How to Choose Solar Charge Controller?
As we all know, nonrenewable resources like coal are used less and less to produce power for the sake of the environment. Thanks to technological innovation, solar power is becoming increasingly approachable and important. So there are more and more solar panel systems being built.
To make sure the operation of the system, solar charge controllers are in big demand. Thus if you are planning to build a solar panel system, you just need a good charge controller.
What to Consider When Buying a Solar Charge Controller
What is a solar charge controller? And how to choose the right one? Are there enough advantages to using it? Let’s think about these questions briefly – and after that, we can look at the factors you need to consider when choosing one.
We use charge controllers very often and there is more and more equipment controlled by charge controllers. With the development of technology, they are becoming increasingly popular and advanced because of the significant place it plays in our daily life.
However, you may not be very familiar with a solar charge controller. It is a kind of controller used to adjust control the voltage of the battery pack. The purpose is to protect the batteries and extend their life when providing power. So although it is less-known now, the solar charge controller will lead the trend.
However, choosing a favorable solar charge controller in the market could be challenging because there are always too many products available and you may not be a seasoned user of it. So specific searching may bother you to some extent.
Now let’s look at some of the brief and key points to consider when choosing.
Battery voltage is a very important factor that you have to take into consideration. Since the battery voltage is the key to whether the solar panel system can operate well. The truth is that different solar panel systems need different voltages, and there are different battery setups too.
Most battery charging units are ranging from 12 to 48VDC with the base standard of 12 VDC. What’s more, the normal voltages of commercial standard battery banks are 12, 24, and 48. while, if you need a big capacity, there are 60V, and 72V. You can choose a proper one according to the requirements of your individual needs.
MPPT VS PMW
Because different batteries need different types of charging process. They may have different charging process and distinctive operations in each stage. So you have to choose an appropriate type. Generally, there are two types (PMW and MPPT models) in the market. PMW is the second generation of the solar charge controller, and the third generation MPPT is considered to be the best model you can buy.
They also have their pros and cons. If you have a relatively small solar panel system, PMW will be a good choice. On the other hand, if you have plenty of appliances that need to be charged safely, then MPPT becomes your first option, MMPT system can deliver the maximum PV power regardless of any change in conditions. You simply need to choose one that matches your requirements.
The display is another factor you need to pay attention to. When using the model, reading the current data on the screen is a necessity. Usually, there are two types: LED, and LCD. As we know, the display using LED lights helps to show some basic information, such as the charging status.
However, those using LCD can give your more specific messages which allow you to know whether the system is safe. While, of course, the of them are quite different. You still need to think about your budget.
Max current can influence the performance of your solar charge controller. So you are suggested to check the maximum current of the model in case it can’t handle some high load devices. People might have distinctive charging demands.
Specifically speaking, standard models support 10 or 20 amps of maximum current. But if you have a need, you can choose favorable models that can perfectly handle 30 amps or even up to 40 amps of electricity.
Some solar charge controllers can be accessed and controlled via APP remotely. This feature provides you with many conveniences and high flexibility. Users who need to go out for a long time may prefer this function. Also, when you are busy in other rooms, you can operate it on your computer or phone.
During using the model, it’s unavoidable that the solar panel system goes disorder. To check the problems and find out the solutions, you may need the help of the usage statistics. So if the charge controller is equipped with the data-logging function, you will save much energy by reading the recorded data.
Solar Charge Controller Reviews
Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100|20 Solar Charge Controller – 20A
If you are a greener or amateur of solar system installation, you are recommended to try this model. This unit is designed very intelligently and advanced because it is made by a very reliable manufacturer called Victron Energy. It is easy to install or mount.
In terms of its specifications, the unit features a wireless Bluetooth management system, which allows you to control and supervise the solar system through the APP on your cellphones or computers at a remote distance. You can also update the setting wirelessly. This function makes it a perfect choice for many people, especially those who need to go to other places from time to time.
