Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Discussion about adding energy storage to grid-dependent inverters using OutBack Power technology
Swampdog
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Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:46 pm

My system:
7.0 kw system
AC coupled
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Optimizers
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback 220 GH Energycell (12)
Outback MATE3s (03/2018)
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SolarEdge SE6000A-US
(ROCB relay: installer removed ROCB relay with firmware update, as per Outback support)
MATE3s firmware: 1.4.2
Radian GS8048A firmware: 1.6.70
FLEXnet DC firmware: 1.1.7.1

Errors: Low SOC percentage GS-1 & FNDC-2

Events:
10/09/19: PG&E planned Public Safety Power Shutdown ~11:30PM; system switched to backup sucesssfully, ran all night.
10/10/19: backup system failures.
- Backup shut down at approximately 8:00AM, Errors - Low SOC percentage GS-1 & FNDC-2;
- Although system appeared to be running, batteries not charging (mid-day).
- Eventually, all components shut down.
- Discovered FNDC breakers had opened (off). Switched them on and system started up and charging; daylight only allowed for charging to 86%.
- Shut down all non-critical elements in the home. I had discovered the well pump was short-cycling, likely using significant power... shut that off overnight.
- 5:30AM, usage was at .2 kW, batteries at 53%
- 8:00AM, system shut down completely; eventually, FNDC breakers (2) opened (off).
- 10:30AM, tried closing FNDC breakers once panels were functioning.. would not stay closed.
- 11:30AM, power retstored, system appears operable; batteries at 100% charge.
- NOTE: 1:00PM 10/11/19, usage is at 1.6kW, batteries at 100%, current power production at 3.89kW, 2.2kW to grid

It seems to me that there is some misreading or reporting of battery SOC, as it is not possible they recharged from panels only between 5:30AM and 9:30AM, and charge should have lasted many more hours.

pss
Forum Guru
Posts: 412
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:40 am
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: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by pss » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:22 pm

First, my apologies for having to be a PG&E customer.

Can you please tell me what you mean by an FN-DC breaker? Where are these and what is wired to them?

Swampdog
Forum Guru
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:28 pm

I am no electrician. The FLEXnet DC is installed in the load center, with two switches next to the charge level light strip. They look like breakers to me, and switched off. After looking into the load center documentation, I now know these are the "DC circuit breakers for the battery" (from load center document). Maybe nothing to do with the FLEXnet DC, I guess.

New event: Although batteries show 100%, we are currently buying grid power (4-6:30PM), continuously, so far. We usually do not buy at all, or very small amounts to top-off batterys, once every couple of days. Something is not switching. No errors showing.
Last edited by Swampdog on Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

pss
Forum Guru
Posts: 412
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:40 am
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: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by pss » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:50 pm

Ok.
Since it now is becoming clearer that you need a lot of help.
Step 1. Know your system.
Begin by going online to Outback Power . Download manuals for Radian, gslc, Flexmax charge controllers, Mate 3S and fn-dc.
The fn-dc does use breakers.
Those large breakers you spoke about are the main breakers for the Radian inverter. If they shut off, batteries went low and no grid backup.

You will need to post screen shots of your Optics RE settings.
Also, you may PM me. I am in San Diego County.

Swampdog
Forum Guru
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:11 am

Thanks for your willingness to assist. Who are you? While I have downloaded all manuals and documentation and many tech sheets, read forums and had technical support communications of the 3 years since the system was installed, I reiterate, I am not an electrical professional but a homeowner striving to understand my system enough to operate it and understand what is normal.

Update: Grid power restored. System seems to be functioning completely normally with no damage, 100% charge and selling power, with no significant discharge overnight. So the remaining question is... why did the batteries discharge so rapidly and completely overnight. The second night with no power, with a second complete discharge, we had turned off virtually all non-critical in our home, including outside lights, well pump, heat boiler, etc.. Batteries never-the-less discharged from a partial 86% charge to low voltage shut-off at approximately 5:00AM.

Oddly, before grid power was restored, as soon as panels began producing, batteries registered at 100% charge in less than one hour. Something is not right, as that is not possible.

