MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

ken pken p Registered Users Posts: 6
I just returned from a few days off and found my MX 60 controller staying in the Sleeping mode. I tried to restart and wakeup, to no avail. Additionally, the breaker for MX 60 to Batteries was thrown. On the display, the Voltage Out reads the batteries voltage, but everything else is 000. Breakers good on array. Purchased in 2004, is it time for a new one or is there some trouble shooting I could do?

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Welcome to the forum.

    Got a Digital Multi-Meter?

    Disconnect the PV array from the controller and see if it's putting out any Volts. If not, there's the problem. If it is, disconnect the batteries from the MX and wait a while. Then reconnect the batteries first, then the array. If it doesn't wake up then the controller has gone.

    It's a bit troubling that the breaker between controller and batteries was blown. About the only way that can happen is if the MX shorts internally (bugs, water, blown component) or if the array should super conduct with some intense light (snow reflection, edge-of-cloud) and the array is large enough to exceed the controller's max (it can actually handle 70 Amps).

    A few more details as to array, breakers, battery, and wiring sizes might help.
  • KnowledgeSpongeKnowledgeSponge Solar Expert Posts: 173 ✭✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Ken,

    That's a nearly $600 loss. I wonder if 9 years is considered poor, good or very good service time from those units?

    I'd like to hear your follow up since the MX60 was one of the Controllers I was considering.

    Do you think additional fusing or other inline protections could have prevented the loss?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode
    Ken,

    That's a nearly $600 loss. I wonder if 9 years is considered poor, good or very good service time from those units?

    I'd like to hear your follow up since the MX60 was one of the Controllers I was considering.

    Do you think additional fusing or other inline protections could have prevented the loss?

    The MX60 is no longer made. It has been replaced by the FM60.

    Additional circuit protection won't do anything; CP either trips or doesn't, and putting two fuses on the same line adds no advantage.

    MX60's are known to be robust and long-lived, but things can happen to any component from any manufacturer. At this point we don't know if it actually is dead, and if so what caused it (lightning, for example).
  • ken pken p Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Well, Mr. Sponge, that's what I'm trying to find out. For the $ and quality of Outback equipment, could it just go bad? I don't know why or what happened while we were gone. All has worked great for 9 years. Luckily, we have a backup gen to take up the slack. But, that means we have to stay here to monitor the batteries as we are on propane and can't leave the gen on. All I know is the MX 60 to battery breaker blew; that means something happened that caused that. Burned out? Possible. Outback is good stuff. I understand they now have a new controller and are not making the MX 60's. So, I would go with the new one, something called Flex 60.? It seems I will have to go that route myself. I can't think of any reason mine would only sleep unless it broke. Ken
  • ken pken p Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Cariboocoot, there is no way anything foreign got into the controller except the blown component. Very secured basement room. No lightening, no excess light, very strong system. For your info: 12 Kyocera 167 W, 2 inverters, breakers all Outback equipment ( 60A DC breaker-blown), 12 Surette/Rolls 4V/2 cells industrial batteries (48 V system), wire sizes are optimal for the system (professionally installed).

    The controller did not wakeup after following your first paragraph. The volts on the display continue to show the battery volts and will change when the gen is on/off as applicable. It seems it may be time to call in the solar guy for a controller replacement? I'm hoping in morning, it will wake up on it's own. Not likely, I'm guessing.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Okay from your info the only two possibilities I can think of are:

    1). Surge from nearby lightning strike (does not have to be any sign of a direct hit anywhere; just enough ambient stray Voltage to energize the array) which could cause the output of the MX to go high enough to trip the circuit breaker and unfortunately fry the controller's input.

    2). Component failure in the MX itself. It just sometimes happens that things give up. You can contact Outback and make inquiries about repairing it. They have pretty good customer service and if your savvy enough the MX can be field-serviced without too much difficulty.

    If not, you may want to buy a new FM60 if your equipment is interfaced through a HUB or possibly a MidNite Classic which is the latest incarnation having been designed by the same guys who did the MX.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,976 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Hi ken,

    Sorry to hear of the MX sleeping on the job.

    In coot's first reply, he did touch on several things, including what is the PV voltage into the MX PV in breaker. If you feel confident, and you have a DMM -- Digital Meter -- you can switch the PV in breaker OFF, and probe the input terminal of this breaker (with the Neg lead of the meter on ground), looking for approximate Voc of the strings. Also with this breaker still off, is the Vin on the upper left of the main status screen still 000 ?? If it is still 000, would seem that part of the MX is toast. Normally, with no sun, the Vin would be 50 - 65% of battery voltage if there is no problems with the PVs, wiring or with the MX.

