Solar system shutdown problem.

H2oboxer

New member
Well, I am making my cross country trip from NY to OR and had my first cold night in Alamosa, CO where I needed to plug in the heating blanket to my inverter. I had tested the system before leaving home and all worked as expected. Last night I turned the cutoff switch that I installed in front of the inverter and the entire system shut down. No ceiling fan, no USB ports and could not connect to controller or monitor. Since it was dark, we decided to tough it out and check into it in the morning. At 7:00AM my USB light started flickering and a few minutes later the fan came on. I was able to connect to the smart monitor and it said my battery was 100% charged.
I can’t figure out what happened and am looking for troubleshooting suggestions. I have a 100AH Battle Born battery, 100/30 Victron controller and a 300 watt solar panel. BTW when I tried the system this morning there was no issue. It seems to only happen when the panel is not getting sunlight.
Thanks
 

Geriakt

2017 View 24J
What is a cold night temp? BB has a BMS that shuts down charge once the temp goes below a specific temp not that this should be the issue.
Do you run your load through the MPPT? Some solar controllers allow this but possibly not when the PV is shut down.
Please point out the equipment you have installed and how it is configured.
 

elemental

Dis member
I had tested the system before leaving home and all worked as expected. Last night I turned the cutoff switch that I installed in front of the inverter and the entire system shut down. [...] At 7:00AM my USB light started flickering and a few minutes later the fan came on. I was able to connect to the smart monitor and it said my battery was 100% charged.[...] It seems to only happen when the panel is not getting sunlight.
Your statements point to an obvious starting point for unraveling the problem. The best chance for assistance will require a diagram of how the components of your system are interconnected as well as make/model of the major components. With respect to your testing of the system before you left home, is it a valid assumption that your testing was conducted in daylight and not the dark of the night?
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
My first guess is that one of the switches, breakers of fuses between the batteries and the loads have been flipped off (or blown, if a fuse).

2nd guess is "check the grounds (black wires in diagram) from loads to negative bus bar.

*Where* did you test your battery voltage?

It's possible the battery's main switch isn't ON, and that all your loads were running directly from solar.
(or the wires to and through the shunt aren't really connected)

If it's not immediately obvious from the above list, clip your voltmeter's negative probe to the battery's negative post.
Then verify that all the stops along the way that should have "12v" (which might be 14v) have that level of voltage (battery postive post, then other side of main switch, then other side of breaker, then any fuse in the fuse box, then onward to the loads...
At some point in that chain (or repeat the chain) move the black probe to the negative bus bar.

"Almost identical" .... well, what's different?

--dick
 
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Geriakt

2017 View 24J
Not sure why you have a 200 amp glass fuse on one battery and a 1000 watt inverter that has a max amperage of 133 amps. In my opinion this does not offer any protection as you can never really reach 200 amps.

Get your voltage meter out and start chasing it down with a continuity tester to see if you have had connections, blown fuses or bad breakers. You did check to see if your battery has a full charge right? Open the PV breaker and test without any PV. I assume you use the 600 amp simplex inverter only when the engine is running and underway. You have to plug that 15-20 amp shore power plug into the Simplex inverter when running or external shore power when parked?

How did you connect your cable lugs? Did you use a hydraulic crimper?
 

autostaretx

Erratic Member
Not sure why you have a 200 amp glass fuse on one battery and a 1000 watt inverter that has a max amperage of 133 amps. In my opinion this does not offer any protection as you can never really reach 200 amps.
Many 1000 watt inverters allow for 1500 (or even 2000) watt operation for a limited time (30 seconds? A minute?) ... partly to cover for stalled motors when they're first energized. If you're planning on using that feature, you need 200 amps.

Some folks believe in the precept: "the goal of the fuse is to protect the wiring, not the device" and size the wires and fuses based upon that. (i tend to do both: small fuse for known small load, but "wire-sized" fuse for unknown loads)

Heck, i've got circuits in my house with 12 gauge wire, 15 amp fuses, but only a total of (perhaps) 600 watts of light bulbs/fixtures as the total load (no outlets). (wired before CFLs and LEDs).