Happy to send screenshots of settings, but could you narrow down what settings, as there are many for each device?

pss
Forum Guru
Posts: 412
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:40 am
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: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by pss » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:15 pm

Okay, I have re-read your posts. First off, in your initial equipment listing, you have 25 PV panels. If I read right, each has a Solar Edge power optimizer connected. This is a DC to DC optimizer on each panel to counter the effects of shading an array. The output gets to 2 inverters. One is a 6000 watt Solaredge grid tied inverter, the other is an Outback Radian inverter. I am presuming that the Solaredge feeds directly into your utility company. The Outback Radian is apparently also selling to the grid.

Just from this alone, there are several questions I would like you to answer:
1. If your have 7000 watts of rated PV power, why do you have 14,000 watts of inverter power between the Solar Edge and the Radian? You do realize that most of this capacity is wasted.
2. You have failed to explain how the 25 panels are connected to either of the inverters. In a "normal" off grid style system, the PV panels would output to a combiner box, then a DC disconnect switch, then into charge controllers, then into the battery bank and then from the battery bank to the inverter and then from the inverter into a circuit breaker panel or sub-panel and then to loads and grid.
3. You have not mentioned any PV off grid charge controllers in your hardware list. Do you have any charge controllers?
4. How are the batteries being charged and from what electric source?

Now, as for the battery capacity, you have 12 batteries, each is 12 volt, so 4 connected in series is 48 volt, 12 total is three strings. Each battery supplies 214 amps of power at 48 volts. Multiply this by 3 strings and a fully charged battery bank has a capacity of 642 amps of power over a 20 hour discharge period. 642A x 48V = 30,816 watts of power. These batteries are AGM type. This means absorbent glass mat. They should not be discharged below 50% on a regular basis. I am not an AGM expert, but lets simply calculate a daily discharge from 100% to 65% SOC. This means that if you have 30,816 watts and you remove 10,785, you are at 65% SOC. You noted a load of 1,600 watts. That means it would take 6.74 hours to discharge your batteries to 65% SOC. Since then is no PV of significance now at 6PM, by this logic, your batteries should be down to 65% by 1AM.

If this logic is correct, you need more batteries to meet the damands of your loads and more PV, generator or grid to charge them.

In reviewing your batteries, it seems as though your your bulk and absorb settings should be 57.6 volts, your float 54.5. Your maximum discharge would be down to 42 volts. I would make certain your batteries are protected from discharge and not let them go lower than 47.0 volts. And when I am confident my batteries are fully charged (ie. 57.6 volts or higher), I would unplug the FNDC ethernet connector from the Outback hub and reconnect it. This will automatically reset the FNDC to 100% SOC. Make sure to use a reliable voltmeter to measure the 57.6 or higher, not the readings on the mate 3S. I would say a good absorb time would be 2-4 hours and float time the same. These are starting points. Sell voltage should be 54 to start.

Now the big elephant: The only way the FNDC and Radian can help you is when you are using batteries, there is no feed or connection into the Solaredge inverter and out to grid. There cannot be any connection from batteries that bypasses the Outback environment. Any DC "drains" will mess up the Optics RE reports with losses it has no way of keeping track of.

At this time of the year and since you are geographically near me, you will only have decent PV output from 8 AM until 5 PM.

Finally, since you said your system is already 3 years old, that is certainly enough time to have ruined a battery with improper charging and discharging.

Please consume this info and let me know what you think. Back to NFL football.
Last edited by pss on Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:21 pm, edited 5 times in total.

raysun
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Posts: 1707
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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: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by raysun » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:15 pm

Being strictly off-grid, I don't have much to share about the complexities of a grid-tied system with grid failure.

The battery drain/charge issues, however, sound suspiciously like one (or more) of the monoblocks in one (or more) of the series strings may be failing. Since these are sealed units, the best diagnostic is voltage measurements at the individual monoblock terminals. While not comprehensive, a "quick and dirty" test is to switch the system to inverting from the battery. After 10% or so of the battery capacity has been used (10% DOD) measure each monoblock voltage. Keep draining the battery to about 25%-30% DOD, measure the monoblocks again. If any of the monoblocks are compromised, their voltage will likely show as lower than the others in the string. A monoblock showing less than 11 volts while the others show higher voltage is likely dead.