    It has been said that a direct short (for whatever reason) on the PV in to almost any MPPT CC will cause it to emit its magic smoke.

    The MX-60 has a great reputation for efficient functionality, robust design and long life. Power electronics lead rough llives in general, and 9-10 years of service, I would say is very good.

    Can you access the Logs? If so, there might be some tell-tale info there.

    OB does give great support, and they may still service MXes.

    As coot also mentioned, the MidNite Classic charge controller. It is about the best CC on the market for most applications, but if you have a lot of OB doo-dads that interface with the MX, then staying with the FM series CCs from OB would probably make sense, if the MX is dead and not servieceable. There is also an OB FM-80 CC which has a bit more output current and better cooling.

    It is possible to connect the PV wires from the Combiner box directly to the batteries (through a breaker) in an emergency, and at least Bulk them, but it requires one with some experience and knowledge, as sounds like your battery bank has quite a lot of muscle.
    Opinions. 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.
  • ken pken p Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Thanks for the response(s). I'll go with #2 as there was not any lightening while we were gone that I know of (we are 40 miles S of Moab). We have had bad lightening in the past and no problem. We do have a lightening spark arrestor on the array circuit (small as it is) and it looks fine and the 3 array breakers were not blown. We do have a HUB so I will contact Outback first, although doubtful I can do any field service. I'm just glad we weren't absent for a longer period of time as batteries were down from normal 50.8 at night to 48.8 after 5 days. Nothing much on except frige. But propane gen is incorporated. As a note, we have been unable to eq the batteries for some time. Just couldn't get it up to 62V. Maybe controller has had a problem for a while?
  • ken pken p Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Thanks Vic. I'll check the logs and see if anything shows up. I believe the MX is done as we have not had any problems for 9 years and all of a sudden.. All status is 000 except out V's, which correctly state battery voltage. Besides, no ZZZZ's after sleeping for so long. I don't have a DMM so will contact OB and then order a new controller from AZ W-S? if they can't help me. I don't think we have a lot of do dads: it's a good basic off grid set up with low power usage throughout the house. As far as an emergency, the propane 1500 Onan gen will do just fine. We always wondered why did we buy such a large gen. Now we know!

    Tues Morning: The controller did not wake up this morning but the display did read ZZZZZZ. It appears that at least part of the thing works. I also thought that if the controller is burnt, I don't want to charge the batteries with the gen for too long a time. I also hoping Wind-Sun has fast shipping.
  • ken pken p Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Well, I spoke with Outback tech and it appears my MX 60 has had it. The Force Bulk did not work, the Wakeup/Restart did not work and there was no change to the PV V's In when that breaker was turned off. I ordered the FM 80 from AZ W-S today. Too bad I missed the Earth Day 10% off sale yesterday. Thanks to all for the conversations. Ken
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,976 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    OK ken,

    Sorry to hear that the MX-60 is toast ... do wonder just what did it in.

    The FM-80 should be a good CC for you. And, YES, was thinking about the poor timing regarding the Earth Day sale at Wind-Sun. Too bad.
    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.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Sorry to hear of your MX-60 loss Ken. Mine has been on the go almost 6 years now and I'll really, really miss it if it dies before I do. It's been an awesome controller and it will be hard to replace that quality.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,976 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode
    ken p wrote: »
    As a note, we have been unable to eq the batteries for some time. Just couldn't get it up to 62V. Maybe controller has had a problem for a while?

    Should have commented on this earlier; guess that your Surrette batteries are 4KS17, 21 or 4KS25s. Regarding EQ difficulty from solar, Well with only solar, it might take quite some time to reach a 62 V or higher setpoint. As you know, EQ should be begun when the batteries are fully charged. Emerging from Winter with its shorter days and possible cloudy conditions, it is usually more difficult to EQ.

    If you believe that the bank really needs EQing, then perhaps starting the genset early in the AM and run it into the Absorb stage, then try letting solar finish the Abs, then start the EQ right at the end of Abs. If you still cannot complete the EQ on that day, Stop the EQ and try manually again the next day. This is opinion ... personal belief is that EQs should be done manually and monitored during the process.

    As you also know, if your batteries are Flooded, measuring SGs with a Hydrometer, and when the spread between highest and lowest SG cells is 20- 25 points or more, it is time to EQ Surrette Flooded batteries (which I assume you have).

    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.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode
    Sorry to hear of your MX-60 loss Ken. Mine has been on the go almost 6 years now and I'll really, really miss it if it dies before I do. It's been an awesome controller and it will be hard to replace that quality.

    wayne,
    it's always crappy if something fails, but you can get a classic.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: MX 60 Controller stuck in Sleeping mode

    Thanks Niel, I should have a good look at the Classic and get familiar with it - - just in case.
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