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Old 24-11-2013, 12:12   #1
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Question for all you boat electric guru's

Hi guys I have a question that I just haven't been able to get an adequate answer on.
We have multiple charging sources onboard Mulligan and have been stumped by the different charging rate output of our wind generator. 1st the system. we have a house 12 volt battery bank consisting of 3x 4D AGMs 210/AH. We have 3 separate starting batteries one for each engine and one for a Northern Lights 6KW genset. For charging we have 4 60 watt solar panels connected to a Xantrex model 35 3 stage charge controller. We also have a Sunforce 600 watt 3 phase wind turbine connected to a MPPT charge controller provided by the factory as a loaner for the original marine version that went bad by getting stuck in protection mode during a pretty good gust. This replacement MPPT is for their land based units due to the back order status of their marine MPPT controllers. "Sunforce just gave me this controller and said keep it as a spare even after the new units are in but it is looking like I will be stuck with this controller for quite some time". The last piece of the puzzle is our Northern Lights M673L3 genset. It is wired to a MagnaSine MS200 inverter charger.

The symptoms.
during a fairly windy day say 12 -15 knots the marine MPPT would show approximately 5- 15 amps in steady wind. With this land based MPPT controller the ammeter shows between 2 and 4 amps in the same conditions. During high winds say above 20 knots both the land based and the old marine based units will go all the way to 30 amps and to the automatic protection brake. The land based MPPT has hit 30 amps on its own twice today during really big gust but mostly its sits at 4 amps in steady 15 knot winds Now here is the really weird thing. If I turn on the genset my wind generator starts producing the power my marine unit used to put out with no genset running. Which is to say is 5 - 15 amps consistently but only while the genset is operating.

I have triple checked all connections they are clean and tight. I have called the tech support at sun force and been instructed to put the MPPT controller wires on their own battery terminals in the house bank which I did and it made no difference. I have checked the AC voltage coming off of the turbine and they are to spec. I have turned off the inverter and via the switch disconnected the genset from the boat. No change. The MPPT is connected now to the center battery terminals in the house bank. the other to charge controllers are connected to the house bank via the battery switch and in the case of the solar controller to batteries 1 and 3 in the house bank.

Does any one have any idea what else I should look for?
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Old 24-11-2013, 12:31   #2
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

Please post a schematic of all charges wires, and all batteries, don't include the grounds or fuses for clarity.
Show switches, and battery interconnects.

Lloyd


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaktisBoy View Post
Hi guys I have a question that I just haven't been able to get an adequate answer on.
We have multiple charging sources onboard Mulligan and have been stumped by the different charging rate output of our wind generator. 1st the system. we have a house 12 volt battery bank consisting of 3x 4D AGMs 210/AH. We have 3 separate starting batteries one for each engine and one for a Northern Lights 6KW genset. For charging we have 4 60 watt solar panels connected to a Xantrex model 35 3 stage charge controller. We also have a Sunforce 600 watt 3 phase wind turbine connected to a MPPT charge controller provided by the factory as a loaner for the original marine version that went bad by getting stuck in protection mode during a pretty good gust. This replacement MPPT is for their land based units due to the back order status of their marine MPPT controllers. "Sunforce just gave me this controller and said keep it as a spare even after the new units are in but it is looking like I will be stuck with this controller for quite some time". The last piece of the puzzle is our Northern Lights M673L3 genset. It is wired to a MagnaSine MS200 inverter charger.

The symptoms.
during a fairly windy day say 12 -15 knots the marine MPPT would show approximately 5- 15 amps in steady wind. With this land based MPPT controller the ammeter shows between 2 and 4 amps in the same conditions. During high winds say above 20 knots both the land based and the old marine based units will go all the way to 30 amps and to the automatic protection brake. The land based MPPT has hit 30 amps on its own twice today during really big gust but mostly its sits at 4 amps in steady 15 knot winds Now here is the really weird thing. If I turn on the genset my wind generator starts producing the power my marine unit used to put out with no genset running. Which is to say is 5 - 15 amps consistently but only while the genset is operating.

I have triple checked all connections they are clean and tight. I have called the tech support at sun force and been instructed to put the MPPT controller wires on their own battery terminals in the house bank which I did and it made no difference. I have checked the AC voltage coming off of the turbine and they are to spec. I have turned off the inverter and via the switch disconnected the genset from the boat. No change. The MPPT is connected now to the center battery terminals in the house bank. the other to charge controllers are connected to the house bank via the battery switch and in the case of the solar controller to batteries 1 and 3 in the house bank.

