classic 150 settings ?????

shockmanshockman Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
Okay I know you guys have been through this a 1000 times, but here we go again! I have 4 new conergy 245w panels installed, combiner box and breakers as per you guys instructions, 4 new US battery L16's, 380ah, all protected as "you guys instructions". All is working great!! Hey turn the lights on and check this baby out!! 800+watts and 60+amps whoo who!!
My ??'s now are regarding settings on the Classic. Literature on batteries talks about 2 types of chargers, 3 stage and 2 stage, equalization and float not being considered stages. So from reading classic manual I am thinking it is to be considered a 2 stage charger??? constant current-constant voltage. The voltage recommendations vary slightly as opposed to 3 stage(finish charge). I would like to set controller properly, and am wondering about time in to set in each stage. I know there is settings for "end amps" which sounds like it might be a finish stage, but at this point I'm getting lost.
Would like some input as to what settings I should enter on charger and can post US Batt. recommendations if required.
4x240w panels,Classic 150 CC, 4x380AHR L16's, antique Trace 12V inverter

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????

    I cannot help you with the details... But 2/3/infinity stage charge controllers is pretty much a marketing term these days. More stages sounds cooler.

    Bulk/Absorb/Float/Off at night/equalize is a "4 stage charger" in marketing speak.

    In normal operation, you and I would look at the programing and see this as a two stage charger. You set the Absorb voltage and the charger goes through bulk (battery is discharged, and all available charging current is dumped into battery bank) until the battery+charging current reaches "absorb set point". Then the charger holds it there until a time/end amp current measurement, and/or other conditions are met. Now the controller goes to float (lower charging/maintaining charging) until the sun goes down (or the loads go up). That is "two" charging settings and simply the sun going down.

    There are variations to everything... Aggressive bulk charging (have a high "trip point" voltage setting) until it is reached (batteries can take a lot of current during "bulk charging" very efficiently). Once the trip point ("bulk voltage setting) is reached, then the absorb setting is used (slightly reduced charging voltage) to keep the battery cooler and reduce charging current a bit (nearly full batteries generate more heat and hydrogen/oxygen gases during absorb charging phase).

    And then there is how to "terminate" absorb charging stage. Roughly a battery needs around 2-6 hours of Absorb voltage to finish charging (the deeper/longer the battery has been discharged, the longer the absorb time recommended). Some controllers will measure bulk charging time and use it to set absorb time. Others will use a count down timer to terminate absorb (you may set the absorb timer for 2-4 hours in summer and 6 hours in winter--not much sun--if system is used, or 2 hours if cabin is not used in winter).

    The problem with end amps (1-2% of battery AH capacity--i.e., a 200 AH bank would terminate at ~2-4 amps of charging current). But a battery charger only knows its output current. If you have DC loads (say you have a 5 amp load during the day to run your computer), the charge controller will never see "end amps" and over charge the battery, so many controllers use both end amps and an absorb "timeout" timer too.

    Midnite is coming out with software (and hardware?) to measure battery current with a shunt--And it can do "real" end amps charge termination (does Outback's "Flexnet" system do "end amps" right?).

    Anyway... lots of stuff to set. Lots of different theories to try. In the end, remember that you want to get your battery bank >90% State of Charge a couple times a week (some theories are >90% every 5-10 days and cycle in the 50-80% SoC range where lead acid batteries are much more efficient). Make sure you use a Hydrometer to measure your temperature corrected specific gravity (rinse the hydrometer after use with a couple of pulls of distilled water to keep the float/tube clean--otherwise they can gum up and get sticky over time) to see how your battery is performing.

    Batteries can be pretty forgiving of exact charging settings/profiles. As long as the state of charge/specific gravity is good. And monitor your water usage--Roughly, refill the battery bank every two months. If you are refiling every month (or more often)--you are charging too hard. If you never need to add water, you are probably undercharging the battery bank. Note there are batteries that do not use very much water (such as Trojan RE series)--but they should still need filling every ~6 months or so.

    Overcharging (excessive equalization) is hard on a battery too... So don't believe that charging to 100% every day is good either.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • shockmanshockman Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????

    Thanks for the input! The default settings on classic, are Bulk 14.3, float 13.6, equalize 14.3. It also says absorb time is proportional to bulk, however does not elaborate on those proportions?
    Battery instructions say, bulk-con.cur. @10% of C/20 to 2.45v per cell (14.7v), absorb- con volt. 2.45vpc to 3% of C20, hold for 2-3hrs. Optional float con volt. 2.17vpc for unlimited time. equalize con volt. 2.55vpc for 1-3hrs
    So I have set controller to 14.7 absorb, 2.5hrs, and float 13.4, eq 15.3 3hrs. I can't seem to set bulk volts, not an option on menu??? Do these settings appear to be correct??? I will monitor SG as time goes on, no sun today!! yet!
    4x240w panels,Classic 150 CC, 4x380AHR L16's, antique Trace 12V inverter
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????
    shockman wrote: »
    Thanks for the input! The default settings on classic, are Bulk 14.3, float 13.6, equalize 14.3. It also says absorb time is proportional to bulk, however does not elaborate on those proportions?