Swampdog
Forum Guru
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:58 pm

pss:
Okay, I have re-read your posts. First off, in your initial equipment listing, you have 25 PV panels. If I read right, each has a Solar Edge power optimizer connected. This is a DC to DC optimizer on each panel to counter the effects of shading an array. The output gets to 2 inverters. One is a 6000 watt Solaredge grid tied inverter, the other is an Outback Radian inverter. I am presuming that the Solaredge feeds directly into your utility company. The Outback Radian is apparently also selling to the grid.

Just from this alone, there are several questions I would like you to answer:
1. If your have 7000 watts of rated PV power, why do you have 14,000 watts of inverter power between the Solar Edge and the Radian? You do realize that most of this capacity is wasted.
TY: CORRECT OR NOT, AT THE TIME. I UNDERSTOOD IT THE SOLOREDGE WAS REQUIRED FOR THE GRID-TIE, AND AT THE TIME OUTBACK DID NOT PROVIDE GRID-TIE INVERTERS . IF YOU PROVIDE ME A METHOD, I CAN SEND THE ORIGINAL SYSTEM PLANS, ALTHOUGH IT DIFFERS SOMEWHAT FROM THE FINAL INSTALL. NOTE THAT ALTHOUGH LISTED ON THE PLANS, NO CHARGE CONTROLLER WAS INSTALLED.

2. You have failed to explain how the 25 panels are connected to either of the inverters. In a "normal" off grid style system, the PV panels would output to a combiner box, then a DC disconnect switch, then into charge controllers, then into the battery bank and then from the battery bank to the inverter and then from the inverter into a circuit breaker panel or sub-panel and then to loads and grid. REFER TO PLANS.

3. You have not mentioned any PV off grid charge controllers in your hardware list. Do you have any charge controllers? ALTHOUGH LISTED ON THE PLANS, NO CHARGE CONTROLLER WAS INSTALLED.


4. How are the batteries being charged and from what electric source? I BELIEVE BATTERIES CHARGE FROM BOTH PANELS AND GRID, OR OPTIONAL GENERATOR (MANUAL CONNECT).

Now, as for the battery capacity, you have 12 batteries, each is 12 volt, so 4 connected in series is 48 volt, 12 total is three strings. Each battery supplies 214 amps of power at 48 volts. Multiply this by 3 strings and a fully charged battery bank has a capacity of 642 amps of power over a 20 hour discharge period. 642A x 48V = 30,816 watts of power. These batteries are AGM type. This means absorbent glass mat. They should not be discharged below 50% on a regular basis. I am not an AGM expert, but lets simply calculate a daily discharge from 100% to 65% SOC. This means that if you have 30,816 watts and you remove 10,785, you are at 65% SOC. You noted a load of 1,600 watts. That means it would take 6.74 hours to discharge your batteries to 65% SOC. Since then is no PV of significance now at 6PM, by this logic, your batteries should be down to 65% by 1AM.
I DON’T RECALL NOTING A LOAD OF 1600 WATTS. BY MY LAYMAN’S CALCULATION AND USING A GENERIC CHART, IT SEEMS WE MAY TYPICALLY USE ABOUT 3600 WATTS OVERNIGHT AND 5400 WATTS DURING TYPICAL DAYTIME WHEN AT HOME.

If this logic is correct, you need more batteries to meet the demands of your loads and more PV, generator or grid to charge them.

In reviewing your batteries, it seems as though your your bulk and absorb settings should be 57.6 volts, your float 54.5. Your maximum discharge would be down to 42 volts. I would make certain your batteries are protected from discharge and not let them go lower than 47.0 volts. And when I am confident my batteries are fully charged (ie. 57.6 volts or higher), I would unplug the FNDC ethernet connector from the Outback hub and reconnect it. This will automatically reset the FNDC to 100% SOC. Make sure to use a reliable voltmeter to measure the 57.6 or higher, not the readings on the mate 3S. I would say a good absorb time would be 2-4 hours and float time the same. These are starting points. Sell voltage should be 54 to start.
NEVER EXPEREINCED A LOW-VOLTAGE EVENT BEFORE.
ABSORB VOLTAGE = 57.6
FLOAT = 54.4
RE-BULK VOLTAGE = 49.6
EQ VOLTAGE = 57.6
ABSORB TIME = 1 HOUR
FLOAT TIME = 1 HOUR
SELL VOLTAGE = 54.4

Now the big elephant: The only way the FNDC and Radian can help you is when you are using batteries, there is no feed or connection into the Solaredge inverter and out to grid. There cannot be any connection from batteries that bypasses the Outback environment. Any DC "drains" will mess up the Optics RE reports with losses it has no way of keeping track of.

