Please help, Very confused

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  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    Please tell me that is not an AIMS inverter!

    Nice house.

    Sealed batteries? Pain-in-the-anatomy; you can't check the Specific Gravity. That's the most sure-fire way of knowing if they're getting the charge they need.

    As for that wiring ... I suppose it keeps the rats employed. :p Really; making an effort to neaten routes & connections eases confusion.

    I'd be concerned with:

    1). connecting dissimilar PV's (more than 10% difference in specs)
    2). over-Voltage to the charge controller - it may have burned out and is now only 'partially functioning' - allowing a limited amount of current through to the batteries.
    3). too many Amp/hrs worth of batteries even if the PV/CC does work. Take them all off, let them sit, check the Voltages and look for "weak ones". Then re-charge with the battery charger and let them sit again (at least 3 hours) and re-check. Leave out any that don't have at least 12.5 Volts 'resting'.
    4). can your battery charger be adjusted to different output levels? The need to get 14.2-14.4 Volts charging is critical. Ten Amps can handle about one battery at a time. If you over-load it by trying to charge too much battery at once, the charger could fail or just continually over-heat and click on/off without accomplishing anything.
    5). Fuses? Where are the fuses? There are fuses, aren't there? :confused:
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    Here is a picture of part of my battery bank.. Do Not wire your this way... this a 24v bank using 6v batteries. Yours is a 12v bank using 12v batteries.

    What I want to point out is the short fat cables that connect battery to battery. They are available at any "good" commercial battery store. Walmart and Costco will not have them... a truck stop may.

    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v468/audredger/Battery%20Bank%20Rewire/?action=view&current=DSCN0052.jpg
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    Please tell me that is not an AIMS inverter!

    UNFORTUNALLY YES IT IS. NOT GOOD HUH?

    Nice house. THANX I PAID 6500.00 FOR IT. NOW TRYING TO GREEN IT.

    IT IS NEATENED. WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT IS THE BATTERY CHARGES. I HAVE ONE THAT IS THE MAINTAINER AND I HAVE A OLE SCHOOL 60AMP THAT I USE IN EMERGENCIES.

    I'd be concerned with:

    1). connecting dissimilar PV's (more than 10% difference in specs)

    2 ARE THE SAME.

    2). over-Voltage to the charge controller - it may have burned out and is now only 'partially functioning' - allowing a limited amount of current through to the batteries.

    THE HIGHEST I SEEN IT GO SO FAR IS 11AMPS. SO IM SURE IT HASNT FRIED YET. WE BEEN IN CRAPPY WEATHER FOR THE LAST FEW DAYS AND REMEMBER I JUST GOT THE 2ND YESTERDAY.


    3). too many Amp/hrs worth of batteries even if the PV/CC does work. Take them all off, let them sit, check the Voltages and look for "weak ones". Then re-charge with the battery charger and let them sit again (at least 3 hours) and re-check. Leave out any that don't have at least 12.5 Volts 'resting'.

    IM GOING TO DO THAT RIGHT AFTER THIS MESSAGE. THAT WILL MEAN THE COMPUTER IS DOWN FOR A LIL WHILE.


    4). can your battery charger be adjusted to different output levels? The need to get 14.2-14.4 Volts charging is critical. Ten Amps can handle about one battery at a time. If you over-load it by trying to charge too much battery at once, the charger could fail or just continually over-heat and click on/off without accomplishing anything.

    NO IT HAS PRESETS FOR 2-6-10 AMP CHARGES ONLY.

    5). Fuses? Where are the fuses? There are fuses, aren't there? :confused


    NO FUSES, SHOULD THERE BE AND WHERE?

    Thank you for your help
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    audredger wrote: »
    Here is a picture of part of my battery bank.. Do Not wire your this way... this a 24v bank using 6v batteries. Yours is a 12v bank using 12v batteries.

    What I want to point out is the short fat cables that connect battery to battery. They are available at any "good" commercial battery store. Walmart and Costco will not have them... a truck stop may.

    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v468/audredger/Battery%20Bank%20Rewire/?action=view&current=DSCN0052.jpg

    LOL just bust me EGO why dont ya....LOL

    Yes the cables are from walmart. I believe there 4ga and are 12 inches with a couple of them being 16" as i got what they had. I saw your pic and can even see a difference in the battery type.
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    audredger wrote: »
    No offense man but, that battery bank is a mess. What are all the alligator clamps for? I think I see two small cables instead of one large running between batteries. The cables between battery's need to be as short and large as possible.

