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Batteries over charging


Kendorr
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I have 4@ ABS LXD 110 dual purpose batteries as my leisure bank and the same battery as my starter. I have these connected to a Merlin Smart Gauge. I have this set at type 6 - Maintenance free Calcium/Calcium

 

I also have a 160X panel connecting through a Renogy Rover elite 20 amp MPPT controller, the battery type SLD

 

I do not live aboard, but come to the boat every 2 weeks or so.

 

Recently we've had more sun and the smart gauge often flashes the EO2 error code, this means the batteries are over charging. The smart gauge is currently showing 100% charged, with the leisure bank at 15V and the starter at 12.95V.

 

I've just measured the batteries with a volt meter and all 4 leisure battery's show 15.15V with the starter battery at 13.04 volt.

 

I'm unsure if I have set the battery types correct for this type of battery? Anybody able to give me some advice please?

 

Thanks, Kevin

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Well the SG is reporting the voltage being supplied to the domestic bank by the solar, I'd say.

 

So I think it is your solar controller that needs fiddling with and changing to a more appropriate charge profile.

Another thought. My own solar does an equalisation charge every so often. Maybe yours does too, and the SG doesn't approve! 

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38 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Is your MPPT controler programmed to give an Equalisation charge every few days / weeks ?

Yes, every 28 days

 

41 minutes ago, MtB said:

My own solar does an equalisation charge every so often. Maybe yours does too, and the SG doesn't approve! 

Could be, I'll be keeping an eye.

 

One thing I have just noticed, the SG has a 'hybrid' setting and it's for sealed maintenance free with a magic eye to give battery condition. These sound like mine, so I've changed the SG setting and will see how it reacts when the SG settles down

 

Thanks, Kevin

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As MtB  has said you need to check and if necessary adjust the MPPT solar controller settings, not the Smartgauge.  If your batteries are on float for long periods of time then an equalisation every 28 days is probably more than is needed- I would think every 56 or even 84 days would be plenty, especially on sealed batteries where you cannot replace any water lost during equalisation.

 

N

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2 hours ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Ignore the magic eye, it means absolutely nothing other than there is fluid in that one single cell of the battery.

 

Agreed. The last set of knackered leisures I weighed in still had the green eye gleaming, telling me they were fine despite them being unusable. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Kendorr said:

I've just measured the batteries with a volt meter and all 4 leisure battery's show 15.15V with the starter battery at 13.04 volt.

So is the starter battery not being charged by the solar? If you fit a dual sensing voltage sensitive relay, then both banks will charge from whatever charging source(s) you have, and regardless of which bank the source is connected to.

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Sounds like the solar was doing an equalization charge or the controller is faulty. It should only equalize now and again so see what it gets up to tomorrow. I would not want to see it above about 14.5 volts.

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Thanks everyone. I don't think I'm fully satisfied with what was happening, but I'm fairly confident things are okay. Batteries have now settled at 13.00 volt, the only draw on them is 2 led lights and SG shows them at 100%.

 

The MPPT only has 4 battery settings, SLD, GEL, FLD and LI and I have it set to SLD. The MPPT also has an error code for over charging, but this has never shown up, so maybe SG is reading differently to MPPT?

1 hour ago, David Mack said:

So is the starter battery not being charged by the solar?

I do only charge the leisure bank, I'll look into your suggestion, thanks.

 

1 hour ago, Tony Brooks said:

Sounds like the solar was doing an equalization charge

Reading the instructions, it looks like a few of you were right about this. I think next time I come to boat, I'll have a day using the battery power, then check how the solar and SG react to the charging period.

 

Advice much appreciated, thank you.

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25 minutes ago, Kendorr said:

The MPPT only has 4 battery settings, SLD, GEL, FLD and LI and I have it set to SLD. The MPPT also has an error code for over charging, but this has never shown up, so maybe SG is reading differently to MPPT?

 

Be aware that I know of no solar controller is capable of showing an accurate state of charge. It can only measure voltage and any on charge voltage can not give an accurate state of charge. This is why the Smartguage is inaccurate during charge but accurate during discharge. The Smartguage has a massive voltage map for several different types of battery that was arrived at by exhaustive charging and discharging while logging voltage. Solar controllers do not have such maps.

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10 hours ago, Kendorr said:

The MPPT only has 4 battery settings, SLD, GEL, FLD and LI and I have it set to SLD. The MPPT also has an error code for over charging, but this has never shown up, so maybe SG is reading differently to MPPT?

Does it not have a "USER" setting where you can set the charge/float voltages and duration to your own settings? Or can you not alter the voltages under the defined settings.

