Frequently Asked Questions.

·     OVERALL CAPABILITIES

1.     What are the overall data communication capabilities of the Battery Monitoring System.

2.     Can the system be powered entirely from battery being monitored?

·     INSTALLATION

1.     Why there are two different colors for pig-tail battery post connectors?

2.     What are the dimensions of the pig-tail battery post connectors?

3.     Any other hardware required for installation?

4.     Why Sensing harness (wire) has to be terminated with fuse/resistor at the battery post, it is

easier to maintain the system when resistive/fused connector is near the concentrator terminal

block?

5.     How do I install concentrators and other components?

6.     Can the Battery Monitor be installed in a standard rack-mount cabinet?

7.     How do I Connect devices to my battery?

8.     How do I recognize that there is a bad connection or faulty connector?

9.     All sensing wires are connected but still some cells are dramatically different.

10.   What if I have multiple batteries but they are not located close to each other?

11.   Is there a limit how many Battery Strings I can monitor with a single controller?

12.   Are there any specific requirements for installing the fiber optical cable?

13.   I need to bypass one concentrator but I already have fiber optical cable cut. Can I splice two pieces of fiber optics together?

14.   I received shipment for multiple sites with few concentrators having the same ID number – is this a mistake?

15.   Can more than one concentrator/float current transducer have the same ID number?

16.   How to I replace a faulty concentrator?

17.   I  changed the number of jars per string. After that I cannot see new data points in the jar voltage graphs. What is wrong?

18.   What are the most common Battery Monitor system communication topologies?

19.   How do I make the System to talk to my network and may I have more than one monitoring system connected to my network?

20.   I do not have network access. Can I look at my battery reports without an additional PC/laptop?

21.   I have Float Current Monitor (FCM) Installed but it System report page lists FC in red, what could be wrong?

22.   I have Float Current Monitor (FCM) Installed and I would like to reset the Cycle count displayed on FCM LCD.How do I do that?

·     BATTERY MONITOR CONFIGURATION

3.     Can I configure more than 2 temperature sensors for one battery string?

4.     Can I use Float Current Monitor voltage inputs to measure 1-4 voltage inputs (segments)?

·     BATTERY MONITORING.

1.     What is the float current as opposed to charge/discharge current?

2.     Do I need to monitor battery float current or current on that matter?

3.     Can the ripple current produce an Alarm? How do I define its limits?

4.     Can I monitor my diesel generator batteries?

5.     I have building management system in place, can I integrate the Battery Monitor to that system?

6.     What are my options for alarm enunciation?

7.     I have battery alarm contacts wired to a bell and I have a continuous alarm, how do I silence this continuous ringing?

8.     What is/are the most critical parameter(s) for Overall Index calculations?

9.     How can I access my battery data?

10.   I noticed that ambient temperature reading turned red, however, there is no pending alarm on the status page and alarm contact is not closed, what is wrong?

11.   Do I need to enter correct battery capacity (Ampere Hours) ?

12.   I received USB upgrade tar- file, however, after copying the file onto my USB memory stick, and inserting it to System controller, USB Upgrade function does not detect the file. What is wrong? Can it be done any other way?

 


·        OVERALL CAPABILITIES

1.      What are the overall data communication capabilities of the Battery Monitoring System.

 

 

Figure.  This figure demonstrates overall capabilities of the system.

 

2.      Can the system be powered entirely from battery being monitored?

Generally yes, it depends on the total battery voltage. Contact Manufacturer for available voltage ranges.

Below is a sample drawing of system components, powering directly from the battery.

 

·        INSTALLATION

 

1.      Why there are two different colors for pig-tail battery post connectors?

Pig-tail connectors are blue (fused) and red(resistive). Fused inputs are

required for the concentrator power inputs (B+ and B-) and also for reference points (BC and 29).

If fused connectors are not used in appropriate places (as specified by wiring chart), the device will not operate correctly or may not work at all.

 

2.      What are the dimensions of the pig-tail battery post connectors?

 

              Diagram. Battery Post connectors: pig-tails.

