Gifted a Used Trace C40 PWM Controler

InCogKneeToeInCogKneeToe Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭
So I have received much help here on my small system needing to grow to mid sized.

Currently 4 100w 12v panels, 4 105ah DC Flooded, 1 30a PWM controller 1 1000w Pure Sine Inverter, 30A Charger when Genset Runs 2-4 hours/night. It was mostly used as Daytime music, night time Bathroom lighting.


Now a freezer for 2-3 weeks a summer is needed, still within the 1000watt Inverter usage.

So I added 2, 230ah 6v in series, for 650ah, and was going to add a second array of 2 150w (350w on each array) 12v panels, 1 more 30a Controller. 

But I was bartered a xantrex Trace C40 CC (old but not used). With this I can add 2 more 100w panels (totalling 6 (100w) in parallel) totalling just under 36a @12v. Panels cannot be hooked in series, and inverter is 12v so 24v is out. 

So in setting, what Float and what Bulk settings should I use Bulk can be set from 13v-15v and Float from 12.5v-14.5v? I think my 30A Bulk automatically went to 14.7v in Bulk.

And should I do Auto Equalize? I would rather not for the Winter and some time Snow Covered panels.

Comments

  • InCogKneeToeInCogKneeToe Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭
    Also, what kind of Display will work on this unit?, I like more information than a blinking light.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,823 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Best to use the manufactures recommended numbers, if there no-name flooded lead acid batteries, 14.5-14.7 isn't a bad setting for absorb, 13.4-13.6 roughly for float.

    Don't believe there has ever been a display for that charge controller, still being made today by Schneider (Trace became Xantrex, which became Schneider)

    If you are really one of those people who needs to have some confirmation, you might get a shunt based, battery monitor. It will measure the current flowing into and out of the battery bank and give you a good estimation of it's current state of charge.

    Something like the Trimetric;
    Bogart Engineering Trimetric TM-2030-RV Battery Monitor
    https://www.solar-electric.com/bogart-engineering-tm-2030-rv-battery-monitor.html

    or the Victron unit (they are about the same price, the Victron comes with a shunt and wiring;
    Victron Energy BMV-712 Smart Battery Monitor with Bluetooth

    https://www.solar-electric.com/victron-energy-bmv-712-smart-battery-monitor.html

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,581 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The Trace C series blinky light is actually about as good as it gets, till you spend a couple hundred dollars.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • InCogKneeToeInCogKneeToe Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭
    Thanks guys. The manual doesn't suggest, but shows the settings at 14.8 and 13.5, in 0.2 increments so I will start there. The Batteries are a step above No Names, but 105ah 12v's are on the smaller size, but 650ah total isn't and I have them charging +/- on each end of the Bank

    Yes I am one of those guys that checks, but just a common Battery Minder would tell me all of that without being hooked directly to the Controller.

    I was confused by Float being lower than Bulk, but I get it now.


    My old system when running a Bar Fridge, would almost keep up, my issue was Mornings, it would be in the Yellow Warning, if it was clear, by 10 am. it would be back in Green. (that's with Nightly Charge Up by Generator). So adding 230ah might do everything, but 2 extra 100w panels I suspect will be less dependent on the Gen Set al together.


    I believe that it is an xantrex built 2 Quarter of 2001, but like I have said "Still in the Box". I am not sure when Trace was bought out.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,823 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes I am one of those guys that checks, but just a common Battery Minder would tell me all of that without being hooked directly to the Controller.
    No, most are just voltage info, wrong most of the time. You can have a voltage monitor hooked up to a 12 volt system that reads 13.2 volts and you can be less than 50% full and charging or 100% charged and in float...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • 706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2020 #7
    Trace sold a display for the C40 showing voltage and daily/accumulated amp hours. FWIW my C40 briefly registered 57.5 amps without shutting down. My unit ran from 1996 until just last week with 100% reliability.
    Island cottage solar system with 2500 watts of panels, 1kw facing southeast 1.3kw facing southwest 170watt ancient Arco's facing south. All panels in parallel for a 24 volt system. Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Outback Flexmax 80 MPPT charge controller 8 Trojan L16's. Insignia 11.5 cubic foot electric fridge. My 29th year.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,698 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2020 #8
    I do believe a remote meter is still available. look on our host's online store. The controller mounted meter is no longer being made and when you find used ones for sale they may be priced higher than the new ones were.

    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,  460 Ah. 24 volt LiFePo4 battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • InCogKneeToeInCogKneeToe Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭
    706jim said:
    Trace sold a display for the C40 showing voltage and daily/accumulated amp hours. FWIW my C40 briefly registered 57.5 amps without shutting down. My unit ran from 1996 until just last week with 100% reliability.

