Batteries old and generator died.... time for an update/upgrade?

Rngr275Rngr275 Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
All,
It has been awhile since I've posted here. Readers digest version/quick history: Bought an Amish House back in 2012. No electricity available unless I brought it in from 1/2mile away... Too much$$!! With the help of an excellent and experienced off grid installer and the experts here, we installed a 4kw system. Here are the specifics: Upstate NY, 16 255W Solar World panels, 48V system, Outback VFX3648 Inverter, 2 Midnite Lite charge controllers, Mate, FNDC, 16 Trogan L16 RE batteries 370Ah @ 20 Hr, and a Generac 6kw Generator. To date there has been zero issues and have been diligent if not anal on the maintenance (Generator& Batteries). The system as designed was for ~ 3kw a day with 3days autonomy. First few years were fine and easy but as the kids have grown we have suffered from electric creep and depending on the day we will now use between 5 and 7Kw. The system was holding its own but the batteries are struggling and discharging much quicker than they used to. Up until this last November I had only put 1400 hrs on the generator (not bad for 8+ years), but since November I have added another 800 hrs (tough dark winter). The Monday night the generator was surging and making a funny noise and in the morning with the voltage of the batteries below the normal auto start the generator wasn't running. Checked things, had a RPM sensor lost error and it wouldn't even turn over in manual. Starter battery is good. Had a technician stop by and we couldn't rotate the fly wheel of the engine. Not sure if something broke inside or what. So that's where I am. Struggling by with a 4Kw emergency generator I have and praying for sun! 😊

Now for the new business. Generac doesn't make this model anymore and parts are extremely hard to get, if at all. The new ECOGen is 15KW and very hard to get and pretty expensive. My Generac guy tells me that since my typical usage is ~200 hrs a year, he suggested saving a little$$ and getting the Guardian 13-14Kw generator. I'm not on top of things as I should be so I'm not sure Generac is good or good enough. Other choices? I've heard mixed reviews on Kohler, nothing on other manufacturers.
Now for the batteries. The current ones have done fine I think for my first set of flooded batteries. Never went below 70%, always made sure to water, and full charge at least once a week. Only did a handful of equalizations over the years but SG looks/looked good and balanced. They just seem to loose their charge more quickly now. I almost replaced them fall 2020 but decide to see how this winter went. Let's just say a spent a lot on propane. I almost put in another 2kw of panels last summer to help the whole system but didn't and that's another story. So is there a way to make sure the batteries are on the way out or something I can do to limp along or just bite the bullet and get new?

Last thing, we are planning on selling in 2022-2023 so new generator and batteries could be a good selling point, but I also don't want to buy the best of both. I had thought about having a 48V fork truck battery built, or maybe trying some of the new technology but since we are going to move I'm not sure the expense is worth it. Thoughts? I came here because this is the best site on the internet for these type questions and answers from true experts gives me a warm fuzzy!🤣🤣

Thanks in advance McD

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,684 admin
    McD... I am of a mind that putting money into the existing solar system will be hard to get back on the sale of the property in 1-2 years. Of course, if you find that person/family that knows and is into Off Grid solar--They might be willing to pay more...

    To make some comparisons... The battery bank. I would take SG readings and measure the voltage across each battery--Under load and under charge and log it. Try to find batteries that are "different" from the rest (very high voltage when charging, very low voltage when discharging, one or more cells that are very low in SG, etc.). If you have just a couple that are "different", you have the choice of making one string out of the bank--Or perhaps even getting pairs of 6 volt @ ~200 AH "Golf Cart" batteries and replacing the "weak" batteries in the existing string. I am looking for a 1-2 year fix here... Even if you replace the whole string--2 years of your use vs 10 year life (pretty good) means that 20% of the value has been used by you... And would the buyer pay anywhere over 50% for the rest of the life in the string??? Don't know.

    I guess the Trojan RE product line has been discontinued (at least the exact family you have). 

    https://www.solar-electric.com/trl16vo225ah.html (something like this--NAWS may not list all available Trojan models):
    https://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/datasheets/SPRE_06_415_DS.pdf

    I worry that a 15-16 kWatt genset is too big for your needs... At best a 20% rate of charge (16bat*6v*370AH=35,550 WH) or ~7 kWatt charging.... Yea, that is almost 50% genset loading--So during heavy charging, it will be fuel efficient, but it will quickly drop wattage load as you get deep into the Absorb voltage range (>~80% state of charge to >90%)... If most of your charging is during the deeper discharges (something like 50% to 80% and >~20% rate of charge)--Mostly fuel efficient.