 

3.      Any other hardware required for installation?

Yes. On the battery post, a quick-disconnect ring-terminal must be installed. This terminal is not provided with the system.

Sample part is shown below.

 

4.      Why Sensing harness (wire) has to be terminated with fuse/resistor at the battery post, it is

      easier to maintain the system when resistive/fused connector is near the concentrator terminal

      block?

 For safety reasons, the sensing wire must be current limited as close to the battery

 post as possible. For example, if the wire is not current limited and the wire

 insulation gets damaged and wire happens to touch an other battery post,

 resulting short circuit current will overheat the wire and cause bodily harm if anyone touches that wire or be fire hazard.

 

5.      How do I install concentrators and other components?

First, determine whether concentrator should or can be mounted under battery rack. If not, then follow wall-mounted component diagram below. Otherwise install concentrators under battery rack. Float current monitor,  the system controller and if provided, External modem should be mounted on the wall.

 

                                          Figure. Wall mounted components.

 

                                          Figure. Under battery rack mounted components.

 

6.      Can the Battery Monitor be installed in a standard rack-mount cabinet?

Yes, this option is available Contact Manufacturer for specifics. This option must be specified when placing

an order for the system.

 

7.      How do I Connect devices to my battery?

Typically, the system has wiring drawing and/or wiring table  as shown below.

 

 

8.      How do I recognize that there is a bad connection or faulty connector?

Typically bad connection or faulty connector affects to adjacent jar readings –

 readings will be incorrect (too small or too big value) and fluctuate significantly. 

 Looking at the voltage bar-graph,  connector/connection problem is visible as  

 two jar readings are vastly different or blocked (NA) all together.

 

9.      All sensing wires are connected but still some cells are dramatically different.

Check if the sensing wires are connected in proper sequence. A voltmeter is handy for this. Connect one lead of the voltmeter to the most positive post of the battery serviced by the concentrator in question and touch the concentrator  terminals starting with B1+. The voltage should gradually rise every time you move voltmeter lead to the next connector. ( Some fluctuations are permitted)  Large fluctuations or voltage drop instead of rise will indicate  incorrect  connection.

 

10.  What if I have multiple batteries but they are not located close to each other?

If the distance is less than 1 km between strings, then you can take advantage of RS485 port which is built into the System Controller and run 4-twisted pair cable (network cable) from the System Controller to your another battery room(s).

you also need an additional  RS485 to Optical Converter and 120/220 Vac outlet near by. The system can be expanded using up to two additional RS485 converters. See diagram below.

 

11.  Is there a limit how many Battery Strings I can monitor with a single controller?

A.  Theoretically up to 99 strings can be configured for monitoring. However,  the data storage space in the system controller is limited to standard 1.3 Gbytes (can be expanded to 6GB with larger memory option) and overall data sampling speed depends on the number of concentrators and float current transducers installed per one System Controller. For these reasons, we recommend to monitor no more than 530 jars or 10 strings per a single System Controller, whichever limit is reached first.

 

12.  Are there any specific requirements for installing the fiber optical cable?

Plastic fiber optical cable does not require any special tools to handle and it is very easy to work with. There are only four major rules to follow when working with plastic fiber optics:

-         no single run of cable should exceed 30m (90 feet)

-         any bend should have radius no less than 15 cm ( 6”)

-         any cut should be as close to 90 degrees as possible

-         fiber must be properly terminated ( the plastic sleeve must be removed, approx. 6 mm (1/4”) before inserting the cable into optical input or output.

A sharp utility-knife or razor can be used to cut the cable.

 

13.  I need to bypass one concentrator but I already have fiber optical cable cut. Can I splice two pieces of fiber optics together?

Generally, plastic fiber optical cable cannot be spliced together, the only way to bypass a concentrator or float-current transducer, an optical repeater is required.

