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mdbrown avatar image

Orion DC-DC overheating

My Orion Tr Smart 12/12-30 Charger runs hot, and the output current folds back considerably. Anyone else with this problem? When cold, it will output 33A. When hot, it will fold back to 26A or less. Parts of the case may exceed 134dg F, in a cool (60dg F) environment. By adding a 80CFM fan above the fins, the case temperature is lowered by 20 degrees F, and the unit will continuosly output 30A. It would appear that the heat sink is undersized. Comments?

orion-tr smarttemperatureamps
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My Orion gets too hot - and dials back the Amps - so while this is called a 30A DC charger - it is not - as it gets to such a high temperature so quickly - you only get 30A for a couple of minutes. Look at this picture - close to 70c on fins and over 50c on case !!!!

img-0199.jpg

img-0199.jpg (318.5 KiB)
Looking at the temperature profile, I noticed that the converter is placed on a table or something. For convectional cooling the mounting direction is important. Air must be able to pass the fins of the heatsink. Further one should keep some space below the converter and above. I guess that the heatsink provides R_th of approx. 0.5 K/W. For 87% efficiency 360W, I calculate 53.7W losses. Hence, self heating should be 25-30K max above ambiant T.
Yes Maxs - your are correct - that picture is on a table. This picture is after I removed one from it's installed location (as per installation manual). Place it on a table, place it upright with cooling space - it doesn't matter - it reaches 75c+. And you are correct with your calculations - I already made the same calculations - that is how it 'should' behave. But it doesn't - and that is my point. Correctly installed (not on a table) it reaches 75c+ in 5 minutes ... Fact. Correctly installed (not on table) it de-rates to 10A output... Fact.
Considering your information, I guess there should be something wrong in hardware. Can you measure input/output voltage and current to determine power dissipation. I wonder why the efficiency is only 87% for a non isolated topology. I dont know exactly what victron uses but i would guess some buck-boost topology. Maybe be there are also reverse/decoupling diodes creating aditional losses bringing the efficiency down. State of the art for 12V system should be some synchronous rectification and diode emulated MOSFETs (Oring) for decoupling, keeping efficiency way above 95% for 12V / 12V only application.
Another issue that can create excessiv heating in power electronics is control loop instability. Converters dont deliver constant current then, and switch beetwen low current and very high current constantly. Frequencies are up to few kHz sometimes, depeneding on control loop time constant and overcurrent limit. Reason can be some active (diffential negativ input resistance), high line inductance or a combination. If you are able to oszillograph input and output voltage on approximately 1ms/div setting you can check for such instabbility.
7 Answers
mvader (Victron Energy) avatar image
mvader (Victron Energy) answered ·

Hi all,

Daniel asked me to help here.

After producing x amount of Smart Orions, we changed two things:

- reduced maximum temperature. The first series didnt get so hot that it affected the electronics, but it was still too hot for “common sense”.

- changed max output current to not be more than rated output current. Instead of doing everything it can as long as it wasn’t too hot. Which was nice from a “lets give the customer maximum value for money” point of view; but not when the customer bought this to limit current draw on, for example, an alternator.

I’ll check for serial numbers when those changes were introduced when I get into the office

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Were the changes a hardware/firmware change, or will a software update be issued? I haven't heard of any heat-related failures, just that they heat up fast and then fold back to effectively protect themselves.

Hi, its hardware changes.


i’ll add a bit more text to second bullet in a minute

mdbrown avatar image mdbrown mvader (Victron Energy) ♦♦ ·

Thank you. I noticed that the case get very hot, but the heatsink just comfortably warm. Could the thermal coupling of the device(s) to the heat sink be improved?

Perhaps yes; buts thats more something for a next generation.

Do you know what the serial numbers are for the newer model? The heat of the prior model is definitely too hot for "common sense".

@mvader (Victron Energy) Hi, do you have the serial numbers for the newer models?

Thanks,

Any update to this? What serial number did the change start at? Also, how much cooler are we talking? Thank you.
mvader (Victron Energy) avatar image
mvader (Victron Energy) answered ·

Dear all,

My apologies that it took so extremely long to get back on this. Herewith the serial numbers on which we made the change:

1627988117421.png


The return policy for this is that anyone with a unit having an older serial number is eligible free of charge of a unit with the revised design; without any discussion. Contact your dealer for that, they will need to contact our Service department, whom are aware of this.

