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Need Help with Elcon HF-PFC 3kw Charger

1928 Views 20 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  914EV
I purchased a TC/Elcon HF-PFC-3000 Charger some years ago and am finally assembling the electric car conversion. In starting up this charger for initial test and setup, I have connected pins 1 and 3 of the 7 pin connector. There is no measurable voltage on the DC output. Is this normal? I do not have batteries connected to the charger.

Thank you for any help and advice I have read through many if not all of the excellent forum discussions on this charger or it's near cousins but have not seen anything on this topic.

914EV
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Hi Everyone,
No one has responded yet to my query but some have at least looked at it. I continued to research this issue on the forum site and have answered my immediate question. So I will briefly summarize what I have found and cite where the information comes from within the forum discussions. I have not found a summary of the TC/Elcon TCCH battery charger start up sequence anywhere else in the forum so will document what I now know here.

The TC/Elcon battery chargers are much more sophisticated than I first realized. The firmware coding is setup to provide correct voltages and currents through the charge algorithm for a particular battery pack and its chemistry. But in addition, the firmware also has some built-in test (BIT) and safe guard functions as well.

At power up, the DC side of the charger does not immediately power up but retains signal capability essentially seeking electrical information about the batteries. There are at least two electrical parameters it is looking for (and perhaps more). First, is the polarity correct? And second, the charger appears to be seeking the correct voltage range of the battery it is designed to charge. Both of these conditions are implied by Reedb during his description of attempting to measure the DC voltage while experimenting with the CAN bus on his charger. The description by Reedb is located at this link.
TCCH Elcon charger troubleshooting and repair

The polarity check and subsequent engagement of the DC power-up relay is confirmed by Coulomb at this link.
Elcon 1500w charger problem

The charger seeking the correct voltage range is confirmed by dtBaker in his response to Reedb. The dtBaker reply is at this link.
TCCH Elcon charger troubleshooting and repair

In his reply, dtbaker essentially states that the charger requires a battery pack to perform a final test. I took this to mean that there were limiting ways to measure the output voltage of the charger if the battery pack wasn’t available (dang it!).

The discussion between Reedb and dtbaker is helpful. In my situation, I changed battery pack selection after purchasing my charger and the battery voltage no longer meets the charger parameters. I am now trying to determine if the charger I have can be reprogrammed per the startup sequence where a momentary test button is held for a period a time in seconds that corresponds to and shifts the voltage output in the firmware. My charger has no label describing extra voltages but the description is discussed by Coulomb along with an obsolescence notice which also covers the age of my charger at this link.
Elcon/TC Charger Firmware: Facts

And kennybobby lists the TC Elcon TCCH Charger master link thread at this link.
TC Elcon TCCH Charger master link thread


-914EV
Sorry, I just saw you post. You never gave many facts about your current algorithm. It should be on a label pasted to the side of the charger. Like this one. Elcon PFC 1500 - current configuration questions It tell you the algorithm and what the 10 selections do. I can reprogram these but I am not sure yet that you need to reprogram it. Can you post this information and details about what you want to change. You never stated why it's not turning on. In addition I can show you how to read the data it spits ou the 7 pin connector when turned on. It tells you output voltage, battery voltage etc, temperature, current, etc.
 

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Based on this label this is a custom curve for Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. 30 cells at 3.5v per cell = 105V cutoff. More than likely the 10 pre-programed steps just change the capacity of the battery such as 100Ah, 150Ah etc. Pin 3 is 12V and PIN1 is the enable input so connecting them puts voltage on PIN 1 to tell the charger to turn on. Without a battery connected the charger will not close the output relay so you will see no voltage on the output.
May be easier for me to build you a monitor for the 7 pin round connector. It puts out information is hex and I convert it to engineering data like this:

Internal Temperature is: 23.6095
Internal Temperature Minimum is: 21.4140
External Temperature (Enable Pin) is: 1.9372
DC Bus Voltage is: 78.4532
DC Current is: 2.1134
Battery Voltage is: 78.7972
Battery Temperature is: 23.4140
f_PVC_Vout is: 282.0000
f_DC_vol_SET is: 198.0000
f_DC_cur_SET is: 2.1250
f_BATTER_CUR_SET is: 2.1250
f_Ah is: 0.0122

IMost likely you will need a new code to change the voltage but you can test this theory if you have a battery. Connect the battery turn it on and see at what voltage it turns off. Then push the switch and do it again. You would need something more than 105 volts to test this 27 chevy volt cells would do it.
 