 

14.  I received shipment for multiple sites with few concentrators having the same ID number – is this a mistake?

 

This is not a mistake. ID numbers can and will repeat (the system uses IDs in range 1 – 99). As long as ID number duplication does not occur in the same system ( only one fiber optical loop per a System controller), everything is fine.

 

15.  Can more than one concentrator/float current transducer have the same ID number?

Absolutely not. If two or more devices in the same system have identical IDs, then this will result data collision and battery data for affected devices is not legible (instead of real voltages, almost random numbers are displayed for affected devices).


 

16.  How to I replace a faulty concentrator?

If you suspect or know that one of the concentrators is faulty, you need to order a replacement device. If the concentrator passes optical signal through then keep the device on line until replacement part arrives. If the device fails to power up, you need to bypass the fiber optical cable, to keep the monitor working for the rest of the system (see question 7). Also keep in mind if one or more concentrators are not powered on you need to rectify this as quickly as possible. Keeping  some concentrators off-line for prolonged period (more than two weeks) may unbalance battery floating state.

Typically, the replacement concentrator is shipped as ID 127, so that it will not collide with any existing devices in the system. After installation a new concentrator, it must be renumbered to the same

 

17.  I  changed the number of jars per string. After that I cannot see new data points in the jar voltage graphs. What is wrong?

If you have collected some battery data with  certain number of jars and thereafter change the number of jars per string – the  previous set of data becomes invalid  and needs to be deleted (or moved into separate place). Deletion can be achieved through maintenance interface, Delete All data.

Hence, rule of thumb, set the number of jar correctly during installation!

 

18.  What are the most common Battery Monitor system communication topologies?

 

 

Figure. Simplest Standalone Topology. Portable PC (laptop) can be connected

             to the System Controller Ethernet port on demand (during site visit).

 

 

 

 

Figure. Simplest Standalone Topology with Modbus Protocol support.

             Portable PC (laptop) can be connected  to the System Controller

 Ethernet port on demand (during site visit).

 

 

 

Figure. Simplex standalone Battery Monitor

                           with dial-in/out option for remote data access.

 

 

Figure. Multiplex standalone Battery Monitor

          with multiple system controllers and

                  dial-in/out option for remote data access.

 

 

19.  How do I make the System to talk to my network and may I have more than one monitoring system connected to my network?

As a standard, the System Controller uses DHCP protocol to obtain your network configuration during its boot time. Hence, the network access is typically as simple as plugging the network cable into the ETH interface (RJ45 connector).

The device can be access by its name (appearing on the front label). Typically

CellRxYX, where X and Y are a numbers in range 0 – 9. Since the device name is different you may have more than one CellRx system in your network. However, that must be specified during placing an order.

 

20.  I do not have network access. Can I look at my battery reports without an additional PC/laptop?

Yes, to access battery data without an additional computer, you have an options:

-         System Controller with Xwindows support and local LCD (VGA compatible + keyboard/mouse). LCD, keyboard and mouse are not provided with the system. System Controller requires larger storage(8G) space for this option and the graphics interface resolution and system speed are limited, hence, one must expect system performance degradation with this option.   

 

21.        I have Float Current Monitor (FCM) Installed but it System report page lists FC in red, what could be wrong?

FCM must be properly configured (BTM Mode) and correct ID number must be entered.

If you scroll left (second button on the FC device), this should bring you the screen which displays

date/time and device ID number. If the FC is in BTM mode, then this screen also displays

"BTM MODE". If BTM MODE is not displayed, the device WILL NOT
talk to the System controller as it is in stand-alone float-current monitor mode.
NOTE. The number is Device ID number, and the same number MUST be entered for the System configuration as Float Current device ID#. The same number also must appear in the “System Status Report” page in the DEV ID# column.

Switching mode of operation is possible using FCM keypad. If BTM MODE string cannot be seen on  date/time screen, then press ALT key, until you see "Capabilities" string on LCD, followed by a number. 

At this screen, press ON/CLR key once.
Pressing ON key acts ass a toggle, it turns BTM MODE on and off. When toggling key-press is accepted, LCD should jump to Status screen. If  Status screen does not appear, continue pressing ALT key until it happens.
From main "Status" screen scroll left and verify that BTM MODE string is present.

