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Author Topic: More Inverter Woes  (Read 2798 times)
russ_fae_fyvie
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« on: February 26, 2012, 08:56:30 PM »

As I haven't had a chance to moan for a while I thought I'd share this and see if anyone has had similar problems.

Those who know our system know that we have a Sunny Island 3324 as the mainstay of our system.

A few weeks if not months ago, when the Inverter asked foe the genny to start up to charge the batteries, the genny started but the Inverter didn't take any charge. The only was to get it to take any charge was to restart it. Obviously a pain because it meant powering it down and all the implications.

I asked the installer to look at it but he didn't spend long enough looking and couldn't find anything wrong.

This continued (randomly) over the next few weeks and again I asked the installer to look at what was going on.

He said he would speak to SMA but nothng came back.

This weekend it got much worse and now every time the genny runs, the Inverter won't take a charge unless I go through the same malarky by restarting it.
 Today we had to run the house purely on the genny and to be honest I am totally pished off with it.

Even after asking him to come last week he left a message saying he couldn't manage until Thursday this coming week !

Needless to say I am not impressed and getting fed up of this Off Grid thing because the people we rely on to help us maintain it can't seem to be bothered.

Its not even kit I could do anything about, the Inverter looks bu66ered, even the settings (45 minutes for a Boost, etc) are all over the place, the Boost lasting 2 hours, the Full Charge 360 minutes and the Equalize Charge 3 hours which is all wrong according to the manual.

Fed up doesn't even cover it.

 banghead




« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 09:02:39 PM by russ_fae_fyvie » Logged

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jotec
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 09:15:35 PM »

Sorry to hear your grief. I understand how you feel. When anything goes wrong with my system I live in fear of it being the inverter. I can fix the Lister and understand the PMA but the windyboy keeps you at arms length and if it is not working correctly it is hard to know what to do.
Have you thought about contacting SMA directly? They have always been very helpful when I have had to contact them for advice.
Dick

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Aiming to reduce dependency on 'mains energy'. Own bio for 40k miles, solar water heating (DIY),  CHP done blog at http://www.dpks.co.uk/CHP/main.htm (not always up to date!)
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 09:27:58 PM »

Hi Russ, sorry to hear of yet more of your woes, especially as I'm switching from Trace to SMA for the new house. Are you sure that it's not a generator synchronization fault ?? I know nothing about Sunny Islands but is there not some kind of fault logging in the menu options  Huh There is on the Trace and that's 'old technology' now. It would be well worth speaking to SMA they are by all accounts extremely helpful, I know this for a fact as my mate had bother with his a few years ago, and only yesterday I came across this http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,16683.0.html

It's a real shame that you're having so many troubles Russ, I have far less problems with my 'off grid' system than the rest of Skye and Raasay who are 'connected'  fingers crossed! My first power cut was five years ago due to mice, my second in January of this year due to poor and ancient wiring shorting out. Far far more reliable than SSE  Grin



http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/

Though that wasn't the end of it  Roll Eyes



http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/

Hope you get sorted, Paul
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'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
russ_fae_fyvie
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 09:31:17 PM »

Hi, yeah I sent them an email today,I had help from them before, Lukas was very helpful so I have sent them the details and will see what he says.

Paul, yeah I had the genny guy up yesterday to check the genny and it seemed ok, the Inverter guy was supposed to be here at the same time but never turned up.

There are some strange things happening with the Inverter settings without any intervention from me (such as the Boost Charge changing from what it should be, 45 mins, to 119, or 60 !) and the other charges are the same.

Im just annoyed he has known about this for weeks but just isn't doing anything about it and it basically means we have to rely on the genny alone.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 09:35:13 PM by russ_fae_fyvie » Logged

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rogeriko
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 09:47:14 PM »

Next time it happens look at the display and see if there is a ! mark there. This means the inverter has disconnected the generator because of exessive reverse power, this can be corrected instantly by going to menu 24-3 GenOperation and setting it to release. This is the only setting that can be reset by shutting down the inverter and restarting it. If this is the problem the gen reverse power setting needs adjusting slightly.
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camillitech
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 09:57:37 PM »

Hi Russ,

probably not what you want to hear but I bought a separate charger some years ago off Ivan (my system is 48v) for just this kind of scenario. I also have a back up generator (Lister of course) that I can hook up to this charger in the event of main generator or inverter failure. I've never needed it but it's good to know that it's there.

Something like this http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,16472.0.html would be well worth having for such an occasion.