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Very good. It didn't occur to me to break open the pack and jumper cells. Great idea. That will get things turned on and then testing whether or not there are any programmed voltages around the 105V. I am traveling over the next few days but can attempt this on Thursday.
Keep in mind that the offer still stands from Elcon to do the reprogramming.
How much trouble/work is it to build the monitor/hex decoder? This device seems sought of important to monitor the batteries during charge. I don't yet have a BMS for this project.
Thanks again for the help and suggestions.
-914EV
Like I said I can reprogram them as well. The monitor is an Arduino with a few parts to correct the voltage levels of the signals to match the charger.
 

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I have hardware experience (simple shield card design) with the Arduino controller card but have limited coding skills. Let me know what if anything I can do to help.
I'll post some data late on Thursday regarding the power up and voltage output experiments.
Go to this link and read post 20. This is the hardware need to read the serial data

This link defines the data stream coming out of the charger.
 

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Just a brief update on my quest to get the Elcon Battery charger to the voltage the battery packs need. I went through the exercise of leaving the internal momentary switch pushed while turning on the charger. As taught by others in this forum, this enabled me to reprogram the algorithm and then bring it back to the initial algorithm, this is for output voltage only. Since I do not yet have the RS-232 adapter setup, I don't know what the output voltages are except the original one.
I am awaiting the DB9 connector to assemble discrete components within it and start connecting to my laptop. So far I have gathered parts, the how-to information, and downloaded a terminal app (RealTerm). The DB9 is to be delivered tomorrow. The result of all of this is to determine whether I can simply use the push button to set the voltage or send the assembly to Pdove for updates.
-914EV
I don’t understand. Just let the charger go till it stops, that’s the voltage of that curve. Push the button and do it again. Monitor the voltage with a meter. I suspect it’s set to one voltage for ever curve just different capacities.
 

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In my first tests, I let the charger go until it stopped and posted that voltage which closely agrees with the maximum labeled charge voltage. In scouring the forum for as complete an understanding of this TC Charger, I only saw that the charger’s possible alternative programming was for voltage variations. You have now introduced another possible function as to what the charger manufacturer could/might have produced. If I use the 26 cell count as a test bed and switch sequentially through the ten programs, the experiments may show an increase in voltage or increase in charging current (adding an ammeter into the circuit). I can only show a decrease in voltage by lowering the cell count but that scenario has limitations due to not-to-exceed cell voltages.

In the next set of experiments, I need to determine what changes when using the push button to change the charging regimen. I have available 96 cells (4 packs x 24 cells), voltmeter, ammeter, and possibly an RS-232 channel which can provide some of the charger’s parameters. Each cell is now charged to around 4 to 4.04 volts. These cannot exceed 4.15 volts for their chemistry (Chevy Volt battery chemistry).

The setup is a battery charger connected to a predetermined number of battery cells. These cells have a summed voltage now very close to or exactly at the battery charger design output. The charger will not output a voltage disconnected from the battery. With the charger connected to the battery, the battery charge is going to be either close to or exactly at the charge voltage for the predetermined number of cells. I won’t be able to measure the charger’s true output voltage while connected to the battery until it nears the completion of its cycle. (I have copies of some Elcon Charger algorithm curves and the charge voltage varies depending on the SOC). If I increase the cell count and change the program, I can go to a higher voltage if the charger allows. But if the voltage remains at 105V, I can’t go down in cell count and operate the charger until it completes the cycle without overcharging the cells. My understanding of the RS-232 output was that the output voltage would be communicated without need for the output relay engaged. So my strategy was to get the RS-232 communication functioning and then go through each program sequentially to see what the output voltages are.

Let’s assume that the ten charging regimens are set at 105V but different capacities. Using the 26 cell count as the test bed, I can set the charger on each regimen and charge until it stops while measuring voltage and current. This would prove that each regimen is at 105 V and possibly provide some indication of charge capacity to each regimen through the current reading. This set of experiments wouldn’t take that long to perform while I am still awaiting parts for the RS-232 connection.
Be careful the charger does NOT use RS-232. It’s a special interface that we adapted with the circuit shown. RS-232 will fry your charger communications.

I believe I posted a label earlier in this thread. (Edit: will attach here) Look at it closely. It only has one output voltage with different capacities for the 10 curves. If you have a large motor DC you can connect a few cells at a time to the motor and discharge them.
 

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