 

22.        I have Float Current Monitor (FCM) Installed and I would like to reset the Cycle count displayed on FCM LCD.How do I do that?

If you have FCM with FW revision FS20E05G or later,  then on the screen which displays Cycle Counts (from status screen, press ALT key once) , scroll left once, something like “To clear, Press CLR” should be displayed, now press ON/CLR button once. This data  

 

 

·        BATTERY MONITOR CONFIGURATION

 

3.      Can I configure more than 2 temperature sensors for one battery string?

In general, You cannot measure more than 2 temperatures per string. However, if needed, you could create second string (pseudo-string) and configure 2 more temperature measurement points.

 

4.      Can I use Float Current Monitor voltage inputs to measure 1-4 voltage inputs (segments)?

 

 

·        BATTERY MONITORING.

 

1.      What is the float current as opposed to charge/discharge current?

Float current is small positive current, required to keep battery string in floating state. The typical floating voltage is specified in the battery technical documentation.  In order to keep the battery voltage at specified level, additional positive current must be supplied by the charge and this additional current is considered floating current. Battery floating current is proportional to temperature and also proportional to the battery capacity. 

 

2.      Do I need to monitor battery float current or current on that matter?

It is highly recommended to monitor battery charge/discharge current and also

battery float current.  Monitoring discharge/charge current provides vital information about battery charge level and about estimated time remaining during discharge. Float current monitoring can prevent critical failures like the battery thermal runaway condition. Float current  also helps to pin-point charge abnormalities ( small fluctuations in its voltage levels), open string condition  and

detect some types of battery degradations.

 

3.      Can the ripple current produce an Alarm? How do I define its limits?

Yes. High ripple current alarm can be configured as active alarm. Ripple current

 is ac current flowing through battery, typically due to UPS switching.  Different makes of batteries are different to respect of  sensitivity  to ripple current. It is generally good idea to keep ripple as low as possible in order to prolong the life-expectancy of the battery. Following may affect the magnitude of the ripple current in the battery:

-         UPS load and its balance across phases: UPS loaded near 100% tends to produce higher ripple than one which works at 50% or less

-         UPS filtering capacitors are tried out

-         Charger failure

 

4.      Can I monitor my diesel generator batteries?

Yes, provided that diesel battery is grounded on its most negative post.

Float current monitor (with DC power option) is capable of powering from 12-60Vdc power source and monitor up to 4 segments, provided that the diesel battery most negative post is grounded. Hence, this device may be used for diesel battery monitoring, if the grounding condition is met. Even if the diesel is installed away from the battery room, the System Controller and Float current monitor, both have RS485 communication port, hence distances up to 1000 M (3000 feet) may be covered.

WARNING. If the diesel battery most positive post is grounded, the device must not be used otherwise  severe damage may occur.

 

5.      I have building management system in place, can I integrate the Battery Monitor to that system?

The CellRx monitoring system can be integrated to a Building Management System using two methods:

    1. System controller has built-in 2 alarm contacts. The existing Building

Management  System could monitor status of these contacts

    1. The CellRx Monitoring system supports Modbus protocol which is widely used in various management systems. If the existing building management

System supports Modbus protocol, then Battery data can be integrated into the management system by querying appropriate Modbus registers in the System Controller.

 

 

6.      What are my options for alarm enunciation?

Standard CellRx system has built in two sets of alarm contacts:

-         internal communication loop failure alarm contact 

-         battery alarm contact

            These two sets of contacts can be connected to external power source and audible

            or visible (light) enunciator. 

            These contacts can also be monitored with existing SCADA system.

           

7.      I have battery alarm contacts wired to a bell and I have a continuous alarm, how do I silence this continuous ringing?