--dick
 

mntnmanga

New member
Do you have a meter capable of reading voltage? I would start by ignoring the solar part of the setup and check voltage at the battery.

Then work your way to your fuse panel.

I am a dealer for Battle Born batteries and have put quite a few in now. I have yet to have any issues with them so I suspect your issue may be further down the line.

If you have any pictures of your electrical system, please post one up. A picture might reveal the problem right away.
 

Geriakt

2017 View 24J
Many 1000 watt inverters allow for 1500 (or even 2000) watt operation for a limited time (30 seconds? A minute?) ... partly to cover for stalled motors when they're first energized. If you're planning on using that feature, you need 200 amps.

Some folks believe in the precept: "the goal of the fuse is to protect the wiring, not the device" and size the wires and fuses based upon that. (i tend to do both: small fuse for known small load, but "wire-sized" fuse for unknown loads)

Heck, i've got circuits in my house with 12 gauge wire, 15 amp fuses, but only a total of (perhaps) 600 watts of light bulbs/fixtures as the total load (no outlets). (wired before CFLs and LEDs).

--dick
In my vehicle RV I would prefer fuses to blow easier to protect my equipment and $1000 battery and would size my fuse on the highest load in the circuit. I $5 megafuse is easier to deal with than a fried $1000 battery or $1500 inverter.
Home 120/240 vac is a totally different type of system it does not have a DC battery in it and all breakers are sized small 15 amp, 20 amp, 30 amp, 50 amp before the main 150-200 can break. If we relied on the 200 amp breaker to protect our houses there would be many fires.

Again you are better off with a smaller fuse that can always be sized up.
 

HarryN

Active member
A monitoring system's data is based on it being calibrated. (verify full, etc)

It isn't difficult to make a monitoring system display read any number that you like.

The electrical system that you have installed is just barely enough to run the fridge, lights and fan - and only as long as you have plenty of sun every day. 1 BB battery isn't a lot of capacity unless it gets fully charged every day.

My guess is that your battery SOC is really closer to 10 - 20 % vs 100%. When the sun goes down, there just isn't enough power to keep things on.

Do you have an actual active charging system that pulls power from the alternator to feed that BB battery of just a relay connection?

Another possible option is that when you turned on the DC breaker to feed the inverter, the capacitors inside caused a current "rush" and it tripped something. Don't be in a rush to turn on / off the inverter. Yes they do use some standby power, but it isn't all that bad.
 
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wankel7

Member
Not sure why you have a 200 amp glass fuse on one battery and a 1000 watt inverter that has a max amperage of 133 amps. In my opinion this does not offer any protection as you can never really reach 200 amps.

Get your voltage meter out and start chasing it down with a continuity tester to see if you have had connections, blown fuses or bad breakers. You did check to see if your battery has a full charge right? Open the PV breaker and test without any PV. I assume you use the 600 amp simplex inverter only when the engine is running and underway. You have to plug that 15-20 amp shore power plug into the Simplex inverter when running or external shore power when parked?

How did you connect your cable lugs? Did you use a hydraulic crimper?
You should fuse based on wire ampacity.

Or the device draw....

As long as your fusing doesn't exceed ampacity.
 

Geriakt

2017 View 24J
So no update as of yet? I assume his battery is not fully charged from the lone 9 amp PV since you can't control the sun and not enough Battery bank. Clearly the schematic does not match with what was really installed since his inverter is not an inverter charger and he has no galley. What do you really have.
I used to have a 1000 watt inverter and only 345 watts of solar (18 amp) in a 12 volt system with 2 wet cell 90 ah and I could only get about 3 hours of watching TV out of it.
Going to have to assume your battery is not at a full charge when you want to use it.
 

mntnmanga

New member
The nice thing about the battle born battery is that they have much more usable capacity than a lead acid battery.

A 100aH battle born battery has 100aH of actual usable capacity or very close to it.

A 100aH Lead acid setup only has 50aH of usable capacity before the voltage is going to drop too low or you are going to start damaging the battery.