    You may not have enough AC charging capacity for more than a 10% rate of charge right now??? Larger genset, larger charging current, new/larger 48 VDC charger?

    Similar with Solar panels--You could probably really do with more panels...
    • 16 batt * 6 volts * 370 AH = 35,520 WH of storage (when new)
    • 16 panels * 255 Watt per panel * 0.77 panel+controller derating = 3,142 Watt effective solar charging
    • 3,142 Watt solar derated / 35,520 WH bat = 0.09 = 9% rate of charge
    • Go for 15% rate of charge (less than sunny NY): 35,520 WH * 0.15 rate of charge = 5,328 Watt effective rate of solar charging
    • 5,328 Watt (15% rate of charge) * 1/0.77 panel+controller deratings = 6,919 Watt array @ 15% rate of charge
    • 6,919 Watt larger array - (16*255W existing array) = 2,839 Watt "added" array
    Of course, this may mean another (not cheap) MPPT solar charge controller....

    None of the above are answers--But suggest different possible solutions and how to cost them out. I think solar panels are the "cheapest" (+controller +racking +wiring)... And possibly cobble together a working bank out of the "less bad" batteries--Or even replacing a few very weak batteries with pairs of "golf cart" batteries... And keep/get a 4-6 kWatt genset. Even a Costco (or similar) Firman or other of the "less expensive" gensets should give you over 1,000 Hours (perhaps to 2,000 hours) of runtime. The Honda and other "good gensets" can get upwards of 6,000 Hours--But frankly, the high cost to purchase and relatively short time you will be there--Hard to justify (again, not sure most buyers will pay for solar system "upgrades" over "it works now".

    https://www.costco.com/firman-7500w-running--9400w-peak-tri-fuel-generator.product.100648883.html ($900 for genset)

    The reason I am a bit leary of suggesting that you go out and rebuild the system to "good as new"--Besides spending close to $10,000 for new bank, new genset, possibly more solar, more charge controllers (solar and/or AC) and perhaps not getting a good proportion of your $$$ back on a sale in 1-2 years--You know that you really need to design the system to the needs of the person/family living there... What will the next owner need/desire--No way of telling... Will it be a Techie moving from big city to "work at home" needing to power a small server farm, or will it be an Amish family, or somebody who does not know off grid power...????

    Perhaps talk with a knowledgeable real estate agent in the area and see how they value the off grid solar power systems... And what the return on investment may be for you... 

    Also look into costs again for bringing in Utility Power and share that question with the agent too.

    Sorry--I probably did not give you great answers--Mostly more questions.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Rngr275Rngr275 Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
    Thanks for your reply Bill. I did make one mistake... I have 2 Midnite classic 200's, so I think I have enough capacity to add some additional solar input. Bringing in power was cost prohibitive, the best number NTSEG would give me (after I paid $750 for an engineering study! Grrr) was 40-60K, hence the reason I went off grid.  My inverter can only handle ~60AAC input. I'll check the batteries more closely to see where they are currently. Not sure how you do a battery voltage test on the batteries since they are all wired together. Also, I thought it was not good to mix new and old batteries? While getting out cheap is good, a solid system (even slightly used) would seem to be a good selling point for a new buyer... knowing what they are getting into by moving to an off grid home. I'll keep you posted.

    McD
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,684 admin
    If the batteries are connected 8 series x 2 parallel (each battery is connected in series + to = etc.., and only connected in parallel at the end of each string... Then you can measure the voltage of each battery in relation to the rest.
    and 
    If the batteries were (for example) connected in parallel first, then connected in series for one series/parallel string, then you would be measuring the 6 volts for each battery pair (2p x 8s pairs).

    There is a thought about "ladder or cross connections" or connections between battery pairs which better "balances" current flow between all batteries. I do not believe in that. If the batteries are good, then the cross connections do not help as all batteries are equal in voltage. And if you have a bad battery, then connecting in parallel only "hides" the weak battery--And does not "fix" any weak battery problems.
    ies). 
    Again looking for batteries that are "different" and may be weak compared to the rest... During charging a low battery voltage could be a "shorted cell", and a high voltage could be an open/sulfated cell. When discharging, a low similar (shorted cell/low SG gives low voltage; and high SG/sulfated cell gives high voltage due to high resistance of that battery vs rest of string).