Does any one have any idea what else I should look for?
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Old 24-11-2013, 12:33   #3
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

That will take a while but I will put one together

thanks
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Old 24-11-2013, 12:53   #4
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaktisBoy View Post
That will take a while but I will put one together

thanks
First rule of trouble shooting. Know what it is you're working on.

Take a 8.5 x 11 note paper, a red and black sharpie. Draw all bats, switches, and amp meters.

The put your hand on each wire and confirm it's start and end location, then draw it on your note paper.

When complete take a photo with smart phone ...what ever you have and then up load it.

Most trouble can be quickly identified, as soon as you complete said task.

You will now know exactly how it's all wired for future reference.

Lloyd
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:17   #5
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

Ok made the diagram. I'm not really convinced anything is wrong. The wind generator is making power, just differently than with the Marine MPPT.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:10   #6
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

do you have acr / vsr type things between the gen battery and house battery?

or does the mppt have a 2nd output running to the gen battery?

I don't understand how running the gen with nothing on it would effect the amps of the wind turbine.

I also don't understand the connection between the gen and inverter. do you have a dc connection here? it should be connected to your house bank. and typicaly ac wires would come and go from the ac panel.

in terms of both the controllers being different. the only easy thing to do is try a 3rd one and see what happens. but I still don't see how the gen changes it.

make sure you disconnect the solar while testing the wind as well.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:44   #7
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

Hello ShaktisBoy:
The one thing to remember is that a charge controller has to determine the charge state of the batteries, and provide the correct amount of current to charge the batteries at the optimum rate. This is easy in a case where you have one battery and one charging source, and the charging source is designed for the battery chemistry you are using..
The way that a charge controller determines the charge state of the batteries, is mostly the voltage, but if another device is charging or discharging the batteries, that could cause the charging source to think that less charge is needed.

The first thing that I would do is under the conditions when the wind generator should be outputting more power, I would turn on heavy DC loads and see if it made any difference.

Other things to do are check and see if the behavior is the same at night and day, (Solar).
You could check your voltage across your battery bank and see if that is the same voltage your charge controller is seeing.

Sorry if this is stuff you already knew and looked for
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:56   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaktisBoy View Post
Ok made the diagram. I'm not really convinced anything is wrong. The wind generator is making power, just differently than with the Marine MPPT.
What would be useful is to measure voltage on the batteries with ( a) only the wind charging and ( b) with the generator on the and invertor charger charging.

Dave
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Old 24-11-2013, 17:09   #9
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

Its usual and better practice to have only one connection to your battery posts. So a common + and - bus bar is the norm. The + and - feeds should come from opposite ends of the battery bank to equalize the charge/discharge current to each battery. (There is a fairly recent thread on that discussion here). I assume that you have just forgotten to draw the neg. cable from the battery charger to the bank. Is that a correct assumption?

Are you absolutely positive the charger and the MPPT controller are not feeding the bank through the same Ammeter? When you start the Generator how much current is the battery charger feeding the batteries?

One way to keep a better eye on the system is with a battery monitor. The shunt would connect between the neg. bus and the battery bank. Another good reason to have a bus bar installed.

I suppose you could check the wind gen. specs. to see what current you would expect at certain wind speeds. They usually start out pretty low at low wind speeds and the current doesn't usually pick up until about 20 mph or so.
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Old 24-11-2013, 17:24   #10
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

The Sunforce manual shows about 6 amps at 14.4 volts (100 watt) at about a 12 knot wind.
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Old 24-11-2013, 17:36   #11
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

SMAC

I'm not sure what acr / vsr things are? there is a single battery on off switch for the genset starter battery. It is isolated from the rest of the system and is routed to the genset starter and grounded to the genset block. You are correct the genset provides AC to the AC Panel then to the charger side of the MagnaSine Inverter. I missed drawing those two lines running from the genset to the ac panel. The solar charger was disconnected and no changes were noted. with the genset off wind gen amps 4-5 amps in 20 knots. genset on wind gen amps 10 - 14 in 20 knots. Could there be a different voltage set point in the loaner MPPT that allows higher charging rates? This really makes no sense.
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Old 24-11-2013, 18:15   #12
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaktisBoy View Post
We have multiple charging sources onboard Mulligan and have been stumped by the different charging rate output of our wind generator. 1st the system. we have a house 12 volt battery bank consisting of 3x 4D AGMs 210/AH.

