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Old 03-11-2017, 11:44 AM   #1
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Operation of victron multiplus inverter when below freezing

What's the best way to operate this inverter when you are connected to AC power and you want the inverter to pass through AC power to the circuits powered by the inverter, but don't want to be charging a lithium battery because its below freezing? Seems the inverter has to be on to to pass through AC, so do you simply turn the the disconnect on the positive cable from the inverter to the battery off so it will not charge, and leave the inverter on?--Frank
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:52 AM   #2
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What's the best way to operate this inverter when you are connected to AC power and you want the inverter to pass through AC power to the circuits powered by the inverter, but don't want to be charging a lithium battery because its below freezing? Seems the inverter has to be on to to pass through AC, so do you simply turn the the disconnect on the positive cable from the inverter to the battery off so it will not charge, and leave the inverter on?--Frank
A Victron or Magnum inverter/charger will not pass thru 120VAC power if you disconnect the DC supply, as there would be no power to operate the internal relays. On Victron units, you should have a charger on/off switch, either on the CCGX panel, Digital Control or the inverter itself that will disable the charger section but will still allow the 120VAC pass-thru.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:57 AM   #3
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Lew it looks to me like the switch on the victron multiplus 12/3000 operates as ON, OFF, or Charger only?
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:09 PM   #4
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Lew it looks to me like the switch on the victron multiplus 12/3000 operates as ON, OFF, or Charger only?
I'll check out mine at the shop tomorrow. Which control system are you using, CCGX with the Digital Multi Control?
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:46 PM   #5
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So I haven't gotten a remote panel yet, been waiting to see if I really needed one or which one I wanted to get. I'm just using the toggle switch on the face of the inverter, which based on the manual is either on (fully functional), off, or charger only. So it appears there is no way to manually turn the charger off and keep the inverter on, unless I missing something. But I assume this is easily done with the Digital Multi Control?
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:24 PM   #6
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Just looking at a picture of the digital multi control, it appears to operate like the switch on the inverter, and doesn't give you the option to leave the inverter on and turn the charger off.
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:41 PM   #7
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Color Control and other things

Fran&Frank,

The Color Control display allows only off, on (charger and inverter) or charger only which is the same as the front panel (first 2 pictures below). I would however strongly recommend the Color Control particularly if you usually have an internet connection in your AS. Expensive, yes, but it adds some very nice features including ability to view all connected systems, curves, download data etc, etc all from your armchair. Even without an internet connection the screen is great, showing you exactly what is going on, current flow etc.

On your questions about disabling the charger, here are some suggestions: -

So long as your MultiPlus is connected to shore power you can disconnect the battery and the MultiPlus will remain on with AC and DC supplied to the coach. If you lose shore power everything will go off (obviously). I don think this is an intended mode since the MutiPlus still thinks it is charging. I just tried it on my setup and the MultiPlus stayed in bulk mode (at 2.5A ). My Victron Blue Solar threw an alarm also so the system was not happy. Might be OK in a pinch but probably not a good idea long term.

If you have Lithiums, you should preferably have some automated means to stop charging when the batteries get close to zero C. I'm not familiar with the various Victron BMS's so ask your dealer how to set those up. Regardless of what BMS you have, one way to accomplish this would be to set up an "Assistant" in the VE Configure software (in the MultiPlus) to instruct the charger to turn off at a certain point, in your case when the battery is cold.

If you have a BMV 702 battery monitor with a temperature sensor you can set the relay on the 702 to open when the battery is at 2degC and close again when the battery is at 5 degC. Wire the output from the relay to one of the MultiPlus Aux inputs and set up a "Charge Current Control" assistant. Assistants are simple macros within the multiPlus software that can be user configured in almost infinite combinations. There are several "standard" Assistants provided that you can choose from and configure for you particular needs. You can also build your own. The Charge Current Control assistant is one of the standard assistants and does just what it suggests, it controls the charge current. In our case it will just turn the charger on and off since we are using an on off relay to drive it. In more sophisticated setups, it can also read in a 0-5V signal and vary charge current between 2 values you specify based on the voltage.

A typical setup for the assistant could be like the third photo below. Some words below to describe what it is doing: -
  • The charger will only be active when you have shore power (AC1 input is active).
  • We have connected the relay wires from the BMV702 to Aux input 1 on the MultiPlus so we select that input in the assistant.
  • We set the charge current to zero when voltage is less than 1 V - if our relay on the BMV702 is open the voltage will be zero (battery is cold so we want the charger off).
  • When the BMV702 relay closes (battery at 5C, voltage on the Aux input is 5V) the charger will be on and the charge current will be at the value we specify - in this example, 165A.
  • The assistant will vary the charge current between 0A and 165A based on the voltage on the Aux input. In our case the charger will be just on or off since our input is a relay (on-off switch).
  • The charger is set to off in the assistant. It can be left with a very small charge current, say 1A, which should not damage the battery even if below zero C based on the research I did. This may be preferable to protect against small parasitic drains but it is probably safest to turn off completely unless instructed otherwise by your dealer. Once the charger is "off" the AC power will be passed through and the coach will have AC and DC voltage as normal but no current will be supplied to the battery.

