Commissioning Procedure for Flooded Lead Acid Batteries??

ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
Hello again forum participants :)

First off, as always, thank you in advance for this forum and to whoever may find the time to throw me a bone:) Always appreciated!!!

The Batteries I am prepping to Commission are the Discover 12VRE 3000TF (PDF Attached)

Also the Commissioning Procedure as stated by Discover on the Commissioning Instructions seems pretty clear, yet as always, I am not completely clear on how to execute the task as this is my first time Commissioning/ Activating FLA Batteries with the XW+ 6848.

I have 3 strings of 4 batteries each and I think that I will commission each string separately. Each string has a C10 185 amp/ hour rating so I calculated off that.

* I guess my biggest question is how can I hold a constant Amperage when I am charging with the XW+ as it automatically throttles down as the batteries reach full charge? Step 1 calls for 10-15 Amps (average of 12.5 Amps) per 100 Ah of C10 capacity which is 23.125 Amps per 185 Ah capacity C10. So am I supposed to hold a fully charged string at 20 ish Amps for 3- 5 hours? Maybe there is a way to set the XW to hold constant Amps? Not sure??

When I installed the batteries, out of the box I connected them in strings of four and set the XW as per battery manufacturer spec and just let it do its thing. Each month, as they sit and wait for sale, I run them through a charge cycle, followed by a 1 hour EQ and then let them float over night 24 hours. I am sure this will keep the batteries healthy unit they find their new home, however I've read that before putting the batteries into full time service that it is a good idea to Commission Charge (refresh charge) before hand.

It seems like a fairly aggressive procedure and am just wondering if this is the way the manufacturer ensures their batteries perform hard out of the gate while they may not be concerned how long the battery lasts past their 4 year replacement warranty, all at the expense of putting some major wear and tear on the plates of the battery???

Below is the attached snip from the Commissioning Document supplied by Discover for review:



Comments

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    I really hate the term 'boost'  because it means different things in different parts of the world.

    What amperage(current) the battery takes in is really determined by the battery and the state of charge. Your can only controller the voltage and temperature (by shutting charging off) . You would do this through your charge controller.

    I believe they are referring to an equalizing charge, pretty standard to get things off on equal footing. Don't like 3 strings, but if you choose to do them independently, that would be fine by me. You  would be looking for all cells in all 3 strings to be within .01 of each other (or .015 according to their instructions.)

    An equalizing charge is basically a slight over charging of the battery bank. You set the charging parameters for the voltage to be raised significantly so that the battery will accept   more current. Looks like the specs they are giving  are for a charge controller that will adjust voltage to match a prescribed current. Not aware of charge controllers in common use that will do this, though I'm sure you could design this feature.

    Much like their instructions, you want the battery to be basically fully charged. Look at your absorb times suggested by the manufacturer and set your charge controller accordingly. once the charge controller switches over to 'float' indicating it has reached fully charged you can start the equalizing process.

    I did not read the pdf, but basically  it will give you a suggested voltage per cell. For a 48 volt system, you will likely have an absorb setting of around 58 volts, and likely an equalizing setting of around 62-63 volts.  I suggest checking your Specific Gravity (SG) every hour. When it doesn't go up for 2 hours the cells have maxed out. On a commissioning charge I would be fine with 1.255 or 1.26 across the board after an hour or 2. Looks like that represents the SG of the acid mix they are shooting for (some will approach 1.3)
    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
  • ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
    edited August 16 #3
    I'll be Commissioning the batteries with the Schneider XW+6848 Inverter/ Charger from Grid power.
    Once the charge switches to float I'll try adjust my float Voltage up and see if I can push the recommended amps for the prescribed time or at least until desired V/ cell is achieved.

    I'll call Schneider in the morning and pick their brain also. Just gathering as much info as I can so I can hopefully do this properly as learning curves can be expensive:)

    Keep the comments coming if anyone may see something that I am not :)
    Appreciate it!
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    ligwyd said:
    I'll be Commissioning the batteries with the Schneider XW+6848 Inverter/ Charger from Grid power.
    Once the charge switches to float I'll try adjust my float Voltage up and see if I can push the recommended amps for the prescribed time or at least until desired V/ cell are achieved. 
    I don't believe they will have that feature, They should have an equalizing function that includes settings  for voltage. 

    I forgot to mention it, but you should have  a  Battery Temperature Sensor (BTS) attached. The over charging will raise the temperature of the battery a bit and the BTS will allow the charger to make adjustments, or shut down the charging if dangerous temperatures are  reached.
    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
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,074 ✭✭✭✭✭

    After seeing the conditioning information it would appear the first voltage setting  should be 14,4V (2.40vpc) 57.6V @ 48V nominal current set at maximum ~15A.

    Then same voltage with current maximum 10A for 14 hours 

    After rest for 1 hour set voltage to 62.4V, current max 10A for 4 hours, rest for an hour repeating if nessersary maximum 5 times. 

