FM80 Hydro Diversion

Discussion about the FM100, FM80, and FM60 Charge Controllers

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solargary
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My RE system: In between systems as I develop a new off-grid site. Previous systems include Trace/Xantrex and Outback. Many installs, a wide variety of equipment, mostly Outback. Work with solar, wind, and hydro.

FM80 Hydro Diversion

Post by solargary » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:49 pm

I've used the MX60 and appropriate relay for hydro diversion in several past installations. In a recent upgrade to an off-grid client's older 48 volt system we added a lot more solar, installed a Radian 8K, hub, Mate3, and a couple FM80's. After the install I heard a rumor that newer FM80's won't run in divert mode (aux output) unless there is solar charging. This was confirmed in a recent conversation with Outback Technical Support.

It appears that the FM80 no longer supports hydro diversion, and I can't find any note to this effect in product literature. This is presenting a major challenge, as this family is off-grid and has depended on the 900w 24/7 seasonal hydro diversion for their hot water. We had depended on hydro diversion still being available.

A few questions:

1) At what firmware revision did hydro diversion go away?

2) Is there a way to keep the FM80's awake at all times, so hydro diversion can work?

3) Can Outback fix the problem in a firmware revision on the FM80's so I can get this family back into hot water (they've been heating water via wood stove for months)?

4) If hydro diversion is gone for good what strategies are best for primary and secondary hydro diversion? All I can think of is have a "hydro mode" for about 7 months, where the FM's are set to float voltage for absorb and EQ, put on a couple Schneider C-40's with staged higher divert voltages. Then how to get in an Absorb charge every couple days? Maybe power cycling the C-40's would initiate Bulk/Absorb. Not very elegant. Of course there's monthly EQ also.

I'd greatly appreciate some assistance. Thank you.

ralphday224
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Re: FM80 Hydro Diversion

Post by ralphday224 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:55 pm

There's always Midnitesolar

raysun
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Re: FM80 Hydro Diversion

Post by raysun » Thu Feb 20, 2020 5:07 pm

ralphday224 wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:55 pm
There's always Midnitesolar
That's a good option. The hydro controller, and in fact the solar controller are pretty much "set and save" on operational parameters. The hydro input can easily be metered via FNDC, so while Optics wouldn't be able to program the MC controller, it certainly could monitor its production.

jbakker
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Re: FM80 Hydro Diversion

Post by jbakker » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:25 am

I would recommend a Midnite.

The FNDC will monitor the Hydro input no problem. I use all 3 shunt inputs on my FNDC.
Monitor the FM60 I, the Midnite and the output to the inverters.

The Midnite has built in support for the Solar, Wind and Hydro.

Plays nice with Lithium battery banks as well.

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Gwendoly Espe
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Re: FM80 Hydro Diversion

Post by Gwendoly Espe » Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:33 pm

I was informed that the FM60/80's never had that function working without solar. Not sure about the MXs.

The FM100 will operate the AUX port with or without solar.
Gwendoly Espe
Applications Engineer


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

solargary
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My RE system: In between systems as I develop a new off-grid site. Previous systems include Trace/Xantrex and Outback. Many installs, a wide variety of equipment, mostly Outback. Work with solar, wind, and hydro.

Re: FM80 Hydro Diversion

Post by solargary » Sat Mar 14, 2020 2:05 pm

Thank you, folks, for your replies. I can see that the Midnite Solar controller would work, and it appears the Morningstar PWM controller would as well. Either would be an expensive addition, as we need primary and secondary diversion, so two controllers and associated OCPD, batt temp, installation. Also we'd be left with a challenge receiving the appropriate absorb charge. Sounds like we'd need to set the two FM80's at float voltage for absorb and EQ, and rely on the diversion controllers and hydro only for absorb and EQ on the large HUP battery bank. Then shut down the hydro as flow drops in the spring, since we wouldn't have enough power to adequately complete an absorb (which is questionable with hydro only even now). At that time we'd need to reprogram the FM80's for the normal voltages, switch back when it's hydro season again. Two re-programs per year and questionable absorb/EQ during "hydro season."

The primary challenge we're having is that the FM60/80 manual specifically mentions hydro diversion, which we were counting on for the installation. Each was to utilize a solid state relay, for the needed primary and secondary diversion. It appears the product functionality is not as advertised, unless I missed a notice in the manual. At this point I'll submit an online bug report, asking Outback to solve the problem.

plebspamuser
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Re: FM80 Hydro Diversion

Post by plebspamuser » Wed May 06, 2020 6:07 am

I believe the Hydro "mode" on the FMs just meant that they someone can connect to a Hydro source as long as it was within the FMs specs (ie battery VOC and max amps)... since there is no Hydro mode setting from what I know. It usually works better with low head sites as the FMs need to see the full VOC before sweeping for mppt. This does not go down too well with high head sites and will definitely destroy a controller with voc > 150vDC. So as far as the FM is concerned its still thinks its connected to PV even though its connected to hydro...

Regarding dump / oppurtunity loads, the original discussion (quite long and very old) when this was first implemented will probably help the most http://www.outbackpower.com/forum/viewt ... 5&start=25 ... Just one thing to keep in mind... an opputunity load to use all the extra power is one thing and a dump load to keep batteries safe and use extra power is another...

all the best
pleb

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