Note that the assistant feature in the VE Configure software is password protected. You can download the software and play around with the assistants but will not actually be able to load a configuration with assistants to the MultiPlus without the password. It will strip all the assistants out and load the base configuration only. I know - I tried . You may be able to get a password from the distributor that supplied the MultiPlus although they will probably be reluctant. I guess they are concerned that customers may damage batteries or other equipment with incorrect assistant configurations and expect this "damage" to be covered under warranty.

Alternatively, if you have a Color Control display (connected to the internet) your dealer can remote-in and set it up for you using the VE Power Setup software. A very, very nice feature if you are not particularly tech savy. You will still need to do the wiring and program the BMV702.

By way of full disclosure, I have used several assistants to interface my non-Victron BMS with the MultiPlus but have not used the Charge Current Control Assistant specifically. i also had some help from AMSolar initially who checked the assistants I had created (and fixed the errors ), confirmed correct operation on their simulator prior to emailing the configuration file to me for implementation. Therefore use the above as general advice only and get some professional help if you want to go this route.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:18 PM   #8
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Ohiobrits, thanks for this post, I was wondering if the 702 could be used to stop charging, I will look into this.

Frank, I am upgrading my system and right now only have the multiples installed, and not connected to any batteries. When I plug into shore power, when I turn on the multiples, I get AC pass through to the trailer outlets. So I am guessing if you had the battery disconnected, it would do the same. I have the normal multi-control. I turn that on and shore power passes through. If it is not turned on, it won't pass through.

Again, it is not connected to any battery or DC Source.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:41 PM   #9
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Thanks Ohiobrits for your reply. So I also observed that with the battery disconnected the Multiplus stayed in bulk charge mode, which doesn't seem desirable, but did allow AC pass through. Troutboy without any battery connected does the Multiplus go to one of the charge modes when you tried this? Either way though it sounds like use of an "Assistant" with auxiliary input from the BMV-702 to detect temperature is an ideal solution. I am also wondering if I could wire a switch between the AC input and output on the Multiplus so with the inverter off I could directly route AC power from the input to output lines bypassing the Multiplus; to do this the switch would disconnect or connect the hot wires but I don't know if the neutrals and grounds were permanently connected between the AC in and out if that causes any problems for the Multiplus?
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:47 PM   #10
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I do think it was in bulk charge mode, I'll check when i get it out next week.

I think that Switz, on the forum,did an auto switch with a magnum set up, to do what you want Frank. Maybe look him up and ask. He has been real helpful to me as he has a 23D which he has modified very nicely.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:58 AM   #11
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If you buy your Victron stuff from AM Solar, they provide a couple of options for cold weather shutoff. The one I have uses the BMV-702 and the T-sense terminals in the MultiPlus to shut off the charge at low temp. They provide the Assistant already configured. Their more expensive version provides an additional relay to shutoff all sources of battery charging.
If you acquired your hardware elsewhere, you can certainly mimic either of these.
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:16 AM   #12
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Larry can the Mutiplus be programmed to shut off charging in cold weather using the temperature sensor that comes with it or do you use the optional temperature sensor for the BMV-702 battery monitor as described by Ohiobrits?-- Frank
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:14 AM   #13
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I used the temp sensor that came with the 702.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:50 AM   #14
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I have not yet installed the Multiplus in my AS, but I have looked into a Victron system in some detail. There are two temperature sense inputs on the Multiplus. I believe these inputs turn off the charger when shorted (it might be the other way around, i.e. when they are open.) In any case, you can use these inputs to turn off the charger when the temperature is below freezing. One way is to connect these to the relay on the 702. The 702 is programmed such that when the temperature is below freezing, the relay inputs are shorted, causing the Multiplus temp sense inputs to be shorted, and the charger to turn off.

As others have noted, the AM Solar folks sell a cold weather disconnect kit that uses the 702 both to turn off the Multiplus charger, as well as other charging sources (solar, alternator). Note that the AM solar circuit also uses the 702, but there are other relays involved in the circuit, so the 702 is programmed for Relay Inverse mode in this case.

