VictronConnect - MPPT Solar Charge Controllers

4. Settings

In this section:
VC_settings.png

The settings page is accessed by clicking on the Cog icon at the top right of the Home page. The settings page provides access to view or change the settings of the Battery; Load; Streetlight; and Port functions. From this page you can also view Product information such as the Firmware versions installed on the MPPT Solar Charger.

4.1. Battery settings

VC_Battery_Settings.png

For small MPPT Solar Charger models there is only one preset. Larger models feature a rotary switch, the battery page shows the setting of the rotary switch.

We recommend using the rotary switch to select one of the pre-programmed charge algorithms.

Battery voltage

Set the battery voltage to a fixed voltage (12, 24, 36, 48).

The battery voltage is automatically selected at the very first power-up of the charger. The detected figure is stored, and further automatic detection is disabled. If, however, the battery voltage is absent (or below 7 volts) the unit operates as a 12 V model and automatic detection is rescheduled for the next power-up.

Note that 36 and 48 volt operation is only available on models which support these voltages - such as the MPPT 150/35. Note also that 36 volts cannot be detected automatically. Systems operating at this voltage must always be set manually.

Hint: if you just want to update the firmware of a device while still keeping the automatic voltage detection active (e.g. before shipping a unit to the end customer), update the firmware as you normally would do. When the firmware update is complete, at the “Live Data Information” page select to cog wheel in the upper right corner, next the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and make sure to choose “Reset to defaults” from the drop-down menu. Now power down the unit, when the unit is powered up the next time it will perform an automatic voltage detection.

Max charge current

Allows the user to set a lower maximum charge current.

Charger enabled

Toggling this setting turns the Solar Charger off. The batteries will not be charged. This setting is intended only for use when carrying-out work on the installation.

Charger settings - Battery preset

Battery preset allows you to select the battery type; accept factory defaults; or enter your own preset values to be used for the battery charge algorithm. The Absorption voltage, Absorption time, Float voltage, Equalisation voltage and Temperature compensation settings are all configured to a preset value - but can be user-defined.

User-defined presets will be stored in the preset library - in this way installers will not have to define all the values each time they are configuring a new installation.

By selecting Edit Presets, or on the Settings screen (with expert mode on or not), custom parameters can be set as follows:

Absorption voltage

Set the absorption voltage.

Adaptive absorption time

Select with adaptive absorption time or fixed absorption time will be used. Both are better explained below:

Fixed absorption time: The same length of absorption is applied every day (when there is enough solar power) by using the maximum absorption time setting. Be aware that this option can result in overcharging your batteries, especially for lead batteries and system with shallow daily discharges. See your battery manufacturer for recommended settings. Note: make sure to disable the tail current setting to make the same absorption time every day. The tail current could end absorption time sooner if the battery current is below the threshold. See more information on the tail current setting section below.

Adaptive absorption time: The charge algorithm can use an adaptive absorption time: it automatically adapts to the state of charge in the morning. The maximum duration of the absorption period for the day is determined by the battery voltage as measured just before the solar charger begins operation each morning (12 V battery assumed):

Battery voltage Vb (@start-up)

Multiplier

Maximum absorption times

Vb < 11.9 V

x 1

06:00 hours

> 11.9 V Vb < 12.2 V

x 2/3

04:00 hours

> 12.2 V Vb < 12.6 V

x 1/3

02:00 hours

Vb > 12.6 V

x 2/6

01:00 hours

The multiplier is applied to the maximum absorption time setting and this results in the maximum duration of the absorption period used by the charger. The maximum absorption times shown in the last column of the table are based on the default maximum absorption time setting of 6 hours.

Maximum absorption time (hh:mm)

Set the absorption time limit. Only available when using a custom charge profile.

Enter the time value in the notation hh:mm, where hours are between 0 and 12; and minutes are between 0 and 59.

Float voltage

Set the float voltage.

Re-bulk voltage offset

Set the voltage offset that will be used over the float voltage setting that will determine the threshold that the charge cycle will restart.

