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I messed up: Need advice on bringing Trojan L16s back from near dead

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  • I messed up: Need advice on bringing Trojan L16s back from near dead

    Well the perfect storm of weather, bad luck and my mistakes may have trashed my 4 1/2 year old Trojan L16RE-A batteries at our off grid vacation place in Montana. I'm 1,200 miles away and couldn't get up to our place even if I was close. Snow is deep and my panels are covered. The earliest I see getting any charging from my CC is two days from now and that's assuming the snow melts off my panels. The most they are going to get this time of year from my 2.6kw array is 30 amps for a couple hours. The closest neighbors were going to clear the snow off my panels for me but they are snowed in. Even their tracked Polaris Ranger is stuck.

    I'm not scheduled to be at our place until March 8th. I could drive up there as early as Sunday but fear it won't make any difference whether I get them charged and equalized five days from now or a month from now. I'm assuming they are already trashed. I'm really upset about this.

    My only real hope is that the Trojan "Smart Carbon" paste in my batteries actually makes a real difference with partial state of charge. Good chance it's just marketing gimmicks though.

    Looking to hear from you off grid guys who have gone through something similar and your outcome (good or bad). I'm really upset about this so please no Sunking type BS. I know I made mistakes and will learn from them. Just hoping to salvage my $3,000 battery bank. I have two good hydrometers and I know how to use them.

    Equipment listed below as well as stand alone chargers I have. My inverter is capable of charging at 110 amps.

    Thanks.

    Trojan L16RE-A 325ah (one string of eight)
    Conext XW5548 inverter
    Conext MPPT 60 150 CC
    Conext Combox
    Conext SCP
    Conext Battery Monitor
    Bogart Trimetric Battery Monitor

    MEP-802A diesel 5kw genset
    Yamaha 1600 inverter genset
    25a manual 12v charger
    10a manual 6v/12v charger
    Lester Summit II 1050 48v charger
    Last edited by hammick; 02-07-2020, 05:33 PM.

  • #2
    What loads are on at your cabin right now? Is a frig running? Security lights? I'd expect your inverter to use about 1000wh a day just being on, so if that's the only thing, your batteries might go a 4-5 days before dropping to <50%. It might not be a bad as you think. Being in a similar situation, I just shut the inverter off during the deepest part of winter when I'm not there

    Comment


    • #3
      As long as your charge controller does not power down at ~ 8VDC, it should recover. you might have to instruct your neighbor to short the PV input, to the Battery, to get some charge into the batteries for a couple minutes for the controller to get enough voltage to boot and continue. Hopefuly you have hard programmed the controller for a fixed battery voltage, and not auto-detect.
      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


      • #4
        Originally posted by MichaelK! View Post
        What loads are on at your cabin right now? Is a frig running? Security lights? I'd expect your inverter to use about 1000wh a day just being on, so if that's the only thing, your batteries might go a 4-5 days before dropping to <50%. It might not be a bad as you think. Being in a similar situation, I just shut the inverter off during the deepest part of winter when I'm not there
        Sorry I should have mentioned I'm already in deep trouble. They are currently at 33% SOC according to my Trimetric shunt based meter (I have a Blink camera pointing at the meter). I have no way to monitor anything other than SOC or control anything.

        My loads are very light which I believe is why the inverter hasn't shut off yet. So that means the batteries are not at 44 volts yet which is the default LBCO of my inverter. I'm kicking myself for not setting the LBCO to the high setting of 48v. I have the ability turn on seven lights but they are all LED bulbs and not drawing enough power to trip the LBCO.

        Loads are a Hughesnet router, mesh wifi, Insteon HUB, Blink camera HUB, two blink cameras plugged into 5v phone chargers, weatherstation display, WIFI thermostat for my gas stove and seven insteon light switches. All other loads are turned off. I'm using about 9% of my batteries each night. Quite a bit more than 9% when I don't charge at all. I think I Wednesday I put 10% back and charged up to 63% SOC. Then the blizzards hit and it's been all downhill. I believe the last time I was at 100% SOC was last Friday or Saturday.
        ,
        This is the first time I have ever left the inverter on when I'm not there. I'm kicking myself for not waiting until I had my generator auto start all set to go.

        Slight chance a guy might get up there tomorrow and clear my panels. Full sun forecast for Sunday.

