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Old 31-12-2014, 15:22   #1
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Proper wiring for a Sunforce (or many any) MPPT charge controller for a wind turbine

I'm sitting here, maybe 5-8kts of wind, maybe gusts about 10-12max. Pretty calm considering the location (Culebra, PR)...and the wind generator keeps power off (red LED tells me it's because it's a protection thing) at 14.6v. Then the voltage on my DC 12v goes quickly down to about 13.1v...a minute or two later the wind generator goes back on again...about a minute or three later 14.6 and it turns off...repeat.

I'm curious now if maybe somehow the wiring of the controller is responsible for this rapid drop from 14.6 to 13.1v on the 12v system.

The guy who installed it connected the "load" connections. Where I do not yet know. I will try and follow the cables tomorrow when it's light again (it's 6:15pm and getting dark now). The output on the controller has 4 wires. Two for load and two for 12v assuming to the batteries with as short a run as possible but I'm suspecting that may not be the case.

If I understand correctly the batteries should be absorbing this voltage from the controller. Slowing this output from jumping quickly from 13.1 to 14.6...and vice versa. Do you suppose he connected the load to the batteries and the 12v to something else? Or maybe having the load connected to anything at all is where I'm getting this extra voltage on the 12v system?

I'm reading the 12v system voltage from an LED voltage meter mounted on my Nav Station panel. It's fed off the 12v coming off the main 12v bus that goes to the FM radio and VHF radio. This is a 2006 Lagoon 410S2 charter version. Two 4D house batteries, two 12v batteries for the engines. There is a 600W inverter 230v for powering the AC fridge. The batteries appear to share the common ground but have separate positive (red) lines. The house being tied together in parallel and the others with a switch to isolate them if needed to start the engines. This is as far as I can tell completely stock from the factory Lagoon wiring.

At the moment I am using about 4A with just little electronics going. The fridge and inverter are off. I only run them when the engines are going or I'm on shore power. FWIW if you use ice in the freezer the top open freezer stays pretty nice and cold on ice alone.

Just curious why the quick rise and drop on the 12v line and if the MPPT controller is possibly mis-wired and causing this inability to feed the batteries properly. Causing possibly poor battery performance.
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Old 31-12-2014, 15:37   #2
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Re: Proper wiring for a Sunforce (or many any) MPPT charge controller for a wind turb

I don't have a wiring answer for you, but can say that if your battery voltage is jumping from 13.1V to 14.6V that quickly, then you have either fully charged batteries or are putting a whopping amperage on them.

Since I doubt either of those two are true, it certainly sounds like a wiring issue.

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Old 31-12-2014, 15:49   #3
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Re: Proper wiring for a Sunforce (or many any) MPPT charge controller for a wind turb

Per the manual, battery charging should be from the battery terminals, the load terminals are for an inverter or other directly connected load.

Also, is the charging switch in the 30A deep-cycle position or the 15A position?

Lastly, what size is the wire to the battery and are all the connections good? At 450W output that kind of activity could be too small wires or bad connections.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:23   #4
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Re: Proper wiring for a Sunforce (or many any) MPPT charge controller for a wind turb

Hello,
Thank you for your quick replies. It's morning here and I followed the wires from the controller and have some more info.

The 3-phase input from the wind generator goes pretty much straight to the input on the MPPT (Sunforce) controller. The 4 outs are vout+, vout-, load+, load-. The load +/- went directly to the battery collection terminals. The vout +/- go to a repurposed 30A breaker (what purpose it did before I do not know now) back by the knobs that isolate the batteries on the port side.

This is weird and contradicts the load going to a source that uses load. Right now it appears both outs (load+12v) simply go to the batteries.

Should I disconnect the load altogether and see what happens?
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:46   #5
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Re: Proper wiring for a Sunforce (or many any) MPPT charge controller for a wind turb

Ok, update, I didn't wait I just disconnected the two load outputs at the MPPT controller output there.

Immediately I see as the wind picks up the voltages no longer rapidly follow the wind speed +/-. I see a more steady slow voltage rise of only a decimal every couple of minutes. So up to 13.2 right now. I'm thinking the batteries are finally going to get the chance to absorb the current longer without the wind generator cutting in/out.

Pls correct me if I'm wrong but so far so good here. It maybe nice to reconnect the load sometime to something useful (lighting? Inverter?) but not right now.
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Old 19-02-2015, 20:38   #6
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Re: Proper wiring for a Sunforce (or many any) MPPT charge controller for a wind turb

Another update.
Some key things to update:
1. The wiring had to be completely redone. In the end the 3-phase AC from the turbine runs to the charge controller now in 8 gauge wire about 20'
2. The controller died suddenly. I suspect because I had load connected to an inverter and it was especially windy. I think it made and I consumed too much power off the load. No mention in the manual about not using load. The tech support says do not connect load at all. Too late for me now. So if it helps anyone with Sunforce wind charge controllers word from them is do not connect a load to the load outputs. Just the battery outputs go straight to the batteries which I now have. Also lookup your battery arrangement and the best way to hookup a charge controller. My sailboat has a weird arrangement of knobs to isolate "house" from the smaller starter batteries. The way I read online is the plus should be on the far end of the batteries from the negative in a parallel setup. I have two 12v batteries in parallel. So the positive from the controller goes to one batteries positive and the negative to the opposite's negative. Also I upgraded from 10 gauge to 8 gauge for this. It's about a 15' run.
3. SunForce customer support is first rate. After some question and answer they are sending me a replacement MPPT charge controller. They can't send me the same one as they no longer make/sell the marine version I have. FWIW they only ship from Montreal Canada to a USA address. I'm currently in St. Thomas so I'm having to have someone receive it in the US then re-ship it to me here.

I also added a single 255 watt Suniva panel and a MorningStar 60A MPPT controller for it. I have to say the solar is far and above better than the wind for making power. It's only a 255 watt panel and the turbine was advertised as 600W but the specs say only 400W at 12v. It just appears sun is so much more steady vs wind. A boat swings on anchor and the wind around here is gusty. 15kts one minute and a gust of 25+ the next sending it into protection mode. So on a gusty windy night it's constantly going into protection mode and doing very little actual charging.

I guess it's a trade off. I will be happy with both going. Teamed together each can pick up the slack when the other is not working or not working optimally.

To close this thread off I guess with some trial and error and google searches I got my answer. It is pretty simple. Keep the runs short and stick to the charts (found online) for 12v wire runs and minimum cable gauges. Do not connect load and again watch the run length and gauges for the wires to the batteries. Go direct to the batteries and not just find some common connection point like my installer did.

Oh, good to note, the turbine can generate quite a lot of noise from hum so I highly recommend you put a rubber pad under the pole. Our installer did not and I regret it. The hull resonates with the vibrations.
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