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Discussion Starter #221
OK, that helps a lot on the supply side. The diagram shows a common supply for the two halves of the dual PL8, but it still doesn't address the issue of 8 cell segments which are hard connected in series. I think I have a safe solution for you, but I would like to see Ian weigh in on this also. He is considerably more experienced than I am.
I think the easiest approach would be:
Take the time hit and do 6s cell blocks per PL8 .. with the bus bars removed so that only 12s is connected.

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Alternatively .. the one way to do the 8s approach (to be able to get through testing faster) .. and retain safe isolation .. might be something like ...

Start with the buss bar attached between two 12s modules .. into one 24s block.
Do a test of the 8s cells in series across the middle .. 4 on 12s-ModuleA and 4 on 12s-ModuleB .. careful where you connect +/- to.

PL8-A can do this on one 24s block , while PL8-B does the same on a different unconnected 24s block.

With the middle 8s done out of the 24s , that leaves 16 cells left , in two 8s.

Remove bus bar between modules .. to make 2 separate 12s blocks.

PL8-A test side can do 8s cells on ModuleA
PL8-B test side can do 8s cells on ModuleB
 
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3. I assume you are using the PL8 Charge Control Software(CSS) and a computer to control the Dual PL8. This is the only operational mode of which I have experience. You will need to make sure that you "update" your PL8 to V3.35 software. Start reading this right at post #1 for discussion of updating the firmware:

The software is different for the dual pl8 and is only updateable to 1.10. I hope this won't be a problem.
 

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I think the easiest approach would be:
Take the time hit and do 6s cell blocks per PL8 .. with the bus bars removed so that only 12s is connected.
What does the wiring look like for 6s? Can I modify and existing 8s harness and just not use (or physically remove) the last two wires?
 

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Just to confirm... Did you do .. not only the preset .. but also firmware update ??


Even if you can't use the the uploads I posted .. those make it easier and such to do LTO testing .. you could still do testing .. but it will take a good bit of manual tweaking of the OEM presets that came with yours .. That would be a pretty steep learning curve for a PL8 beginner .. possible .. but , allot more effort.
Yes, firmware is 1.10 and it is the latest according to the software for the dual pl8 I am running. Looks like it was 2014, so probably not as up to date as other softwares and firmwares on different cellpro models.

I think if I'll try and match a preset to the best of my abilities to the one you made. I'm a bit confused on why some presets have voltage limits beyond LTO that are uneditable to LTO levels. I'll have to do some more reading, but it's not intuitive to edit presets, at least on the software for the dual.

Lastly, I'm still confused on how to lower the voltage of my packs to 24.5 (to match the power source) with just using the banana plugs to the main terminals on the sub-modules. Going through the CSS it looks like all the options are for cell level voltage charging and discharging. I'll probably just wait to get my balancing wires situated, but it would be nice to know how to charge and discharge a full battery without opening it up.
 

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Lastly, I'm still confused on how to lower the voltage of my packs to 24.5 (to match the power source) with just using the banana plugs to the main terminals on the sub-modules. Going through the CSS it looks like all the options are for cell level voltage charging and discharging. I'll probably just wait to get my balancing wires situated, but it would be nice to know how to charge and discharge a full battery without opening it up.
The most straight forward way is to use a simple incandescent light bulb in a socket with some test wires. You can check the progress with a voltmeter. Once you disconnect the bulb, it will probably spring back a little, but you can go ahead and try hooking up the power supply. If the current inrush to the LTO is above spec current the power supply will simply trip the internal resetable breaker. You can discharge a bit more and try again. Mine tripped several times before I got the pair synchronized.
 

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Discussion Starter #226
The software is different for the dual pl8 and is only updateable to 1.10. I hope this won't be a problem.
My guess is that .. It probably will mean .. you will not be able to use the files I uploaded .. which will mean .. you would have to make your own manual tweaks to the existing OEM presets you have to work with.

What does the wiring look like for 6s? Can I modify and existing 8s harness and just not use (or physically remove) the last two wires?
IF your dual .. works the same as my PL8 .. its in the user's manual .. page 62 to 66 .. attached.

