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Old 16-04-2019, 08:17   #1
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solar controller settings

Confused about setting up a solar panel I bought online with a PWM charge controller

panel is 100 watts putting out about 20 volts at the panel in mid day sun

batteries are 2 x 6 volt wired in series and then in parallel. 4 total batteries. 190ah AGM batteries

current charge controller settings are.
14.1 float.
12.6 discharge reconnect
11.2 discharge stop

there is also a battery type setting-- default was 601. other choices are 602 and 603
I dont know what that is? I have searched the internet but not found a clear explanation

thought i understood how to do this. but everything i read seems to confuse me more

when the sun is out the charge controller says 14.1 on the main screen and the voltmeter on the boat says 14.1. i can plug my phone in amd charge it. but at night the voltmeter drops to about 12 almost instantly and not even enough juice to charge the battery in my phone. all the switches on the panel off.

could the batteries themselves be shot? only had this boat about 2 months. stickers on the batteries say 5/18.

i use VERY LITTLE electric. charge my phone, cabin lights less than an half hour a day, water pump once in awhile. I cant even find anything that would be drawing them down.

any suggestions welcomed. thanks
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Old 16-04-2019, 08:28   #2
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Re: solar controller settings

First off IMO you should buy a better controller.

That said, if you can't find a manual in English online, just watch each charge profile's output with your DMM.

For AGM you probably just want the one puts out the highest voltage, at least 14.4, better up close to 15V.

And the bank might be shot having rarely been fully charged? But likely just reduced lifetime & performance.

Once you have the gear and knowledge to properly care for them - get an ammeter and learn to verify / benchmark 100% Full - when replacement time comes, buy proper deep cycle batts. Likely not even more expensive.
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Old 16-04-2019, 08:31   #3
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Re: solar controller settings

Drakes, I'm sure others who are more clever will soon advise you, but it would help if you included the battery brand and model and controller details (settings for absorption).

First thing is your PWM controller won't take advantage of the voltage over 14.X that the panel puts out. An MPPT would be a great upgrade and with Victron MPPT controller prices so low, it's worth it.

The battery manufacturer should provide details on the charging voltages (bulk - absorption and float). Normally the bulk/absorption charge will be around 14.6 to 14.8 volts and then drop to float at 13.2 to 13.6 volts when the battery is almost full. You need this data to charge properly.

Perhaps you can take the batteries off the boat to give them a proper charge and then equalize them to see if they recover.
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Old 16-04-2019, 08:45   #4
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Re: solar controller settings

I had a PWM controller for years and it did fine. It was hooked to a 65 watt panel.

The battery settings are for the type batteries you have. On my PWM controller they are B01. B02, and B03. Mine is set at B03 which is for flooded batteries. You'll have to check for the controller's instructions online maybe

My float is set at 13.8 now to match the MPPT Controller but I will increase that soon. I still have my PWM controller hooked to a 20 watt panel because it has a voltage readout, and my MPPT Controller to the 65 watt panel and a 50 watt panel which are in parallel at the moment. I may change that soon.

I bought the MPPT Controller to experiment with and see how it compared to the PWM

If you are trying to charge your phone from the controller at night, that isn't going to work.

I charge my phone from my inverter at night which the batteries feed.

I think my batteries go down to about 12.5 to 12.7 at night with everything off.

If yours are going all the way down to 12 volts with nothing on they may be worn out somewhat

You could always unhook the load off the batteries to be sure nothing is pulling them down after you get them charged up. Basically just unhook the battery terminals and monitor the voltage for a while (and the next morning) with a meter
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Old 16-04-2019, 08:55   #5
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Re: solar controller settings

thanks fpr the input. the controller is very "cheap" i have already started making a few calls . i suspect it may be the problem. I am going to try to find something better
the owners manual is one small page ( one side english/ one side chineese) as I say the panel itself seems to be putting out ok

batteries are Magna Power/ duracell. SLIAGC2 is the number on them
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Old 16-04-2019, 11:07   #6
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Re: solar controller settings

I would check to see if there is any drain on your batteries with everything switched off for a start. Also agree with charging your batteries from shore power over a 24hr period to get them fully charged & then equalize & see what happens.
As other posters say your battery voltage should only drop slowly overnight assuming a light load.We have a cheap PWM controller that works fine but an MPPT is 10-20% more efficient & we would have one if we could. You should check how many amps your panel is putting out with the controller both in & out of the circuit to see if there is a problem with one or the other.
Our batteries start @ 12.8v at night & go down to 12.3 but we run a fridge 24/7 & a laptop for a few hrs.
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Old 16-04-2019, 11:14   #7
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Re: solar controller settings

If at midday the controller output is 14.1 volts and so is the boat it sounds like the controller is working fine. Plus float is set at 14.1.

I used those cheap PWM Controllers for years.

My first two cost $12.50 each and kept the voltage at 14.4 volts. I had them on alligator clips to the battery and just unhooked the controller after a day or so when I wasn't using the boat

The one I use now cost $33.00. All had the one page instruction.

My float is at 13.8 volts so everything (like yours) reads the Float voltage 13.8 midday with everything off.

My Victron 15/75 was $88.00. I didn't really need it but wanted to experiment with it. I'm not running much electrical/electronic either. I have 155 watts of solar if all are hooked up. Usually it's just 115 watts

The only time it's above 13.8 is when the Victron goes to absorbtion.

At night or early morning, it's around 12.5 - 12.7 volts if I remember correctly

I have two 12 volt, 80ah batteries in parallel.

Next time, I'll be buying 6 volt batteries.
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