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tazminiandevil avatar image
tazminiandevil asked

Inconsistent charging from Orion Tr Smart 12/12 30a non-Isolated

Looking for ideas to troubleshoot my alternator charging setup. I replaced a ML-ACR from the AGM setup with 2 Orion Tr Smart 12/12 30a in parallel with the new BattleBorn Lithium batteries.

I took the easy way out and re-used the 2/0 wire run by the original up-fitter from the Transits main terminal back to the power cabinet (10-12' run). There I am using a small busbar to split off 2 50a fused 6awg input wires to each Orion Tr Smart 12/12 30a. Then from the Orions I go to the main busbar.

The Orions will charge for 10mins in Bulk, then flip over to Absorption and not provide any incoming charge. After 10mins the units will sometimes begin charging again while still showing Absorption even though the SOC is at 50%. When the units do begin a new charge cycling on their own, it follows a 5min on, 5min off pattern.

If I remove the jumpers to power the devices off/on, I will get another 10min of bulk charging before it again cycles to Absorption and no charge.

I see input voltages in the 13.8-14.2 range during all this. I have disabled one of the 2 units and see the same behavior, just half the charge amps. I have also turned off the Smart Solar MPPT controller so only one charge source is contributing. My only 2 thoughts are to try and connect via the Ford Customer Connect Point vs direct wire to vans system and/or wire the Orion output directly to the battery incase there is something at the busbar contributing to the issue.

Thoughts?

orion-tr smart
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Oh and for ref both DC Chargers have Absorption voltage set to 14.4, float at 13.5v

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Here is a capture of what I am seeing with the two units during a 40min drive. Both start and turn off together, then 1 unit restarts, eventually the 2nd joins in, but then the 1st drops and so on. I also turn the "Input voltage lock-out' feature off on one unit to see if it would behave any different and no change from what I can see.

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Did some more testing today. Wired charger directly to battery and seeing the same behavior. Had volt meter and checked values during the 12min experiment and noticed that the Orion charger only output .1-.2v higher than the battery voltage when the cycle started. Once the output Voltage matched the battery voltage the system stopped charging. I saw 13.9-14.3 from input cable entire time.

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My Orion tr smart 12/12 30A is on firmware 1.06v, but it’s showing similar symptoms. During the bulk phase, the current oscillates between 8 to 12 amps. Does anyone has a fix for this? At this rate, it’d require a lot of driving in order to charge 340ah lithium battery bank.


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13 Answers
pawleyk avatar image
pawleyk answered ·

I'm having this exact same issue. Seems it only began recently. Charge great for a few minutes, then go into a worthless absorbtion charge almost instantly. Output nearly no power after a couple minutes of charging.

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Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) avatar image
Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) answered ·

Hi @TazMinianDevil and @pawleyk

Thanks for reporting this issue!


The cause has been found, and a fix is being made right now. I'll update this thread when the fix is available.

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Is there an update on this? Firmware 1.06v seems to have the same issue.

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@Alejandro1585 did you get a response from Victron on the issue? I'm now cautious in recommending the Orion DC-DC chargers to customer/clients.

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I haven't gotten a response from Victron. Still having the same issue almost a year after.
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Having the same issue still with 1.0.6 on my isolated smart orion.

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@jdubbayew it's mind blowing that Victron doesn't have a fix for this yet.

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I recently installed a 12/12/30 Isolated on a buddy's Four Wheel Camper and it is working flawlessly with 1.0.6.

When did you buy yours? It makes me think there might be a hardware issue with some of the earlier production runs.

It is becoming an issue for me living out of my van. I just spent a week at Mt.Bachelor in a blizzard and was not able to get a full charge.

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@jdubbayew haven't bought might yet. I just made a list of all materials that I need to procure in the next coming months. If by the time i'm ready to purchase and there's till no official response from Victron on the trending issue from customers, I will move on to plan B which is the 60 amp Sterling B2B.

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@Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) is there an update on this topic, it's been a long time since it was reported. It seems like the versions that have been released since the issue was reported do not have a fix for this. Please let us know.
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I'm also experiencing the same issue with the Orion 12/30 in combination with MPPT 100/30.


The Orion switches into absorption after 5 minutes of driving regardless of the battery SOC and doesn't contribute at all. It had been working well until a month ago.


@Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) please can we have an update on this? Living in the van with winter coming I need this to work!


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Hi @Flyingcrank


As I wrote earlier:

I'm not sure wat issues you are still experiencing.

Can you please describe what issues you are having, and wat what voltages (input, output) etc. it is happening?


It might be best to start a new topic on this as for most people the issue has been resolved (please @mention my username in this new topic)


Without more information it is impossible to give an answer.