        I'm debating driving up on Monday so I can start the long process of equalizing and taking SG readings.

        If the panels clear and they charge so my meter shows 100% I'm wondering if waiting a month to equalized will make any difference. I suspect the damage has already been done.
        Last edited by hammick; 02-07-2020, 07:28 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
          As long as your charge controller does not power down at ~ 8VDC, it should recover. you might have to instruct your neighbor to short the PV input, to the Battery, to get some charge into the batteries for a couple minutes for the controller to get enough voltage to boot and continue. Hopefuly you have hard programmed the controller for a fixed battery voltage, and not auto-detect.
          Thanks Mike. The battery voltage operating range from the MPPT 60 150 data sheet is 0vdc to 80vdc. But it sounds like you are saying it needs 8vdc to power on. My inverter should go to standby when the batteries hit 44 volts and then shut down completely after 24 hours.

          I have shut down my CC on several occasions and it always keeps it's settings when powering up. I'm pretty sure I programmed it for 48v and not auto-detect but not positive.

          By "recover" I assume you mean that the CC will start charging. Not that I haven't damaged my battery string.

          Comment


          • #6
            Had a guy and his son snowmobile up and clear the panels. They got stuck for an hour with snowmobiles. My batteries went down to 19% SOC. They are currently at 22%

            Full day of sun forecast for tomorrow. If I don't charge to over 50% tomorrow I'm going to have to get somebody inside to turn off the inverter.

            Comment


            • #7
              Just the 5548 inverter is a significant load for batteries drawn that low, so shutting it off might be a better option for you. One thing you could do is install a dinkly little inverter like this Samlex
              https://ressupply.com/inverters/saml...-wave-inverter
              It draws only .23 amps at idle, which means only about 265wh per day, significantly less than the 1000+wh of the 5548. I would also add more panels to your arrays asap. My battery bank is also eight L-16s, which I keep charged with 4500 watts of panels. I can get 60 amps without trying too hard, even in winter. My arrays rotate, so I can keep some oriented SE and some oriented SW, so my controller is not overloaded with too many amps at noontime. But, at 7:30 am in the winter, I can point all my panels at the early morning sun and get full power to run my well pump.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MichaelK! View Post
                Just the 5548 inverter is a significant load for batteries drawn that low, so shutting it off might be a better option for you. One thing you could do is install a dinkly little inverter like this Samlex
                https://ressupply.com/inverters/saml...-wave-inverter
                It draws only .23 amps at idle, which means only about 265wh per day, significantly less than the 1000+wh of the 5548. I would also add more panels to your arrays asap. My battery bank is also eight L-16s, which I keep charged with 4500 watts of panels. I can get 60 amps without trying too hard, even in winter. My arrays rotate, so I can keep some oriented SE and some oriented SW, so my controller is not overloaded with too many amps at noontime. But, at 7:30 am in the winter, I can point all my panels at the early morning sun and get full power to run my well pump.
                Thanks. I currently have 2.6 kw of panels. For six months of the year I'm fully charged by noon. Even on cloudy days I can generally fully charge during the summer. We usually wake up at about 91 or 92% SOC. Winter is different story obviously. We were up for a few weeks over Christmas this year and the lowest SOC we would see in the morning was 77%. On sunny days we had no problem getting to 100% SOC.

                My comfort level would allow for three more panels. I'd worry about frying my controller on very cold mornings with 15 panels. Having additional panels would have done nothing to prevent what happened though. Panels were covered with over a foot of snow that got hard and crunchy after it started to melt.

                I charged to 63% yesterday and hope to get close to full today. My neighbors have a snowmobile being delivered today or tomorrow. They are going to head over and shut off my inverter.

                I won't know if my battteries are shot or damaged until I can get up there in March and equalize them and take SQ readings. Hopefully a good amount of life is still left in them. I think I am going to get a Discover AES LifePO4 130 ah battery and use that during the Spring, Summer and Fall. The Trojan bank will be the array I use in the winter and when the place is vacant. I will set the LBCO to 48v when the place is vacant. I will charge the LifePO4 to 80% and store it in our living quarters which stays between 48 and 50 degrees even in the coldest temps.

                I'm not willing to give up on my security cameras, weather station and Wifi thermostat so the inverter needs to stay on even in the winter.

