Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

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Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby roks on Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:17 am

Hi All,

After sitting in storage for many years I have finaly setup the vfx for basic backup system in Bangladesh. I just need some re-assurance from your experties that its working as it should.

Its a very basic with just a mate for power outages, times can vary between 30mins to several hours occationally. Its powering several energy saving lights (20watts each) and 5 sealing fans (~60watts each).

I am at a loss trying to get the battery details from the manufacturer (one of the best in the country apparently) and the local dealers are clueless. I have 2x200Ah 'tall tubular' wet charged batteries, both measured 12.73-12.75v out of the box. Can I assume the battery is fully charged and its at 100% SOC? Because when I turned system charge current dropped to 1amp.

I set the charger AC current to 3.0Amps, settings below: v
Absorb: 29.2v
Time: 4:0hrs
Float: 27.0v
Time: 2:0hrs
refloat: 25.0v
Time 2:0hrs

Is thais OK for this setup?

What should the battery voltage be after the charge is complete? I am seeing 26.4v and declining slowly. When the inverter is operating, voltage dropped as low as 24.6v (drawing ~21A dc) before the mains supply was restored after about 30mins.

Also, when I first connected the batteries it was absorbing at 0.5A AC for 2 days while I was offsite, it was set at 29.6v and 4hrs. when I came to site it was still charging, I dont know if that was charging continuosly or the re-float kicked in.
Could I have damaged the battaries?

Also, I noticed that after finishing the absorb cycle, the voltage drops (to ~25.5v) below the float setpoint 27v but the float does not kick in. Is that normal?

Does everything appear set correctly?
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roks
Member
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 3:56 am
Location: Bangladesh
My RE system: VFX3024E
Mate
Battery: 200Ah + RTS
Mains AC for charging

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby Mike Curran on Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:37 am

Hi Roks- I'll take a shot at this, I'm sure others will chime in. Note lots of IMO's :grin:
roks wrote:I am at a loss trying to get the battery details from the manufacturer (one of the best in the country apparently) and the local dealers are clueless. I have 2x200Ah 'tall tubular' wet charged batteries, both measured 12.73-12.75v out of the box. Can I assume the battery is fully charged and its at 100% SOC? Because when I turned system charge current dropped to 1amp.


Best way to check state of charge (SOC) is by measuring the specific gravity of each battery's electrolyte with a hydrometer. Having said that, those out of the box voltages are closer to fully charged than to any possibly worrisome state of discharge, IMO. However, I would think you would be charging at a higher rate during absorb unless batteries are either (a) already at or near fully charged (most probable, IMO), or (b) new batteries are already sulfated (not likely, IMO).

roks wrote:I set the charger AC current to 3.0Amps, settings below: v
Absorb: 29.2v
Time: 4:0hrs
Float: 27.0v
Time: 2:0hrs
refloat: 25.0v
Time 2:0hrs

Is this OK for this setup?


Those look like good starting points, again IMO.

roks wrote:What should the battery voltage be after the charge is complete? I am seeing 26.4v and declining slowly. When the inverter is operating, voltage dropped as low as 24.6v (drawing ~21A dc) before the mains supply was restored after about 30mins.


I have my own system set up to float at 26.4v temp compensated, so 26.4 shouldn't be anything to worry about, but you should see it closer to your float setpoint of 27v immediately after absorb stage is complete, for your 2 hour float time setting, if grid is still connected. The slow decline you're seeing is normal for a battery under load but without grid support, or with grid but float time has ended.

roks wrote:Also, when I first connected the batteries it was absorbing at 0.5A AC for 2 days while I was offsite, it was set at 29.6v and 4hrs. when I came to site it was still charging, I dont know if that was charging continuosly or the re-float kicked in.
Could I have damaged the battaries?


If you had an intermittent grid connection whereby system went on and off battery power multiple times, it's very possible refloat, or even rebulk (fixed setting of 24.0v for VFX inverters, IIRC) kicked in. Don't know how reliable your grid supply is there but if you lost it long enough your system voltage and battery SOC could've decayed to suboptimal levels (say, 21v, 50% SOC) but over 2 days' time with new batteries I don't think it's likely they're damaged. 0.5A AC at 220V equates to about 5A DC charging current, about 2.5% of your battery rating. That COULD be the proper end amps you'd expect from the absorb stage on your batteries.

roks wrote:Also, I noticed that after finishing the absorb cycle, the voltage drops (to ~25.5v) below the float setpoint 27v but the float does not kick in. Is that normal?


If you still have grid power following the absorb cycle your system should go into float mode, maintaining system voltage at 27.0v for your preset float time of 2 hours. So seems like something's not right there.

