Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

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Scomatson
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Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

Hi,
This morning I tried to turn on our inverter (fx2812) the usual way with the mate control, but instead of it coming on it gave me a “comm error” message. I went through the manuals and did the reset on the mate which basically clears the error numbers on port one- there were 20 and that was the port for the inverter. At this point I figured it would then turn on, which it did not. So I went to the hub and removed the cat 5e cable and reinstalled it. Still no joy. The only Thing left to do per the manual is to replace the cable, which will involve a pretty major amount of work due to poor access.

Can anyone suggest a way to bypass this problem or any other ways to solve it before I do some major surgery on the boat just to find out it isn’t a bad cable? Also- this must relate to the generator not being enabled because I could not get ac power with the gen set either. Tough problem to solve since I can’t fire up my coffeemaker!
raysun
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

If you have a spare cable, the Mate can be plugged directly into the Inverter, bypassing the Hub. Disconnect both Mate and Inverter cables at the respective devices, and plug the new cable into both the Mate and Inverter com ports directly.
raysun
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

A common problem with network cables/equipment is corrosion on the tiny contacts in the RJ45 plugs and jacks. Inspect the gold contact "fingers" closely - they should be shiny. If they are dull, or show any other signs of oxidation, their function will be compromised.

Using a contact cleaner and protectant may help restore their function. If available, try rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab (Q-tip) to see if it restores function. The cleaned contacts should be treated with a protectant.

A product called DeoxIT does a good job and cleaning and protecting.

I do not recommend WD40, though they do make a contact cleaner under the brand name.
Scomatson
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

Thanks! I will start with these suggestions!
raysun
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My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A-01 - Series Stacked, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
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Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
2 Midnite Solar MNPV6 combiners w/20A DC disconnects.
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

Also, make sure the Invertr ON/OFF jumper is properly seated.
raysun
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Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
2 Midnite Solar MNPV6 combiners w/20A DC disconnects.
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

If the genset is wired into the AC IN of the Inverter, then the inverter's being powered off would likely cause its internal transfer switch and passthrough circuitry to be disabled. In this case AC IN would not be passed to AC OUT.

Outback incorporates a dual circuit breaker with mechanical bypass assembly in their FlexPower One pre-wired panels that reroutes the Genset around the Inverter circuit, permitting the generator to power the house loads while the Inverter is powered down.

It might be worth incorporating that functionality into the system.
Scomatson
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

Great info and thank you! Would it be possible one of those internal breakers has tripped to cause this?
raysun
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Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
2 Midnite Solar MNPV6 combiners w/20A DC disconnects.
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

Sorry for the confusion. The bypass breaker would be external to the Inverter - wired into the electrical panel.
raysun
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Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
2 Midnite Solar MNPV6 combiners w/20A DC disconnects.
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

Are the status LEDs on the Inverter lit? What state do they show?

Can you measure the battery voltage at the Inverter battery terminals?
Scomatson
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

No, it will not light up on the mate. Nothing is lit up on the inverter. I will see about getting readings- really tough access to the unit and I have a bad shoulder to make it worse.
Last edited by Scomatson on Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Scomatson
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

With the generator running, there is no voltage across the large terminals on the top of the unit (I can take pics if needed.) I believe these are the battery cables into the inverter. I don’t understand why they would not show voltage. We have ReLion LiFePO4 batteries and the battery monitor shows them fully charged at 13.98 volts. I did remove the green cat 5 cable and inspected the ends. I would say that the end inside the inverter looked like new. The end at the hub may not be as bright. I sprayed with QD electronic cleaner and plugged back in, no change. I also tried to connect it straight from the mate to the inverter But the cable is short by about four inches. Tomorrow I can try to free up more cable on the other side of the boat(catamaran, so it’s a long run). The generator will run air conditioning but nothing related to the inverter.

I looked for a cable in Key West today but the places on foot were not right for finding one. I will check and see if there is a spare on board. I know I got rid of several of them about six months ago, darn it.
Scomatson
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

Ray,
Sorry for so many edits. Was a long day. Hope you didn’t get fifteen emails about this! I really appreciate your help.
raysun
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Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
2 Midnite Solar MNPV6 combiners w/20A DC disconnects.
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

Are you moored somewhere? Key West? OK.

My first guess is the cable. Being 4" short almost guarantees it by Murphy's law.

You are in a harbor with enough good people around that you could hire a ship's electrician at any bar in town. Seriously, talk to a local you trust, and ask for a recommendation for an electrician. Times are tough. Offer $10-$15/hr or a sum (to be paid when work is complete ) Get a hand in there that can work tight spaces, knows electrics, and has a good vibe. Your role ideally is eyes and brain on the task. As you can see and everyone here will attest, you are in for an effort to address the issue. If lucky, it's a bad cable, but there's too many unknowns, and the task list to troubleshoot has a good days work and figuring out to get everything set to rights. As long as you need to look at the system, make it a good, solid look. Make sure everything in the system is ship-shape.

