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joelashley

Heliotrope HPV-30D

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No one on other forums has been able to help, and even AM Solar, the enheritor of Heliotrope, doesn't seem to know how.

I put new Fullriver 6v AGMs in our 06 Beaver Monterey last month.  After a bit, the Magnum MS2012 inverter balanced them out at 13.4 to 13.7 volts.  Magnum had me set the Remote over the entry door to "AGM2". 

I intended to reset the solar controller dipswitches as per the Monterey manual and another document, where the only change for wet cell to AGM was moving #3 dipswitch down to off, and a so-called jumper switch from EQ to the non-EQ position to prevent equalization charge cycles.  When I took the HPV-30D's cover off, I couldn't find those switches, and they weren't where the diagrams said they were, at the opposite end of the controller from the bank of main wire connectors.  I still can't find them.  

AM Solar emailed a pdf of adjustment procedures for the Absorb and Float voltages, but that's not the same as finding and moving 2 simple tiny switches.  When I tried the adjustments I wasn't sure of the potentiometers the document referred to for voltage changes, so after trying it I returned everything back to where it was. 

Last week we had our first really nice sunny day.  When I went into the coach (parked "stored" by our house for 4 years) to check the Magnum Remote, it surprised me with "Backfeed fault", or something similar.  I called Magnum again and as I suspected he said the Magnum had disconnected to protect itself, likely from an unusual solar input.  The screen still shows 13.7 volts.  The battery mains have been off and the coach unplugged since before any messing with the solar controller.  And to avoid misunderstanding,  I didn't mess with the controller until after the backfeed alert.

AM Solar would just as soon I schedule a solar revamp 2+ months out and drive down to their facility in Springfield.   I may well do that, but they stated also that only 2 of them remember much about what he called an HPV-30DR (mine has no "R"), and he still couldn't explain why my manuals' diagrams don't match what I'm seeing "under the controller's hood".  Nor did he offer a description of the correct two potentiometers his adjustments instructions refer to, for adjusting voltages in Float and absorb.  The issue is that there's a lot more than 2 potentiometers on that board, and from the awkward position I have to get into just to see it, it's very hard to read any writing on the board.

Magnum said to just reset their Remote, and that it should be fine, and yes it could do it again on another sunny day.  Assuming this is due to to the controller trying to cycle an equalizing charge,  I'd just as soon reset things for AGMs as the Monaco/Beaver manual suggests.  At least for the time being.  Can't tell you how many times I've told others on Forums where to find those switches, only to now discover I may have been misinforming them!

I sure could use more input from anyone familiar with that controller.   If helpful, I could supply a photo of my controller,  albeit with drainpipes, hoses, and wires in the way, and of the manuals and the adjustments instructions.  I'm amazed at the online lack of info in this regard specific to that controller,  given how many coaches must have had them installed. 

Joel

 

Edited by joelashley
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Joel.

2006 was not a good year for Beaver (they filled BK in 2007).  Have you tried to contact the Beaver Owners (FMCA) Chapter?  Also, there is a Beaver Dealership in OR.  Only one I know on this Forum is Doc J.

Sorry I can't help more.

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Carl, Beaver had trouble well before 2007 and sold to SMC (Safari) in 1994 before Monaco bought SMC in 2002.  Our ‘06 was one of the first years built in Coburg by Monaco instead of in Bend.  Then Monaco went bankrupt, and the last of a few 2010 models were built in 2009.  The Beaver name went through 2 more owners, Navistar in ‘09 and REV Group in 2013, before Beaver Coach Sales at the original home base in Bend bought the name a few years ago.  I don’t like calling my dealer, BCS, in Bend about every issue I run into, as they are very busy, have provided a lot of help already over the years, and I’d rather not tie up their specialists’ time sans compensation.  It is however a last resort if absolutely unavoidable.

The great fellow members at the Beaver Ambassador Club Forum tried to help, but I’m still swingin’ in the wind, because the solar needs some sort of modification to its settings before more sunny weather, or we hit the road.  I can’t have the inverter/charger shutting down just because it’s a nice day.  The owners manuals, for both Monaco/Beaver and for the controller, imply a simple two micro switch change, but if no one here can offer curative knowledge of the HPV-30D I may have to disconnect the white ground panel wire from the controller, which hopefully would cut the solar panel out.  There was supposed to be a fuse one could pull to stop arcing whenever a battery cable was removed, but in 14 years no one could ever find it on or near the solar controller.  It’s like it’s not the controller it’s ID’d as.

Joel

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Edited by joelashley

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OK, not all boards follow drawings... on your top photo you have 2 red boards, one has 4 switches, Number 4 should be in the same position as #1 for AGM.

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Okay, I’ll try that.  I note that for wet cells the diagram shows 1, 3, &4 on;  but on my controller only #1 is on for the original wet cells.  So if that’s the right foursome of dipswitches it’s not following the book.  What you suggest puts them in agreement with the diagram’s AGM position, however. 
 

So you don’t think there is an EQ/FL switch?  The “Temp Comp” switch I did see near the red foursome, but in my photo it’s hidden in the shadow of the black temp sensor wire connection component.  But I have yet to run across an EQ/FL one.

 

Joel

Edited by joelashley

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Not being able to view the top right due to the bar blocking it I would agree on what is viewable that the four switches on red board is probable the correct one.   Move number 4 down to ON and that should correct the problem.  I have the same Magnum Inverter but have a different solar controller.   Mine if very easy adjusted by dialing the selection of a digital screen.   I have Equalization set to off and turn it on when desired.