As for the type, this model is an MPPT controller with a set three-step charging process, through which the latest and fastest technological controller plays an important role in protecting the battery, even extends the battery life.
Besides, the solar charger will collect energy from your solar panels, and stores it in the batteries. As a cutting-edge controller, the unit maximizes the amount of energy, leading it intelligently to achieve full charge in the shortest possible time.
Apart from keeping the heath of the battery and extending its life, the controller will even recharge a badly exhausted battery. It can operate with a battery voltage as low as 0 Volts, provided the cells are not permanently damaged.
Something else you may like is the built-in LED indicators, including ON, OFF, and blinking lights. With the help of the indicating lights, you will know whether the process is on, which stage the charging process is in, and what the problem is when there is a system fault situation. This function is very helpful for all users.
However, the defect is the controller is built shut, which means you can’t replace any component of it. This causes some trouble for users.
In conclusion, although it is hard to fix some damaged components when things happen, it is very functional and intelligent. And there is little chance to go wrong. So you can still think about it.
Outback FM80 Mppt Solar Charge Controller – 80A (Upgrade Pick)
If you plan to install a solar panel system with a larger power, you will need more powerful charge controllers that can support different panels and gather plenty of energy. The Outback FM80 is an ideal option, for it can meet these two requirements and makes your system function well.
One of the most amazing features of this model is that it comes with a large and adjustable charging capacity. That feature makes it workable with many solar panels and big batteries. The unit can deal with several system voltages of 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60V. The model is programmable to charge different capacities of batteries, which offers big flexibility.
What’s more, this unit is an MPPT type, so it can use consistent Maximum Power Point Tracking to find out and keep the maximum power from the PV array, gathering the largest number of the energy generated by the solar panels to recharge the batteries completely.
Another feature worth mentioning is that it features data-logging. This model can record and log the system statistics for as long as 128 days. That is a wonderful function that could help users get a clear picture of the system running. When there is something wrong or fault of the solar system, people can diagnose the problems by reading these data.
On the other hand, there are negatives too. Some users may complain about the remote monitoring function, which is not very user-friendly.
In a nutshell, despite the troublesome remote management, this model has multiple practical functions, giving your a fantastic user experience.
Renogy Wanderer PWM Solar Charge Controller – 10A (Budget Pick)
If your solar panel system is comparatively small, or the devices needing to be charged are not too much demanding, you should take a look at this model. Renogy Wanderer solar charge controllers have a series of units. The one with a 10A size which has a 4-stage Smart PMW charging process is highly recommended.
Regarding the type of this model, as the last paragraph put, this is a PMW system that extends battery life and promotes system performance. Also, it is designed with intelligent protection against reverse polarity, overcharging, short-circuit, and reverse current. Therefore, the unit can main the health of the battery and the safety of the system.
Something else we would like to talk about is the surprising display. The controller features a high-quality LCD screen, and there are specific system operations, error indicators, and various load control. All these settings help the users know the charging process. And you won’t feel confused when there is a situation because you can watch the information on the screen.
over, there are plenty of other practical features too. For example, it has 5V 2A USB ports to charge devices via USB. The size is very small and compact, which makes it easy to install, even if you are an amateur at installation. Plus, it can deal with two battery voltages: 12, and 24V, offering certain flexibility.
But, the hull of this model is made of plastic that can be damaged easily. If you care more about the sturdiness, you may mind this.
WindyNation P30L PWM Solar Charge Controller – 30A
WindyNation P30L is another PMW solar charge controller that comes with full digital visualization of a system that serves as a human-system interface, providing the most important information. And users can manage the configuration of the solar system. As you can see, it is designed very user-friendly.
Regarding the voltages, it can handle charging batteries of 12 and 24V, so you can program the voltage according to your battery capacity and the devices that need to be charged. Plus, the PMW solar charge controller can protect the battery from being overcharged or damaged by the solar panel. So the health of your batteries can be guaranteed and the life span of the batteries can be prolonged.