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freep avatar image
freep answered ·

I have a very similar issue except it's a combination of an Orion-TR 12/30 non-isolated and a Smart Solar MPPT 100/30.


I bought the Orion thinking it would work together with the Smart Solar over VE smart networking.


The lack of details and options on the app for the Orion is frustrating. What use is telling me just the output voltage, report the current too!


As far as using the Orion is concerned I have found that if I put it into power supply mode for a while and then put it back to charger mode, it will switch back to bulk.

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Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) avatar image
Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) answered ·

Hi all, the update is available: Orion_Smart_v1.04.zip


I'm not sure if this attachment comes through, it is also available in the beta-version of Victron Connect.

Please be careful with using beta-software!
https://www.victronenergy.com/live/victronconnect:beta#v528beta2


orion-smart-v104.zip (193.7 KiB)
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@Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) has this issue been resolved? There seems to be a trend that many people are weary of getting the Orion DC-DC charger because of this consistent charging problem.

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The update solved it for me.

But again, it would be nice to have better data from the Orion charger. Current and history would be ideal.

Also it looks like it doesn't work with the Victron Battery sense. At least you can't confirm that by looking at the app.

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@freep thanks for the update. It's weird that for some people with the update they are still having issues. I'm curious, do you have two Orions in parallel on a switch in lieu of the voltage sensing activated? I've been trying to find from Victron on the best way to connect two Orions in parallel. Many people out there do it differently .

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No, I have a single Orion-Tr smart 12/12/30 non-isolated, a Smart Solar MPPT 100/30 and a smart battery sense.


It would be great if there was a low temp shutoff in the Orion(from the smart battery sense). As it is I have to rely on my BMS on my LiFePo4 battery.


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Hello Daniël,

Can we consider this issue 100% resolved? I have a Bruder EXP-6 (www.bruderx.com) being built in three weeks, and it is designed to use 3 x Orion TR-Smart 12/12 - 30 in parallel to charge the House batteries from the tow rig (270A High Output alternator).

Please confirm at your soonest convenience,


Aaron

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Mine isn’t. Have been patiently waiting for a clear response from Victron here but no luck so far.


I’d maybe look at the Enerdrive gear if I was you.. wish I’d gone that route (like I did for my old mans setup - it works perfectly).

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Hi did you ever get this resolved? We seem to be having the same issue. Thanks!
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@Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) Please see inquiry above from @loamraider. I'm also waiting to see what is going on with a full resolution.

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Hi @mateoing

I'm not sure wat issues you are still experiencing.

Can you please describe what issues you are having, and wat what voltages etc. it is happening?


It might be best to start a new topic on this as for most people the issue has been resolved (please @mention my username in this new topic)

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aerod1 avatar image
aerod1 answered ·

Anyone have this issue with the 12/12-18? I cant get mine to charge at all. It shows it's in absorption and then float but the soc never goes up. It's only charging a 100ah supercycle agm. It's wired through the shunt the same as I have another blue ip67 charger for charging on shore power. The shore power charger works just fine. Any help would be great! I didnt see a file for updating software on the 18a model in the other comments.

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evan991 avatar image
evan991 answered ·

I also am trying to root out a possible problem with inconsistent charging with my Orion 12/12-30.
Has there been any further update to the above issue?

Since the recent updates, it will only charge 30amps for a short time then throttle back to around 10-20amps. Previously it would happily go anywhere from 30-39amps (battery is Lifepo4 & able to take this current all ok).

My only other thought is the Victron unit is getting too hot?
Everything is stored in a make ship battery box so I expected it to generate some heat (is pretty normal), which is why I have 2x pc fans pushing 17cfm in and out of the box (when the ambient temp reaches 28deg-C or over - and stops when reaches back under 26deg-C).

Would love for it to go back to the charge rates i was seeing previously!
May just be co-incidence that it started the lower charge rates at the time of the updates, or as above may just be effected from heat.

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daniel-comerford avatar image
daniel-comerford answered ·

Same issue here. Recently installed Orion 12/12 - 30amp. Running off Ford Ranger with a smart alternator. Runs fine for 20-30mins pumping out 37 amps. Then drops back to somewhere between 5-10 amps with the battery still at 80% SOC.

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tharbarn avatar image
tharbarn answered ·

Hi guys, again I'm having the same issues. I have two 12/12 30 non isolated Orion's fitted in parallel and they start around 30 amps, but throttle back to around 10 amps with 10 minutes or so? I have tried everything and still the same. If I switch them off the cycle starts again and I get a good charge for 10mins or so. The chargers stay in bulk but the charge voltage stays low and current seems limited. It's not heat as after a power cycle they go back to full current. I've tried one at a time and still the same.

Is this a Victron firmware issue or a hardware issue?

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alejandro1585 avatar image
alejandro1585 answered ·

Trying to revive this thread, is there a fix for this issue?