Good luck, Paul 
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'Off grid' since 1985,  Proven 2.5kW, Proven 6kW direct heating, SI6.OH, 800ah Rolls, 4.75kW PV ,4xTS45, Lister HR2 12kW, , Powerspout pelton, Stream Engine turgo, 60 x Navitron toobs and a 1500lt store. Outback VFX3048 and 950ah forklifts for backup,
billi
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 01:02:06 AM »

Russ 

i learnt a lot  while   communicating  with the manufacturers   of some of my gear directly  (instead of contacting the supplier   ),  it looks like they have more time  and  most off the time a lot of knowledge   and  they seem  to  understand that they represent their product and do not have to sell it  ,  like the supplier does .....    tumble


It also helps to understand the  system   and avoid  grey hair   .........


But  how is your  Sunny Boy doing   , cause it is as well  using the Sunny Islands  internal charger ?


Like  Paul said  its always good to have a Plan B in the shed

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
russ_fae_fyvie
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 07:31:47 AM »

Rog, I will have a look at that tonight when I get home, its that sort of reply I should be getting from the bl00dy Installer, even if it is something just for me to check but I'm getting nothing from them, but thanks once again for the info.

Luckily the batteries get a trickle charge from the Wind Turbine as that is wired seperately through its own charge controller direct to the batteries. Its not normally enough to run things on but if I have to disconnect the SI then at least it stops the batteries from discharging too much.

When I do that I run the bypass switch so that the house is run directly off the genny so at least we have power.

Last night, after doing the 'normal' reset of the Inverter to get it to charge the batteries, once the charge cycle had finished (again after 2 hours instead of 45 minutes) it didn't stop the generator and so it was still running even though the inverter wasn't taking a charge. I turned the genny off manually but as soon as I turned it back on, the Inverter started it again even though it wasn't taking a charge. I ended up having to turn the Inverter off again... blah blah blah !

To me, the thing looks like its knackered and the strange thing is that nothing has changed to the system as a whole. This randomly started over a month ago and has gradually got worse.

I am about to hit the phone this morning to get the Installer to pull his finger out before I rip the damn thing off the wall and shove it up.............sorry its getting to me !
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 07:35:11 AM by russ_fae_fyvie » Logged

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rogeriko
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 07:38:50 AM »

I have installed lots of these inverters here and yes they are complex, you should see the settings on the SMA 5048. Its probably a good idea to reset it all back to factory default by entering New System at startup but then you have to check the generator settings. I dont know how good you are at the menu, its not that difficult.
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rogeriko
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 07:42:36 AM »

Dont forget when the generator is running go to Meters - Generator Meters and see what voltage and frequency you are getting.
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stephendv
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 08:05:22 AM »

Pages 26 - 28 describe what you should be seeing on the display when starting the generator: http://files.sma.de/dl/5613/SI3324_4248-14-FE2406.pdf

As Roger says you can view all the past error messages from the menu: Diagnose -> Error Information -> History.  These will give you the codes which you can then lookup in the manual to understand what the problem is.
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 08:08:57 AM »

Last night, after doing the 'normal' reset of the Inverter to get it to charge the batteries, once the charge cycle had finished (again after 2 hours instead of 45 minutes)

The Boost setting is just the Absorb time for the Boost charging process.  When it starts the Boost process it will first do a Bulk charge (which can take any length of time depending on how deeply discharged the batteries are).  Then once Bulk is finished it starts Absorb - which is the preset time in the "Boost" parameter.
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russ_fae_fyvie
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 09:25:00 AM »

When I look at the Battery Meters display, when the next charge is due to be a BOOST, it always says Tabsorbleft as 119 minutes, it then counts down to 0 and the genny stops. Well it usually does but recently the genny has continued to run but no charge has been going through the Inverter.

There are also no real error messages appear on the screen while all this is going on so I cant check to see what it thinks is happening.
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russ_fae_fyvie
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2012, 01:16:00 PM »

Finally found out what it was just now.
Apparently the max frequency setting for the AC coming in from the genny had a setting of 52Hz, it turns out as the genny has bedded in over the last few months, the start up frequency momentarily was 52.3Hz so thats why it was tripping out when it just went over the 52 setting and so not accepting the charge,
We have lowered the genny start up frequency a bit and also increased the upper limit on the Inverter and it seems to work ok now.
Talk about a big learning curve !

Also changed the Charging times because there were all set wrong so hopefully things should settle down.............................maybe !
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 01:25:30 PM »

Its always the simple things that make life difficult. Have you learnt how to get around the menu?
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