Low amps mid day, help!

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Jtlagger
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Low amps mid day, help!

Post by Jtlagger » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:29 am

I have two identical systems consisting of 15 280watt panels, an outback radian Gs4048a, a flex max fm80 charge controller, 16 batteries, and the two systems are tied into one Mate3. One set of panels is ground mounted and one roof mounted. I have recently noticed only 1 inverter is regular fanning loudly mid day, so i began tracking the kWh per day and comparing. The two sets get nearly identical sun, but the ground mount produces are 17-20kwh per day while the roof mount is always around 8kwh. I’ve noticed during the early part and late part of the day, the in and out amps, and kw on the controllers are nearly the same. During the mid day sun, the roof mount amps are 0-10 amps in and out and the ground mounts are 30-50 while the kw are less than 1 compared to 2-3. This is when the daily kwh totals really begin to separate. I’m no solar expert by any means, but the company that installed is out of business and i can’t find another servicer willing to look. So far i have checked all 10 15a breakers and all are fine. I’ve checked the Volts on all panel sets and they’re fine. I’ve checked the fans on both systems. While the roof system fan is not nearly as loud or blow as hard, it does blow. I’ve checked the voltage on each battery set, 52 volts. I have cleaned both panel sets. Where to go from here? Shouldn’t these systems produce nearly the same kwh per day?

raysun
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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by raysun » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:11 am

Jtlagger wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:29 am
I have two identical systems consisting of 15 280watt panels, an outback radian Gs4048a, a flex max fm80 charge controller, 16 batteries, and the two systems are tied into one Mate3. One set of panels is ground mounted and one roof mounted. I have recently noticed only 1 inverter is regular fanning loudly mid day, so i began tracking the kWh per day and comparing. The two sets get nearly identical sun, but the ground mount produces are 17-20kwh per day while the roof mount is always around 8kwh. I’ve noticed during the early part and late part of the day, the in and out amps, and kw on the controllers are nearly the same. During the mid day sun, the roof mount amps are 0-10 amps in and out and the ground mounts are 30-50 while the kw are less than 1 compared to 2-3. This is when the daily kwh totals really begin to separate. I’m no solar expert by any means, but the company that installed is out of business and i can’t find another servicer willing to look. So far i have checked all 10 15a breakers and all are fine. I’ve checked the Volts on all panel sets and they’re fine. I’ve checked the fans on both systems. While the roof system fan is not nearly as loud or blow as hard, it does blow. I’ve checked the voltage on each battery set, 52 volts. I have cleaned both panel sets. Where to go from here? Shouldn’t these systems produce nearly the same kwh per day?
I've not heard of two independent systems sharing a single Mate controller, and can't envision how its giving any sort of meaningful readings, or supplying control of two separate systems.

I believe you have another post where a line drawing was requested. Is that possible to furnish? Without more understanding of the system, and it's apparently unorthodox design, it will be difficult to diagnose issues.

One speculation is the PV arrays, via the charge controllers, are simply supplying what each battery needs to be charged, and to service the load of the respective inverters. Watching the charge cycle on the charge controller screens will give a clue.

Jtlagger
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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by Jtlagger » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:29 am

Does this help?
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F9D08F68-8E7B-4579-97B6-F4AD22970851.jpeg

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EA6LE-ONE
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My RE system: System 1:
MATE3s, 3 x Radian GS8048A,
4 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10,
2 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 4 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
54 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, 2 x VFX3648,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:46 am

Jtlagger wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:29 am
Does this help?
From the looks of the diagram, might seem like 2 systems but might be as well a single system. if they are 2 separate systems, maybe have them tide together and have it as single system eliminating a lot of trouble, if not, have them completely separated with their own hub and mate. Do you have 2 banks of batteries?

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EA6LE-ONE
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My RE system: System 1:
MATE3s, 3 x Radian GS8048A,
4 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10,
2 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 4 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
54 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, 2 x VFX3648,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:48 am

Also 15 panels of 280W is too much for a single FM80

Jtlagger
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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by Jtlagger » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:46 am

yes, two battery banks with 8 batteries each. What constitutes a separate system? The PV input from panels to each inverter only comes from one set of 15 panels. When I tried to switch port 2 to "SLAVE", the charger said "charged" and stopped reading any kw or amps in peak sun and dint generate any kwh. Not sure how to set this up to have it operating effectively.

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EA6LE-ONE
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Posts: 269
Joined: Tue May 05, 2020 7:51 am
My RE system: System 1:
MATE3s, 3 x Radian GS8048A,
4 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10,
2 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 4 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
54 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, 2 x VFX3648,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:13 am

are the battery banks connected together in parallel or they are fed separately from each CC?

pss
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My RE system: 8330 watts in three strings, Flexmax 60 x 3, Radian 8048A, GSLC load center, Mate 3S, Hub 10.3, FN-DC and 900 Amp, 48V Trojan T105-RE battery bank.

Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by pss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:16 am

layout 8-3-20.jpg
Charge controllers should have 6 parallel strings of 2 panels in series. Use a combiner box like midnight mnpv-6
Last edited by pss on Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

Jtlagger
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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by Jtlagger » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:18 am

each separate set of 8 has two series groups of 4 batteries paralleled together. The two groups of 8 are not connected in any way.

pss
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My RE system: 8330 watts in three strings, Flexmax 60 x 3, Radian 8048A, GSLC load center, Mate 3S, Hub 10.3, FN-DC and 900 Amp, 48V Trojan T105-RE battery bank.

Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by pss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:24 am

By separating your battery banks, you have created one 2 small lower output banks instead of a single larger bank. See my illustration posted above. You need two parallel strings of 8 batteries each, with input from each controller. You can do this with a copper buss bar. That will help supply more amps to your inverters and power a larger load. Also, adjust your panels to your charge controllers and add a third charge controller which will have 6 panels after the other controllers each have 12 panels.

Jtlagger
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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by Jtlagger » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:25 am

thank you. looks like this is what would make it more of a master/slave relationship. In this example there is only one battery bank. thats the only difference I see regarding the equipment. Seems like the way I have it set up, its two systems and should not be on one mate3 like the installer left it.

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EA6LE-ONE
Forum Guru
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue May 05, 2020 7:51 am
My RE system: System 1:
MATE3s, 3 x Radian GS8048A,
4 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10,
2 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 4 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
54 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, 2 x VFX3648,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by EA6LE-ONE » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:30 am

Probably best will be to contact a good solar installer in your area to come and sort your system.
First will need to reduce the 15 panels down to 12 on each FM80
If is needed to have 2 separate systems then you need to buy one MATE3s and a HUB4 or HUB10, strongly recommended FNDC for each system.
If one system will do what is needed then is to combine the batteries together, recommended to get FNDC.
The downside for one system you have is the number of batteries in parallel. recommended is to not have more than 2 strings in parallel. you have 4 and still doable if they are the same generation and similar usage.
Before all this, the setting in the mate, CCs and inverters will have to be checked with the voltage requirements of the batteries.
Last edited by EA6LE-ONE on Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

pss
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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by pss » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:32 am

With all due respect, the installer may have been an installer, but they did not understand what they were installing. One mate per system. Multiple inverters per mate and hub. One battery bank per system. And your charge controllers are overloaded and subject to frying.

fcwlp
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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by fcwlp » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:29 am

pss wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:16 am
Charge controllers should have 6 parallel strings of 2 panels in series. Use a combiner box like midnight mnpv-6
With 280W panels, his Voc will be too low with only 2 panels in series. Should be 3 in series with 4 parallel strings.
pss wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:24 am
You need two parallel strings of 8 batteries each,
He has a total of 16 batteries in two different banks. Each bank has 4 batteries in series with 2 parallel strings. So he has 12V batteries. Do not put 8 of your current batteries in one string.
Jtlagger wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:25 am
thank you. looks like this is what would make it more of a master/slave relationship. In this example there is only one battery bank. thats the only difference I see regarding the equipment. Seems like the way I have it set up, its two systems and should not be on one mate3 like the installer left it.
There is an existence proof that the system has been working for some period of time, even though the design is not optimal.

The reason why one of the arrays of panels has low output is that the inverter (to which that array of panels is charging the batteries) is not inverting a significant or any amount and the batteries fully charged. When you switched the 2nd Radian to Slave as shown in your quote below the result is as expected as the Master in port 1 was supplying all of the load required.
Jtlagger wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:46 am
yes, two battery banks with 8 batteries each. What constitutes a separate system? The PV input from panels to each inverter only comes from one set of 15 panels. When I tried to switch port 2 to "SLAVE", the charger said "charged" and stopped reading any kw or amps in peak sun and dint generate any kwh. Not sure how to set this up to have it operating effectively.
Questions and/or comments for the OP.
- Are you grid-tied? If so your power company likely has detailed drawing of your system. Are you selling to the grid?
- Your city/county planning/zoning office should also have complete drawings of the system
- How long has your system been in operation?
- What is the C20 AH rating of your current batteries and what type are they?

At this point, I would recommend running your system in Master/Slave with the two separate battery banks until the bank on the current Master fails. It is unlikely the two banks have seen the same charge/discharge cycles so combining them at this point into 4 parallel strings is not recommended. When the bank on the Master fails, replace with one new battery bank feeding both inverters.

