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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just finished my build and have a charging question.

I'm running a 120v system of 10 AGM batteries charging off of an Elcon PFC 2500 charger. When I plug the charger in, the red light on the charger goes on and stays on. While it's on I can measure the overall pack voltage and it gradually increases over a few hours until around 142 volts, at which time the red light flashes at three second intervals (which means "repair battery"). The light never goes yellow or green and the red light doesn't flash while it's charging.

The charger says it's supposed to flash red at one second intervals when <80% charged, flash yellow at >80% and green at 100%.

The batteries and everything else are brand new and when I measure the individual battery voltages, they are all the same (both while charging and unplugged). However, when I unplug the charger and watch the pack voltage, it comes back down slowly from 142 volts to around 125.

Has anyone encountered this problem with this charger? What should the pack voltage be at full charge? Does anyone know what a solid red light means?

Thanks Much.
 

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This is not typical behavior. There is nothing in the manual about a solid red LED.

The only thing that comes to mind is that you have connected the input wires wrong. I did this once (it's protected) but... I can't recall the LED status. If all else fails, email Greg McCrea at Elcon/Zivan.

Edit... fully charged you will have around 130 volts or 13 volts per battery. 120 volts is basically an "empty fuel tank".... :)
 

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While it's on I can measure the overall pack voltage and it gradually increases over a few hours until around 142 volts, at which time the red light flashes at three second intervals (which means "repair battery").
The only thing I can think of is that the charger has the wrong "algorithm" or voltage or capacity setting. What is the exact part number of the charger? For example, is it a 120-15, or perhaps a 144-12? If the latter, then it's designed for a 144 V nominal pack, and will charge slowly to try to get what it sees as a badly discharged pack back to life. If this process takes too long, it may give up and declare the battery as bad (hence the "repair battery" signal).

The other thing is the algorithm. Have you read the manual and selected an appropriate algorithm from those it contains? Or was it set up with an algorithm specifically designed for your battery? Selecting an algorithm involves exposing the push button switch, and holding it on when the charger powers up, till the desired number of red flashes is seen. See the manual for details. Stopping at 14.2 volts per 12 V nominal module is too soon; that's why the pack relaxes to about 125 V (12.5 V per nominal 12 V, or about 50% SOC). It should go to at least 144, possibly 147 V, to charge the pack to 100% SOC.

The charger says it's supposed to flash red at one second intervals when <80% charged, flash yellow at >80% and green at 100%.
The lithium algorithms have a special part of the curve for very low voltage packs; that might be when it outputs a solid red LED. I'm guessing that the lead acid algorithms would be similar. Otherwise, the charger would appear to be faulty.

Does it flash alternating red and green if the charger is not connected to the pack?
 

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Hold on... before you even get to the algorithm... like when u first put power on, it flashes "several times red" then green once. "The number of red flashes denotes the present curve". If it does not do this start up sequence it must be one of two things.... faulty charger or perhaps wrongly connected. At least that's all that makes sense in my little brain. :p

wrong battery, overcharged, temp, comm error, realay, general faults all have a red/green sequence....but then again so does incorrect AC input voltage.

I have contact info for Greg McCrea and also a guy at the factory where they are made in China. His name is Jiang.... if you need it.
 

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Hold on... before you even get to the algorithm...
I'm using "algorithm" and "curve" interchangeably. I suppose the algorithm (as in a number like 511) is part of the "curve" (a set of parameters including algorithm, capacity in Ah, and perhaps a few other details).
 

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I'm using "algorithm" and "curve" interchangeably. I suppose the algorithm (as in a number like 511) is part of the "curve" (a set of parameters including algorithm, capacity in Ah, and perhaps a few other details).
yup yup, me too... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I checked the charger and the part number is 120-18. The sticker on the side also gives the following info:

Algorithms: 116
Battery: Flooded
Default Curve: 4
Battery Capacity: 96 AH

I can spot two problems: My batteries are AGM and the capacity is 105 AH.

I think I need to get in touch with the guy who sold it to me.

Thanks for the help guys.
 

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I dont think it's the algorithm. They just get you pick the one that is closest in Ah to your battery. So 96 isn't so bad. You can change the curve to # 5 if you want but that wont make the red led go off..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm not too concerned about the 96AH. But the fact that it says flooded and my batteries are AGM is telling me that this is the wrong charger.

I only hope that the two or three charges I've done haven't damaged the batteries.

Would switching to a different curve make this work?
 

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You need to get the list of curves that were loaded into your charger. These chargers are suppose to come with this list I found out. Problem is, many don't. I was so concerned that I tracked down the factory rep in China. I can tell you that Jiang can tell by your charger S/N everything about it including the algorithms that were loaded. I wouldn't assume that the word Flooded is gospel. My charger was originally made for a LiFePo application and has the Can bus interface. It was then re-programmed by the factory for AGM's. I wouldn't have faith in anyone's info except Greg McCrea or Factory (Jiang).

Just my 02 c.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Is there a published list of what each different curve means or is it something unique to each model?

If this is just a matter of switching to a different curve to charge AGM, then that would be easiest.

I emailed my supplier but I haven't heard back. Is the contact info for the Elcon/Zivan guy somewhere online?

Thanks again,
John
 

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Is there a published list of what each different curve means or is it something unique to each model?
This is a frustrating thing about Elcon chargers. They seem to be good, but it's really hard getting detailed technical information from them.

Per this post:

http://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?p=179931#post179931

it seems that Evolve Electrics have at least the lithium algorithm charts; perhaps they have the lead acid algorithm charts as well (it seems that there are different curves for flooded, AGM, and gel batteries). They may not be so generous with information if you aren't a customer of theirs, I don't know. Why this stuff is such a secret I'll never understand.
 
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