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  1. #1
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    Default Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Hi all,

    I wired my dad's solar charge controller directly to his spare battery, we also added a brad Harris plug for connecting the solar panel when he is stopped and setting up camp.

    The question I now have is, is it ok to leave the controller connected to the battery when it is being charged via the car running? If I remember correctly it is only a problem if both the car and the solar panel are charging the battery at the same time? Alternatively should I install a switch to switch the controller on and off manually?

    The controller is a CML-v2 from photos if that helps.

    Thanks,
    Nick

  2. #2
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nicksimp08 View Post
    Hi all,

    I wired my dad's solar charge controller directly to his spare battery, we also added a brad Harris plug for connecting the solar panel when he is stopped and setting up camp.

    The question I now have is, is it ok to leave the controller connected to the battery when it is being charged via the car running? If I remember correctly it is only a problem if both the car and the solar panel are charging the battery at the same time? Alternatively should I install a switch to switch the controller on and off manually?

    The controller is a CML-v2 from photos if that helps.

    Thanks,
    Nick
    I don't see any photos.

    -----------------------

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    I don't see any photos.

    -----------------------

    YES YES YES I KNOW

    Hi fluffy, photos is the brand
    Photos like photons rather than photos like images

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicksimp08 View Post
    Hi fluffy, photos is the brand
    Photos like photons rather than photos like images
    Yep

    see the YES YES YES I KNOW part of my post
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD - PROFFESIONAL DUMBASS
    3 Land Rover V8's
    NA - TwinTurbo - SuperCharged
    A V6 and an inline 4

    If you fly or drive to an anti-Fracking meeting, you have no business being there and you wont get my ear......

  5. #5
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    Default

    You can use a relay to make life a lot easier - and you won't have to remember flicking switches...

    Quote Originally Posted by nicksimp08 View Post
    Hi all,

    I wired my dad's solar charge controller directly to his spare battery, we also added a brad Harris plug for connecting the solar panel when he is stopped and setting up camp.

    The question I now have is, is it ok to leave the controller connected to the battery when it is being charged via the car running? If I remember correctly it is only a problem if both the car and the solar panel are charging the battery at the same time? Alternatively should I install a switch to switch the controller on and off manually?

    The controller is a CML-v2 from photos if that helps.

    Thanks,
    Nick

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Yep

    see the YES YES YES I KNOW part of my post
    Ah, I thought it may have been part of your signature


    Quote Originally Posted by Antonf View Post
    You can use a relay to make life a lot easier - and you won't have to remember flicking switches...
    Could you advise where one would wire this in?


    Is it a problem to have the controller permanently connected though whilst driving? (without the solar panel)

  7. #7
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    Default

    I see in this resource they say it shouldn't be a problem:
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/foru...ller-or-panels

    I would however prefer to hear it from someone on the forum as well

    They also mention that you can have the panel and alternator connected at the same time? I was under the impression that this could damage either the panel or the controller?

  8. #8
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    Default

    I have the solar controller connected to the aux. batteries in the back permanently for years. Brad Harrison connector for connecting the panel when in camp if needed. With a split charge solenoid to the alternator for charging while driving. No problem with it at all, though I have never had the solar panel charging while driving so not sure about simultaneous charging ....
    Last edited by Peter1949; 2015/06/25 at 06:24 AM.
    Peter Hutchison
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    Thanks all, you have put my mind at rest

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nicksimp08 View Post
    Is it a problem to have the controller permanently connected though whilst driving? (without the solar panel)
    It is perfectly OK to leave the controller in circuit permanently.
    You do not need a relay.
    That Photos controller is probably a Phocos?

    Quote Originally Posted by nicksimp08 View Post
    Thanks all, you have put my mind at rest
    Now you can relax some more.
    Eggie.

    "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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  12. #11
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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    I'm going to necro this post, apologies

    To to get it right, i have a solar charge controller connected to my batteries, i can connect my panels to this controller (Brad Harris), however when the panels are not connected i could connect the same connection to the alternator?

    EDIT:
    30A generic controller
    Last edited by scabs; 2021/06/03 at 12:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Quote Originally Posted by scabs View Post
    I'm going to necro this post, apologies

    To to get it right, i have a solar charge controller connected to my batteries, i can connect my panels to this controller (Brad Harris), however when the panels are not connected i could connect the same connection to the alternator?