I'm a bit confused on why some presets have voltage limits beyond LTO that are uneditable to LTO levels. I'll have to do some more reading, but it's not intuitive to edit presets, at least on the software for the dual.
It's a safety thing .. it has a safe voltage range for the confirgued battery chemistry :

For example .. If you tell it you are using NiMH it lets you go down to under 1v per cell , but NiMH shouldn't be charged up to 2.7v per cell , so if you select NiMH it imposes those NiMH voltage safety limits on you .. Lipo selected will have different limits / safeties .. etc.

It doesn't psychically know by itself what the chemsitry actually is .. you tell it what the chemistry is .. and then the safeties and limits of that selected chemistry will apply .. even if the the chemistry you select is not the actual real chemistry .. but .. it's 100% on you what you , once you start lieing to it , you are bypassing those safeties and what you configure is all on you.

That's why I did those uploads to streamline that whole process.

Lastly, I'm still confused on how to lower the voltage of my packs to 24.5 (to match the power source) with just using the banana plugs to the main terminals on the sub-modules. Going through the CSS it looks like all the options are for cell level voltage charging and discharging. I'll probably just wait to get my balancing wires situated, but it would be nice to know how to charge and discharge a full battery without opening it up.
Read through your manual .. to charge or discharge without the balancing nodes / leads .. is described in sections that talk about 'unbalanced' charging , or unbalanced discharge .. you have to learn the CCS well enough to be able to learn how to communicate with it what you want it to do .. it isn't psychic .. if you want it to do unbalanced instead of balanced .. you have to go into the CCS to manually make that change and tell it that.

I don't run that older version of the firmware .. and I don't have a dual .. soo I can only describe to you based on my own experiences with what I have.

For example .. I could connect the +/- of a 12s LTO module .. I can lie to my PL8 and tell it is doing a unbalanced discharging on a 8s LiFePO4 battery , or a 24v PbA battery , etc .. etc ... select the discharge termination voltage I want it to stop at .. select the amp rate I want it to stop at .. tell it if I want CV discharge or not (and those CV parameters) .. configure the source being used .. select any time outs .. etc .. etc .. once everything is configured .. it does what I told it to do.

8s LiFePO4 @ ~3.7v per cell could be starting up high around ~29.6v .. or down low around ~2.6v per cell 20.8v .. if I selected 8s LiFePO4 , and then connected a 10v battery , the PL8 will throw a code .. 10v is way to low for a 8s LiFePO4 battery to be.
 

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My guess is that .. It probably will mean .. you will not be able to use the files I uploaded .. which will mean .. you would have to make your own manual tweaks to the existing OEM presets you have to work with.



IF your dual .. works the same as my PL8 .. its in the user's manual .. page 62 to 66 .. attached.



It's a safety thing .. it has a safe voltage range for the confirgued battery chemistry :

For example .. If you tell it you are using NiMH it lets you go down to under 1v per cell , but NiMH shouldn't be charged up to 2.7v per cell , so if you select NiMH it imposes those NiMH voltage safety limits on you .. Lipo selected will have different limits / safeties .. etc.

It doesn't psychically know by itself what the chemsitry actually is .. you tell it what the chemistry is .. and then the safeties and limits of that selected chemistry will apply .. even if the the chemistry you select is not the actual real chemistry .. but .. it's 100% on you what you , once you start lieing to it , you are bypassing those safeties and what you configure is all on you.

That's why I did those uploads to streamline that whole process.



Read through your manual .. to charge or discharge without the balancing nodes / leads .. is described in sections that talk about 'unbalanced' charging , or unbalanced discharge .. you have to learn the CCS well enough to be able to learn how to communicate with it what you want it to do .. it isn't psychic .. if you want it to do unbalanced instead of balanced .. you have to go into the CCS to manually make that change and tell it that.

I don't run that older version of the firmware .. and I don't have a dual .. soo I can only describe to you based on my own experiences with what I have.