If this is a typical 200W heating blanket, with a full battery, he should be able to have that blanket on for 5+ hours assuming about 85% inverter efficiency.

My bet is that the battery wasn't fully charged to start. The Victron battery monitors need their settings adjusted to correctly track Lithium Iron batteries. Victron battery monitors also tend to start reading 100% when you first turn them on even though the batteries are not at 100%.

Victron charge controllers also need their settings adjusted with Lithium Iron batteries to obtain full and the fastest charge. With a setup like this, you can disable the float charging function as the BB battery does not need float. I would leave float enabled if there was an alternator tie though. There are also some voltage, absorption time, and efficiency factors that should be adjusted.

The 300W of solar should be enough to maintain the battery and should be plenty for summer time sun light conditions. It isn't enough to bring the battery up to full charge in a single day though if the heating blanket is in the picture every night.
 

wankel7

Member
The nice thing about the battle born battery is that they have much more usable capacity than a lead acid battery.

A 100aH battle born battery has 100aH of actual usable capacity or very close to it.

A 100aH Lead acid setup only has 50aH of usable capacity before the voltage is going to drop too low or you are going to start damaging the battery.

If this is a typical 200W heating blanket, with a full battery, he should be able to have that blanket on for 5+ hours assuming about 85% inverter efficiency.

My bet is that the battery wasn't fully charged to start. The Victron battery monitors need their settings adjusted to correctly track Lithium Iron batteries. Victron battery monitors also tend to start reading 100% when you first turn them on even though the batteries are not at 100%.

Victron charge controllers also need their settings adjusted with Lithium Iron batteries to obtain full and the fastest charge. With a setup like this, you can disable the float charging function as the BB battery does not need float. I would leave float enabled if there was an alternator tie though. There are also some voltage, absorption time, and efficiency factors that should be adjusted.

The 300W of solar should be enough to maintain the battery and should be plenty for summer time sun light conditions. It isn't enough to bring the battery up to full charge in a single day though if the heating blanket is in the picture every night.
Just too make the point...

These are benefits of the chemistry of LFP batteries. It isn't exclusive to Battle Born.
 

H2oboxer

New member
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to provide suggestions. I will be arriving in Portland tomorrow and will have time to work on a diagram that reflects MY setup, not what I modeled it after. Just for background the only things I am powering now on DC are my roof fan and some usb charge ports for my phones and IPAD. No fridge yet, still using a cooler. As far as AC is concerned, I only expect to use the inverter for plugging in my laptop and potentially my wife’s blow drier (medium power tested). I followed the Victron manual to set up for Lithium battery chemistry. The smart monitor shows my battery at around 13.7v and 100% charge. After a full night of the vent fan running and the phones and IPAD plugged in the power is around 85%. All lugs were done with a hydraulic crimped. I will test the connections as recommended when I arrive at my destination.
 

mntnmanga

New member
I will be between Hood River and Bend over the next 5 days. I'm traveling with my tools as usual. I'd be happy to give it a look if it makes sense.
 

koenb

Member
If your design is based off the posted schematic, it could be possible that the positive lead from the battery cutoff switch and the positive lead from the inverter cutoff switch are swapped. So essentially, you would be disconnecting the battery from the system when attempting to disconnect the inverter. It would explain why if you tested(i assume this means turned the switches off) the switch during the day you did not lose power since the PV was supplying power into the system. And why you instantly lost power at night when throwing the inverter switch.Now I would assume that you tried flipping the switch back on after losing power so i'm at a loss as to why the system wouldn't power back on... without the proper schematic it's all just guessing at this point.

Simple way to troubleshoot if cutoff switches are correct, ensure battery is charged, disconnect the solar charger/controller from the positive bus via CB or whatever is used as a disconnect, turn on a 12v load like the fan, power up the inverter and put a load on it like charging your laptop, with the inverter running, throw the inverter cutoff switch, your inverter should shut down and the 12v loads should remain on. If everything powers off, the switch cut off the battery.
 
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