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Old 09-01-2020, 18:04   #1
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No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

Hi,
I originally posted the below with the title about Silentwind controller. With no answers. But now ill ask as a general Solar issue. Hopefully someone can help


I have an issue with no charge from my solar controller to my batteries. I have checked all possible faults starting at the solar panels and it all seems good until it reaches the Silentwind charge controller. There is no charge from the controller to the batteries from the panels. It does work from my wind generator through the same charge controller though?!!

I have 20.9 volts reading at the panels, and i have 20.9 volts reading at the input to the controller. No shorts were evident.

Silentwind replied to my enquiry online saying that the solar circuit must have failed and that i should just keep using their controller for the wind and buy a separate solar controller/regulator to use.

Any suggestions on the best controller/regulator i should buy?

And also, is it worth keeping my wind generator? A lot of people dont like them thinking unless the wind is strong then they are useless? I tend to agree, that if the wind is less than 20knt+, the amps flowing into my batteries is very small. The boat came with the Wind generator when i bought it.

cheers
Mick
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Old 09-01-2020, 19:13   #2
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

Do you have a fuse between the controller and batteries? Have you checked it?
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Old 09-01-2020, 20:58   #3
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Do you have a fuse between the controller and batteries? Have you checked it?

Yes did check the fuse. All good. As I said the wind generator is still working.
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Old 11-01-2020, 14:51   #4
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

Not familiar with that brand, but I thought almost all wind generators use their own built in controller?? Have you tried disconnecting the wind and then see if the solar works?

As for keeping the wind generator, it depends on where you’ll be using it. In my case, summers in the Chesapeake and winters in the Bahamas, it makes no sense in the summer but a lot of sense in the winter. Even if you’re getting just a few amps from the wind, that can make a difference overnight for some setups. In my case the wind “pays” for the refrigerator/freezer overnight in the Bahamas.
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Old 12-01-2020, 17:44   #5
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Not familiar with that brand, but I thought almost all wind generators use their own built in controller?? Have you tried disconnecting the wind and then see if the solar works?

As for keeping the wind generator, it depends on where you’ll be using it. In my case, summers in the Chesapeake and winters in the Bahamas, it makes no sense in the summer but a lot of sense in the winter. Even if you’re getting just a few amps from the wind, that can make a difference overnight for some setups. In my case the wind “pays” for the refrigerator/freezer overnight in the Bahamas.
The Hybrid 1000 has the ability to be used for both wind and solar as it has both inputs. Both have been working for past 2 years without any issue. So it just seems strange that the solar part of the controller has stopped working but the wind part still works.
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Old 12-01-2020, 18:40   #6
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Originally Posted by Zaria View Post
Hi,
I originally posted the below with the title about Silentwind controller. With no answers. But now ill ask as a general Solar issue. Hopefully someone can help

Any suggestions on the best controller/regulator i should buy?

And also, is it worth keeping my wind generator? A lot of people dont like them thinking unless the wind is strong then they are useless? I tend to agree, that if the wind is less than 20knt+, the amps flowing into my batteries is very small. The boat came with the Wind generator when i bought it.

cheers
Mick
Your Hybrid 1000 may indeed be bad. There are indeed 2 separate circuits for power from solar and power from the wind generator. Also, SilentWind no longer sells this model, and the new Hybrid Boost controller is about $750 - 800.

I would suggest that you purchase a new Victron solar controller sized appropriately for your needs.

First, the SilentWind solar controller is a PWM type controller. The Victrons are MPPT. MPPT controllers are more efficient compared to PWM controllers. I would also recommend one controller per panel.

Finally, with regard to your SilentWind wind generator...I would definitely keep it. I replaced my Rutland 914 with a SilentWind last late year and it works very well in as little as 10 knots of wind. It may be that your unit may need to be rebuilt since it is an earlier model. The new ones are very efficient. If you are a long distance cruiser harnessing the wind on sun-less days, or panels with partial shading will help provide more energy to your batteries.
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Old 12-01-2020, 19:26   #7
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

Sorry I missed your original post Zaria. I have a Silentwind and progressed from using their controller for both wind and solar, to moving to a dedicated solar controller.