                I'm reluctant to add more panels now. In the next four or five years we might build a small house up there and if I do I will need to double my battery bank and probably nine more panels and an additional CC. Might even do a separate system for redundancy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by hammick View Post

                  ............. I think I am going to get a Discover AES LifePO4 130 ah battery and use that during the Spring, Summer and Fall. The Trojan bank will be the array I use in the winter and when the place is vacant. I will set the LBCO to 48v when the place is vacant. I will charge the LifePO4 to 80% and store it in our living quarters which stays between 48 and 50 degrees even in the coldest temps.

                  I'm not willing to give up on my security cameras, weather station and Wifi thermostat so the inverter needs to stay on even in the winter.

                  I'm reluctant to add more panels now. In the next four or five years we might build a small house up there and if I do I will need to double my battery bank and probably nine more panels and an additional CC. Might even do a separate system for redundancy.
                  If your temperatures are stable you might want to think of using the lithium pack in the winter because it is much more tolerant of partial charge cycles. Lithium is also more efficient so your existing array might be adequate. Those preconfigured packs are expensive but have all the bells and whistles to make them an easy thing to drop in to your system without much reconfiguring.
                  In four or five years the price of Lithium may be very competitive if the pundits are correct. By then you will have enough experience to make a decision about your future project. Good luck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ampster View Post

                    If your temperatures are stable you might want to think of using the lithium pack in the winter because it is much more tolerant of partial charge cycles. Lithium is also more efficient so your existing array might be adequate. Those preconfigured packs are expensive but have all the bells and whistles to make them an easy thing to drop in to your system without much reconfiguring.
                    In four or five years the price of Lithium may be very competitive if the pundits are correct. By then you will have enough experience to make a decision about your future project. Good luck.
                    Pretty sure I'm going to get the Discovery LifePO4. Had a nice long conversation with an engineer at Northern Arizona Wind and Sun. $5,810 shipped. After the 26% tax credit that's $4,300.

                    I was worried about cold weather use but he assured me charging and discharging in a 45 to 55 degree garage is within the 10 year warranty spec. Spring, summer and fall my garage is usually around 65 degrees. So I will probably use it year round when I'm there. The Trojans will be my vacant bank. Even if they are too damaged to run big loads they should run my light loads when vacant for many years to come. If they need a lot of equalization I'll fork them outside on their pallet and boil away.

                    I'm excited for this battery even though it hurts the wallet. If all goes the way I plan my generator use should be minimal, even in the winter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hammick View Post

                      Pretty sure I'm going to get the Discovery LifePO4. Had a nice long conversation with an engineer at Northern Arizona Wind and Sun. $5,810 shipped. After the 26% tax credit that's $4,300.
                      .........
                      I'm excited for this battery even though it hurts the wallet. If all goes the way I plan my generator use should be minimal, even in the winter.
                      I bought my Skybox from NAWS and some other balance of system parts. They have competitive prices and don't charge a California Sales Tax. I am pleased to see Lithium prices for those kind of self contained systems get below $1000 per kWhr. After tax credits that price is about $650 per kWhr. In addition, if I understand your system correctly, the Xanbus interconnectivity should work nicely with your inverter. It sounds like you have remote connectivity and that might give you the ability to change some parameters based on weather predictions if necessary. Keep us informed since there is not a great body of knowledge on this forum about LFP batteries and plenty of skepticism. I am not one of the skeptics since I have been messing with Lithium batteries for 7 years. I am a DIY kind of guy, but think there is real value in those type of Lithium battery systems with integrated Battery Management Systems.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hammick View Post

                        Pretty sure I'm going to get the Discovery LifePO4. Had a nice long conversation with an engineer at Northern Arizona Wind and Sun. $5,810 shipped. After the 26% tax credit that's $4,300.

                        .


                        Can you get the tax credit for this remote structure? Isn't it intended for your primary residence? I really don't know much about this credit but that one point I thought is right. Maybe not,
                        2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ampster View Post

                          I bought my Skybox from NAWS and some other balance of system parts. They have competitive prices and don't charge a California Sales Tax. I am pleased to see Lithium prices for those kind of self contained systems get below $1000 per kWhr. After tax credits that price is about $650 per kWhr. In addition, if I understand your system correctly, the Xanbus interconnectivity should work nicely with your inverter. It sounds like you have remote connectivity and that might give you the ability to change some parameters based on weather predictions if necessary. Keep us informed since there is not a great body of knowledge on this forum about LFP batteries and plenty of skepticism. I am not one of the skeptics since I have been messing with Lithium batteries for 7 years. I am a DIY kind of guy, but think there is real value in those type of Lithium battery systems with integrated Battery Management Systems.
                          Yes the battery is supposed to auto populate all the settings. Info below. I currently don't have remote monitoring or configuration. I have a Blink camera on my Trimetric meter which is the only reason I was able to watch my batteries slip away. It was torture.