At this time of the year and since you are geographically near me, you will only have decent PV output from 8 AM until 5 PM.

Finally, since you said your system is already 3 years old, that is certainly enough time to have ruined a battery with improper charging and discharging. NEVER EXPERIENCED A LOW-VOLTAGE EVENT BEFORE.

pss
Forum Guru
Posts: 412
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:40 am
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: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by pss » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:44 pm

Okay, from your response, it seems you have 7000 watt PV array connected to a grid tied solar edge inverter. You have an Outback Radian inverter in backup mode with batteries charged by the inverter when it is grid tied. There is no PV charging of the batteries as there is no charge controller. The charge status of the batteries is not known. When the grid goes down, the Solaredge output is stopped. The grid feeding the Radian inverter battery charger is stopped. The Radian if in backup mode supplies battery power until a programmed voltage is reached. The the inverter disconnects from the battery bank and shuts down. Since there is no grid, even if daylight and sunshine is present, no power is harvested because the grid is down and batteries run down.
The only way to charge batteries is by a generator connected to Outback Radian or connecting the PV to charge controllers feeding the battery bank so PV can be harvested when grid is down.
If I have understood this all correctly, then your equipment needs to be reconfigured to meet your needs with grid loss.

Swampdog
Forum Guru
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:15 pm

With all due respect and appreciation for your assistance, I am sure that is incorrect. The batteries are pv charged. During our outage of several days, after the first shut-down event in the early morning, the batteries recharged enough to provide us usage power all day and still acheived 86% charge by nightfall.

Attached is my original plan, although final configuration was slightly different, as well as OpticsRE data from that period. Although listed on the plan, no Charge Controller was installed, explained to me as unnecessary.

I had a multitude of problems with the system switching to back-up during outages, ranging from no switch to delayed up to 30"minutes. Finally, the ROBC was removed, firmware and software updated allegedly to address the issue, and the device installed depicted in the attached image (I don't know what it is). The first test was this last, PG&E-induced, extended outage. The system switch and worked fine except that it discharged quickly and ultimatly shut-down.

All is working well now, as far as full battery charge and pv production.

So my primary concern is to resolve if the discharge was was a result of a problem I can remedy and to avoid it happening again. We have never experienced a complete discharge and shut-down before. I also discovered one of our well pumps was short-cycling and running randomly, which I remedied, but that likely put a strain on the system as well.

Your assistance is truly appreciated!
Attachments
20191023_155442.jpg
AOE-2 (cropped).pdf
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Outback screenshots 10-23-19.pdf
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Swampdog
Forum Guru
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:22 pm

Addendum... on the second outage morning, after the second shut-down, the system went from a low-voltage condition to operating and batteries showing a 100% charge in about 2 hours of sunlight. This is not possible, so I am concerned that battery status is being mis-read and shut-down inappropriately. The events that day are as follows:

10/11/19: 5:30AM, usage was at .2 kW, batteries at 53%
- 8:00AM, system shut down completely; eventually, DC circuit breakers for the batteries (2) opened (off).
- 9:30AM, tried closing FNDC breakers once panels were functioning.. would not stay closed; MATE3s reported batteries at 100%; eventually closed.
- 11:30AM, power restored, system appears operable; batteries at 100% charge.
- 12:30PM, Statistics - usage is at 1.6kW, batteries at 100%, current power production at 3.89kW, 2.2kW to grid

pss
Forum Guru
Posts: 412
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:40 am
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: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by pss » Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:54 pm

