Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

LiFEPo4 sitting several months NOT hooked up = freaking about self discharge = Brick?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • LiFEPo4 sitting several months NOT hooked up = freaking about self discharge = Brick?

    Hello all,

    I am hoping I can get some info/assistance/guidance from some of you kind and knowledgeable folks...

    THE SHORT:

    BALQON = NO USER MANUAL or USER GUIDE = NO COMMUNICATION = MY 27kwh LiFEPo4 Battery pack sitting outside for several months NOT hooked up = me freaking out about self discharge (which I didn't even know existed) and a possible 800lb. expensive brick!!!

    THE LONG:

    This past summer (2015) my wife and I refinanced our house, took out loans, and spent our life savings to pursue our mutual life-long dream of a full turnkey Solar scenario.

    The goal was to get all the components in and then hire a local professional to put it all together and guide us through it all, including the use and maintenance.

    After doing some comparisons of battery options I decided to go with LiFEPo4. I contacted Balqon, and Samra (CEO?) spent well over an hour on the phone with me and convinced me that was the route to go and that his company was the way to go.

    We went through a Solar company to get 24 panels, mounts, a Schneider/Midnight Classic all-in-one wall of electronics and a 27kwh battery bank in an external enclosure, from Balqon.

    Balqon took tons longer to ship than promised, after awful communication. Then, despite calls and emails DAILY from myself as well as from the company I bought it through, we still have yet to get a response. And all we were trying to do was get a User Manual or User Guide for the 27kwh battery pack. You know, "This is how you hook it up, Do this, Don't do this, This button does this, This is how to actually open it up, etc..."

    Well, then there had been ridiculous and extensive problems and delays in getting the mounting in. (FedEx Freight basically ran over everything with a fork lift, then I get sent the wrong stuff, then they won't send the right stuff, then they want me to pay for the right stuff cause it's not what they were told to send, etc...)

    So, as of today I now have all the components in. (Except any of the information I needed from Balqon, that is.)

    While online last week doing some research I ran across people talking about self-discharge (which, again, nobody ever told me was even a thing) and how it could brick your battery. (I am aware of the BMS and it's self cut-off to prevent it getting too low, etc.) Well now I am FREAKING OUT!!! Due to all the calamity of errors and delays, the battery has been sitting outside untouched for several months! I don't know how much charge it came with, how to hook it up, nor how to operate it (because I never got a manual, nor did I have everything in to begin an install)

    From the looks of things it will probably be this Spring until the panels are mounted and we are ready to actually hook up to it.

    So, please, tell me, what do I do??? Assuming I hit the "On" button and it isn't dead, how on earth can I put a charge into it without all the solar panels hooked up to get it to last till the spring without bricking? Can I hook jumper cables up to it from my car for countless hours? Is there a way to hook up a generator directly to it without the wall of electronics? Can I plug into it from my house? I mean, I don't need to fill it up and worry about an over charge, I just need to keep it from dying.

    Then, If I go to push the "On" button and nothing happens, or it is totally dead what options do I have?

    Quite Sincerely,

    danewguy

  • #2
    Hi Danewguy and welcome to Solar Panel Talk. Relax I think the situation is savable, (if thats a word) but we need more info, what does it say on the batterys sticker etc, do you have a multimeter? Perhaps the best bet would be to call your solar installer and get him to install inverter and or charge controller it may be able to charge the batteries from grid AC

    There are some battery experts running around the place somewhere a couple of them might chime in to lend a hand, batteries are not really my thing, good luck with it and relax but also get onto it those batteries will want a charge but I think they will be ok

    Comment


    • #3
      Got any links to data sheets or specific components purchased? It is hard to see how this will end well if you don't even know how to measure battery voltage, but if you hang in there, people will try to help.

      There is no magic on button that will ever work for this, even running well you will always be at the mercy of what mother nature is willing to give you.
      CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

      Comment


      • #4
        Before putting a charger on the battery bank, measure the voltage per cell. If it is 3.0V or higher go ahead and charge them with a charger set for the appropriate voltage for LiFePO4 batteries (check the labeling, etc.)
        If they are lower than 3V read PNJunction's threads on charging very discharged LI batteries and then proceed.
        The self discharge of the batteries is pretty low provided that they are not hooked up to the Battery Management System and Li batteries are generally not harmed by sitting at a low state of charge the way lead acid are.

        Any damage from leaving them for a few more days will be far less than the damage by panicking and trying to recharge too quickly.
        Last edited by inetdog; 02-25-2016, 11:45 AM.
        SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

        Comment


        • #5
          I just checked and it was originally shipped right at 6 mo. ago...

          It is a 27kwh 48Volt bank in an EXTERNAL Enclosure. The company has updated their products and the original product page but it would fall under this current page's category: http://www.balqon.com/residential-en...orage-ess-r24/

          Mine is in an enclosure similar to this one:

          < http://www.balqon.com/online-store/#!/Commercial-Energy-Storage-50-kWhr/p/48565112/category=12286450 >

          But mine does not have the fancy display. Just a simple one that will show a general "% charge led". So I could push the on button and probably see what it says, but I don't want to until I get a Battery Charger, as you suggest, and am immediately ready to hook it up.

          The enclosure itself has two connector points on the side that in theory I believe I just stick the leads in and tighten the knobs around it.