What’s more, there is built-in electronic protection, including overloading, short circuit, reverse polarity, lighting/source, PV panel reverse-current, overcharging, and discharging protection. That protection system is significant for the conservation of the batteries.
Another amazing feature is the display. The model has an LCD digital display that provides much important system information, such as amperage, voltage, temperature, load control, and so on. All this information has clear indications, allowing you to notice any status of the charging process.
Also, there is an included battery temperature sensor that guarantees temperature compensation of the charging voltage, improving battery operation, extending battery life, and reducing battery maintenance.
However, the display only shows Voltage out from it, but not Voltage in it. I guess some users may feel disappointed at it.
To summarize, despite the small shortcomings, it can offer you nice service and provide plenty of practical features.
Renogy Adventurer PWM Solar Charge Controller – 30A
Renogy Adventurer PWM Solar Charge Controller is made perfectly for off-grid applications. And it can deal with batteries with a voltage of 12 and 24V. And owning to its programmable Lithium charging voltage, the 30amp PWM model can charge most Lithium batteries available on the market. Also, it is compatible with cycle Sealed, Gel, Flooded and Lithium battery option ready.
What’s more, the Adventurer is a negative ground controller, allowing compatibility with any negative ground system, which is the standard and most traditional method of grounding. Any negative connection on the solar panel, battery, and load can be safely earth-grounded as demanded.
Besides, this unit has a Smart 4-stage PWM charging (Bulk, Boost, Float, and Equalization), which is clear and safe. Plus, the ensured temperature compensation can extend battery life and enhances system performance.
over, there is intelligent protection too to run against overcharging, short-circuit, reverse polarity, and reverse current. That feature largely improves the health of the battery and maintain the safety of the charging system.
Something else you will like is the display. It has an LCD screen that is used to display performance information, disorders, and error codes. With the help of the LEC messages, users can easily read all the matter information, knowing the stages and process well. So when urgent situations happen, people can react immediately and correctly.
Well, the model features a 5V, 2.4A USB port on the front display that can be used to charge small devices like speakers, laptops, and mobile phones. Furthermore, the integrated RS232 port provides the possibility of interaction with the BT-1 Bluetooth module that can be operated on a Smart-phone APP.
On the contrary, it can bring some troubles too. Some users find it hard to install. And the remote temperature doesn’t work for Lithium.
All in all, if you don’t mind installing it with some effort, you are suggested to buy it, for the above-discussed features and functions.
GHB Solar Charge Controller – 20A
GHB Solar Charge Controller is a user-friendly model that can deal with relatively small solar systems. So if you are planning to build a small solar system like the household or office solar system, you will need a solar charge controller like this one. The PMW controller can fully meet your requirements.
First and foremost, this PMW controller can improve the system performance and efficiency, ensure the health of the battery, and prolong the battery life. Plus, the controller is completely automatic, with an output switch, intelligent control.
So it is easy to operate and can connect the battery by cables with the right polarity. When successfully connected, the battery indicator light on the controller will be on to inform you that, otherwise, you need to check and reconnect.
What’s more, this solar charge controller has a qualified LCD screen that was built-in energy-saving backlight LCD. It not only looks beautiful, but also displays better, richer, and clearer contents. It can display all significant parameters to allow the users to know the working condition of the controller. This feature makes the controller a modern and efficient model.
Besides, the unit comes with an intelligent protection system. To be specific, there are overcharging, overload, short circuit, lightning, under-voltage protection, as well as reverse polarity protection. Equipped with this various protection, charging safety will be ensured.
On the other hand, the LCD hasn’t a backlight, which may impede the reading when the light condition is bad.
In conclusion, while it has defects, this is still an ideal solar charge controller for many users who have small solar panel systems.