    We had one person hear a few months ago with a similar issue... Failing bank with a number of "weak batteries" (low SG as I recall). He tried his darndest to fix the bank.. Put all the "good batteries" in one string, and tried charging/floating individual batteries with a 6 or 12 volt charger and EQing those batteries (excessive EQ charging is not great for "good" batteries--Some EQ once a month mixes the electrolyte and brings up a few low SG cells (if possible). Excessive EQ eroded plates and causes positive grid/plate corrosion.

    In his case, even after (a couple of weeks) trying to save the weak batteries--It was not successful. I don't think he resurrected any of the bad batteries.

    Yes, you are right that mixing new with very old batteries is not great... But if you are trying to get a year or two out of the rest of the bank and using a few "cheap" Golf Cart batteries to patch the bank (i.e., less than $200 per pair of GC batteries vs $400 for another L16 (rough prices)--May be worth a try... Not sure I would do a large number of GC patch batteries. But a couple may be worth a try (yeriesrs, the new batteries may only last a year or two).

    If 1/2 the bank was bad--Probably not worth patching in GC batteries... Then you are left trying to run on one string (if you can find a good set).... Running more solar, and genset as needed.

    You asked about good gensets... The Kohler, Generac, and even Onan have had some reports of poor life. And I do know who to recommend.

    Costco used to carry the Champion and now carries Firman. Champions generally have better reviews and good mechanical reputation. Firman is pretty new, so mechanical experience is less... And while Costco has good return policies, their ability to pick reliable generators--not so much. They had the first "Honeywell" branded Honda eu2000i knockoffs... And those had terrible reliability and finally were recalled/pulled from market (it seems).

    https://www.amazon.com/Champion-Power-Equipment-100891-7500-Watt-dp-B08HG9VVRZ/dp/B08HG9VVRZ
    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Firman+Generators+ECO4000RE
    https://www.costco.com/firman-7500w-running--9400w-peak-tri-fuel-generator.product.100648883.html
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Honda-Ultra-Quiet-7000-Watt-Electric-Start-Gasoline-Powered-Inverter-Generator-EU7000/314151068 (Honda eu7000is for $4,600--quiet inverter-generator--may be a pain to setup autostart from inverter--not a cheap option)

    The Champion seems to run around $1,000 to $1,500 (note with Amazon---Leave your first tab open with the initial price--Several times I have talked with a friend about an Amazon product over the phone and the two us "looking" at the specifications after a few minutes of clicking the price would go up 20% just from the two of us researching/following links)... And the Firman around $900 to $1,000. I personally would probably go with the Champion... But I really have no experience (I am on-grid and until recently never needed to run a backup genset--But this is California--Land of regulations and blackouts now) so my opinion and the flip of a coin for a short term/less expensive genset...  :#

    Make sure you read the warranties... Many have an "off grid"/prime mover exemption that can severely limit the warranty terms. One could argue that this is a backup genset with solar as the "prime mover"--But who knows if you can convince the genset company on a warranty claim. And with these small gensets--You are probably looking at hauling to a central repair location for warranty/repairs--Field service may not be available.

    Good luck,
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,576 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Rngr275 said:
    Not sure how you do a battery voltage test on the batteries since they are all wired together. Also, I thought it was not good to mix new and old batteries? While getting out cheap is good, a solid system (even slightly used) would seem to be a good selling point for a new buyer... knowing what they are getting into by moving to an off grid home. 
    You should have a breaker to the battery bank. Once disconnected, you can use a hand held multi-meter, just let the batteries stand for a while before testing.

    While NOT a good thing, if you plan on selling, it's like remodeling your home before selling, the new owners might not want your carpet or colors... They may want to put the home on the grid or have different power demands than you have... so I would think it would be counter productive...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • Rngr275Rngr275 Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
    Thanks! My guy (pretty well know in the industry) suggested shaking the batteries up a little before I but new ones. As stated I haven't done much equalization on this bank. He suggested the following: "Have you been performing equalizations? NO! If not, once you have the big generator back in service, I recommend performing 3 back to back equalizations.  Winter is hard on batteries, especially if you haven't been charging all the way to float with the generator.

    A corrective equalization would be best but you will need to go into the battery charging menu and change the EQ time to 6 or 8 hours for the first EQ. Then go back to a 2 or 3 hour EQ for the next 2.

    "The best thing to do would be to do a specific gravity test on every cell and record the readings on a chart. Anything more than .015 variance between cells indicates the need for an EQ. I recommend doing this S.G. readings just after reaching a full charge, that way you can see if the readings also indicate the 1.280 full charge level". 

    Worth a shot I think!

