What am I doing?

Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
I have a Morningstar TS-60 controller.  Everything I want to run is 12v so I do not need a inverter.

I can see where the solar panels connect to it and where the batteries connect to it.  So how and where do I get the power from the batteries?  Do I just hook the devices I want to run directly to the batteries or do I draw the power from the controller?  


Comments

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,178 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Connect loads to the battery, umless you are using the TS60 in load control mode. A disconnect and suitable  fuse to protect the wiring downstream of the battery must be installed  as a battery has extremely high current capacity. Without any details it would be foolish to make recommendations on fuse size etcetera. Reply with as much information you can, there may be something else you've missed.
    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.
  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    Thank you Sir,

    I thought so.  The controller threw me off as it says "Solar/Load" on one of the input terminals.  I am an electrician but never did solar before.  : )
    I always assumed load was the electrical load.  Everything is fused correctly.  I did not use a disconnect.  
    This system is for a cabin and I only get out there once a week so a disconnect sounds like a good idea.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,747 admin
    The "load" output on some charge controllers can be there for specific function (such as turning landscape lighting on a dusk and off 4 hours later).

    There may also be a LVD function, Low Voltage Disconnect--Turns of the loads when the battery reaches low voltage. However, some are adjustable and others are not. Many are set to 10.5 volts (for a 12 volt bank), which is a truly dead battery which has been damaged/ruined by taking so for down. Others can set 11.5 or 12.0 volts as the shut down voltage, and will turn on again as the battery recharges (13.5 volts or so).

    The LVD may also have an over current shutdown, but many are quite low (8 amps, 30 amps). And you cannot put heavy loads on the LVD as it will damage the controller (a 1,500 Watt AC inverter can take upwards of 168 amps on the DC input at full load, and 2x that with large surge loads).

    Many battery banks are killed by new users that over discharge and/or under charge the battery bank. Leaving loads on when you leave, and then (for example bad weather, or a water pump turns on when a pipe breaks) takes the battery to dead by the time the owner returns. LVDs generally do not help too much unless you have one that is programmable.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,178 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The manual states never connect an inverter to the load control terminals, always directly to battery. So it appears the load terminals would be best, as long as the load is 60A or less, as it has programmable control settings for low voltage disconnect and reconnect, see page 34 5.1. If you have an inductive load, read page36 regarding diode protection.
    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.
  • DConlyGuyDConlyGuy Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭
    as my name says im the same way, but what i did to get stable voltages was to run from the battery to a voltage up converter and then back down to get a stable 12 volts. until i did it that way my computer would shut off when the bulk charging was on and stay off until  it went into float 
    600 watts of solar panels,Epever 30 mppt , 2 PWHR12500W4FR battery's in 24 volt setup
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,747 admin
    If you need a buck-boost DC to DC converter (and if you assume a DC battery bank can run from 10.5 to 16.5 volts, or more--Many DC devices do not like that wide of range)--I many times suggest just going with an AC inverter.

    Let the AC inverter take the wide input voltage range and use the 120 VAC for your loads--Plus it is much easier to send 5 amps @ 120 VAC than it is to send 50 amps @ 12 VDC any longer distances. AC inverter and DC to DC converter losses can be similar.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • DConlyGuyDConlyGuy Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭
    i tried using and ac inverter, i have a wagan elite 400 pro pure since wave inverter, with the computer and monitor on it, i was pull 9 amps with the ac inverter, doing the dc to dc im only using 3 amp, for me the buck converter beat the ac inverter to death was such a big change in amps for me going to dc only i just about thru the ac inverter away
    600 watts of solar panels,Epever 30 mppt , 2 PWHR12500W4FR battery's in 24 volt setup
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,747 admin
    Sounds good DConlyGuy--You find a solution that works well--Go with it.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    BB. said:
    The "load" output on some charge controllers can be there for specific function (such as turning landscape lighting on a dusk and off 4 hours later).

