Question about charge controller LED display

Anything electric, AC or DC

Question about charge controller LED display

Postby immped64 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:14 pm

Today I completed the main part of assembling a Renogy solar panel to my Little Guy Trailer.

The sun was going down so I know that I wouldn't get any solar draw.

I have a Renogy Rover charge controller which I believe is similar to other charge controllers out there. There are 4 LED lights towards the top of the unit. From memory these lights are PV, Battery, Load and Error.

I see a solid LED for the battery but nothing else.

I am thinking that the PV LED should also be on; even though there was a lack of sunlight. I haven't found anything online to substantiate this one way or another.

I am dreading taking this apart if there is a bad wiring connection as putting it together was excruciating, but gotta do what is necessary.

Would there be anyone who might be able to confirm how the PV LED light should appear if it isn't drawing sunlight?
immped64
Teardrop Builder
 
Posts: 38
Images: 10
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:27 am

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby tony.latham » Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:51 pm

I am thinking that the PV LED should also be on; even though there was a lack of sunlight.


I'm a Renogy Adventurer man so I can't give you the final answer. But two-bits says that LED is lit by power from the PV.

Image

Drag your feet until sunup. ;)

Now, having said that, my 100-watt panel gives a reading of about 11.5 volts under the LED shop lights at night. No amps or watts of course. But, go figure. If you've got an extra bright light, you might see if you can get something to blink.

:thinking:

Tony
User avatar
tony.latham
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 3947
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby immped64 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:09 pm

I will wait until sunlight, even though it is interesting to know that you can draw solar power from another light source.

Thank you, I won't fall into despair just yet. :cry:
immped64
Teardrop Builder
 
Posts: 38
Images: 10
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:27 am
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby tony.latham » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:12 pm

immped64 wrote:I will wait until sunlight, even though it is interesting to know that you can draw solar power from another light source.

Thank you, I won't fall into despair just yet. :cry:


The manual says that when the light is out "The PV system is not charging. PV not detected."

T
User avatar
tony.latham
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 3947
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby John61CT » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:38 pm

Why have a PV light if it came on with no PV input?
John61CT
1000 Club
1000 Club
 
Posts: 1373
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby immped64 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:34 am

The PV LED is still not displaying.

As you have pointed out Tony this means that the system is not charging.

I was ready to pull the whole thing apart but ran a Renogy troubleshooting video that showed measuring voltage of the various systems to check the wiring. By taking a multimeter you would measure contacts on the controller.

Taking my new budget multimeter (which I am glad that I bought) I touched the probes against the positive and negative PV terminal screws. I read 18.8 volts. I don't know what the number should be but it was positive and not negative, that seems to show that 1) the wiring does complete a circuit and 2) the polarity is correct.

I have sent a e-mail to Renogy tech support.

Part of me wants to rip the thing apart and improve the positioning of the charge controller in the tongue box. I can't really even read the controller display as it is so tight. I tried taking a picture showing the LED display but due to the tight quarters nothing showed up. This was quite an ordeal in assembling together in the tongue box. The wire feeds come in from the bottom and I have just enough wire to attach into the controller terminals and this is all done essentially blind. If this was tilted it may be that it would be slightly more readable and accessible.

The other part of me wants to wait until I have an idea of what I am actually running into, knowing that if everything is working I will never be looking at the display anyways. If the wiring is correct but I still need to see the settings I could attach a blue tooth module (which is part of the package anyways) to configure things properly.

I will just hold on until I know what the issue is. I might do a little more study online to see if there was anything else I could do in the meanwhile. Perhaps I should install the bluetooth module and it might help me pinpoint the trouble.

I will certainly share what I find.
immped64
Teardrop Builder
 
Posts: 38
Images: 10
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:27 am
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby RJ Howell » Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:42 pm

Curious what the battery reading is? It still should take a charge at full capacity, yet don't know about Renogy's system. Happy to hear polarity is correct. That was my first thought.

If you're using the Solar on the Side, I'd disconnect from the battery and test those leads. If you're hooking up directly to the battery, then I'm certain you have it right.

Am curious what you find.
RJ Howell
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 422
Images: 34
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:08 am
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby immped64 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:44 pm

What I have been seeing for my battery reading is 12.6. This cross verified from my multimeter, on the controller display and even the bluetooth module which I just connected. On the bluetooth module it is interesting to see that at 12.6 volts the fill shows 74%.

159487

The bluetooth display shows solar panel with absolutely no activity. However I did read 18.8 volts earlier from my multimeter.

You can also see that there is no charge activity.

This is very perplexing. There doesn't appear to be any worthwhile settings to change in the bluetooth.

RJ Howell: The way the wiring routes is with the solar panel wires lead from the solar panel on the trailer's roof down to the charge controller in my tongue box. The battery cable also feeds directly into the charge controller box. In all respects the battery connection looks good. I just have no clue what is happening with the solar cable connection.
immped64
Teardrop Builder
 
Posts: 38
Images: 10
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:27 am
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby John61CT » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:15 pm

Panel voltage that high is fine, SC steps it down.

Output to battery should be 14+V

Besides Volts, get an ammeter to check the current output to the battery,
John61CT
1000 Club
1000 Club
 
Posts: 1373
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby RJ Howell » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:35 pm

immped64 wrote:What I have been seeing for my battery reading is 12.6. This cross verified from my multimeter, on the controller display and even the bluetooth module which I just connected. On the bluetooth module it is interesting to see that at 12.6 volts the fill shows 74%.

12.6 is very closet full SOC for a LA battery. I missed asking what your batteries are.. Still, you should read something from the panel.

The bluetooth display shows solar panel with absolutely no activity. However I did read 18.8 volts earlier from my multimeter.

Not unusal to get a high voltage reading when reading open voltage. It's the resistance of the battery, close to SOC, that reduces that number.