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Not that i'm aware.

There is another thread that list similar issues where Victron did make a comment that some versions over a time period may have had a hardware issue. And were happy to replace these versions, but there is still versions outside of these time periods where people are having the same issue.

https://community.victronenergy.com/questions/46901/orion-dc-dc-overheating.html

I believe it was more of a software update that may have also caused a change, because my unit was working great until an update (I was getting up to 39amps!), but since then only reaches 30amps for a few minutes then will throttle down to 18amps. My 100ah Lifpo4 battery can easily handle 50amp charge according to the specs.
Not much point having an 18amp charger. If id known this issue I would have gone with an Enerdrive charger which is happy to put out 50+amps on my fathers setup.


*Note my unit is installed correctly with oversized cable, even has a 120mm fan blowing into the rear heatsinks.



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cresbar avatar image
cresbar answered ·

Is there any news on this topic?


I have the same problem with a 12/12 30A non isolated purchased 3 months ago, not in the affected Serial numbers. The cable sections are more than sufficient and the installation is direct to both batteries. I have a permanent fan which makes the equipment practically not hot. After a 2-hour trip with the battery in a low state of charge (50% 2x100Ah AGM), the average current does not exceed 10A. With MPPT it gets 30A without problem from solar, so battery it's ok. If I turn the equipment off and on, it makes it work for a while at 20-30, and 5-10 minutes later, drops down to high oscillating 0-10A. In some short moments, the device consumes 1-2A. The load is at about constant 1A in this last drive.

The engine detection is off, and the alternator is intelligent regenerative with 12,1-14,8V range.

I have tested different output voltages for absorption (14,4-14,7V) with no difference.


I am very disappointed with this device, as it is totally unusable. ¿It's a hardware issue?

@Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) please, do you have any idea if you are going to solve this problem? In case it is not detected, I will request a replacement or return.

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coaster avatar image
coaster answered ·

Came to the forum to do a bit of research before buying a 12/12-30. This is rather off-putting. I mean the fact that there were issues is just the way things go. But the complete lack of response (after years), and/or the "I don't understand your problem start a new thread" when the new poster is saying they have the same problem as everyone else just seems like dodging the issue. I kept reading expecting a resolution and then "hey thanks it's fixed," but I'm not finding that.


I would really like to buy the 12/12-30 but at this point my confidence level is really low. It's mostly the response that's giving me second thoughts.

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You'll notice there were requests for more info that went unanswered. There wasn't the information to go further.

The chargers are good, but.... Couple of things to keep in mind.

Newer vehicles are fitted with smart alternators. These vary power/voltage under control of the vehicle's ECU. It may be necessary to adjust these based on what the alternator does. Each vehicle is different.

Secondly there is no visibility here of quality of installation. We assume it's correct, but...

Thirdly this community is user based/driven, with minor input from Victron. We do our best, often quickly and effectively. And it's why Victron set it up and supports it. But the real duty of support for all Victron products is from the dealer network. They have the training and equipment to resolve tricky cases.

I came looking for help, found it and stayed for the ride. Hope this helps.


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santekotturi avatar image
santekotturi answered ·

I just purchased a 12/12 - 18A charge controller to replace a 20A renogy charger.

Install: input from the alternator, the vehicle is grounded so I ran a ground cable from the chassis to the charge controller input (verified that with vehicle off it rests around 12.8V, as soon as the vehicle starts it voltage diff across the input + and - terminal screws is 14.xV, output is run to my pos and neg bus bars which connect to 2x100Ah LiPo batteries. There's also 30A renogy MPPT with 200W of solar on my little Westfalia roof wired up to the system.

Did the work in a home depot parking lot, got it running, drove home and it fluctuated from the full 18A down to 6A of current all the way home.

I've got it running on shore power now and I'm getting a consistent 9A draw (so I know its not my batteries BMS that's fluctuating or anything).

When I installed it, it asked me to upgrade to v1.06, maybe I shouldn't have...

What more do I need to provide? Photos of wiring? Screenshots of the Victron app showing both the shunt (which shows the charging current fluctuations) or screenshots of the Victron app showing the DCDC charge controller (pretty minimal info there, just input and output voltage)

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santekotturi avatar image
santekotturi answered ·

Went for a 10 min test drive. Here's my device settings as well:

1. Function: CHARGER

2. Alternator Type: REGULAR ALTERNATOR (its a Bosch 120A "upgraded" on my 30 year old VW, nothing "smart" about this one)
3. Battery Preset: LiFePo4


img-2487.pngClifford Juice Box is the Victron shunt.
The Juicer is the Victron 12/12-18A DCDC Charger

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img-2485.pngDoes the "Bulk time limit" have anything to do with this?


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