Load not working on PWM controller

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  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 240 ✭✭✭
    found this on line

    And: Uh Oh.....  The Controller is Positive Grounding.
    ## this may present a problem if not set up correctly...



    This is something that has worried me.  It's ignorant probably, but I can't even imagine what a "positive grounding" is.  I think of grounding, I think negative.  So, how would that even work?   I suppose you can tell by this that I have not yet grounded my system :(



    also found the manual see page 10 for charge data and your Bulk and Absorb, they call it BOOST?,
     appear to be between 14.6V and 14.2V depending on TYPE  FLA = 14.6V


    And, what does this mean to me in my situation?

    There may not be a reason why you could not be able to use a positive common device or controller.
    All it means that all the positive points inside the controller are connected, instead of having all negative points connected like in a car.

    Hook your battery wires straight to the + and - on the '' battery terminal " at the charge controller.
    Hook your panels straight to the + and - on the "solar terminal" at the charge controller.
    Hook your load straight to the + and - an the ''load terminal'' at the charge controller. 

    Do not put jumpers/wires between any - minus terminals, this will make the controller to overcharge batteries and/or  loads to stay on since you bypassed the electronic internal switches with those jumpers since the negative is switched/controlled inside the charge-controller in a positive common system.

    Many controllers on the market are positive common controllers.


     
  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 240 ✭✭✭
    Thanks everyone!   Here's the update:

    I went back to the site and checked on things again.   Sure enough, the battery was now on about 78%.   I continued to charge top off the charge of two iPhones, run a couple of 5w lights for no more than an hour each and the battery was down to about 72%.   That was after a full two days in good sun.  Finally, yesterday, I noticed that the 3 Goal Zero Boulder 30 panels did NOT have a blue light shining showing them as charging.  I disconnected the panels and tried the multimeter.  The multimeter shows them each as producing @ 18-19 volts.  But, when reconnected to the CC and battery, they show only 2.6 volts coming in.  But it shows 0 amps coming in.  

    Today, the battery was down to 68% capacity as per the CC.  I brought one battery to town and had a battery store run some tests.  It showed 12.6 volts, but only 219 CA's out of 1250.   He said the battery was bad.  He ran another test connecting a machine that even made the battery posts smoke.  Somehow that machine (I have NO idea what it is, sorry.) raised it to about 400 CA's out of the supposed 1250 cranking amps promised by the manufacturer.  

    He put the battery on a slow 2 amp charge for 24 hours.  Then, he's supposed to to run another charger through a "desulfation" process or "desulfication", I'm not sure which.  I will not know how that turns out until getting it back in my hands by friday.

    So, I have panel problems and battery problems.  Perhaps it's NOT in the CC after all!   BTW, the CC was set to sending charge out at dark.  That's why the power was intermittent.  I suppose it was late afternoon/evening with clouds and perhaps the power dropped and rose in the twilight and/or cloud cover enough to turn it on and off.  But I change the setting to have the Load on all the time.  That seems to be working.

    Again, I can't thank you all enough!  The saga will continue, I'm sure.

    Are you using car batteries?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,745 admin
    Which also means your battery should be at "nominal voltage" (typically around 11-15 volts). If too low or too high, the controller may not start (below 9 volts) or call the battery "24 volts" if >>16 volts.

    If you connect the solar panels first, then to the battery--It is possible that the Voc~21 volts of a "12 volt" panel will leak through and the controller "defaults" to 24 volt battery bank (guessing--Don't really know--There are 100's to 1,000's of different solar charge controllers out there now).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Thanks everyone for all the fine input.

    After bringing both batteries to town for a checkup with a reputable battery store, It seems that my two Vittoria 125Ah batteries are faulty.  They were bought at a local "hardware" store and probably set there for many months before my purchase.  It appears that they are now severely diminished in their capacity.

    Both are 12 volts, 125 Ah @10hrs.  So, according to the battery store, they should rate on his machine as measuring 1250 CCA's.  One measures about 680 CCAs, the other only about 400 or so.  That means, according to the battery store, that I have two relatively new 125Ah batteries connected in parallel but both together only have a capacity of 1080 CCAs.  In other words, I'm carrying around two heavy 125Ah batteries (total of 250Ah)  but getting a storage capacity of only about a single 100Ah battery.   :-(  

    Does that sound like a layman's interpretation of battery theory?  At least this is how I'm explaining it to my self.  