    The defaults will not damage any battery connected (AGM, GELL, Sealed, VRLA, Flooded Cell)--However, each type of battery does have an "optimum" setup.
    Battery instructions say, bulk-con.cur. @10% of C/20 to 2.45v per cell (14.7v), absorb- con volt. 2.45vpc to 3% of C20, hold for 2-3hrs. Optional float con volt. 2.17vpc for unlimited time. equalize con volt. 2.55vpc for 1-3hrs
    So I have set controller to 14.7 absorb, 2.5hrs, and float 13.4, eq 15.3 3hrs [I assume you mean Volts, not hours here -BB]. I can't seem to set bulk volts, not an option on menu??? Do these settings appear to be correct??? I will monitor SG as time goes on, no sun today!! yet!

    Which is what you did--Perfect starting point. You will probably play with the Absorb timer (closer to 2 hours in summer, closer to 4+ hours in winter when you don't have enough sun anyway--again, as long as the power system is being used, cut back on absorb timer if system is not being cycled).

    The "Bulk" voltage setting is not common. As I understand, it is usually only present on some Xantrex high end MPPT models, and some industrial battery controllers.

    Monitoring Battery Voltage and Specific Gravity (by cell, logging data) is how you will tell if all is going right.

    Note, you should fully charge the battery bank and then equalize (measure SG every 30-60 minutes, and stop equalizing when all cells stop rising in SG) and log the "FULLY CHARGED" cells' temperature corrected specific gravity. This is the 100% full battery for your system (around 1.265 SG at 77F).

    Read the Battery FAQs--Lots of good information. And after you are done reading, you will be convinced that off grid battery banks will never work. :p (at least I was:roll:)

    Battery FAQ
    www.batteryfaq.org

    Remember, it is charge >90% SoC a couple times a week (ideally, or at least once a week during bad weather) and try to not let fall below 50% SoC very often (for long life). And never below ~20% SoC -- That will probably kill your batteries.

    Don't let the batteries overheat (over ~115 to 120F), and cool batteries last longer than hot batteries. Never let the plates be exposed (low water), use distilled (or equivalent) water to refill (do not fill to tippy top). Keep battery tops, cables, ends clean (many people grease, use anti-corrosive grease on cable ends).

    And if you have parallel battery strings (and just for debugging your DC system), I would highly suggest an inexpensive DC Current Clamp meter (like this one from Sears).

    When monitoring your battery bank, you are looking for oddball readings and differences. When all is running well, everything (voltages, specific gravity, battery temperatures, etc.) should all be very similar. Anything different needs to be investigated.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,112 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????

    Hi shockman,

    Would follow the manufacturer's recommendations for voltage settings. As BB Bill mentioned, the Absorption time depends on the Dept Of Discharge. The Classic has Minimum and Maximum Absorb time settings, as well as End Amps.

    EQ, IMHO should really be done manually, and its progress personally monitored. One is looking for SG rise to the proper value on the lowest cells. When the SG of those stops rising (be sure to temp comp the SG readings), then continue the EQ for 30 or so additional minutes.

    If the DOD is very repeatable day-to-day, then using timed Absorb should work fine. Using a Hydrometer, you can watch the SG of your Pilot cell/s rise during Absorb. When the charge current begins to level off, (stops falling) you are approaching the end of Absorb. Any loads on the batteries or inverters will affect the current that he CC is delivering, so it is best to remove all loads on the inverter, as these loads can cause confusion. If you have a Shunt in the negatiive lead of the battery bank, you can measure the actual charging current going into the batts which is the best measure of charge current.

    So if you note the time of day that the Classic enters the Absorb charge stage, you will be able to determine an approximate Absorption time by watching the charge current. For lightly discharged batteries, an Abs stage could be as short as 30 minutes perhaps, or hours for a more deep cycle. Watch the battery charge current during this Abs stage, as the charge current stops falling, measure the Pilot cell SG to see if the SG is at or near the target SG speced by US Battery. If so, this if the correct nominal EA current, and the nominal TIME for an Absorb for that DOD of the batts is represented by the time that has been spent for the Absorb stage that you watched. An additional important data point is confirming that the End Amp value is within 1-3% or 20 Hr Capacity at a temp compensated charge voltage very close to the charge voltage speced by US Batt. This could represent a correct EA setting, but again any loads on the batteries/inverters cah make this EA value different, especially with loads that come and go at/near the end of Abs when EA is used.

    Measureing SG with a Hydrometer is THE way to determine the actual SOC a battery, and the bank (if you have measured SGs for each cell and recorded them in the Battery Log Book). A Pilot Cell is usually one or a few cells, with the lowest SGs. These cells allow a quick read of SGs, and allow a judgement for the SG of the entire bank.

