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Have I killed our Blue Sky Energy MPPT PV charge controller?


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1 hour ago, MAG said:

Did the Blue Sky system allow the batteries to overcharge?  Did I mis-program it? (I am a stickler for detail, and I believe I followed the instructions correctly, but maybe the 4 Brightway Batteries I bought somehow had different specs than the ones the instructions were created for?

Possibly, possibly, possibly, plus it is possible that the two batteries that appear to be damaged were not right from the factory.

Eliminate one "possible" "problem" area at a time and then proceed to the next in line.  Given that it appears that two of the four batteries are working normally I'd be willing to bet that somehow you got two batteries that were "bad" from the start.  However, it should be fairly simple to confirm that your settings and programing were proper.

Sorry to hear about the issues and good luck on getting them quickly rectified.

Bill

2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Thank you the suggestion.  I’ve sent a message off to Ryan at Blue Sky, asking if he can confirm the programming.  

Meanwhile we are beginning to wonder if the Inverter/controller might be a candidate for the source of the problem.  Last October, the technician we consulted when our previous batteries were failing identified that as the problem, and we called Oliver for a replacement and had it installed.  This last month or so, we’ve noticed that the fan on the  replaced unit has been running a lot, and that seemed odd; we never figured out what that might be from.  Maybe the overheating has been underway for a while?

Still working on the problem!

 

 

Mary        My husband and I have Hull # 55.  An Elite 2, bought in 2014

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An update:   We had a very helpful discussion with Steve Landrum while my brother, an electrically savvy engineer, was with us.   They were able to conclude that the power converter under the dinette was performing appropriately. The next day Ryan confirmed that the settings used to program the Blue Sky were appropriate, so that is not the source of the problem either.   Following that,   Progress stalled because we are camping on the Olympic Peninsula, and have not had enough sun to do the test of the Blue Sky Controller that Ryan suggests.  It will likely be next week before we are able to do that.  

 Also, I had thought I had a photo of the battery wiring after the new batteries were installed, but it turns out I do not have photos, and cannot confirm that they were installed correctly.  I believe they were installed correctly, but I have no way to check.  

As soon as there is more information, will post another update.  Thanks everyone for your help with this.  We are grateful that it is possible to continue our trip.

Mary

 

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Mary        My husband and I have Hull # 55.  An Elite 2, bought in 2014

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, here is another update on our continuing battery destruction adventure!  

A quick summary:  Last October we found  2 15 A circuits had been tripped in our Ollie (Hull #55), and none of the lights worked.  A technician  found that our PD converter under the dinette had failed, and 2 of our 4  8-year-old Trojan AGMS were deformed.  We ordered a new PD converter from OTT, the tech installed it, and we discarded 2 of the batteries.  We put the Ollie away for the winter with 2 batteries, plugged into shore power.  

When we retrieved the Ollie in the Spring, we found the remaining 2 batteries were unable to operate the jacks.  Thinking the batteries were old, and just needed to be replaced, we bought 4 Brightway AGMs, and had them installed.  The Ollie sat for  3-4 months while we recovered from knee surgery.  A couple of days into our first trip, while camping on shore power, we discovered that the new Brightways were steaming, deformed, and too hot to touch!  

What was the problem?  

We checked the programming of the Blue Sky Controller:  Ryan at Blue Sky confirmed the values used were correct, and we verified that the values were entered correctly.

We removed the Blue Sky Controller and sent it to Ryan for testing; it tested perfectly.

We’re the batteries wired correctly?  I don’t have pics to prove the wiring, but the tech who installed them was experienced and inspired confidence.  Steve Landrum pointed out that the tech had no cables left over, and didn’t need any more, so it was probably correctly wired.

Were the batteries bad?  Maybe,  we can’t prove it.

Then, when thinking about trying lithium batteries next time, I checked the PD Converter under the dinette to see if it was Lithium Ready.  That’s when I discovered that yes, it was lithium ready, and it WAS SET TO LITHIUM. Everyone we’ve talked to says that this could be responsible for the demise of the last 2 of the Trojan AGMs and the 4 Brightways, all the batteries installed while this new controller has been  in place.

We don’t know how the new PD Controller came to be set on Lithium; we believe it arrived that way.  There was no manual with it, so we were unaware of the Lithium/Lead Acid switch.  

There is still a question in my mind about why the first 2 eight year old Trojan AGMs died.  Did they deform and fail because of the problems coming from the original PD controller?   Do we assume that that problem is solved, since that controller was replaced?
 
We are worried that if we put new batteries in, and we are wrong about the cause of the problems, we may lose the new batteries too.  Do we go with 2 AGM batteries and see if they survive?  And if they do, maybe upgrade later?  
 