    Great to hear that. So my 40a Circuit Breaker might have it's work cut out for itself. especially when I add 200 watts to my array. I was planning a 50a Breaker then, but maybe a 60a will be needed?
  • 706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 476 ✭✭✭✭
    When sizing the breaker consider whether it is AC or DC rated. I have a 50 amp breaker in mine that never tripped. Sure that it is AC rated. Others here should be able to explain the difference.
    Island cottage solar system with 2500 watts of panels, 1kw facing southeast 1.3kw facing southwest 170watt ancient Arco's facing south. All panels in parallel for a 24 volt system. Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Outback Flexmax 80 MPPT charge controller 8 Trojan L16's. Insignia 11.5 cubic foot electric fridge. My 29th year.
  • dak664dak664 Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭
    edited June 2020 #11

    The RJ45 outputs a serial packet once per second that contains current, voltage and some other things - how long the button is being pressed for one. I ran a line 100 feet and AC coupled it to a computer audio input but nowadays it would be easy to capture localy with a web widgit.


    The usenet faq seems long gone but here is the c40out.gif referred to.
    The current and voltage fields (bytes?)  become obvious with a few minutes of monitoring.









  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,581 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great to hear that. So my 40a Circuit Breaker might have it's work cut out for itself. especially when I add 200 watts to my array. I was planning a 50a Breaker then, but maybe a 60a will be needed?
    Just a reminder, the breaker is to protect the wire.  If you go with a larger breaker, you must use wire rated for 60A.   And the controller likely has a internal protection fuse that may annoyingly blow on you.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • InCogKneeToeInCogKneeToe Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭

    mike95490 said:

    Great to hear that. So my 40a Circuit Breaker might have it's work cut out for itself. especially when I add 200 watts to my array. I was planning a 50a Breaker then, but maybe a 60a will be needed?
    Just a reminder, the breaker is to protect the wire.  If you go with a larger breaker, you must use wire rated for 60A.   And the controller likely has a internal protection fuse that may annoyingly blow on you.

    Just a reminder, the breaker is to protect the wire.  If you go with a larger breaker, you must use wire rated for 60A.   And the controller likely has a internal protection fuse that may annoyingly blow on you.

    Yes. I run 200 watts/wire run Max. 12awg Contractors Extension Cord, 3 wire for Ground also @ 25' for each. with about 10% loss. I have seen 400watts, hit 21Amps @ the Controller. The extra 200watts planned for this Controller, will be Ground Mounted (same distance) for Snow Covered Winter months when I cannot get to the Cabin.

    So it works so far.
  • InCogKneeToeInCogKneeToe Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭
    edited July 2020 #14

    Ok Thanks for the help with this, and the Hope 706jim achieved with the Gifted C40.


    Here is where I have concluded with my system issues.


    When I switched back to my Coleman/Sunforce 30APWM CC, from the C40 Trial, is when my troubles began. I couldn't observe any info (other than a Blinking LED jerry rigged 1 color) like Volts/Amps Battery State. This was also when I added 2 6v 230ah Batteries (totaling [email protected]). The LED in the C40 worked 3/4/5 Blinks and then steady as in Float.

    I did accidently short the Coleman to Ground while standing on my head switching it over, blowing the 50A fuse.

    So running the Coleman/Sunforce, it seemed to work fine, Showing 15-20A Charging, but it would not go into Float Mode. Even hitting 14.9V so I was just Boiling my batteries.

    So I switched back to the C40, adding an Amp Meter to the Array (to see incoming) and leaving the Coleman hooked to the battery side to see Voltage. Just while waiting for a Remote Display (Covid shipping). And will run things like this (if it works) and add 2 100w panels shortly.

    My 650ah, run everything needed with the Generator's evening top up (provided the Sun doesn't go away for long). I have to have kind of a fool proof system for my Wife on Vacation at the Cabin.


    The Key will be known today. When I go back to the Cabin and check if the C40 has hit "Float" Then I will know that the Coleman was the culprit and not a Battery issue.


    My questions are.


    Am I chasing a Gift? I will have as much invested in the C40 (with Remote) as a Mid Grade MPPT 40A with display. VS the C40 PWM. $$ wise a C40 is 2x's+ a New

    Would a MPPT work better for the Idled (not in use) Winter Months extremes? -40, not there to sweep snow off panels for months at a time?

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,639 admin
    Check the mppt controller for its standby or tare current.

    The larger controllers can take enough current to kill a battery bank with 3-4 months of snow cover (running computer, network connections, etc.).

    Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • InCogKneeToeInCogKneeToe Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭
    That is something I didn't even consider. 

    The good news is, the C40 appears to be working fine. 1 Blink-5 Blinks, then Solid Float. Blinks to about 14.4V, Float at 13.4/13.5V.

    So after choosing the wrong Automotive Amp Meter, (too high of reading curve) I think I will just find a  CM/R-50 Remote Display Available.
  • InCogKneeToeInCogKneeToe Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭
    I have added an Amazon DROK Meter, and can now at least see Amps/Watts/Volts/Watts even Watt hrs, Harvested.

    They can even be hooked up to show Usage.

    https://www.amazon.ca/DROK-Digital-Multimeter-6-5-100V-Amperage/dp/B017BDQHE6/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=DC+Multimeter+Battery+Monitor&qid=1596766309&s=hi&sr=1-8
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