One of my 2 outback charge controllers is reading 0 amps

AlanAlan Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
Port 2 is reading 89v w/ 0A in
54v w/ 0A out & 0 KWH

Port 3 is reading 93.5v w/ 10A in
54v w/ 16.5A out & .9kwh

What is it telling me? Is Port 2 not producing?

Looks like I have power coming in but not out of my Port 2 charge controller.

Is that correct? Why?

Alan

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,451 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm assuming these are:
    - separate controllers,
    - each connected to their own separate arrays,
    - with both charging a single battery bank.

    If so, a couple of possibilities occur to me:
    1.  Each controller may be reading bank voltage slightly differently (a few 10ths of a volt - more than that may mean a wire issue).  Measuring & comparing voltage while charging at both the battery and each controller output terminals may help in troubleshooting.

    The lower reading controller will output enough current to hold bank voltage in absorb or float at what it sees as the right voltage, but at what the high one thinks is "too high", so the high one outputs nothing while it waits for bank voltage to drop to the "right" voltage.  Not sure about your controllers, but my MN Classics have a setting to adjust for these minor variations so they all see about  the same bank voltage. 

    Small differeces don't really matter all that much though, as most of absorb and float uses diminished current, and one controller can often hold voltage alone.  

    2.  If this is happening in bulk before either controller reaches absorb though, I'd look for possible issues with the non-producing array (eg shading, wiring issues, etc) or the controller (eg open output breaker, etc).
    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
  • AlanAlan Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Thanks for the reply Estragon,

    Sorry for the delay getting back to you, your reply hit my junk folder, fixed it.

    The system I have is:

    Outback GS 8048 Radian Inverter w/ GS Load Center
    Mate 3 Display & Controller w/ 4 port hub
    2 Flex Max 60 Charge Controllers connected to 2 MidNite MNPV6 Combiners
    24 315w Kyocera solar panels & 24 Sun Xtender 1215AH 2V Sealed AGM Batteries
    Grid tied but not presently selling back, My stuff is a stealth emergency back up to a larger grid tied house.
    Prefer not to get them knowledge or involved for now. Maybe later.

    The home is a hundred feet long & backs up to a mountain w/ trees so it's not unusual for 1 bank to be partly shaded at certain times, hence the variation in power from bank to bank at times.

    I travel a lot. Over the years the trees have grown and so in the winter now when I leave I sometimes use the grid in generator mode to power the system so the batteries stay charged all the time. I think I should fix that to a proper grid tie-in so the batteries are used and the grid kicks in as needed. I also have a 10kw lp generac connected but it's been acting up so it's shut off for the time being.

    As mentioned, 2 controllers, 12 panels per combiner & controller, controllers default name to Port 2 & Port 3
    Port 2 is reading 89v w/ 0A in
    54v w/ 0A out & 0 KWH

    Port 3 is reading 93.5v w/ 10A in
    54v w/ 16.5A out & .9kwh

    It seems the combiner is collecting the voltage from the panels and sending it to the Port 2 controller at 89v w/ 0 Amps coming in and sending out at 54v but w/ 0 Amps out & producing 0 KWH.

    Conversely, Port 3 appears to be producing. Not sure what to make of this.

    It appears Port 2 is reading voltage but not getting any amperage. Can it do that?








  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 902 ✭✭✭✭
    HBX mode works well for what you need.  If you have regular renewables coming in you run without charger enabled.  Lousy renewable performance (dead of winter, 5 days of rain) enable charger and adjust absorb and float settings.  I give mine just float level voltage and wait for the sun and wind to return.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,451 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My guess is port 2 is reading a slightly higher voltage.  For example, say float is set for 54v.  Port 3 may be reading 53.9v, and is drawing 10a from pv to get bank voltage up to 54v.  Port 2 may be reading 54.1v, and because that's higher than float, it draws no current to send to the bank.  The differing voltage readings could just be minor calibration differences between the controllers, or differences in wire and/or connections from controllers to bank.  You could test this with a multimeter capable of at least 0.1v resolution.

    Minor shading will often show at least some current (if the controller wants it).  More severe shading can make the controller think it's night and make it go to "sleep" to reduce self-consumption.

    I'm not so sure about "them" not knowing about your system.  Many fire departments and building authorities take a dim view of unpermitted installations.  There may also be insurance implications.  OTOH, maybe you're in an area like mine, where AHJ would just give me a funny look if I tried pulling a permit, and fire protection is nill.
    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
  • TecnodaveTecnodave Registered Users Posts: 418 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2019 #6
    Alan,
    If you are at the site might I suggest:   Turn off both p.v. array input to the charge controllers, turn off mode(input), then turn off power to both charge controllers , wait a few minutes , turn on power to controller having the problem only,  wait a minute or so,turn on input mode,  turn on array breaker for this controller only.  Now see what happens, reasoning....rebooting sometimes will clear the problem, and with the working charge controller idled the suspect controller should go to bulk and start charging, it won't be affected by the working controller.  Let forum know what happened with this test.

    Please note....I'm a MidNite guy, with limited exposure to Outback gear,  but based on the same team designed both, they are similar ....I'm not familiar with Outback Menu system.  I'm not sure how Outback turns off input. It is important that the controller is powered up first before applying solar input.  
    2 Classic 150, 2 Kid, 5 arrays 7.5 kw total  2ea.  2S6P Sharp NE-170/NE-165, 1ea. 12P Sanyo HIT 200,  2ea. 4/6P Sanyo HIT 200, MagnaSine MS4024AE, Exeltech XP-1100,  2 Banks L-16 battery, Rolls-Surette S-530 and Interstate Traction, Shunts with whizbangJr and Bogart Tri-Metric, iCharger i208B  dc-dc buck/boost converter with BMS for small form lithium 8S 16650 or LiFePO4,
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,105 ✭✭✭✭
    Another Midnite guy here...lol. just wanted to relay that I have 2 Midnite Classic's setup in Follow me mode with identical settings (I think...lol) and Once they move into 'Float' mode it's very common to see one 'resting' with no output. 