HQST PWM Solar Charge Controller – 30A
As the name is called, HQST means high-quality solar technologies. So the company is famous for producing one of the best PWM models in the market. The HQST 30A PWM Common Positive Solar Charge is a typical solar charge controller that is intelligent and multipurpose. The model is designed with a dual USB port USB electronic devices, and compatible with portable panels of HQST.
Firstly, the solar charge controller is programmable and can handle batteries of 12, 24V. and there is a microprocessor in the controller to automatically detect the batteries depending on your solar panel systems. Also, the charging parameters can be automatically adjusted with the assistance of the temperature compensation. That is a very effort-saving feature.
Something else we would like to talk about is the integrated LCD. The screen offers a user-machine interface. It comes with indicators that promote the setting of a large scale of load working modes, allowing it to charge various types of applications. And all of the controlling and charging parameters can be reset to meet the user’s specific requirements.
Besides, the safety of the solar panel system is ensured by the built-in intelligent protection. It offers overcharge, over-discharge, overload, and short-circuit protection, as well as reverse-connection protection. These protection functions maintain the lifespan of lead-acid and lithium batteries, meanwhile, it also prevents them from installation errors.
But, it is a little difficult to understand the programming instructions. You may need to spend some time interpreting the meanings.
To conclude, on the whole, this is a satisfying model for customers to consider, for it is multifunctional and energy-saving.
Sunix Solar Charge Controller – 20A
Like many of the above-introduced models, Sunix 20A Solar Charge Controller is also a PMW solar charge controller. But it is less expensive. So if you plan a lower budget, you may be interested in this model. however, you should also notice that it only suits those small solar panel systems. Just think about what your needs are.
Like most PMW solar charge controllers, the unit can deal with batteries with 12, and 24 voltages. Plus, it can handle up to 20 amps of charge and discharge current. The good news is that it features an automatic switch that can automatically detect the battery voltages available.
over, this one also comes with an intelligent protection program, providing over-load, short-circuit, lightning, under-voltage, over-discharge, and battery reverse polarity protection. So the protection features are all-rounded and valid so that the charging process and the solar system can perform well, and the battery lifespan can be maintained.
As for the display, it features a wide LCD screen to display all the essential parameters. Also, users can fully visualize the working status of the system. Furthermore, users can choose the proper working mode based on the different situations.
However, the model lacks a backlight in the display, which causes some inconvenience when users try to read the information in the dark.
All in all, although the LCD is not perfect, the model still provides so many practical and user-friendly features. To some extent, you will have a satisfying user experience.
ALLPOWERS Solar Charger Controller – 20A
ALLPOWERS 20A Solar Charger Controller is a representation of products that are cheap and fine. Both good quality and low price make the model ranks top on the list. So if you are crazy about the solar panel system and expect to find a worth-buying controller, this is ideal for you.
As a PMW solar charge controller, the model mainly serves small solar panel systems. And it is compatible with batteries of 12 and 24 voltages. The maximum rated charge current is 20A.
Another wonderful feature is it is armed with an industrial-grade STM 8 microprocessor that will control the charger and discharge process. Thus the charge and discharge process is in safeguard.
Besides, this model features multiple electric protection, including over-current and short-circuit protection, inverse connection protection, low voltage, and overcharge protection. With the help of the perfect protection, the battery life can be protected, without doubt, even the battery lifespan could be prolonged.
On the other hand, there always come shortcomings. For instance, the display is not that easy to read. When the battery voltage is too low, the screen could go blank.
In a nutshell, if you can make sure that the battery voltage won’t go very low, the display problem will disappear. So in general, the model is nice and versatile.
EPEVER MPPT Solar Charge Controller – 40A
EPEVER 40A solar charge controller is an MPPT controller that is powerful and multifunctional. However, it is one of the most expensive models in the market. So before buying it, you should take the budget into account. But if you want to install a large solar panel system, this is highly suggested.