RJ Howell: The way the wiring routes is with the solar panel wires lead from the solar panel on the trailer's roof down to the charge controller in my tongue box. The battery cable also feeds directly into the charge controller box. In all respects the battery connection looks good. I just have no clue what is happening with the solar cable connection.

Okay,you have confirm polarity, connections are good, you read battery voltage and confirmed the panel is running. That only leaves the controller. Double check the connections there. I mean, use your multimeter and double check. You've done the panel, now the controller without the battery. My feeling is the controller is shot..
RJ Howell
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 422
Images: 34
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:08 am
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby RJ Howell » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:52 pm

John61CT wrote:Panel voltage that high is fine, SC steps it down.

Output to battery should be 14+V

Besides Volts, get an ammeter to check the current output to the battery,


John, not necessary true. Depends on the SOC of the battery. Meaning resistance to charge. My bank rarely goes over a reading of 13.8 while charging. I have seen higher when I draw through days of bad weather. I have also seen lower. It's all about SOC and resistance to charge. His Bluetooth unit must have a shunt involved (internal) to read amperage, so he's already there.

So I ask, what is you battery bank and what are your readings?
RJ Howell
The 300 Club
 
Posts: 422
Images: 34
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:08 am
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby tony.latham » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:11 pm

On the bluetooth module it is interesting to see that at 12.6 volts the fill shows 74%.


Same as on my Renogy app. There's some chatter on Youtube about it. Ignore it.

Output to battery should be 14+V


My VMAXTANK AGM battery outputs 13.8 at full charge. It gets charged at 14.5 or thereabouts but it doesn't output that much.

Tony
User avatar
tony.latham
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 3947
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby John61CT » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:37 pm

Well obviously in low SoC voltage is just "striving" to get to the Absorb setpoint, e.g. 14.6V or higher

But it needs to not only **get** there, but **hold** there for several hours after the CC to CV transition, in order to have any chance of getting to Full.

And if you're not reaching true 100% Full as per endAmps at least a couple times a week, AKA PSOC abuse, then

your battery bank will have a greatly reduced lifespan, need to be replaced much more frequently.

And yes not talking about output feeding loads after charging has stopped, but charging cycle voltages.
John61CT
1000 Club
1000 Club
 
Posts: 1373
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:36 pm
Top

Re: Question about charge controller LED display

Postby immped64 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:32 pm

I apologize for not getting back sooner.

I made a major humbling discovery that I believe made a huge difference, yet I am not sure I'm 100% there.

Towards the end of last week I double checked everything that I could think of with my setup. I was starting to lean towards there being an issue with the charge controller or solar panel.

The thing is the charge controller read my battery, but not the solar panel. I had a very good reading (18.8) I recall taking my multimeter to the PV LED contacts, so everything had to be getting through.

Almost as a last resort I asked myself the question. "By any chance was the voltage from solar panel to charge controller a negative polarity instead of positive?"

I again took my multimeter to the PV LED contacts. At first I was good with a positive reading. Then looking to the left of the number there was a column of different hard to understand symbols. The last one in line going down was a small horizontal straight line!

That didn't hit me as good as it should have because everything was tightened down, cut to size and VERY difficult to access in the tongue box. This was very depressing.

I loosened up everything and still almost didn't have enough slack to feed wire to the end groove of the charge controller. All the wires were frayed. I could see the residue of wires breaking free of the nests of wires. To get the wires in the charge controller grooves meant reaching down to the bottom of a tongue box with the lid in the way with only 1 inch of clearance to the bottom of the box. I had to make the birds nest of wires slide in to where the grooves were and shove as much of the wires in by feel of just 1 finger. I had to get my Dad's assistance to stretch the last wire just enough to where I could make a stab at getting this in the slot. The terminal screws are very counter intuitive. Without seeing the bottom of the connections I have no way of telling whether they are indeed tight. Somehow this all now seems to be somewhat in place.

The 1st thing that I noticed when I put everything together was that there still was no PV LED light shining. The voltage reading to the PV LED contacts dropped to a disappointing 13.2, but it was positive. :thumbsup: Then it rained several days straight. I was very ready to rip everything apart and try to get a more accessible solution to my charge controller wiring.

In coming home from work on Monday even though the whether still was off and on rain I took a look at the charge controller. I was almost elated to see the PV LED light lit up! I measured the voltage at the battery to have increased to 12.87! Each day the battery level went up a little. The last I read it was at 13 volts, but the PV LED light now is blinking. I think it is at full charge.

Today I decided I needed to do a road test to make sure all of my connections and design was stable. Besides one of the twisty ties coming loose at the solar panel (which I don't believe anything wants to adhere to the aluminum), it all held together. In looking at the charge controller, I am at least still seeing a periodic blinking, after the road test.

For now I am very pleased. I really wanted to just go out camping when I got back into the driveway.

159558

I know that I am not out of the woods yet. It really wouldn't surprise me if one of the solar wire leads comes apart when I take the trailer on a bumpy road. If this happens I will take things apart and change the solar panels positioning to a tilt instead of vertical in the tongue box. Other than that I was very pleased in the overall design. I really love the liquid tight conduit for hiding away the solar wires and not looking completely out of place. I do believe it was a much better solution than using Eternabond, especially if and when I have to try stretching out the solar panel wiring to accommodate my charge controller positioning change.

I very much appreciate the helpful input everyone has given me. Without your help and ideas I would have been way over my head. I am no pro at putting things together. I had some terribly humbling moments. This was a very good experience however. I am glad to have people to share this with!

I am anxious to find some nice campgrounds and or peaceful spots in the woods to see how well this all works.
immped64
Teardrop Builder
 
Posts: 38
Images: 10
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:27 am
Top


Return to Electrical Secrets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests