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bolandd avatar image

SmartSolar MPPT Controller and Battle Born Batteries

I have a new SmartSolar 150/60 MPPT controller that appears to be functioning correctly while charging my 3 Battle Born 100Ah batteries. The output voltage while in bulk mode appears to be 13.6 volts, and I believe it should be around 14.4 volts. Also the bulk light is blinking about every 3 seconds all the time which indicates I don't have enough voltage coming in from the panels. I've measured the input voltage and it typically reads 80 to 85 volts while charging.

Is it possible that I have something set up wrong. I believe the dial on the controller is on setting #2, but I am over-riding that through the bluetooth app to the suggested lithium settings from Battle Born.

Lithium Batterysmart solar set-up help
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Hi Bolandd,

Please take screenshots of all the screens in the app (including settings, history and main) and post them.

bolandd avatar image bolandd Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) ♦♦ ·

Here are some screenshots from earlier today.

5 Answers
Esteban avatar image
Esteban answered ·

@bolandd: The battery voltage is the reading of the battery. Lithium batteries are unique in that their voltage does not immediately rise to the voltage they are seeing. The voltage reading shown is what the battery would also have right after disconnecting the panels. A lead acid with 12.1 volts will read out at 14 when you connect a 14 v charger, then drop down to it's new voltage after shutting off the charger or panels. So the only problem is that you are thinking this reading is showing the charger output but with your Battle Born it is showing the actual battery voltage.

The number under "battery" section in the app that I like to watch is the Current entering the battery - although note that this is a net current and charging current will be offset by loads. Most important of all is the wattage reading of the panels. This is why it's the big meter. This is your best reference and tells you how much charging power you are getting. Helps for aiming the panels and to verify that you are not getting unexpected shading. Be aware however that if you ever get into absorbtion mode, the mppt will lower the power as well to match what is needed.

Victron makes great gear but as a former technical writer, I do feel they could do a better job explaining their products. The manuals and videos especially seem overly-simplified. I have figured things out through use, but may be wrong so hopefully someone from Victron can confirm or correct my explanation.

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Optingoutofnormal avatar image
Optingoutofnormal answered ·

Your charging voltage will raise to the 14.4 at the tail end of the charging cycle. I have a bank of six and the charge voltage is pretty flat until right at the end.


1553188776744.png (260.9 KiB)
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So if I am reading the chart correctly, once you are full the voltage drops to about 13.6 volts? By the way, how did you create the charts?

Once my batteries reach 14.4 volts the charger goes into absorb for a short period and then goes to float. The Battle Born batteries are supposed to be set to float at 13.6 volts. This was a decent solar day so once they went to float they held that voltage until the sun dropped off. The charts are from the VRM site that you can set the CCGX to communicate with. It helps to make sure everything is working well. I have two inverter chargers, two 100/50 solar charge controllers with 1400 watts of panels and the BMV 712. All of their data is tracked every minute to VRM online.

Mark avatar image
Mark answered ·

Based on your screen images I cant see anything wrong, apart from the fact that it seems you don't have enough solar POWER available to bring the battery up to the absorption voltage (in consideration to your battery state of charge and loads).

Don't be fooled with the solar panel VOLTAGE ALONE. It is solar POWER that you are lacking.

The history graphs also support this - most days you never get out of bulk.

The battery voltage rises gradually from it's start voltage to the absorption voltage once it absorbs enough charge energy - this is not an instant thing, particularly with insufficient charge current (to cover both the recharge & any loads).

So I recommend to reduce your loads or add more solar power (or both).

If you want to test my advice run it for one complete good sunny day with all loads turned off/disconnected.

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Thank you for the reply. We probably do need a couple more panels to charge fully when we sit for several days. However we tend to drive every few days and then the alternator gets us charged to full.

Mark avatar image
Mark answered ·

Do you have you a BMS for your lithium batteries communicating with your MPPT somehow?

If so the brief bulk led blink every few seconds can indicate 'not charging' & be caused by a remote request (from the BMS or any device with remote control) to stop charging.

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The batteries have a built-in BMS. The flashing did not occur when we first had the system installed. The controller seems to charge correctly but I'm still concerned about the flashing bulk light and the error message it indicates.

Does the BMS interface with the MPPT in any way? (ie. can it remotely request the MPPT to stop charging in a case of overcharge or other reason?)

The other reason the bulk light can flash is if you spend too much time in bulk (more than 10h I think). And based on your history info this is quite possible at the moment.

You can download the Victron app called Victron toolkit to help you identify what the various flashing light sequences mean.

PS. In the other response above the graph's are generated in the online VRM portal. However to achieve this you require a Venus device (such as a CCGX) with an Internet connection. Also the reason that the voltage drops again later is because the absorption period has reached its end conditions & the MPPT has swithed to float phase with a lower charge voltage.



I also wanted to point out that according to Victron Connect you have NOT had any errors over the past few days - see below.

If there was an error there should be an orange circle with the number of errors that occurred on that day.

Then you can 'click' on the orange circle & it will bring up a list with the exact error description.

1553221673539.png (109.1 KiB)

Hey Mark - I just wanted to say thank you for the information. I am probably going to add another 200 watts of solar this summer which should help with the charging. Now I have to do some research on a budget friendly Venus device! Thanks again!

Your welcome.

I would recommend to prioritise the additional solar power if you can.

By the sound of things it seems that your system may have been 'keeping up' during earlier months with better sunlight, but sunlight at the moment may have dropped off? If so, this may also explain why you didn't have this behavior initially.

JohnC avatar image
JohnC answered ·

Fist port'o'call. Pull the pv wies from the mppt and confirm their polarity with a multimeter.

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I checked and the polarity is correct.