    Appreciate your inputs!!
  • Rngr275Rngr275 Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
    Measured the SG for all cells in the bank. Battery number below the battery and the SG for each cell above that. Couldn't get a reading for a couple cells on different batteries. Not sure when this happened... measured all of them last fall and they were all good. Thinking about just keeping the best 8 for the summer. Then decide what to do. Thoughts and advice encouraged. 

    1.280 1.280 1.278 1.280 1.279 1.255 1.273 1.273
    No Reading 1.278 1.279 1.260 1.270 1.284 1.267 1.273
    1.269 1.264 1.275 1.280 1.269 1.267 1.274 1.275
    Bat9 Bat10 Bat11 Bat12 Bat13 Bat14 Bat15 Bat16
    1.276 1.276 1.253 1.270 1.279 1.270 1.273 1.280
    1.272 1.274 1.277 1.273 1.280 1.255 No Reading 1.278
    1.270 1.680 1.275 1.273 1.276 1.260 1.273 1.268
    Bat1 Bat2 Bat3 Bat4 Bat5 Bat6 Bat7 Bat8
    (16) L16 RE-B Trojan Bateries 48V In Series 370Ah in Parrallel for 740Ah Total

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,684 admin
    edited April 3 #8
    The two cells with "no reading"--Meaning close to 1.000 SG?

    If so, those two batteries are probably toast. Pull them out of the strings, put "good batteries" into String A and start cycling... And decide if you want to replace those two batteries with new L16s FLA, or with two pairs of "Golf Cart" batteries and see you can get decent power from the A and B strings.

    The cell with 1.680 reading a typo?

    In theory, the cells between 1.265 and 1.280 are doing pretty good... The batteries with cells in the 1.264 to 1.253--Might be recoverable with EQ/discharge/charge/EQ/discharge/charge/EQ cycles. But they are not that bad in relation to the others...

    If you have a DC current clamp meter--Check the restructured A string and the B string (a pair of new L16s or patched in pairs of GC batteries) and see if they do a reasonable job of sharing current.

    Right now with 1 dead cell (?) in each string--The overall battery bank is severely limited by those two cells.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Rngr275Rngr275 Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
    Thanks Bill. I checked SG last fall and all was good so this is a fairly recent event. The 1.680 was a typo, 1.268 was the reading. Is putting to new batteries that may not have the same Ah rating going to be bad and do I have to be concerned with my charging cycle?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,684 admin
    Mixing AH and old/new batteries is never ideal... Ideally, getting more of the same batteries would be your aim--But I don't think the RE series is being made now... Your next option would be to get similar batteries (looking for FLA to FLA, not FLA to AGM mix) and batteries that are wiring say 10% or 20% of each other. Older batteries have higher self discharge, so you may be forced to do more EQ to keep the older batteries up (which is not great for new batteries). And if the new batteries have significantly lower AH capacity, that means your new string(s) will be that "new" usable AH capacity (whichever battery in a string has the lowest AH capacity is the string AH capacity).

    If your expectations are not high (i.e., 1-2 years), batteries that are "similar" in capacity/type are going to do better than nothing. If mixing a couple new, or even patching in 2x GC batteries--Is the money worth a try for your (and 1-2 years of extra life, or possibly not) money or not (risk of $ vs reward of 1-2 years).

    And even if the new batteries "work"--There is always waiting for the next battery or two to fail from age/cycle life (just like the ones that failed now)...

    Your choices (if you have a pair of truly "dead" cells/batteries--Get string A working and see if that will get you through the summer... Keep the other ~6 batteries on warm standby (charged once per month). You can always try the 6+2 patched string B as a backup plan. If string A performs poorly--Then you know that the original batteries are not worth saving either.

    My hope is that the two 1.0 SG cells, one in each string, are what is severely limiting your bank now. String A or String A+patched B with those two cells removed is the hope for a little more life in your bank. Since the rest of your cells' SG reading are very good (and pretty closely matched)--It does look like there may be life left in the old batts.

    Then the is the other choice. A new bank....

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,815 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @Rngr275
    Without trying to be condescending in any way, sometimes it's best to face reality, a bank that has lasted 8 years owes you nothing, particularly if less than perfect maintenance was conducted during their lifespan. Attempting to revitalize a dying bank is an excersize of futility, it's a cascading domino effect, one cell fails which affects the other tired cells in an ever diminishing useful capacity.