    There may also be a LVD function, Low Voltage Disconnect--Turns of the loads when the battery reaches low voltage. However, some are adjustable and others are not. Many are set to 10.5 volts (for a 12 volt bank), which is a truly dead battery which has been damaged/ruined by taking so for down. Others can set 11.5 or 12.0 volts as the shut down voltage, and will turn on again as the battery recharges (13.5 volts or so).

    The LVD may also have an over current shutdown, but many are quite low (8 amps, 30 amps). And you cannot put heavy loads on the LVD as it will damage the controller (a 1,500 Watt AC inverter can take upwards of 168 amps on the DC input at full load, and 2x that with large surge loads).

    Many battery banks are killed by new users that over discharge and/or under charge the battery bank. Leaving loads on when you leave, and then (for example bad weather, or a water pump turns on when a pipe breaks) takes the battery to dead by the time the owner returns. LVDs generally do not help too much unless you have one that is programmable.

    -Bill
    Thank you Bill.

    According to the manual this particular controller can turn lights on/off as you stated.  But I still don't get it.  This is what I have and I am obviously not understanding something or over thinking this.


    The red terminal is marked "battery" and this is where the positive battery cable goes. The "negative-" terminal on the far right is where the negative battery cable goes. I assume this is output to charge the battery.

    The yellow terminal is marked "solar+/load+" and this is where the positive cable from the panels goes.  The "-common" terminal on the right is where the negative cable from the panel goes. I assume this is the voltage input from the panels.  

     Is the yellow terminal for both the solar panels and the load or is it a one or the other connection?

    This is throwing me off because a friend of mine has a controller that has a separate set of outputs to provide 12v power to his cabin.
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,178 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The negatives are common, load + goes to the yellow terminal, see table 5.1 page 34 in the manual, the dip switch settings give you the low voltage disconnect and reconnect, it also states that the lowest settings are intended for telecom applications as a last resort, so perhaps 12.1V would be a reasonable setting.
    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.
  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    I might be getting lost in the "Load" terminology here or something.......

    I consider the load to be the devices I want to run off the batteries is this incorrect?
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,444 ✭✭✭✭
    Most CC's with separate load outputs are small "lighting control" charge controllers. Yours is designed to be either a charge controller OR a load controller as part of a larger system.

    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.

  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    Let me try to clarify this again.

    I will connect the batteries positive cable to the red "battery" terminal on the controller.  The negative posts on the battery will be connected to one of the common/negative posts.  This is how the battery gets charged.  Correct?

    Then I will connect the positive cable from the panels to the yellow "solar/load" terminal in the controller and the negative cable from the panels to the other common/negative terminal.  This will provide the power to charge the batteries.  Correct?

    If the above is correct the panels and controller will keep my batteries charged.
    Where do I connect the devices (what I consider the load) I want to run?  Do they connect to the controller or straight to the battery with fuses? Everything is 12v.
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,178 ✭✭✭✭✭
    To the best of my understanding, this controller has no clock settings to turn on/off lights etcetera. 
    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.
  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    mcgivor said:
    To the best of my understanding, this controller has no clock settings to turn on/off lights etcetera. 
    The owners manual online says it does but I don't see this in my manual.  GRIEF.

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,747 admin
    I am not sure what brand/model this controller is... So, here is another guess.

    There are two major types of charge controllers. One is series type controller. That is the standard type we have where you have a Solar array->Charge controller->battery bank. The charge controller (basically) turns on/off to control current from the solar array to the battery bank (more "on time", more charging current).

    Another type is a "diversion or dump" type controller. For this type of controller it is Charging Source->Battery bank->Diversion controller->"Dump Load" (resistor/heater bank/Other loads like water pump).

    For some charging sources, you cannot turn their output on/off. Instead the charging source must always have a load (battery bank). These may include horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) and Hydroelectric turbines. If their connection to the battery is "turned off", the turbine can over speed and self destruct.

