Jump to content

Solar causing inverter problems


Featured Posts

Good morning all, I'd be really grateful if the hive mind can help at all. My inverter is saying the batteries are over voltage, but only in daylight. I have a Sterling inverter charger, a 12v battery bank and all was good until I fitted solar panels. I fitted 3 x 275w panels via a smart charge controller. I also fitted a smaller inverter with just one socket via the same charge controller. The Sterling inverter now just beeps if there is any charge coming in from the solar. It works fine if I disconnect the panels, but that defeats the object.
I'm assuming that the Sterling inverter is reading the input from the panels, rather than the output from the batteries, but no idea how to fix this...does anyone have any ideas? Any experience? 
I have spent a while on Google but not found anything useful.

Edited by jessie
Mis typed
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you should measure the battery voltage when the solar is working /inverter beeping. This will give us an idea whether the solar controller is faulty or mis-set and over-charging the batteries, or whether there is something up with the inverter, or maybe some wiring issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for replying

It is an  MPPTcharge controller, and its reading for battery voltage is 13.9v. The small inverter that's attached to it works fine. 

I'll get hold of a voltmeter and measure directly from the batteries.

I followed the instructions when I set up the charge controller.

I'm wondering if the Sterling inverter also needs to go via the charge controller, but that was fitted by an electrician and I wouldn't know where to start or if the charge controller is suitable for such a large inverter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Does that mean that you have 2 inverters connected to the same 240v circuit at the same time?  If so that is the problem.

No, one is for the 240 ring in the boat and the other just has its own socket

2 minutes ago, notts_alan said:

I would not personally connect the inverter to the mppt , I would connect it directly to battery.

The main inverter is connected straight to the battery, the other is connected to the battery and the charge controller, and works fine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, jessie said:

No, one is for the 240 ring in the boat and the other just has its own socket

Thank heavens, that would upset one or both if connected together. Battery voltage seems about OK if you trust the controller, better with a multimeter then we know what it really is.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How is this all wired up? Both inverters and the charge controller's output should go straight to the battery. A little sketch would be helpful.

 

If you've connected an inverter straight to the charge controller's output and not the battery, that would explain why it's complaining of over voltage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, cheesegas said:

How is this all wired up? Both inverters and the charge controller's output should go straight to the battery. A little sketch would be helpful.

 

If you've connected an inverter straight to the charge controller's output and not the battery, that would explain why it's complaining of over voltage.

But as I understand it, it is the original inverter that is complaining, not the newly added one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is the float voltage of the charge controller set higher than the Inverter/charger. Battery profiles the same. May not be a factor, just a thought. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Think the small inverter connected to the solar controller is a red herring, but if you disconnect it does the Sterling still complain? If so that would rule out the small inverter as a factor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Higgs said:

Is the float voltage of the charge controller set higher than the Inverter/charger. Battery profiles the same. May not be a factor, just a thought. 

 

 

That's a really good point, I'll check that, thanks 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, jessie said:

The main inverter is connected straight to the battery, the other is connected to the battery and the charge controller, and works fine

 

From this I read that, they may use different connection points, but effectively they're all connected together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Ask Charles Sterling?  Is the solar controller an MPPT type and OK?

When the fuse on my charger blew, Charles Sterling repeatedly told me to fit a "bigger" fuse until it didn't blow. What was actually needed was a good clean of the fuse holding contacts.

 

I have seen stuff on Facebook which suggests that others in the firm would prefer that someone other than the head honcho gets to answer queries.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Richard10002 said:

When the fuse on my charger blew, Charles Sterling repeatedly told me to fit a "bigger" fuse until it didn't blow. What was actually needed was a good clean of the fuse holding contacts.

 

I have seen stuff on Facebook which suggests that others in the firm would prefer that someone other than the head honcho gets to answer queries.

That is unfortunate.  None of us gets it right 100% of the time. I have always found Charles to be helpful but he has the same problem on the 'phone as we have on here, no crystal ball available.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Tracy D'arth said:

That is unfortunate.  None of us gets it right 100% of the time. I have always found Charles to be helpful but he has the same problem on the 'phone as we have on here, no crystal ball available.