Understand that I am making assumptions and conclusions based on the information provided in your posts. Please understand that an FN-DC component of an Outback system has no such part as an FNDC breaker. Remember, we talked about those being the main breakers for the Radian Inverter and not related in any way, shape or form to the FNDC component.
Please under stand that there are only really 4 ways to charge a battery: From solar energy harvested with a solar panel through a charge controller into a battery bank. With an inverter that also contains a battery charger. From what you have described, your Solar Edge model lacks an inverter based battery charger while your Radian does have an inverter based battery charger. Inverter based battery chargers charge batteries using power they receive from the grid or a generator when solar power via the panels and charge controller are not available. Please understand that a generator can charge batteries anytime you ask it to, the same for the grid via an inverter based charger or other stand alone charger like those from autoparts stores, but solar power can only charge batteries in daylight and through the charge controller. And you have clearly stated that you have no installed charge controllers. Therefore, any PV current is unable by any safe wiring known to go directly to a battery bank. The only way your PV could charge a battery is if the PV went to SolarEdge inverter and there is a wired connection AC output to the the grid input of the Radian inverter whereby the Radian can use it's onboard inverter to charge your batteries from it perceives to be the grid (utility power) when in fact it is SolarEdge power. PV should be disconnected from going into the grid output if the grid is down. The SolarEdge may think the output of the Radian (before the batteries are depleted) is actually the "grid", not your utility. In which case your system will still need to charge the batteries from the PV to SolarEdge to Radian's charger or bypass charging the batteries to run your loads.

I need to review some of the post and will comment more in a bit.

In an Outback Power environment, each charge controller is programmed independantly of each other and the same is the case for the inverter's built in charger. They are separate.

In looking at your charger settings, it seems to me it would be helpful to understand how you are programming the charge cycle. When you are looking at your Mate 3S, can you please let us know what devices are connected by the hub and what ports each ethernet cable is plugged into. For instance, if you are in Optics RE, if you click on devices, you will see what device is plugged into each port. Can you please post this information. Also, your absorb times should be 4 hours for your battery bank to allow a realistic recharge cycle.

Swampdog
Forum Guru
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:39 am

Addendum 2: In response to your comment about duplicating function with twqo inverters... my system is AC coupled and eveything I read indicates the two inverters are required. Is this incorrect?

I now understand there are no "FNDC breakers". I was incorrectly referring to the DC circuit breakers for the batteries, simply due to proximity. Error persists due to cut & paste writing.

Background: I am in a rural area close to SF Bay, CA. We are solely on well water, no cell reception, no sewers, no natural gas, but 20 minutes from intense urban areas. We have two well pumps (220v). We are located on a 10-mile, 2-lane rd. with but one line each for power and phones. We experience frequent power outages, often for extended periods (none yet as long as PG&E's planned outage). We also operate two computer-intensive home offices. My intent was to be able to function and run business, as well as have water when power and phone land lines are down.

I had a whole-house generator (8,000w, still an option), but fuel storage is a limitation, as well as noise, etc.

Ironically, of lesser importance to us, Pv sales to PG&E have been flawless, but our priority of reliable backup eluisive. After endless disputes, our installer is no longer responding, citing expiration of his service warranty.

Your assistance is appreciated!

Would like to know... are you with Outback, an electrician, a knowledgeable and interested hobbyist?

User avatar
David LeBow
OutBack Management
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Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by David LeBow » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:51 am

Swampdog wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:39 am
Would like to know... are you with Outback, an electrician, a knowledgeable and interested hobbyist?
Just a quick FYI - OutBack staffers are in a forum group which causes their forum user names to show up in red - like mine. Just a little help to know who's who.
David LeBow
Sr. Director, Software Engineering


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

pss
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Posts: 412
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:40 am
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: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by pss » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:39 am

I am a retired individual who has advanced college degrees, no I do not work for Outback. I have approximately 14 years in understanding solar systems and have spent many hours with electric engineers and master electricians. I am fortunate to be in San Diego county where solar systems and solar knowledge is readily available. I have two independent PV systems, one is grid tied via dual Sunnyboy inverters and the second is an Outback off grid system you see in my profile. In my setup, the grid tied system main panel supplies a 50 amp 240 volt circuit as the grid interface to the Outback system. The Outback system operates it's own main panel, and the grid tied system operates it's own main panel. If both systems go out, then there is no power. If the grid tied goes out, then half the property is without power, the same situation applies if the Outback system goes out, half the property suffers. Either system can be backed up with generator power (two would be needed to supply both systems if no grid and no PV. The systems were not installed at the same time. And due to the nature of the ground (slope and clay/granite typical of California), not real easy to dig like in soft soil or sandy soils. In addition the design of the structures separates my two system by a physical distance of about 200 feet.

