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120 watt Mono Crystalline Solar Panel Blowing Charge Controller

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  • 120 watt Mono Crystalline Solar Panel Blowing Charge Controller

    Hi,


    I bought a 120 Watt Mono Crystalline PV Solar Panel off Ebay from a reputable seller a couple of years ago for camping although I'm yet to get it working properly. I also bought a PWM 10 amp charge controller although as soon as I plugged the solar panel in it burnt the controller out. Believing the controller to be faulty I bought another off Ebay as they're only 13. Again it blew the controller. Although when I took the controller apart to check the damage I notice this time the controller had a fuse so rather than burn the controller out it blew the fuse. The fuse is not replaceable as it's soldered to the PCB board.

    My setup is simple. I've connected the controller to my car battery that's still connected to my car and the the solar panel is connected to the charge controller and obviously the supply outlet is connected to provide pover to my appliances, i.e laptop, phone chargers, light chargers.

    I bought the panel soley for camping so I could feed from the car battery and keep it topped up with the solar panel. When I've checked the output of the solar panel with a multimeter it's outputting 21/22 volts. Give the charge controller says it 12/24 volt I wouldn't have thought it would have caused the blowing of the charge controller.


    Any suggestions please as I'm off camping again next week and I'd ideally like to get this solar panel working



    Cheers Ian

  • #2
    Have you checked the voltage coming from the MC4 leads.. using a multi-meter set at higher than 20 volts DC.. you should be at about 19 volts or so form the short leads.. (should be near the VOC numbers in good sun)..

    This will also confirm the HOT/COLD leads for you.. some overseas mfg's have in the past had wires mislabled..

    The panel specs should be on the back on a sticker.. the amps should be there also.. like 5-6 VMP.. and a higher number for ISC..

    A $26 charge controller does not sound good to me.. I wouldn't go less than $50 for one..(about 26 of L)

    Maybe a Morningstar SunSaver 10 would work for you.. they make a 12v model.. its like $48 US..
    1160 watts, Midnite 150 , Xantrex SW2000

    Comment


    • #3
      Ian my educated guess is you connected the either the battery or the panel reverse polarity. I assume you connected the battery before the panel right? When you connect the battery you should see the controller come to life.
      MSEE, PE

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      • #4
        Thank you for your replies guys, and here's the following labelled spec of the solar panel itself.



        Model:
        SV120-24-M

        Maximum system voltage 1000V
        Maximum power intensity (Imp) 4.84A
        Short circuit current (Isc) 5.26A
        Maximum power point (Vmp) 25-20V
        Open circuit voltage (Voc) 30.73V
        Maximum power (Pmax) 120W


        I've taken on board what's been said, and yes it's possible that I may have reversed polarity the connection.

        Checking the polarity of the solar panel itself, with the multimeter's red probe connected to the solar panel's negative and the multimeter's black probe connected to the solar panels positive I get negative polarity. In short red on red and black on black results in positive polarity. But black on red and red on black results in negative polarity.

        Hope this helps.


        Cheers ian

        Comment


        • #5
          Update: I checked the car battery terminals with a friend yesterday as I'm colourblind and I definitely did not reverse polarity the controller with the batery, I'm questioning the quality of the controller as I can't remember it coming to life when I wire it to the battery and I noticed that even though it was a 10 amp controller it had a 30 amp internal fuse.

          I wondering if I just so happen to have bought 2 dodgy controllers as I agree that 12 is a bit cheap. I did wire the battery first as it states to wire the battery before the panel.

          I'm now contemplating buy a more expensive 30 amp controller although I seriously don't want to bugger that one. My questions are how do I find what wire is hot ( live) with a multimeter and would running an inline 10 amp fuse betweeen the solar panel and controller protect the controlle from reverse polarity?



          Help much appreciated

          Cheers

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ian Holl View Post
            ... would running an inline 10 amp fuse betweeen the solar panel and controller protect the controlle from reverse polarity?

            Help much appreciated

            Cheers
            As a general rule, fuses will protect semiconductor electronics (almost everything these days) from catching fire and burning your house down, but are far too slow acting to be of any help at all in protecting the electronics themselves from meltdown. Anything which really protects the electronic components will be in the form of self-protection designed in at the start (and costing more than 12) or a crowbar circuit that sacrifices itself to cause the fuse to blow (also usually costing more than 12). Fuses are at their best in protecting wires.
            SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ian Holl View Post
              ... I've taken on board what's been said, and yes it's possible that I may have reversed polarity the connection. ..
              I've encountered cheap controllers that were actually wired internally with the wrong polarity to begin with, or the quick-connect adapters had reversed polarity too. So you may be doing everything right, but the quality control of the cheap end makes you trace every polarity up to and including the internal wiring yourself.

              Comment


              • #8
                Agreed

                Originally posted by PNjunction View Post
                I've encountered cheap controllers that were actually wired internally with the wrong polarity to begin with, or the quick-connect adapters had reversed polarity too. So you may be doing everything right, but the quality control of the cheap end makes you trace every polarity up to and including the internal wiring yourself.
                Agreed, I've noticed the charge controller that I bought 2 of and had both fail are now on Ebay for 10 with free delivery from China For that price they can only be junk. I did a little digging around and although a Chinese Steca 'rip off', the Pangfusun 30 amp PR3030 seems to be a good buy, so I bought one from a reputable seller for 65.