The alarms can be acknowledged (alarm contacts will open after acknowledgement) using HTML-interface (web-browser). The system status page displays “Silence Alarms” button when any alarm contact is closed. Pressing this function-button, will create a log entry in alarm.log file (displayed under “Alarms”  listing)  and alarm contact opens. It remains open until new, different type of  alarm is detected.

 

8.      What is/are the most critical parameter(s) for Overall Index calculations?

Different parameters in “Battery Detailed Data” table characterize battery behavior under different operational regimes. Different battery types respond differently for discharge/recharge cycles and also age differently. Hence, it is not possible clearly state, which parameter is the most important one. All parameters contribute to calculations of  “Overall Battery Index”. 

 

  • Delta Flt V. 

Floating voltage drift over time.

The initial set of floating voltage readings is stored when the battery monitor is installed.

Thereafter a new set of floating voltages is collected after configured time period and compared to the reference set of readings. The value is normalized to the string average value.

Emphasize is on the decaying floating voltage. Voltage increase does not affect this numeric value.

The number is expressed in percentage,

100% means no significant drift have been detected

>149% means significant floating voltage change is present.

This value quantifies dynamic changes in floating voltage over time.

Higher number indicates following possible fault conditions:

    • A jar is not at full charge level (partially discharged)
    • A jar may have developed internal short (typically for 12V VRL type)
    • A jar is rapidly deteriorating (decreasing floating voltage over 24 to 240 hours)

 

 

  • Normal Int R. 

Normalized Internal Jar resistance (during discharge).

The value is calculated (delta(V)/delta(I)) when a monitored string is discharging.

The value is normalized to the string average resistance, and expressed in percentage.

Exceptional  case arises when the battery monitor is installed on the string which already has significantly increased internal resistance: in such a case this method may fail to show internal resistance problem.

Internal resistance cannot be calculated when discharge is shorter than two scan cycles.

The significance of internal resistance change is heavily deputed, general consensus seems to be that 50% of increase in resistance is considered significant.

100% means no significant internal resistance change detected

             >149% means significant internal resistance change detected.

           >200% means possibly faulty jar.

Date and time indicates the time stamp for the latest qualifying discharge event.

 

  • Normal End V. 

Normalized to average value Discharge End Voltage  in percentage.  Higher number signifies jars with reduced capacity.  Since this value characterizes short and also long discharges, no limits can be assigned to this parameter and  for the same reason, this parametric value will change from discharge to discharge.

Exceptional cases are discharges on lead-acid batteries lasting less than 30-40 seconds, as during that time period the battery undergoes changes, known as “Coupe de Foiet” and significance of these changes are still widely debated.

Discharges lasting less than two scan cycles will not be used to calculate this parameter.

Date and time indicates the time stamp for the latest discharge event.

 

  • Normal Impedance. 

AC Ripple voltages across the jar and ripple current magnitude normalized to the average value and expressed in percentage.

The most recent version of BMS allows Impedance to be expressed in absolute value (milliohms), provided that Float Current Monitor option is exercised (FCM measures ripple current value in Arms).

This value is measured when the battery is at floating state. The same exception (as for internal resistance) arises when the battery monitor is installed on the already deteriorated battery, this method may fail to show significant increase in AC ripple.

Based on the same principal as for internal resistance, limits are as follows:

100% means no significant impedance increase detected

             >149% means significant impedance increase detected.

             >200% means possibly faulty jar.

Date and time indicates the time stamp for the latest AC ripple voltage sample.

 

  • Open Volt. 

Battery terminal voltage during open state, normalized to the average value.

This value will be captured only if battery is truly open (eg. during maintenance).

At open state, the jar terminal voltage is proportional to its charge level:

the  lower the value, the lower is the charge level. Open voltage is also proportional to the specific gravity of battery acid:

typically open voltage ranges 2.15 – 2.05 V/cell.

If entire string has been open for prolonged time period or string is not recharged after discharge, the open voltage parameter will remain at 100%.

100% means no significant charge level reduction detected

             >120% means significant reduction in charge level

             >150% means that a jar is below 80% charge level.

