AC Input Stuck Relay fault and Generator Start has Failed

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AC Input Stuck Relay fault and Generator Start has Failed

Postby randallxski on Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:10 am

In light of the online support case form failing, I thought I'd post my issues here to see if there's anything that can be done other than working directly with Outback Support.

We just recently purchased and installed a new Radian 8048A to replace a broken unit that was still under warranty but couldn't be diagnosed and fixed remotely. The new unit is several months old and is already failing. Ugh.

1) The FlexNet DC relay to trigger the generator on and off no longer functions and had to be disabled. The ultimate failure was when the Mate showed the Generator light on but the generator was off, and the Mate was rebooting every 30 seconds with the log entry, "Automatic Generator Start (AGS), Generator Start has Failed."

2) I'm now getting an error and the inverter shuts off when the AC grid power turns off. The error is: "Inverter on port 1 has detected an AC Input Stuck Relay fault."

Please help! Any ideas on how to get these issues resolved? Is it common for relays to fail when they are so new?
randallxski
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Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:03 am
Location: Jacmel, Haiti
My RE system: Primary System:
Radian 8048A
3 FlexMax 80
Mate3
24 Rolls 6v Batteries
42 Solar Panels

Re: AC Input Stuck Relay fault and Generator Start has Faile

Postby Kurt Lundquist on Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:54 pm

Ouch I'm sorry to hear about the problems you are having. In my experience when you have multiple inverter failures on a site within a short amount of time it is typically due to an external problem. Do you have a wiring diagram or pictures to share of the install/wiring?

Per item #1 it sounds like there is a communications issue or a grounding problem. Does the Mate still reboot every 30 seconds with the new inverter or was that just a something you saw with the old unit?

randallxski wrote:2) I'm now getting an error and the inverter shuts off when the AC grid power turns off. The error is: "Inverter on port 1 has detected an AC Input Stuck Relay fault."


What happens when you press the Inverter button on the Mate3 then press OFF then ON? Does the stuck relay error come back? What size AC loads are typically running on the inverter output when the grid shuts off?

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Renewable Energy Project Engineer
http://alphaenergy.us/
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Re: AC Input Stuck Relay fault and Generator Start has Faile

Postby David LeBow on Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:46 pm

@Randy: I see that the notifications being sent out from the forum to your e-mail address are failing:

#5.0.0 smtp; 5.1.0 - Unknown address error 550-'Mailbox is full / Blocks limit exceeded / Inode limit exceeded' (delivery attempts: 0)>'
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Re: AC Input Stuck Relay fault and Generator Start has Faile

Postby randallxski on Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:06 am

David LeBow wrote:@Randy: I see that the notifications being sent out from the forum to your e-mail address are failing:

#5.0.0 smtp; 5.1.0 - Unknown address error 550-'Mailbox is full / Blocks limit exceeded / Inode limit exceeded' (delivery attempts: 0)>'


Thanks, David! I had no idea that was happening. I need to check into that. I really appreciate you letting me know!
randallxski
Forum Member
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:03 am
Location: Jacmel, Haiti
My RE system: Primary System:
Radian 8048A
3 FlexMax 80
Mate3
24 Rolls 6v Batteries
42 Solar Panels

Re: AC Input Stuck Relay fault and Generator Start has Faile

Postby randallxski on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:49 am

Kurt Lundquist wrote:Ouch I'm sorry to hear about the problems you are having. In my experience when you have multiple inverter failures on a site within a short amount of time it is typically due to an external problem. Do you have a wiring diagram or pictures to share of the install/wiring?

Per item #1 it sounds like there is a communications issue or a grounding problem. Does the Mate still reboot every 30 seconds with the new inverter or was that just a something you saw with the old unit?

After the new inverter was installed, I set up Must Run times in the OpticsRE site. Those worked great for about a month, then it was inconsistent on both the start and the stop capabilities. I've triggered the relay to start the generator while standing next to the inverter, and I don't hear the relay click. I'm guessing that the relay has progressively gotten worse and now no longer or barely functions. The rebooting scenario only occurred once when I think the Mate tried to trigger the generator and the relay wouldn't work. After that I've disabled the Must Run capability and just turn the generator on and off manually. Not the end of the world, but I either lose sleep or use a lot more diesel.

Kurt Lundquist wrote:2) I'm now getting an error and the inverter shuts off when the AC grid power turns off. The error is: "Inverter on port 1 has detected an AC Input Stuck Relay fault."

What happens when you press the Inverter button on the Mate3 then press OFF then ON? Does the stuck relay error come back? What size AC loads are typically running on the inverter output when the grid shuts off?

This has happened twice now in the last 2 weeks. Yes, when it happens, we need to turn the inverter off and back on. That clears the error and gets power back on.

Our loads are generally in the 3-5KW range. So far, this has only happened when the grid power is turned off in the afternoons. (It's actually unusual for us to have grid power in the afternoons.) The grid is also turned off every other morning around 3-4AM, and I haven't had seen the stuck relay error occur then. I'm just thinking out load, but how much are relays affected by temperature?
randallxski
Forum Member
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:03 am
Location: Jacmel, Haiti
My RE system: Primary System:
Radian 8048A
3 FlexMax 80
Mate3
24 Rolls 6v Batteries
42 Solar Panels

Re: AC Input Stuck Relay fault and Generator Start has Faile

Postby Kurt Lundquist on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:44 am

randallxski wrote:I've triggered the relay to start the generator while standing next to the inverter, and I don't hear the relay click. I'm guessing that the relay has progressively gotten worse and now no longer or barely functions.


I assume you are using the AUX relay inside the inverter. To trigger the relay are you pressing the GEN button on the Mate3 screen then pressing ON? Does it show starting next to the Mode? On the Mate3 go to the AGS menu (LOCK > 141 Password > Settings > Mate3 > AGS). Does it show Port1 and AUX RELAY? As a generator start relay there shouldn't be any power going through the contacts so I don't see any reason for it to fail so quickly. Most relays in this type of application should be able to last for thousands of cycles.

randallxski wrote:Our loads are generally in the 3-5KW range. So far, this has only happened when the grid power is turned off in the afternoons. (It's actually unusual for us to have grid power in the afternoons.) The grid is also turned off every other morning around 3-4AM, and I haven't had seen the stuck relay error occur then. I'm just thinking out load, but how much are relays affected by temperature?


When your system is running a 5kW load and the grid disappears it will cause an arc in the transfer relay especially if the transfer is at or close to the peak of the sine wave. My guess is this arc causes enough noise in your system to generate the welded relay fault. When you manually drop AC with the Mate3 it gives the inverter time to make the AC transfer when the sine wave is at the zero crossing. This ensures the transfer is as gentle as possible on the relay.

I've worked on systems in Haiti and I know what you mean about the daily grid outages. If your system generally has enough PV when the afternoon grid outages usually occur it might make sense to have the system drop the grid first. The grid use settings can help automate this process. Alternatively, you could set the generator input to your priority AC source and then use Must Run to have it run the gen for the typical outage period (once AGS is working again).

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Renewable Energy Project Engineer
http://alphaenergy.us/
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Posts: 1025
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