E.g.: For a Re-bulk voltage offset off 0.1V and a float voltage setting of 13.8 V, the voltage threshold that will be use to restart the charge cycle will be 13.7 V. In other words, if the battery voltage drops below 13.7 V for one minute, the charge cycle will restart.

Equalization voltage

Set the equalization voltage.

Equalization current percentage

Set the percentage of the Max charge current setting that will be used when equalisation is performed.

Automatic Equalization

Set-up the frequency of the auto equalize function. Available options are between 1 and 250 days:

  • 1 = daily

  • 2 = every other day

  • ...

  • 250 = every 250 days

Equalization is typically used to balance the cells in a lead battery, and also to prevent stratification of the electrolyte in flooded batteries. Whether (automatic) equalization is necessary, or not, depends on the type of batteries, and their usage. Consult your battery supplier for guidelines.

When the Automatic equalization cycle has initiated, the charger applies an equalization voltage to the battery as long as the current level stays below the equalization current percentage setting of the bulk current.

Duration of the Automatic equalization cycle

In the case of all VRLA batteries and some flooded batteries (algorithm number 0, 1, 2 and 3) automatic equalization ends when the voltage limit (maxV) has been reached, or after a period equal to (absorption time/8) - whichever comes first.

For all tubular plate batteries (algorithm numbers 4, 5 & 6); and also for the user-defined battery type, automatic equalization will end after a period equal to (absorption time/2).

For the Lithium battery type (algorithm number 7), equalization is not available.

When an automatic equalization cycle is not completed in one day, it will not resume the next day. The next equalization session will take place according to the interval set in the 'Auto Equalization' option.

For units without a rotary switch (75/10, 75/15, 100/15 & 100/20) the default battery type is a VRLA battery and any user-defined battery will behave as a tubular plate battery with regard to equalization.

Equalisation stop mode

Set how the equalisation will end. There are two possibilities, first is if the battery voltage reaches the equalisation voltage and the second is on fixed time, where the maximum equalisation duration is used.

Maximum equalisation duration

Set the maximum time that the equalisation phase will last.

Tail current

Set the current threshold that will be used to finish absorption phase before the maximum absorption time expires. When the battery current gets below the tail current for one minute, the absorption phase will end. This setting can be disabled by setting it to zero.

Temperature compensation

Many types of battery require a lower charge voltage in warm operating conditions, and a higher charge voltage in cold operating conditions.

The configured coefficient is in mV per degree Celsius for the whole battery bank, not per cell. The base temperature for the compensation is 25°C (77°F), as shown in the chart below.

VC_Temp_compensation.png

When a Smart Battery Sense is installed; the actual battery temperature will be used for compensation; throughout the day.

In case there is no external source for battery temperature; charger uses its internal temperature for battery temperature compensation. The temperature reading is taken in the morning; when the charger has been idle for at least one hour, i.e. when the charger is not actively charging a battery or supplying a load.

Low temperature cut-off

This setting is available when a VE.Smart network is set-up and the battery temperature is available (e.g. by for example using a Smart Battery Sense or a Smart BMV with the optional temperature sensor). It can be used to disable charging at low temperatures as required by Lithium batteries.

For Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries this setting is preset at 5 degrees Celsius, for the other battery types it is disabled. When creating a user defined battery the cut-off temperature level can be adjusted manually.

See the VE.Smart Network manual for details on what devices are capable of transmitting temperature.

Manual Equalization - Start now

Selecting 'Start now' on 'Manual equalisation' allows manual initiation of an Equalization cycle. To allow the charger to equalize the battery properly use the manual equalize option only during Absorption and Float periods, and when there is sufficient sunlight. Current and voltage limits are identical to the automatic equalize function. The duration of the equalisation cycle is limited to a maximum of 1 hour when triggered manually. Manual equalization can be stopped at any time by selecting 'Stop Equalize'.

4.2. Load output

This section applies to all products. These settings are typically used on the smaller models which have a dedicated load output (75/10, 75/15, 100/15 and 100/20).