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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by Jtlagger » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:52 am

Thank you, the panels are 3 in series with 5 series per set. Yes i am grid tied, but I’m not sure if i am selling (i am supposed to be). My utility company installed a net meter but that’s the extent of their involvement. no involvement from the municipality. I’m generating ab 25kwh per day with the two systems combined but I’m using 100kwh per day. So billing is roughly 75kwh per day this time of year. So i do think they are working, just not optimally. I feel like both systems should be giving me 20-25kwh per day each. The one system appears lagging for some reason. The system has been operating for 6 years, and I’ve had to change one inverter (the workout one) out under warranty. The issue with the low output is a recent development, within the last few months. Only one inverter (the one in port 2) is regularly working during peak sun. Since the systems are separate with separate banks, seems like port 1 should be working and producing just as much. The batteries are AGM 8a31dt 120v105ah c/20 12v110ah c/100. I have had no luck getting a qualified outback power solar company to come look at them since they did not install, which is why you see me on these forums. Thanks

raysun
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My RE system: Flexpower One: FX3048T, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
Outback 200NC batteries (8 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 6 strings of 2 in series)
Hyundai 355 watt panels (6 - 3 strings of 2 in series)
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by raysun » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:22 pm

Jtlagger wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:52 am
Thank you, the panels are 3 in series with 5 series per set. Yes i am grid tied, but I’m not sure if i am selling (i am supposed to be). My utility company installed a net meter but that’s the extent of their involvement. no involvement from the municipality. I’m generating ab 25kwh per day with the two systems combined but I’m using 100kwh per day. So billing is roughly 75kwh per day this time of year. So i do think they are working, just not optimally. I feel like both systems should be giving me 20-25kwh per day each. The one system appears lagging for some reason. The system has been operating for 6 years, and I’ve had to change one inverter (the workout one) out under warranty. The issue with the low output is a recent development, within the last few months. Only one inverter (the one in port 2) is regularly working during peak sun. Since the systems are separate with separate banks, seems like port 1 should be working and producing just as much. The batteries are AGM 8a31dt 120v105ah c/20 12v110ah c/100. I have had no luck getting a qualified outback power solar company to come look at them since they did not install, which is why you see me on these forums. Thanks
How are the batteries being monitored? Knowing state of charge on AGM batteries is tricky because direct measurement of electrolyte specific gravity is not possible.

After 6 years, many AGM cells will have reached the end of life, even if well maintained. A battery with degraded cells is quick to reach full charge, and quick to reach discharge limits. It may well be the lowered output is partially due to battery condition.

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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by Jtlagger » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:27 pm

The only battery monitor i know of is on the mate3. There is battery lighting monitor in the inverter cabinet but there’s only one 175 breaker there and the lights are not in use. I tested the voltage with a meter. How can i know if they are to blame?

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Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by Mike Curran » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:39 pm

Yes i am grid tied, but I’m not sure if i am selling (i am supposed to be). 
Being grid tied your inverters should be selling to grid when your batteries are fully charged and your loads are satisfied. So your roof mount should be working just as hard as your ground mount, to sell to grid. Also, in addition to the sell indication on your Mate, you should be able to read your net meter and determine if you're selling. On mine the digital display alternates between energy consumed and energy sold. You should see 2 different readings flashing alternatively, if yours is like mine.

I would add that your 2 systems really aren't independent, you just have a separate CC for each array and your sketch should show them connected to the FM80's, not to the Radians. If your Radians are properly stacked then your system is pretty standard, but since there's such an imbalance betepween the 2 arrays at midday something else must be wrong.

Edit (again)
I would add that your 2 systems really aren't independent
Knowing you have 2 separate battery banks, I take that back. Your systems are kinda independent, so much so that they aren't working together to max your selling to grid.
Last edited by Mike Curran on Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
http://www.tigoenergy.com/site.php?95b2dca2-ca6c
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221

fcwlp
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I also install and maintain grid-tied and off-grid systems, details will be given for these system if required
Location: 80 miles NE of Phoenix at 5500'

Re: Low amps mid day, help!

Post by fcwlp » Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:41 pm

Jtlagger wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:52 am
The system has been operating for 6 years, and I’ve had to change one inverter (the workout one) out under warranty. The issue with the low output is a recent development, within the last few months. Only one inverter (the one in port 2) is regularly working during peak sun.
Check that both inverters are running the latest firmware level, which is 001.006.070. When 001.006.063 (Sept 2017 release date) was introduced the current limits were cut by a factor of 4 and needed to be manually corrected. Check this app note out http://outbackpower.com/downloads/docum ... p_note.pdf for details. There is a chance that the replacement Radian you got has the newer firmware.
raysun wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:22 pm
After 6 years, many AGM cells will have reached the end of life, even if well maintained. A battery with degraded cells is quick to reach full charge, and quick to reach discharge limits. It may well be the lowered output is partially due to battery condition.
As @raysun says you are getting near the EOL for the AGM batteries.
Jtlagger wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:52 am
The batteries are AGM 8a31dt 120v105ah c/20 12v110ah c/100.
So each bank of batteries is 210AH @ 48V C20 rate, which is very small for a Radian system. AGM batteries can usually be charged at up to 20% of the C20 rate or about 40A. With your maxed out FM80s you were likely exceeding this by a significant amount, which is not good for your batteries. For your next battery bank you have to decide if you want to go with AGM, FLA or Lithium. For AGM or FLA you should be looking in the 1000 to 1200 AH range with one or max of two strings.

There is also a good app note for double and triple Radian systems http://outbackpower.com/downloads/docum ... p_note.pdf

Try to get a drawing from either your power company or AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).

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