                          My problem with remote monitoring is my Hughesnet satellite internet. They don't allow a static IP address and only allow IP6 dynamic IP's. Even the best of the computer geeks can't get port forwarding or DynamicIP working without using Rasberri Pis and other stuff that is way over my level. So my two options are leaving a laptop running and using Teamviewer remote desktop to access my Conext Combox or spending $500 on the Conext Gateway which allows cloud based monitoring and configuration. I'm leaning towards the laptop option because it is free and may also allow me to bridge my wifi autostart generator board to my network. If I'm successful I won't have to buy the conext AGS. I'm not a fan of generators running unattended. My plan is to only initiate a manual start remotely and have a Blink camera on it so I can monitor it. They engineer who made the Wifi auto start put in a custom firmware option for me so I can choose the amount of time it runs and then it auto shuts down. I needed a fail safe in case I lose internet control while the generator is running.





                          4. NETWORKING
                          4.1 Xanbus Network
                          Xanbus enabled devices communicate with each other over the Xanbus network to share settings, activity and other
                          updates. It is a requirement for one battery from the AES network to be connected to the Xanbus network. No more than
                          one battery may be connect to the Xanbus network. The AES network of batteries will communicate as 'one battery'
                          providing battery bank settings, activity and real time status to the other devices on the Xanbus network. No more than one
                          AES network of batteries may be connected to Xanbus.

                          ▲ CAUTION
                          Only one AES battery is required to be connected to the Xanbus
                          network. Failure to do so could result in impaired system
                          performance.

                          4.2 AEBus Network
                          The AEBus is utilized by all networked AES batteries to coordinate all voltage, temperature, and current data. Network
                          Terminators are required for proper functioning of the AES network. Care should be taken to ensure they are installed.

                          Figure 5. The AESbus Network connected to Xanbus Network
                          discoverbattery.com

                          4.3 Verify Network Connections

                          To verify that all batteries are communicating over Xanbus, please review the following steps.
                          All networked Discover AES Lithium batteries will appear as a single battery, BattMon 00, in the Select Device screen
                          of the Conext System Control Panel (SCP). To view this screen, follow the steps below:
                          • SCP: (System Status screen) → Enter button → (Select Device screen)
                          • Once in this screen navigate with the ▲ and ▼ buttons to locate the BattMon 00 device. If the BattMon 00 is
                          listed, the Discover AES battery connection was successful.
                          • If connection is unsuccessful, check that network is correctly terminated and for any damage to the network
                          cabling, terminators and connectors. Confirm all batteries have the same firmware revision. Rectify any
                          problems and verify again.

                          4.3.2 Verify AEBus Connection

                          To verify that all batteries are communicating over AEBus follow the steps below:
                          • SCP: (System Status Screen) → Enter Button → (Select Device Screen) → ▲ and ▼ buttons to select (BattMon 00)
                          → press Enter/▲/▼ buttons at the same time to enable access to → (Advanced Settings Menu)

                          If the connection was successful, the listed Capacity should be as follows:
                          Product 44-24-2800 42-48-6650
                          Capacity 110 Ah x number of batteries 130 Ah x number of batteries

                          If the connection is unsuccessful, check that network is correctly terminated and for any damage to the network
                          cabling, terminators and connectors. Confirm all batteries have the same firmware revision. Rectify any problems
                          and verify again.