For larger models without a load output, the load settings can be used to drive the TX pin in the VE.Direct port, which can then be used to drive a BatteryProtect relay or other load-shedding device. See chapter 4.4 TX port function, option 5: Virtual Load output, for more information.

VC_load_output.png

The available programs are:

  1. Always off

  2. BatteryLife algorithm: Self adapting algorithm to maximize life of the battery. See manual for details.

  3. Conventional algorithm 1: Off when Vbatt < 11.10V. And On when Vbatt > 13.10V. (12V battery assumed)

  4. Conventional algorithm 2: Off when Vbatt < 11.80V. And On when Vbatt > 14.00V.

  5. Always on

  6. User defined algorithm 1: Off when Vbatt < Vlow. And On when Vbatt > Vhigh.

  7. User defined algorithm 2: Off when Vbatt < Vlow or Vbatt > Vhigh. And On when Vbatt between Vlow and Vhigh.

  8. Automatic Energy Selector: Off when Vbatt < Vlow. And On when Vbatt > Vhigh. When conditions are met Load will be on for a pre-selected time. Note; This mode is only available on SmartSolar Models.

Note that, by default, the models with a load output have their algorithm selected with a jumper in the VE.Direct port:

  • no jumper → user selected algorithm in VictronConnect (defaults to BatteryLife algorithm)

  • jumper between pin 1 and 2 → conventional algorithm 1

  • jumper between pin 2 and 3 → conventional algorithm 2

Therefore, to configure an algorithm using VictronConnect, either remove the jumper, or change the VE.Direct RX pin configuration to Remote on/off, see 4.5 below. When a VE.Direct cable is connected, for example to a GX Device, or a Bluetooth dongle, then the “no jumper” configuration will be active. Both when the GX Device is powered, as well as when its off. The drawing below shows where the jumper is located.

VC_Jumper.png

Keep in mind that modes 1 (always off) and 5 (always on) will respond immediately. The other modes, sensing the battery voltage, have a delay of 2 minutes before the load output changes. This is so that the charger does not respond too quickly when, for example, an inrush current briefly lowers the battery voltage below the threshold.

Larger models offer a 'Streetlighting Algorithm' (see 4.3 below); this too will be 'controlled' by the Load Output settings in order to protect the battery from being too deeply drained: Streetlight settings will be overridden if the battery voltage falls below a chosen value. When the battery voltage is restored to chosen parameters, the Streetlighting function will resume. In this way the two functions work together.

The load output (on the smaller MPPT models) always acts as a switch - off when load output is off or streetlight dimming is at 0%; and on when load output is on and streetlight dimming is between 1 and 100% (see 4.3 below: Gradual Dimming speed).

Use the optional VE.Direct TX digital output cable, ASS030550500, accessory.

4.3. Streetlight settings

VC_streetlight_settings.png

Introduction

The Streetlight function allows you to automatically control night lighting - it's duration, and brilliance. When the Streetlight function is enabled a timer program can be created whereby Sunset, Sunrise as well as Midnight can be used as the anchor points for the timer program. These anchor points will automatically adjust itself to the duration of night-time as it changes with the seasons.

Streetlight, TX Pin, Relay as well as the Load output configuration

For our smaller chargers, that have a set of dedicated load output terminals, the light can be powered from those terminals. For larger chargers, the TX can be used, as a 'virtual load output'. Or, for models having a relay, also the relay can be used. See TX Pin and Relay chapters for details.

Note that, both for the real load output, and TX pin or Relay as 'virtual load output' the streetlight algorithm is applied in conjuction with the settings as configured in the Load output menu:

If streetlight is disabled, then the (virtual) load output is controlled only by the configuration as made in the load output menu.

If streetlight is enabled, then its an AND function: the load output will be on when both the conditions made in the Load output menu are satisfied as well as the streetlight settings. Otherwise, it's off.

Therefore, in a streetlight application, the load output setting is typically set to either Always on, or to Battery life. It's is never configured to Always off as that will result in the light to be always off. For more configurable voltage levels to force the light off, the other load output options (conv alg., user alg.) can be used.