    My experience with LA has been instrumental in changing to an alternate chemistry, 3 years was all I could expect with FLA, before I experienced the same symptoms in a tropical climate. My suggestion is replace with GC batteries using the salvage value of the old batteries  to offset the purchase, no point in flogging a dead horse, new batteries would at very least tie you over pending the sale of the property.

    The FLA  recycle value was close  20% of initial cost in Thailand, your return may vary,  however having new batteries will definitely reduce the anxiety involved with nursing a dying bank.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Battery Bodyguard BMS 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Daly BMS, used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • Rngr275Rngr275 Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
    Thanks all... I think I'm going  to try the  get one string working so I will have 8 in series (48V) and break the parallels wiring initially and see how that goes. The system was built with the 740AH of batteries figuring 3 days autonomy (which with 2 dead cell is gone anyway) I'll try the 370AH for a bit. If needed I can always switch back with GC batteries if I decide to.  Thanks so much!
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 941 ✭✭✭✭
    Yeah,. I set up for "3 days autonomy" when I went off grid originally.  Never gonna happen.  The first time you have your 3 days, unless you can fully, really fully, recharge them right away you've lost some capacity.  Deficit charging will compound the problem and suddenly you have batteries sulfated...then sulfated badly.  The only reason I lasted 15 years with my first set of Surrette batteries was because they were the big CS plate type.  The severe conditions from early on knocked at least 5 years off their life.  The last few years were limping along.  Just absorbing would put the electrolyte temperature close to 40C, so eq charging was impossible.  Couldn't get a full absorb/charge cycle completed without having to shut down charge sources due to battery temperature.

    I'd plan for 1 day without charging (cloud, snow, rain) then make sure the bank gets fully charged.  Might take generator time, but get it done.


  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,274 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yep.  Just because you "can" get 632 miles from a tank of gas, does not mean you won't plug a fuel filter, suck some water up into the injectors and cause some engine damage.  
    Same with off-grid battery banks  I always recharge on day 2, so that if something goes really wrong, I have some time to recover before black-out.
    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 ,

  • jtdiesel65jtdiesel65 Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭✭
    I called the local salvage place yesterday and the rate for salvage lead acid batteries is 15 cents per pound. I'm in the northeast. The winter was brutal. About 3 days of decent sun in a month and half. My battery is about dead too (24 volt 1576 ah forktruck battery almost 10 years old), so generator was almost once per day for some stretches. This post is almost like a deja vu.

    I use a propane Kohler 12 res. It replaced a propane Kohler 8.5 rmy with cracked heads. The 12res was only model that had an off-grid warranty. The warranty wasn't much, but better than nothing. I've had problems with it. I had to replace the rotor at $1500 just for the part and one igniter which was ~$300. And leading up to those repairs, the service guy came out a couple times to diagnose. So a bunch of money. Ironically, when they diagnosed the bad rotor, the tech guy said he was going to replace a rotor in another off-grid Kohler right after he was done at my house. I think what caused the bad rotor was an overload event. Charging the battery and then turning on dishwasher, laundry (water pump), vacuum, etc. The XW inverter is pass thru so generator supplies house loads plus battery charging. The race in which one of the brushes float was disintegrated or like welded into something unusable. 

    When the rotor issue came around, I asked how much a new generator would cost and reply was $6000. You can buy them for much less if you DIY. Also the local installer is now pushing Briggs and Stratton. Maybe they know something.

    My next generator will be internal to a building. I still have starting issues in sub zero temps with the newer kohler that has a carb heater and battery charger.

  • Rngr275Rngr275 Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
    I called the local salvage place yesterday and the rate for salvage lead acid batteries is 15 cents per pound. I'm in the northeast. The winter was brutal. About 3 days of decent sun in a month and half. My battery is about dead too (24 volt 1576 ah forktruck battery almost 10 years old), so generator was almost once per day for some stretches. This post is almost like a deja vu.

    I use a propane Kohler 12 res. It replaced a propane Kohler 8.5 rmy with cracked heads. The 12res was only model that had an off-grid warranty. The warranty wasn't much, but better than nothing. I've had problems with it. I had to replace the rotor at $1500 just for the part and one igniter which was ~$300. And leading up to those repairs, the service guy came out a couple times to diagnose. So a bunch of money. Ironically, when they diagnosed the bad rotor, the tech guy said he was going to replace a rotor in another off-grid Kohler right after he was done at my house. I think what caused the bad rotor was an overload event. Charging the battery and then turning on dishwasher, laundry (water pump), vacuum, etc. The XW inverter is pass thru so generator supplies house loads plus battery charging. The race in which one of the brushes float was disintegrated or like welded into something unusable. 