    With 16.5 amps out into a 1200+ amp hour battery bank, you are at float feeding less than 2%. I suspect Dave is right.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • TecnodaveTecnodave Registered Users Posts: 418 ✭✭✭✭
    When I have both Classic 150's charging one bank they will split the load on bulk, but even with follow me they do not exactly split the load, very minor differences in settings will leave one doing most output. At float the lead classic does the bulk of the work. Even changing the "factory calibration settings" it is very difficult to get them to "exactly follow each other".   Bottom line is I am floating before noon.  I have two main banks of L-16 and leave them separated most times,  and charge each with their own sources of power.. Esseciantly I have 100% redundancy..two complete systems but one main inverter witch can be powered by either system alone for most uses.......but when I have a big project which will max out my big inverter then both banks are paralled, household loads are switched to the Cotek SK-1500 inverter and the MagnaSine powers the workshop. Too complicated but I built it peice by peice.  I just can't pass up a set of Rolls Surettes S530 L-16's for $20.00 even if apparently dead....They will be 14 y.o. In a few days!  Still testing as new.....I'm very hands on with my system...tinkering it constantly .....I've not had a day without power for years now..reasoning behind not just leaving them in parallel,  they are not a matched set, close but no match. The Surettes end up being overcharged and the Interstates haven't yet finished absorb after a few weeks left paralled.  Both sets are L-16's but manufacturing differences between Rolls Surette  and Interstate (Johnson Controls) make it impossible to get an exact match. Much better results in not paralleling them unless nessecary for that big power day. My system is 4   times the size I need for household use alone. 
    2 Classic 150, 2 Kid, 5 arrays 7.5 kw total  2ea.  2S6P Sharp NE-170/NE-165, 1ea. 12P Sanyo HIT 200,  2ea. 4/6P Sanyo HIT 200, MagnaSine MS4024AE, Exeltech XP-1100,  2 Banks L-16 battery, Rolls-Surette S-530 and Interstate Traction, Shunts with whizbangJr and Bogart Tri-Metric, iCharger i208B  dc-dc buck/boost converter with BMS for small form lithium 8S 16650 or LiFePO4,
  • AlanAlan Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    Thanks guys! I copied and printed your post Dave.

    That sounds like a plan. I'm in the weather right now but when I get a break I'll head on up and start shutting things down.

    As soon as I can I'll post a report. Hope that fixes that.

    Another note, the solar power is connected to certain emergency necessary appliances, fridge, freezer, well pump, emergency lighting circuit, emergency power circuit for some HVAC & cooking, etc. It couldn't possibly power the whole house.

    I have it set up that way for now, grid or gen for back up to the radian to charge the batteries when the panels aren't producing in the winter or I'm away.

    However, for some years now I have been running those things on the solar panel system full time and the rest of the house on grid system. while I'm here. It's been working fine. Rarely have I had to turn on the generator or transfer to grid power. The solar stuff was dedicated to those elements, the grid had the rest. It helped my electric bill.

    In the winter or when I'm traveling I turn the grid on to the radian full time. Naturally the batteries stay fully charged, 100%. The radian monitors the charging power input to the batteries and protects them from overcharge, I understand.

    I had another event recently that may be related.

    I shut down the grid input to the gen transfer switch. The sun's been up and I'm here so I put it in normal operation. Split electrical system.

    After a while the radian shut down the entire system and noted an emergency "Battery Low Voltage Error". The batteries were reading 99%. I couldn't figure out why it shut it down at 99%. When I have the solar power running it will normally power everything all night and by morning the batteries would be reading just above 60%. It seems to me it never put out a "Battery Low Voltage Error" and shut down until it got to 60% or below. That's been my experience until recently.

    It's done that to me now 2 or three times. I was looking at the system recently and that's when I found the charge controller issue. I thought that was possibly causing/contributing to the "Battery Low Voltage Error" & shut down.

    Now I'm starting to wonder if I don't have 2 issues.






  • TecnodaveTecnodave Registered Users Posts: 418 ✭✭✭✭
    Alan,
    Sometimes a complete system shutdown and restart will clear out accumulated errors. Complicated electronics are like computers in a way, they will build up unneeded data which they will stumble on, system shutdown and restart is kinda like a new day....
    2 Classic 150, 2 Kid, 5 arrays 7.5 kw total  2ea.  2S6P Sharp NE-170/NE-165, 1ea. 12P Sanyo HIT 200,  2ea. 4/6P Sanyo HIT 200, MagnaSine MS4024AE, Exeltech XP-1100,  2 Banks L-16 battery, Rolls-Surette S-530 and Interstate Traction, Shunts with whizbangJr and Bogart Tri-Metric, iCharger i208B  dc-dc buck/boost converter with BMS for small form lithium 8S 16650 or LiFePO4,
  • AlanAlan Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭
    I understand that. Should have thought of it myself. Never have shut it down since I got it up.

    That's hopefully all that's needed. Likely the best place to start.

    Thought if the charge controller tanked...My biggest fear was the batteries were toast. 16k.

    Thanks! I'll report back.
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