For example .. I could connect the +/- of a 12s LTO module .. I can lie to my PL8 and tell it is doing a unbalanced discharging on a 8s LiFePO4 battery , or a 24v PbA battery , etc .. etc ... select the discharge termination voltage I want it to stop at .. select the amp rate I want it to stop at .. tell it if I want CV discharge or not (and those CV parameters) .. configure the source being used .. select any time outs .. etc .. etc .. once everything is configured .. it does what I told it to do.

8s LiFePO4 @ ~3.7v per cell could be starting up high around ~29.6v .. or down low around ~2.6v per cell 20.8v .. if I selected 8s LiFePO4 , and then connected a 10v battery , the PL8 will throw a code .. 10v is way to low for a 8s LiFePO4 battery to be.
Yeah, I'll do some more reading. The good thing about your preset is that I can see all the parameters you've set, some selections are just grayed out or some parameters are just not available in the presets on my software. I'll look around at different presets and dive in a little deeper in the manual. I get that the program isn't psychic and I'm not asking to perform miracles, but it isn't very intuitive either and I do have enough experience with software to make things work (just asking for some guidance on how I can open up the presets so that I can adjust all the parameters).
 

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Do I need DC light fixture and DC bulb to run off the 24V battery to discharge, or can I use a home fixture and bulb?
 

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Do I need DC light fixture and DC bulb to run off the 24V battery to discharge, or can I use a home fixture and bulb?
No. The voltage is low enough that you aren't going to exceed the filament rating. Just keep a very close eye on it to see how fast the voltage is falling, and be very careful not to let it fall below the power supply voltage. I suspect that if you get within a couple of tenths on the high side you will be fine.

Obviously what Ian said about adjustment is the more scientific way, but it also more complex, especially since you are just getting started. ;)

If you are very attentive with the light bulb then either way will get you to the correct voltage.

BTW, once you get the power supply and the supply battery synchronized, never leave the PL8 connected unless the power supply is turned on. The parasitic draw of the PL8 will pull the voltage of you supply battery down and you will have to go to a lot of effort to resync.
 

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Do I need DC light fixture and DC bulb to run off the 24V battery to discharge, or can I use a home fixture and bulb?
Any load will do with you monitoring the voltage for when to stop. It's too late for your current tests but I'm a fan of these style load testers MakerHawk Electronic Load Tester USB Load Tester 150W 200V 20A Resistor Adjustable Constant Current Battery Capacity Tester Module Intelligent Discharge Resistance Power Tester:Amazon:Home Improvement. They'll alarm at whatever voltage you set so as long as you're in the room pretty easy to do (automatic would be nice but it's a cheap tool). Ebay/Aliexpress has these down to about the $30 range. This and a cheap power supply is what I use for my capacity testing for packs and individual cells. 150W is a bit low at the pack level for capacity tests (48v would be about 3A or 6 hours, 24v about 6A or 3 hours, individual cells hit the device max amps of 20 so 1 hour) but you're just trying to bleed off until around 24V so it would be quick. A power supply, bms, and this is what I use for a cheap charge/discharge rather than the PL8. It's essentially just a heater with the various measurements.

Given you already went the PL8 route and have the power supply isn't there a way to hook up what will eventually be the source batteries as the load to tell it to bleed to around 24V?
 

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Given you already went the PL8 route and have the power supply isn't there a way to hook up what will eventually be the source batteries as the load to tell it to bleed to around 24V?
That's what I'm attempting to do without the balancing cables as I'm still waiting on a few components in the mail. I assumed that it would be easy to do it with the positive and negative output cables connected directly to the battery terminals, but there's not instructions on it with my PL8 and there's not parameters where I can adjust the voltage above cell level numbers (like 4v) to above 24.5V where I need to bleed the LTO module. So I'll either have to wait to do the discharge with the balance harness connected to the cells or I'll have to give Cellpro a call to see if there's something I'm missing.
 

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That's what I'm attempting to do without the balancing cables as I'm still waiting on a few components in the mail. I assumed that it would be easy to do it with the positive and negative output cables connected directly to the battery terminals, but there's not instructions on it with my PL8 and there's not parameters where I can adjust the voltage above cell level numbers (like 4v) to above 24.5V where I need to bleed the LTO module. So I'll either have to wait to do the discharge with the balance harness connected to the cells or I'll have to give Cellpro a call to see if there's something I'm missing.
I thought the whole reason for getting the more expensive pl8 was to charge/discharge through the balance leads instead of at the pack level? You can't do the tests until the balance leads arrive no?
 