Setting the Sunset action

At sunset you can choose from the following actions:

  • Keep the lights off

  • Switch on for a fixed time. This option will turn the light on at sunset, and then off after a configurable interval. When the dimming feature is enabled (1), two dim-levels can be entered: one for the “on” period; and a second for the “off” period. A typical use case for these options is to get a strong light during high traffic hours (right after sunset), and lower intensity during the low hours, to save the battery. Set the second dim level to 0% to switch the light completely off during that second section.

  • Switch on till midnight. This option turns the light on at sunset, and then off at midnight. When the dimming feature is enabled (1), two dim-levels can be entered: one for the “on” period (up to midnight) and a second dim-level for the “off” period after midnight. Set the second dim level to 0% to switch the light completely off during that second section.

  • Switch on till sunrise. This options turns the light on at sunset, and then off at sunrise. When this option is selected; there is no need to also select an action at sunrise, and therefore the sunrise control option will be hidden. When the dimming feature is enabled (1), one dim level be configured, Dim level at sunset.

1) the dimming feature requires the TX Port function to be configured to PWM. The dim level inputs are only available when the TX Port is configured accordingly. See chapter 4.4 below for details.

Setting the Sunrise action

At sunrise you can choose to:

  • Switch off: Turns the light off at sunrise

  • Switch on before sunrise: This option switches the light on at a configurable time interval before sunrise; and then switches the light off at sunrise. In case the dimming feature is enabled (1), this feature allows to configure a more intense light interval during early morning rush hours. Together with the Sunset action, you can now configure three dim levels: one at sunset rush hour, one during the low traffic hours, and the third on during the early morning rush hours.

Midnight is Solar midnight, and not 12 o' clock

The charger has no real time clock, and does not know when it is 12 o' clock at night. All references to midnight refer to what we call solar midnight: the mid-point between sunset and sunrise.

Midnight and Sunrise synchronisation

The (solar-) midnight and sunrise anchor points in the timer program need the charger to have its internal clock synchronised with the cycle of the sun.

After making your settings and powering up the charger, the charger will start unsynchronised: it assumes that midnight is 6 hours after sunset, and assumes that the full night is 12 hours.

During synchronisation, the charger checks the time between each detected sunrise. After three full day/night cycles, where the detected time is approximately 24 hours (one hour of deviation is allowed), it will start using its internal clock; instead of the fixed 6 and 12 hour timing.

Note that a loss of power will make the charger loose its synchronisation; it will take 5 days again to properly synchronise. Configuration settings are (of course) stored and not lost, just like any other settings are always maintained during a loss of power.

Sunset and sunrise detection

The Sunset and Sunrise detection voltage settings can be used to adjust the detection to match the panel configuration. The Sunrise detection voltage must be 0.5V higher than the Sunset detection level. The lowest detectable voltage is 11.4V. Set this option to 0 to use the built-in defaults, which are:

  • Sunset = Vpanel < 11.4 V

  • Sunrise = Vpanel > 11.9 V

The default setting is 0, which uses built-in default voltages.

Use the 'Delay' periods to avoid the system making an accidental switch when clouds pass over the panels. The valid range is between 0…60 minutes. These delays are disabled by default (0).

Gradual dimming speed

The gradual dimming option can be used to slow down the response of the timer program. This is useful when multiple streetlights are used in a row, and helps to mask the fact that each timer uses its own detection and the transition moment which will vary from unit to unit.

The dimming settings can be adjusted. You can input the number of seconds required to achieve each percentage-point of change (x seconds/per 1% of dimming). The available setting parameters are 0 …99

* 0 = immediate response (gradual dimming disabled)

  • A setting of '0' will achieve an immediate response - so the gradual dimming option is disabled.

* 9 = dim from 0 to 100% in 15 minutes.

  • Setting the dimming speed to 9, for example, slows down the dimming speed to 15 minutes (9 seconds for each percentage point of dimming x 100 percentage points = 900 seconds or 15 minutes.

Note: Make sure the TX port function is set to Light dimming mode (as described in the next chapter) and connect a VE.Direct TX digital output cable to the PWM dim input of your LED driver.