          The option of hooking up the inverter/charge controller board (Schneider Pre Wired Inverter with two Midnite classic 150 Charge Controllers Model # MNXWP6848-2CL150) right now is not an option due to all of that being away in storage. The battery bank is in my back yard.
          Last edited by danewguy; 02-23-2016, 10:48 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Looks like turning it on is the right thing to do, at least for a couple minutes. That display, if it is like others advertised on the site, will let you cycle through and see each cell voltage. It doesn't look like they really intend for you to be inside the enclosure making direct cell voltage measurements, although if the BMS is housed in the top as illustrated here, there might be some test points available.
            CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

            Comment


            • #7
              It you have 2 volts or more per cell, they are OK. Bu tyou may have to perform a Bulk Balance which cannot be done with a standard charger or BMS. They are not capable of doing Bulk Balance.
              MSEE, PE

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by danewguy View Post
                It is a 27kwh 48Volt bank in an EXTERNAL Enclosure. The company has updated their products and the original product page but it would fall under this current page's category: http://www.balqon.com/residential-en...orage-ess-r24/

                Mine is in an enclosure similar to this one:

                &lt; http://www.balqon.com/online-store/#!/Commercial-Energy-Storage-50-kWhr/p/48565112/category=12286450 &gt;

                But mine does not have the fancy display. Just a simple one that will show a general "% charge led". So I could push the on button and probably see what it says, but I don't want to until I get a Battery Charger, as you suggest, and am immediately ready to hook it up.

                The enclosure itself has two connector points on the side that in theory I believe I just stick the leads in and tighten the knobs around it.
                Balqon's online documentation is woeful. It is really difficult to work out what is going on.

                I wonder if the "connector points" you mention are not just cable glands which the cable goes through and the actual cable connection is inside the box somewhere. Would it be possible to post some pictures.

                The self discharge of the battery will be less than 1% per month if there is nothing drawing power from it. Hopefully the electronics that is in the box with the batteries is shut down when it is switched off. The battery should have been shipped to you at least 50% full so you shouldn't have any problems. It should also have had the Bulk Balance carried out before it was shipped.

                Before you rush out and buy a power supply I would try and ascertain the battery voltage. When you say the display is a simple "% charge LED" do you mean it is a row of LED's that show you the charge or is it a simple numeric or alphanumeric display. If it is a display you might somehow get a battery voltage displayed.

                If it displays around 53 Volts your battery is full, around 52.5 Volts is around 50% full and 51.2 is around 20% full.

                I can't see any issue with turning the battery electronics on for a few minutes to try to work out how full the battery is.

                Simon

                Comment


                • #9
                  The situation you find yourself is not good. We don't know your skill level or your understanding of LFP batteries. You need a DVM ( Digital Volt Meter ) so you can give some accurate voltage of the pack minimum.

                  The quickest and cheapest way to charge, if the pack voltage is not to low is with a stand alone 48v charger, The cheapest may allow the voltage to go higher than the pack needs and you'll have to watch it so it does not over charge. Once the voltage goes up to around 55v pull the plug.

                  Cheapest you find Sams Club. $99.97 48v @ 10 amp output.

                  http://www.samsclub.com/sams/stanley....ip?navAction=

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by karrak View Post
                    If it displays around 53 Volts your battery is full
                    Hogwash. Try 55.2 volts.
                    MSEE, PE

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The saving grace, is LFP is pretty low self discharge. 1 year would be no issue.
                      The damming part is the idle draw of the BMS, that can brick the pack, just like a Tesla dies in 4 months.

                      But if the pack has a BMS in it, and it actually works, you should not need to worry about overcharging with a golf cart 10A charger, when it gets close to full, just stop charging.
                      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Although not *exactly* the same as Balqon, a pretty good manual for Winston's will get you up to speed:

                        You can download the manual here:

                        http://en.winston-battery.com/index....ownload-center

                        Also note that GWL Power has some very good articles and information. Plow through all the blog articles page by page:

                        http://gwl-power.tumblr.com/?src=CMS-Blog

                        Much of this stuff should ease some fears and get some general basic knowledge going.

                        Again, not the same manufacturer, but downloads from CALB can prove to be useful for your general knowledge:

                        http://www.calbusainc.com/additional-information/

                        In all cases, parameters listed are usually from one extreme end to the other. Best to avoid them if you can and strive for a middle ground.

                        I noticed a similar message in the DIY electric car forum, and hopefully you can get more familiar with what you purchased.
                        Last edited by PNjunction; 02-25-2016, 04:48 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          FWIW thi sguy was banned on DIY EV forum for asking this question. It appears he is a SPAMMER.

                          MSEE, PE

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the input.

                            As i recall, the display is just an alphanumeric one that only says the % of total charge I think. When I get back from work Sunday I will take some pictures and meter readings.

                            I was looking on amazon at some battery chargers. Most seem to be for lead acid specifically, but as I understand it I should be fine if I watch the charge and unplug it before its full.

                            Full disclosure: out of my insane paranoid desperation I have posted onto two other forums looking for advice, thinking that different forum's members would have different perspectives or advice. And honestly collectively it absolutely has proven somewhat true. However this apparently has offended some members who evidently frequent all of them. I never realized this was such a taboo action to take. So I apologize. And if this comes across as spam (although i honestly cannot see what such a motive would be) then I'm sorry for sounding so pathetic, but if anyone cares enough I could validate every disgusting woeful detail.

                            Thank you to those who have offered legitimate advice. If someone doesn't ban me for some reason then in a couple days Ill post some pictures and readings.
                            Last edited by danewguy; 02-26-2016, 09:54 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              When you start posting sales links for people to spend $ at, that's spam, and we'll flush you right out. Links to mfg's pages are OK. Just not sales links..
                              Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                              || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                              || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                              solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                              gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X