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I thought the whole reason for getting the more expensive pl8 was to charge/discharge through the balance leads instead of at the pack level? You can't do the tests until the balance leads arrive no?
Yes, for sure. I'm just trying to get to know the pl8 and its capabilities. I figured charging pack would be fairly straight forward, but it isn't. At least I'm not figuring it out easily.
 

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Okay, so I've hit a wall and am stuck with no help from the software nor user guide.

The closest preset I can get to that lets me modify the voltage requirements for LTO parameters is the lead-acid preset (and even then I had to dial down the 100% fuel box to 2.59 in order to avoid an error message that was unfixable). However, none of the lead-acid presets allow me to modify the balance settings as it just displays a greyed-out unbalanced mode box that I cannot alter. So, I've transferred all of the data from Ian's preset to the lead-acid preset (except for the balancing section which I cannot alter).

None of the library presets are editable and I can only import them into the main preset area. This leads me to believe that I cannot have full editing capabilities to make the presets have the exact parameters I need to both charge and balance the cells on these LTO packs. Unless I'm missing something and someone can lend a helpful hint on how to edit presets, there's no more information I can glean from the manual that explains the inability to edit presets to fit the LTO tech. Ian obviously had success with the pl8v2 so maybe it's just something I'm missing, but I feel like I've been through all the possible options. I'll probably give cellpro a call/email when I get a chance later this afternoon.
 

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Sadly, I ran into many of the same issues with the PL8V2 until Ian somehow got the LTO profile together. There is lots of talk about this early in the thread, or at least I think there is. (We did communicate some by phone, since he is an old friend.)

I think I would call their customer support and ask about software updates. They must have later software since they sold the dual until around 2018. The number is 301-668-4280. They don't recognize LTO as a supported battery type without Ian's profile, and on occasions that I've talked to them, the profile is apparently unofficial, so they will act dumb. At least you may be able to learn about updating the S/W. to later versions. I believe 3.33 is the latest official verssion they support on the PL8V2, but you may learn something new from them. Hard to believe they haven't updated the dual since 2014.

Ian may offer more??
 

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I saved and opened up the preset file that I created to as closely match Ian's as the software would allow me in hopes that there would be some obvious line edits I may make to allow the balance functions to be accessible in the software, but it's not coded in a way that allows that type of line editing. Looks like I'm at the mercy of Cellpro to release a new firmware that opens things up on the duo for more library options and battery technologies. I assume the PL8V2 was updated with this and thus the reason Ian was able to create the preset he came up with. I've emailed them and will let you know what I hear about that.
 

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No, the PL8V2 was never updated for LTO chemistry, but Ian was able to design a profile which allowed full range charge/discharge and balancing. I'm not smart enough to know how he did it and what the constraints on the dual might be. I'd still ask them about V3.33 or the latest PL8V2 version for the dual. It seems they owe owners that.
 

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No, the PL8V2 was never updated for LTO chemistry, but Ian was able to design a profile which allowed full range charge/discharge and balancing. I'm not smart enough to know how he did it and what the constraints on the dual might be. I'd still ask them about V3.33 or the latest PL8V2 version for the dual. It seems they owe owners that.
Yeah, I'm curious how Ian went about it. I'm guessing there's a profile somewhere in the library in the V2 software that I don't have in my library. I wonder if I farted around with the V2 software, whether I might be able to create a profile that would transfer over without the errors. We'll see what Cellpro says. Should be easy enough for them to create a LTO profile and add it to the library.
 

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^ I'm not that familiar with the PL8, but when I was looking into it ages ago, I talked to the company and they said there was a "developer version" software available. That's when I was asking about unusual setups/programming for NiMH testing. Do you guys have/use some 'developer' software? If not you may want to ask them about that...
 

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Discussion Starter #240
1st
Over the years , I have gotten used to working the way it works .. but .. Soo , kind of like the language I speak , it starts to seem easier for me , but French is easier than English for someone else, but French would be very hard for me .. but .. I will still agree ... the PL8 CCS definfately is not perfect and definately has room for improvement.