The battery questions - needs an answer. Lithium only add fun to the party.

Unless someone beats me to it, I'll gin up my take on a diagnostic/troubleshooting punch list. Give some thought to finding a hand. Guaranteed, it will markedly help.

Stay in touch.

Aloha, Hawaii Island
Scomatson
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

I stayed up late working through this and other electrical stuff while in the zone. What I found was really surprising in one way and not another. Raysun asked what the dc voltage reading was at the inverter- and when it was zero, I had to know why. Backtracking from there I found a class T fuse block that I didn’t even know was there- but have wondered about since these are big wires that need some major protection. So thats it- I got voltage coming into the fuse block from the battery end but nothing going out to the inverter. Pulled fuse and no continuity. So, surprised a big fuse had blown but not surprised there was no power due to a blown fuse.

So, what blew the fuse? Well, I thought of two options. One is that we’ve been getting hammered here with thunderstorms for several days, and have had VERY close lightning strikes. I didn’t think this was it because it seems like much smaller stuff would have been taken out way before a fuse this huge. Next, my wife mentioned that she tried to run the microwave while The watermaker was running (and, who knows what else!) and it shut down the whole thing.

So, I guess after three years of ownership we finally drew too much power through the inverter to the batteries and resulted in a blown fuse- good test at the very least. Hoping it didn’t damage the unit. Will head in this morning to try and locate this style of fuse and see what we get.

This would have been easy if the mate had said something like “low/no battery voltage at inverter” or something instead of a “comm error”. I was suspecting a signal problem or communication glitch, not a basic power supply issue!

Will let you know how it looks after shopping trip.
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

Progress.

West marine did not have the Class T fuses in stock had to order with next day delivery so they will be here by Wednesday. Yes, this is Saturday. So, anyway ordered one to replace, and one for a spare. For the meantime, I installed a 300amp ANL fuse block and got a new cat 5e cable. Hooked everything up and the inverter works just like it did for the last three years.

Great to be able to make coffee again! Thanks again for helping RaySun!
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by fcwlp »

Good job to both you and Ray. Since you are in a salt-water environment it would be a good idea to treat all of your Cat 5 cables with a cleaner and protector or you may have a comm issue int he future.
raysun
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Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A-01 - Series Stacked, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
6 SimpliPhi 3.8-48 (48v @ 75AH. 450AH total)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
2 Midnite Solar MNPV6 combiners w/20A DC disconnects.
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator
Off-Grid

Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

Scomatson wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 3:58 pm Progress.

West marine did not have the Class T fuses in stock had to order with next day delivery so they will be here by Wednesday. Yes, this is Saturday. So, anyway ordered one to replace, and one for a spare. For the meantime, I installed a 300amp ANL fuse block and got a new cat 5e cable. Hooked everything up and the inverter works just like it did for the last three years.

Great to be able to make coffee again! Thanks again for helping RaySun!
Good news!

Those fuses are "old school" for sure. Almost universally replaced with high amperage DC circuit breakers. Lots easier to reset one of those than to beat to windward to go fetch a replacement class T. Nice to have it as an easy to operate battery disconnect too.
Scomatson
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Scomatson »

What would recommend as far as a dc breaker goes if I replace the system? 600 ah lithiums with a 2800 watt inverter. I could cancel the order for those fuses today if I go that route.
raysun
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Posts: 11213
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A-01 - Series Stacked, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
6 SimpliPhi 3.8-48 (48v @ 75AH. 450AH total)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
2 Midnite Solar MNPV6 combiners w/20A DC disconnects.
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator
Off-Grid

Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by raysun »

Danial Braine
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Re: Comm error message- can’t start inverter or get ac from genset

Post by Danial Braine »

A "Comm Error" message when trying to start an inverter or get AC from a genset typically indicates a communication issue between the inverter and the genset. This error message can have several causes, including:

Loose or damaged connections: Check the connections between the inverter and genset, including the wiring and cable connections, to make sure they are tight and in good condition.

Software malfunction: If the software in either the inverter or genset is not functioning properly, it can cause a communication error. Try resetting both devices and updating the software to see if that resolves the issue.

Power issues: Make sure the genset and inverter have enough power to function. Check the battery voltage and ensure that the genset is running at the correct RPM.

Malfunctioning inverter or genset: If the error persists, the inverter or genset may be malfunctioning. Consider having a professional inspect and repair the device.

If you are unable to resolve the error yourself, it is recommended to consult the manufacturer's manual or seek professional assistance. Resolving a "Comm Error" message is important to ensure the reliable and efficient operation of your inverter and genset.
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