As an MPPT solar charge controller, it features a negative grounding with advanced MPPT Control Algorithm that offers this model a very high tracking efficiency (higher than 99.5%).
As for the battery voltages, it deals with batteries of both 12 and 24 volts, offering flexibility. What’s better, the model provides a very high maximum rated current of 40A. The controller can work with 600W Solar Panel on 12V Battery System and a 1200W on 24V Battery. This is very powerful and considerate.
Besides, it is very compatible. The controller work with all Lead Acid Batteries, Sealed AGM GEL, and Flooded Battery. You are allowed to set your charging parameters for the sake of the integrated user mode.
However, it has poor documentation, which is troublesome for some users who dislike spending much time searching for some wanted information.
In conclusion, although this solar charge controller is a little expensive, it is dreamy for users who have built large solar panel systems. This powerful model is an ideal option.
Many great options
As you can see, there are many great solar charge controllers on the market to suit almost any demand. If you have decided you’d like to purchase one but are having trouble choosing, any of the picks in our review would be a great place to start your search.
How to Set Up a Renology Solar System
Renology offers a variety of efficient and simple solar energy solutions, allowing you to create off-grid clean energy quickly and affordably. These renewable energy products combine high performance with sleek and simple design, making the installation process a breeze.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to installing a Renology solar system, as well as the tools and materials that are required to power your home without hurting the planet.
Ensure you have these tools handy before you start the set-up:
- Assorted screwdrivers
- Drill and drill bits
Make sure you have enough:
SOURCE. ALT: Renogy 16 Feet 10AWG copper wire
SOURCE. ALT: Renogy 30A Male and Female Connector
Expert Tip: Connect the RED wire to all POSITIVE terminals and connections and the BLACK to all NEGATIVE (–) terminals and connections throughout the system.
Following is a video to help you get started with the Renology solar kit setup.
Step 1 — Mount and Connect Wires to the Solar Panel
Follow this guide to connect your Renology solar panel safely:
- Cover the solar panel with a sheet to block the sunlight and avoid short-circuiting.
- Disconnect all wires from the battery.
- Connect the positive wire from the solar panel to the positive terminal of the solar charge controller.
- Connect the negative (–) wire from the solar panel to the solar charge controller’s negative (–) terminal.
For safe and efficient electricity generation, take the following precautions:
- Monitor the polarity throughout the wiring process.
- Place the Renology solar panel outdoors in the brightest spot possible.
- For the best exposure to sunlight, angle the panel between 18° and 40° depending on your latitude.
- Use MC4 connectors to terminate and extend the wires from the solar panel to the battery charger.
- For a secure connection, choose the nylon-coated 10 AWG wire, which has a higher voltage capacity and stronger heat resistance.
- To avoid dry joints and short-circuiting, tighten and insulate all connections properly.
- Use trunking, conduits, and cable ties for secure and tidy wiring.
SOURCE. ALT: D-line cable trunking 157 Inch
SOURCE. ALT: Non-metallic 1/2 inch flexible conduit
Step 2 — Mount and Connect a Solar Charge Controller
Renology Solar Charge Controllers incorporate Maximum Power Point Tracking technology to prolong your battery’s life by keeping it from overcharging.
SOURCE. ALT: Renology Adventurer solar charge controller
To connect your solar charge controller to the solar panel and battery safely, follow the steps below.
- With the wire terminals pointing down, place the solar charger on a non-flammable vertical surface.
- For optimal cooling, leave a minimum of 30 cm of space above and below the solar charger.
- To protect the battery from incorrect temperature compensated charging, keep the solar charger in a location with temperature variations of less than 5°C.
- Connect the wires from the charge controller’s output terminals to your Renology solar battery in the correct polarity.
- Connect the wires from the charge controller’s output terminals to the solar battery in keeping with the proper polarity.
- To avoid fires caused by flammable liquids, clear the space around the solar charger of any flammable substances.