I'm looking at the manual for my GVFX's for above info, hopefully I've interpreted it correctly and it applies for your VFX.

- Mike

PS I've done several edits on this, please forgive for any confusion I may have caused.
Mike Curran
OutBack Guru
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
My RE system: Outback:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one MX60
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80
- 2 grid-tied GVFX3524's classic stacked for 120/240VAC
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah
- Hub10.3, Mate3, FNDC, RTS, OpticsRE. Tigo Energy ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar:
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied.

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby roks on Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:45 pm

Thanks for your reply Mike, its answered some of the doubts.

The fins looked clean when I removed the caps of the batteries, did a quick test, sg 1250 on the meter. There was a greenish line going across the length of the battery, like a marker pen.

The 3amp AC for the charger is pushiung out ~23.5A DC (measured the -ve battery cable with clamp meter) so thats about 11% of the battery bank capacity. Do you think I can increase that a little more without affecting the battery life?

Yes, the charger kicks into absorb after a power failure and once complete it goes into silent mode while the voltage trickles down to 25.5v and does not go into float (yes grid is available). Although I did notice the mate showing float once but dont know what triggered it.

I did notice the mate is a bit sticky as in when I go into the meter, it does not refresh the status, Ill have to click through couple of menu and go back then it would display the headings.

There appears to be a 2.0A DC being drained from the battery and also the mate shows "input current" as 2A AC. This while it showed 'silent' in the mate. Is this normal?

What can I changw to minimise the drain on the battery?
roks
Member
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 3:56 am
Location: Bangladesh
My RE system: VFX3024E
Mate
Battery: 200Ah + RTS
Mains AC for charging

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby Mike Curran on Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:03 pm

Rolls Battery recommends 20% of the battery C20 rate for maximum charge rate, which is 40A for you. They do say "Higher current levels may cause the battery bank to overheat. A lower current may be used, however this will prolong charge time (during the bulk stage)." It'd be nice if you could find specs on your battery...sounds like you've already tried.

The manual for your inverter (http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/d ... manual.pdf)
says it goes into silent mode after the bulk/absorb stages are complete, so I was mistaken about that :^o : "The first SILENT mode follows ABSORB. During this time, the FX charging operation stops, but continues monitoring the battery voltage." So it won't go into float until it reaches the refloat voltage. Sounds like that's what yours is doing so no worries there.

My guess is the 2.0A DC current draw you're seeing is from whatever loads you have connected. That's only around 48 watts, might just be your inverter draw in silent mode (does seem kinda high, though). Anything else running? But, 2.0A AC doesn't really correlate (220V×2.0A=440 watts) - maybe the discrepancy is due to rounding in the current measurements, plus efficiency losses in your inverter. At this point I'm REALLY hoping somebody more knowledgeable than me speaks up!

Silent mode just means the inverter isn't charging (as described in quote above). It's waiting for voltage to decay to the refloat point.

- Mike

PS SG at 12.50 is at the low end of fully charged, Rolls says 100% charge range for SG is 1.255 to 1.275 so you probably should be charging longer in absorb stage.
Mike Curran
OutBack Guru
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
My RE system: Outback:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one MX60
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80
- 2 grid-tied GVFX3524's classic stacked for 120/240VAC
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah
- Hub10.3, Mate3, FNDC, RTS, OpticsRE. Tigo Energy ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar:
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied.

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby blackswan555 on Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:37 pm

As above but to add,
Its powering several energy saving lights (20watts each) and 5 sealing fans (~60watts each).
Be careful with reading Watts, Inverters work in KVA like generators, A compact floro lamp that says 20w on the side can actually use 40 VA, Fans are not so bad but still wattage is no use, If you want to find out, look at label, take voltage stated and multiply it by amps stated, That is how much it uses "in our language"

Tim
My comments are based on my experience and research, They are not endorsed or checked by Outback.I am an independent British electrician living in Spain, So please take this into account when reading /acting on my post`s.
blackswan555
OutBack Emperor
 
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:50 am
Location: Ibiza Spain,
My RE system: Other peoples, VFX "E" versions, FLA`s, Generators.

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby roks on Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:47 am

Hi guys,

Thanks for your inputs, i do appreciate it.

I left the batteries on a longer absob for 15hrs and the sg reading was up by a notch...from 1250 to 1251. I also had the charger AC current set to 5Amps ac, (dc meter showed about 37amp for few minutes then it gradually climbed down, stayed at 23amps for a while and eventually down 2-3 amps dc).

I have now left the site, I've attached a voltmeter with OB shunt, I have someone to watch the voltage and instructed them on how to turn the system on and charge the batteries when it drops to 22v. Not sure how long it will take for it to drop to that level and if 5hrs absorb is long enough.

