Generator configured for AMF/ATS and not for AGS

richardimorserichardimorse ✭✭Registered Users Posts: 90 ✭✭

Just had a new PRIME generator installed by the customer at their site, and the new generator only takes 15 minutes to charge the batteries, awesome, happy customer, except we know that a generator doesn't take 15 minutes to charge batteries, in a balanced Off Grid system, the generator which is using the inverters to charge the batteries instead of the charge controllers and the solar panels will probably take twice as long to charge the batteries as the solar panels.

Example 2 inverters and 2 charge controllers in a pre-configured Outback Power system has 160A DC of Solar Charging capacity and 80A DC of inverter charging capacity. So what is going on here with the batteries getting charged in 15 minutes.

ANSWER = The generator company has installed ATS on the solar system as if it was an on-grid backup generator.

So next step is to work out what to do to the configuration to mitigate this until I can travel to the customer site and install AGS.

Also whatever I do must strike a balance between the solar charging and the generator charging, i.e. how long to run the generator charging for, I can not implement any hardware changes over the phone, just inverter config parameters (no WiFi).

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,416 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What is AMF ?

    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 ,

  • mcgivormcgivor ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 3,116 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Auto mains fail..... much like ATS, auto transfer switch

    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.
  • mcgivormcgivor ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 3,116 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 15 #4

    Is there anyone there who could shut the inverters off if needed, for example if the battery voltage drops below a certain value? Do you have remote monitoring to access information to know when to do an inverter shutdown? Has the installation been tested for function or commissioned? Is it worth the gamble if there are unknowns?

    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.
  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,416 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 15 #5

    What are Mains ? No wonder I didn't know that one. I'd be all over the installers case, they should know what you are thinking

    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 ,

  • EstragonEstragon ✭✭✭✭✭ Registered Users Posts: 4,087 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Mains is grid power.

    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
  • EstragonEstragon ✭✭✭✭✭ Registered Users Posts: 4,087 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So if I understand correctly, the AMF starts the genny when AC in drops. I assume inverters have ATS so they pass AC through if they see AC in. IIRC, this is an off-grid situation with no grid/mains power.

    Seems to me there could be a voltage (or otherwise - eg CC aux port) controlled relay switching the ACin circuit to the AMF?

    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: 3,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Correct, different terminology for different regions.

    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.
  • richardimorserichardimorse ✭✭ Registered Users Posts: 90 ✭✭
    edited March 16 #9

    Yes, AMF is Automatic Mains Failure = ATS, it is the standard relay set you get with a generator that monitors the Grid Input power from the power utility and starts the generator when the power is cut. It does not interact with the inverters at all, however in this OFF GRID system, there is no grid, only a solar system with Inverters and Batteries.

    In this case it monitors the output from the solar system (THE INVERTER OUTPUT AC BUS) and when the power to the LOAD is cut due to battery shutdown (MINIMUM VOLTAGE REACHED or 20% SOC) the generator ATS starts the generator and replaces the solar system as the primary power source for the Load, they have not installed 2 -wire automatic generator start (AGS), no connection to the AUX output of the inverter so >> The inverter does not tell the generator when to start and stop.

    In other words the Generator is in control of the power system and not the Inverter. ATS and not AGS.

    THE INVERTER INPUT BUS is connected to the generator OUTPUT so the inverters will charge the batteries when the generator is running >> what is happening is when the inverter sees that the battery voltage rises above the battery shutdown level something like shutdown at 42 Volts = 20% SOC it will start inverting again, hence it "only takes 15 minutes to charge the batteries".

    The installer of the generator has not configured the inverter at all, of if they have then "they have not done it correctly", as we now have a situation where in a Dark Day situation, the battery power drops to emergency system shutdown levels = 42V = 20% SOC and then the generator ATS system kicks in because there is no power in the resort at all.

    When the inverter sees the battery voltage is above its emergency shutdown level, i.e. 15 minutes later, the solar system resumes inverting and the generator ATS system shuts down because it sees "the power utility is back on" after its cool off period.

    If this is in the day, no problem, when the solar panels and the charge controller kick in, the batteries will charge perhaps not to 100% but to 80% SOC, but it is more likely to happen at night when everyone is asleep, lets say at about 02:00am when the batteries run out of charge following a dark day.

    As it is currently configured, the system will start and stop ensuring the batteries are power cycled between 20% SOC and 30% SOC about 10 times during the remainder of the night.

    Effect on old batteries which say have 2 years life left in them will be to reduce this to 3 months life.

    So I will need to implement an over the phone reconfiguration of the Inverter parameters

    (no WIFI installed to MATE3 ethernet port - even though OpticsRE is installed)

  • richardimorserichardimorse ✭✭ Registered Users Posts: 90 ✭✭

    The Inverter manual concerned is VFXR3048E at http://outbackpower.com/downloads/documents/inverter_chargers/fxr_vfxr_e/fxr_intl_operator.pdf

    The parameters concerned are as follows page 76: However to get a large battery bank to charge from 42Vdc to 50Vdc is not a 15 minute task, I will get the parameters checked in case the cut-in voltage has changed.

    Cut-Out Voltage Default = 42.0 Vdc ... Minimum = 36.0 Vdc ... Maximum = 48Vdc

    Cut-In Voltage  Default = 50.0 Vdc ... Minimum = 40.0 Vdc ... Maximum = 56Vdc

    The Outback manual states the following on page 23:

    "Low Battery Cut-In: The recovery point from Low Battery Cut-Out. When the DC voltage rises above this point for 10 minutes, the error will clear and the inverter will resume functioning. This item is adjustable.

     Connecting an AC source for the inverter to charge the batteries will also clear a low battery error."

    ==============

    The last statement makes me think that perhaps the act of the generator starting itself as an alternate power source has cleared the error and perhaps the Cut In Voltage is not being used, i.e. it is up to the generator to ensure it stays on for the requisite length of time.

  • EstragonEstragon ✭✭✭✭✭ Registered Users Posts: 4,087 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'd check to see if the vfx is in generator mode. In that mode, it should go through a full bulk/absorb/float cycle when it sees AC, and on mine, will reduce charging current to the extent needed by loads. In other (grid related) modes, it may not.

    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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