    So, instead, you have the charging source connected and charging the battery bank, and the diversion controller "turns on" when the battery is full. The "Load Terminal" is connected to (typically) a resistor bank or electric heater of some sort to "dump" the excess charging energy (rather than over charging/damaging the battery bank).

    In some cases, people will have a "useful" load such as an electric water heater or water pump to a tank. However, this can be an issue in that if the water pump fails or the water tank is at maximum safe temperature, now you need an alternative dump load. Also, if the charge controller fails, you should have a second/backup diversion controller+load as a backup (may be required to have backup controller by code or insurance).

    Some PWM type charge controllers have a configuration switch that changes between Series and Diversion mode (i.e., off when battery is full, or "on" when battery is full). Diversion controllers are a bit more "hard" on charging batteries (the voltage controller is either dump load "on" or "off" so the battery is either outputting current or accepting a large amount of charging current--Never just "floating" waiting for use.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    Anyway, I don't need light controls.  I just need to understand where I connect the devices I want to run to my system.  I don't see anywhere on the controller to do this but its supposed to protect the battery from being run down completely and I don't see how it can do that if I connect devices directly to the battery.

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,747 admin
    You might have missed the "Diversion" controller configuration just above your last post (we posted at the same time). The output of a Series/Dump configurable controller will be either Loads (LVD), Diversion Controller (Dump/resistor bank), or Battery Bank directly (Series Controller configuration--typically default). I believe your controller is a Series/Diversion configurable charge controller (hence Solar or Load connection).

    I missed your post with the switch settings and this is a MorningStar TSW PWM type charge controller (boy, I even missed in your first post that you have a Morningstar TS-60). Note there are two types of TS models... The TS "plain" which is a PWM/Series/Diversion controller. And a TS MPPT (maximum power point tracking) which does not have the Diversion/LVD configuration option.

    http://www.morningstarcorp.com/products/tristar/
    http://www.morningstarcorp.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/TriStar-Datasheet-English.pdf
    Morningstar’s TriStar™ is a three-function controller that provides reliable solar battery charging, load control or diversion regulation. It is rated at 45 or 60 amps, both at 12-48 volts, and has an optional meter, remote meter and remote temperature sensor.
    Your DC loads are, almost always, connected to the Battery Bank DC Bus +/- common connections (along with the output of the charge controllers/other battery chargers like genset/AC backup charger, etc.).

    Depending on your battery bank, here are some suggested ways to wire the battery bank:

    http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html

    You only use the controller as an LVD if you are trying to protect the battery bank from over discharging when you are not there. However, LVDs are not great at protecting the battery bank, and what happens when your loads are turned on/off when you are not there.

    And all positive connections to the battery banks should have their own fuse/breaker to protect the wiring against short circuits (lead acid batteries can output hundreds to thousands of amperes into a dead short).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    That was very helpful Bill especially the battery wiring.  Thanks again.
     If you could answer a few more questions it would be greatly appreciated.

    This is a Morningstar TS-60.
    It is a 3 function controller. It provides solar battery charging, load control or diversion regulation.  I was thinking it did two or three of these functions at once once but apparently it only does one function or the other depending on how its connected and configured.  Is this correct?

    I want to use it as a solar battery charger.  If I do that should I only expect it to charge and maintain the batteries and not provide any run down protection?  I don't see how it can if I connect my devices directly to the batteries.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,444 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2016 #21
    Yes, only one function at a time. If you want multiple functions you will require multiple controllers running as charge controller, load controller or load diversion.

    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.

  • DConlyGuyDConlyGuy Registered Users Posts: 80 ✭✭
    edited October 2016 #22
    connecting to battery's is easy, just put the right sized wire and the right size fuse between your battery's  and your dc stuff and there ya go
    600 watts of solar panels,Epever 30 mppt , 2 PWHR12500W4FR battery's in 24 volt setup
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Old Guy said:
    This is a Morningstar TS-60.
    It is a 3 function controller. It provides solar battery charging, load control or diversion regulation.  I was thinking it did two or three of these functions at once once but apparently it only does one function or the other depending on how its connected and configured.  Is this correct?