Others please jump in here and correct anything I have wrong. I am learning a lot from others, and appreciate the input. For instance, maybe it is only the AUX inputs (and charge assistant approach that Ohiobrits described) that can be used with an external relay (if the Multiplus tsense inputs are to used only with the Multiplus temp sensor)?
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:00 AM   #15
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I'm guessing the AMSolar kit uses the BMV-702 to both turn the charger off and a relay to disconnect input to the battery from all sources including a solar charger or tow vehicle?--Frank
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:29 AM   #16
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Actually, we disabled the tow vehicle 12Vdc charge line input to the lithium batteries in both the 23D and the Classic. We wired as necessary to power the hydraulic disc brake pump and controller on the Classic. Both trailers have the lithium battery inside the trailer. The 23D battery is under the street side sofa just in front of the wheel well and the Classic battery is under the front sofa of the Classic.

We are based in the Phoenix area, so winter storage does not include temperatures below freezing for more than a few hours around dawn.
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:43 AM   #17
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I'm guessing the AMSolar kit uses the BMV-702 to both turn the charger off and a relay to disconnect input to the battery from all sources including a solar charger or tow vehicle?--Frank
Here is the cold weather charge disconnect kit: http://amsolar.com/rv-lithium-battery-banks/70-coldac

And the block wiring diagram: https://static1.squarespace.com/stat.../70-COLDAC.pdf
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:03 AM   #18
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So I have a Victron multiplus and battery monitor but am not using a Victron Li battery or BMS. I think my strategy will be to set up the BMV-702 to turn off the charger in the Multiplus when below 32 F and use manual switches on the solar charger and tow vehicle inputs. Seems a bit of an oversight by Victron to not have a simple manual option for having the inverter on but charger off.--Frank
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:35 PM   #19
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Here is the cold weather charge disconnect kit: http://amsolar.com/rv-lithium-battery-banks/70-coldac

And the block wiring diagram: https://static1.squarespace.com/stat.../70-COLDAC.pdf
Lew, there is text at the top of the wiring diagram that states "To Victron inverter/charger T-SENSE terminals." This implies that the MPlus temp sense terminals can be used to turn off the Mplus charger (and the circuit shown would short the tsense terminals to turn off the charger, assuming the DPDT relay shown is an Omron MY2F-DC12 or equivalent). The mechanism described by Ohiobrits further above uses MPlus aux inputs to turn off the charger. Do you know if either of these mechanisms can be used to turn off the Multiplus charger?
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:52 PM   #20
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Inputs

wmcneail,

The inputs on the MultiPlus can be configured to do many things using assistants. The temp sense terminal is set up to accept the temperature sensor as standard but can be repurposed to be used for other activities when selected in an assistant. Since I'm measuring temp via the BMV702 (plus 4 thermocouples connected to my BMS), I have assigned this input to other duties.

I'm using the Temp Sense input and the Aux 1 input on my MultiPlus together with the Lynx Ion BMS assistant to indicate to the MultiPlus when to enable / disable the charger and the inverter. These actions are secondary protective measures driven by my BMS. In normal operation the voltage settings in the MultiPlus will protect the battery (charge voltage values, inverter turn off voltage etc) but there should always be a secondary means of disconnection charge and discharge in the event something does not work as intended.

My BMS (Orion Jr) has 2 main signals to control the charge and discharge of the battery: -

A "Charge Enable" state is in effect when the battery is not full, temp is OK - low or high. The BMS controls the Aux 1 input on the MultiPlus based on "Charge Enable" state to tell the MultiPlus to enable or disable the charger. This output from the BMS also controls a fail open contractor that will disconnect the BlueSolar charger if charging is not permitted.
A "Discharge Enable" state is in effect when the battery is not empty, temp is OK etc. The BMS controls the Temp Sense input on the MultiPlus based on "Discharge Enable" state to tell the MultiPlus to enable or disable the inverter. This output from the BMS also controls a fail open contractor that will disconnect the AS DC users if discharge is not permitted.

The following is how the inputs work - I did not find any documentation on this but I believe it to be correct. The MultiPlus inputs should not have system voltage applied (12 V DC). The MultiPlus applies 5V DC to the + terminal and looks for 5 V DC on the negative terminal. If it senses 5 V DC on the negative terminal the input is classed as "closed". If it senses 5 V DC on the + only the input is classed as "open". The actions taken when the input is open or closed can be configured depending on the assistant selected. If you connect a simple switch to one of these inputs and configure an assistant on that input, you can control whatever action you set in the assistant by opening and closing the switch.

The other options on the MultiPlus are the programable relays. These can accept system voltage and can be used just like a regular 12 V DC relay to control things in your AS using an assistant. I have one relay set up to switch on a 12 V DC computer cooling fan if the MultiPlus fan goes on. This keeps the cabinet where the MultiPlus is stored cool when it is running hard. One assistant turns the relay on, another turns it off in sync with the MultiPlus fan. You can do many things with these relays such as turning on a generator, doing load shedding etc all based on parameters like current draw, battery voltage, the presence of AC power etc. Again I found no literature on the rating of these relays so it would be prudent to use a suitably rated external relay if you will be switching large loads.

There are almost endless options with the inputs and programmable relays to automate things.
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