Reading the charging power and firmware version

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pioneerMan
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Posts: 52
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My RE system: 12 volt system
26 lead acid batteries, 6V, each rated at 210 amp hours
12 solar panels (Mitsubishi 125 Watt)
Outback VFX2812 inverter and two FLEXmax 60 inverters
Trimetric 2030A battery monitor
Original Outback Mate
DC generator using propane
AC generator using dual fuel

Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by pioneerMan »

I'm trying to understand the AC power from the generator that is showing on the Mate. This is the model of generator we have:

https://www.championpowerequipment.com/ ... -inverter/

When looking at the charging summary on the Mate, it only shows 1.300kW and yet it's supposed to be a 3400 watt generator. So is it 120V x 20 amps, which equals 2400 watts, then divided by two since I'm only using one of the two provided outlets on the generator? Is that why the Mate is only showing 1.300KW? And to be most cost effective with the propane, I'm assuming it will be better to use the 120V 30 amp RV style plug instead?

aaa_charging.jpeg

Also, the firmware shows as 404. Considering I may upgrade to the Mate3s in the Spring, is it worth bothering with upgrading the firmware now?

aaa_firmware.jpeg
Thank you!
raysun
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My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
SimpliPhi 48-3.8 (6 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 6 strings of 2 in series)
Hyundai 355 watt panels (6 - 3 strings of 2 in series)
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by raysun »

The charging power is a product of the maximum rated power the generator can produce, and the maximum AC Input current the charger can accept.

If using the high output outlet on the generator, the Inverter AC IN and Current Limits should be configured to reflect that. Generator AC Input Limit = 30A. The Charger AC input limit can be set to its maximum, if less than 30A, and if the battery can accept the charger DC current output (no problem with that big battery.)

1300W / 13.6V = 95.5A DC charging current.

Using the GFI outlets is always problematic. They are prone to tripping when feeding AC IN on the inverter.

Edit: *Removed comment about Mate firmware*
Last edited by raysun on Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sodamo
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My RE system: Totally off grid - Hamakua side, Big Island, Hi

36 Trina 280 & 16 Phono 250 in 48 volt array (fixed) 14080w
Radians GG8048/GS4048 w GSLCs
4 FM 80 charge controllers
Hub 10.3
FNDC w/3 shunts
Mate 3s
OpticsRE - MMKL - Ninole Hi
12 SimpliPhi 3.8
14Kw Kohler 14RESA Propane

Charging Only
2FX3048T
Hub
FNDC. - shared shunt feeds from Radian FNDC
Mate 3s
10Kw MEP 803a Military gen

Honda EU7000i

Davis VantagePro2 Wx Station
On line at: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KHININOL2
Location: Ninole, Hi

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by sodamo »

Pretty sure Mate 1 Firmware not upgradable I think.

Tell me about you DC generator please.
David
Please visit http://vacation.ninolehawaii.com
jnh
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My RE system: GVFX-3524, FM-80+FM-60, ~4.9kW PV in mixed panels on movable platforms, 415 Ah AGMs @ 24V, 80Ah @ 12V, Hub4, Mate, FNDC, Brultech GEM 32-ch AC datalogger, Midnite E-Panel, homebrew DC-DC crossfeed to 12V system, Honda EU-1000i, AIMS CON120AC1224DC charger
Location: St. Augustine, FL, US

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by jnh »

Right, the Mate1 and Mate2 unfortunately are not field-upgradable, and have to be shipped to Outback for re-flashing. I had mine upgraded in 2012 (from something very old to revision 4.2.2) in order to support a Flexnet DC, but aside from missing support for that component, I never had any problems with the older firmware. The upgrade was a free service at the time I requested it; not sure if this is still the case, but either way it's probably not worth bothering with if you're going to upgrade to a Mate3 soon.

As for generator charging, were you in Bulk stage when that 1300W figure was measured, or a different stage like Absorb or Float? The VFX2812 is rated to charge at 125A DC into the batteries, about 1700-1800W depending on charging voltage, but, it will only try to deliver maximum current during the Bulk stage. Its charging current limits also might be set at less than the maximum. Check ADV->FX->CHGR->charger_limit and also SETUP->FX->INPUT->ac2_gen_limit (or ac1_grid_limit if ac_transfer_control in that same menu is set to Grid). Both limits are set in AC amps (so, desired power divided by 120V), not DC.
pioneerMan
Forum Expert
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:40 pm
My RE system: 12 volt system
26 lead acid batteries, 6V, each rated at 210 amp hours
12 solar panels (Mitsubishi 125 Watt)
Outback VFX2812 inverter and two FLEXmax 60 inverters
Trimetric 2030A battery monitor
Original Outback Mate
DC generator using propane
AC generator using dual fuel

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by pioneerMan »

raysun, so if the charge limit for my Outback inverter is 30 amps, then it would never be wise to purchase an AC generator much larger than a 3500 watt model, right? Otherwise I would just burn through more propane needlessly. I was confused by your comment on GFI outlets.

sodamo, our DC generator is a home brewed contraption. Here is a photo:
home_brew.JPG
jnh, thanks, I will check the ADV and SETUP menus on my Mate to verify the charge limit is set to 30 amps. I've seen "Float" on the screen of my Outback charge controllers before, but never on my Mate screen. I need to research what menu to go into so I can see what type of charge mode is being used the next time I fire up the generator.

