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Author Topic: tristar mppt60  (Read 10777 times)
eabadger
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« on: January 09, 2012, 08:39:58 AM »

Bad news over the weekend, our off grid PV setup which is controlled by a Morningstar MPPT60, great unit with web interface, had it since September and has done more than 300Kwhr since, with a 1440w pv array, on not an ideal slope, with a large wood which at this time of year shades panels until 10:30ish each day.

Now the bad news, came in on Saturday and did my usual log on to web interface to see incoming watts, web interface says fault, I went and reset unit, but then said night, now no power is going to batteries, when checking fault log it shows fet s/c, doesn’t sound good.
Have emailed company I got it from, and they suggested shutting it down and trying next day, still the same, the array is running at 118v o/c, but when connected drops to battery voltage, never did this before, company is suggesting a software update, anyone know what this may do?
Anyone else had issue s with these, I chose this as apposed to a cheep ebay one, knowing how pivotal it would be to our power supply.
I have reverted to two Juta 24a pwm controllers, have had to rewire all arrays to bring them down to 24v ish strings, which was a pain, then will have to change back to high volts again when mppt is running.
Other than the great web interface, I am not convinced how much more power the mppt has gleaned, hard to quantify.

steve


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1600w PV main array at 24v, excide 2v 1000a forklift cells now x 2, 320w PV secondary array at 12v. Enfield 1944 ex RAF 5.6kw diesel genset (now in pieces, big ends gone), Petter AC1 28v diesel charging set at 2.8kw.
1kw wind turbine.
26kw wood stove back boiler to underfloor heating and dhw
DaveSnafu
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2012, 03:03:53 PM »

I have wondered the same thing myself, consider...in this clagged in hilltop, the panels are making 90v but only half a cock hair of Amps, but once it has been through the outback there is 30v and a cock hair and a half.  Smiley
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Proven wt2500,24v batteries,running house,navitron solar thermal integrated tank, 10 x 210w eclipse italia pv, wbs,
Paul and Rona
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2012, 06:58:19 PM »

Hi Eabadger,
                 Try resetting, if the fault log still shows that the fet is S/C, contact your supplier. The Fet referred to is the main componnt in the "Switched Mode Supply" i.e. it's the Voltage downconveter in the Morningstar.

A shortcircuit Mosfet will in effect clamp the PV array to your battery volts....

Just looked at my destruction book for the Morningstar and the thing should be ok with 3Kw in as long as the volts dont get above 150V Dc !!

Mind you even at 150V Dc in, there's a bit of wiggle room so looks as if your unlucky. i.e. random component failure.

Sorry....

Regards Paul.

PS anyone got the full service manual and circuit diagram for this unit ??   
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Living the quiet life in the
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eabadger
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 07:39:26 AM »

Hello, Have reset unit as suggested by supplier, still no joy, but doesn’t say fet s/c just says night all the time.
Yes aware of purpose of mosfet’s, what bothers me a bit is that on the Morningstar website under info, is a document showing how to replace the mosfets yourself! Unit has a 5 year guarantee, so why would they suggest you do it yourself?
Anyway, supplier is being fine, am posting it back this morning for them to test, hopefully we get back soon, but then will need to rewire array’s to high voltage.

Array voltage was a maximum of 120v, 1440w power, so hopefully just unlucky, 18 x 80w panels split in to 3 strings of 6.
Did get some error messages randomly, high array current disconnect! But voltage in log never exceeded 122v and max power was never more than 1100w.
Supplier has said 1100w max from 1440w of panels is normal, what do you lot think? They are saying 70% 85% of rating is normal?

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1600w PV main array at 24v, excide 2v 1000a forklift cells now x 2, 320w PV secondary array at 12v. Enfield 1944 ex RAF 5.6kw diesel genset (now in pieces, big ends gone), Petter AC1 28v diesel charging set at 2.8kw.
1kw wind turbine.
26kw wood stove back boiler to underfloor heating and dhw
rogeriko
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 08:54:31 AM »

What panels are they, make & model. 1440w panels will give you 1440w INPUT but not output, where are you measuring the charging watts?
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billi
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 09:10:03 AM »

Hi

On the rare occasion i see the full watt   of the 2 arrays  , i have . Mainly in cold and sunny times .  Or during summer  , when the panels are cold and the sun comes out again behind a cloud


Sorry to hear about your troubles
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
eabadger
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2012, 06:09:47 PM »

Hi Billi,
   You also are off grid aren’t you, so you will understand the worry when relying on diesel so much, controller is now in the French postal system, so we hope it arrives and is repaired quickly, the Juta PWM units I have put in as a temporary measure, stop charging at 28v!!!! so we are using the diesel charger to get back power each day, the secondary battery bank for the lights and tv died, and the replacement needed a full charge, off the big battery bank, so lost 500w per hour getting that up to speed, never rains eh?
Have you seen the maximum rated output through your controller? I was disappointed at not seeing full output, even for an instant, put it down to incorrect slope on solar shed, now I am wondering if controller was a dud all along?
Done 300kw in 4 months.

Rogeriko, watts remain the same, it is the power not the amps, only difference will be loss’s in the circuits and cable loss.
Ideal world MPPT gets round loss’s, as higher array voltage means lower current, so smaller cables
Power measurement is done by the controller, it shows array voltage battery voltage etc.
I like the web interface, becomes addictive, even when I am not at home, I always ask what the daily input power was.

Steve.