- Avoid placing Lead Acid batteries directly under a solar charger because they release corrosive fumes that can damage the charger.
SOURCE. ALT: Renogy 12 v 200AH rechargeable GEL battery
Step 3 — Connect to a Solar Power Storage Battery
Connect your solar charge controller to your solar power storage battery in the following order:
- To avoid short-circuiting and panel reverse polarity, disconnect all wires from the battery and solar panel.
- Connect the solar charge controller’s positive wire to the positive terminal of the battery.
- Connect the solar charge controller’s negative (–) wire to the battery’s negative (–) terminal.
- Secure the battery supply with the correct fuse.
Step 4 — Connect the Battery Supply Switch
The Battery Switch ON/OFF 275A is made for battery systems that have a maximum voltage of 48 volts.
SOURCE. ALT: Renology 275A on/off isolator switch
To connect the switch to your Renology solar system, follow the steps below.
- Unplug the positive wire from the battery.
- Using your preferred method (surface or rear panel), mount the switch to the surface.
- Remove the switch’s side cover in the approaching wires’ direction.
- All terminals on the Renology Battery Switch require 120 mm2 4/0 AWG cables.
- Connect the battery’s positive wire to one switch terminal and the Solar Charge Controller’s positive wire to the other switch terminal.
- Ensure that all nuts and washers are properly tightened.
- Reconnect the positive wire to the positive battery terminal.
Always turn off all connections before working on batteries. A fire or battery explosion caused by a short-circuiting or incorrect connection can cause property loss, bodily harm, or even death.
When working with a lead-acid battery, always use protective gear such as insulated tools, rubber gloves, goggles, and a leather apron. Use a mixture of Bicarbonate soda and water to clean any fluid leaks.
Congratulations! Your Renology solar energy system is now secure and ready to power your DC electronics and lights.
Expert Tip: Before connecting equipment with a voltage rating of less than 12 V, use a DC-DC adaptor.
Enjoy Long-term Warranty
The Renology solar panel provides clean electricity for up to 25 years.
Is the use of a charge controller necessary?
If the output of your solar panels reaches 5 watts, you’ll require a charge controller. If your panel’s output averages 2 watts per 50 amp-hours, you don’t require a charge controller.
Can I connect my Renology solar panel directly to my inverter?
Yes. Your Renology Pure Sine Wave Inverter can convert the DC from the solar panel to AC. You will, however, only have power during the day. To ensure a continuous electricity supply at night and during overcast weather, a solar panel is necessary.
How can I tell if my Renology solar charge controller isn’t working?
The easiest way to tell if your charge controller is operating is to look at the LED lights and use a multimeter to measure the power output. There’s a problem with your charge controller if the voltage output is too low or non-existent.
RENOGY Adventurer 30A PWM Version 2.1 Flush Mount Charge Controller w-LCD Display Instruction Manual
Home » Renogy » RENOGY Adventurer 30A PWM Version 2.1 Flush Mount Charge Controller w-LCD Display Instruction Manual
- Automatic recognition for 12V or 24V system voltage.
- 30A charging capacity.
- Backlit LCD screen for displaying system operating information and data.
- Compatible with AGM, Sealed, Gel, Flooded, and Lithium batteries.
- 4 Stage PWM charging: Bulk, Boost. Float, and Equalization.
- Temperature compensation and correcting the charging and discharging parameters automatically, improve battery lifetime.
- Protection against: overcharging, over current, short-circuit, and reverse polarity. The unique USB port on the front display.
- Integrated communication port for remote monitoring
- Charges over-discharged lithium-iron-phosphate batteries
- Specifically designed for RV application and allows for aesthetically clean flush mounting on walls.
- Remote temperature compensation is compatible.
- Remote battery voltage sensor is compatible.
Identification of Parts
Adventurer Surface Mount AttachmentThe Renogy Adventurer Surface Mount will give you the option to mount the charge controller to any flat surface; circumventing the flush mount option. Screws included for the attachment Screws are included for flush mounting.
