Radian system not selling power

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HwnVoltge
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Posts: 12
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My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:18 pm

Hello all, this is my first post here.
My background is almost eight years doing engineering and building projects in Solar.
I previously sent a request to Outback tech support upon the system completion, but so far I have received no response.
Technical Support Case #142800

The system was designed following this app note from Outback and the review of two professional engineers who both agreed that as planned it should sell power.
http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... p_note.pdf
The settings for the inverters were matched to another app note from Outback based on the batteries:
http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... p_note.pdf

These are the following issues:
1.
When grid-connected on the ATS, the Radians essentially go to sleep and send no power, not to the house loads or to the grid. When off-grid, the system works as intended and supports all loads as needed. How do I change the settings to allow it to offset the house loads and sell excess DC from the panels, not the batteries?
2.
When a power switch happens, such as from a grid drop, it momentarily causes the network connection to fail. The mesh network device that the Mate3s is connected to has no UPS to carry over that switching delay, the network itself has a UPS though, but that device because of it's location does not, and therefore it appears to "break" the opticsRE link. Although the Mate3s is set to auto-reconnect it appears to not do so or if it does, doing so does not actually reconnect it to OpticsRE. The only way is to power-cycle the device. I have read on the forums about this, but it would appear there is no solution unless a UPS is purchased to maintain the network connection. Would that be correct?

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IanMcCluskey
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Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by IanMcCluskey » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:44 am

Hi there!

First, I recommend you add the details of this system to your profile, and the OPTICS site name for us to help troubleshoot. *edit* I see your site name is Schulte and it contains four FM100s, two Radian 8048As, an FN-DC and a MATE3s?

Second, glad you started a tech support case. The tech services team is currently training new representatives to work out of our Phoenix, AZ service depot. During this time, you will probably get support faster over the phone than email. Hold times can be long.

Also, we are planning to release a new MATE3S firmware with a number of OPTICS (re)connectivity improvements within the next four weeks or so. If that is too long to wait, another UPS may be the only option.
Ian McCluskey
Product Manager


Alpha Technologies Inc. / OutBack Power Technologies
3767 Alpha Way Bellingham WA 98226 USA
http://www.alpha.com

HwnVoltge
Forum Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm
My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:54 am

That is correct on the components. I will also add to the profile.

HwnVoltge
Forum Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm
My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:10 pm

Hi,
I figure someone at Outback changed something because now the system is selling the DC power from the panels. If something was changed or a setting modified I would like to know because we plan to install additional projects and it would help to configure from the start.

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IanMcCluskey
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Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by IanMcCluskey » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:28 am

OutBack tech support does not make changes to OPTICS account settings.
Ian McCluskey
Product Manager


Alpha Technologies Inc. / OutBack Power Technologies
3767 Alpha Way Bellingham WA 98226 USA
http://www.alpha.com

HwnVoltge
Forum Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm
My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:04 pm

Alright, is there a time period that has to pass from when grid-tie is set to when it will actually do so?
Last edited by HwnVoltge on Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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IanMcCluskey
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Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by IanMcCluskey » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:43 pm

Yes, some time might pass before the batteries reach their parameters to allow selling back to the grid depending on conditions.

It looks like the system started selling around 3PM on 1/9, but I see something interesting on OPTICS. There are several days before 1/9 where the battery voltage and SoC diverge. It looks like the loads are being served AND the batteries are charging, but OPTICS shows nothing From Grid, nor From Gen. Where is all that energy coming from? I attached a screenshot from 1/8 for example.