Did I ever mention how frustrated I am with the 400+ screens the Mate is capable of? It is not a very user friendly device. I hope the Mate 3s will be tons better.

Thanks everyone!
raysun
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Posts: 4104
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
SimpliPhi 48-3.8 (6 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 6 strings of 2 in series)
Hyundai 355 watt panels (6 - 3 strings of 2 in series)
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by raysun »

"raysun, so if the charge limit for my Outback inverter is 30 amps, then it would never be wise to purchase an AC generator much larger than a 3500 watt model, right? Otherwise I would just burn through more propane needlessly. I was confused by your comment on GFI outlets."

A good rule of thumb is to have enough generator continuous rated output to match the full inverter output load current, plus maximum charger AC amp limit. For a 2.8kW inverter with 1.4kW charger, the ideal rated generator output would be 4.2kW.

The Outback inverters are smart about prioritizing current demand, loads first, charger second. If not sufficient for loads, AC IN is dropped and the inverter draws from battery.

Using GFI outlets from the generator to supply current to AC IN frequently causes the GFI protection to trip, as the "downstream" grounding and neutral relationship confuses it into sensing a fault.

Non-GFI outlets should be used to supply generator current to AC IN.
sodamo
Forum Emperor
Posts: 1058
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:55 am
My RE system: Totally off grid - Hamakua side, Big Island, Hi

36 Trina 280 & 16 Phono 250 in 48 volt array (fixed) 14080w
Radians GG8048/GS4048 w GSLCs
4 FM 80 charge controllers
Hub 10.3
FNDC w/3 shunts
Mate 3s
OpticsRE - MMKL - Ninole Hi
12 SimpliPhi 3.8
14Kw Kohler 14RESA Propane

Charging Only
2FX3048T
Hub
FNDC. - shared shunt feeds from Radian FNDC
Mate 3s
10Kw MEP 803a Military gen

Honda EU7000i

Davis VantagePro2 Wx Station
On line at: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboard/pws/KHININOL2
Location: Ninole, Hi

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by sodamo »

I like the shock dampening base 🤙
David
Please visit http://vacation.ninolehawaii.com
pioneerMan
Forum Expert
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:40 pm
My RE system: 12 volt system
26 lead acid batteries, 6V, each rated at 210 amp hours
12 solar panels (Mitsubishi 125 Watt)
Outback VFX2812 inverter and two FLEXmax 60 inverters
Trimetric 2030A battery monitor
Original Outback Mate
DC generator using propane
AC generator using dual fuel

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by pioneerMan »

jnh wrote: Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:04 pm Check ADV->FX->CHGR->charger_limit and also SETUP->FX->INPUT->ac2_gen_limit (or ac1_grid_limit if ac_transfer_control in that same menu is set to Grid). Both limits are set in AC amps (so, desired power divided by 120V), not DC.
Here is what I found:
mate1.jpeg
mate2.jpeg
mate3.jpeg
pioneerMan
Forum Expert
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:40 pm
My RE system: 12 volt system
26 lead acid batteries, 6V, each rated at 210 amp hours
12 solar panels (Mitsubishi 125 Watt)
Outback VFX2812 inverter and two FLEXmax 60 inverters
Trimetric 2030A battery monitor
Original Outback Mate
DC generator using propane
AC generator using dual fuel

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by pioneerMan »

And two more:
mate4.jpeg
mate5.jpeg
Thank you again for your help and advice. We desperately need it out on this barren wilderness property.
jnh
Forum Guru
Posts: 413
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:56 am
My RE system: GVFX-3524, FM-80+FM-60, ~4.9kW PV in mixed panels on movable platforms, 415 Ah AGMs @ 24V, 80Ah @ 12V, Hub4, Mate, FNDC, Brultech GEM 32-ch AC datalogger, Midnite E-Panel, homebrew DC-DC crossfeed to 12V system, Honda EU-1000i, AIMS CON120AC1224DC charger
Location: St. Augustine, FL, US

Re: Reading the charging power and firmware version

Post by jnh »

Sorry to have forgotten about this thread! The board may not have sent me an email notification of new replies, or else I just missed it.

If you haven't tried this already, you should be able to increase that 11 aac Charger Limit value under ADV/FX/CHARGER a bit. Everything else looks OK. Try setting it to 15 at first, to see how much additional charging current you get, and make sure both your generator and batteries are happy at that level before inching it up any further.

This limit is applied on the 120V AC side, so with the present 11aac setting, 11A*120V = 1320W; 1320W / 14.0V = as much as 94A DC out, but likely less since the charger circuit will have some conversion losses.
At an estimated 85% efficiency, you'd be putting only about 80A into your batteries.

15A * 120V = 1800W AC; 1800W / 14V * 0.85 = about 109A. The inverter is rated to charge at 125A DC, which you might reach with a 17aac or 18aac setting.

I'm making some assumptions here about your typical battery charging voltage, generator output voltage (and waveform quality - peak voltage can be more important here than RMS), and system efficiency, so these figures may be off by a few amps.

So long as your generator and batteries can tolerate it, there should be no harm in setting ADV/FX/CHARGER/charger_limit higher than what the inverter can sustain. It will self-limit to a lower value if needed to protect itself.
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