See my other answer for what was changed exactly.

All the best, Matthijs



1627988117421.png (50.4 KiB)
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ps. I accepted my own answer to bring it to the top.
miya avatar image miya mvader (Victron Energy) ♦♦ ·
Hi Matthijs


My 2x Orions are Part Number OR|121236140 and both have Serial Numbers starting HQ2042 - so my Orions are not eligible to be return and swapped - correct ?


Both my Orions will exceed 75c after 5 minutes. Both my Orions will only produce 10A at this temperature.

Regards

Tim

Hi Miya / Tim, I have to check with the developer; but he is out for the coming two weeks. I'll get back to you after that.


Meanwhile, how are they installed / what is the ambient temperature?

miya avatar image miya mvader (Victron Energy) ♦♦ ·
Many thanks - appreciate that - look forward to hearing from you in 2 weeks.

They were installed as per the instructions - with lots of ventilation space - with correct maximum size wires - with correct fuses. The ambient temperature ranges from lowest circa 10c and highest circa 20c. The ambient temperature has almost no difference to the Orion high temperature (75c+) and de-rating (down to 10A).

Dear Miya, we tested a few here, and they do perform. I'll contact you by email for next steps; we'll get this sorted.
miya avatar image miya mvader (Victron Energy) ♦♦ ·

Many thanks - this is excellent customer service - I appreciate it. Thank you.

so how do you tell if you have an older serial number i have PN ORI121236120 SN HQ2034KH9G8 is mine for a return
richard-cabesa avatar image
richard-cabesa answered ·

I don't have an answer for you but mine runs at about that same temp. I will admit that it is a new installation and I have only run it for an hour or so. Amps ran about 33-34 and dropped to about 29-30 once hot.

I would also like to know if this temperature is normal

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daveinfl avatar image
daveinfl answered ·

I also had to add a 120mm fan to bring it down about 20 degrees. Curious if it's safe to continuously run this?


I use this on a boat in a small compartment; concerned what "Might Happen" with continuous use.

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rvjim avatar image
rvjim answered ·

Mine is also overheating. The case gets to about 120 degrees and then goes from charging at 30 amps to 0.

The ambient temperature is only 87 degrees. We should not have to use a fan. Is this a bad design.

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So as mine. I just installed my Orion Tr 12/24-15 yesterday, successfully used it for about 5 hours. First couple hours I could smell the factory oils burning off, then the smell went away after a while. It was very hot to the touch. I didn't get a chance to use my laser temperature gun though.

From the start I would encounter the voltage output showing nothing most of the time, and rarely it would show the proper voltage I set it to. I raised another report a few hours ago about that issue as well. Upgraded to firmware 1.05 in hopes of resolving but no luck.

Now after 5 hours of use, it's dead cold when when my engine is running. I'm able to view the Orion via Bluetooth, and the voltage input is stuck at 12.3v, output voltage showing blank whether the car is on or off.


mateoing avatar image
mateoing answered ·

@Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) do you know if someone from Victron's staff is already looking into this issue? Is this issues resolved in upcoming manufactured units?

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craigtong avatar image
craigtong answered ·

I would also like some feedback on this and whether it is safe.

The Orion-Tr Smart 12/12-30 Isolated I have is uncomfortable to touch on the plastic casing and touching the fins will outright burn your hand. It seems like component desoldering/fire-hazard territory to me. An efficiency of 87% of 360 W (46.8 W)is a lot heat to remove by convection of stationary air though so I have installed cooling fans to at least prevent current throttling.

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In my opinion they are not safe - or fit for use as described. The product gets so hot it derates its power to an extent you do not actually have 30A charger. Its charges at 30A for about 5 minutes and then derates the power. Mine has reached 75c - at which temperature you only get 10A. Its a shame - I have fitted my yacht with over £10,000 of Victron equipment - all excellent - except this product - which is not fit for use. I have removed them from my yacht - as I consider them dangerous. I had 2 in parallel - to give me 60A - but I only get 20A - in total.