    What gage wire are you using from your panels to the charge controller and low long are they? How big is the wire from the controller to the batteries?

    it is actually neater see earlier post. the clamps are the battery chargers. the panels had there own wirre and i connected them to i believe 6ga.
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    audredger wrote: »
    Just noticed... the charge controller is going to the middle of the bank not the ends?!

    you are probably going to get on me for this one but occasionally i move them around to spread the love...LOl no really to spread the juice to make sure that all are getting some.
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    It's not the amps that will fry the controller but the volts.... you can produce max volts with little amps in crappy weather.

    Fuses? Yes, every where! at the panels, before the and after the controller, between the batteries and inverter..... All DC fuses/breakers. AC breakers between the inverter and house!

    Aims inverter = Yugo frequent failure rate! POS
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    should the panels, wind, battery chargers ALL be on the samepos on the FIRST battery and the neg on the 10th?
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    audredger wrote: »
    It's not the amps that will fry the controller but the volts.... you can produce max volts with little amps in crappy weather.

    Fuses? Yes, every where! at the panels, before the and after the controller, between the batteries and inverter..... All DC fuses/breakers. AC breakers between the inverter and house!

    Aims inverter = Yugo frequent failure rate! POS

    I have had it shutdown on me before and if I didnt have the remote control keychain I would have had to feel my way down 4 flights to the basement.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    VanDeusen wrote: »
    you are probably going to get on me for this one but occasionally i move them around to spread the love...LOl no really to spread the juice to make sure that all are getting some.

    A good but somewhat unreliable plan. :D

    Normally you wouldn't parallel more than two batteries (or banks of). When you do that, you connect the (-) of the inverter to one and the (+) to the other, and do the reverse with the charge controller. This is one way of 'spreading the love'. :p

    With large numbers of parallel battery connections it is necessary to use equal length cables from the (+) and (-) of each to a common 'bus bar' and from there to the inverter and charger. Otherwise wire resistance adds up quickly and significantly affects performance.

    AIMS inverter comments: http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=5494&highlight=worst+inverter
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    Put the charger at the ends of your strings, where the inverter takes off, that way everyone gets some love all the time. If you love one more than the others they get unhappy! :cry: Love them all equally, everyones happy!;)
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    audredger wrote: »
    Put the charger at the ends of your strings, where the inverter takes off, that way everyone gets some love all the time. If you love one more than the others they get unhappy! :cry: Love them all equally, everyones happy!;)

    ok out of breath from all the stairs but im back... hold on gonna breathe...LOL

    ok, so I went downstairs and put everything on the FIRST pos (battery 1) and the neg (of battery 10)

    like I said, I move them around once in a while but I will cut that out!

    also, the 10amp battery charger, will it work temp. or is it really not doing much considering im about to order i believe a 40amp multistage?

    THanx
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    VanDeusen wrote: »
    ok out of breath from all the stairs but im back... hold on gonna breathe...LOL

    ok, so I went downstairs and put everything on the FIRST pos (battery 1) and the neg (of battery 10)

    like I said, I move them around once in a while but I will cut that out!

    also, the 10amp battery charger, will it work temp. or is it really not doing much considering im about to order i believe a 40amp multistage?

    THanx

    The charger will handle one battery at a time. Pull one out, charge it up, let it sit, see how it does Voltage-wise, move on to the next one. It's tediously annoying, but you've got to pull and check every one to know if they're any good now.
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    The charger will handle one battery at a time. Pull one out, charge it up, let it sit, see how it does Voltage-wise, move on to the next one. It's tediously annoying, but you've got to pull and check every one to know if they're any good now.

    ok going to do that now BUT first one quickie.. What is the min. volts you will be happy with (not trying to sound smartie)

    I will write down what each one said BEFORE I individually charge them so that we know as a bank what each one had in it. Waiting for your reply first as I will be offline for a lil while to run the tests. Remember I am currrently on the system.
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    while I have the system down, do you want me to redo the panels? to make them run paryllel (pos to pos and neg to neg?)
  • KamalaKamala Solar Expert Posts: 452 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    12.7 volts is considered full charge for most batteries. Use a voltmeter to make this measurement only after letting the battery sit for about 3 hours with nothing connected to it.
  • KamalaKamala Solar Expert Posts: 452 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    VanDeusen wrote: »
    while I have the system down, do you want me to redo the panels? to make them run paryllel (pos to pos and neg to neg?)

