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Old 15-02-2015, 12:01   #1
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Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

I recently installed 560watts of solar with a Morningstar TS-MPPT-45 controller. I have a Mastervolt Powercharger 12/40-3. The shore power charger worked fine but after the solar install the charger shuts down and indicates "charger failure". There are no heat sensors connected to the charge controllers. The failure occurs when the solar array starts producing power in the morning. If I reset the power to the controller it will hold for the rest of the day.

I have contacted both Mastervolt and Morningstar and neither seems to be able to explain why this is happening nor are they able to provide a solution.

Has anybody had a similar experience and/or can provide a solution?
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Old 15-02-2015, 12:04   #2
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

I would bet the charger thinks the batteries have "run away". It's probably a fail safe as the charger doesn't have a temp sensor.




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Old 15-02-2015, 12:17   #3
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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I would bet the charger thinks the batteries have "run away". It's probably a fail safe as the charger doesn't have a temp sensor.




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Not sure what you mean by "run away" but if you mean it cannot see the battery, the charger sees the battery fine the rest of the time only that one moment in the morning does it shut down and the Mastervolt is seeing voltage all the time so it wouldn't know the source of the voltage.
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Old 15-02-2015, 12:21   #4
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
I recently installed 560watts of solar with a Morningstar TS-MPPT-45 controller. I have a Mastervolt Powercharger 12/40-3. The shore power charger worked fine but after the solar install the charger shuts down and indicates "charger failure". There are no heat sensors connected to the charge controllers. The failure occurs when the solar array starts producing power in the morning. If I reset the power to the controller it will hold for the rest of the day.

I have contacted both Mastervolt and Morningstar and neither seems to be able to explain why this is happening nor are they able to provide a solution.

Has anybody had a similar experience and/or can provide a solution?
I have come across similar situations where the solar controller and the AC-powered battery charger do not play together well. I do believe that it is too common that these systems are sold as being very "smart" when in fact they are good but not as smart as claimed. If an AC-powered charger stops charging because it is in float mode and voltage is higher than the float setting but solar keeps pushing voltage up then the AC charger will typically go crazy.

The good thing is that typically you can play with the settings in a way that things will work together well enough, even if that is not with the "ideal" settings. One workaround is to let solar cut first but that is not efficient. Another workaround is to only turn the AC charger when you need it.

If you can provide specifics of the settings you have in both controllers (both dip switches and by software), and specs of the solar panels and how they are connected to the controller(s) then I am sure we can help you with a more specific solution. Please give us the detail and we will take it form there.

Charlie
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Old 15-02-2015, 12:30   #5
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

Say your Mastervolt has an "target" float voltage of 13,95V.
Then your solar is on Absorption, and brings it to 14,4V+
Then the Mastervolt does not understand why, and gives failure.

That said, I have two Mastervolt 12/100 combined with Morningstar MPPT-60 and do not experience this problem.

Mastervolt Chargers can be upgraded via the Masterbus, maybe this is something to try, if it is old. My dealer did this remotely by Teamviewer, as they don't give out the Software to upgrade yourself. You will then need the usb-masterbus interface.
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Old 15-02-2015, 12:45   #6
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
Not sure what you mean by "run away" but if you mean it cannot see the battery, the charger sees the battery fine the rest of the time only that one moment in the morning does it shut down and the Mastervolt is seeing voltage all the time so it wouldn't know the source of the voltage.

I mean thermal run away. The charger is seeing the voltage continue to climb with no input from itself.


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Old 15-02-2015, 13:09   #7
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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Say your Mastervolt has an "target" float voltage of 13,95V.
Then your solar is on Absorption, and brings it to 14,4V+
Then the Mastervolt does not understand why, and gives failure.

That said, I have two Mastervolt 12/100 combined with Morningstar MPPT-60 and do not experience this problem.

Mastervolt Chargers can be upgraded via the Masterbus, maybe this is something to try, if it is old. My dealer did this remotely by Teamviewer, as they don't give out the Software to upgrade yourself. You will then need the usb-masterbus interface.
I have a USB-Masterbus Interface and I will contact Mastervolt tech support tomorrow to see if there is an upgrade. The unit is 2 years old.

