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Solar Powered Landscape Waterfall Needs Your Help!

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  • Solar Powered Landscape Waterfall Needs Your Help!

    I purchased a kit with a 12V/24V submersible 400+ gal/hour water pump and a 20W polycrystalline solar panel. The kit works fine fine during the day, but of course nothing at night. So, I added 2 12V 12Ah rechargeable batteries wired in a series for 24V, and I added a 12/24V 10amp solar charge controller. My thought was that the batteries would supply the 24V of power for the pump to produce the maximum efficiency of water flow during 2-3 hours of use in the evening, and the panels would recharge the batteries during the daytime.

    Initially the water flow was great, but over time the the flow has steadily decreased. I am assuming that the batteries are losing their charge and the panel is not recharging them so they are not producing enough current now to keep the water pump working at full capacity. The LED lights on the charge controller show that the battery charge is in the middle of their 3 light scale. I have tried leaving the pump disconnected from the controller for two days to see if the battery charge would increase. The lights are still in the same "mid" region of the display. To test it, I plugged in the water pump, but still it is not working very efficiently.

    So, being a newbie to solar energy (and electricity in general), my thought is that the solar panel is either not large enough to recharge these (2) 12V batteries, or that there are other energy elements at play, like amps and such, that are not working correctly or efficiently, or that I have totally purchase mis-matched components. the experts. Can you evaluate what I have below and let me know where I am missing components or have the wrong components in place to make this system work correctly and recharge the batteries so that the pump can utilize the the 24V from the batteries to work at its capacity, and so the batteries can efficiently be recharged during the day?

    Here are the listed ratings of the products that I purchased so far:

    (2) 12 Volt 12 Amp 20 Hour Sealed Rechargeable Lead Acid Battery With "F2" Style Terminals

    (1) Solar Charge Controller -
    Rated voltage: 12V or 24V
    • Rated charging current: 10A
    • Rated load current: 10A
    • Over Charging Voltage: 14V / 28V
    • Over Charging Revover Voltage:13.2V/26.4V
    • Floating Charging Voltage:13.2V/26.4V
    • Over Discharging Voltage:10.8V/21.6V
    • Over Discharging Recover Voltagey: 12.3V/24.6V
    • Load over-voltage:16.5V/34V
    • Load over recover voltage:15V/30V
    • Max Solar Battery Open circuit voltage:25V/36V
    (1) Solar Powered Submersible Water Pump Kit
    • Pump features - Brushless Magnetic motor - fully subersibel - 20,000+ hour life, removable filter
    • Operating Voltage 12-24V - 16 foot long cable - includes 3 nozzle spray patterns
    • Max. Flow Rate - 259GPH @ 12V/356GPH @ 18V/412GPH @ 24V - Max current 1.57A - Open circuit Voltage 20.88V - Short circuit current 1.37A
    • 20 watt polycrystalline solar panel - Max voltage 17.28V - Max current 1.157A - Open circuit Voltage 20.88V - Short circit current 1.37A
    • Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • #2
    You are using a 12 volt panel to charge 24 volt system. get those batteries charged ASAP. and get another similar panel and wire them in series.


    • #3
      Do yo know how many watts or amps the pump motor is using at a specific voltage?
      Solar panel size and battery size (ah) needed depends on the load.
      How many hours per day do you want to operate this.
      Where did you buy the solar pump, any model number, etc etc so someone can look the data up?

      Wire your batteries in parallel to keep it at 12 volt and this would charge your battery, your solar panel is a 12 volt nominal panel. I do not know if the capacity of the battery is enough to power the pump all knight long nor do I know if the panel is big enough to charge the battery properly without knowing the load (amps/watts) of the pump motor.
      Or you could also get a second same panel and wire the panels and also the batteries in series to make 24 volts, but here again the load info must be known to make sure that the panels and the batteries are sized properly.

      Hook your charge controller to the batteries first, then hook the solar panel to the charge controller or it could damage the charge controller.
      Disconnecting is the reverse. Disconnect the panel first and then the battery.
      Avoid any shade or you will not be charging.

      Your sealed battery,,,,is it by any chance a AGM battery? If yes, does your charge controller support AGM battery charging?


      • #4
        How expensive would it be to run some AC (or even low voltage DC using landscape wire) to the waterfall location?
        Once you add batteries into the power mix for the pump your cost for power suddenly jumps to up to ten times as much as you would pay the power company over the same period of time.
        SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.