Equalizing

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Equalizing

Postby Brodie on Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:11 am

I have a 6-year old system with outback inverter with outback mx-60 charge controller and qty: 24 2-V surrette batteries. I have qty: 2 165watt sharp panels. This is an off-grid application. I'm not there very often, so the batteries sit at full charge for the majority of the time. Batteries have consistent and good SG readings, so no trouble there.

Problem: I'm not having much success running an equalize cycle....

In reading the surrette manuals, I see the following:

Bulletin 605: Preventative qualization should be performed when required or once every 6 months.
Bulletin 609: The equalization can be done from the grid or from the panels, and the generator carries out the finishing charge. It has been stated that equalizing from a generator is not good for either the inverter or the generator. If the user has a small array and a generator, it is still recommended that they operate the bank from 50% to 95%. On a regular basis, the batteries should be charged by the generator, and then equalized when dc power from the panels is available.

Other than the confusing statement about equalizing not being good for a generator or inverter, I have no problems with any of what's stated in the manuals. Basically I have tried equalizing a couple times, have not been successful and am likely missing something simple.

With the batteries topped up and full sunlight on the panels, I've used the set-up screen to 6 hours @ 29 volts, but the charge timer doesn't appear to move from 240. The charge controller manual states the ChgT should count up from zero (000), and then count down.

I don't see any of this happening. Nothing indicates an equalization is occurring and no numbers appear to change. It is not readily apparent by the set-up screen that anything is happening.

Question 1: Using direct solar, why won't the system perform an equalize cycle? What is wrong with this picture?
Question 2: We use this place just 20 days a year - with the sun keeping things topped up, is an equalization actually necessary?

Any feedback would be appreciated.
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Re: Equalizing

Postby tallgirl on Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:24 pm

Brodie,

What voltage are the panels able to produce? You have a LOT of batteries and not a lot of solar. That's not a good combination when it comes to equalization since the voltages, and internal battery losses, are higher.

And yes, equalization charges are required. For tall batteries that are floated most of the time, the electrolyte can stratify -- the denser acid migrates to the bottom of the battery, where it can then corrode the bottoms of the plates. Equalization helps to stir the electrolyte, as well as insure that all cells are at the same state of charge.
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Re: Equalizing

Postby Kearhart on Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:11 am

Hello Brodie,

With our MX60 charge controller you may need to have an array of about 1,600 watts to charge that size of batteries. Examine page 78 of the MX60 Manual: http://www.outbackpower.com/pdf/manuals ... v_mppt.pdf

Your array appears to be about 330 watts. You need about 4 times that of what you have to be able to perform well with the charging processes. Are your panels in series or parallel?

If the PV voltage is within 2 volts of the battery voltage you could see your MX60 attempting to fall asleep and wake up and go into a bulk “BMPPT” which will not really start recording Absorb or Equalize because it didn’t make the voltage set point.

Could you scroll through your ”logging” screen and tell us what your last few daily KWhours or Amp hours have been? Also what has been the “Float time minutes” for each of these various days?

And do you have any loads on—to include phantom loads that are draining the battery as it’s attempting to charge?
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Re: Equalizing

Postby blackswan555 on Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:22 am

please clarify which batteries they are @20 hr rate ? but the smallest rolls you can get in a 2v cell is 1050ah http://www.rollsbattery.com/content/spe ... -renewable so that would put you very low on charge current,

Have a good one
Tim
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Re: Equalizing

Postby Brodie on Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:27 pm

Thank you for the various responses, sorry I don't have all the answers yet, but here are some replies:

Q, Julie: What voltage are the panels able to produce?
A, BW: Had good sunlight last weekend. With unobstructed sun, the mx-60 displayed in the high 30V range, reading in the low 40V a couple times.

Q, Keira: Are your panels in series or parallel?
A, BW - I believe in series.

Q, Keira: Could you scroll through your ”logging” screen and tell us what your last few daily KWhours or Amp hours have been? Also what has been the “Float time minutes” for each of these various days?
A, BW - Need to get back up there to do this. Our next trip is in Mid May.

Q, Keira, And do you have any loads on—to include phantom loads that are draining the battery as it’s attempting to charge?
A, BW - No loads while trying to equalize

Q, Swan: please clarify which batteries they are @20 hr rate ?
A, BW: They are a KS series battery, not sure of the exact model number. I bought the system off consignment and never did recieve all the paperwork despite my frequent phone calls, no model numbers present on the top of the battery.
All I know is that they are surette 2V batteries, 24 of them, apparently a 36KW bank , which would make each unit 1500Watts.