Is 22v too low?
Is it normal for the vfx to get quite warm during charging and when inverting?
Is it normal for the vfx to consume AC while grid is available as I found out that if turn the breaker off for ac out its not consuming anything from ac input. I think because its going through the vfx, its consuming as it was providing the power and not the grid. Any setting I need to change?

Also, the foam cover on the fan had crumbled into dust, I've used a think bit foam to stop bugs getting in but its also not letting in much air so have to remove while charging. is there any replacement part for this?

Thanks again.
roks
Member
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 3:56 am
Location: Bangladesh
My RE system: VFX3024E
Mate
Battery: 200Ah + RTS
Mains AC for charging

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby Mike Curran on Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:29 pm

Roks - My hydrometer can't be read much more accurately than +/- .005, IMO .001 isn't much (if any) increase in SG. 15 hours in absorb at 29.2 volts should have brought it up more than that...not sure what's going on there, although your description of DC current trends during absorb cycle sounds right.

Also sounds like you don't have a Mate to program and monitor the VFX. if you're relying on a person to reconnect to the grid to start a charge cycle, I think that's risking your batteries, unless that person has a pretty good "feel" for when a charge might be needed...

roks wrote:Is 22v too low?

Here's what Rolls Battery recommends:
"To prolong battery cycle life, Rolls recommends setting the Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD) between 1.85 volts per cell (VPC) to 1.95 volts per cell (VPC). This may be adjusted up or down, depending how often you wish to run the charging source."
Mine is set at 22.8V (1.90V/cell×12cells) and you're below the bottom end of their recommendation. I wouldn't go any lower.

BTW, Low Voltage Disconnect is the setting where the grid automatically resumes connection through your VFX to your loads and charges your battery. This only comes into play if you've manually dropped AC grid input using a Mate. Doesn't work if you're just opening the AC IN breaker. But Rolls' recommended voltage range still applies.

roks wrote:Is it normal for the vfx to get quite warm during charging and when inverting?
Yes, especially if your cooling air input filter is clogged - not a good thing. You mention a "thick bit of foam" you're using, I'm sure OB has a replacement part for that. http://outbackpower.com/contact/contact-us

roks wrote:Is it normal for the vfx to consume AC while grid is available as I found out that if turn the breaker off for ac out its not consuming anything from ac input. I think because its going through the vfx, its consuming as it was providing the power and not the grid. Any setting I need to change?
Not sure I understand your question. But the VFX programming manual says "An FX consumes a small amount of power when it is not providing AC to loads or recharging batteries" and I think I read somewhere that it's about 20-25 watts.

Hope this helps. - Mike
Mike Curran
OutBack Guru
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
My RE system: Outback:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one MX60
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80
- 2 grid-tied GVFX3524's classic stacked for 120/240VAC
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah
- Hub10.3, Mate3, FNDC, RTS, OpticsRE. Tigo Energy ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar:
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied.

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby roks on Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:54 am

Hi Mike,

Mike Curran wrote:My hydrometer can't be read much more accurately than +/- .005, IMO .001 isn't much (if any) increase in SG.

I think I may have the read the meter wrong, so the markings were re, orange, and green. in the green section it was 1250 to 1300. There were 5 markings in between so I think it should have been 1260. Its only a cheapo £5 turkey baster type, nothing fancy.

Mike Curran wrote:Also sounds like you don't have a Mate to program and monitor the VFX. if you're relying on a person to reconnect to the grid to start a charge cycle, I think that's risking your batteries, unless that person has a pretty good "feel" for when a charge might be needed...

I have the mate connected, I didn't want leave it connected as it could be several months before not visit. For the time being I have attached a voltmeter to the shunt so they can see the voltage even when the system is off. I've instructed them to connect to the mains when the voltage displays 22v (23v now).

I know the that the vfx consumes a small amount but I don't know how to explain the AC consumption when not charging. The mate shows 'Buying' with 2 light bulb symbols in the summary. Then in the meter section AC input 2A. When I disconnect the AC out, it reads zero but then the loads have not power until I connect those loads with a bypass switch.

Also when the vfx is running on battery, I set the low voltage disconnect to 23v.
roks
Member
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 3:56 am
Location: Bangladesh
My RE system: VFX3024E
Mate
Battery: 200Ah + RTS
Mains AC for charging

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby Mike Curran on Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:37 am

It's good that you've set the LVD to 23V. Realize that if your battery reaches this point and the mains are not connected, this will have no effect and your battery will continue to discharge until someone notices the low voltage and reconnects (as you've instructed).