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This post is a bit old, but maybe others are still using the Heliotrope HPV-30D(R) and can use the info. I have the DR version rather than a D, but these are 3-stage MPPT controllers; they do not have equalize capabilities built-in. AMSolar seems to use the "DR" and "D" designations interchangeably, so not sure there is any substantial difference (experience would suggest that the "R" version may be a bit newer and may designate it as an "RV" controller. I have 3 documents describing connections, installation, overview and voltage adjustment, but can't attach them here because they are PDF. But maybe a link will do: Heliotrope HPV-30DR information from my Google Drive

Some further research seems to indicate that the "D" model is PWM whereas the "DR" version is MPPT (for sure). That may or may not be the case; I can't find more data on the differences.

PS - I just set my HPV-30DR up to charge my LFP battery; seems to work just fine (I switched to a 2-stage charger configuration).

Dave Rypma

Edited by rypma

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Update, and still scratching my head.

At some expense I had two boards in the inverter replaced last month due to rodent damage (long story).  After reinstalling and connecting the Magnum MS2012 inverter, reconnecting the coach batteries, and plugging in to 30 amp 120v, a few minutes' anxious wait finally brought forth success, and eventually the Magnum Remote went to Float at 13.75 volts, where it's stayed for a couple of weeks now.

But, I'm still not sure about that darned solar controller.  It was quiet until the last few days, after the first really very sunny, warm day of the year.  Then I could hear the controller clicking on land off, as it had started doing last year.  It now does it even on cloudy days, but not after sundown.  I'm assuming this has something to do with an auto-switch of some sort that cuts the controller charging side off at a certain voltage.  But in seconds it clicks again, I assume cycling back on.  And I assume it shouldn't be doing that.

I'm still hoping someone here can provide a manual for the HPV-30D rather than the HPV-30DR, because as described in last year's posts the one in the coach owner's manual doesn't match the actual beast, and is for a 45D.  As per advice here and as in those coach manual's 45D illustrations, I did move dipswitch #4 to the same position as #1 last year.  But with the odd clicking sound appearing again, I'm nervous about some harm to some related system.  The inverter should be protected, and it's theorized its damage last summer was from the rodent setting up house with it.  Turns out the factory put in the wrong 300amp fuse for it in the battery box fuse group.  Likely others of the same era have fast-blow fuses that should've been slow-blow, according to Magnum.

But rather than take a chance, do you think I should disconnect all the phone wires to the controller for the time being, or is the click cycling okay?  Switching to AGM's seems to have eliminated the corrosion issues of posts and tray that I constantly dealt with with wet cell batteries, but I'm not yet confident that the HPV-30D is playing nice with them.  For many years the single factory solar panel kept the batteries up while parked here unplugged for months or years at a time here by the house, even in winter.  Storing the coach that way, I got 12 years out of both chassis and house batteries.  Now I'm not sure I should unplug from the 30amp RV outlet on the house.

Edited by joelashley

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So as someone that had one of those Heliotrope systems in our 2006 Alpenlite 5th wheel that was originally installed by AM Solar back in the day and now 3 solar systems later I would suggest that you simply change your controller over to a Victron 100/30 unit. The changeover will be absolutely painless and will provide much better control and will allow you to control it directly from your smartphone. These units are only a couple hundred dollars and come with a 5 year warranty..... not to mention that you will have a wealth of support options.

Personally as someone who went through this, had the calls with AM solar, etc... ditch it and get a modern controller ;)

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Dave, I did notice "MPPT" (Maximum Power Point Tracking) stamped on part of the board, and I believe I read somewhere that the 30D is one.  

I noticed for the first time just a couple of days ago that the "clicking" stops when the battery bay's main switches are set to "ON".  I noticed the clicking coincides with the "Bulk" and "Float" lamps on the board switching between one another.  This would seem to imply that the controller keeps checking the battery state of charge, constantly trying to bulk charge then backing off to float when discovering the batteries are 13.75.  But why it jumps to "Bulk" instead of "Absorb", or more so why it jumps away from Float at all I can't say.   I'm guessing that when the Battery Mains are "ON" there is just enough parasitic drain to offset that incessant switching every 2 seconds or so.   Regardless of why it's happening, it wasn't doing it before I installed the AGM's.

As Paul has already flown down this path, I may just benefit from his experience and do the Victron thing.  I recall encountering that brand when exploring lithium batteries.  I'm not sure I really need to "control" the controller via my phone;  the 30D never needed any monitoring at all until it started doing weird things after the AGM install and dip switch changes.

The coach needs to go to Bend for repairs from just sitting here by the house for 5 years, and there is a recommended solar venue there I was considering as an option to AM Solar in Springfield, where I'd originally thought to go for a panel/controller upgrade.   Like Paul, I was astounded that their staff had little clue regarding the 30D;  that was after waiting for weeks for email replies, and unanswered phone messages, then discovering they were many months out in scheduling as well.  But then who isn't these days?  It sounded like there were only one or two fellows left over from the Heliotrope Company, and not two that knew the 30D, or at least didn't remember it well;  nor were there documents left to peruse.

Is the Victron pretty much "plug-n-play"?  I understand there are 200 watt panels about the same footprint as our 2006 100 watt one.  If I switch the existing 100 watt panel to a modern 200 watt, or add a 200 watt to the 100, is there a lot of wiring changes needed?  

Edited by joelashley

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