Regards,

Brodie
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Re: Equalizing

Postby blackswan555 on Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:30 pm

Not sure on how or where the KW came from, It is usual to state bank size in AH, You say 24x KS / 2v batteries, which narrows it down to either 1766 ah or 2430 ah @ 48 v(there will be a label on the end of bats) so to say you are short on panels would be an underestimate, rolls recommend 5 > 13% of 20 hr rate so assuming the smaller batts, 89a > 229a you have a max of about 7a @ 48v from panels,
Please confirm which and how many inverters ? do you have a backup eg grid or gen ?
Back to equalization and if it is necessary if bats not used much ? Yes to combat sulfation from under usage, In your case, I would recommend good hard discharge down to LBC ( low bat cut or 11v/12v 22v/24v 44v/48v) then a charge to full and EQ every 3 months.
Have a good one
Tim
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Re: Equalizing

Postby Brodie on Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:46 pm

HI Tim, Thanks for the reply,

Q, Tim: Please confirm which and how many inverters ?
A, BW: 1 inverter, FX 2024

Q, Tim: do you have a backup eg grid or gen ?
A, BW: I have a 2000Watt Honda Generator, second option is to run a extension cord from neighbour (approx. 100 yards). Neighbour is fed from the grid.

Back to equalization and if it is necessary if bats not used much ? Yes to combat sulfation from under usage, In your case, I would recommend good hard discharge down to LBC ( low bat cut or 11v/12v 22v/24v 44v/48v) then a charge to full and EQ every 3 months.

BW - Batteries are definately not used much: approx. 6 times a year for 3 or 4 days.
Q, BW: Can I equalize with the 2000W generator, this is preferable since I don't like bothering my neighbour if possible, plus takes away from the stigma of being self-sufficient.

PS, I normally charge the system with the generator in "eco-mode", The system accepts, the input, and within 30 seconds, the generator ramps up to charge and stays ramped up until the batteries are topped up. I'm not sure logistically how this happens, but when the batteries have reached full charge, my generator kicks back down to low idle. This triggers me to manually shut the generator off. I am happy with this arrangement, it's quite simple and works for me. I guess my question is that in order to equalize, would I have to by-pass some sort of factory setting which prevents the generator from ramping up after the batteries are up to full charge?
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Re: Equalizing

Postby blackswan555 on Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:35 am

Sry was working on 48v above #-o but on 24v to say you have a big bank of batteries and very little charge is an BIG underestimate, 3532ah or 4860ah,
You get a max 55a from the fx @ 24v (2024ET ? were in the word are you ? 230v? ) get up to around 30v for EQ, that is down around 45a you may see about 11 amps at the same voltage from you panels on a good day, you will (temp dependent/compensated) probably want to try to get to 31v ish,

Taking that into consideration, I am going to "un-recommend" what I said in previous post ( which is rolls standard instructions from manual) about discharging your batteries then giving the a good charge, I think you may have problems getting them back up due to lack of charging current available and if there is it will take a VERY long time ( even down to %50 that's 1766ah to be returned, you have 70 a max, = 25+ hours to replace probably closer to 30+)
I think just trying a normal EQ at the top end of the voltage is about your only option,

BW - Batteries are definately not used much: approx. 6 times a year for 3 or 4 days.
Q, BW: Can I equalize with the 2000W generator, this is preferable since I don't like bothering my neighbour if possible, plus takes away from the stigma of being self-sufficient.

You may just get away with it as long as there an no house or other loads at the same time, but it is going to be "maxed" for a fair time,

PS, I normally charge the system with the generator in "eco-mode", The system accepts, the input, and within 30 seconds, the generator ramps up to charge and stays ramped up until the batteries are topped up. I'm not sure logistically how this happens, but when the batteries have reached full charge, my generator kicks back down to low idle. This triggers me to manually shut the generator off. I am happy with this arrangement, it's quite simple and works for me. I guess my question is that in order to equalize, would I have to by-pass some sort of factory setting which prevents the generator from ramping up after the batteries are up to full charge?

I have not used them but have read nothing but good, I do not think there is a problem using eco ?
One observation, you say at the end of charge "kicks down to idle" does it "kick down, eg suddenly drop lots of load or ramp down gently over some hours ?
Have a good one
Tim
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Re: Equalizing

Postby Brodie on Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:18 pm

Thanks Tim, Some more Q&A, :???:

Tim, Q: were in the word are you ? 230v?
BW, A: We are in Canada, 110V. Does this change anything you recommended?

