Answered

How to "turn off" or disconnect MPPT Tracer Solar Charge Con

Posted by ricamiller

Oct 19, 2018 at 2:46pm

Hi there,


According to tech support, when I am storing my truck camper with no loads on the batteries, I am supposed to "turn off" or disconnect the solar charging system.


How do I "turn off" solar charging?


Do I disconnect the wires on the MPPT controller?


Is this really the procedure that I do every time I want to use the truck camper?


Thanks,

Ric

Posted by tattoo

Oct 19, 2018 at 3:34pm

ricamiller Avatar

Oct 19, 2018 at 2:46pm ricamiller said:

Hi there,


According to tech support, when I am storing my truck camper with no loads on the batteries, I am supposed to "turn off" or disconnect the solar charging system.


How do I "turn off" solar charging?


Do I disconnect the wires on the MPPT controller?


Is this really the procedure that I do every time I want to use the truck camper?


That's BS..... Why should you unhook the solar system? What was there reason to do so? What does it hurt?


Now with that said do you have a Li battery? If so they are very finicky.....


If it was me I'd keep everything hooked up to keep the batteries at the fullest and at the highest performance....

Posted by bupkis

Oct 19, 2018 at 4:29pm

ricamiller, solar makes a great maintainer. For long term storage I might consider reducing absorption time to 30 minutes, during active use I would use 3-4 hrs. leaving equalization time to 2 hrs every 30 days.

you should disconnect any parasite or idle loads like CO/Propane detector or fridge 12v brain in storage.

Posted by ricamiller

Oct 20, 2018 at 8:57am

Hi there,

Thanks for your replies.

I contacted tech support because I was plugged into shore power for three weeks and my batteries boiled out all the water from overcharging.

I asked tech support about this and was told that both shore power and solar both continue charging even when the batteries are full so to only use shore power when the batteries are low. Also disconnect solar when my camper is stored as the batteries will overcharge in this situation too.

That is why I am asking about proper way to disconnect solar. I can only conclude that the way to disconnect is to disconnect the wires from the MPPT solar controller, although this seems odd to me. Shouldn't there be a switch if this is to be a common procedure?

I also need to remove my batteries for testing purposes and according to the manual, the solar panels should never be connected unless the batteries are. I would guess that if I need to remove the batteries, then I need to disconnect the solar panels first by removing the wires from the MPPT solar controller. Is that right? Do I have to worry about power flowing thru the solar panel wires and danger of shock? Should I throw a tarp over the panels or do this at night?

Thanks,
Ric

Posted by ricamiller

Oct 20, 2018 at 8:57am

BTW these are two lead acid, flooded batteries.

Posted by tattoo

Oct 20, 2018 at 9:08am

ricamiller Avatar

Oct 20, 2018 at 8:57am ricamiller said:

Hi there,

Thanks for your replies.

I contacted tech support because I was plugged into shore power for three weeks and my batteries boiled out all the water from overcharging.

I asked tech support about this and was told that both shore power and solar both continue charging even when the batteries are full so to only use shore power when the batteries are low.


No they don't charge the same at all, that's why you have a Charge Controller... It regulates the power... It's nothing like when it's plugged into an AC outlet.. I hate the word shore power.. Well if your on a boat it would be shore power.....


So going by what they told you I guess your solar is charging all night also? Right? NO........


Now fill your batteries up and see if you have killed them....

Posted by tattoo

Oct 20, 2018 at 9:14am

ricamiller Avatar

Oct 20, 2018 at 8:57am ricamiller said:

Hi there,

Thanks for your replies.

That is why I am asking about proper way to disconnect solar. I can only conclude that the way to disconnect is to disconnect the wires from the MPPT solar controller, although this seems odd to me. Shouldn't there be a switch if this is to be a common procedure?


You don't have to have a switch but it's real nice to have.... I have 3 of them... One on the panels one from the CC to the batteries and one from the batteries to the inverter..... I also have fuses..... Not counting what's coming from the inverter....


I wouldn't unhook the solar while it's setting..... It will be just fine...