    That would be a good idea if you have the materials to do it properly. In an earlier post it was suggested that you get a pair of MC4 extension cables and cut them in half to make the parallel connection between panels. If you don't have these cables, I suggest leaving the panels they way they are.
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    Kamala wrote: »
    That would be a good idea if you have the materials to do it properly. In an earlier post it was suggested that you get a MC4 extension cable and cut it in half to make the parallel connection between panels. If you don't have this cable, I suggest leaving the panels they way they are.

    I will change them out as well as I have the mc4's. Also, since the batteries up to the time I put take them off of the system was being used they wouldnt show 12.7?? What is the lowest number I am looking for being fresh (3 hrs old) off of the system?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    Have you read this yet: http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm ?

    12.5 - 12.7 Volts, roughly. Remember that Voltage is not an absolute indicator of a battery's state of charge or condition and that it all varies with temperature and the quality of your meter and reading technique. You're looking for large discrepancies - 0.5 Volts or more - not small ones.

    As I mentioned before, you've got too much battery for the available panels and/or AC charger no matter how you slice it. So you're trying to find out which of your batteries are in the best condition and use them.
  • KamalaKamala Solar Expert Posts: 452 ✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    VanDeusen wrote: »
    ... What is the lowest number I am looking for being fresh (3 hrs old) off of the system?

    I'm not sure what you mean. 12.7 volts is fully charged. 10.5 is dead, dead, dead. 12.0 is about 50% discharged. So you'd hope to find a value between 12.0 and 12.7.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,616 admin
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    VanDeusen,

    I just want to make one giant warning here... Would you be a bit more careful if you were wiring up a 10,000-20,000 amp arc welder in your home that happened to run on sulfuric acid and hydrogen gas?

    Probably yes (sorry, got a double negative in there)--...

    It is difficult for somebody, the first time, to wire up a large solar system without ever having seen one before.

    I would suggest that you find somebody local with experience that can guide you before something bad happens.

    The second time--you will probably be good to go on your own.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    amp meter

    I just bought a amp meter for the wind generator (see link below for the amp meter pic) However, when I go from Neg of the wind g. to the neg of the amp meter and pos to the other screw on the amp meter (doesnt say +) it melted one of the wires. The wind generator was NOT spinning. Do you know why? Should it be strictly neg from wind g. to neg and ?? I should mention that the wind generator IS hooked directly to the battery bank. I was splicing into the wires to put the amp meter. Am I doing somkething wrong here?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250594118886&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

    Thanx
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,262 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: amp meter
    VanDeusen wrote: »
    I just bought a amp meter for the wind generator (see link below for the amp meter pic) However, when I go from Neg of the wind g. to the neg of the amp meter and pos to the other screw on the amp meter (doesnt say +) it melted one of the wires. The wind generator was NOT spinning. Do you know why? Should it be strictly neg from wind g. to neg and ?? I should mention that the wind generator IS hooked directly to the battery bank. I was splicing into the wires to put the amp meter. Am I doing somkething wrong here?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250594118886&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

    Thanx

    Lucky You. You shorted out your battery bank, and lived.

    Now go buy a lottery ticket!!
    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 ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,616 admin
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    Most likely yes... You have connected the amp meter incorrectly.

    Basically, to measure voltage, you can take the leads of the meter and go ACROSS any two points and measure the voltage (assuming the meter is rated for measuring that level of voltage). Across a battery, etc.--no problem.

    An Amp Meter--electrically, you need to pick a wire and cut it. Then attach the Amp Meter across the cut (bare the insulated wires and attach one wire to each amp meter terminal). This is done so that all the current goes through the amp meter.

    Other meters use external "shunts" are big/low resistance calibrated resistors to measure current:

    wind-sun_2100_4366863Deltec 500 amp, 50 millivolt current shunt
    AC or DC - common item for use with many battery monitors and amp meters

    More than likely, you put the Amp Meter across the +/- of the battery bank and basically dumped a whole bunch of current from your bank through the meter.

