Help Understanding Inverter Protection

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by Tango, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Hey ya'll, my replacement Samlex arrived today. I read the manual carefully but what it suggests is what I had already done before when my first one failed on me. I have a 100 watt fuse on the positive cable, as suggested, and the charge controller only spikes to 16v. The Samlex can fail at 16.5 volts. I know this company won't keep sending me inverters so I want to make sure this one is well protected. What can I do?
     
  2. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    So the charge controller sends power to the batteries,acting as a sink.The controller should never exceed 14.5 volts or so even in equalization mode.
    Then you have 100 amp fuse on positive.For sure dont take the power off the batteries from the same lugs the controller power is going to.
    If your controller can deliver 16+ volts you need to make sure its buffered through the batteries before the samlex can see it.Say you have 3 batteries,controller to battery #1,power off to samlex on battery #3.
    Im 'thinking' that would be helpful,not sure if that 16 volts could just skip along the cables from one end of battery bank to the other.I wonder about that as some controllers say disconnect sensitive voltage items when equalizing.


    What is your controller again?That 16 volts sounds all wrong.I cant think of any controller delivering 16 volts,was it your old controller that was in use when sammy failed?

    Either the controller failed killing sammy,or sammy had an internal failure unrelated to the controller.Thats why the 16 volt thing seems so wrong.IF thats controller specs,dump the controller and get one that doesnt exceed 14.5,or 14.8 or so under any circumstance.Afterall,thats what the controller does,control that voltage and charge level.

    BooBoo
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Boo, I'll look into this in the morning. Right now it's getting dark. I'm going with what the Sammy rep. told me about voltage but I think it will be somewhere in my diagnostics. It's a Morningstar TriStar 60
     
  4. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    Out in the Boonies.. In Ohio
    I'm confused, Tango..

    Don't you have a 24 volt set up?
     
  5. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Im going with a 12 volt setup.
    http://www.solarpanelstore.com/pdf/morningstar-tristar-manual.pdf

    By table 4.2(page 32),if you are set for algorythym 4,5,6,7 you will equalize at 15.1 to 15.3 volts.At 32 degrees out,it can reach higher than 16 volts.

    Do you have the battery voltage sense wires hooked up,you should!

    I would go with algorythym #1,DIP switches 4,5,6 in off position,charging at 14 volts and float at 13.4.It would have NO equalization mode.If I were to manually equalize I would isolate Sammy from the circuit.

    If #1 doesnt charge batteries enough,go to #2.Dips 4,5,6 in off,off,on positions.Charge at 14.15 volts,float 13.4 and equalize at 14.2(add 1 volt for 32 degrees or 15.2) Thats getting pretty close to what Sammy doesnt like.
    You could even try algorythym #3,14.3 charge,14.4 equalize(add 1 volt to equalize at 32 degrees,you are at 15.4,really getting into Sammys not happy range).

    Im willing to bet you are in algorythym 4,5,6, or 7,all with equalizations of 15.1-15.3 volts.Add one volt if its 32 degrees out(16.3),and Sammy is fried.

    Bottom line,algorythym one is safest(NO equalization,you can do it manually if you like),2 or 3 is next best if #1 doesnt charge enough(but it should)
    4,5,6,7 all too risky for Sammy.

    Get the battery voltage sense wires hooked up,you really need em with your controller.Read and understand that section,its important.

    That should do you! :)

    BTW,if your batteries bubble during charging,you dont need to equalize,BIL has never equalized his and I think he's close to 15 years on his L-16s.

    BooBoo
     
  6. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    Out in the Boonies.. In Ohio
    Hay BooBoo..

    If you remember, She had the inverter tied across two batteries in the string and it was boiling the other two really bad..
     
  7. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Yeah,I vaguely remember she was water short in one or something???
    It DOES sound as if she is overcharging re:voltage.

    My L-16s really bubble at around 14.5 volts,less than 15 when I equalize.(Heart charger I equalize with at home battery backup system only shows differences of 0.5 volts,not very accurate for this discussion)

    I know she got a 12 volt refer didnt she,and isnt the samlex 12 volts?

    Did my synopsis for the 12 volt and charging algorythym sound right to you?

    I believe my solar system charges at 13.8 max(manually set) and does full charges on 12 volt system in Motorhome.I bought the system from a homeowner and kept his settings that the installer had set up.
    http://www.blueskyenergyinc.com/pdf/SB2000ManualE.pdf

    BooBoo
     
  8. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    Out in the Boonies.. In Ohio
    Yea.. The bulk shouldn't go over around 14.6v-14.8v and the float at 13.6v. That combination seems to work well for me. At 14.6 they boil pretty nice but not to the point of getting acid all over the tops of the batteries. If they boil at all, I wouldn't even mess with the equalization function. My battery is inside so I don't use the temperature sensor..

    I believe her fridge is 12 volt. But, it seems to me she had an issue with the battery some time back. I thought she was half tapping across two of the 6 volt batteries to get 12 volts. I could be wrong but I remember helping a couple other folks out with this issue..
     
  9. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    I agree,her inverter is sensitive to high voltage,I would stay far away from the equalizing mode too.In her case the only way to beat the equalizing is in algorythym #1,but she will lose some charging unless the controller lowers voltage by increasing amperage like my controller does.
    But she doesnt have much choice in that regard,otherwise the other algorythyms throw out minimally 14 .2 volts or better up to 15.2(minimum) in 32 degree temps in the auto equalize modes,which is every mode but algorythym #1.