    So, does this also seem to explain the "erratic" readings on battery Full % that I've been getting?  When under charge, they can read up to 100% full, but then as soon as the sun goes down or I disconnect the PV, the charge capacity can drop to 85% and, with a small usage, down as low as 68%.  

    According to the battery store, my batteries will work "fine", just have a minimal amount of power storage.  But for the small amount of Wh's that I will draw on any evening, I don't think it will ever be too much for what I've got.  Yes, I hate to have bought to good batteries, and end up with both severely limited, but, it appears, such is life.

    If I don't appear to be understanding the theory of battery "science" by what I've described, please feel free to correct me.


  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Is there a good place to buy either name-brand or generic solar panel replacement parts?   Diodes, the plastic housing for the connections, etc.?

    Thanks
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Johann said:
    Littleharbor2:    Yes, my CC has the USB port.  That's the port I first tried to use to charge an iPhone but it was intermittent.  (see explanation above) I suppose the USB operates in conjunction with the LVD programming.

    Johann:   No, I did not make the connections in this order.  What will that possible cause?  Could that do damage to the panels, battery or CC?  Thanks for asking.
    Sorry for the late response.
    If you hook the controller to the battery first, then the controller will set itself up to the proper nominal battery voltage/system. Remember that your controller can be operated in a  12 or 24 volt nominal system, so the battery will tell it what nominal volt/ system you have.
    OK.   Thanks.  I'll redo it tomorrow to check for sure.  But I do know that the CC has recognized the 12v battery as such.  
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,444 ✭✭✭✭
    Deep cycle batteries aren't designed to put out cold cranking amps and as such the CCA test isn't the way to test them. Starting batteries  are designed with many thin plates to give a short burst of high amperage "cranking power" Deep cycle batteries are designed with fewer heavy plates to give long slow current and be able to survive being deeply discharged. Your batteries may still be shot but the person who tested their cranking amps obviously doesn't know what he is doing with deep cycle batteries as CCA's don't apply to deep cycle batteries.

    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.

  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Deep cycle batteries aren't designed to put out cold cranking amps and as such the CCA test isn't the way to test them. Starting batteries  are designed with many thin plates to give a short burst of high amperage "cranking power" Deep cycle batteries are designed with fewer heavy plates to give long slow current and be able to survive being deeply discharged. Your batteries may still be shot but the person who tested their cranking amps obviously doesn't know what he is doing with deep cycle batteries as CCA's don't apply to deep cycle batteries.
    Thank you.  What can I do from here now to more accurately determine the condition of my batteries in your opinion?  Disregarding the CCA info, is the concept a possibility as I have described?
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,444 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2017 #40
    I'm no battery guru here and maybe one of the other members will chime in here. What can be done is get your batteries to a fully charged state and 1, allow them to sit overnight with no load and check the voltage. 12.7 volts would be a good number. then 2, after determining the amp hour rating of the bank, put a known load on them, for example 20 amps. after 3 hours you should have removed 60 amps, or roughly 50 %,  from your 125 amp hour battery. Let it sit for at least a couple hours then check the voltage again. You should see a voltage reading of 12.07 or so.

    Note any voltages lower than 11.75 or 1.96 volts per cell volts are in the danger zone and are harming the battery. If you want to get normally expected life from your battery stay out of this range and ensure your battery is getting fully charged at least a couple times a week.

    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.

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    As LH2 says, starting batteries have more thin plates than deep cycle. The larger surface area allows for faster charging and discharging, which is what you want in that application. CCA can still give a hint of the condition of a deep cycle battery. Pound for pound, a deep cycle battery will have a lower CCA than a starting, but in both cases a much lower CCA than rated indicates (probably irreparable) damage.

    You may be able to recover some capacity by charging at a fairly high voltage for an extended time. A sulfated battery will appear to charge quickly and the charger will go to float prematurely, compounding the problem over time. If the battery is a flooded type you could do an "equalization" charge, which may help. If it's a sealed type you could try a long charge at the high end of recommended absorb voltage. Do each battery separately.