    Because equalization setting is limited to 1 hour, set bulk, absorption and float all to the desired voltage that will hold the setting for the nessersary time required, to do this go to custom settings, I've done this with lithium cells to allow the BMS time to ballance the cells

    The current may well reduce as the battery nears the set voltage but should not exceed the recommended maximum current is how I read it.

    The question I have, is how dose one measure individual cell voltage in a monoblock battery without probing the plates?  perhaps using SG as an indicator would be best.



    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.
  • ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
    I've got the Schneider Battery Monitor hooked up and it does adjust for temp. so I am good there.

    Almost everything is adjustable with the XW+ and as such should be able to adjust float voltage to Equalization Voltage (since that is all Equalization is - increased Voltage). If I have trouble I'll try setting Bulk, Absorb and Float to the desired Voltage to hold the charge steady for the prescribed time.

    As far as achieving prescribed v/ cell, It seems Discovers' instructions are a little vague... I know when a battery is low and lets say you have your Absorb at a set voltage, the voltage reading at the battery is lower than the set Absorb voltage but slowly climbs to reach the voltage set point as the battery takes on charge. Maybe this is what Discover means? Who knows? Maybe I'll give them a call this morning as well.

    "Exit Current Threshold can be effectively disabled by programming the amp-hour capacity to 0. In this case, absorption will only exit once the Max Absorption timer expires."

    "The Conext XW+ has been in absorption for the programmed maximum absorption time limit. The default is 3 hours, but the time limit is programmable from 1 minute to 8 hours."

    The above quotations from the XW+ manual indicate that I can use the float setting for a long period of time (up to 8 hours MAX) by setting capacity to 0, but I need up to 14 hours so I'll try mcgivor's suggestion.

    Mcgivor, do you figure I should just keep moving voltages up to achieve Discovers suggested charging amps?
    I would agree  with you, just leave the the 4th step in the process at 62.4V and presumably observe approx 9.25 Amps (10ish) charge current. They do mention all cells to exceed 2.6V/cell so would that not indicate that I may have to bump up my Voltage to achieve the 10 ish amp charge current?? I'm sure I'm over thinking it, but I find it a good thing to do so initially and not after a mistake is made :)

    Thanks guys for commenting. Keep it coming if there is more or if I have muddied the waters :)
    I'll post any tech info I learn from Discover/ Schneider.


  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,966 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I wouldn't increase voltage in order to 10ish amp current.  The general idea is to use a somewhat higher than usual constant voltage (2.6v/cell) to get all cells (as measured by SG) as close as possible.  This is a pretty typical EQ (equalizing).

    SOP for this is to check all cells initially, then check the lowest one or two cells SG (and water levels generally) at ~ 1/2hr intervals until they stop rising between checks.  At this point, all cells should be close in SG and fully charged.  It's the SG that should be the focus, not current IMHO.

    There can be an initial period (~50-100 charge/discharge cycles) for the bank to get sort of broken in and reach full capacity.  During this period, it's a good idea to repeat the SG checks a couple of times and repeat the EQ if need be.
    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
  • ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Thanks for the feedback Estragon.
    Now, is it possible that even though I may get a fully charged S.G. reading, the battery is not capable of producing full capacity due to not all of the plate material being fully active yet (thus the 24  hour EQ commission procedure).

    As the batteries are right now I am sure I will observe that all cells are at approx 1,255 and higher even though the batteries have not yet been commissioned and as such, I am guessing this is why the manufacturer recommends the 24 hour commissioning procedure on an already, initially full charged battery.
    Maybe only over time, like you mention, 100 cycles or so, does the battery really wake up, none the less, this is what , I presume, the commissioning procedure aims at doing.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,966 ✭✭✭✭✭
    AFAIK, it's the cycling that "forms" the plates.  One maker (US Battery) claimed as feature of their batteries they took fewer cycles to reach full capacity, presumably something a golf course might find useful.

    I think the commissioning is more to make sure the battery is fully and equally charged before being put into cycling service.
    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
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There is some ambiguity in the conditioning instructions, contacting the manufacturer would probably be best, having a list of questions  before hand would be a good idea as often one forgets something, at least that's my experience. Below are examples of some I would ask.

    Since step 4 states all cells/blocks exceed 2.6V per cell, the charging voltage would have to be greater than  62.4V in order to achieve this,  what would be a reasonable setting?

    There is no mention of temperature compensation, just a caution not to exceed 55°C, dose this suggest no temperature compensation should be used?

    How dose one determine individual cell voltage in a monoblock battery ?  In the case of monoblock is this the combination voltage per block, for example each block should be ~15.55V (2.61Vpc)?

    The current settings are they the maximum recommend or constant current values.

    My experience is its better to send an email with the questions and request a contact person to discuss their rationale if required, this allows them time to digest the questions before answering.