We have 3 separate starting batteries one for each engine and one for a Northern Lights 6KW genset.


I assume the 3 bats you show on the schematic are the 3 x 4-d house bank.

How do the 3 starter banks connect into the system....ie how are they charged?



Quote:
For charging we have 4 60 watt solar panels connected to a Xantrex model 35 3 stage charge controller. We also have a Sunforce 600 watt 3 phase wind turbine connected to a MPPT charge controller

The last piece of the puzzle is our Northern Lights M673L3 genset. It is wired to a MagnaSine MS200 inverter charger.
Quote:

The MPPT is connected now to the center battery terminals in the house bank. the other two charge controllers are connected to the house bank via the battery switch and in the case of the solar controller to batteries 1 and 3 in the house bank.????
Your schematic doesn't represent this.

I am assuming that the unlabled box with + and - are either bus bars or power posts.

In that regard the positive bus, and the negative bus can be considered direct to battery. As mentioned the 3 batteries making the house bank should be connected pos to pos, and neg to neg, then a pos tail to the pos bus bar, and a neg tail to the neg bus bar from the opposite end of the bank.

Nothing except the bus bar tails should be connected to the batteries, with one exception.

The exception is the voltage sense wires to the charge controllers.

I do not see any voltage sense wires in your schematic for either the wind or solar. The Magnum senses voltage on it DC source.

Why are you showing a ground to the bat switch?

Lloyd

Remember, I said put your hand on each and every wire that goes to and from the bats, switches, and controllers. Make sure you know each beginning and each end.

Don't assume, or draw how you think it goes. Draw exactly what you have.

Lloyd
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Old 24-11-2013, 18:23   #13
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

DeepFRZ

There is a single ammeter for the wind generator. The inverter charger is routed to a remote control panel with a digital ammeter via a network cable. As near as I can tell there is no load carried to the remote panel. The middle box on the diagram is the bus. The solar charger is connected to battery's 1 and 3 in the house bank, the wind generator is connected to battery 2 in the house bank and both will charge the house bank with the ships battery switch off or on. The battery bus is full and I'm not sure expanding the bus and connecting the two charge controllers there wouldn't cause the same interference. Really the only thing that has changed is the power output. All the wires are connected the same as they were with the marine MPPT. I think I will stop bugging you guys until I get the replacement marine MPPT arrives. Maybe that will solve all of this.

Thanks guys for all your suggestions
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Old 24-11-2013, 18:39   #14
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

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DeepFRZ

There is a single ammeter for the wind generator. The inverter charger is routed to a remote control panel with a digital ammeter via a network cable. As near as I can tell there is no load carried to the remote panel. The middle box on the diagram is the bus. The solar charger is connected to battery's 1 and 3 in the house bank, the wind generator is connected to battery 2 in the house bank and both will charge the house bank with the ships battery switch off or on. The battery bus is full and I'm not sure expanding the bus and connecting the two charge controllers there wouldn't cause the same interference. Really the only thing that has changed is the power output. All the wires are connected the same as they were with the marine MPPT. I think I will stop bugging you guys until I get the replacement marine MPPT arrives. Maybe that will solve all of this.

Thanks guys for all your suggestions
Where are the voltage sense wires for the solar and the wind connected. Don't bail out now many are trying to help.

We hope not in vain.

Lloyd
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Old 24-11-2013, 18:49   #15
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Re: Question for all you boat electric guru's

FC

I'm on a 40 foot cat with more than a few wires going through 12 separate conduits. There is more than 30 feet between the house bank and the genset and it passes underneath the bridge deck in an inaccessible area. My diagram does show the lines running from the charge controllers to the house bank look again the mppt has a line running from the negative terminal of the house bank battery 2 to it's negative post. The positive lead off of the mppt first passes through the ammeter then to the positive post on the number 2 battery in the house bank. those I'm sure of. The solar charger goes from their respective pos neg post to the corresponding battery 1 and 3 positive and negative post. I will admit the drawing is hard to interpret but I never said I was an electrical engineer.
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