Tim said: Taking that into consideration, I am going to "un-recommend" what I said in previous post ( which is rolls standard instructions from manual) about discharging your batteries then giving the a good charge, I think you may have problems getting them back up due to lack of charging current available and if there is it will take a VERY long time ( even down to %50 that's 1766ah to be returned, you have 70 a max, = 25+ hours to replace probably closer to 30+)
I think just trying a normal EQ at the top end of the voltage is about your only option

BW, Q: I'm confused by the numbers you've provided above. I've been led to believe this is a 1500AH system. I've only discharged a couple times where the system actually shut down, but it takes me roughly 12 hours charging at 45-50a to bring back up to full charge, which would make sense as the the 50% shut-down is set to -750AH.

Tim, Q: One observation, you say at the end of charge "kicks down to idle" does it "kick down, eg suddenly drop lots of load or ramp down gently over some hours ?
BW, A and Q: The generator kicks down in an instant, Not sure if it's dropping load, or the system is set to reject the load once fully charged? Either way, I'm still confused about how I can run an equalize cycle when the system is rejecting the generator at full charge.

BW, Q: When I mentioned 36KW battery bank in an earlier post, you were wondering where I got that from. I've attached the original proposal of the system (System A) is the system we're talking about. Wondering if this will help connect the dots.

Regards,

Brodie
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CompleteProposal.pdf
Ref. Pages 4 and 5 only
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equipment list.pdf
System A is my Actual System
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Re: Equalizing

Postby blackswan555 on Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:09 am

BW, A: We are in Canada, 110V. Does this change anything you recommended?

It`s just the only reference I can find to a "2024" inverter is FX2024ET which is an export/230v model ?

BW, Q: I'm confused by the numbers you've provided above. I've been led to believe this is a 1500AH system. I've only discharged a couple times where the system actually shut down, but it takes me roughly 12 hours charging at 45-50a to bring back up to full charge, which would make sense as the the 50% shut-down is set to -750AH.


I found mention of 1500ah, but rolls KS series, 2v batteries only come in 2 sizes, 1766 ah & 2430 ah, you have 24 batteries, so that would be double of either number, So am doubtful they are rolls KS`s ? please check (or a pic may be helpful)

The generator kicks down in an instant, Not sure if it's dropping load, or the system is set to reject the load once fully charged? Either way, I'm still confused about how I can run an equalize cycle when the system is rejecting the generator at full charge


From that it sounds like you have a charge time programmed, But from your quote/specification list there is something I have overlooked, You do not have a mate ? You need one to "tell" the FX to EQ,
With the panels you have, I would be doubtful they will "get you there" on there own, (counters do not start counting down until EQ voltage is reached ) I also do not see remote temp sensor listed, You should have 1 on the FX & 1 on MX if no hub installed, please check you have,
One thing you could try, when your hear the gen "finish" stop it/pull AC plug to inv, give it 5 mins, then restart, it should start a new charge cycle, either check with amp meter or is the gen working hard ?, eg are the batteries still "wanting/accepting" more charge > the inverter drawing high load ? ( I would think so, may also be worth timing to give an idea of settings) let it run it`s cycle then repeat, when the batts are reasonably charged, you will find when you re-start, the gen will load up, then taper off reasonably quickly, this will ensure your batts are as charged as you can get them before attempting EQ (They MUST be fully charged before EQ no matter how many amps you have)

Please confirm your inverter/Batts/Temp sensor/Mate ? I think the part numbers on the paperwork may be "personal" to that company.
Have a good one
Tim
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Re: Equalizing

Postby Brodie on Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:10 pm

Again, thanks for the dialogue, sorry if I'm a step behind, am trying hard to digest this.

Tim, Q: It`s just the only reference I can find to a "2024" inverter is FX2024ET which is an export/230v model ?
BW, A: How about the 2024T - Americas? I believe this is the one. I have FX manual Rev.6, dated 2004, which is the time the system was built and it references the FX2024T.

Tim, Q: I found mention of 1500ah, but rolls KS series, 2v batteries only come in 2 sizes, 1766 ah & 2430 ah, you have 24 batteries, so that would be double of either number, So am doubtful they are rolls KS`s ? please check (or a pic may be helpful).

BW, A: The only picture I have is from the top, see attached.

Tim: From that it sounds like you have a charge time programmed, But from your quote/specification list there is something I have overlooked, You do not have a mate ? You need one to "tell" the FX to EQ,

BW, Q: In reading the MX-60 manual, equalization is carried out via the MX-60 set-up screens, guiding the user through the steps. Although I've been told by others that a mate is handy, I am not convinced I need one....can you convince me that the charge controller cannot perform the function of 'telling' , initiating and executing the equalization?