Would appreciate  advice!
 
We think we will be lucky to be able to use the Ollie for another 5 years or so.  We aren’t tech savvy folks, so simple is good. Winters are cold here, and we are used to plugging the Ollie into shore power while we are gone.  The light weight of Lithium sounds good, but they are expensive.  Ah, what to do now.  I am looking forward to going on to another chapter, hopefully one with more camping in it!
 
Thanks for your time,
Mary and Dave
Edited by pickleballone

Dave.     My wife and I have Hull #55.    2014.   Elite 2

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Eight years for AGM batteries is a good life span.  Two of my five year old AGM batteries were starting to swell and two were leaking because the tie down hooks were rubbing holes in them.  I now have three 100aH Battle Born lithiums.  I had to install an updated PD 4045 that was lithium capable and reprogram the Blue Sky controller.  These new batteries have been remarkable.  We’re going on two years and we are happy with the switch.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

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1 hour ago, pickleballone said:

We ordered a new PD converter from OTT, the tech installed it, and we discarded 2 of the batteries.  We put the Ollie away for the winter with 2 batteries, plugged into shore power

If your tech installed the pd  converter/charger, set for lithium, you should be talking to him/her. 

Settings are different for lithium, obviously. Lithium setting charges at a higher rate, not suitable for sla, la, or agm.

As far as original batteries,  most folks would be absolutely delighted to get 8 years from trojans. 

Checking settings is an install prerequisite.  

Please update your signature.  We can better help you when we have info on uear, model and hull #.

I am very sorry for your troubles. 

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Please update your signature.  We can better help you when we have info on uear, model and hull #.

Opps!  It’s updated now….2014, Elite 2, #55.

36 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Checking settings is an install prerequisite.  

Yes…..the on-line manual says the unit is shipped in the Lead Acid mode, but somehow this one was not.  Guess the Tech should check?

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Dave.     My wife and I have Hull #55.    2014.   Elite 2

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Here's how to update your signature.

 

Just so we're all clear here, you and MAG are the same person or couple, owners if hull 55, right?

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Just so we're all clear here, you and MAG are the same person or couple, owners if hull 55, right?

Well, the idea was my husband Dave has a login & I have a login.  Every so often we end up using each other’s.  Yes, we are a couple and own Hull #55. Sorry for the confusion; will do better.

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Mary        My husband and I have Hull # 55.  An Elite 2, bought in 2014

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No worries.  A number of couples have separate logins. If you add the signature info to each, we'll all know we're talking about the same Ollie. 

And, maybe I was the only one confused... anyway.

Thanks.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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Thank you for updating your signatures, and best of luck in resolving your issues.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

An update on our deformed overheated battery issue:  The RV Tech who installed the converter a year ago & the batteries this spring worked with us last Thursday.  Our primary question: What caused the problem?  Is our electrical system safe to install new batteries without damaging them?  We still do not have answers.

He determined that the batteries, although bloated (and 1 has had a slight leak), are still intact enough to do testing of the system, and perhaps for other limited uses.  We have spent the last 3 days observing what happens when we operate the electrical system  1) on shore power only, 2) on shore power plus solar  3) On shore power plus solar with the LITHIUM switch on.  Can we recreate the problem?   After 3 days of testing, we observed no problems, and have not recreated the overheating.

A technician with Progressive Dynamics sent  some documents, among them, on General Operation of this LI ready converter  was this description:  "....the OUTPUT MODE SWITCH sets the converter output to either a constant 14.6 VDC with the Charge Wizard disabled (switch in "LI" position) or a nominal 13.6 VDC with full Charge Wizard function (switch in 'LA' position).  

We have not observed any battery overheating from having the converter set to LI for more than 12 hours, including while the batteries were recharged from 70% to full. At one point it seemed possible that the Lithium switch was the source of the problem, but it doesn't look like it.

Maybe it's the batteries, but we haven't seen others posting about problems with Brightway AGMS.

We are frustrated, and out of time.   And wishing we knew more about electricity. 

Normally when we leave for the winter, we put the Ollie in a barn plugged into shore power.  Winter temps to zero and below are possible.  Now our question is whether to leave these deformed Brightway  AGM batteries in the battery tray for the winter, without shore power (because of not knowing what might happen), with the thought of trying in the spring to figure things out before installing new batteries.  Or, do we pull the batteries now and dispose of them, so as not to risk damaging the battery tray? Does this make it harder to do more troubleshooting?

Thank you for your advice.

 

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Mary        My husband and I have Hull # 55.  An Elite 2, bought in 2014

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If it was me, I'd not risk leaving the batteries stored in the Oliver.  If those batteries leak it will cause one heck of a mess and expense in getting that cleaned up.  

