Did I fry my charge controller?

Hi all,

    I’m trying to troubleshoot a non-functioning charge controller (Bogart Engineering SC-2030) after it had been working well for many months. 

    Here’s a system description:  

1. Camper Van system with a Small portable panel (80w).  There's about 40ft of 12 AWG cabling between the panel and the charge controller.  I get about 16.7V at the solar input terminals on the charge controller (after the 40ft of cable).

2. Bogart SC-2030 charge controller paired with the TM-2030 battery monitor (connected together with that special RJ14 phone cable) they use.  Wonderful system overall.

The above had worked reliably for almost a year and I tested that it was working correctly this morning.  Later this morning, I went to connect a new portable solar panel (160W https://www.solarblvd.com/products/solar-cynergy-160-watt-foldable-12-volt-solar-panel-2/ ) to the above system.  Before I connected it, I confirmed that the 160W solar panel was outputting 16.7V (after 50ft of 10AWG cabling) on its outputs before I connected it to the SC-2030.   I routed the cables from the panels directly to the SC-2030 charge controller - I bypassed the crappy charge controller that's mounted to the back of the solar panel. 

When I connected the 160W panel to the SC-2030, nothing happened.  No charging light on the TM-2030 came on and it didn’t show any voltage going into the batteries.  There was no smoke released or noises.  I tested the input terminals on the SC-2030 (solar side) and the voltage was definitely going into it.  Puzzled, I plugged in my old 80W panel and now it didn’t work either.  I was stumped.  Both panels tested the expected amount of voltage at the input terminals of the SC-2030.  I noticed that none of the amber lights on the SC-2030 were illuminating either at this point.

In thinking back, it’s possible that I could’ve connected the new 160W solar panel to the SC-2030 with reverse polarity.  It’s the only thing that could’ve been incorrect during my testing process.  Is it possible that this would have fried my SC-2030? 

After the problem arose, I tried re-programming functions in the SC-2030 via the TM-2030 like the battery profile, battery amp hour capacity, % remaining, and it looked like those settings were being stored successfully.  

Do you know what the issue could be?  Is my SC-2030 in a protect mode or something?   Is there a master reset?  Or did I fry my SC-2030 and I need to buy a new one?  Thank you!

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe check to see if there's a user replaceable fuse in the controller?
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • metalmongrelmetalmongrel Registered Users Posts: 4
    Thanks for the reply Estragon.  Unfortunately, there's no user replaceable fuse within the controller.
     
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,202 ✭✭✭✭
    I think this is a pretty simple charge controller, perhaps are you batteries fully charged? Perhaps it still had a surface charge from being charged (voltage higher than a resting battery) and refused to apply an additional charge.

    Try putting a load on the battery and see if the charger starts charging...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,811 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 21 #5

    If you have not done so,   you  might try disconnecting the Charge Controller (CC) from the battery,   wait one minute of so,   and then reconnect to the battery.

    It is very convenient to have CC circuit breakers --  one on the PV input and one on the output to the battery,   close to the CC.  This is an important safety measure.   Choose the Amp rating of the breakers to match the size of the cables on each of these circuits.

    AND,  it is generally good to switch the battery breaker ON first,   then the PV breaker when powering up the CC,   and to switch the PV input OFF first,,   then the battery OFF last when powering it down.

    Always turn off both breakers whenever doing any work on any cabling,  or any other electrical work around the CC.

    Good Luck,    Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Some PWM controllers list reverse polarity protection as a feature, but I didn't see it listed as a feature on the B.E. website :-(

    I suspect the settings are stored on the TM, in which case being able to store changes wouldn't tell us much. I have a couple of TMs but no SC and many settings like AH are stored on the TM. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to duplicate store them on the SC.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 647 ✭✭✭✭
    If your controller doesn't have reverse polarity protection you might have cooked it. Hopefully not. A little tip I would pass on for future DC wiring is to use red electrical tape to mark all the positive wire ends in your system. Verify polarity with a voltage meter.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • metalmongrelmetalmongrel Registered Users Posts: 4
    Thanks for all the replies.  I've contacted B.E. to see if there's anything I could do at this point, so we'll see what they say.  To respond to the above posts...

    Photowit:  My battery wasn't quite full, but there are several indicators on the CC and bat monitor that would indicate that a panel is connected and putting in voltage to the CC regardless of how full the batteries are.  I didn't see any of those indicators.

    Vic:  Thanks, I'll try disconnecting the CC from the battery (where I do have a fuse in line).  Would that trigger a master reset on the SC-2030?   On the PV side, would a circuit breaker have protected against incorrect polarity?  The circuit breaker would only protect against too many amps and not polarity, right?  

    Estragon:  Yeah it's tough to tell whether those setting are stored in the TM or the SC.  I would think something like a battery charging profile would be stored in the SC, but that's just my assumption.

    LittleHarbor:  Yep, you're right, I should know better.  I was fairly careful when I was testing it (I don't know that I for sure mixed up the wires and polarity), but it's possible I could have since the only difference between the two black cables was that one had tiny imprinted letter on it.



  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,433 ✭✭✭✭
    I think a pv breaker would be too slow to open. A quick blow fuse might work, which is why I though there might be an internal automotive blade fuse or whatever.

    My TMs are 2011 version, so I don't know if charge profile setting is on the newer ones. It just kind of follows that the hardware for storage and logic is already in the TM so it would make sense to use it.

    To triple check polarity I hook up a small 9v battery up to one end and test with MM at the other.

    You could try removing all power from the SC, wait for a minute, then apply 12v battery power (no solar). I think you should see led actitity indicating communication with the TM at least if there's a pulse in the SC. It would also be worth double checking the dip switch settings in case one (eg system voltage) got bumped while working on it.

    Hopefully B.E. can help.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,811 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi metalmongrel,

    You said,  " I'll try disconnecting the CC from the battery (where I do have a fuse in line).  Would that trigger a master reset on the SC-2030?   On the PV side, would a circuit breaker have protected against incorrect polarity?  The circuit breaker would only protect against too many amps and not polarity, right? ".

    Yes  switching OFF the PV in and the battery connection,   and then re-powering the CC  should force a Reset.

    Fuses and circuit breakers are primarily to protect cables from excessive current.  Generally either type of this protection  will be too slow-acting to protect most  solid state electronics from damage.

    I,  too,   did look at the CC's manual,  looking for some statement regarding reverse polarity protection on the PV input side.  Also saw nothing,   and that could well be the issue with your CC.   Many CCs to not "like" the PV input terminals being shorted together,  when the battery is connected to the CC output.

    The breaker/fuse on the PV input  is only a current protection,    and using circuit breakers on the input and output of the CC  is also very convenient when maintaining your power system,   as they are a convenient Disconnect.

    Good Luck,    Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • metalmongrelmetalmongrel Registered Users Posts: 4
    edited August 23 #11
    Thanks guys, I'll disconnect the SC-2030 from the battery tonight to see if I can get it to reset.  I'll let you know how it goes.
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