Were any changes to the FN-DC and/or shunt wiring made recently?
Attachments
Capture.JPG
Ian McCluskey
Product Manager


Alpha Technologies Inc. / OutBack Power Technologies
3767 Alpha Way Bellingham WA 98226 USA
http://www.alpha.com

HwnVoltge
Forum Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm
My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:02 pm

I left a message for tech support to call me today so hopefully, I will get a call tomorrow.
I've noticed that as well. The FN-DC does not follow the SoC as well as BPE's Blue Ion monitoring and often it is off by quite a lot. For instance, Optics right now says the battery SoC is 85%, but it is infact 99% per BPE, see attachments.
All 3 shunts are enabled in FN-DC. I believe they were enabled from the start but not 100% sure on that. There is no shunt wiring as the batteries are connected in parallel and from what BPE said for installation, it did not appear the shunt wiring was needed because the battery's internal BMS controls them, not FN-DC. I am not sure how we would wire the shunt in this setup.
Optics Monitoring.jpg
BPE Monitoring.JPG
Because this is a stacked install with an external ATS, I noticed that it does not read the loads properly either. When it's in off-grid, that's no problem and it reads the loads right, but when grid connected with the ATS it shows for example 5kW going to the grid, but infact that was going to the house load at that time. Are there CTs or some other means to get more accurate readings?

About the selling:
Another thought, does the settings for grid use under the mate3s on Optics also control when selling happens or is that only input?

How would I be able to enable the discharge of the battery in the evening just to cover the house loads after the sun goes down but not have it completely dump the battery to the grid?

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IanMcCluskey
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Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by IanMcCluskey » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:25 pm

Current transformers
The SkyBox comes with CTs for monitoring, but the Radian does not have the hardware for CTs at this time.
Another thought, does the settings for grid use under the mate3s on Optics also control when selling happens or is that only input?
That setting opens and closes the relay connection to the grid, so yes, it does control selling. Right now it looks like you are only connected to the grid between 7AM and 5PM. Page 38 of the Programming Guide is helpful albeit wordy http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... de_web.pdf
How would I be able to enable the discharge of the battery in the evening just to cover the house loads after the sun goes down but not have it completely dump the battery to the grid?
There are a few creative ways to do this, but I cannot say I know of the best one with lithium batteries. Anyone else on the forum?

The fact this is a Blueion system with external ATS... well, it might be easier to simplify than continue messing with the settings and shunt wiring.
- Install battery voltage sense wires on all four FM100s if you have not already. This will improve their charging accuracy. Check the FM100 manual for how to do this.
- Then triple check the charging settings against the Blueion app note
- Use the Blueion monitoring to keep an eye on the battery
- Forget the FN-DC and the shunts, use an eGauge or similar CT device to monitor current flow to loads, to the grid, etc.
Ian McCluskey
Product Manager


Alpha Technologies Inc. / OutBack Power Technologies
3767 Alpha Way Bellingham WA 98226 USA
http://www.alpha.com

HwnVoltge
Forum Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm
My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:50 pm

Thank you, Ian.
That setting opens and closes the relay connection to the grid, so yes, it does control selling. Right now it looks like you are only connected to the grid between 7AM and 5PM. Page 38 of the Programming Guide is helpful albeit wordy http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... de_web.pdf
The concern was that if the battery SoC was low or in use when the sun is not out from 5PM to 7AM, then the grid would charge the batteries and they would not discharge, which it would be preferred to not do so which is why it was set to daylight hours for grid use.
The fact this is a Blueion system with external ATS... well, it might be easier to simplify than continue messing with the settings and shunt wiring
However, in order for it to sell excess power and operate the battery in the evening, I think I would need to get the settings adjusted to that effect to allow that?
- Install battery voltage sense wires on all four FM100s if you have not already. This will improve their charging accuracy. Check the FM100 manual for how to do this.
It would appear that only 1 set needs to be wired, does it share the data via the HUB and Mate3s? The system is set up with 2 FM100s per radian with a master and slave radian. Would it still be 1 overall?
- Forget the FN-DC and the shunts, use an eGauge or similar CT device to monitor current flow to loads, to the grid, etc.
BPE already uses an egauge for SoC and I was going to add CTs to that to at least get a better picture of the operation. If you're suggesting to drop FN-DC, would that impact any of the selling operation? Does it use FN-DC to know when to sell or does it determine that inside the inverter from that voltage and FN-DC has no bearing on that?

pss
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Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by pss » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:32 pm