* solar house web.JPG (28.21 KB, 448x336 - viewed 621 times.)
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1600w PV main array at 24v, excide 2v 1000a forklift cells now x 2, 320w PV secondary array at 12v. Enfield 1944 ex RAF 5.6kw diesel genset (now in pieces, big ends gone), Petter AC1 28v diesel charging set at 2.8kw.
1kw wind turbine.
26kw wood stove back boiler to underfloor heating and dhw
billi
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 06:59:04 PM »

Steve  , i know the hassle you have  very well  Roll Eyes ,   i had  a PV controller in winter   broken , cause a mouse managed to  get in and housed there , pood and peed on the electronics  Roll Eyes,  was my fault cause did not have the "cable openings "  sealed tight enough .....

And can imagine how much trouble  you have to rewire  your PV  , does the Juta  has a temp sensor ? If so  perhaps you can cool that so it will charge  with higher voltage   whistlie

My  watt readings , i can read out at the digital display of my 2 MPPT controllers and i am still like a little boy waiting for sun_ta_claus

and run to the controllers to see the watts ,  in the newer controller 80 A  it is stored  , that the highest watt ever seen is 2560 Watt from the 2400 watt array , but agree  with your supplier usually  on a warm sunny summers day its about 1800 Watt (but my panel is at 60° angle )

Did your supplier tell you  how fast the return of the morningstar will be ?,  i am surprised that they (morningstar) did not sent you a replacement unit straight away and then you sent back your broken unit ...

That is the way , i know it from  my older MPPT outback  controller , when the digital display failed , but controller still worked   2-3 years back

Billi



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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
eabadger
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2012, 07:13:06 PM »

Billi, I was building my solar shed within permitted building codes, so didn’t need permission, which was useful, but the location would mean an awfully high back wall, which may have been a concern to our new neighbours, who actually we now know would have been fine with it, o well! I may alter it next year, if I get time, family want to be in new house by next year, and I am doing it all on my own, so time is short.

Supplier of Morningstar seems ok, has said that they have never had one fail, seems to think I know not what I am doing, I get the impression they think it will work fine when they get it back, bit that concerns me is this link on the Morningstar website, why show this, units are all under a 5 year warranty, so who would want this info?
http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/support/item.cfm?ItemId=45

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1600w PV main array at 24v, excide 2v 1000a forklift cells now x 2, 320w PV secondary array at 12v. Enfield 1944 ex RAF 5.6kw diesel genset (now in pieces, big ends gone), Petter AC1 28v diesel charging set at 2.8kw.
1kw wind turbine.
26kw wood stove back boiler to underfloor heating and dhw
billi
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2012, 07:21:03 PM »

i guess your link is for the "older"   Tristar controller, not for your unit you have with MPPT and new on the market
« Last Edit: January 10, 2012, 07:22:55 PM by billi » Logged

1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
eabadger
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2012, 07:30:01 PM »

i hope so.
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1600w PV main array at 24v, excide 2v 1000a forklift cells now x 2, 320w PV secondary array at 12v. Enfield 1944 ex RAF 5.6kw diesel genset (now in pieces, big ends gone), Petter AC1 28v diesel charging set at 2.8kw.
1kw wind turbine.
26kw wood stove back boiler to underfloor heating and dhw
eabadger
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2012, 09:21:38 AM »

The suppliers have now questioned the suppliers of the pv panels regarding the temperature coefficient, I had not given this much consideration, but they are going down the road of the array input voltage was greater than the 150v limit.
The panels state 21.5v o/c maximum voltage so I wired 3 strings of 6 panels, to give me 129v maximum, or so I thought! They are now saying the response from my pv suppliers is .0057volts/°C, so they are saying that at -10 my panels would be running at 154.8v.
Few things that bother me about this, it went pop at +11° with virtually no sun, was actually raining. Never seen a voltage recorded above 126V on the software, and the manual for the controller says it has array over voltage protection circuit.

Anyone else come across this issue, no news as if a replacement is forthcoming yet, or is this the prelude to a charge being made to repair??


steve
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1600w PV main array at 24v, excide 2v 1000a forklift cells now x 2, 320w PV secondary array at 12v. Enfield 1944 ex RAF 5.6kw diesel genset (now in pieces, big ends gone), Petter AC1 28v diesel charging set at 2.8kw.
1kw wind turbine.
26kw wood stove back boiler to underfloor heating and dhw
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2012, 10:14:29 AM »

Sounds like they are just setting you up to pay for the repair. 4.8v over is nothing and certainly would not cause failure. Look up the ratings of the mosfets they are probably 200v+ transistors. Email Morningstar for help.
Here in Greece this is standard procedure whereby every item sent for repair costs exactly half the price of a new one. Especially now in these troubled financial times. I fix everything myself but other people suffer terribly at the hands of the warranty repair companies, all the stories and excuses, I have heard them all!
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billi
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2012, 10:45:33 AM »

steve

What make and model number are your panels ?
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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2012, 10:48:58 AM »

eabadger, sorry to here your woes.

I have 3 Morningstar controllers (not MPPT) and when i have tried to contact morningstar its a brick wall.

But people who know about them have been very helpfull. For me it was Hugh Piggott, (yes, i keep going on about him) but he has real knowledge of normal Tristar controllers, (don't know about his knowledge with MPPT stuff), but Hugh did tell me how to cascade 3, and gave me wise information. If my 1st Max's out then No2 comes in and so on.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 11:39:02 AM by clockmanFR » Logged

Everything is possible, just give me TIME.
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