Solar Panel 12v/ 120 Watt

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 11:35
ThreadID: 136519 Views:2439 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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I have just bought solar panel primarily to top up my deep cycle camper battery and have some questions for its operation. I have also sent this to the website I bought it off.
1/ USB Port usage
When I try to charge an iPhone. The phone just continuously has a flashing screen and it drains the iPhone battery very fast. Is this USB not designed to charge a mobile phone?
2/ On off switch
When I press this nothing seems to happen. There are some lights on the back of the panel which continuously flash. Does this indicate the unit is working.
3/ Charging a deep cycle battery.
Is the solar panel designed to just float charge and top up a deep cycle battery?
4/ Charging
Is the Solar panel designed to just send a very low trickle charge?

You can probably gather I am new to all this. There were no instructions hence all my questions. Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thanks James.
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Reply By: imjames - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 11:39

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 11:39
AnswerID: 618133

Reply By: RMD - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 12:47

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 12:47
Hello James
The USB port should be putting out 5V to a USB cable and that should charge things OK, Some electrical devices seem to have an inbuilt system which tells it if it has genuine charging equipment. That may stop the iphone from charging 'cos it isn't an Apple supplying device. Rotten apples!

The phone should not go flat though unless the connected usb makes it go haywire.

The regulator press button is probably a switch for the load connections to be operated on or off and isn't part of the charging regime. Aldi panels and reg are similar.
Unless the regulator has a bit of weight to it, to indicate it has a switchmode DC/ DC converter system inside it, I would think it is definitely not an MPPT controller at all and simply a pulse width type regulator.

Do you have the panel and regulator connected to a battery before trying any function including USB charging???? Essential to have it connected to battery. If not on a 12v battery the regulator will not know what to do as it has no refence voltage to work with. That might affect the iphone usb charging side.

A panel tha size in full sun should be able to supply around 8 amps to a discharged Gel or AGM battery, and when charged the regulator should reduce the voltage to a floating charge level of around 13.4v although initially for a while charging solidly it should be above 14.5v

Once the battery has been fully charged by the system that 13,4v or maybe 13,2v is regarded as fully charged, as a result the amount of current input (average) will be very low.

PS, the two outermost connections in the usb port should only have 5v at those terminals. Can be tested with a multimeter set on 20v setting (excellent tool to have any time) to check that supply voltage presented to the usb cable. Care must be exercised if testing, so ONLY the contacts are being touched and nothing else shorted out.
AnswerID: 618142

Follow Up By: imjames - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 14:43

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 14:43
Thankyou RMD. That helps explain things. Now that the alligator clips are hooked up to the deep cycle battery the phone is able to charge fine off the USB port.
FollowupID: 890019

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 12:58

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 12:58
Where is the USB port you mention.

At the very least, all charging of devices should be by way of a 12v battery. The USB port would be an option on the battery box, or other device connected to it.

The solar panel by way of a controller and preferably a charger, simply provides a means of maintaining a charge to the battery bank it is connected to.
You cannot connect a USB "box" directly to the solar panel and expect it to work.
AnswerID: 618144

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 13:48

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 13:48
Like other makes of regulators the usb charger is on the actual regulator.
FollowupID: 890014

Follow Up By: RMD - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 14:03

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 14:03
Look at the picture of imjames controller/regulator, it has a USB pot in the front face and a USB symbol below it.

That should be sufficient.
FollowupID: 890016

Follow Up By: imjames - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 14:46

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 14:46
Thanks guys
FollowupID: 890020

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 21:51

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 21:51

Still needs a battery in circuit.
FollowupID: 890063

Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 22:30

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 22:30
As Sand Man said you would most probably need a battery in the circuit as you probably need a consistent power supply to charge a phone or laptop etc eliminating voltage drop . When the regulator is connected to the battery it reads the batteries voltage so there has to be not only power travelling from the solar panel via the regulator to the battery but in reverse back to the regulators voltmeter as well. Well I know mine pictured below does as you can read the voltage of the battery 24/7. Mine has 2 usb ports which I haven't tried yet but will probably give it a go now.
FollowupID: 890066

Follow Up By: RMD - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 12:09

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 12:09
It would be logical to think the OP is charging the battery he mentioned he has, to be charged with the regulator.
He didn't say he had removed the battery and still tried to use the USB port, therefore it is reasonable to think the battery which is one of the components of a slolar charge system is in circuit.
FollowupID: 890080

Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 12:13

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 12:13
RMD, check the OP's answer to your first response, that is exactly what he was trying to do, use the USB port without connecting to a battery.

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FollowupID: 890081

Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 13:49

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 13:49
I,ve had a couple of the cheap regulators. In the bin now and bought a decent Victron MPPT. Works great. The cheapies put out in excess of 16 volts and performance was weak to say the least.
AnswerID: 618146

Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 16:43

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 16:43
I have a cheap regulator $25 you have to adjust the settings to suit the type of battery has only made low 14's so far which is ok. I also bought larger than I needed it's 20amp PWM using it on a 110w panel so not chance of over supplying it with power I like big safety margines. It's been fine so far charging a Supercharge allrounder which is my starter batt I run a CDF11 from it but I guise like everything you can get a lot of duds as well.

Also it seems to out perform my MPPT 40amp Redarc BCDC with 170w panel both my panels are from Bit Deals we have good cloud cover at the moment and I just checked both systems with a voltmeter the MPPT systems shows 12.83v where as the PWM shows 13.7v. I was under the impression that MPPT perform better in cooler weather it doesn't seem that way. I have the fridges on but waited till they cut out this is the first time I've actually bothered checking the difference between the 2 set ups.
FollowupID: 890032

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