Hi. There's a lot happening here. What you need to think about is not just selling to the grid, but lowering your grid use overall. Generally, most utilities charge you way more than they pay you to sell them electricity. So first understand that charging your batteries is a priority for the Radian's to function. So the system should charge by the charge controllers in the daytime and not by the inverter's chargers (which costs grid money). To help make this happen, make certain that the bulk, absorb and float voltages of the inverter's charger are say 0.4 volts below those of the charge controllers so the charge controllers take over output when sunlight is present. Next, you can use the time of use features to connect and disconnect the Radian's from the grid. So if your utility charges a lot at a certain time of the day, charge up your batteries with PV, disconnect from the grid, power your loads for a while, then reconnect back to the grid and use cheaper grid power at night. If done right, you never need to use the inverter's charger, just charge from PV, use battery power a portion of the day and then grid if you want to keep some reserve battery capacity and keep the charger on the inverter off. If a storm comes along and there is not enough PV, then turn on the inverter's charger to charge up the battery bank.

As for selling, this happens when the battery voltage hits a certain threshold you have set in the Mate 3S inverter settings, the SOC is usually in the 90% or more (in my system is takes about 94% SOC to begin selling, and your loads plus charging are less than the PV output. In other words, batteries are priority one, loads priority two and selling priority three. If you set your sell voltage to 52 (48 volt system), you may find that your batteries never really reach a full voltage charge of say 57-58 volts depending on your battery type.

Once you think things are at least working like expected, don't be afraid to save your profile settings on the Mate 3S (I name mine with the date) and then make adjustments to optimize system performance. Save your best profiles monthly and then just reload them the following year for the same months. Outback systems work very well, but everybody's is a little different in terms of location, weather, PV capacity, load etc. so you are really needing to tweak your system and once you hit that sweet spot, it's pretty much set and forget.

HwnVoltge
Forum Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm
My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:23 pm

pss,
Thank you, that helps for understanding at a conceptual level. Most of what you mentioned is already done, but I'll go through and welcome your input on if you have other suggestions or if modifications are recommended.
To help make this happen, make certain that the bulk, absorb and float voltages of the inverter's charger are say 0.4 volts below those of the charge controllers so the charge controllers take over output when sunlight is present
The voltage setpoints for the CCs are currently 0.4v above the inverter set points per the app note and I have observed it charging from the sun to the batteries then to the loads so that's working correctly.
Next, you can use the time of use features to connect and disconnect the Radian's from the grid.
Unfortunately, with the stacked dual radian setup as it is, it's not possible to disconnect from the grid easily as you cannot use the internal switch to the inverter when stacked. I figure there may be some way to fire the external ATS to connect and disconnect by some aux shunt-trip and we did use the one that was mentioned, specifically the Kohler RDT, in the app note from Outback, but as to how to do that, we're still looking into that. If someone else knows how, please let me know. I am also inquiring more with Kohler about that too.
As for selling, this happens when the battery voltage hits a certain threshold you have set in the Mate 3S inverter settings, the SOC is usually in the 90% or more (in my system is takes about 94% SOC to begin selling, and your loads plus charging are less than the PV output. In other words, batteries are priority one, loads priority two and selling priority three. If you set your sell voltage to 52 (48 volt system), you may find that your batteries never really reach a full voltage charge of say 57-58 volts depending on your battery type.

That goes to my point in my last post that I need to get the FN-DC settings working right so it will trigger the selling of power, however, as it currently is working, because there is an external ATS, the inverter is not reading the house loads right, it just reads the power as going to grid on Optics, but we've metered it and it's offsetting house loads as intended so I figure that's just a setting or lack of one with the external ATS setup.
Save your best profiles monthly and then just reload them the following year for the same months
That's handy, I'll note that down for once we get all these hiccups settled.

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IanMcCluskey
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Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by IanMcCluskey » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:38 am

Thank goodness for pss!

Allow me to clarify a couple points on my last response

The fact this is a Blueion system with external ATS... well, it might be easier to simplify than continue messing with the settings and (FN-DC sense wire) shunt wiring
However, in order for it to sell excess power and operate the battery in the evening, I think I would need to get the settings adjusted to that effect to allow that?
Yes, the voltage targets are key, as are the proper connections of current carrying conductors to the shunts. It sounds like you have done both of these. Even some of the most experienced OB installers and engineers buy our pre-wired systems because ensuring proper connection of PV and batteries to the shunts in the GSLC is no easy task.