The Mastervolt charger would be on float in the morning at about 13.3 volts and the Morningstar will start on bulk which will switch to absorbtion once it sees 14.4 V. This appears to be when the Mastervolt shuts down. It is interesting that this does not happen to you as you have a very similiar set up.
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Old 15-02-2015, 13:17   #8
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
I have come across similar situations where the solar controller and the AC-powered battery charger do not play together well. I do believe that it is too common that these systems are sold as being very "smart" when in fact they are good but not as smart as claimed. If an AC-powered charger stops charging because it is in float mode and voltage is higher than the float setting but solar keeps pushing voltage up then the AC charger will typically go crazy.

The good thing is that typically you can play with the settings in a way that things will work together well enough, even if that is not with the "ideal" settings. One workaround is to let solar cut first but that is not efficient. Another workaround is to only turn the AC charger when you need it.

If you can provide specifics of the settings you have in both controllers (both dip switches and by software), and specs of the solar panels and how they are connected to the controller(s) then I am sure we can help you with a more specific solution. Please give us the detail and we will take it form there.

Charlie
The solar charge is set to Absorb. 14.5V, Float 13.5V

The Mastervolt Bulk 14.4V, Absorb 14.25V, Float 13.25V

This shutting down is not a problem as long as I am on the boat and can monitor the situation turning the shore power on and off as needed. It will become a problem when I am away from the boat for extended periods of time.
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Old 15-02-2015, 13:34   #9
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

You could try lowering your absorption om the Morningstar until you get no error message. Maybe from 14.5V to 14,25 is enough.
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Old 15-02-2015, 14:04   #10
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

If the Mastervolt has been plugged in all night long, then the batteries were not depleted, and do not even need the Solar controller to do the Absorption voltage/duration thing.

If the Solar alone can raise voltage to Absorption by itself, then there is no need for the mastervolt charger to be operating at all, until late afternoon, depending on loads of course.

If I am plugged in all night floating, I set a maximum voltage on my solar controller to 13.2V or so for the next day, as the batteries simply do not need to go spend time at absorption voltages, as they are already full, or very nearly so.

My solar controller (Blue Sky SB2512i with IPN pro remote) allows for a programmable amp threshold which will force float mode when amps required to hold ABSV fall below a certain level I choose. So early morning when the batteries were not cycled the night before, it will climb to 14.9v hold it for 10 minutes or so and revert to float voltage, but even that brief duration at 14.9v is unnecessary, when the batteries were not discharged when the charge cycle began.

I wish affordable automatic "smart' chargers would allow these same thresholds to be manually set, but they all seem to be programmed to be one size fits all, automatic underchargers, with the lawyerly stamp of approval.

Trying to get these charging sources to work together when the batteries are full, or nearly so, is a waste of time and effort. If the batteries are depleted and voltages are still below the set absorption voltage of either charging source, then they should work together nicely until battery voltage approaches the set ABSv of one charging source or the other.

If the batteries are not cycled, then perhaps put the mastervolt on a timer to float them from late afternoon till sunrise, and then there is no need to even let the solar do Absorption voltage the next day. Does the Morning Star controller allow for easy voltage changes? If not, consider giving the Solar something to do the next day, and allow a shallow cycle to occur.

Only when the batteries are cycled does absorption voltage need to be met and held for an uncertain amount of time. Holding a fully charged battery at 14.x for longer than needed at 77F is abusive to the battery. It will cause positive plate shedding and more water loss, with no benefit.

If the battery bank is depleted, then by all means let both charging sources work together through the bulk stage for maximum recharge current, but when Absorption voltage is neared at the battery terminals, one or the other charging source is going to drop out. It has to, otherwise voltage would keep rising. At this point, only one charging source will be required to hold the battery bank at ABSv, and the amps required to hold ABsv will keep dropping the longer Absv is held, and if held too long, then overcharging begins.

Tricking the mastervolt to automatically restart come sundown and to hold float voltage overnight after the error light comes aglow the previous morning, would seem to be the issue.

I am not familiar with this charger and can offer no help regarding it.
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Old 15-02-2015, 14:31   #11
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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Originally Posted by Sternwake View Post
I wish affordable automatic "smart' chargers would allow these same thresholds to be manually set, but they all seem to be programmed to be one size fits all, automatic underchargers, with the lawyerly stamp of approval.