2nd
I'm sorry if I gave the wrong impression .. no miracles or anything like that .. perhaps instead of 'psychic' .. another way to describe it would be .. the difficulty is mainly , once you know what it is you want it to do .. top voltage , bottom voltage , amp rate , charge time out , discharge time out , CV or not , balance or not , etc .. etc .. once you know how you want it .. you then have to translate that through the filter of the constraints of the built in safeties , and into PL8eese language for it to understand you.

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Even without either of the two post #10 , files I posted .. the 3.35 firmware file for the PL8 or the LTO preset .. even without either of those .. if your Duo won't accept them.

For your discharge 12s battery to a set voltage without the balance leads effort.
You can do that under the unbalanced 24v Lead Acid OEM preset .. with it selected as being unbalanced , you don't need the balance nodes/leads .. then set the discharge voltage for the whole 12s pack .. keep in mind .. a 24v PbA battery is a 12s PbA battery .. a 24v NiMH battery is a 20s or 21s NiMH battery .. etc.

There is more than one path.
Just one such example:
24v PbA is a 12s battery .. could be unbalance charged from 2.0v per cell x 12s = 24v pack .. up to as high as 2.75v per cell x 12s = 33v pack .. I don't know about your Duo .. but my PL8 lets me choose those cell level voltages in 5mV cell steps .. 5mV x 12s = 60mV pack steps .. Soo , I can set that to charge to any pack voltage between 24v and 33v in 60mV steps .. Could be unbalance discharged as low as 1.0v per cell x 12s = 12v pack .. or discharged as high as 2.0v per cell x 12s = 24v pack .. and maybe yours is different .. but mine lets me do discharges in 1mV cell steps x 12s = 12mV pack steps .. Soo , I can set that unbalanced 12s (24V) Pba pack to discharge to any voltage between 12v and 24v in 12mV pack level steps .. PbA doesn't usually use balancing , so unbalanced without the node wires is allowed .. just be careful not to over discharge or over charge , as there is no cell level monitoring set up like that.

Be mindful sense that would be liying to the PL8 about what chemistry and such it is connected to .. you have to be sure you set it correctly .. you won't be able to rely on it's safeties when you lie to it about what is happening .. so be careful not to over charge any cell , or over discharge any cell , as without cell level monitoring it can't do that check for you .. and each PL8 can only cell level monitor up to 8 cells at a time , it just can't monitor 12cell voltage at the same time in one PL8 unit ... you could do two 6s .. that would still get you to 12s , and it would allow for cell level monitoring .. but two 6s would take both A and B of your duo .. and you would have to get the balanced cell level tweaked.

That will be entirely different for when you go to do cell level testing .. but .. for the non-balanced discharge it is an option.

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Just to try to help clarify .. as Jim wrote .. the PL8 OEM has not yet released OEM update to allow for LTO chemistry on all their products to all their users .. When I talked to them .. They said they just don't yet see enough demand for that specific chemistry to warrant that kind of investment .. and to be fair .. they are correct , compared to other types (LiFePO4 , LiPo , etc) there are still far fewer people using LTO .. that is why there are fewer BMSs , fewer chargers , fewer anything .. the market for LTO stuff is getting better slowly .. but it is just not 'penetrated' as much as other types of chemistry have .. soo as Jim wrote if you call them up .. the average tech you get on the phone will be polite , professional , etc .. but they might not not be able to help you very much if you start asking them about LTO specific questions .. the reality is that it is still just not a common chemistry type.

I and several others here in InsightCentral here planning on doing alot of testing of LTO cells .. Although I was able to tweak some of the other presets to get it to work .. and even after many many years experience using the PL8 it still took me a while .. so to make that effort easier .. that's why that firmware and preset were developed .. the newer way (with both firmware and perset) was better (for me anyway) .. and I think it made it better of the others as well (Jim, etc) .. if those pieces of software aren't compatible with your duo , that means you are kind of stuck back with the harder pa th we were working with 1st .. which sucks for a newbie to be doing it the 'hard way'.
 
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