Posted by tattoo

Oct 20, 2018 at 9:20am

ricamiller Avatar

Oct 20, 2018 at 8:57am ricamiller said:

Hi there,
I also need to remove my batteries for testing purposes and according to the manual, the solar panels should never be connected unless the batteries are. I would guess that if I need to remove the batteries, then I need to disconnect the solar panels first by removing the wires from the MPPT solar controller. Is that right? Do I have to worry about power flowing thru the solar panel wires and danger of shock? Should I throw a tarp over the panels or do this at night?


It depends on if you can look in the top of your batteries weather you need to remove them or not.... I don't unhook them when I check them with my Hydrometer or add water to them....


I do that first thing in the morning before the sun gets up on the panels...


If you unhook the panels just put the wires to the side and don't let the ends touch.... You will be just fine...

Posted by tattoo

Oct 20, 2018 at 9:34am

ricamiller Avatar

Oct 20, 2018 at 8:57am ricamiller said:

 I also need to remove my batteries for testing purposes and according to the manual, the solar panels should never be connected unless the batteries are.


Well even that's not true anymore..... Now it's ok to hook up a totally dead or off Li battery to some CC.....


I'm really glad I started with and bought the old tried and true solar system.... I'm not totally sold on the new solar.... Way to many problems...

Posted by ricamiller

Oct 20, 2018 at 9:44am

Hi there,

Thank you for replying.

I checked them after the incident I had two weeks ago.

I bought my camper used about 2 years ago with the solar installation already done. It has always worked great and I have never seen the ("idiot light") gage read anything but fully charged. I have a Xantrex monitor, but I think a wire must be disconnected as it always reads 100% full but doesn't give and amp or voltage reading.

I was at a friends house for three weeks helping him renovate his house so I plugged in for three weeks. Haven't been plugged in this long before - only 3-4 days at a time and the battery system was fine before I plugged in this time.

After I left from Nor Cal to So Cal and camped in the sierras, I had my laptop plugged into the inverter which started squealing. I checked the idiot light gage and it was at 50%. I checked the water in the batteries the next day and ended up adding 1.5 gallons to two batteries.

Over the course of the next week of travelling, I was never able to get the batteries above 50% thru solar charging and even plugged in one night.

Now, the camper has been parked outside in storage for about a week and the batteries (according to the idiot light gage) are fully charged even under load of all the lights being on. The Renogy MPPT tracer monitor has a blinking green light on the Battery Status which means "fully charged".

Maybe the batteries are OK. I can get a hydrometer but thought I would take them to a battery place that could test them, hence I thought I might need to remove them.

Regardless, I need to remove the batteries anyways because I think my Xantrex monitor is not working as I see a disconnected wire behind the batteries but can't reconnect without removing the batteries to see what is going on.

So thanks for your note that I can just unhook the wires to the panels then remove the batteries. I will do that, get the batteries checked, and hopefully get the Xantrex monitor working.

I am not an expert which is why I asked Renogy tech support for answers. It doesn't make sense to me either that the charge controller won't prevent the batteries from overcharging, but something boiled a lot of water out of my batteries that were working fine previously.

Just trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Thanks,
Ric

Posted by tattoo

Oct 20, 2018 at 10:24am

It worked just fine for two years so why change things now.... The problem started because you never added water to the batteries.... So check your batteries every month or at least every other month...

Buy a hydrometer and a multi meter if you don't have one now. If the battery place you take them to doesn't have a Hydrometer don't waste time and money by leaving it with them.... That's the way you check them properly....... Take them home and when the hydrometer gets there check it yourself it's real easy....

Posted by ricamiller

Oct 20, 2018 at 2:31pm

Hi there,

Turns out I have two 6 volt lead acid batteries in series.

I measured about 1.27 specific gravity in all 3 cells in each battery.

I disconnected the batteries and measured about 6.5 volts on each.

I connected them both up, turned on all the lights, furnace, water pump, and 2000 watt inverter and measured 12.5 volts at the battery connection at the bottom of the Renogy MPPT Tracer solar controller.

How does that sound?

I did find two disconnected wires in the battery box that go from the shunt to the Xantrex battery monitor. Still doesn't work though.

It says 100% but when you press on the individual volt or amp button it say 0 unless you press the % button, then it says 100%.

Even my idiot lights work better than that.

Thanks,
Ric

Posted by bupkis

Oct 21, 2018 at 6:44am

I was as clear as I could be so I'll try this.

find what your brand/model of batteries - care and maintenance - requires from the maker and see which more closely matches the charging part of that, solar charge controller or on board charger. If the onboard charger is a WFCO, I'd likely rarely use it.