    EDIT:
    30A generic controller
    Maybe explain a little better? More detail?

    I found myself at a loss as to what you're trying to say.
    Nico Swart

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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    Maybe explain a little better? More detail?

    I found myself at a loss as to what you're trying to say.
    Apologies, details as follows:

    In my trailer i have 2x105ah batteries, these can either be charged via 220v or solar. For solar charging, i have a 30A generic solar charge controller connected to the batteries. I connect the panels to the charge controller using a Brad Harris connector.
    My questions is, can i use my alternator to charge the batteries via the solar change controller if i connect it to the Brad Harris connectors?

    I hope that is clearer.
    Last edited by scabs; 2021/06/03 at 12:59 PM.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    No. You cannot connect your alternator to the PV inputs on your solar charge controller.

    I presume you have a setup for AC220V in, and PV (solar panel) in. What you could do is add a second Brad Harrison connector directly to the battery (fused, on + as close to the battery as possible) and charge the batteries from the alternator via that.
    Ian de Villiers
    Nissan Patrol GRX 4.5

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  17. #15
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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Like Ian said, bypass the controller, connect straight from the vehicle's battery to the trailer batteries. 16 sqr mm cable is the go to size.
    Jeep Grand Cherokee 2002 4.7 V8
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  18. #16
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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Quote Originally Posted by iandvl View Post
    No. You cannot connect your alternator to the PV inputs on your solar charge controller.

    I presume you have a setup for AC220V in, and PV (solar panel) in. What you could do is add a second Brad Harrison connector directly to the battery (fused, on + as close to the battery as possible) and charge the batteries from the alternator via that.

    Ian The part in bold is what I am referring to

    If the solar charge controller is for a "12 v" solar panel - so the charge controllers range could be from 12 v to say 20 v from the panel

    If the alternator's voltage is around the 14 v mark - then in theory the solar charge controller will handle the alternator as an input

    or am I just being doff

  19. #17
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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Quote Originally Posted by RossJ View Post
    Ian The part in bold is what I am referring to

    If the solar charge controller is for a "12 v" solar panel - so the charge controllers range could be from 12 v to say 20 v from the panel

    If the alternator's voltage is around the 14 v mark - then in theory the solar charge controller will handle the alternator as an input

    or am I just being doff
    Theoretically, it seems to make sense. But it will not work.

    Solar panel voltage is not 12V. For a 12V system (meaning 12V on the battery side - not on the solar input side), the voltage from the panels will probably be between 18V and 22V. I believe that the input voltage from the PV has to be (at minimum) between 4V and 5V higher than the battery voltage before the charge controller will start charging the battery.
    Ian de Villiers
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  21. #18
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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Quote Originally Posted by iandvl View Post
    Theoretically, it seems to make sense. But it will not work.

    Solar panel voltage is not 12V. For a 12V system (meaning 12V on the battery side - not on the solar input side), the voltage from the panels will probably be between 18V and 22V. I believe that the input voltage from the PV has to be (at minimum) between 4V and 5V higher than the battery voltage before the charge controller will start charging the battery.
    I agree with Ian

    Alternators put out 13,8-14.5V at the most. For this reason it will not work if the specific solar regulator was so designed.

    It may however be that some regulators are different.

    The cheaper PWM types for example is nothing more than just a switch which will connect the alternator and the batteries directly. Then that 5V above battery voltage may not be applicable which I suspect is only the case with your MPPT types.

    I stand to be corrected by the clever guys
    Nico Swart

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  22. #19
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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    I agree with Ian

    Alternators put out 13,8-14.5V at the most. For this reason it will not work if the specific solar regulator was so designed.

    It may however be that some regulators are different.

    The cheaper PWM types for example is nothing more than just a switch which will connect the alternator and the batteries directly. Then that 5V above battery voltage may not be applicable which I suspect is only the case with your MPPT types.

    I stand to be corrected by the clever guys
    I've got a Victron MPPT in the camping setup and some other cheap PWM type thing at home. I think I'll give this a test. Maybe it works...
    Ian de Villiers
    Nissan Patrol GRX 4.5

  23. #20
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    Default Re: Solar charge controller connected whilst alternator charging

    Scabs is happy to refund you if something pops/blows

    Seriously, I'm sure they'll both be fine and this will be excellent to know the results.
    Nico Swart

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