There are a few signs that may indicate your solar charge controller is bad. Here are some of the most common ones:
1. Batteries are not charging or are charging slowly:
If your batteries are not charging at all, or are charging very slowly, it could be a sign that your charge controller is not working properly. This could be due to a number of factors, such as a blown fuse, a faulty connection, or a problem with the controller’s circuitry.
2. Batteries are overcharging:
If your batteries are overcharging, it could also be a sign of a problem with your charge controller. Overcharging can damage batteries and shorten their lifespan.
3. Erratic or inconsistent readings on the controller’s display:
If the controller’s display is showing erratic or inconsistent readings, it could be a sign that the controller is malfunctioning.
4. Strange noises or smells coming from the controller:
If you are hearing strange noises or smelling burning plastic from the controller, it is a sign that there is a serious problem and you should turn off the system immediately.
5. Controller is shutting off unexpectedly:
If your controller is shutting off unexpectedly, it could be a sign that it is overheating or that there is a problem with the controller’s circuitry.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, it is best to have your solar charge controller checked by a qualified electrician. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend a solution.
Here are some additional tips for troubleshooting a solar charge controller:
- Make sure that all of the connections are tight and secure.
- Check the fuses and wiring for any damage.
- Clean the controller vents to ensure that it is not overheating.
- Reset the controller to its factory defaults.
If you have tried all of these troubleshooting steps and the problem persists, it is time to replace your solar charge controller.
How to know if my solar charge controller is not charging the battery?
A charge controller not working can cause a lot of issue like not charging a solar battery. There are a few ways you can tell if your charge controller is not working.
- Check the voltage of the solar battery
If the solar panel is in the right condition and there is plenty of sunlight, then your solar battery should be displaying some voltage. Suppose the battery voltage is not changing even after hours of charging, then the charge controller is faulty.
- Check the weather conditions
When the weather conditions do not facilitate the charging of solar batteries, then the charge controller will not pass any current to the battery. This is one way of determining why your charge controller is not working.
- Check the wiring
If there is an open circuit between the solar panels and charge controller, then the charge controller will not charge the battery. Ensure all the wirings are done right.
Other ways of telling if your charge controller is charging or not charging your solar batteries is estimating the time taken to fully charge your solar battery. You can also observe for any error message in your charge controller.
What to do if my solar charge controller not turning on?
Your solar charge controller might not be turning on because of the following reasons;
- There is a loose or wrong wiring between the charge controller and the solar panel
- The solar panel is dirty or faulty
- The charge controller itself has an issue
- There is no enough sunlight to charge the solar battery
- And the solar battery is faulty
Each of the listed cases will result into the charge controller not displaying if any voltage or not working entirely. We will take each situation and give viable solutions.
- If there is a loose or faulty wire between the solar panel and a charge controller, use this steps to fix the issue. You can also use a user manual provided by the manufacturer to fix the wiring issue.
- Sometimes the solar panel might gather some dust after a long while. Check the condition of your solar panel regularly and clean it at least twice every year.
- A charge controller like any other device is prone to going bad. Use a multimeter to check the terminal voltage of the charge controller. If the voltage is low or zero, then your charge controller is defective and call for replacement ASAP.
- When there is not enough sunlight energy, then your charge controller and solar battery will not display any voltage. In such a case, you can wait until the sun is back to test if the controller is viable. Alternatively, you can use other methods of charging your solar battery.
- A defective be solar battery cannot show and voltage or charge a charge controller. In such a case, you can replace your solar battery with a battery with the same capacity.
If the manufacturer provides a warranty, you can advantage of the warranty.
Overall, a controller not working is like a chronic disease to your solar PV system.
How to reset the solar controller?
If your charge controller is not working you can either perform a hard or a soft reset. Resetting a solar charge controller means you are returning your charge controller to factory settings mode. This means all the errors will be fixed by the time your charge controller is reset.
Hold all the four buttons on the face of the controller for 15 seconds. If the charge controller is not fixed try a hard reset.
- Detach all the wire cables from behind the charge controller.
- Let it stay for about 20 minutes before attach it back to the grid.
- Reconnect the positive and the negative of the battery first.
- Then reconnect the solar panel positive and negative. The charge controller will have gone back to factory settings.
Resetting your charge controller should be done at night to ensure efficiency and safety. Otherwise, if you are resetting during the day, cover your solar panel with a black vinyl paper.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.