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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Connect solar charge controller to converter output?

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AndyfromTucson

Tucson Arizona

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Posted: 12/10/11 12:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My converter is in a space right under my refrigerator. I was thinking the easiest way to install my new solar panel would be to run the wires down through the refrigerator vent, install the solar charge controller next to the converter, and then wire the output of the solar charge controller to the output terminals of the converter (instead of running separate wires all the way from the charge controller to the battery). I figure the wiring from the converter to the batteries is already sized to handle the amps. Does this seem feasible?

2oldman

North Platte

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Posted: 12/10/11 12:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's fine, as long as the converter isn't on at the same time.

RLS7201

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Posted: 12/10/11 01:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did exactly what you purpose. I used a Rouge charge controller that plays well with other electrical sources. Both charge controller & converter are on line at the same time with no problem. Not all solar charge controllers play well with others, so ask that question when purchasing.

Richard

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 12/10/11 01:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It is sometimes better to have the controller close to the batteries so the controller gets a better idea of battery voltage for deciding on when to adjust its charging.

If your controller is a simple PWM type like mine, there is nothing to see except a red light, so nothing is lost by having it out of sight up by the batteries. You can monitor the voltage inside the rig with a voltmeter when you get the urge.

In that case, you can run the wires from the panel down the vent and onto the ends of the battery wires at the Dc fuse panel lugs by the converter, and put the controller at the other end of those wires right by the batteries.

Part (most?) of the converter to battery neg path is via the frame, so where you put the controller will determine which side of the controller's wiring will have the frame in its neg path. Not sure it matters--"depends" I suppose.

The controller pos wire should have a fuse on its battery post end, but if you run the controller pos wire to one of the other fuses like for the converter or jacks or slide, it can share that one.

* This post was edited 12/10/11 01:58pm by BFL13 *


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12thgenusa

Lakewood, Colorado

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Posted: 12/10/11 03:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

The controller pos wire should have a fuse on its battery post end, but if you run the controller pos wire to one of the other fuses like for the converter or jacks or slide, it can share that one.

Wouldn't you always want the fuse to be as close to the output of the controller as possible?


Dave & Gean

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2009 Cougar 245RKS
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pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/10/11 04:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

No, the fuse should be at the battery end. The panels and controller produce far fewer watts than a battery shorting out. The fuse is to protect the wire.


Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, Magnum 3000 watt PSW inverter.

12thgenusa

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Posted: 12/11/11 07:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So if there is a catastrophic fuse right at the battery and the battery output goes to a terminal buss to which the controller is also connected, is there even a need for an additional fuse on the controller wire?

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 12/11/11 07:43am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is what I meant by sharing the fuse. Can't say it is the proper thing to do because of all the different size fuses available to share with. The solar amps is low but some fuse amps that you might share with are larger than the solar "needs," but I do it anyway.

I figure if the battery is going to be the culprit the amps will be huge so it doesn't matter if the fuse protecting the solar wire is "too big" but I am no electrician.

Be interested in getting the forum experts' comments on that.

pianotuna

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Posted: 12/11/11 08:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi 12thgenusa,

The catastrophic failure fuse should be rated at what the wire it is protecting can safely carry. If you choose to wire in at the converter the wire from the controller to the converter needs to be the same size as that which goes from the converter to the battery bank. I would not personally do it that way.

On my balanced battery system the catastrophic failure fuse is at the buss and was wired that way by a licensed wind and solar knowledgeable electrician.

The "house" feeds on my RV are protected by two automatic circuit breakers. One in the main battery bank area, and an additional circuit breaker near the converter.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 12/11/11 10:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is a really good explanation and has examples for the buss situation too. Looks like I might need to re-visit my set-up, not sure if it is ok now.

http://www.bcae1.com/fuses.htm

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