These components are not included and require a separate purchase.Remote Temperature Sensor:This sensor measures the temperature at the battery and uses this data for very accurate temperature compensation. Accurate temperature compensation is important in ensuring proper battery charging regardless of the temperature. Do Not use this sensor when charging lithium battery.
Battery Voltage Sensor (BVS):The battery voltage sensor is polarity sensitive and should be used if the adventurer will be installed with longer line runs. In longer runs, due to connection and cable resistance, there can be discrepancies in the voltages at the battery terminals. The BVS will make sure the voltage is always correct to ensure the most efficient charging.Renogy BT-1 Bluetooth Module:The BT-1 Bluetooth module is a great addition to any Renogy charge controllers with a RS232 port and is used to pair charge controllers with the Renogy DC Home App. After pairing is done you can monitor your system and change parameters directly from you cell phone or tablet. No more wondering how your system is performing, now you can see performance in real time without the need of checking on the controller’s LCD.Renogy DM-1 4G Data Module:The DM-1 4G Module is capable of connecting to select Renogy charge controllers through an RS232, and is used to pair charge controllers with Renogy 4G monitoring app. This app allows you to conveniently monitor your system and charge syeters parameters remotely from anywhere 4G LTE network service is available.
Connect battery terminal wires to the charge controller FIRST then connect the solar panel(s) to the charge controller. NEVER connect solar panel to charge controller before the battery.Do not over tighten the screw terminals. This could potentially break the piece that holds the wire to the charge controller. Refer to the technical specifications for max wire sizes on the controller and for the maximum amperage going through wires
- Choose Mounting Location—place the controller on a vertical surface protected from direct sunlight, high temperatures, and water. Make sure there is good ventilation.
- Check for Clearance—verify that there is sufficient room to run wires, as well as clearance above and below the controller for ventilation. The clearance should be at least 6 inches (150mm).
- Cut out Wall section—the recommended wall size to be cut should follow the inner protruding part of the charge controller while being careful not to go past the mounting holes. The depth should be at least 1.7 inches (43mm).
- Mark Holes
- Drill Holes
- The Adventurer comes equipped with screws for wall mounting. If they are not suitable try using Pan Head Phillips Screw 18-8 Stainless Steel M3.9 Size 25mm length screws
Secure the charge controller.
Surface Mount Attachment:The charge controller can also be mounted on a flat surface using the Adventurer Surface Mount Attachment. In order to properly mount the charge controller, there is no need to cut a section of the wall considering the charge controller can now be mounted on a flat surface using the attachment. Mark and drill holes using the four pan head Phillips screws that are provided specifically for the surface mount option.
- Unscrew battery terminals by rotating counterclockwise to open the hatch. Then connect the positive and negative battery connections in their appropriate labeled terminal. The controller will turn on upon successful connection.
- Unscrew PV terminals by rotating counterclockwise to open the hatch. Then connect the positive and negative battery connections in their appropriate labeled terminal.
- Insert temperature sensor block terminal and connect wire. It is not polarity sensitive. (Optional, requires a separate purchase).
- Insert the battery voltage sensor terminal block in the Batt Remote port. This is polarity sensitive. (Optional, requires a separate purchase).
WARNINGIf unscrewing the Battery Voltage Sensor terminal block, make sure to not mix the wires. It is polarity sensitive and may cause damage to the controller if connected incorrectly.
After connecting the battery to the charge controller, the controller will turn on automatically. Assuming normal operation, the charge controller will cycle through different display. They are as follows:
The Adventurer is an easy to use controller requiring minimal maintenance. The user is able to adjust some parameters based on the display screen. The user can manually cycle through the display screens by using the “SELECT” and “ENTER” buttons
System Status IconsChange the ParametersSimply hold the “ENTER” button for approximately 5 seconds until the display flashes. Once flashing, then press “SELECT” until the desired parameter is reached and press “ENTER” one more time to lock in the parameter. The screen must be at the appropriate interface in order to change the specific parameter.