 

There is no doubt that he tries to be helpful but, despite several emails, some with pictures, and my asking more than once if he really thought I should fit a fuse that would overcome the excess current that was causing his factory fitted fuse to blow. He didnt need a crystal ball to diagnose the real problem.

 

As I said, I gave up on him and actually got some good help from people here, including your good self.

 

This is the second time I have experienced his customer service, and both times it hasn't been good - I just think people should be aware of this, rather than blindly following his "advice".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a thought, but the MPPT controller may be a smart PWM unit (some PWM units are now sold as having MPPT).  In which case if the pulses are a bit big (being technical here) and the inverter a bit sensitive then it may be reacting to the ‘over Voltage’ of the pulse.  Which MPPT controller is it?

 

As an aside, the controller sounds like it has 3 pairs of connectors, solar panels, battery and out.  The out is probably limited as it is intended for controlling street lights etc, so a big inverter connected here could destroy it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Chewbacka said:

Just a thought, but the MPPT controller may be a smart PWM unit (some PWM units are now sold as having MPPT).  In which case if the pulses are a bit big (being technical here) and the inverter a bit sensitive then it may be reacting to the ‘over Voltage’ of the pulse.  Which MPPT controller is it?

 

As an aside, the controller sounds like it has 3 pairs of connectors, solar panels, battery and out.  The out is probably limited as it is intended for controlling street lights etc, so a big inverter connected here could destroy it.

 

Every Solar controller I have had has 3 pairs of terminals (solar in, battery out and 'load')

On this one I connected a cigarette lighter socket to the 'load' and used it to plug-in the VHF when on rivers,

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Controller.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Every Solar controller I have had has 3 pairs of terminals (solar in, battery out and 'load')

On this one I connected a cigarette lighter socket to the 'load' and used it to plug-in the VHF when on rivers,

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Controller.jpg

You are correct, I should have said ‘load’, memory not what it was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Chewbacka said:

Just a thought, but the MPPT controller may be a smart PWM unit (some PWM units are now sold as having MPPT).  In which case if the pulses are a bit big (being technical here) and the inverter a bit sensitive then it may be reacting to the ‘over Voltage’ of the pulse.  Which MPPT controller is it?

 

As an aside, the controller sounds like it has 3 pairs of connectors, solar panels, battery and out.  The out is probably limited as it is intended for controlling street lights etc, so a big inverter connected here could destroy it.

It's an EPEver Tracer MPPT, but I was mistaken. ? After reading the comments on here I checked and the inverter is wired straight to the batteries, the panels into the MPPT and the MPPT into the batteries.

However it does look like it is the sensitivity of the Sterling inverter, apparently they have a fairly low high voltage cut off threshold. So the options seem to be: run appliances to use some of the power and bring it down, that seems to work sometimes; or lower the settings on the charge controller, but this requires a lead to attach to the computer so it's a job for another day when said lead has been sourced. 

 

I think i prefer the first option as this seems to allow for maximum use of the available sunlight as I only need the big inverter occasionally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, jessie said:

It's an EPEver Tracer MPPT, but I was mistaken. ? After reading the comments on here I checked and the inverter is wired straight to the batteries, the panels into the MPPT and the MPPT into the batteries.

However it does look like it is the sensitivity of the Sterling inverter, apparently they have a fairly low high voltage cut off threshold. So the options seem to be: run appliances to use some of the power and bring it down, that seems to work sometimes; or lower the settings on the charge controller, but this requires a lead to attach to the computer so it's a job for another day when said lead has been sourced. 

 

I think i prefer the first option as this seems to allow for maximum use of the available sunlight as I only need the big inverter occasionally.

 

It might be better to extend your options; get the two appliances to work without conflict, and maybe buy that lead to set the charge controller. 

 

 

Edited by Higgs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Higgs said:

 

I might be better, to extend your options, get the two appliances to work without conflict, and maybe buy that lead to set the charge controller. 

 

 

Thanks Higgs, i'm definitely buying the lead but like the idea of having the settings for maximum charging capability for part of the year at least, i guess it feels like a compromise either way, but I agree, the no conflict and extended options approach would make life easier...I could even buy a fridge now i've got the power to run it.

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.