                          5.0 CONFIGURATION SETTINGS

                          5.1 Fixed Settings

                          The settings in the table below are automatically set by AES batteries when they are connected via Xanbus. These settings
                          will automatically be reset by the AES battery if inadvertently adjusted by the user.
                          Settings

                          Nominal System Voltage
                          48V

                          Batt Type Custom

                          High Batt Cut Out 58.4 V
                          Low Batt Cut Out Hyst 3.5 V
                          High Batt Cut Out Hyst 2.4 V
                          High Batt Warning 57.6
                          Low Batt Warning 49.6
                          Low Batt Warning Hyst 1.9 V
                          High Batt Warning Hyst 1.6 V
                          Float Voltage 53.6 V
                          Battery Capacity
                          Determined by number of AES batteries on the
                          AEBus network. Eg. 2x 42-48-6650 = 260Ah

                          ▲ NOTE!
                          Fixed settings and dynamically controlled settings are configured by the AES
                          battery. No user configuration is necessary. These settings will automatically be
                          reset by the AES battery if inadvertently adjusted by the user.

                          5.2 Dynamically Controlled Settings

                          These settings are dynamically Configured by AES Batteries Through Xanbus Network.
                          Settings

                          Nominal System Voltage
                          48V
                          Bulk Voltage Max 56.8V to charge and
                          balance efficiently without Absorption Voltage causing over voltage fault

                          Low Batt Cut Out (LBCO) 48 V

                          5.3 Recommended User-Adjustable Battery Related Settings

                          Recommended User-Adjustable Settings for XW+ Inverter/Charger.
                          Settings Description Nominal System
                          Voltage (48V)
                          Grid Supp Volts (GSV)
                          Setting GSV below 51.5V will likely cause under voltage protection
                          before LBCO setting. Set above Conext MPPT Solar Charge
                          Controllers equalization voltage for enhanced grid support
                          64V
                          ReCharge Volts
                          Setting ReCharge Volts higher allows for more back-up capacity.
                          Setting lower helps maximize self consumption. See Table 15 for
                          further guidance
                          Min 51.5 V
                          Max Chg Rate Limited to maximum battery bank current 1C
                          Charge Cycle 2-Stage

                          Recommended User-Adjustable Settings for Solar Charge Controllers.
                          Settings Description
                          Nominal System Voltage 48V
                          Max Chg Rate Limited to maximum battery bank current < 1C
                          Charge Cycle 2-Stage

                          Recommended User-Adjustable Settings for Automatic Generator Start (AGS).
                          AGS Triggers
                          Nominal System Voltage 48V
                          Start DCV 30 sec 49V (LCBO +1V)
                          Stop Absorb Disabled Disabled
                          Start SoC > 10%
                          Stop SoC < 95%
                          ReCharge Voltage Setting Guidance
                          Remaining Capacity
                          Nominal System Voltage 48V

                          10-15%* 49V*
                          15-20% 50V
                          20-30% 51.5V
                          40-50% 52V
                          80-90% 52.5V
                          90-100% 54V

                          * Not recommended. Inverter may display Low Batt Warning.
                          Figure 6. Grid Support Load Shave Mode.
                          (LBCO)V+1V
                          (RechargeV+0.5V)
                          (Grid Supp Volts)
                          Battery Voltage
                          LoadShave
                          Start (entry)
                          VBatt
                          LoadShave
                          Stop (exit)
                          (A)
                          Load Shave Mode
                          AC Pass-Through
                          Charge Mode

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hammick View Post
                            My problem with remote monitoring is my Hughesnet satellite internet. They don't allow a static IP address and only allow IP6 dynamic IP's. Even the best of the computer geeks can't get port forwarding or DynamicIP working without using Rasberri Pis and other stuff that is way over my level. So my two options are leaving a laptop running and using Teamviewer remote desktop to access my Conext Combox or spending $500 on the Conext Gateway which allows cloud based monitoring and configuration.
                            FYI, I am in the same situation - I am using a satellite connection. I actually flashed my WiFi router to use OpenWrt and established a site-to-site VPN to have access to the Combox from anywhere I want. It works perfectly but it requires some computer/networking skills to get it done (which luckily I have).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by extrafu View Post

                              FYI, I am in the same situation - I am using a satellite connection. I actually flashed my WiFi router to use OpenWrt and established a site-to-site VPN to have access to the Combox from anywhere I want. It works perfectly but it requires some computer/networking skills to get it done (which luckily I have).
                              Extrafu that's great. That is something I am wanting to try. In fact I already flashed a Buffalo router I had sitting around to OpenWrt. I won't be at our place until March 8th so I won't be able to play around with it.

                              Any chance you can PM the steps? I also have set up a Dynamic DNS through Noip.com if I need that.

                              I'm assuming with the VPN you have remote configuration ability of the Combox.

                              Comment

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