    And BB also mentioned that MidNite is soon to release a Battery Current monitor device that attaches to a standard Shunt, and communicates with the Classic, that will end Abs based on measured charge current into the batteries. This will allow using EA without regard to loads on the batts/inverter. It is reported to be a very inexpensive option. Of course loads on the system will still affect the ability to maintain Vabs for relatively large loads, and so on.

    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.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????
    shockman wrote: »
    So I have set controller to 14.7 absorb, 2.5hrs, and float 13.4, eq 15.3 3hrs. I can't seem to set bulk volts, not an option on menu??? Do these settings appear to be correct??? I will monitor SG as time goes on, no sun today!! yet!

    There is no adjustment for bulk volts. That's just a maximum current stage where voltage will climb until it reaches absorb voltage setting.

    Your battery instructions refer to industrial constant-current chargers with a constant-voltage absorb with high voltage constant-current finish stage (three-stage charging) or without a finish stage (two-stage charging). Those types of chargers are used for forklifts, floor sweepers/scrubbers, etc. and are more advanced than what is used in the RE world.

    All the battery manufacturer's recommendations are based on the industrial type chargers. The simple bulk/absorb/float chargers used the RE world are a compromise.
    --
    Chris
  • shockmanshockman Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????

    Great info to digest!! I got the batteries well charged from seller and put charger in eq mode when I installed them however at that time charger was set at 14.7V ??? I also checked SG but did not record it DAH! AS soon as I get a good sun day I will start checking SG through all charge modes and make notes! When I find anything questionable I will be back!
    Marc
    4x240w panels,Classic 150 CC, 4x380AHR L16's, antique Trace 12V inverter
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????
    BB. wrote: »
    The "Bulk" voltage setting is not common. As I understand, it is usually only present on some Xantrex high end MPPT models, and some industrial battery controllers.

    Also, the popular Iota battery chargers have a Bulk voltage setting. I posted a clipping from the Iota manual here:
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?14738

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????

    I am not sure if that is the capability of the IOTA charger or not--They have been pretty muddy on their specifications and what the IQ4 controller is capable of.

    I agree the IOTA are solid/reliable charge controllers in general. And simple enough to understand what this are doing. But they don't do do "equalize"--Which is a problem for most flooded cell batteries.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????
    BB. wrote: »
    I am not sure if that is the capability of the IOTA charger or not--They have been pretty muddy on their specifications and what the IQ4 controller is capable of.
    From the ICQ4 manual:
    BULK STAGE - During this state, the charger will operate either at Full Current output or Constant Voltage output depend- ing on the discharged state of the battery. A discharged battery will dictate the voltage and force the charger into constant- current operation. As the battery charges, the charger transitions to a constant-voltage operation. This BULK STAGE will continue for either 225 minutes or until the battery voltage reaches the “High Trigger” value (whichever occurs first). At this point, the BULK STAGE will operate for another 15 minutes before switching to the ABSORPTION STAGE.
    BB. wrote: »
    I agree the IOTA are solid/reliable charge controllers in general. And simple enough to understand what this are doing. But they don't do do "equalize"
    From the ICQ4 manual:
    If the battery has remained in the Float State for seven days, the IQ4 automatically provides an equalization charge to dissolve any sulfate layer on the battery’s plates and to avoid stratification.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????
    BB. wrote: »
    The "Bulk" voltage setting is not common. As I understand, it is usually only present on some Xantrex high end MPPT models, and some industrial battery controllers.

    The XW-MPPT60-150 and XW inverters have a bulk volts setting. If you set the bulk volts higher than absorb, for the first hour of absorb it will charge at the higher voltage setting, then drop to the absorb volts. Schneider calls this "boost charging" in the manual, and amazingly it does work to shorten the absorb time. It basically "boosts" the battery when it coolest, then backs the voltage (and current) down after one hour to keep the batteries from getting so hot.

    I tried it with our XW-MPPT60 and liked what it does. But I couldn't figure out a way to make the Classic mimic it, and it confused the Classics into cutting their power back when the XW-MPPT60 tried to hold the voltage up for that first hour of absorb. I'm using FollowMe networked charge stage coordination on the Classics, so I removed the XW-MPPT60 and put the other 2 kW of array on the Classics to keep things coordinated.
    --
    Chris
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: classic 150 settings ?????
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Schneider calls this "boost charging" in the manual, and amazingly it does work to shorten the absorb time. It basically "boosts" the battery when it coolest, then backs the voltage (and current) down after one hour to keep the batteries from getting so hot.

    SMA have a similar concept, also called "boost": a short, higher than normal voltage absorb. Except when it finishes "boost" it drops to float. Their idea is to efficiently bump the battery SoC up to 90% but not 100%. Then they have a separate "full" charge program which aims to get the battery to 100% every X days.
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