1.Power Generation Interface Reset
Lithium Battery Activation
The Adventurer PWM charge controller has a reactivation feature to awaken a sleeping lithium battery. The protection circuit of Li-ion battery will typically turn the battery off and make it unusable if over-discharged. This can happen when storing a Li-ion pack in a discharged state for any length of time as self-discharge would gradually deplete the remaining charge. Without the wake-up feature to reactivate and recharge batteries, these batteries would become unserviceable and the packs would be discarded. The Adventurer will apply a small charge current to activate the protection circuit and if a correct cell voltage can be reached, it starts a normal charge. When using the Adventurer to charge a 24V lithium battery bank, set the system voltage to 24V instead of auto-recognition. Otherwise, the over-discharged 24V lithium battery wouldn’t be activated.
The Adventurer utilizes Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) technology for battery charging. Battery charging is a current-based process so controlling the current will control the battery voltage. For the most accurate return of capacity, and for the prevention of excessive gassing pressure, the battery is required to be controlled by specified voltage regulation set points for Absorption, Float, and Equalization charging stages. The charge controller uses automatic duty cycle conversion, creating pulses of current to charge the battery. The duty cycle is proportional to the difference between the sensed battery voltage and the specified voltage regulation set point. Once the battery reached the specified voltage range, pulse current charging mode allows the battery to react and allows for an acceptable rate of charge for the battery level.
Four Charging Stages
The Adventurerhas a 4-stage battery charging algorithm for a Rapid, efficient, and safe battery charging. They include: Bulk Charge, Boost Charge, Float Charge, and Equalization.
Bulk Charge: This algorithm is used for day to day charging. It uses 100% of available solar power to recharge the battery and is equivalent to constant current.Boost Charge: When the battery has charged to the Boost voltage set-point, it undergoesan absorption stage which is equivalent to constant voltage regulation to prevent heating and excessive gassing in the battery. The Boost time is 120 minutes.Float Charge: After Boost Charge, the controller will reduce the battery voltage to a float voltage set point. Once the battery is fully charged, there will be no more chemical reactions and all the charge current would turn into heat or gas. Because of this, the charge controller will reduce the voltage charge to smaller quantity, while lightly charging the battery. The purpose for this is to offset the power consumption while maintaining a full battery storage capacity. In the event that a load drawn from the battery exceeds the charge current, the controller will no longer be able to maintain the battery to a Float set point and the controller will end the float charge stage and refer back to bulk charging.Equalization: Is carried out every 28 days of the month. It is intentional overcharging of the battery for a controlled period of time. Certain types of batteries benefit from periodic equalizing charge, which can stir the electrolyte, balance battery voltage and complete chemical reaction. Equalizing charge increases the battery voltage, higher than the standard complement voltage, which gasifies the battery electrolyte.
Once equalization is active in the battery charging, it will not exit this stage unless there is adequate charging current from the solar panel. There should be NO load on the batteries when in equalization charging stage. Over-charging and excessive gas precipitation may damage the battery plates and activate material shedding on them. Too high of equalizing charge or for too long may cause damage. Please carefully review the specific requirements of the battery used in the system.
For best controller performance, it is recommended that these tasks be performed from time to time.
- Check that controller is mounted in a clean, dry, and ventilated area.
- Check wiring going into the charge controller and make sure there is no wire damage or wear.
- Tighten all terminals and inspect any loose, broken, or burnt up connections.
Fusing is a recommendation in PV systems to provide a safety measure for connections going from panel to controller and controller to battery. Remember to always use the recommended wire gauge size based on the PV system and the controller.
This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a class B digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:
- Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
- Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
- Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.
- Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) this device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.
Battery Charging Parameters
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