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Old 02-11-2014, 01:56   #31
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
From what you have posted I would suspect there is a fault with the charger - more about that in a moment.

Don't worry about the physical aspects of the fuse. If it says 20A, then it should carry 20A continuously but any more than that, it should start to operate. The speed at which this occurs, depends on the type of fuse, the value of the overload current and the time it is carrying the overload current. So it might carry say 22 amps for a few minutes but say 200 amps for only a few milliseconds.

Your charger should be limited to a maximum of 20 Amps but in real life may be putting out a bit more maybe 21 or 22. Of course, the battery acceptance charge is often the limiting factor - if the battery chemistry will only accept say 10 amps, that is all the charger will deliver.

Now back to your fuse blowing issue. Fusing a cable between two sources is always problematical when fault finding. It your instance, the battery is a power source and so is the charger so either end may have a fault and the other end supplies the overload current.

As the charger shouldn't deliver more than 20 amps, then it shouldn't cause a 20 amps fuse to blow. The fact that the fuse blew quickly indicates the overload current was much higher than 20 amps, say 100+ amps.

The only source of this current must the battery so I expecting that your charger is either faulty or incorrectly connected and thus is putting a short circuit on the wiring from the battery. Easy way to check, is to remove it and fit say a 30 amp fuse. All should be OK, now reconnect the charger and if the fuse blows, the charger is faulty (or still connected incorrectly ).

Hope this helps!
Thanks. I'll test it tomorrow then and see then. One thing after another.
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:34   #32
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
Thanks. I'll test it tomorrow then and see then. One thing after another.
Hmm... Just had a look at the manual of this solar controller and I see some red flags

Are you using this controller and solar panels as you only charging source for the battery bank. If so, no problems

But if not, be cautious...

This controller will not like any other charging source (i.e. engine alternator) to be connected.

The ships load should be connected to the right hand side terminals, the battery to the middle ones and the solar panel to the left hand side.

Are you getting any error messages?
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:47   #33
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Hmm... Just had a look at the manual of this solar controller and I see some red flags

Are you using this controller and solar panels as you only charging source for the battery bank. If so, no problems

But if not, be cautious...

This controller will not like any other charging source (i.e. engine alternator) to be connected.

The ships load should be connected to the right hand side terminals, the battery to the middle ones and the solar panel to the left hand side.

Are you getting any error messages?
No error messages.
I'm running a 90amp alternator but so far has been on since I've wired up the Steca yesterday. I'll also have connected a 240v charger for shore use.

What page in the manual did you see it's not compatible with another charging source?
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:54   #34
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

The load terminals should not be connected. These are not used on a boat.

There are no problems with other charge sources - alternator or shore charger. All any charge source will do is cause the controller to reach its set point and go into float.
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:55   #35
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
No error messages.
I'm running a 90amp alternator but so far has been on since I've wired up the Steca yesterday. I'll also have connected a 240v charger for shore use.

What page in the manual did you see it's not compatible with another charging source?
Page 4 (para 1.3)

"1.3. Scope of Application
This manual describes the function and installation of a regulator for photo-
voltaic (PV) systems for charging 12 V or 24 V lead batteries for recreational,
residential, business, commercial areas and small businesses.
The charge regulator is only suitable for regulating photovoltaic solar mo-
dules. Never connect another charging source to the charge regulator. This
can destroy the regulator and / or source
. Consult your specialized dealer or
installer if other charging sources should be used and observe the ”5.1. SOC
Calculation” item in this manual."
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:57   #36
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Page 4 (para 1.3)
.....Never connect another charging source to the charge regulator. This
can destroy the regulator and / or source....
Any other charge source can be connected to the batteries, just not to the charge controller.
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:58   #37
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
The load terminals should not be connected. These are not used on a boat.

There are no problems with other charge sources - alternator or shore charger. All any charge source will do is cause the controller to reach its set point and go into float.
OK, presumably this is the voice of experience

The couple of times I have used this controller, I have erred on the side of caution and not tried it.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:00   #38
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Page 4 (para 1.3)

"1.3. Scope of Application
This manual describes the function and installation of a regulator for photo-
voltaic (PV) systems for charging 12 V or 24 V lead batteries for recreational,
residential, business, commercial areas and small businesses.
The charge regulator is only suitable for regulating photovoltaic solar mo-
dules. Never connect another charging source to the charge regulator. This
can destroy the regulator and / or source
. Consult your specialized dealer or
installer if other charging sources should be used and observe the ”5.1. SOC
Calculation” item in this manual."
I'll be pissed off if I paid $215 for a state of the art controller that I cant. Would this not mean directly to the controller though, as apposed as being connected to the batteries?
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:03   #39
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Any other charge source can be connected to the batteries, just not to the charge controller.
I hope your right. I can't retirn it now.

Do you know what size fuse I should put in the battery positive line? The manual says to instal a fuse but doesn't say what size...
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:03   #40
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

The solar controller is only designed to regulate charging from solar panels.

Any other charge source can be connected to the batteries, but not through the controller.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:06   #41
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Any other charge source can be connected to the batteries, just not to the charge controller.
Ah, I note the difference in our reading of the manual
Sorry for the possible miss-information Rustic Charm

Do let us know how you get on in resolving your fuse issue.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:08   #42
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Do you know what size fuse I should put in the battery positive line? The manual says to install a fuse but doesn't say what size...
I would use a fuse slightly less than the current the wire can handle. The larger the fuse the lower the voltage drop through it. 30 or 40 amps ideally.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:13   #43
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

RC, try the auto-test function para 6.6 as a check of the controller.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:25   #44
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
From what you have posted I would suspect there is a fault with the charger - more about that in a moment.

Don't worry about the physical aspects of the fuse. If it says 20A, then it should carry 20A continuously but any more than that, it should start to operate. The speed at which this occurs, depends on the type of fuse, the value of the overload current and the time it is carrying the overload current. So it might carry say 22 amps for a few minutes but say 200 amps for only a few milliseconds.

Your charger should be limited to a maximum of 20 Amps but in real life may be putting out a bit more maybe 21 or 22. Of course, the battery acceptance charge is often the limiting factor - if the battery chemistry will only accept say 10 amps, that is all the charger will deliver.

Now back to your fuse blowing issue. Fusing a cable between two sources is always problematical when fault finding. It your instance, the battery is a power source and so is the charger so either end may have a fault and the other end supplies the overload current.

As the charger shouldn't deliver more than 20 amps, then it shouldn't cause a 20 amps fuse to blow. The fact that the fuse blew quickly indicates the overload current was much higher than 20 amps, say 100+ amps.

The only source of this current must the battery so I expecting that your charger is either faulty or incorrectly connected and thus is putting a short circuit on the wiring from the battery. Easy way to check, is to remove it and fit say a 30 amp fuse. All should be OK, now reconnect the charger and if the fuse blows, the charger is faulty (or still connected incorrectly ).

Hope this helps!
Hi, I went to test but didn't quite understand what you suggested to 'remove'?

I disconnected the panels, and put. 25amp spade fuse in the line. It was fine connected to the battery's, but as soon as I connected the panels it blew.

The Steca support are emailing me and have advised that I can install up to a 40amp fuse. However, they have asked for the specs on the panels as they suspect something is wrong.

Does any Australians know of "Toughland", selling solar panels, that's where I got them from, and I've also realised that they also have Outbaxcamping?
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:13   #45
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Re: Solar Panel Wiring Question

There is a short circuit somewhere before the controller. Or the panels have + and - reversed.
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