    When the rotor issue came around, I asked how much a new generator would cost and reply was $6000. You can buy them for much less if you DIY. Also the local installer is now pushing Briggs and Stratton. Maybe they know something.

    My next generator will be internal to a building. I still have starting issues in sub zero temps with the newer kohler that has a carb heater and battery charger.

    This makes me a little nervous since I'm waiting for my new 12Res generator. Guess I'll see!
  • jtdiesel65jtdiesel65 Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭✭
    Rngr275 said:
    This makes me a little nervous since I'm waiting for my new 12Res generator. Guess I'll see!
    I talked to a few service people and they said be super diligent on oil changes on these. The service guy said to change the linkage every couple oil changes. It's like 10 bucks and takes 15 minutes. There are plastic parts on the stepper motor and carb that wear and cause the generator run run poorly.  He also said to change out the brushes more frequently than the manual says. They are also cheap.

    After the rotor, I reduced my charge watts (from 5920w to 4200w) so I would have more headroom for whatever loads came on.  One thing is with the inverter I use (XW) there doesn't seem to be a way to set a delay for the inverter to start charging. It appears to be a fixed 1 minute. So in winter, the load gets thrown on the generator before it has much of a chance to warm up. This could be part of the problem.

  • Rngr275Rngr275 Solar Expert Posts: 116 ✭✭
    Thanks!
  • ELYNN4ELYNN4 Registered Users Posts: 71 ✭✭
    If you are using a Schneider AGS you can program the generator warm up time in the advanced configuration set up.  
    Off Grid, 4.5KW array, 9&6KW Gens, 6848XW inverter, Midnite Classic 150, 2 strings - 48V - Trojan FLA L16 2V, located in Talkeetna, Alaska
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,274 ✭✭✭✭✭

    After the rotor, I reduced my charge watts (from 5920w to 4200w) so I would have more headroom for whatever loads came on.  One thing is with the inverter I use (XW) there doesn't seem to be a way to set a delay for the inverter to start charging. It appears to be a fixed 1 minute. So in winter, the load gets thrown on the generator before it has much of a chance to warm up. This could be part of the problem.

    I let my generator warm up 2 minutes before I engage the breaker, and then I use the SCP to slowly ramp up the charging amps to my full power.  The XW should have a generator support mode, which reduces charging as needed to prevent overload of the generator.
    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 ,

  • jtdiesel65jtdiesel65 Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭✭
    I can't find a setting on the AGS for warm up. I've looked before with no luck. IIRC, it's not possible to set it. It's got everything else like spin down, warm up before crank, etc but I don't see a setting that delays charging after start up.

    The manual says generator support is for 5kw or less generators and cites some loop behavior with larger gen sets. So, I'm not going to experiment with that.

    thx for the suggestions.
  • ELYNN4ELYNN4 Registered Users Posts: 71 ✭✭



    The generator warm up time is located in the advanced setting of the AGS.



    Off Grid, 4.5KW array, 9&6KW Gens, 6848XW inverter, Midnite Classic 150, 2 strings - 48V - Trojan FLA L16 2V, located in Talkeetna, Alaska
  • jtdiesel65jtdiesel65 Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭✭
    Hmm, Thx. It's not in the manual that I can see. The manual on the Schneider site is 2015. Maybe it was added in the newer firmware and they never updated the manual.
  • jtdiesel65jtdiesel65 Solar Expert Posts: 223 ✭✭✭
    Hmm, Thx. It's not in the manual that I can see. The manual on the Schneider site is 2015. Maybe it was added in the newer firmware and they never updated the manual.

    Not sure why, but changing this to 120s didn't make any difference. The load started at 1 min.
  • ELYNN4ELYNN4 Registered Users Posts: 71 ✭✭
    Where/how are you making the change?  If you don’t make the programming change at the SCP you have to hit the refresh button to copy the changes over to the SCP.  
    Off Grid, 4.5KW array, 9&6KW Gens, 6848XW inverter, Midnite Classic 150, 2 strings - 48V - Trojan FLA L16 2V, located in Talkeetna, Alaska
  • ELYNN4ELYNN4 Registered Users Posts: 71 ✭✭



    The green circular  arrow is the refresh button.  You have to refresh each device separately when you make changes.  Yet another feature that is not really discussed or mentioned in their manual.
    Off Grid, 4.5KW array, 9&6KW Gens, 6848XW inverter, Midnite Classic 150, 2 strings - 48V - Trojan FLA L16 2V, located in Talkeetna, Alaska
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