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Old 01-08-2022, 13:36   #1
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DC-DC Charger Mystery

I've just installed a Victron Orion 12v 30a dc-dc charger between a house bank of new Battle Born lithiums and my AGM start battery, but can't get it to turn on. With the engine running, lithiums are showing 14.4 volts out, but the green "engine is on and charging" LED remains dark on the Orion, and confirmed on the Bluetooth app...it shows the 14.4 coming from the lithiums, but just says "OFF", and something to the effect "remote charger not turned on", whatever "remote charger" means.

I believe all battery and charging parameters that I've set with Bluetooth are correct, the small jumper is plugged in, yet no amps are getting to the start battery. I thought this would be the easy part of this new installation...just 3 wires from the Orion, 2 reds going to the batt positives, and one to the common ground. Since the house and start bank negatives literally meet immediately after the shunt, I chose the "non-isolated" Orion model.
I don't know if this is relevant (they make an "isolated" model as well), but feels like I've made either some obvious mistake or some detail of my Bluetooth programming is causing this. The last thing I did was disconnect/reconnect everything in hopes of re-booting the system but that was a no-go too.

Battle Born's tech support has been excellent, but this has us all stumped. And can't really believe I received a dud charger, Victron is such excellent quality.
Can't go sailing till I figure this out! Help please?
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Old 01-08-2022, 13:51   #2
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Did you put the jumper in? It comes loose in the box. If it says remote off, that jumper is the remote.

Post screen shots of Home Screen and settings.

Do you have it going from the lith to agm or agm to lith?

Sounds like you chose the first, and connected alt to lith. which is strange with internal bms.

If battery grounds are connected then ether model will work.
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Old 01-08-2022, 13:53   #3
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Quote:
Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
Did you put the jumper in? It comes loose in the box.
First line second paragraph of OPs post.

"the small jumper is plugged in,"
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Old 01-08-2022, 13:55   #4
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

This is the one item you have to follow the instructions precisely when setting up including the order things are connected. Have another very slow read through the instructions including the pin. Once its working you won't need to do it again.

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Old 01-08-2022, 15:34   #5
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Is this what your screen looks like? This is my set up with remote enable off. If you don’t intend to use remote enable then you need to put the jumper in. I use remote enable to only do charging when the engine is on. Click image for larger version

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Old 01-08-2022, 16:24   #6
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Thanks all for responding...
To AllenRbrts, yes that's what my screen looks like, and I can't get past that page. "Remote input inactive"...I truly still don't understand what that means...does it mean the jumper? It's in...how can that be inactive? Is remote Input the lithium bank? That shows up as 14.4 volts the same page, so doesn't seem It's inactive. Is Remote Enable in the settings where you choose to "enable charger"? I switched that to "on"...maybe that should be off if the jumper is in? This is the kind of detail I don't understand from the manual...and I apologize to you all for that. Any more thoughts greatly appreciated...
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Old 01-08-2022, 16:33   #7
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

It almost sounds like the jumper (just a wire) is not firmly in. I use a remote enable switch on mine, but you should not see the Remote input inactive message unless the remote switch jumper is not making good contact. If it is, it sounds like a defective unit to me, everything else you described sounds right.

Also: when using the Orion in this fashion, you should not enable the engine shutdown detection feature. I've never used that feature, because I want my starter battery always kept at float, but, if that were your issue, the message prob would not be "Remote Input inactive" it would probably be something else.
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Old 01-08-2022, 17:02   #8
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

I actually removed then retightened the jumper, the wires looked squished like they were making good contact in there so believe it's good. I did turn off the engine detection feature and will try again soon.
A general question though: is it plain "wrong" to have the alternator go straight to a lithium house bank first, and then dc-dc charge the start batt? I do know the benefits of sidestepping BMS disconnect issues...but keeping the alt voltages in line seems doable...and have been assured a disconnect is very unlikely in my situation. I posed this question a few weeks ago...many responses, very controversial it seems.
Incidently someone above suggested I go much more diligently through the set-up procedure...I will follow that good advice.
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Old 01-08-2022, 17:38   #9
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poeme View Post
A general question though: is it plain "wrong" to have the alternator go straight to a lithium house bank first, and then dc-dc charge the start batt? I do know the benefits of sidestepping BMS disconnect issues...but keeping the alt voltages in line seems doable...and have been assured a disconnect is very unlikely in my situation. I posed this question a few weeks ago...many responses, very controversial it seems.
Incidently someone above suggested I go much more diligently through the set-up procedure...I will follow that good advice.
There is nothing inherently wrong with charging a LifePo bank directly from the alternator, and there is nothing inherently wrong with using a DC-DC charger to keep the starter battery happy when doing that. I do not think these statements are controversial.

