Jayne wrote: ↑Sat Jan 15, 2022 4:56 am
Four Simpliphi 3.8 48v Batteries should arrive at a warehouse in the nearest city to me on Friday (this is Mexico so no guarantees). I'm excited but also nervous about getting everything right! No friendly neighbourhood installers in the jungle so I'm doing this all by myself.
Christmas in January! Excited and a bit nervous are to be expected. The great thing is getting everything right is simpler than it might seem.
I really like the idea of setting all the outback system back to factory defaults and starting from scratch (because over the past year or more we've messed with so many settings trying to get the current dying batteries to perform that I've lost track). Any reason that I shouldn't do a complete factory reset?
There's no harm in starting from system defaults. I'm not sure what a "complete factory reset" would entail, however. It might be helpful to list each piece of equipment, and what resetting it might involve.
In my mind, the #1 time suck will be resetting the Mate, especially if the wizard is invoked. Again, no harm in doing it, but afterward, you should walk through every parameter to make sure they are all set correctly anyway.
Since what's being changed out is the battery, the main parameters to adjust are battery charging and monitoring parameters.
I'd suggest doing any reset operation on the existing battery, setting it up to its original specs, ahead of installing the Phis.
I've been testing my anti-humidity device in the box I bought and it keeps it under 80% RH - so now I'm just hoping the batteries fit in the box perfectly.
Good for the RH target.
Any advice in what order I should do the set up? What guides, forum threads, videos and websites should I read? Are there any special considerations or equipment I need?
For all the high drama of spending a fortune on a battery, the actual commissioning is going to seem just a little anti-climactic in retrospect.
If not done already, download the SimpliPhi documents. Start with the SimpliPhi / Outback Integration guide.
There's lots of threads on this forum re.: SimpliPhi, but most of them are too long and convoluted to be useful for a simple install. I know, I wrote about half the random BS myself.
I'll try to dig up some of the salient material and cross post the text, or links, here. Also, I'll take a crack at the battety setup and commissioning sequence - in a separate comment on this thread.
In regards to commissioning, the battery will need to be fully charged before first use. There should be no load on the battery during the commissioning charge. That pretty much means generator/inverter charging will be involved (with a solar charging assist, if convenient.) If like mine, the battery will come about 70% charged, so about 90 - 100AH will be put in during commissioning.
As far as tools go, the most special tool would be a torque wrench in the proper range, the torque value is listed in the SimpliPhi installation guides.
** Comment on a question you didn't ask **
Please don't lose sleep over this, and I may be just a tad overcautious here, but the planned method of tying together the parallel battery cables leaves me with a slight case of heartburn. SimpliPhi stresses making the connections electrically identical because small variations in voltage and amperage matter with lithium, more in some ways than with your nanocarbon VRLAs.
"Pancake stacking" the battery cable ring terminals onto a bolt will get close to electrically identical, but won't be exactly electrically identical. Close is great in a game of Horseshoes, or Hand Grenades, but it leaves a bit to be desired in battery circuits.
Please don't "freak out" at my observation here. In the near term, the effects will be inconsequential. The long term may be another story.
For the immediate installation, two considerations:
• Make sure each ring terminal has an equal contact area - front and back (actually obverse and reverse faces). Stacking the ring terminals themselves, face-to-face may take some slightly tricky orientation to assure they are laying flat to each other. (I envision the cables in sort of a star arrangement.) Play with the connection method before attaching to the battery blocks. The terminals should lay flat without forcing or deforming them. The ring terminals at the bolt head and at the nut end should have flat washers between themselves and the fasteners. The nut end should be ring terminal - flat washer - lock washer - nut, in that order. The terminal at the nut end might need to be "flipped over" so the flat and flush reverse face is in contact with the flat washer.
• In order to encourage "parallelism" to the greatest degree, I suggest having the cable that goes from the bolt to the equipment panel in the center of the stack, with two of the bolt-to-battery cables stacked on either side of it. That will help balance the impedance variation just a bit more.
Torque the bolt to a spec commensurate to its diameter and composition (don't overtighten). Check the torque after 10 hours of use, then after 50 hours. Every 6 months after that. Current through the stack will tend to micro-heat (and micro-cool) the terminals, causing them to expand and contract, "working" the connection, and possibly loosening it.
As mentioned, this connection strategy (using the bolt) will have little consequence in the near term. Long term, it may lead to small imbalances in charge and discharge between the 4 battery blocks. The saving grace is the LiFePo4 cells could scarcely care less, as long as the imbalance is not so great that some cells discharge fully. Keeping the discharge floor to 20% SoC (or above) keeps that risk at bay.
At some point in the next year or so, it would be to your benefit (for peace of mind), and your battery's benefit, to swap out the "MacGyver" bolt connector for a legit battery bus bar.
Just my $0.02