B2B using Solar PWM controller - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 09:18:AM Thread Starter
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B2B using Solar PWM controller

Hello,

I have single a 100w panel connected to a AllPowers 20A 12V PWM Solar Charge Controller (https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B06XWTKYDC).

I have a 12v (5x17ah Gel cell Total: 85ah) Battery pack.

I would like to be able to also charge off the alternator, can I use the Solar Charge Controller as a B2B charger? Only one supply source would be used as at a time. The van has the "large" alternator and dual battery currently.

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Last edited by Boboxx; 06-01-2019 at 08:56:PM.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 11:02:AM
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Hello,

I have single a 100w panel connected to a AllPowers 20A 12V PWM Solar Charge Controller (https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B06XWTKYDC).

I have a 12v (5x Gel cell 85ah) Battery pack.

I would like to be able to also charge off the alternator, can I use the Solar Charge Controller as a B2B charger? Only one supply source would be used as at a time. The van has the "large" alternator and dual battery currently.
No. If house battery is discharged then the amperage to the solar controller could exceed the PWM controller's rated input.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 11:33:AM
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There is a need for more videos like this... Orton are you up to it?

Off-grid Solar Myth Debunked and Explained

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 01:52:PM
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There is a need for more videos like this... Orton are you up to it?

Off-grid Solar Myth Debunked and Explained
I am not smart enough on electrical to ever do a video. I did the video for the web site for the conversion because I thought that would be helpful for people to understand why some things were done as I did them.

I had called the Morningstar tech support and asked if I could power their 15 amp SunSaver MPPT solar controller from the vehicle 12 volt system. Same question as the OP. The tech explained why that can not be done. Just repeating what I was told.

I was also told that having multiple chargers on one battery was not a problem. Each charger reads the battery voltage and does what it is programmed to do based on the battery voltage. Your linked video says the same thing.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 02:40:PM
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I am not smart enough on electrical to ever do a video. I did the video for the web site for the conversion because I thought that would be helpful for people to understand why some things were done as I did them.

I had called the Morningstar tech support and asked if I could power their 15 amp SunSaver MPPT solar controller from the vehicle 12 volt system. Same question as the OP. The tech explained why that can not be done. Just repeating what I was told.

I was also told that having multiple chargers on one battery was not a problem. Each charger reads the battery voltage and does what it is programmed to do based on the battery voltage. Your linked video says the same thing.
If you also have a current shunt and good quality Hi-Z diff-amp input circuits on multiple current monitors/chargers, you can connect those multiple monitors to the same shunt.
So your chargers can also decide SOC based on current.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 04:15:PM
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B2B using Solar PWM controller

In a different thread, Boboxx claimed to have bought a Victron AC-DC charger (If I’m not mistaken). So, maybe what he could do is front-end that Victron with an inverter. Effectively, he could have an Orton-esque DC-AC-DC charger arrangement.

Seeing as how you two have met (here, virtually), maybe Orton could advise on how small or cheap an inverter Boboxx could get by with...if “cheap” is a requirement. IIRC, the Victron is a 10a. The issue that popped into my mind with all this is, Boboxx stated he had 5 x 85ah batteries in his house bank, so it’s possible a 10a charger would be a bit undersized.

******EDIT: either I misread, or he edited original post it is 85 total ah, not 85 x 5******

His solar controller is a 20a, but he’ll never get 20a out of one 100w panel...more like 4-5 real world. Of course, solar or through the Victron (or possibly both simultaneously), every little bit helps.


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 04:27:PM
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The problem with solar charge controllers is that they need to see a voltage close to 18V before they'll start charging a battery. They expect panels to output a much higher voltage than a 14v alternator. Otherwise, they do behave much like a B2B.



You could use a buck converter, or something similar to up the voltage before hitting the controller. I think a controller will only pull the amps its rated for, but I'd be careful experimenting. It may need to shed a lot of heat. I'm only taking an educated guess here, I've never tried this myself.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 05:21:PM
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The problem with solar charge controllers is that they need to see a voltage close to 18V before they'll start charging a battery. They expect panels to output a much higher voltage than a 14v alternator. Otherwise, they do behave much like a B2B.



You could use a buck converter, or something similar to up the voltage before hitting the controller. I think a controller will only pull the amps its rated for, but I'd be careful experimenting. It may need to shed a lot of heat. I'm only taking an educated guess here, I've never tried this myself.
My Blue Sea 3024 will certainly start charging at about 16V, possibly less. The spec sheet say 16.5-18.5V recommended panel voltage range for 12V panels.


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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 06:13:PM
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My Blue Sea 3024 will certainly start charging at about 16V, possibly less. The spec sheet say 16.5-18.5V recommended panel voltage range for 12V panels.

Try it out an let us know

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 06:15:PM
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I think a controller will only pull the amps its rated for, but I'd be careful experimenting.
Not what the Morningstar tech told me. The Morningstar Sunsaver will limit the output to 15 amps but not the input.

The Sunsaver Operator's Manual gives a "Nominal" Max. input power of 300 watts at 12 volts and 400 watts at 24 volts.

If the house battery is discharged I suspect the input to the controller would exceed the input power rating.

Hopefully someone here can confirm or refute this.

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