Generator shut down error

Northern_BCNorthern_BC Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭

Hello.

I have an off grid system with Schneider gear, solar panels, and a Baldor generator (before Baldor was bought by Generac). In the winter the power shed is around -5 to 0 degrees Celsius. Heat to generator comes from my battery room which is heated. All within one power shed. Winters where I am are -20 degrees Celsius.

When the batteries reach my preset limit, the generator auto starts. My problem is the generator is shutting down within 1 minute from an error: Gen L1 & Gen L3. I have watched the generator on start up and what happens is the L1, L2 are jumping around +-120V. The L3 around 240V. Then the load hits and then all  within 5 seconds they rise up to around 180V on L1, L2 and 340V on L3. The engine then shuts down from a load unbalance. It doesn't happen every time, but I think must be a problem when the house has a bigger draw at same time. 

I think the problem is my generator has not had time to warm up. It has been serviced and looked over by a good generator tech. He was the one who mentioned I should try plugging it in. Problem is the block heater uses way too much power.

The generator has settings that should delay the load and let it warm up, but the system control panel seems to override it and power starts being drawn in under 30 seconds.

Is there a setting in the system control panel that will allow my generator to run for 3-5 minutes first to let it get up to operating temperature? 

It is a big problem because the generator kicks to manual off from this error and won't auto start next time the batteries drop down. Essentialy making it that I can't go away for extended days in winter. 

Thanks.

XW6048 inverter, EnerSys 1520 Ah battery bank, 1500 watt tracker & 4500 watt stationary solar, 10kw Baldor NG generator

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm surprised the inverter/charger isn't disqualifying and dropping the generator input.  Maybe the voltage and/or frequency qualifying values are set really wide in the inverter?  I'd start by narrowing the voltage spec to maybe +/- 10-15v so the genny has a chance to stabilize before the inverter qualifies it, and drops the input if it gets funky.  Aside from the kicked out genny, funky voltage may not play well with loads.

    I don't know Schneider gear, but on my Outback inverters, there's a generator warm up delay time setting.  
    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
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭✭✭
    No, there is not a setting on the system control panel !

    There is a setting in the Inverter that will delay the transfer but I think this is only on modern inverter firmware and may not be long enough.

    Most people who need to really delve into genset use will buy the Schneider AGS. It will allow dozens of different time, load, voltage, Soc, oil pressure, temp, and more that I can't remember settings. You can view all of this on the Schneider web portal Insight from anywhere with a combox or the new Gateway that is suppose to be out in February.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,009 admin
    Is this a 3 phase genset?

    When you measure 340 VAC on L3, what is the other lead the voltmeter is connected too (L1, L2, Neutral, ground, etc.)?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Northern_BCNorthern_BC Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    I have a AGS also. I don't see any setting for warm up period in the menus.

    I don't actually know if it is 3 phase. It is a natural gas fueled 10kw , 120 / 240 generator. I never use 240V though. 

    First pic is what the meter is reading on the control panel when running. 

    Yes. L1, L2, Ground, Neutral. See attached picture.

    Other pics show the readings at start up, then when load is applied it shows the volts climbing before it shuts down.

    I also attached a few of the protection settings on the generator.




    XW6048 inverter, EnerSys 1520 Ah battery bank, 1500 watt tracker & 4500 watt stationary solar, 10kw Baldor NG generator
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,009 admin
    Looks to be a single phase genset--Actually a North American split phase 120/240 VAC. 

    The genset output should be wired like a center tap transformer.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split-phase_electric_power

    Normally, would expect L2 to be LN (neutral) in the above display. So, L1-LN and LN-L3 should be 120 VAC nominal, and L1-L3 should be the some of the other two or ~240 VAC.

    What I am seeing on your displays seems to indicate that the genset is having regulation problems. The speed seems fine (55-65 Hz is the typical genset frequency limits... +/- 2.5 Hz is usual range).

    There is no excuse for those very high output voltages. Something is not right.

    There can be issues with grounding (where the Neutral L2 is bonded to frame/safety/green wire ground--Should be in one place, but with off grid power systems, it can be as many as three places--Genset, Main Panel, and AC inverter). With multiple bonds, you can have current shared between White Neutral and Green Wire ground--Has caused genset issues and ground fault issues (if genset has ground fault breakers).

    One "fix" for wild genset output is to put a smallish resistive load on the output... A pair of 100 Watt filament lamps (one on L1-N and a second on L3-N) was typical test. "100 Watt LED" are not a good choice... You might have to find 60 Watt Filament Lamps, or sometimes you can find heavy duty/drop cord 100 Watt lamps or those with Halogen capsules inside. LED and CFL bulbs have an internal power supply that is "non-linear" and can make its own issues with gensets/AC inverters).

    https://www.homedepot.com/s/100 watt incandescent light bulbs?NCNI-5&storeSelection=632,628,6603,1017,625

    Just wire straight to the genset output and see if it stabilizes the voltages.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Northern_BCNorthern_BC Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    I looked  closer, and yes it is single phase. 