Mid-point shift

The time of midnight is estimated based on solar activity, and depends on your geographical location. Remember, too, that daylight saving times cause a further deviation between 'solar' and 'clock' midnight. By using the Mid-point shift function this can be compensated for. (Note that this setting is only relevant when your timer program uses 'Midnight' as a switching moment …as in option 3 above). Use 0 to disable the shift (default).

Calculation Example:

For calculation we use a 1440-minute day.

Where Sunset is at 19:00 (1140 minutes); and Sunrise is at 6:25 (385 minutes)

  • Night duration in minutes is: 1440m(min/day) -1140m(time to sunset) + 385m(time to sunrise) = 685m

  • Degree of shift = time of sunset (in minutes) +half the duration of night (in minutes) - length of day (in minutes) = 1140m +342m-1440m = 42 minutes

Example configuration

The selections which have been made on below screen image (click to enlarge) result in this program:

  • At sunset - the light will be switched on for a fixed time

  • Dim level at sunset - at Full brilliance (100%)

  • Keep lights on during - the duration has been set to 1h 0m

  • Dim level at end - at the end of one hour the brilliance will be reduced to half (50%)

Also;

  • At sunrise - the lighting will be adjusted before sunrise

  • Time before sunrise - at 1h 0m before sunrise, the following adjustment will be made:

  • Dim level - full brilliance will be restored (100%)

4.4. TX port function

This setting defines the function of the TX pin located inside the VE.Direct connector. Use the VE.Direct TX digital output cable, ASS030550500 to access - and therefore receive signals from - the pin.

VC_TX_port_function.png

Available options:

  1. Normal communication (default). Use this when connecting to a Color Control GX, a VE.Direct Bluetooth Smart dongle, or any other device that needs to communicate with the MPPT.

  2. Pulse every 0.01 kWh. Selecting this option causes a pulse to be emitted for every 0.01kWh of energy harvested, the TX port is normally high and will be driven low for approximately 250ms for every 0.01kWh harvested. This function is useful in combination with an energy meter.

  3. Light dimming (pwm normal). Use this function in combination with the Streetlight algorithm. PWM will be at 100% duty cycle when full light intensity is required.

  4. Light dimming (pwm inverted). Use this function in combination with the Streetlight algorithm. PWM signal will be 0% duty cycle when full light intensity is required.

  5. Virtual load output. The TX pin will switch in harmony with the load output port. The purpose of this is to use the BatteryLife algorithm, or Streetlight algorithm, on the larger models which do not have a dedicated load output. Connect the VE.Direct TX digital output cable to a BatteryProtect module or a solid state relay.

Notes:

  • The PWM signal output (when using options 3 and 4) operates at a fixed frequency of 160Hz and has a fixed voltage level of 5V.

  • Using options 2 through to 5 does not disable the ability of the unit to communicate - what happens is that the unit will automatically detect incoming data, and whilst that data is being received it will resume normal communication (as in option 1) for the duration of that data-reception. When the unit detects that the data-reception has been completed, it will automatically resume whichever option (2 -5) has been manually selected.

4.5. RX port function

RX_port_function.png

The Rx pin on the VE.Direct connector can be used for other functions. This functionality was introduced in firmware version 1.17. Available options:

  1. Remote on/off (This is the default setting on all larger models). This setting allows remote on/off control: (Pin to GND = switch charger off, Pin floating or to battery+ (or a signal sent via VE.Direct communication) = switch charger on). An example of this operation is when the unit is connected to a VE.BUS BMS (using a VE.Direct non inverting remote on-off cable, ASS030550300).

  2. Load output configuration (This is the default setting on the following models: 75/10, 75/15, 100/15 and 100/20). The Tx pin can be used to place a jumper to select load output operation. See Load output chapter (4.2 above) for details. This only applies to the 10A, 15A and 20A chargers with a load output.

  3. Load output on/off inverted This setting reverses the load output on/off control: (0V = switch load output on, +5V = switch load output off)

  4. Load output on/off normal This setting allows load output on/off control: (0V = switch load output off, +5V = switch load output on)