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CANBUS Elcon Charger isn’t charging, but should be (for standard Orion BMS)Updated a year ago

Start with everything setup such that the charger should be charging the batteries.

Step 1. Open the BMS utility and select File -> Connect to the BMS. If you are unable to connect ot the BMS, see the Troubleshooting Guide on http://orionbms.com/troubleshooting/ for help connecting to the BMS. If unable to communicate with the BMS only when the charger is connected or only when the charger is powered, it is possible that the baud rates of the BMS and charger are different or that the CAN wiring to the charger is causing communication problems. If this happens, ensure that CAN High and CAN Low are not backwards and that the BMS and the charger are operating at the same baud rate (usually 250kBps for Elcon / TC chargers).

Step 2. Select the “Live Text Data” tab at the top of the screen.

Step 3. Near the bottom of the screen where it says “Selected Parameter Group”, select “Advanced Paramaters.”

Step 4. Look for the parameter called “Is-Charging” power status. This should read ON. If this reads OFF, then charge power is not applied to the BMS. Apply charge power to the BMS to correct this issue.

Step 5. Look for the parameter called “Charger-Safety Output Active”. This should read ON indicating that the BMS is calling for charge. If this reads OFF, then the BMS is not allowing charge for some reason. If that is the case, proceed to step 5a and continue diagnosing until “Charger-Safety Output Active” reads YES, otherwise proceed to step 6.

Step 5a. At the bottom of the screen where it says “Selected Parameter Group”, select “Current”.

Step 5b. Look for the parameter called “CCL Zero Because Charge Complete”. If this says “YES”, it means that the BMS tried to charge the pack and stopped because a battery exceeded the maximum voltage. You can select “Restart the BMS” from the File menu and the BMS will attempt to charge again to closely watch what is happening. If the charger turns off very rapidly, it may be necessary to use the graphing screen to graph the highest cell voltage look for rapid spikes in voltage. Rapid spikes in voltage may indicate a problem with a cell or loose busbar / connection and may require diagnostics on the cell causing the issue. This also may be perfectly normal if a cell is fully charged (the voltage of the Iron Phosphate cells in particular will shoot up in voltage near the termination of charge).

Step 5c. Look for the parameters called “Reduced Due to Voltage Failsafe”and “Multi-Unit Comm Failsafe.” If either of these parameters read YES, the BMS is prohibiting charge due to a critical failure. Look at the “Diagnostic Trouble Codes” page for fault codes and diagnose these codes. Note that only certain codes are critical and prevent charging or discharging. Charging will be prohibited if the charge current limit (CCL) is zero amps for any reason.

Step 5d. Ensure that the profile on the BMS has been setup and that the charger safety relay has been enabled. If the profile has never been setup, run through the profile setup wizard in the utility if using a battery type in the database, otherwise, ensure that the profile has been setup manually. The BMS will not allow charging or discharging if the profile has not been setup or if the charger safety relay is not enabled.

Step 6. Download the current profile from the BMS to ensure proper CANBUS configuration for the Elcon / TC charger. Switch to the “Battery Profile” tab at the top. Select “Receive Current Profile From BMS.”

Step 7. In versions of the utility newer than 1.8, select the “CANBUS settings” tab (under 3rd party devices in older versions.) Ensure that there is a checkbox next to the “Elcon / TC Charger” line. If this is not checked, place a check next to it, follow the instructions and upload the updated profile to the BMS. This box can be un-checked and re-checked in order to ensure that the proper Elcon charger has been selected (this is important as selecting the wrong charger will transmit the wrong information and will likely result in the charger not operating).

Step 8. Click on the CANBUS settings tab (if you are not already there) and check to ensure that the CANBUS which the Elcon charger is connected to is operating at 250kBps. Please note that the BMS must be fully power cycled with all power removed after a CANBUS baud rate change has occured.

Step 9. Ensure that the maximum amperage while charging is set to something within the charger’s capabilities. If the charger receives a request to charge faster than it is able to charge, it may enter into an undefined state. This parameter can be found on the “Charge Limits” tab on utility versions 1.8 and newer.

Step 10. Ensure that the charger is powered. If there are any relays or contactors that shutoff AC power to the charger, ensure that power is actually reaching the charger using a multimeter as a relay may have failed or may not be activating.

Step 11. Ensure proper CANBUS wiring. CAN wires MUST be twisted pair wire and MUST be properly terminated to operate correctly. Exactly two (2) 120 ohm termination resistors must be present on the CANBUS. Ensure that CAN High and CAN Low wires are not reversed (see the wiring manual and Elcon application note for more information).

Additional troubleshooting tips:

If the Elcon charger is configured with the standard CANBUS message ID, it is possible to use the “3rd Party Data” section of the utility to communicate with the Elcon charger itself to ensure that the BMS can communicate with the charger. Please note that this only works with chargers using the 0x1806E5F5 CANBUS ID. To do this, the CANdapter should be connected to the same CAN interface that the Elcon charger is on, though limited data may be available even if located on the other CAN interface (the BMS is configured by default to pass this information through, but only for the standard CANBUS ID). On the “3rd Party Data tab”, select the “Elcon Charger” under “Selected Third Party Device” and press connect. Under “Device Parameters”, there should be some information from the Elcon charger. If all of the lines starting with “Elcon” read “Not Available”, the BMS utility is unable to establish communication with the Eltek chrager. This may be a sign tha the charger is not powered, that there is a CANBUS wiring problem, or a defective charger. This can also happen if the CANdapter is not connected to the same CAN interface that the Elcon charger is on. Troubleshoot this by ensuring that the charger is powered and that the CANBUS connection to the BMS is good.

The Live CANBUS Traffic tab can also be used to diagnose if the BMS is correctly transmitting CANBUS messages. By default the BMS will transmit data to the Elcon charger on both the 0x1806E5F5 and 0x1806E9F4 messages. This is because most Elcon chargers come configured with one of these CANBUS IDs. The Elcon charger should be responding on another message such as 0x18FF50E5. If only the transmitted messages are showing up, it may indicate that the charger is not responding.

Note: Elcon chargers can be special ordered with different a CANBUS ID. If this happens, the CANBUS ID will need to be manually changed in the BMS utility to work correctly.

Note: Elcon chargers may enter an undefined state if they are told to charge at a higher amperage than their maximum possible amperage. This will prevent them from charging. When setup using the profile setup wizard, the BMS will not transmit a charge current limit higher than the maximum allowable for that charger. However, if setting up manually, ensure that the “Maximum Amperage While Charging” variable is set at or below the theoretical maximum possible DC amperage for the specific model of charger being used.

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