 

  • Disch Idx, Chrge Idx, Disch Slope

Discharge index, charge index and discharge slope:

proprietary  parameters, which characterize in numeric form discharge and recharge voltage profiles. The purpose of these parameters is to flag jars which deviate from theoretical discharge/charge curves significantly, so that operator of the battery monitor will notice abnormal jars and perform further analysis on the flagged jars.

Since these parameters display variety of deviations from the standard profiles, no theoretical significance can be assigned to these numbers and alarm limit either does not exist or is assigned arbitrarily, eg. 130%.

Exception, these parameters are calculated only if discharge/charge lasted longer than 60 seconds.

 

  • Overall Idx

Overall battery index, composed from individual parameters, characterizing overall battery well-being. The higher the number, the more questionable is the jar. Currently, the red-marker threshold is set to 170%. 

Different battery makes will be more or less sensitive for detailed battery parameters. Also  duration of discharges

 

In general,  Detailed Report and High/Low Report  are  tools to give a quick overview of the monitored battery string, and bring forward immediate abnormalities in the battery observed during monitoring period. By no means is this tool comprehensive battery health calculator. Due to the complexity underlying the process quantifying a battery health, periodic battery data analysis is required by an expert (human).

 

9.      How can I access my battery data?

There are  multiple ways to access the Battery Data. 

The most common would be data access over local area network(LAN) or cross-over cable between System Controller and a PC. Over the LAN (cross-over) cable, data is accessible using a Web-browser.

Data can be downloaded from the System Controller in comma separated value (CSV) format. Thereafter downloaded data file can be imported into a MS-Excel or any other spread-sheet program, supporting CSV format.

      In case LAN being not accessible and remote communication is required, the

System Controller should be able to communicate with most standard 

“AT command set“ compatible external modems over RS232 port. This is not a

standard approach and requires Factory pre-configuration.

NOTE. Accessing  HTML-pages over serial line is lengthy process due to

PSTN limited baud-rates and frequent noise problems.

 

See also question 14 under Installation FAQ section.

 

10.  I noticed that ambient temperature reading turned red, however, there is no pending alarm on the status page and alarm contact is not closed, what is wrong?

All alarm types can be individually disabled in the configuration file.

As a standard configuration, following alarms are set to be active:

      DISCHARGE WARNING

      STRING EXHAUSTED

      PENDING JAR REVERSAL

      STRING OPEN

      EQUALIZATION WARNING

      CHARGE WARNING

      FLOATING VOLTAGE OUTSIDE LIMITS

      TEMPERATURE OUTSIDE LIMITS

Every alarm has configurable activation time-delay,  as a standard, it is set to

15 – 60 seconds. Hence,  even if alarm is enabled, the alarm has to be present at least 15 – 60 seconds before an appropriate alarm  is actuated.

            

11.  Do I need to enter correct battery capacity (Ampere Hours) ?

Yes.  This value is used in calculations for Estimated Time Remaining value, during discharge. If the capacity is not correctly set, Estimated Time Remaining

Value will be incorrect. This value also plays a roll in Battery Discharge Index calculations.

 

12.  I received USB upgrade tar- file, however, after copying the file onto my USB memory stick, and inserting it to System controller, USB Upgrade function does not detect the file. What is wrong? Can it be done any other way?

Yes. Establish network-connection with system Controller. Open up system Controller by its network-name (typically printed on the label) or by its IP (if static, then also should be printed on the label). Expand btmGlobal folder. You should be able to see "upgrade" folder. Drop the upgrade tar-file: MUST BE IN FORM  x_upgrade_scr_x.tar.z, where x's stand for zero or more letter or number,  into upgrade folder.
Run “Upgrade System, USB Memstick” function from Maintenance menu.
NOTE. Not all USB sticks can be detected by CellRx controller.
            Especially, if USB stick has been initialized with Windows VISTA, in which case the USB is

            formatted as NTFS (very likely), which is not currently supported. To overcome this issue, force

            FAT32 format onto USB stick and thereafter copy tar-file onto it.