    I especially didnt like the part where it can put out 16+ volts when equalizing,way too close to the edge for Sammy.

    Truth be told,I thought Samlex fed her a line about the over voltage,looks like that is exactly what happened.

    BooBoo
     
  10. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    Out in the Boonies.. In Ohio
  11. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Further reading,Equalization CAN be defeated in all modes.DIP Switch #7 IN OFF POSITION.

    What do you think of 14.4 volts and dip switch 7 off,I see you can stop the equalization in all modes with #7 switch in off mode.So it appears.....

    Think 14.4 should be a good start to see if she gets minimal bubbling(algorythym #4),then advance to 14.6 if there arent any bubbles(algorythym #5)?

    She can then set the voltage related to bubbling to prevent overcharging by actual testing the various voltage inputs.

    That sounds like a winner for sure.
    Whatta ya think?

    I Think we got you figured out Tango.
    All you need is in 4.2 and 4.3.2 and 4.4.1 of the manual,that should really dial it in for you.
    No current to controller when you change the DIP switches or it will read a fault.

    BooBoo<----who needs to learn how to spell algorithms :p
     
  12. 12vman

    12vman Offgridkindaguy

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    Out in the Boonies.. In Ohio
    Sounds like a good starting point. Everything should be safe at those settings..

    I didn't see much difference between 14.4v to 14.6v in how much they boiled. (In my situation) I did notice more activity between 14.2v to 14.4v. You don't have to boil them much to mix 'um.. As long as it happens daily..

    By all means, Disable the equalization function..

    Edit for Afterthought:

    If she can't get the battery to boil at those settings, She may have too much battery. We'll see how it goes..
     
  13. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    OK,sounds like a plan,start at 14.4 and adjust up or down from there with equalization OFF.

    Thanks 12vman for the brainstorming and charge rates you are using.

    BooBoo
     
  14. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Thank you! 12v man and Boo, you two are wonderful, hugs and kisses!!!! :kissy:

    You have my little system down quite well. It is 12v with SunDanzer and Shurflo pump directly connected to batteries. The Samlex is 600 watts

    I took a couple of hours this morning to reconnect my TriMetric which should have been done a while back but -such is my life. Can rarely have everything I need at the same place, at the same time (mostly my energy and clear-headedness to work on the system but connectors, wires, and patience, too). Resetting the controller right now :kissy:

    BTW, I asked Scott at Backwoods about equalization. Pasting his reply: "Please equalize whenever your hydrometer readings indicate specific gravities differ by 20 points or more between cells in your batteries. It is unlikely to be needed monthly but I would recommend equalizing at least 3-4 times per year even if the hydrometer readings do not vary much. Equalizing is critical.

    The Samlex will be damaged at voltages above 15 so when you choose to equalize, pay attention to voltage levels and disconnect the Samlex before your battery voltage reaches 15 volts."


    Hence, I will be buying that hygrometer I should have bought when I started all this :rolleyes:
     
  15. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida

    I am very embarassed to say this, but since I am among friends... ahem :nerd: .... the reason this has been such a pain in the neck to figure out is because I have been using the manual that came with the digital display. Everything makes sense until I go to the manual and can't find algorithms, page 4.2, dip switch settings... it has been such a frustration!!!! Thank goodness a lightning bug lit in my brain a minute ago and I went to find the actual TriStar manual. Bingo!!! :dance: TriMetric and Controller are both set at 14.4 and equalization is off! WooHoo :hobbyhors You guys are the best.
     
  16. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
  17. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Talk to use before you equalize,I would unhook Sammy before I went into equalize mode.
    Still,if the cell readings are close,I wouldnt equalize at all,especially if Sammy isnt completely unhooked from the system,way to risky.

    Slightly decreased battery life vrs loss of inverter,I would go with a decreased battery life.

    Do as 12vman says,if its bubbling daily,and you dont see a white plaque on the cells,odds are your batteries are in excellent shape.

    Ask my BIL,15 years and NEVER equalized.

    BooBoo
     
  18. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks Boo. They bubble daily. I don't use enough of the enrgy that is being produced. Now the Trimetric and the controller are both set at 14.4v - hope this will take care of it. Can't thank you and 12v man enough for taking the time to troubleshoot this for me. Reading from the wrong manual had me so confused. :(
     
  19. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,301
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    So Cal Mtns
    Keep us updated on what you get out of using the trimetric,would like to hear your usage and such over time.Like at what point in the day you reach full charge,how much you pull out and how much you produce in a day, things like that.That trimetric is waaaaay cool.

    Dont you just love this stuff ????? :)

    BooBoo
     
  20. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    I think its very cool :) especially seeing how much draw there is when most of the stuff is running. Meant to see how much draw there was when I was watering this morning and had the fridge and pump, laptop, and phone, which are basically my daily uses, but forgot to run in. Yesterday I noticed that without the pump, and when the fridge kicks on, I was spending roughly the equivalent of what I was gaining in amps. However, more tweaking is needed. I'm not as synchronized as I thought I was. TriMetric says batteries are almost full and TriStar says at or under 35%, LOL. :)