    Is my cable labelled neutral the L3 cable? Would you suggest I swap it's position with L2 to be the normal connection you expect to see?

    I will try the lightbulb trick. Do I connect the cable from the bulbs to L1 and L3 cables on the generator side of the cables shown in my pic above?
    XW6048 inverter, EnerSys 1520 Ah battery bank, 1500 watt tracker & 4500 watt stationary solar, 10kw Baldor NG generator
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,009 admin
    edited December 2018 #8
    Looking at the displays... Your inverter uses L1 and L2 (and neutral is unlisted, but L1 to N and L2 to N give you 120 VAC, and L1 to L2 gives you 240 VAC).

    Your Baldor has L1, L2, and L3... And L1gen=L1inv, L2gen=Neutral inv; and L3gen=L2inv

    Your genset supplying anything outside of 212 to 264 VAC for 240 VAC nominal (and outside 106 to 132 VAC for 120 Volt circuits) is not good.

    What is the genset operational differences between the first display with 120/241 VAC vs the 170/341 VAC operations (and variations of)?

    To test with lamps... Get a couple temporary/surface mount Edison Sockets, and wire Lamp 1 between Black and White circuits, and Lamp 2 between Red and White circuits. That will give you 120 VAC nominal to each lamp.

    Of course, this is temporary--You would need a 15 amp fuse/breaker from each hot (or if you have a genset breaker panel) to prevent short circuits from overheating the lamp wiring... OK for testing, but not good for permanent connections without proper fuses/breakers/wiring.

    -Bill

    Functionally, your wiring seems to be correct... The genset and inverter are reporting "sane numbers"... It is just your genset supplying out of regulation voltages that is the issue (that I see).

    Gensets and inverters can behave strangely with heavily capacitive loads (not common), heavily inductive loads (large induction motors), or other "non-linear" loads (large computer power supplies, lots of LED and Florescent LIghting, arc welders, etc.).

    But I don't see those as your issue...????
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,240 ✭✭✭✭✭
    >  The engine then shuts down from a load unbalance.

    The engine has no way to tell if L1 & L2 are unbalanced. A large enough autotransformer should help with that.   Some control circuit somewhere may sense that, or a control circuit is sensing the 340VAC .    I'd expect 340VAC to trigger a safety shutdown.

    I too would suggest a pair of 100 W lamps ( or 250W work lamps) on each generator leg as a test to stabilize the voltage.


    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 ,

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,818 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Northern_BC ; said

    When the batteries reach my preset limit, the generator auto starts. My problem is the generator is shutting down within 1 minute from an error: Gen L1 & Gen L3. I have watched the generator on start up and what happens is the L1, L2 are jumping around +-120V. The L3 around 240V. Then the load hits and then all  within 5 seconds they rise up to around 180V on L1, L2 and 340V on L3. The engine then shuts down from a load unbalance. It doesn't happen every time, but I think must be a problem when the house has a bigger draw at same time



    The statement " doesn't happen every time " would indicate it's an intermittent problem likely caused by a poor connection, looking at the image with the circuit breaker, the bottom left terminal Line1 appears to be displaced, the Alarm list display also corresponds with a L1 to N low voltage, you might want to check all the terminals are tight as often it's simple things which are the problem. A high resistance termination would cause the symptoms experienced, temperature changes can also cause movement, along with vibration.

    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • Northern_BCNorthern_BC Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    I tested the lamp trick. The first run the gen shutdown within a few minutes with same error as before. I started it again and it ran fine for the few hours I let it run. The 100 W lamps lit fine. The V readings were good with steady +- 1 V reading.

    I checked the power shed before bed and see that there was a shutdown error and the gen is switched off. I tried starting it several times and the gen would shutdown as soon as the control panel triggered the system to start charging the batteries. The V readings were very steady, but the instant the load comes on the volts climb within a few seconds to trigger an error and shut the generator down. I did get a new warning this time on top of the L3 and L1 warnings I always get; it read warning Gen Freq. But I think it is more to do that the engine flickered once before dying and probably gave an odd reading.

    I unplugged the two lamps and it still shuts down. The gen will run with the breaker off, but once I turn it on and the system begins to charge the batteries within 30 seconds and it gets the same voltage error to shutdown.

    I have a backup Generac generator that I wire to the panel, disconnecting the main generator and connecting the backup to the same input points, and it is now charging up the batteries. It is not connected to an AGS and I manually turn it on and off. 

    I have attached a few pictures of the lamp wiring and the wiring at the inverter. Maybe someone can see something strange that could be the problem.