Trying to get these charging sources to work together when the batteries are
full, or nearly so, is a waste of time and effort.
100% true!
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Old 15-02-2015, 14:52   #12
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
The solar charge is set to Absorb. 14.5V, Float 13.5V

The Mastervolt Bulk 14.4V, Absorb 14.25V, Float 13.25V

This shutting down is not a problem as long as I am on the boat and can monitor the situation turning the shore power on and off as needed. It will become a problem when I am away from the boat for extended periods of time.
If you are away for extended periods of time what are your power requirements going to be?
Surely shore power alone or solar alone is sufficient to keep your batteries up !
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Old 15-02-2015, 15:16   #13
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
The solar charge is set to Absorb. 14.5V, Float 13.5V
The Mastervolt Bulk 14.4V, Absorb 14.25V, Float 13.25V

This shutting down is not a problem as long as I am on the boat and can monitor the situation turning the shore power on and off as needed. It will become a problem when I am away from the boat for extended periods of time.
I agree with others that it is very likely that your charger will see the 14.5V solar absorption reading when it wants 13.25V floats a sign of malfunction, be it battery runaway or charger circuit malfunction. In my experience it is waste of time to work with Victron and Mastervolt to get them to lay out the logic of their algorithms, be it the "adaptive" thing or the logic for the error messages, hence at most you can do "trial and error".

If you will be away from the boat for a long time and be sure they do not fight with each other then IMHO you should leave only one system working. In fact why do you want both? I have seen people try to leave both shore and solar chargers running just to come back the following season to buy new batteries because there was a "fight" between controllers in their absence.

If you still want to try one more thing, why not reduce the solar absorption voltage or increase the AC-charger float voltage (better the former if you will be away for a while and overcharging is more of a risk without loads). You do not need to make them both be the same, just close enough for the error not to be triggered. I see that your 13.5-14.5 solar voltages are not in the standard options shown in my manual for that controller, hence I take you have the means to do custom programming with the MSView software. I would start by reducing the absorption to 13.5V (effectively giving you fixed 13.5), checking that the error disappears and then tweak it up a tenth at a time.

Note that those two chargers are not reading voltage at the battery but at the charger itself, hence what works one day may not work another day when currents and voltage drops in the cables are different. Also the temperature algorithms will have different slopes, which is one more reason to use only one system when you are away.
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Old 15-02-2015, 16:04   #14
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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I agree with others that it is very likely that your charger will see the 14.5V solar absorption reading when it wants 13.25V floats a sign of malfunction, be it battery runaway or charger circuit malfunction. In my experience it is waste of time to work with Victron and Mastervolt to get them to lay out the logic of their algorithms, be it the "adaptive" thing or the logic for the error messages, hence at most you can do "trial and error".

If you will be away from the boat for a long time and be sure they do not fight with each other then IMHO you should leave only one system working. In fact why do you want both? I have seen people try to leave both shore and solar chargers running just to come back the following season to buy new batteries because there was a "fight" between controllers in their absence.

If you still want to try one more thing, why not reduce the solar absorption voltage or increase the AC-charger float voltage (better the former if you will be away for a while and overcharging is more of a risk without loads). You do not need to make them both be the same, just close enough for the error not to be triggered. I see that your 13.5-14.5 solar voltages are not in the standard options shown in my manual for that controller, hence I take you have the means to do custom programming with the MSView software. I would start by reducing the absorption to 13.5V (effectively giving you fixed 13.5), checking that the error disappears and then tweak it up a tenth at a time.

Note that those two chargers are not reading voltage at the battery but at the charger itself, hence what works one day may not work another day when currents and voltage drops in the cables are different. Also the temperature algorithms will have different slopes, which is one more reason to use only one system when you are away.
These voltages were taken directly from my Morningstar manual for a flooded battery 5, dip switches 4-5-6 set on-off-off.

As others have suggested it will not be necessary to have both systems running when I am away from the boat for an extended period of time. I will shut down one of the systems during that time. In the meantime it is more of an inconvenience than anything else.

By lowering the absorption voltage of the solar charger am I hindering it's full capacity to charge the batteries as quickly as possible. The reason for solar is when I am off grid to keep my batteries charge.d If so I would rather the inconvenience than dummying down the solar charging capabilities.
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Old 15-02-2015, 16:30   #15
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Re: Solar shutting down 120V battery charger

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These voltages were taken directly from my Morningstar manual for a flooded battery 5, dip switches 4-5-6 set on-off-off.
My version of the manual (document MS-000946 v05.2) shows 14.6V (not 14.5V) absorption voltage. It wuld not be the first time that they change the manuals without giving us the means to know what is teh right data for our unit.
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