Load not working on PWM controller

BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
I have a cheap Chinese-made PWM controller.  It has the standard +/- Solar inputs, Battery Connection and the Load connections.  The panels total about 190 watts, but of course never rate that much.  I am getting only about 2.5 amps to 5 amps depending upon the sun.  My problem is that the load screws never don't seem to have any output.  I can connect a cable with 12v plug and insert a USB adapter.  My phone only comes on every half minute or so.  Then, it only stays connected for about 5-10 seconds then shuts off.  If I connect the same wire and 12v/USB connector, it charges my battery just fine.  Why am I unable to make a solid connection when I go through the load screw terminals?  The only thing I can "see", is PERHAPS  the phone takes a charge briefly when the panel input voltage drops from about 14.2 to 13.x.  I may be imagining that relationship though.  
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Comments

  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    BTW, I'm in the jungle and don't have much testing equipment.  I can only go by the Charge Controller data screen and a simple multimeter.

  • Raj174Raj174 Solar Expert Posts: 721 ✭✭✭✭
    It may be pulling more power than the load connection can output. Test by connecting directly to the battery.
    3600W PV, MNE175DR-TR epanel modified, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 54.4V 195AH LiFePO4 no BMS, 4500W genset.
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Thanks Raj174.  But I'm only trying to charge an iPhone.  That seems like incredibly small amount of power to be pulling to cause the USB to cease working.


  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,879 admin
    edited February 2017 #5
    In general, the LVD is programmed for some low off voltage (i.e., 11.5 or 10.5 volts battery bus voltage) and turns back on at ~13.x volts.

    If the LVD is not programmed (or not programmed correctly), it could account for the poor LVD voltage. If you have a 12 volt light (car brake light or something), try wiring that the LVD/Load terminals and see what the voltage is with the meter.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Raj174Raj174 Solar Expert Posts: 721 ✭✭✭✭
    If you test by connecting directly to the battery and it doesn't cut off and on, then like Bill said it may be the LVD restricting the output. Check the battery voltage with the meter. It might be undercharged or LVD is set too high.
    3600W PV, MNE175DR-TR epanel modified, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 54.4V 195AH LiFePO4 no BMS, 4500W genset.
  • dennis461dennis461 Registered Users Posts: 109 ✭✭✭
    Can you provide us part numbers of your equipment? The solar panel voltage seems too low for the "..cheap Chinese-made PWM controller...."
    Camden County, NJ, USA
    19 SW285 panels
    SE5000 inverter
    grid tied
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,456 ✭✭✭✭
    Longshot here, but have you programmed the load output to be on full time? most of the load output functions on these controllers are programmable for lighting circuits and can be set to come on  and shut off for the desired amount of time. Typically this on-off cycle is triggered by darkness detected from the solar panel.  There should be a 24 hour option in the settings. 

    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 ✭✭
    The instruction manual in the box gives absolutely no information about the USB port.  Even connecting from the +/- load terminal screws does nothing.  What is the likelihood this is faulty?  
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    I am out of the jungle now, so I can't look at it but I'll go back today.  I let you know more.  BTW, sorry, but I didn't see many of these responses because I didn't refresh the page.  Thanks for the wonderful help!  The item in question is:     https://www.amazon.com/Smart-Solar-Charge-Controller-Display/dp/B00FB3OPKM/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=H2EGAADSZG670PN6PSY9        I have the 30amp LCD version.    Also, the panels are:   3  30watt Boulder 30 panels by Goal Zero (wired in parallel) and occasionally I connect an additional 100watt YingLi solar panel.  

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,326 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I wonder if the controller functions as a charge controller OR a load controller, but not both at the same time. Assuming there is a battery attached, maybe try disconnecting it temporarily?
    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 ✭✭
    I am definitely a newbie on all this and I'm sure it shows.  But, next door to this set up, I did the same thing (on a slightly different charge controller) and put ALL the lights on the Load terminal screws.  That has always worked fine.   I've been running my system with all the load tied directly to the batteries without troubles.  But, I was trying to "clean up" my tangle of wires on the batteries and just go directly through the Load Out terminal screws.   I've read a lot that most people never use the Load Terminals on their controllers.  Perhaps I see why.  

    The instructions say that the terminal screws share a single Positive bar.  So, even if I disconnect the battery completely from the CC, it seems that the solar power itself should run directly to the Load Out and power the cell phone.  Is that not correct (assuming there is enough sun at the moment)?
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    I will check on programming the Load Output to be on 24 hour mode.  I'll let you know.  Thanks so much!
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    BTW, I have briefly tried with one Vittoria brand 125Ah AGM battery, and the rest of the time I have two of the same connected in parallel.  I do know that the CC shows them as being 100% charged during daylight hours but as soon as the sun goes down, the CC shows them to drop to as low as 86%.  I only turn a couple of 5 watt LED light on briefly  throughout the evening.  Of course I'd like to use the system for MUCH heavier things, but, I'm just trying to experiment and figure it all out right now.  I figure my wattage usage never goes over 15 watt hours per day so far.  
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Estragon said:
    I wonder if the controller functions as a charge controller OR a load controller, but not both at the same time. Assuming there is a battery attached, maybe try disconnecting it temporarily?
    I will check this for sure this evening.

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,177 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2017 #16
    You need to fine tune the settings, if this is what you are getting
    the CC shows them as being 100% charged during daylight hours but as soon as the sun goes down, the CC shows them to drop to as low as 86%.

    or you need more PV as you are using more than your PV can replace...