    I did check connections between generator and inverter and they are tight, 

    The house is 100% LED lights and a computer is often on. But there are plenty of normal loads for the fridge, freezer, water pump, etc.


    XW6048 inverter, EnerSys 1520 Ah battery bank, 1500 watt tracker & 4500 watt stationary solar, 10kw Baldor NG generator
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,240 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The house is 100% LED lights and a computer is often on. But there are plenty of normal loads for the fridge, freezer, water pump, etc.



    Those are not "normal loads"  Those loads have lousy power factor and will stress the inverter and genset more than you expect.  Re- run your load load calcs, and then multiply by 1.6 as a rough guess as to PF 
    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 ,

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,818 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If the backup generator works without issues on the same inputs, that would eliminate the equipment pointing to the generator itself as the problem. Time to open it up and check, below is a trouble shooting excerpt from Marathon Electric, whole document in pdf attached  

    GENERATOR PRODUCES HIGH VOLTAGE
    CAUSE CHECK AND REMEDY
    Faulty metering    Check voltage with separate meter at generator terminals.
    Incorrect connections    Verify generator connections. Refer to drawings supplied with the generator or connection
    diagrams in this manual.
    Regulator adjustments    Adjust regulator. Consult regulator manual.
    Leading power factor    Check the power factor of the load. If power factor is leading, change load configuration.
    Excessive leading power factor (capacitors) can cause voltage to climb out of control.
    Incorrect regulator connection   Verify regulator voltage sensing is connected correctly. Consult regulator manual.
    Defective regulator    Replace regulator 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It almost always is the genset or incorrect data input. Below is one page of 3 on the trigger pages of the AGS. If you do not see these the last firmware for ags was in 2017 and it just added Soc from min 50% down to 0% for lithium.


    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Northern_BCNorthern_BC Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    How do I calculate the power factor of my house electrical use? And then more importantly I need to know how do I apply the results to make adjustments if needed?  Lots of discussion on the internet about power factor but I need to know how to use the formulas correctly for my system. I watch closely how many watts my house uses and have a meter to check the watts each item uses.
    XW6048 inverter, EnerSys 1520 Ah battery bank, 1500 watt tracker & 4500 watt stationary solar, 10kw Baldor NG generator
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A kill-a-watt meter can be used to check PF on suspect loads:
    https://www.solar-electric.com/kiacpomome.html
    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
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I would not worry about PF. Your charger in the XW is one of the most efficient ever made. Your problem in my opinion is pretty obvious.
    Good Luck!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,240 ✭✭✭✭✭
    How do I calculate the power factor of my house electrical use? ....
    The XW will report the PF for you, it's in the menus on the SCP & the Combox, under Loads
    You have to isolate your loads, turn them on 1 at a time, and read the  VA it's consuming.
      example - my well pump is a 1/2 hp pump, so you would assume it's only about 400W, in reality, the XW reports 1,000VA for the motor.  Get enough of those going and you have a problem. 
    This is nice article for the how/why VA / Watts / different PF loads
    http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/emailnewsletter_generators.html#anchorgenerator basics
    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 ,

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,818 ✭✭✭✭✭
    How do I calculate the power factor of my house electrical use? And then more importantly I need to know how do I apply the results to make adjustments if needed?  Lots of discussion on the internet about power factor but I need to know how to use the formulas correctly for my system. I watch closely how many watts my house uses and have a meter to check the watts each item uses.


    To get an idea of the effects of power factor measure the AC current of a resistive load, a 1000W electric heater for example, 1000W at 120V will be 8.3A, then measure the DC current from the battery, with a 48V bank the current would be 2.5 × 8.3 = 20.7A ( 2.5 is the ratio of conversation 120V ÷ 48V) Then use the same method with a 1000W induction motor, the current on the DC side will be higher than that of resistive load, multiply the DC current by the battery voltage, this will give you the power used, it may be up to 50% higher depending on the power factor of the motor. There will be efficiency losses as well as tare load, to add to both examples.

    Power factor correction  is usually done in industrial facilities where there continuous inductive loads, the utility will charge a premium for a poor power factor, because they are the battery in the case of the grid, if they simply  billed by consumer wattage use,  they would loose money  due to the higher current demand on their generating facilities. Domestic users are not charged mostly because the loads are small and intermittent by comparison.

    The XW battery charger is power factor corrected already, attempting to correct the small intermittent loads for power factor would be a waste of time IMHO, adding capacitance may also have adverse effects on the inverter. Correction is  not something to worry about but something to keep in mind, especially if running multiple inductive loads similtaniously. Most motor nameplates will state the PF the lower the figure the poorer the PF.

    There are mathematical calculations to explain this phenomenon, just attempting keeping it in layperson terms.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
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