                I would have bought a Steca, but for almost twice the price I couldn't warrant it. The Pangfusun's specification states that it has reverse polarity protection and an electronic fuse so time will tell.

                Both the battery's polarity and my solar panel's polarity have both cheeked out to be correct, and given that I triple checked the connections before conecting up the controller, (battery 1st), I can only assume that the controllers were indeed reverse polarity wired.

                Now I'm learning abit about solar panels I see the 120 panel I bought 2 years ago has a poor amp output that's not that much better than a 80 watt I think I will have to see for myself what it outputs when I get it wired.

                Hopefully the new 30 amp controller I ordered will do the job. I know it's overkill although I wanted to futureproof the controller in case I later decide to add more panels.



                Cheers Ian

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ian Holl View Post
                  Thank you for your replies guys, and here's the following labelled spec of the solar panel itself.



                  Model:
                  SV120-24-M

                  Maximum system voltage 1000V
                  Maximum power intensity (Imp) 4.84A
                  Short circuit current (Isc) 5.26A
                  Maximum power point (Vmp) 25-20V
                  Open circuit voltage (Voc) 30.73V
                  Maximum power (Pmax) 120W


                  I've taken on board what's been said, and yes it's possible that I may have reversed polarity the connection.

                  Checking the polarity of the solar panel itself, with the multimeter's red probe connected to the solar panel's negative and the multimeter's black probe connected to the solar panels positive I get negative polarity. In short red on red and black on black results in positive polarity. But black on red and red on black results in negative polarity.

                  Hope this helps.


                  Cheers ian
                  Panel voltage is to high for the 12v controller. This panel is designed for grid tied systems. If you want to us this panel on a 12v system you will most likely need to find a MPPT controller.

                  WWW

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ian Holl View Post
                    Maximum system voltage 1000V
                    Maximum power intensity (Imp) 4.84A
                    Short circuit current (Isc) 5.26A
                    Maximum power point (Vmp) 25-20V
                    Open circuit voltage (Voc) 30.73V
                    Maximum power (Pmax) 120W
                    For your purposes you want a panel with an Vmp of 18 volts or so. Cheap controllers may not be able to handle the higher voltage.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by billvon View Post
                      For your purposes you want a panel with an Vmp of 18 volts or so. Cheap controllers may not be able to handle the higher voltage.
                      And since the charge controller may at some point be delivering very little current to the battery, Voc is the critical thing to look at, especially when the panels are cold. Bill is telling you that with a Vmp of 18, the Voc will probably be OK too, but it does not hurt to look at the detailed specs to confirm.
                      SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by inetdog View Post
                        And since the charge controller may at some point be delivering very little current to the battery, Voc is the critical thing to look at, especially when the panels are cold. Bill is telling you that with a Vmp of 18, the Voc will probably be OK too, but it does not hurt to look at the detailed specs to confirm.
                        So does this mean the Fangpusun PR3030 isn't any good either? So what you're saying it's the VMP that's been burning out the cheap charge controllers and not negative polarity.

                        I'm stumped because I've bought the above charge controller although that too may be no good


                        The spec of the Fangpusun PR3030:

                        http://www.pvsolarchina.com/fangpusu...ontroller.html


                        Cheers Ian
                        Last edited by Ian Holl; 07-17-2012, 05:28 AM. Reason: Added additional information

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ian Holl View Post
                          So does this mean the Fangpusun PR3030 isn't any good either? So what you're saying it's the VMP that's been burning out the cheap charge controllers and not negative polarity.

                          I'm stumped because I've bought the above charge controller although that too may be no good


                          The spec of the Fangpusun PR3030:

                          http://www.pvsolarchina.com/fangpusu...ontroller.html


                          Cheers Ian
                          The Fangpusun PR3030 is probably covered by this limit, although the table is a little strange. My assumption is that it applies to all models:

                          "Open circuit Voltage solar panel <47V"
                          Note that it refers specifically to Voc, not Vmp.

                          Since 30.8 is below 47 and since even at cold temperatures the output of the panel you have will probably not go above 47, you *should* be OK.
                          SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by inetdog View Post
                            The Fangpusun PR3030 is probably covered by this limit, although the table is a little strange. My assumption is that it applies to all models:

                            "Open circuit Voltage solar panel <47V"
                            Note that it refers specifically to Voc, not Vmp.

                            Since 30.8 is below 47 and since even at cold temperatures the output of the panel you have will probably not go above 47, you *should* be OK.



                            Thank you for the reply. Hopefully the controller will handle it. But looking at the specification of the panel I've currently got and its size I might in the long run sell it and change it for an 80 watt folding type as its for camping, and if the wattage and size of my current solar panel isn't going to give me a significant advantage over the smaller more efficient 80 watt type it's time to sell the 120 watt panel.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              *** solved ***

                              Tonight I wired up my new Fangpusun 30A controller by the book, ensuring I wired the battery, solar panel and then the load. However, the controller showed an error code of reverse polarity Suddenly the penny dropped! I dug out my 'probe and tone' and tested the continuity of the negative and positive of the so called 'idiot proof' connections of a solar panel cable kit which I purchased from Maplins and it turns out that part of the connecting extension cable has been manufactured reverse polarity by mistake Argghhhh!!!!!


                              Problem solved!



                              Thanks to all who have helped with this thread.

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