedule.

    Some small tweaks might be necessary on occasion to keep things in sync.   This is where fairly frequent SG measurements are very helpful.

    FWIW,   Good Luck,     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.
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