Install battery voltage sense wires on all four FM100s if you have not already. This will improve their charging accuracy. Check the FM100 manual for how to do this.
It would appear that only 1 set needs to be wired, does it share the data via the HUB and Mate3s? The system is set up with 2 FM100s per radian with a master and slave radian. Would it still be 1 overall?
That is an error in the manual, my bad! We have a new version but I see it is still stuck in our new, very slow document control system. In the meantime, see page 2 of this very useful app note: http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... p_note.pdf


Forget the FN-DC and the shunts, use an eGauge or similar CT device to monitor current flow to loads, to the grid, etc.
BPE already uses an egauge for SoC and I was going to add CTs to that to at least get a better picture of the operation. If you're suggesting to drop FN-DC, would that impact any of the selling operation? Does it use FN-DC to know when to sell or does it determine that inside the inverter from that voltage and FN-DC has no bearing on that?
The FN-DC currently controls the system voltage. If you took it out, the system would use the FM100 battery sense voltage, which is as accurate as the FN-DC!

The FN-DC was designed to monitor SoC for lead acid batteries. See the last section of this app note http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... p_note.pdf

I would remove it and just monitor SoC on BPE's system. Let the OB gear charge and discharge based on voltage.
Ian McCluskey
Product Manager


Alpha Technologies Inc. / OutBack Power Technologies
3767 Alpha Way Bellingham WA 98226 USA
http://www.alpha.com

HwnVoltge
Forum Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm
My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:57 pm

An update:

Still no response to the service ticket or callbacks from requests made to Outback Tech Support.

For the system,
We've unplugged FN-DC from the HUB to turn it off as of today. We had to connect the battery sense to the other CCs which was also completed today so now all 4 have sense wires. Right now it did charge the system up to full and then started selling. It still, however, is not detecting the house loads when the ATS is grid-connected rather than off-grid. I imagine that is because, with the external ATS and the whole-home installation done as shown in the application note from Outback, the inverter is only pushing power out the bidirectional input as the output is connected to the emergency side of the ATS which when the ATS is grid-connected it has no connection to the load. Without CTs or some type of sense wire, it cannot "see" the loads. We will see what it will do when the sun goes down, but I suspect that it'll still not see the loads as the utility will then take over and the system will go to sleep thinking there is no load.
*edit* it did exactly that. Sun went down, stopped selling when CCs went to sleep after sun went down.

Another issue, the CCs are going to sleep and not selling the maximum amount of available energy.
*edit* may have fixed this, will check tomorrow, I lowered the sell voltage on the inverter to be 0.8V below the CCs and the CC turned on again.
Last edited by HwnVoltge on Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by Mike Curran » Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:28 pm

I'm kinda hesitant to stick my nose in here, but what is the purpose of your auto transfer switch? Why not just connect your loads directly to the Radian output and let it support them as needed? Is it because your whole house is powered from the Radians but maybe you need the ATS because there are times when they can't?

Seems like the ATS is getting in the way of what you want your system to do... - Mike
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HwnVoltge
Forum Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:45 pm
My RE system: 2x Radian 8048A, Master-Slave
4x FM-100 300VDC
2x GS LC
1x FNDC (disconnected)
2x BlueIon 2.0 16kWh
1x Kohler RDT ATS

Re: Radian system not selling power

Post by HwnVoltge » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:05 pm

Mike Curran wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:28 pm
I'm kinda hesitant to stick my nose in here, but what is the purpose of your auto transfer switch? Why not just connect your loads directly to the Radian output and let it support them as needed? Is it because your whole house is powered from the Radians but maybe you need the ATS because there are times when they can't?

Seems like the ATS is getting in the way of what you want your system to do... - Mike
Normally I would, but because you cannot use the Radian internal transfer switch when stacking, you have to use an external ATS. See the first post for the app note from Outback

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