It does sound like the circuit for the solar is somehow blown. I really don't know much about how it is wired, but you really don't want to be using this controller for solar anyway. I found out it really sucks. The Hybrid 1000 is really just a voltage cut off controller, so very simple. It works fine for wind, which is basically a bulk charger, but is terrible for solar, and not good for your batteries -- something I found out the hard way.

Keep the Hybrid for the wind gen, but get a proper MPPT for the solar. I went with a Victron, and it works great. Plays perfectly with the Hybrid.

As for the utility of the Silentwind, my estimation is that I get about 15-20% of my charging from wind, and about 80-85% from my solar (400 watts). But this doesn't tell the whole story.

Often when solar sucks, wind is excelling. And even more often I find that having wind overnight can make a big difference to the battery starting point in the morning.

If my windgen died tomorrow I might not replace it, but I do like having both.
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Old 12-01-2020, 23:18   #8
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Your Hybrid 1000 may indeed be bad. There are indeed 2 separate circuits for power from solar and power from the wind generator. Also, SilentWind no longer sells this model, and the new Hybrid Boost controller is about $750 - 800.

I would suggest that you purchase a new Victron solar controller sized appropriately for your needs.

First, the SilentWind solar controller is a PWM type controller. The Victrons are MPPT. MPPT controllers are more efficient compared to PWM controllers. I would also recommend one controller per panel.

Finally, with regard to your SilentWind wind generator...I would definitely keep it. I replaced my Rutland 914 with a SilentWind last late year and it works very well in as little as 10 knots of wind. It may be that your unit may need to be rebuilt since it is an earlier model. The new ones are very efficient. If you are a long distance cruiser harnessing the wind on sun-less days, or panels with partial shading will help provide more energy to your batteries.
Cheers for your input. Yes the general consensus is that i obtain a separate Victron controller. Interesting though you say to have one controller for each panel. Can i ask why?
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Old 13-01-2020, 04:44   #9
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Cheers for your input. Yes the general consensus is that i obtain a separate Victron controller. Interesting though you say to have one controller for each panel. Can i ask why?
For: slightly better efficiency and some redundancy if one controller or panel goes pear shaped.

Against: more wiring.

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Old 13-01-2020, 09:54   #10
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Cheers for your input. Yes the general consensus is that i obtain a separate Victron controller. Interesting though you say to have one controller for each panel. Can i ask why?
Thanks for the PM note Zaria.

I think Pete nicely summarized the pros and cons. Added cost and complexity would be aother cons.

I'm no expert, but I have been using one controller (Victron 30/100) to manage my four panels for the past four years now, and it has worked very well. I don't know how much more energy I'd get by having seperate controllers, but it would certainly come at an additional cost, and would increase the complexity.

My current set up provides almost all the power I currently need, but if I was power-hungry, and had more places to mount additional controllers, I'd consider going the multi-controller route.
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Old 14-01-2020, 04:12   #11
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Thanks for the PM note Zaria.

I think Pete nicely summarized the pros and cons. Added cost and complexity would be aother cons.

I'm no expert, but I have been using one controller (Victron 30/100) to manage my four panels for the past four years now, and it has worked very well. I don't know how much more energy I'd get by having seperate controllers, but it would certainly come at an additional cost, and would increase the complexity.

My current set up provides almost all the power I currently need, but if I was power-hungry, and had more places to mount additional controllers, I'd consider going the multi-controller route.
Mmmm... Thanks Mike. I currently have 2 panels totalling 300watts.(1 x 140w and 1 x 160w). And 1x 260amp house battery and 1 x start battery. I do have plenty of space for a controller for each panel, but I think I'll just get one controller. I've had a look at the Victron website but not sure on exactly what size to get. As I MAY acquire some bigger panels one day... Thoughts on the size controller I need?

Cheers for all your advice. It's appreciated.
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Old 14-01-2020, 10:40   #12
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Mmmm... Thanks Mike. I currently have 2 panels totalling 300watts.(1 x 140w and 1 x 160w). And 1x 260amp house battery and 1 x start battery. I do have plenty of space for a controller for each panel, but I think I'll just get one controller. I've had a look at the Victron website but not sure on exactly what size to get. As I MAY acquire some bigger panels one day... Thoughts on the size controller I need?

Cheers for all your advice. It's appreciated.
The Victron's are rated to both max array voltage, and to max charging current in amps. As I understand it, the second factor is the key one, so you want to pick a controller that can easily handle your maximum charging current.

