Baron Blake Job, work process for Victron Equipment maintenance
Baron Blake contacted us via a referral after his original installer had gone into liquidation. He had a battery backup system installed after his PV Installation, but it was not working.
We arrived early in the morning in Kent with the intention of updating the firmware of the Victron MultiPlus, Color Control and ESS assistant.
The first thing we noticed was that the Color Control was not displaying any information and did not recognize the ESS assistant. To check the connections of the Color Control, I removed it from the enclosure and saw 2 USBs, a VE.Bus connection, VE.Can connection and power cable which goes to a plug. The USBs were from a Wi-Fi adaptor and the communication feed from the nearby Carlo Cavazzi EM24 meter. The VE.Can connection was from the BMS (Battery Management System) within the LG battery. The VE.Bus connection was from the MultiPlus but was noticeably an orange communication cable, to check that this cable was not faulty we used our spare 3m RJ45 Victron supplied communication cable and had the same result. As we had not encountered this before and in the spirit of saving time, we proceeded with updating the MultiPlus and ESS assistant.
We then booted up the laptop and connected our RJ45 cable to the MultiPlus, removing the orange cable to the Color Control. I then loaded up VE Config, saved a copy of the settings and attempted to update the ESS assistant. This failed as the MultiPlus firmware needed to be updated. Having already saved a copy of the settings I went ahead to updating the MultiPlus. To check which firmware file I needed to download, I checked the current version by referring to the ESS failure. This failure told me what our current firmware version was and what the minimum firmware level is required for the update to be successful. Having gone into the Victron Professional website and the firmware section, I selected:
- VE.Bus (Multis, Inverters and Quattros)
- 26 - 230VAC Products with large microprocessor
- 400 Assistant firmwares
After selecting the correct firmware file, I opened up VE Flash and went through the process as shown in the program. To note: for the update to work you need to follow the steps exactly and there should be 6 LEDs constantly lit for the update to commence. Once the MultiPlus completed the update we switched back on the AC input via a nearby fuse and opened up VE config. We then noticed the settings were reset, so we loaded up the saved settings and proceeded with updating ESS, to note to updated ESS right click the assistant and click update. To confirm the ESS settings were the same, we loaded up the saved settings in a separate VE config program and entered the same settings. Once we double checked all of the ESS settings and general settings we clicked the send settings button which will send all of the new settings to the MultiPlus.
Once all was updated we removed our RJ45 cable and put the orange cable back in. The last thing now was the make sure the Color Control was setup correctly. The first thing that I did was change the energy meter settings and told it that solar PV is on Phase 2 and it was not a multi-phase system. Next, I noticed the Wi-Fi was not connected and it was pointed out that the USB Wi-Fi adaptor was not displaying any activity. I attempted to reconnect within the Color Control but had no success, so I removed the adaptor from the back of the Color Control and reinserted it which worked in reconnecting the Wi-Fi. Once the Wi-Fi was working, I went into the VRM and remote console settings and enabled remote console and double checked the other settings. Having done this I rebooted the Color Control and attempted to connect to the VRM on my phone, this was successful and could use the remote console.
The last thing was to adjust the ESS assistant settings in the Color Control. To note: when the Color control first connected with the MultiPlus it showed ESS #5 at the bottom, a bit later after adjusting settings it shows ESS #1 and #2 and at the end it showed neither of these. I made sure that optimized with battery life was selected, phase compensation was off and setup scheduled charging for Monday mornings for 2 hours to keep the battery healthy.
After I had checked all of the settings were correct, I noticed that on the MultiPlus the Inverter LED was not lit. To remedy this I went into the ESS settings and noted the actual SOC (state of charge) limit was at 80%, the battery was currently around 75%. To charge the battery up to at least 80% I changed the optimized with battery life to keep batteries charged, which would utilize grid power and charge the battery as much as it can. After 15-20 minutes the battery had reached 85% and the inverter light was still not lit. I attempted to reset the MultiPlus unit through the Color Control but this did not work. It was mentioned that as it was set to charge only this may be affecting this MultiPlus inverter function. So, I changed the keep batteries charged to optimized with battery life and this then worked to kick in the inverter and was working straight away to cover the AC loads. To note: I enabled power assist within the MultiPlus settings during the VE Config stage which allowed the battery to work with solar and grid to cover AC loads.
Now that the inverter was working, I monitored the system for 5-10 minutes just checking that it was behaving as it should. Once confident it was working, looked into lowering the actual state of charge limit as the battery was Lithium I connected back up the VE config to check if this was possible. I could not find any options to change this in VE config or the Color Control, so it remained at 80% but the active SOC was set to 15%.
After all was setup we spoke with the customer and informed him that it was all running smoothly and we will monitor his system from our office using remote console and make any adjustments where necessary.