I am confident my setup, which uses this approach, is done well and is safe.

How this is accomplished is a complicated topic, but I think you already know it boils down to a few key things like preventing the alternator from overcharging the bank to the point the BMS has to cutoff the batteries, and keeping the alternator from burning itself up from running too hard, too long, for starters.
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Old 01-08-2022, 18:39   #10
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

I use the Orion to charge my start battery and the alternator is connected to my Li house batteries. HOWEVER, I have replaced the internal regulator of the alternator with an external regulator which knows how to deal with Li batteries. On my Orion I have mode as “charger” and engine detect is off. The remote enable is connected to the engine ignition switch. The picture I sent had the ignition off.
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Old 01-08-2022, 19:15   #11
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Thank you AllenRbrts...
Think I'm getting the picture now. Sounds like we have the same idea...external regulator which controls charging the LFP's and Orion for the start batt. The wiring for the Orion is relatively simple but some details like "input voltage lockout" I'm hazy on and maybe there's a simple fix to getting my Orion to turn on. Also suppose it's possible I got a defective unit though...trying to figure it out and appreciate your input...
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Old 01-08-2022, 20:53   #12
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

The input voltage lockout is asking you "at what voltage should I stop charging the starter battery" - so, let's say you don't want to charge the starter battery if the House bank is below XXX volts, that's what you set this lockout voltage to. On my system, I have it set to 12.7 - if my house bank drops to 12.7 or below, I want it to stop sending power to the starter battery. Note that in my setup, this should never happen because I never allow my house bank to go below 13.0 or 12.9. You have to decide how you want to set this, but, if you have it set to a voltage higher than your house bank, no charging will occur. But, in this case, the message you would see would not say "Remote Input inactive" it would say something like "Input voltage lockout".
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Old 01-08-2022, 21:04   #13
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Thanks jordanbigel...these details and concepts are sinking in, probably a little naive going into this learning-curve. I'll read everything I can find on this and appreciate all the responses here on Cruisers Forum.
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Old 02-08-2022, 00:11   #14
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poeme View Post
Thank you AllenRbrts...
Think I'm getting the picture now. Sounds like we have the same idea...external regulator which controls charging the LFP's and Orion for the start batt. The wiring for the Orion is relatively simple but some details like "input voltage lockout" I'm hazy on and maybe there's a simple fix to getting my Orion to turn on. Also suppose it's possible I got a defective unit though...trying to figure it out and appreciate your input...


Just be sure you understand you configuration. If I understand your plan it is charge the start battery with the alternator charging the Li house battery. That connection is opposite the drawing in the Orion manual which is using the Orion to charge house battery and the alternator to charge start battery.
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Old 02-08-2022, 09:17   #15
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Re: DC-DC Charger Mystery

Yes AllenRbrts I'm aware the Orion manual shows the opposite configuration, and I may do that if my current plan fails utterly.
I have a 120a Balmar alternator, Balmar mc-618 regulator and Balmar sg-200 monitor that I felt was ideal to charge and monitor the lithium batteries, with the Orion simply on hand with 30amps available to keep the start battery up. I've dealt with possible BMS disconnect issues, backing off some regulator charging currents and time thresholds, as well as a protection module on the alternator.
Various tech supports have told me this should work fine, and I've inquired here on CF for feedback as well. With the engine on, this is all working now perfectly...except the Orion is not turning on. I'm still hoping it's something I'm doing wrong programming the Bluetooth, otherwise I do hope someone can tell me that it's my "backwards" configuration. If I can just get the Orion to turn on, I'm golden (I think!)
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