Swampdog
Forum Guru
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:28 am

David Lebow: Yes... good to know. However, nobody with red names has responded to my issue. No help yet from Technical Support either.

pss
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Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by pss » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:08 pm

So far you have described a problem with the configuration of your system and the batteries. From your posts, it appears that all of your Outback components are working as designed. Outback does not provide support on how to program and configure your system to your needs. They provide support when their products are not working. Your problem seems to be related to system design. IE. is is a customized system. I am not an Outback employee and it appears you have now become frustrated with my efforts to help you both understand your system and how to improve its performance to meet your needs. So if you would like any more aid that I can provide to the best of my abilities, then please send a PM.

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Greg T Fordan
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Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Greg T Fordan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:17 pm

Thanks PSS for always helping this community. We appreciate your valuable contributions to the Outback Forum.

Hi Swampdog, I'm glad that you're system is up and running and is now operating according to your normal expectations. Here's my Reader's digest vesion/opinion on what occurred during the grid power outage.

1. The two "FNDC breakers" you mentioned are definitely the 2-175A breakers for the 2 inverter modules of the GS8048A.
2. When you said the system shut down completely on 8AM, 10/10, that was when those 2 breakers tripped off line. I am not clear why it happened because assuming the battery bank voltage reached a voltage of 42V and below, the inverter will just be automatically turned off via a feature called LBCO (low battery cut-out), and the two 175A breakers need not tripped.
3. When the complete shutdown happened, did you notice that the MATE3s went completely dark too? Most probably it did, and with that, it follows that the hub went without power too, which in effect resetting the FNDC.
4. When grid power was restored, since the FNDC was reset on power down, the SOC will reset to 100% regardless of the actual SOC status.
5. Because of item 4, upon grid power restoration, the system would NOT immediately Sell because even though the system was indicating a 100% state of health, it was not, and was still working its way to a real 100% with the help of the third party grid-tied inverter. Next time, check the bank voltage too, while the system is indicating a "false" 100%.

Related comments:
The system has no charge controller because the system is a typical AC coupling set-up with an Outback inverter. The charging is accomplished via the third party grid tie inverter, which in this case the SolarEdge during daytime with sufficient sunlight. At nighttime, charging can be accomplished via the grid power.
Next time, a grid outage happens during daytime, below should be your expectations:
1. All the loads from your critical loads panel should stay powered up.
2. With sufficient sunlight (insolation), charging may be happening at the same time
3. Upon return of grid power, everything should be back to normal

Below are the possible scenario when grid outage happens at nighttime:
1. All the loads from the critical loads panel should stay powered up
2. The system is being powered solely from the battery bank, so it is inevitable that a prolonged outage will come to a low bat and low SOC situation.
3. When bank voltage reaches 42V and below the inverter will be turned off, power to critical load panel will be lost. MATE3s will remain powered up. Take this time to turn off all the loads from this critical load panel.
4. Upon return of grid power, or when daylight comes, charging will start and the inverter can be manually turned on if the voltage is at the predetermined cut-in voltage. One at a time, turn on the loads from the critical load panel.
Greg T Fordan
EngTech
Outback Power Technologies

Swampdog
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My RE system: 7.0 kw system
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Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:29 pm

Greg;

Thanks very much. I now believe I understand what my expectations should be, but remain concerned about power consumption. My responses to your comments and questions:
1. I understand these are DC breaakers for batteries. not related to the FNDC.
2. Well... the breakers did shut off.
3. Yes, MATE3s and hub shut off as well.
4 & 5. Initially, the breakers would not reset. As pv power came online, reset DC breakers with FNDC showing 100%, although less than 2 hours had passed. Grid power did not come on for about 2 hrs. I understand you are saying the reset of FNDC resulted in a false 100%.

