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  • MPPT controller never shows charging

    I have an 80W Gioco GSP polycrystalline solar panel and a Epever Tracer 1210A controller connected to a 320 (2 x 180) Ah AGM battery system on my sailing boat.

    I have tested the solar panel with a multimeter and when disconnected from the charger I got readings of 12V and approximately 6A which seems as expected.

    I have connected the batteries to the controller, adjusted to battery type to GEL and then connected the solar panel.

    The controller shows that the solar panel is connected but it never shows it putting charge into the batteries. My battery voltage has always been over 12V and therefore higher than the solar output voltage.

    In addition to the solar panel, I also have the engine alternator, a 240V battery charger system, a low power inverter and a NASA BM2 battery monitor with 200A shunt. All devices are connected to the shunt and only the shunt is connected directly to the battery negative.

    My tests were carried out without the engine running and with the shorepower (240V) disconnected, although the batteries were always above 12V.

    I would appreciate any assistance in resolving this.

    The controller is designated as positive earth and the boat is negative earth however I wasadvised that this was not an issue when I purchased the system.

  • #2
    If your solar panel is only outputting 12 volts it can't charge your 12 volt battery. You need higher than 12 volts to push current into the battery. Sounds like your panel might have a problem. Typical 12 volt nominal panels are 36 cells (Is yours?) and have an open circuit voltage of 21 - 22.5 volts, with a Vmp. of 17.5- 18
    2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ningaloo View Post
      .......
      The controller is designated as positive earth and the boat is negative earth however I was advised that this was not an issue when I purchased the system.
      If they put that in writing, you would have a case to return it, otherwise, invite them to sketch out how that is going to work.

      For a MPPT controller to charge a 12v battery at 15V, the panel Vmp should be at least 25V, 30V is better. The MPPT magic converts higher voltage to a lower voltage and higher amps. Without the higher voltage to work with, it's going to do little. Generally MPPT becomes cost effective in systems over 300w.

      Take heart, missing your 80W, is not much of an impact.

      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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      • #4
        This is the specification of the panel. And I'm guessing that it has 20 cells...

        Are you saying that this is not going to be capable of charging a 12V battery system?

        gioco.png
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Vmax of 10.4V is not going to charge a 12V battery that needs 15V to be fully recharged
          Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
          || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
          || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

          solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
          gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

          Comment


          • #6
            Controller issues aside, if you have a second panel you can put the panels in series to get the vintage you need...

            But sounds like you need a new controller anyway, so I'd look at a bigger panel with higher Vmp and a negative common controller. Preferably mppt if you can get your panel voltage up over 20 volts.

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            • #7
              Thanks for all your assistance. I appreciate that 80W may not sound much, but the area available for the panel is only 900x700 so I can't fit anything much larger and my primary need is to keep the 320Ah batteries topped up when sailing or at anchor. Main current draw is an intermittent 4-5A from the fridge, and to 2-4A from the autopilot if I am using it..
              I am now planning to replace the Gioco panel with a 100W panel from www.portablepowertech.com which has the following specs:

              [B]Peak power:[/B] 100W
              [B]Maximum power voltage:[/B] 20.2V
              [B]Maximum power current:[/B] 4.95A
              [B]Open circuit voltage:[/B] 23.9V
              [B]Short circuit current:[/B] 5.25A
              [B]Power allowance range:[/B] +/- 5%
              [B]Dimensions:[/B] 860*665*4 mm
              [B]Weight:[/B] 3.65 kg

              Hopefully this sounds better?

              PITA because the old panel is glued to the deck and will leave a mess of mastic to remove.

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              • #8
                That will get your voltage high enough to charge at least, but I have concerns that a single 100W panel won't be able to keep up to a fridge. As long as you're topping up with engine and/or shorepower it's going to be a lot better than it was at least

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