FLEXmax 80 issue

Discussion about the FM100, FM80, and FM60 Charge Controllers

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raysun
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Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

SeismicCWave wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:43 pm >>I have 2 FM80s in service, and 1 spare (from a previous installation.)<<

Hard to diagnose today since it is cloudy and not generating as much as yesterday.
It confirms part of the hypothesis.
SeismicCWave
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Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

raysun wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:53 pm
SeismicCWave wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:43 pm >>I have 2 FM80s in service, and 1 spare (from a previous installation.)<<

Hard to diagnose today since it is cloudy and not generating as much as yesterday.
It confirms part of the hypothesis.
Yes it does. Sort of. Now I just have to see what is the hottest the Flexmax can handle and if I have to do more to cool it down.
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Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by JRHill »

I've been trying to recall where I saw the current temperature of a device in the past. I think it was the inverter but does the FM have it available too? Where are the temps available to review? Maybe it was WattPlot?
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: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

SeismicCWave wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 5:25 pm
raysun wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:53 pm
SeismicCWave wrote: Sat Jul 06, 2024 4:43 pm >>I have 2 FM80s in service, and 1 spare (from a previous installation.)<<

Hard to diagnose today since it is cloudy and not generating as much as yesterday.
It confirms part of the hypothesis.
Yes it does. Sort of. Now I just have to see what is the hottest the Flexmax can handle and if I have to do more to cool it down.
From the specifications:
Screenshot_20240707_083416_Drive.jpg
SeismicCWave
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Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

JRHill wrote: Sun Jul 07, 2024 11:27 am I've been trying to recall where I saw the current temperature of a device in the past. I think it was the inverter but does the FM have it available too? Where are the temps available to review? Maybe it was WattPlot?
I can see the current temperature on the inverters but not the charge controllers.
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raysun
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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
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Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

I don't think the FM80 internal temperature data is exported.
SeismicCWave
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Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

I take it back. Since I opened the top of the questionable Flexmax and put a pedestal fan on it I have been seeing more solar generation power even there was not as much sun. At least that's what I saw the last two days.

Now comes the ultimate question. I have been browsing this forum and the Outback issue is putting chills up my spine. Now I understand why the local PV installer is no longer answering my call for customer service and I understand why they are migrating from the OutBack system to the Tesla wall.

So the question is I did find a Flexmax FM80 on Amazon I am wondering if I should "collect" one as a spare hedging for the future. If the "new" Outback will not support the Flexmax and one of mine breaks I am toast.
raysun
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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: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

SeismicCWave wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 11:34 am I take it back. Since I opened the top of the questionable Flexmax and put a pedestal fan on it I have been seeing more solar generation power even there was not as much sun. At least that's what I saw the last two days.

Now comes the ultimate question. I have been browsing this forum and the Outback issue is putting chills up my spine. Now I understand why the local PV installer is no longer answering my call for customer service and I understand why they are migrating from the OutBack system to the Tesla wall.

So the question is I did find a Flexmax FM80 on Amazon I am wondering if I should "collect" one as a spare hedging for the future. If the "new" Outback will not support the Flexmax and one of mine breaks I am toast.
In the waning days of Enersys/Outback, I noticed Technical Support had been relabelled Warranty Support. I'd heard from a few folks who had been told their out-of-warranty equipment was not eligible for support.
Now, there's no visible support team at all.
The basic designs of the "genuine" Outback gear are long-lived. We can expect more years of operation than support. The repair cost of a FlexMax is about as much as buying a new unit. If the Outback gear is central to your system, it is prudent to consider spares/third party repairs as part of the plan.
SeismicCWave
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Joined: Sat May 18, 2024 9:52 am
My RE system: 16 PV panels totalling 5.2 kW. 2 Flexmax FM80-150VDC charging 4 batteries. Excess goes back to Helco under Net metering contract. 2 FXR3048A inverters. Mate3S hub.
Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

>>In the waning days of Enersys/Outback, I noticed Technical Support had been relabelled Warranty Support. I'd heard from a few folks who had been told their out-of-warranty equipment was not eligible for support.
Now, there's no visible support team at all.
The basic designs of the "genuine" Outback gear are long-lived. We can expect more years of operation than support. The repair cost of a FlexMax is about as much as buying a new unit. If the Outback gear is central to your system, it is prudent to consider spares/third party repairs as part of the plan.<<

Yeah I figured that the cost of repair is going to be high plus there isn't any qualify technician locally to trouble shoot. In reality I don't think Provision really qualifies. Thinking back the last 8 years they really did not do much in explaining and trouble shooting the system. I had to try and figure things out myself.

I always had thermal issues and I was stupid enough to focus on the inverters. Now that I understand the system better the Flexmax charge controllers has a lot more to do with passing the generated energy through to the load and the excess to Helco.

I can do replacement myself but not as much repair. Although this latest thermal issue with the fan is a fairly simple fix.

So yes I believe I should start to "collect" some spares just to have around. Since my entire system is all OutBack except for the solar panels and batteries.
raysun
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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: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

Although this latest thermal issue with the fan is a fairly simple fix.
One can be thankful it's not an FM60. The fan is buried in the back of the chassis, and replacing it requires complete disassembly of a unit not designed for disassembly.
FM80 fan replacement is a relative piece of cake.

Are your inverters FXR3048A-01? (Required for HELCO). Last firmware update: https://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/ ... 1_6_63.zip
Requires Mate3s to install firmware.
SeismicCWave
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My RE system: 16 PV panels totalling 5.2 kW. 2 Flexmax FM80-150VDC charging 4 batteries. Excess goes back to Helco under Net metering contract. 2 FXR3048A inverters. Mate3S hub.
Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

>>One can be thankful it's not an FM60. The fan is buried in the back of the chassis, and replacing it requires complete disassembly of a unit not designed for disassembly.
FM80 fan replacement is a relative piece of cake.<<

Yes, I didn't realize it until I took the covers off. Provision never provided me with a manual for the charge controller. They gave me manuals for everything else. I did find the CC manual online though and downloaded it.

>>Are your inverters FXR3048A-01? (Required for HELCO).<<

Yup and I should be looking for an extra one to keep as spare.
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raysun
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Posts: 11415
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: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

SeismicCWave wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 12:13 pm >>One can be thankful it's not an FM60. The fan is buried in the back of the chassis, and replacing it requires complete disassembly of a unit not designed for disassembly.
FM80 fan replacement is a relative piece of cake.<<

Yes, I didn't realize it until I took the covers off. Provision never provided me with a manual for the charge controller. They gave me manuals for everything else. I did find the CC manual online though and downloaded it.

>>Are your inverters FXR3048A-01? (Required for HELCO).<<

Yup and I should be looking for an extra one to keep as spare.
The inverters have replaceable boards, but replacing a unit is much easier. In the event of an inverter failure, the rest of the non-failed parts could be a replacement source.
JRHill
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Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by JRHill »

This AM the wife and I were chatting about one of the kids who bought a different house in CA to be closer to work. It came with a rental contract for the grid tie panels, etc. Water heater, stove and winter heat are gas. The last two bills were $1400 and $2000. Plus the rental for the panels it would seem. Maybe it's one of those situations where the solar provider is between the customer and the power company. Not sure of the details but I betcha I'll hear more soon.

Anyway, while on the solar subject I gave her an update on the Outback sale, spin off, evaporation or whatever you want to call the show. She was not too impressed, especially when I told here that if there was a major issue we would out of solar for quite a time depending on repairs or transitioning to something else. It would seem there is a bit of turmoil with manufacturers. As a matter of fact, where is there NOT turmoil these days?

Spares whether internals, identical unit swap outs or a whole different platform sitting there ticking off any warranty just to need them and find out they have a problem?!? I never did invest in spares. Considering location with difficulties in absolute need and immediate receipt, receiving heavy/large items, no outside help, etc, I am a prime candidate for spares. But I've never been able to get through the cost:benefit thing. But I haven't had it happen.... Famous last words?
Last edited by JRHill on Mon Jul 08, 2024 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
JRHill
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Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by JRHill »

Recently I got involved with someone else's problem. I think the final word on that situation was NOT welcome. And sometimes I don't respond to some things because I haven't done a very good job of preparing for a future dilemma myself. If I had it all together I would have reason to stick my chest out. But in reality I am one step away from disaster. But that is my personal problem.

Thanks alot, Outback.
SeismicCWave
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Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

>>The inverters have replaceable boards, but replacing a unit is much easier. In the event of an inverter failure, the rest of the non-failed parts could be a replacement source.<<

Yeah inverters are just a transformer with copper windings and iron core. They usually don't fail that easily. However there must be electronic circuitry with tiny components. I am sure they will fail first. So a replaceable board is a good thing. However Whether one will be available down the line with the Outback turmoil is the question.

The charge controller has lots of FETs and those do fail regularly. So collecting a spare is not a far out idea.
SeismicCWave
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My RE system: 16 PV panels totalling 5.2 kW. 2 Flexmax FM80-150VDC charging 4 batteries. Excess goes back to Helco under Net metering contract. 2 FXR3048A inverters. Mate3S hub.
Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

>>Spares whether internals, identical unit swap outs or a whole different platform sitting there ticking off any warranty just to need them and find out they have a problem?!? I never did invest in spares. Considering location with difficulties in absolute need and immediate receipt, receiving heavy/large items, no outside help, etc, I am a prime candidate for spares. But I've never been able to get through the cost:benefit thing. But I haven't had it happen.... Famous last words?<<

I don't trust FETs working at the high end temperature. So collecting a spare charge controller is not that far out idea. It is all a matter of whether the spares are available at the manufacturers/dealers/distributors etc. or the user. Since Outback is having issue and the installers and supplies for spares maybe shrinking. I am wondering if it requires the user to be proactive.
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: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

Early Outback, Xantrex, Schneider gear is all in the same boat. Long out of warranty, no meaningful support from their organizations, and operating long past their design service life (as things did back in the day.)
The more current models with the same foundational design will probably last a good long time. Unfortunately, the picture for spares and spare parts is considerably more cloudy. The only spare I don't have is a FXR3048A-01 inverter. I'm conflicted as to whether getting one would be throwing good money after bad, of a wise investment.
Now that I've found a work-around for the Inverter AC Input/Charger weirdness, the simple inverter function seems a lot more attractive to maintain.
I don't see a "slam dunk" replacement at the moment, and am not especially motivated to make a switch. (The devil one knows and all that...)
raysun
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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: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

I am wondering if it requires the user to be proactive.
I don't think I'd wonder about that...
Yeah inverters are just a transformer with copper windings and iron core. They usually don't fail that easily. However there must be electronic circuitry with tiny components. I am sure they will fail first. So a replaceable board is a good thing. However Whether one will be available down the line with the Outback turmoil is the question.
The FX series has 3 field-replaceable boards: AC Input, Control, Power. The cost of all three as replacement parts is marginally less than the cost of a new inverter.
I'd look to 3rd party suppliers/servicers like Zonna Energy for replacement parts, and units even.
SeismicCWave
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Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

raysun wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:06 pm Early Outback, Xantrex, Schneider gear is all in the same boat. Long out of warranty, no meaningful support from their organizations, and operating long past their design service life (as things did back in the day.)
The more current models with the same foundational design will probably last a good long time. Unfortunately, the picture for spares and spare parts is considerably more cloudy. The only spare I don't have is a FXR3048A-01 inverter. I'm conflicted as to whether getting one would be throwing good money after bad, of a wise investment.
Now that I've found a work-around for the Inverter AC Input/Charger weirdness, the simple inverter function seems a lot more attractive to maintain.
I don't see a "slam dunk" replacement at the moment, and am not especially motivated to make a switch. (The devil one knows and all that...)
Risking a thread jack, what is your work around for the inverter? Does it still connect to a Mate3S hub?
SeismicCWave
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My RE system: 16 PV panels totalling 5.2 kW. 2 Flexmax FM80-150VDC charging 4 batteries. Excess goes back to Helco under Net metering contract. 2 FXR3048A inverters. Mate3S hub.
Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

>>I don't think I'd wonder about that...<<

I never was very proactive with my PV system. I only track the numbers every day just to satisfy my curiosity. I never read through all the manuals. I do have a basic understanding of how they work but never looked at the actual numbers and settings.

>>The FX series has 3 field-replaceable boards: AC Input, Control, Power. The cost of all three as replacement parts is marginally less than the cost of a new inverter.<<

So a spare inverter is really not out of the question.

>>I'd look to 3rd party suppliers/servicers like Zonna Energy for replacement parts, and units even.<<

Thanks, I will check them out.
raysun
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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: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by raysun »

You will be able to read all about it here:

viewtopic.php?t=18854
SeismicCWave
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Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

raysun wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 1:19 pm You will be able to read all about it here:

viewtopic.php?t=18854
Thank you I saved the link.
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Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by JRHill »

@raysun : "I do have a basic understanding of how they work but never looked at the actual numbers and settings."

But you do well with that. Plus, with the best efforts of a tech writer you still do well to extract information. ( A tech writer has one of the hardest jobs I can think of, other then being a President and explaining things clearly; things written by someone else).
SeismicCWave
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Location: Hilo, Hawaii

Re: FLEXmax 80 issue

Post by SeismicCWave »

JRHill wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:10 pm @raysun : "I do have a basic understanding of how they work but never looked at the actual numbers and settings."

But you do well with that. Plus, with the best efforts of a tech writer you still do well to extract information. ( A tech writer has one of the hardest jobs I can think of, other then being a President and explaining things clearly; things written by someone else).
Yeah I play with some technical toys (RC airplanes) and I have seen a bit of technical writing supposed to cater to the layperson. Definitely not the easiest task. I personally try to dumb technologies down to a level that makes sense to me so I can understand.

I remember reading some technical manuals translated from Japanese many years ago. "Lost in translation" really hit home. Eventually they had to hire some English speaking person to write the manual for them.
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