    It sounds like your battery guy has already tried something like this with limited success though, so the damage is likely permanent.
    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
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,178 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @BlakeFleming85 said he was located in the jungle, a third world country no doubt, here in Thailand you go to a battery shop and all they know are car batteries, and they are very knowledgeable with said products, as far as deep cycle are concerned they are at a loss, not too common, took me a while to source golf cart batteries, most didn't know what I was  talking about, but eventually found a dealer who can supply, but doubt they know how to test.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    mcgivor said:
    @BlakeFleming85 said he was located in the jungle, a third world country no doubt, here in Thailand you go to a battery shop and all they know are car batteries, and they are very knowledgeable with said products, as far as deep cycle are concerned they are at a loss, not too common, took me a while to source golf cart batteries, most didn't know what I was  talking about, but eventually found a dealer who can supply, but doubt they know how to test.
    This is the key to it all I believe.  I think the guy "knows his stuff" on automotive applications, just doesn't work as much in the deep-cycle, solar applications. 

  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Thanks to everyone who answered!   After repeated battery checks, it appears that I'm stuck with the batteries as they are.  But going back over the comments has been great educational material for me.  LittleHarbor2, the Battery State of Charge Table was helpful.  I appreciate your great input.
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Just an added note:    Second battery was being tested and charged by the local battery shop.  They put it on an overnight charger supposedly to "Desulfate" the battery.  In the morning when the man walked in, the shop had an odd odor.  He went to check and the battery and the Charger had overheated.  A crack opened up around one of the posts and a gel-type substance had leaked out.  The battery was still uncomfortably hot two hours later when I showed up.  So, after all of this, I'm down to one 125Ah battery at about 65% capacity or so.  

    But thanks to all for your invaluable input.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You said earlier in the thread it was an AGM battery.  They are sealed batteries and easily damaged by high voltages.  It sounds like the "desulfating" was a high voltage equalization charge.  Anyone dealing with batteries, even car batteries, should know this.
    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
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    ugh.   Perhaps he should have.  I didn't know or I would have asked him not to do so.  Too late now.  
    Thank you though.
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Estragon said:     March 3    #41

     You may be able to recover some capacity by charging at a fairly high voltage for an extended time. A sulfated battery will appear to charge quickly and the charger will go to float prematurely, compounding the problem over time. If the battery is a flooded type you could do an "equalization" charge, which may help. If it's a sealed type you could try a long charge at the high end of recommended absorb voltage. Do each battery separately.

    It sounds like your battery guy has already tried something like this with limited success though, so the damage is likely permanent.


    Estragon said:    March 10  #46

    You said earlier in the thread it was an AGM battery.  They are sealed batteries and easily damaged by high voltages.  It sounds like the "desulfating" was a high voltage equalization charge.  Anyone dealing with batteries, even car batteries, should know this.
    Estragon,  I'm not sure if I'm following you here.  March 3 it seems you offered the possibility of  charging the battery at a fairly high voltage.  Then, March 10, you sound as if "anyone..." ought to know better than to do that very thing.   Can you explain further?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,745 admin
    Flooded cell lead acid deep cycle storage batteries, when "equalized" (high charging voltage causing gassing) can be refilled with distilled water just fine. Sealed batteries (like AGMs) cannot be refilled. To high of charging voltage (and current) can cause the batteries to vent hydrogen+oxygen--And the "water" is lost forever (and the sealed batteries will eventually fail).

    Other issues, if you feed a lead acid battery over ~2% of its rated capacity (i.e., a 100 AH battery >2 amps) for hours/days on end, the battery will probably overheat and damage its plates (plus hot batteries "age faster"--for every 10C over ~25C, the battery will age 2x faster).

    There are some lead acid AGM batteries (Concorde Brand) that have recommended >17 volts or so (don't remember the numbers exactly) for extended equalization/charging/recovery of sulfated plates. While this may work well for Concorde batteries (make sure to monitor temperature of the batteries)--For most (most/all?) other batteries, a 2% rate of continuous charge will cause permanent damage--And if done long enough unmonitored (days/weeks) can cause the bank to melt down and/or catch fire.

    Does this make sense/help?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @BlakeFleming85

    In the Mar 3 post I couldn't remember if the bank was flooded or sealed (AGM is a common type of sealed), which is why I had suggested separate things to try for each type.

    It's easy to tell the difference by looking at the battery. A flooded has quite obvious removable caps on each cell - sealed doesn't.
    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
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