    Please post the PV specs and the CC charge values you are using.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,456 ✭✭✭✭
     From the Amazon page you supplied;

    Here are the options for this controller.
    24h - Indicates normal mode. Loads will be supplied power without interruption.
    1h-23h - Indicates timed light control. Load terminals start to supply power after sundown for the amount of hours indicated on the screen (1 to 23 hours).
    0h - Indicates Dusk-to-Dawn. Load is on all night long. 

    And;   A wide range of load working modes facilitate the product's application to different types of street lights and monitoring devices.
    The product provides overcharge, over-discharge, overload protection, as well as short-circuit and reverse-connection protection.
    By virtue of an advanced load starting method, large-capacitance loads can be started smoothly.

    Just an FYI, There are many charge controllers being sold these days with USB outputs built in. Example shows dual 12 volt  and USB outputs .                           

    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.

  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2017 #18
    Did you make your connections in the right order?
    Hook the controller to the battery first and then hook the panels to the controller?
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    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.

  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    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.
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    You need to fine tune the settings, if this is what you are getting
    the CC shows them as being 100% charged during daylight hours but as soon as the sun goes down, the CC shows them to drop to as low as 86%.

    or you need more PV as you are using more than your PV can replace...

    Please post the PV specs and the CC charge values you are using.
    Westbranch:   I have three Goal Zero Boulder 30 panels chained together.  Those specs are below:   I'm sorry, but what do you mean by the "CC charge values you are using..."?

    Solar Panel:

    • Rated Power: 30W
    • Open Circuit Voltage: 18-20V
    • Cell Type: Monocrystalline

    Ports

    • Solar Port (blue, 8mm): 14-16V, up to 2.0A (30W max), not regulated

    General

    • Product SKU: 32201
    • Weight: 6.5 lbs (2.95 kg)
    • Dimensions: 21 x 18 x 1 in (53 x 46 x 2.5 cm)
    • Certs: CE, FCC
    • Optimal Operating Temp: 32-104 F (0-40 C)
    • Warranty 12 months
    • User Guide: Download PDF
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,177 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2017 #22
    you asked what this means: ''CC charge values you are using'' .  it means what are the Charge Controller settings you are using...  that is each battery has its own specific voltage it needs to be charged at to get a 'full charge'...  though most FLA batteries can safely be charged at 14.4V in BULK and Absorb phases and Float charged at a lesser voltage ... I do not believe your settings are correct for your battery...  check with your battery man... 

    The specs are not listed but the Amazon site states 12V/24V system voltages are automatically recognized. With temperature compensation employed, charging parameters can be automatically adjusted.
    You need to determine what " AUTOMATIC" means... if this is attributed to Temp adjustment you need to establish what the temp adjustment factor is... hth


     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,326 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @BlakeFleming85
    You hook batteries up first so the controller can reliably boot boards, charge capacitors, sense voltage, etc. *Probably* no harm done hooking up the other way but may put controller in a wierd state
    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 ✭✭
    Thanks, Westbranch and Estragon

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,177 ✭✭✭✭
    found this on line
    Hmmmm  there is no mention of Absorb or Bulk charge rate unless they mean that it will not go over 17.0  volts

    Specifications
    Rated Working Voltage: 12V/24V Solar Input Voltage: <55V
    Rated Working Current: 20A Float Charging Voltage (adjustable): 13.8V; ×2/24v
    OverVoltage Protection: 17V; ×2/24v Over-discharge Recovery Voltage: 12.6V; ×2/24v
    Charging Recovery Voltage: 13.2V; ×2/24v Max. Voltage At The Battery End: <35V
    No Load Loss: <10mA /12V; <12mA/24V Temperature Compensation: -3mV/°C /2V
    Max. PV Input Power: 200W (12V), 400W (24V)

    Weight: 5.6 oz.

    Dimensions: 5.12x 2.95x 1.50 In
    at  http://www.hqsolarpower.com/20-Amp-PWM-Charge-Controller-with-LCD-Display-p/hqst-ctrl-pwm20-lcd.htm


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

    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

    http://www.hqsolarpower.com/v/vspfiles/Manuals/HQST-CTRL-30LCD.pdf

    hth

     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    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?

  • BlakeFleming85BlakeFleming85 Registered Users Posts: 33 ✭✭
    As I'm trying to sort my way through all this info about solar power, I'm sure I plan to upgrade several things in the future.  Is there a PWM charge controller that I could purchase that would be much more intuitive that the one I have?  I know there are CC's that work simpler with just a couple of green, amber or red lights, but, they give no battery info, etc.  What, in your opinions, is a well made, reputable, easily understandable and programmable CC?
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,177 ✭✭✭✭
    All I really know about Pos. Ground systems is that the whole system has to match, same way with Neg ground setups...
    and most equipment you see for sale is Neg ground and you cant mix them together...

    Expansion.... this is the time to look into the future and decide as best you can what you want your system to look like when you are finished.  basically throw in the kitchen sink if that is what you want and come up with your max loads, that is where all good systems start, and plan from there.... hth

    ps    start here  in the learning section.....in Solar Information and FAQ's
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,502 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you don't have a ground rod wired to something, neither + or - is grounded.   Most everything should work,

    i'm wondering about a mirror image flip of the PV and BAttery connections, and your battery is dumping power into the PV with reversed connections ???
    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 ,

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,326 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The positive ground makes sense... he said something about common + terminals earlier, which hints at this. Telecom gear was(is?) commonly + ground. In this case it sounds like nothing is grounded though.

    As westbranch suggests, it would be best to "blue sky" what your loads might eventually look like and plan from there. This helps in avoiding having to buy stuff twice.
    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
  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    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.
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