    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.
  • ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Wow! Couldn't have formulated those questions better....You put some thought into that. Appreciate it mcgivor:) and everyone elses comments/ support as well. I am now just waiting to hear from the manufacturer Monday morning and will post anything relevant as well as any experience gained after activating the batteries. Love this forum!
  • ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
    edited August 21 #12
    So Discoverer sent me to Canadian Energy where I purchased the batteries and their Solar guy was very helpful. He says:

    1. Set bulk, absorb and float all the same for extended charging times
    2. To exceed 2.6V/cell just set the voltage a little higher... instead of 62.4V use 62.5V
    3. Leave Temp compensation on
    4. Current setting is meant to be a limit or max current used and not held constant at that limit.
    5. No need to prob each cell for individual voltage. Just charge for recommended times until desired total string voltage is achieved.

    So we'll get the batteries activated!
    Thanks again everyone.
    Enjoy the day. Sunny and HOT here today in Kelowna Canada.




  • ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
    So, almost done activating all 6 separate strings of batteries (two separate systems each with 3 strings in the each bank). 24 hour (or more-up to another 24 hours more) process per string. Nice to have the grid at my disposal other wise I'd be having to run the generator non stop.

    1. Specs say get all cells within 15 points. Some here mentioned shoot for 10 points. I guess the closer the better?

    2. Should I just keep on going until cells S.G. stops rising. 1.260 is full charge 100% and after the activation I am getting some cells up to 1.285 and a couple at 1.290 even?

    3. Manufacturers instructions say EQ (62.5V) in four-hour periods followed by an hour rest (or more if necessary) in between and repeat up to 5 times max if necessary, keeping temp under 55 C. From the combined experience here what is a common amount of total hours, in EQ voltage, to activate your average new FLA battery? Ball park question I know.......




  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If the electrolyte fill was 1.260, a higher SG value would indicate water loss in those cells.
    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.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,966 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 31 #15
    Or it could be the meter.  I have two and one is consistently higher than the other, so I focus more on relative values between cells than on absolute values.

    Water should definitely be kept an eye on though, especially during EQs.  I try to keep mine ~1/2 way between the top of plates and the fill tube.
    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
  • ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
    I've got float style level indicators on all cells so I see when a cell begins to drop. I have notice with my plastic Hydro-volt hydrometer that I am getting some cells at 1.95 and the water levels are still up. They may have dropped a bit during activation but still within the safe operating level. Is this simply overcharged or faulty Hydrometer readings?

    And when do you stop. Can you just keep going until all cells are within range. What that damage the batteries or just waist electricity and water?

    Sorry for the trivial back and forth, just trying to execute this properly.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,966 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I stop when the weakest (lowest SG) couple of cells stop rising between ~1/2hr checks.

    When getting weird readings, it sometimes helps to rinse the meter thoroughly with distilled water and doing a repeat pull.  They sometimes pull a bit of crud and can stick, giving a bad read.  Also, be sure to rinse the meter when done.
    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
  • ligwydligwyd Registered Users Posts: 113 ✭✭
    edited September 3 #18
    Yes I destroyed one meter by not rinsing so now I pull up, shake around and squeeze out clean water 3 times and rinse down the outside of the meter also.
    When using the meter I also pull up and then lightly tap the meter on the battery case while the tube is still in the cell electrolyte as this seems to let the dial kinda bounce around until it finds its place of least resistance, and then I take that reading.
    So If after a cell stops rising, say at 1.260, and another cell in the same battery is at 1.280 (20 points difference) does this indicate an early possible future problem with that battery or is that just the way she goes sometimes, and just take care of the batteries the best you can?
    Or if they are 20 plus points out should I keep going? And will it come into balance or do some batteries just not perfectly (within 10 points) balance out due to some margin of error in manufacture?
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,966 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You could try increasing EQ voltage a bit (but watch temperature and water levels even more carefully) to see if the weak cell(s) come up a bit more.  If the cell still just won't rise, more EQing likely won't help.

    I have a few "lazy" cells that tend to be a bit lower than others, but EQ gets them to within ~10 points.

    On new batteries, there's a chance some electrolyte was lost in transit through spillage etc and instead of being topped up with acid someone thought the low cell(s) just needed water.  This would dilute the acid, and make SG lower than unaffected cells.
    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
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,298 ✭✭✭✭
    If two cells can't achieve the same SG with EQ, is it worth adding acid to match them?

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    jonr said:
    If two cells can't achieve the same SG with EQ, is it worth adding acid to match them?
    Don't even consider that, is all I can say, the fill SG should be the maximum target, the manufacturer should be able to provide the information regarding why a higher SG is measured, these are expensive batteries don't adjust the acid concentration under any circumstances. 
    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.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,966 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'd check with the vendor and follow their advice.  I don' know if it's enough of a difference to matter, or if there's any way of finding out if spillage is the issue (eg dealer or shipping records).  The vendor would likely have run into the issue before, and should be willing to advise, if only to avoid a potential warranty claim.
    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
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