Tim: With the panels you have, I would be doubtful they will "get you there" on there own, (counters do not start counting down until EQ voltage is reached ) I also do not see remote temp sensor listed, You should have 1 on the FX & 1 on MX if no hub installed, please check you have,

BW - I'm pretty certain temp. sensors are not installed on this system.

Tim: One thing you could try, when your hear the gen "finish" stop it/pull AC plug to inv, give it 5 mins, then restart, it should start a new charge cycle, either check with amp meter or is the gen working hard ?, eg are the batteries still "wanting/accepting" more charge > the inverter drawing high load ? ( I would think so, may also be worth timing to give an idea of settings) let it run it`s cycle then repeat, when the batts are reasonably charged, you will find when you re-start, the gen will load up, then taper off reasonably quickly, this will ensure your batts are as charged as you can get them before attempting EQ (They MUST be fully charged before EQ no matter how many amps you have)

BW - I've done this in the past, and yes, once the system is fully charged, I unplug and re-plug the generator, it quickly loads up and just as quick it tapers off just as you describe.....I just need to take it to the equalization step, which is the core root of my problem here.

Please confirm your inverter/Batts/Temp sensor/Mate ? I think the part numbers on the paperwork may be "personal" to that company.

BW - will definately try to confirm the part numbers. I've had the inverter cover off several times and do not see the model number anywhere.....why can't they put model / serial numbers in easy to reach places.....kind of ridiculous the battery model numbers are not at the top of the batteries as once they're hooked up, it's not a simple process to be moving them around.
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top of battery bank
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Re: Equalizing

Postby blackswan555 on Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:27 am

How about the 2024T - Americas? I believe this is the one. I have FX manual Rev.6, dated 2004, which is the time the system was built and it references the FX2024T.

I do not have that shown in any on my "books" the earliest mine are is 98 so ? on that one

BW, A: The only picture I have is from the top, see attached.

They are not Rolls 2v / KS`s , this is the smaller one :-) http://www.rollsbattery.com/pdf/2KS33P.pdf looks like a lift truck battery ? anyone else ?

I am not convinced I need one....can you convince me that the charge controller cannot perform the function of 'telling' , initiating and executing the equalization?


Without a mate you can not "tell" the inverter to EQ, just the Charge cont, You also need one to alter any programing and read performance and fault messages,
BW - I'm pretty certain temp. sensors are not installed on this system.

You need them, First item on the shopping list, You must have one for each charge source (unless using hub, then one "globally")

I've done this in the past, and yes, once the system is fully charged, I unplug and re-plug the generator, it quickly loads up and just as quick it tapers off just as you describe.....I just need to take it to the equalization step, which is the core root of my problem here.


May be worth putting a volt meter on your bats and watching their V when it does it, I suspect the system has been left at defaults (unless your installer had his own mate?) Which would leave your panels to try bring your bats up the last few volts, I do not think you have enough panels to do it on their own, And you need a mate to get the FX to "join in "

Have a good one
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.
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Re: Equalizing

Postby Brodie on Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:55 pm

I have the pdf copy of the inverter manual, if you're interested I'd have to email it to you,it's 3Mb.

As for the rest, I will be printing off all your responses and going over them. I need a solar buddy that I can review this with a bit further, but someone who's not going to try to sell me stuff every time I walk in their store.

I may have more questions later, but for now thank you.

Brodie
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Xantrex link-10 battery monitor
Sharp SPS-165 Solar Panels (Qty: 2)
36 KW Battery Bank (Qty: 24 2V industrial cells by surette)

Re: Equalizing

Postby blackswan555 on Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:44 am

no prob please mail

I need a solar buddy that I can review this with a bit further, but someone who's not going to try to sell me stuff every time I walk in their store.

Ask away on here or http://www.wind-sun.com/ForumVB/ is a wider selection of RE type topics, as I say (or keep on about) the more info you can give about your equipment & it`s requirements, the better an answer you will get

Have a good one
Tim
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Re: Equalizing

Postby blackswan555 on Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:53 am

Just to add :grin: not trying to sell you anything :grin: (I do not sell them anyway) I would strongly recommend you get and install bat temp sensors, At least to whichever item does most of the charging, especially when you are not there, Most items including most batteries are designed around 25 deg C, So you dial in the recommended bat charge v and your battery internal temp is either side of 25c, you are under or over charging,

Have a good one
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.
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