With the winter temps you are looking at, hopefully there is a place where you can store the batteries (out of the Oliver) where they will not be hurt by zero degree temps.  If there isn't such a place then I'd either give them away or trash them, find a neighbor who would be willing to store them for me, or (if you are driving) take them with you.

Good luck!

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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1 hour ago, MAG said:

We have not observed any battery overheating from having the converter set to LI for more than 12 hours, including while the batteries were recharged from 70% to full

Why are you charging agm batteries on the lithium setting? Or is that a typo.

And, no, I  wouldn't leave bulging batteries in the tray over the winter. 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Why are you charging agm batteries on the lithium setting? Or is that a typo.

Unfortunately it is not a typo, but it was unintended to have the lithium switch on.   Long story, but the tech that installed the converter did not notice the unit came set to lithium, so that's what it has been at since.  We thought this might have been responsible for the batteries overheating, but that's not what we observe in testing.  

Thanks for your advice to remove the batteries for storage......thanks to both you and Bill.    Once we get those deformed AGMS out, I doubt they will ever fit back in again, and am not sure if we can isolate the problem without batteries. Oh well.

Grateful for you help,

Mary

Mary        My husband and I have Hull # 55.  An Elite 2, bought in 2014

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14 minutes ago, MAG said:

Unfortunately it is not a typo, but it was unintended to have the lithium switch on.   Long story, but the tech that installed the converter did not notice the unit came set to lithium, so that's what it has been at since. 

The Progressive “LI” (Lithium) setting is the wrong voltage and charging profile for AGM batteries.   Why are you leaving it set in the wrong position instead of fixing it?   That is very likely the cause of your battery problems. 

 

 

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Mary:

1. I agree that it would be best to remove the bad batteries for the winter. You do not want leaking acid dropping onto the battery tray or the fiberglass underneath.

2) If you are going to replace the batteries with AGM's in the spring take the LIthium switch off, so you do not forget when installing new batteries.

3) For the winter without any batteries in the Ollie, be sure to temporarily seal the ends of the wires from the solar collectors. Put them in a good plastic bag. Even though in a barn, there may be enough light to allow the solar collectors to make a little bit of power.  

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2018 Oliver Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #354 

2024 RAM 1500, 4 x 4; Gas. 5.7L V8 Hemi MDS VVT Torque; 3.21 rear axle ratio

Maine 

 

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For everyone posting at this point, please go back and read the entire thread to get you up to speed on what has happened so far. 
 

Definitely do not leave the batteries in the tray. 

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Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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53 minutes ago, dewdev said:

3) For the winter without any batteries in the Ollie, be sure to temporarily seal the ends of the wires from the solar collectors. Put them in a good plastic battery. Even though in a barn, there may be enough light to allow the solar collectors to make a little bit of power.  

I don't understand this......Our plan is to put a Calmark Cover over the Ollie, to protect it from dust and bird poop.  It might be possible for the solar panels to still make power, possibly.  But are we talking about where the wires from the panels enter the Blue Sky Controller?  Or in the battery compartment?  And what is a plastic battery?

I appreciate the help, and the education!

 

Mary        My husband and I have Hull # 55.  An Elite 2, bought in 2014

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27 minutes ago, MAG said:

I don't understand this......Our plan is to put a Calmark Cover over the Ollie, to protect it from dust and bird poop.  It might be possible for the solar panels to still make power, possibly.  But are we talking about where the wires from the panels enter the Blue Sky Controller?  Or in the battery compartment?  And what is a plastic battery?

I appreciate the help, and the education!

 

I believe that was supposed to be “plastic bag”. Or just wrap the positive (red) wire’s terminal with electrical tape to prevent it from inadvertently touching something that’s grounded and releasing the white smoke. 

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Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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4 hours ago, MAG said:

Or, do we pull the batteries now and dispose of them, so as not to risk damaging the battery tray? Does this make it harder to do more troubleshooting?

I concur with the recommendation to remove the batteries, ASAP.

AGM batteries used lead/acid chemistry.  The acid is sulfuric acid.  Leaving compromised batteries in the battery box risks a sulfuric acid leak, which could significantly damage, if not destroy, the battery box.  Get 'em out of there.

 

Hull #1291

Central Idaho

2022 Elite II

Tow Vehicle:  2019 Tundra Double Cab 4x4, 5.7L with tow package

ARCOIDNMOKORTNTXUTsm.jpg

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Okay!  The batteries are removed!  Two of those lunkers were fused together, a 140 pound mass that was worth something, just months ago!  Thanks everyone for the advice.  You're the best!

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Mary        My husband and I have Hull # 55.  An Elite 2, bought in 2014

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I think everybody would love to see that! Can you post a few pics please?

John Davies

Spokane WA

SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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