I think the consumption you're seeing must be your AC loads. The VFX operates in "pass-through" mode whenever the mains are connected. If you want to operate the VFX with the mains connected but avoid using grid power, you might want to consider setting up the HBX function on your inverter. I haven't used HBX myself but here's a video that explains programming it on the Mate: https://youtu.be/jyYIsY8Na2A

I think for HBX to work you have to leave the Mate connected, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Anyway, it sounds like it'll do what you want your system to do: use battery power until the batteries get to a preset low voltage, then recharge them from the grid, then disconnect the grid when the battery voltage is restored, again at another, higher, preset point. If you use this you need to give your battery enough time to restore a full charge from the grid before disconnecting again, otherwise the battery will run down and eventually fail. HBX allows you to set the grid connected time.

Here's another video that describes programming HBX using a Mate3: https://youtu.be/hBxCwdDScTM It gives more description on how and why you might want to use HBX.

Edit: Gotta ask you, why are you/they operating the VFX disconnected from the grid? Unless grid energy costs more than replacing their batteries, this really doesn't make sense.
Mike Curran
OutBack Guru
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
My RE system: Outback:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one MX60
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80
- 2 grid-tied GVFX3524's classic stacked for 120/240VAC
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah
- Hub10.3, Mate3, FNDC, RTS, OpticsRE. Tigo Energy ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar:
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied.

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby roks on Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:12 am

So when in Pass-Thru mode, is it just acting like a watt meter, telling me how much power the load is consuming from the grid? and not actually producing that power itself?

I will look into the HBX mode, I did see it when fiddling with the mate.

Mike Curran wrote:why are you/they operating the VFX disconnected from the grid?

Well, its more to do with the inverter kicking in when there is a power cut, draining the batteries etc, at least once a day and sometimes more. I was thinking of leaving it on with load switched off but then I thought of surges and lightning strikes. Since I don't have any protection device installed yet, I'd just disconnect the mains switch.

Do you think it might be better to leave system on with the load switched off and instruct them to disconnect when there is bad weather?

Is there a way to turn the inverter function off and just use the charger?

Does the Mate need to be connected for the charging function or can I remove it after setting is complete?

Thanks.
roks
Member
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 3:56 am
Location: Bangladesh
My RE system: VFX3024E
Mate
Battery: 200Ah + RTS
Mains AC for charging

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby Mike Curran on Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:08 am

roks wrote:So when in Pass-Thru mode, is it just acting like a watt meter, telling me how much power the load is consuming from the grid? and not actually producing that power itself?
Yes, as long as grid is connected your loads are getting their power from the grid, not from your battery. If you had some other power input like solar it would help supply the loads, through the battery and inverter.

roks wrote:Well, its more to do with the inverter kicking in when there is a power cut, draining the batteries etc, at least once a day and sometimes more. I was thinking of leaving it on with load switched off but then I thought of surges and lightning strikes. Since I don't have any protection device installed yet, I'd just disconnect the mains switch.

Do you think it might be better to leave system on with the load switched off and instruct them to disconnect when there is bad weather?
Sounds like your system is operating in some unusual circumstances... I would have thought you would want the system connected when there's a power cut, to maintain the loads. So there are times (when there's a power cut) when you want to operate from the battery, and other times you don't? If so then you probably have the right idea, disconnect the load (when it's not essential?) and disconnect the mains in bad weather or other times when there's danger of damaging your equipment.

roks wrote:Is there a way to turn the inverter function off and just use the charger?

Does the Mate need to be connected for the charging function or can I remove it after setting is complete?
Offhand I don't know if you can disable the inverter and leave the charger on, but probably not doable without the Mate connected and making a program change whenever you want to change the VFX's operating mode. That may not be practical for the way this system is being used, so maybe best to give instructions to disconnect loads when you just want the charger, reconnect them when you want battery power available. And once the charging is programmed you CAN disconnect the Mate, the VFX will "remember" the settings.

I hope this is helping. - Mike
Mike Curran
OutBack Guru
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
My RE system: Outback:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one MX60
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80
- 2 grid-tied GVFX3524's classic stacked for 120/240VAC
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah
- Hub10.3, Mate3, FNDC, RTS, OpticsRE. Tigo Energy ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar:
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied.

Re: Basic VFX3024E setup - help needed

Postby roks on Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:15 am

Mike Curran wrote:Sounds like your system is operating in some unusual circumstances...


Yes, the place is vacant and locked up, there wont be any to use it until November.

I called yesterday, the voltage is at 25v, so its dropped 0.5v in 15days, hoping a re-charge once a month will be OK to keep the batteries alive.

Another question is, is it OK to leave the batteries on (tiled) concrete floor?

Thanks
roks
Member
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 3:56 am
Location: Bangladesh
My RE system: VFX3024E
Mate
Battery: 200Ah + RTS
Mains AC for charging


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