Happy trails.

Posted by tattoo

Oct 21, 2018 at 7:22am

ricamiller Avatar

Oct 20, 2018 at 2:31pm ricamiller said:

Hi there,

Turns out I have two 6 volt lead acid batteries in series.

I measured about 1.27 specific gravity in all 3 cells in each battery.

I disconnected the batteries and measured about 6.5 volts on each.

I connected them both up, turned on all the lights, furnace, water pump, and 2000 watt inverter and measured 12.5 volts at the battery connection at the bottom of the Renogy MPPT Tracer solar controller.

How does that sound?



That sounds great, It sounds like the batteries are just fine and 2 6v batteries are great.... I'll bet they are heavy duty...

Posted by ricamiller

Oct 21, 2018 at 11:29am

Hi there,

Yes, they are deep cycle 230 ah 6 volt batteries.

You mentioned that you have three switches on your system - " One on the panels one from the CC to the batteries and one from the batteries to the inverter".

Do you know what type they are? Are they DC circuit breaker? Do you have specs on them or link to Amazon?

Thanks,
Ric



Posted by tattoo

Oct 21, 2018 at 11:56am

ricamiller Avatar

Oct 21, 2018 at 11:29am ricamiller said:

Hi there,

Yes, they are deep cycle 230 ah 6 volt batteries.

You mentioned that you have three switches on your system - " One on the panels one from the CC to the batteries and one from the batteries to the inverter".

Do you know what type they are? Are they DC circuit breaker? Do you have specs on them or link to Amazon?

Thanks,
Ric


I bought them at Cabelas. They are for a boat power shut off... They are red and well made....

Posted by bupkis

Oct 22, 2018 at 9:11am

blue sea has a line of disconnects or breakers that have switch.

switches www.bluesea.com/products/category/11/Manual_Battery_Switches

breaker like of various ratings www.bluesea.com/products/7180/285-Series_Circuit_Breaker_-_Surface_Mount_25A

Posted by ricamiller

Oct 22, 2018 at 10:06am

Thanks for your replies and references Bupkis!

Posted by tattoo

Oct 22, 2018 at 10:48am

ricamiller Avatar

Oct 22, 2018 at 10:06am ricamiller said:

Thanks for your replies


The M series is what I have...

Posted by grumpy

Oct 23, 2018 at 11:56am

bupkis Avatar

Oct 22, 2018 at 9:11am bupkis said:

blue sea has a line of disconnects or breakers that have switch.

switches www.bluesea.com/products/category/11/Manual_Battery_Switches

breaker like of various ratings www.bluesea.com/products/7180/285-Series_Circuit_Breaker_-_Surface_Mount_25A


Good information bupkis, I installed the HD series Battery Switch and extensively used the series 285 circuit breakers.

Posted by bupkis

Oct 23, 2018 at 12:36pm

Hi grumpy, used those on several installs. A while ago I found their very simple battery post/terminal disconnect

www.bluesea.com/products/category/11/126/Manual_Battery_Switches/Battery_Mount_Switches

less than $15
www.explosivepowersports.com/blue-sea-5990-battery-switch-on-off-terminal-mount-5990/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjbveBRDVARIsAKxH7vmHY_pjl-Yd27TqIPyEXiMZP_pWOfCYOMIbfWYm2QTHnRvg-2n44aAaAmQPEALw_wcB

Posted by grumpy

Oct 23, 2018 at 1:48pm

bupkis Avatar

Oct 23, 2018 at 12:36pm bupkis said:

Hi grumpy, used those on several installs. A while ago I found their very simple battery post/terminal disconnect

www.bluesea.com/products/category/11/126/Manual_Battery_Switches/Battery_Mount_Switches

less than $15
www.explosivepowersports.com/blue-sea-5990-battery-switch-on-off-terminal-mount-5990/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjbveBRDVARIsAKxH7vmHY_pjl-Yd27TqIPyEXiMZP_pWOfCYOMIbfWYm2QTHnRvg-2n44aAaAmQPEALw_wcB


Interesting battery switches, could have saved me a few $$ instead of using 300 amp breakers.
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