If you expect to add panels in the future you may want to get an oversized controller now. I'm not aware of any downside to going over-sized, except for added cost (but maybe some of the electronics whizzes here might have more to say on that).

My controller is sized for my 400 watt solar panels. It is the 100/30 version. My four panels (two 50s, and two 150s) are wired in parallel and are all of very similar voltage (~21v). I have a theoretical max amperage of just around the 30 amps, but of course I never see that in reality. The best I've ever got is about 25 amps. Usually it's more like 12-15 at peak sun.

If I was buying today I'd consider going one step larger on my controller, going with the 100/50 version, but I have no plans to expand my solar panels right now.

I see that Victron now has a handy MPPT calculator which can help select the right controller. But it's a pretty simple calculation to make.

https://www.victronenergy.com/mppt-calculator
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Old 28-01-2020, 16:11   #13
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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The Victron's are rated to both max array voltage, and to max charging current in amps. As I understand it, the second factor is the key one, so you want to pick a controller that can easily handle your maximum charging current.

If you expect to add panels in the future you may want to get an oversized controller now. I'm not aware of any downside to going over-sized, except for added cost (but maybe some of the electronics whizzes here might have more to say on that).

My controller is sized for my 400 watt solar panels. It is the 100/30 version. My four panels (two 50s, and two 150s) are wired in parallel and are all of very similar voltage (~21v). I have a theoretical max amperage of just around the 30 amps, but of course I never see that in reality. The best I've ever got is about 25 amps. Usually it's more like 12-15 at peak sun.

If I was buying today I'd consider going one step larger on my controller, going with the 100/50 version, but I have no plans to expand my solar panels right now.

I see that Victron now has a handy MPPT calculator which can help select the right controller. But it's a pretty simple calculation to make.

https://www.victronenergy.com/mppt-calculator
Hi Mike,

Again cheers for all the info. I have purchased the 100/50. But upon receiving it noticed that the installation instructions are very limited. I will have to google how to actually install and set it up.

And secondly there is no digital panel showing charging info etc. It seems i have to download an app on my phone to monitor how well the panels are charging! Although i am techo minded, whats wrong with the old school way of simply have a panel on the front of the controller showing all relevant information! ... i think an email to Victron to tell them this !

Any tips on wiring this thing up?

cheers
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Old 28-01-2020, 16:59   #14
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Hi Mike,

Again cheers for all the info. I have purchased the 100/50. But upon receiving it noticed that the installation instructions are very limited. I will have to google how to actually install and set it up.

And secondly there is no digital panel showing charging info etc. It seems i have to download an app on my phone to monitor how well the panels are charging! Although i am techo minded, whats wrong with the old school way of simply have a panel on the front of the controller showing all relevant information! ... i think an email to Victron to tell them this !

Any tips on wiring this thing up?

cheers
Hi Zaria, I'm sure you'll be happy with your choice. It's been a few years since I installed my controller, but I did get a full manual with the device. In any case, you can download the manual, which includes the installation instructions, via their website:

https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...R-DE-ES-SE.pdf

Installation is fairly straightforward (as I recall). According to the manual, first connect the controller to the battery bank. Then connect the solar panels. I think there's a fuse between the battery bank and the controller.

The controller has very limited display information. I agree, it's kinda annoying, but the little LEDs do display the charging stage, as well as various other status info. And there is a manual dial that sets the charge algorithm based on the type of batteries being charged.

A far more useful display is generated through their app, which can be run on all mobile and PC platforms. It's a free download. I see the controllers now include the Bluetooth tranciever. That's nice ... I had to purchase an additional dongle for mine.
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Old 28-01-2020, 22:57   #15
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Re: No charge from my solar Controller to my batteries

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Mmmm... Thanks Mike. I currently have 2 panels totalling 300watts.(1 x 140w and 1 x 160w). And 1x 260amp house battery and 1 x start battery. I do have plenty of space for a controller for each panel, but I think I'll just get one controller. I've had a look at the Victron website but not sure on exactly what size to get. As I MAY acquire some bigger panels one day... Thoughts on the size controller I need?

Cheers for all your advice. It's appreciated.
Because the panels are diff you should have 2 controllers.

2 15a controllers will be the same prince as 1 30a anyways.
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