    I want to use it as a solar battery charger.  If I do that should I only expect it to charge and maintain the batteries and not provide any run down protection?  I don't see how it can if I connect my devices directly to the batteries.
    It will act as a charge controller and load protection (OR charge controller and Diversion Load)

    Just connect as described in the manual;

    They say Then connect Solar array (or load) but this is written to make sure you connect the battery first!

    I did a quick read through of the manual;

    http://www.morningstarcorp.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/TS.IOM_.Operators_Manual.04.EN_1.pdf

    I did not see a limit to the size of the load, since the diversion load will handle amperage to the limit of the charge controller, I would assume the Load would handle this much as well, but read through carefully! Warnings on inductive loads/inverters as I believe you have noted.

    This is NOT new technology, I use the load controller on my 20 year old ASC charge controller... I do think it had a limit on the amperage, but perhaps that was just the limit of the charge controllers capacity and I failed to make the connection.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    You guys are great.... Thanks to all of you.

    I don't have a diversion load.  In fact I don't have much to power other than a 12v Flojet RV water pump, a few LED bulbs and a radio.
    I only get out to the cabin once a week or every other week sometimes and then its only for 5-7 hours.  Is it safe to leave something like this unattended?  I have the batteries outside in a metal vented box and the controller is inside the cabin.  I don't know how they can fail or what happens when they do.
    Any advice to keep it working safely and unattended for the most part would be helpful if anyone has the time.


  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,747 admin
    It is tough to find the happy middle.

    If you have no need for loads when not there (no security lights, internet, alarm), then a simple switch to kill all of your loads (nothing left on by accident).

    With flooded cell, they can go 30 days between charges if at room temperature. Hot batteries self discharge faster. 100% charge before you leave.

    If gone longer than 30 days, it still need charging. Your normal solar system with float charging is fine.

    Or, during winter in cold climates a 1-2% small solar panel on the side of the building and small charge controller (your big panels are put away/locked up (or covered with snow).

    If something breaks, no charging or big load left on over winter, you have dead batteries.

    If your charger over charges, even a 2% or more continuous charging current can boil a battery dry and even start a fire.

    Then there are the little chewing creatures that can eat through the solar array or electrical wiring...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,178 ✭✭✭✭✭
    How about a low voltage disconnect relay, I Googled 12v dc low voltage disconnect relay, there were numerous results.


    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.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,747 admin
    Relays--They are out there (mechanical and solid state)--Each has its limitations.

    And, when you make a system more complex--It turns out it can fail in new and wonderful ways... Complexity is rarely your friend.

    If there is a specific need--You can design for it. But I don't suggest going complex when a simple large circuit breaker (or mechanical switch) can be used instead.

    Variation of Murphy's Law: If it can go wrong, it will go wrong, at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way.

    Murphy was an optimist.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,471 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Old Guy said:.......This is a Morningstar TS-60......
    Good, because the terminal layout is nothing like my TS-60-MPPT  
    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 ,

  • Old GuyOld Guy Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭
    I turn everything off before I leave.  The only thing running will be the controller charging the two batteries and everything is oversized. I never really discharge the batteries much as I rarely use lights.  About the only thing that runs is the water pump with a few flushes of the toilet.

    When something does go wrong with the controller and batteries (someone mentioned a fire), what happens?

    Does the controller catch fire or the batteries or both???
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,747 admin
    If the controller shorts, or you "boil the batteries dry", or you do not add water, the batteries can overheat/fail.

    If they go dead, nothing much else happens.

    Are battery fires common, not that I an aware of, but a possibility.

    And that is why fuses/breakers and correct sized wire is recommended. Assume things can fail, use good practices to ensure those failures do not cascade into something worse.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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