Any thoughts on what's happening?

97TJ97TJ Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭
OK, before I took everything up to my cabin for installation I had my batteries on float with a PowerMaxx 35 amp charger for about 3 months. Worked fine. In May I went up and did all of the wiring but couldn't complete the entire job but I did manage to get one panel up with the Tri Star 45 amp pwm charge controller. Before I left the only thing left undone was installing the rest of the panels and connecting the inverter to the cabin wiring. The charge controller indicated that all was working fine.

This last weekend prior to finishing the rest of the install and with the panels unwired, I thought I would use the Powermaxx charger off the generator to top off the batteries having used them to run the fans and a few lights the night before. I have the Pos. of both the Charger controller and the Charger going to a buss bar and then to the positive side of the battery. There is a breaker between the battery and the buss bar. When I plugged in the charger I could smell that sickening warm electrical smell. No fuses popped or breakers tripped but I didn't like it. Everything seems to be functioning fine. To me the smell seemed to come from the charge controller but that is difficult to say for sure. Any thoughts?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,027 admin
    Re: Any thoughts on what's happening?

    What was the voltage of the battery bank when you connected/operated the AC battery charger (was it very discharged, or mostly full)?

    I have seen low batteries and "typical" AC battery chargers get the "too small gauge" of battery cables get really hot during recharging (don't remember a smell).

    Also, in the end, you should have a fuse/breaker per + lead leaving the bus bar (one for the solar charge controller, one for the AC battery charger, one for the inverter, etc.).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • 97TJ97TJ Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭
    Re: Any thoughts on what's happening?

    The battery bank consists of (4) 245 amp six volt batteries in series parallel for a bank of 490 amp. The bank was mostly full. The charge controller led's aren't very precise but showed 60-80%. I haven't installed my battery monitor yet. Runs from the controller and charger to the buss bar are about 1 foot long and 6 awg wire. Buss bar to battery is 2 awg. There was no input from the charge controller as the panels had not been wired back in. Am I not using my buss bar correctly. I have the charge controller and charger positive connected as well as the battery positive. I have a 100 amp DC breaker in between the batteries and the buss bar thinking that would be the necessary size if both 45 amp charger controller and 35 amp charger were both supplying the batteries.
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Any thoughts on what's happening?
    97TJ wrote: »
    OK, before I took everything up to my cabin for installation I had my batteries on float with a PowerMaxx 35 amp charger for about 3 months. Worked fine. In May I went up and did all of the wiring but couldn't complete the entire job but I did manage to get one panel up with the Tri Star 45 amp pwm charge controller. Before I left the only thing left undone was installing the rest of the panels and connecting the inverter to the cabin wiring. The charge controller indicated that all was working fine.

    This last weekend prior to finishing the rest of the install and with the panels unwired, I thought I would use the Powermaxx charger off the generator to top off the batteries having used them to run the fans and a few lights the night before. I have the Pos. of both the Charger controller and the Charger going to a buss bar and then to the positive side of the battery. There is a breaker between the battery and the buss bar. When I plugged in the charger I could smell that sickening warm electrical smell. No fuses popped or breakers tripped but I didn't like it. Everything seems to be functioning fine. To me the smell seemed to come from the charge controller but that is difficult to say for sure. Any thoughts?
    Was the cooling fan running on the PowerMax ?? It's a known issue with them for the cooling fan sensor to take a dump. About the best you can say about them is they have a low purchase price.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,027 admin
    Re: Any thoughts on what's happening?

    Having one 100 amp breaker from battery bank to bus bar is fine... But for every "small" + wire that leaves the bus bar, there should be a fuse/breaker sized for that specific wire...

    I.e., if you have a 14 awg wire going to some lighting or radio, then there should be a ~15 amp fuse/breaker on the positive wire leaving the bus bar.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Any thoughts on what's happening?
    97TJ wrote: »
    I have a 100 amp DC breaker in between the batteries and the buss bar thinking that would be the necessary size if both 45 amp charger controller and 35 amp charger were both supplying the batteries.

    The purpose of the breaker is not to prevent the battery from being overcharged by two sources. The purpose is to prevent the battery from discharging into a faulty charge controller, battery charger, inverter, or whatever. As Bill wrote, you should have a separate breaker for each device attached to the bus.

    One more thing... if the breaker is polarized, the Line (+) side of the breaker should be connected to the Battery plus (or positive bus), and the load side of the breaker should be connected to the device. An inverter is obviously a load, but when faulted the charge controller or battery charger becomes a load, and that is what the breaker is for.
    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • 97TJ97TJ Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭
    Re: Any thoughts on what's happening?

    I didn't see the fan running on the PowerMaxx but it wasn't on very long. Does it run all the time or does it have some sort of thermostat to turn on when warm. Also I do have the load side of the breaker toward the controller and charger on the one breaker and toward the inverter on the other. I don't have any other devises on the buss bar as yet but I will remember to fuse any I may add. I will check the fan on the charger. Thanks.
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