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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Battery (really solar panel) Disconnect Question

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Powertour

Nevada

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Posted: 10/16/19 07:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Would like to put a simple battery disconnect switch between my charge controller & the house batteries vs between the rooftop solar panel & the charge controller.

Any potential issues doing it this way?


Back Story: Solar was installed prior to me owning the coach & the way it was done leaves me no good access to put a disconnect switch between the solar panel & the controller, at least not without turning this want into a major project, which I'd like to avoid if I can.


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BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 10/16/19 07:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some controllers can be damaged by leaving them connected to the array side and disconnecting the battery side. Check the controller's manual on that. Eg, Morningstar warns about it.


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2oldman

Ca

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Posted: 10/16/19 07:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would try to avoid that.

phemens

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Posted: 10/16/19 07:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I installed battery disconnects between the array and the controllers, and a single disconnect switch between a busbar serving accessories (MPPT, inverter, etc) and the battery bank. That gives me full flexibility.


2012 Dutchman Denali 324LBS behind a 2006 Ford F-250 V10 out of Montreal
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Sam Spade

North Central Florida

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Posted: 10/16/19 08:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK, gotta ask.
Under what conditions would you need or want to disconnect the solar charging equipment from the batteries.....except for maintenance maybe ??
Well designed equipment should cause no problem if left connected 24/7.


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Posted: 10/16/19 09:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will likely ruin the charge controller. I have not seen a controller that does not warm to not have a battery hooked up before connecting the solar panel.

That said, I have accidentally hooked up the panel with no battery with no damage to the controller. I do not know what the issue is or what can go wrong, but imagine without a battery there that the voltage levels can spike too high. The battery is able to absorb any stray voltages or odd voltages into its storage capacity rather than all that spike go into the electronics.

You will have to either put the switch between the panel and the controller, or not put any switches in.

Another option is to put cardboard or plywood over the panel (give it a few mins to depower) and then it should be safe to disconnect, or do this at night when there is no sun to power the panel. Don't let the cover blow off though.

I have a truck camper with the batteries on the truck, not the camper. When I would remove the camper then there were no batteries, so I put in a small exit sign battery that I could switch over to that the panel had a battery still connected, this was a post-controller switch.
Since then I have replaced the little battery with a regular marine battery, but still use the switch for the panel that is not usually connected to that camper battery.

MDKMDK

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Posted: 10/16/19 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just replaced my dying factory FLA batteries with 2 X 100Ah LiFePO4 units. To do this, I had to disconnect the batteries while the controller was up and running and it was a sunny day. I actually considered pulling the 3 rooftop panel connectors out of the 3 way combiner, but after consulting Winnebago Tech Support, they said no need.
My system is a factory installed Zamp Solar setup, 3 X 100W panels and the ZS-30A PWM controller. When all was reconnected, everything is up and running with no apparent ill effects. So, I'm going to *assume* this charge controller doesn't care if you disconnect the batteries, either at the battery terminals manually, or with an added disconnect switch. Which I didn't add. Never ocurred to me to add one.
Just in case you've got the same, or similar, setup.


Mike.
2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 JKU (sold @ ????)
2016 Sunstar 26HE, V10, 3V, 6 Speed (sold @ 4600 miles)
2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)

Powertour

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Posted: 10/16/19 09:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yeah the charge controller I inherited with this setup is a Chinese LMS unit.

I don't see anything in the sparse (key word) documentation that says to avoid having panels wired to the controller unit if you don't have a battery bank wired up/connected at the same time.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 10/16/19 10:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Powertour wrote:

Yeah the charge controller I inherited with this setup is a Chinese LMS unit.

I don't see anything in the sparse (key word) documentation that says to avoid having panels wired to the controller unit if you don't have a battery bank wired up/connected at the same time.


From the LMS manual:

Caution: For secure installation, must follow below connect sequence: First battery, second load, and the last photovoltaic panel.
…………………………………………………………………

Powertour

Nevada

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Posted: 10/16/19 10:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

Powertour wrote:

Yeah the charge controller I inherited with this setup is a Chinese LMS unit.

I don't see anything in the sparse (key word) documentation that says to avoid having panels wired to the controller unit if you don't have a battery bank wired up/connected at the same time.


From the LMS manual:

Caution: For secure installation, must follow below connect sequence: First battery, second load, and the last photovoltaic panel.
…………………………………………………………………


Appreciate you pointing that out.... the only manual I'd found online didn't reference that.

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