I have attached relevent data, in hope there will be some insight. The power shut down by PG&E was about 11:30PM day1, and lasted until 11:30AM 2 days later (2 nights). The first night, I did not shut off any critical circuits, not anticipating the low voltage scenario. I also discovered a short-cycling well pump which undoubtedly put on extra 220v load all night. On night 2, charge showing 86% (from pv only, no grid power) I shut off almost everything, including the well pumps, outdoor lights, boiler, etc. We still had a low-voltage shut-down. MY concern is that we are using power too quickly, even with almost all circuits shut down.

New question: We retained the manual-connect generator option, which is supposed to also charge batteries when connected. I have the Outback instructions (attached), which is simple enough, but could not locate the breakers described and was concerned about resulting damage. Described as "open the SolarEdge L1/L2 breakers in the Radian GSLC load center." Can you clarify or provide alternate instructions, as this ability would reduce my concerns greatly by being able to supplement battery power?

I can send log files for the subject period if you can tell me in what format, as the forum doesn't like the .csv files.

T
Attachments
Outback screenshots 10-23-19 (cropped).pdf
(383.7 KiB) Downloaded 83 times
AOE-2 (cropped).pdf
(1021.83 KiB) Downloaded 89 times
Generator instructions - adding a generator (Manually).pdf
(32.87 KiB) Downloaded 85 times

Swampdog
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Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:46 pm

Greg addendum:

Questions:

1) Several sources have advised I change the Absorb time to 4 hours from the current 1 hour. Do you agree?

2) Can you identify the device in the attached image? It was installed when the ROBC was removed and MATE3s firmware updated to 1.04.02.

Thanks!
Attachments
20191023_155442.jpg

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Greg T Fordan
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Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Greg T Fordan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:50 pm

Swampdog,
Swing open your GSLC door. If your installer followed the convention, the L1/L2 breaker for SolarEdge is the one that is labeled GEN in my attached image.
gen_gslc.JPG

"MY concern is that we are using power too quickly, even with almost all circuits shut down."
If you really had practically no loads, that is really a concern
Greg T Fordan
EngTech
Outback Power Technologies

Swampdog
Forum Guru
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:23 pm
My RE system: 7.0 kw system
25 x Solarworld SW280 w/SolarEdge Power Optimizers
12 x 220 GH Energycell
Outback GS load center GSLC175-PV-120/240
Outback Radian 8048a
Outback MATE3s
Outback HUB
Outback FlexNet DC
SOLAREDGE SE6000A-US
Briggs & Stratton Elite 5500w generator (8,500 surge; manual connect)

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Swampdog » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:11 pm

The layout is exactly like that, with Grid labeled... Gen is not... but must be the L1/L2.

.. and the device i.d.?

Re. usage, since I remedied the short-cycling well pump that likely ran randomly all night, combined with realistic expectations, I will monitor closely during next outage.

S-D

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Greg T Fordan
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Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Greg T Fordan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:16 pm

1. I asked Product Management about the device (relay) that you posted. They said the relay that was part of the released AC Coupling kit was NOT like that. I am not saying that it will not work. If It is functioning correctly in place of the ROCB, so be it.

2. Yes, try increasing it to 4 hours. A glimpse on your battery specs shows absorb time is 2 hours, and you have 12 batteries!
Greg T Fordan
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Outback Power Technologies

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Greg T Fordan
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Posts: 278
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My RE system: Radian, FM80, FNDC, 48V batt bank

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Greg T Fordan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:27 pm

One last thing, and I'll stop (maybe). Please configure your FNDC.
1.You have 12 batteries, 4 in series, in parallel with 2 others. The capacity of each series string is 220AH. You multiply that by 3. So instead of 400, your number there should be 660
2. Your charged voltage should be 57.6, not 28.7
palomares1.JPG
Greg T Fordan
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Outback Power Technologies

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Greg T Fordan
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My RE system: Radian, FM80, FNDC, 48V batt bank

Re: Backup system failures, low voltage errors

Post by Greg T Fordan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:52 pm

Swampdog,
I re-evaluated your question on the L1/L2 breaker. It might not be the one I pointed out. That breaker is most likely for the manual generator that you retained. Please post a picture of the breakers in your GSLC, so that we can re-evaluate.
You can also manually trace the output cable coming out of SolarEdge inverter all the way to the correct breaker.
Greg T Fordan
EngTech
Outback Power Technologies

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