    Remember, an Amp Meter, ideally, looks like a dead short so-as to carry current. Hooking an Amp Meter across any voltage source (such as a battery bank or AC transformer) will results in lots of sparks and smoke. By the way, this can be extremely dangerous (placing a short on a large lead acid battery bank).

    Here is a simple tutorial on how to use a Volt/Amp meter (DMM, Digital Multi-Meter).
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,262 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: amp meter
    mike90045 wrote: »
    ...You shorted out your battery bank, and lived....

    We can also infer from the less than total disaster results, that your wires are under sized, fuseing is wrong, and the charge controller is not present (or working). ( ok, you told us the third one already)
    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 ,

  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    tested everything and everything is OK. Guess I should have known better. Thanx for the heads up.
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    another quick question

    OK, SO I just got in the xantrex tc4012 multistage charger 40a 3 bank system in the mail today. I just installed it and it seems to be working fine and is currently in charging mode.

    MY QUESTION:

    Does the multicharger work inconjuntion with the solar system?

    In other words, is the solar panels charging the system at the same time? THe controller shows that it is but just want to make sure that that is the case. THe charger was purchased for nite time charging if needed since there is no solar at nite.


    Thanx in advance
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,616 admin
    Re: Please help, Very confused

    You can parallel chargers together... Normally, when you pump a bunch of current into a battery bank, the voltage will quickly rise and then the charger(s) will start to current limit (i.e., they will hold ~14.4 volts (just an example--your settings may vary) and the charge controller(s) will simply apply as much current as needed to hold that voltage).

    So, charging wise:
    1. Bulk: Battery voltage below 14.4 volts, maximum current from charger
    2. Absorb: Battery hits 14.4 volts, charge current will gradually taper down to keep voltage at 14.4 volts. Charge controller will typically "time out" in 2-8 hours (depending on design/setup).
    3. Float: Charger has timed out in Absorb mode (battery is now full). Charger will cut back to ~13.6 volts until battery voltage drops below ~12.8 volts--then cycle back through Bulk/Absorb/Float again. If you have loads in "Float"--charge controller will apply more current to system to supply loads directly (and keep battery at 13.6 volts).
    4. Equalize: Either timed (once a month/etc.) or manual push button. Pull battery up to ~15-15.5 volts and 5% of bank capacity charging current. Usually a timer--or user can measure Specific Gravity and terminate Equalize if SG does not move any higher in the last 30-60 minutes. Equalization is generally for flooded cell banks--necessary for good battery health... But too much equalization will quickly age the battery. AGM/Sealed batteries--follow their instructions (generally a very "soft" equalization--just a little bit higher than Absorb voltage once or twice a year).
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VanDeusenVanDeusen Solar Expert Posts: 129 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Please help, Very confused
    BB. wrote: »
    You can parallel chargers together... Normally, when you pump a bunch of current into a battery bank, the voltage will quickly rise and then the charger(s) will start to current limit (i.e., they will hold ~14.4 volts (just an example--your settings may vary) and the charge controller(s) will simply apply as much current as needed to hold that voltage).

    So, charging wise:
    1. Bulk: Battery voltage below 14.4 volts, maximum current from charger
    2. Absorb: Battery hits 14.4 volts, charge current will gradually taper down to keep voltage at 14.4 volts. Charge controller will typically "time out" in 2-8 hours (depending on design/setup).
    3. Float: Charger has timed out in Absorb mode (battery is now full). Charger will cut back to ~13.6 volts until battery voltage drops below ~12.8 volts--then cycle back through Bulk/Absorb/Float again. If you have loads in "Float"--charge controller will apply more current to system to supply loads directly (and keep battery at 13.6 volts).
    4. Equalize: Either timed (once a month/etc.) or manual push button. Pull battery up to ~15-15.5 volts and 5% of bank capacity charging current. Usually a timer--or user can measure Specific Gravity and terminate Equalize if SG does not move any higher in the last 30-60 minutes. Equalization is generally for flooded cell banks--necessary for good battery health... But too much equalization will quickly age the battery. AGM/Sealed batteries--follow their instructions (generally a very "soft" equalization--just a little bit higher than Absorb voltage once or twice a year).
    -Bill

    Thank you Bill!

    So is it set it and forget it basically? Do I ever need to unplug it or just leave it on and let it do its thing?
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