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11 minutes ago, Loddon said:

Does it not have a "USER" setting where you can set the charge/float voltages and duration to your own settings? Or can you not alter the voltages under the defined settings.

Nope, only if you have set the battery type to Lithium.

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5 minutes ago, Kendorr said:

Nope, only if you have set the battery type to Lithium.

Unless the Lithium setting imposes limitations on the voltages you set then why not use that setting and then set the voltages you need. Something like Absorption 14.5, float 13.6 and equalization 14.5 and up the equalization voltage when you need to equalize. I suspect the controller may not give you an equalization option when set to Li.

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21 minutes ago, Kendorr said:

Nope, only if you have set the battery type to Lithium.

I suspect that on earlier versions of the MPPT the Lithium setting was  USER and it has been renamed rather than introducing a new category to cope with the advent of lithium batteries 😯

What make us the MPPT?

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All excellent advice above.

 

All i would check with the OP is that Error code 2, which he says was triggered, in my manual is for a Low Voltage Alarm... Error 03 is for High Voltage.

 

The Smartgauge manual has a section explaining. It talks about high voltages from equalisation charges triggering the Smartgauge error code 3. It goes on to tell you how to defeat error codes 2 and 3, which is what i have done as my solar sets off the alarm.

 

As i say, check with your manual as mine may be a different version.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

I suspect the controller may not give you an equalization option when set to Li.

 

One would certainly hope it doesn't, or there is gonna an awful lot of claims for overcharged and wrecked lithium cells!

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2 hours ago, Loddon said:

What make us the MPPT?

It's a Renogy Rover Elite 20A

 

3 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

Unless the Lithium setting imposes limitations on the

That's a good idea, unfortunately I'm just back home, but will give it a try when next I go, thank you.

 

2 hours ago, Paringa said:

All i would check with the OP is that Error code 2,

Yes, I mixed up there, the SG is giving E03, but the MPPT never gives an error message - if it did, then E02 is for over charging. Again, I'll look to see if they can be altered when I go back next week.

 

Thanks again folks, Kevin

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3 minutes ago, Kendorr said:

It's a Renogy Rover Elite 20A

 

That's a good idea, unfortunately I'm just back home, but will give it a try when next I go, thank you.

 

Yes, I mixed up there, the SG is giving E03, but the MPPT never gives an error message - if it did, then E02 is for over charging. Again, I'll look to see if they can be altered when I go back next week.

 

Thanks again folks, Kevin

 

I find this unceasingly difficult to understand what you are talking about.

 

As I understate your posts you have an MPPT solar controller that can display error codes PLUS a recently fitted Smartgauge that can also display error codes. You say the MPPT never gves an error message and then says that if it did it would be 02 that on the MPPT means overcharging.

 

Your original post says the Smartguage shows E02 but above you say it is E03. E02 indicates the battery has been BELOW the minimum voltage while E03 says ABOVE the maximum voltage.

 

With solar 02 makes little sense unless you have really been hammering the batteries. 03 is much more likely for the reasons stated before in the topic.

 

Even if you turned of the equalize function on the MPPT or set its voltage to about 14.4ish the solar could on bright days with full batteries provide more than what the Smartgauge  thinks is the maximum voltage. With lead calcium batteries I would not worry if the solar delivered14.6 or even 14.7 with very low current and full batteries. I would just cancel the 03 when the sun went down. Because of the way it works it should not affect the accuracy of the Smartgauge readings when under discharge.

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Sorry to confuse Tony.

 

SG and batteries are 3 years old, panel and MPPT are 6 months old.

 

SG now shows error code E03 which indicates batteries are being over charged.

 

Instruction booklet on MPPT has various error codes, E02 here indicates over charging BUT the MPPT never shows this.

 

34 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

I would just cancel the 03 when the sun went down. Because of the way it works it should not affect the accuracy of the Smartgauge readings when under discharge.

This answers what I have been doing 🙂 and is now sounding like I should just continue doing the same.

 

Thanks, Kevin

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Having just looked at the spec sheet only the LI setting has a variable voltage however I would avoid that as I don't know what the other charge characteristics are.

SLD/AGM is the same voltage 14.6  as flooded but without the equalisation cycle although the doc is not specific on that as it says it does every 28days  but doesn't give a voltage. The GEL voltage is 14.2v personally I would go for that unless you are moored somewhere trying to eke out the sun to save moving. Mine is set at 14.2v when the boat is on its moorings and not being used.

One thing that is often missed is that if you have the temp sensor fitted in cold weather the charge voltage will be much higher than 14.6v due to the temperature compensation, similarly above 25degC it will be lower.

 

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