Projecta regulator

Submitted: Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 12:56
ThreadID: 30379 Views:2318 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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We have recently installed an 66 watt BP solar panel with a 5 amp projecta regulator charging a 130ah battery. Everything seems to be ok. The amber light shines during the day showing that the battery is charging and then goes green to show that battery is fully charged. We have been running lights and a fridge at night to test the system.The regulator lights shut off at night but wont restart in the morning until I move a battey terminals. Does this mean the battery is still fully charged, is there a fault in the battery terminals (which are only el cheepos) or have I not wired up the regulator properly. Surely running stuff off the battery should use enough charge to make recharging start automatically in the morning. Do I need to lash out for better battery terminals?
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Reply By: desert - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 14:07

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 14:07
Would not hurt to get the best terminals you can afford, Give the lead ones a miss, stick to the solid Brass and even then, there are some Krap around. Buy a cheep Dick Smith multi-meter, and monitor the battery voltage and the amperage draw, this is the only way you will know how much "juice" you have left in the battery in the morning. As to why the auto-charge does not function, I don't know. Perhaps the battery voltage has to fall below a certain level before it does it's thing?
AnswerID: 152724

Reply By: guzzi - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 15:06

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 15:06
Start at the simple things first.
Give both the battery terminal posts and the inside of the connector terminals a really good clean with a stainless steel brush, ( battery terminal cleaning brushes available at supercheap for a couple of bucks) you should end up with bright metal on both surfaces.
Clean the wires and attachment points on the terminals in a similar fashion.
Attach your terminal to the posts, tighten and then put a coating of vasiline or similar over the terminals.
Clean the wires and terminals on the solar panels as well.
Make sure all wire attachment screws,connectors, battery terminal etc are clean and tight, By tight I mean a quick wiggle by hand wont get them to move.
This will help eliminate any high resistances which MAY be causeing the problem.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 152741

Reply By: VK3CAT - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 19:27

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 19:27
Hi Rosy. Not sure on your projecta regulator but if it is similar to the 20 amp unit from Jaycar Cat MP-3126 which has a similar LED indicator, then this is how it works.
With both battery & panel connected, the amber LED will show. This will remain until the battery voltage is about 14.5 volts. At this stage the green LED will show until the battery voltage drops to below 13 volts.
Thus, it is possible that your battery voltage in the mornings is still too high for the regulator to kick in. (Try loading the battery to drop the battery volts & see if the regulator switches over!)
The claimed wattage of solar panels is very misleading. Solar panels calculate the wattage by multiplying the Load voltage (typically around 17 volts for a 12 volt system) by the load current
I would have thought that a 5 amp regulator is a bit on the small side for a 65 watt panel (I=P/V) =65/17 = 3.8 amps.
Also, with only a 65 watt panel, it is probably not necessary to use a regulator at all. The loading on the fridge should be adequate to regulate the load.(Ensure that you have blocking diodes fitted or you will get a flat battery.
Example: My Engel draws 3.3 amps at 12.6 volts. On thermostat position 1 with an ambient temperature of 25 degrees it has a run/standby ratio of 1:3.25, position 1.5, 1:2.67, position 2, 1:2.
My two 55 watt panels produce a maximum of 3.2 amps but I will rarely get 6.4 amps of charge unless I am monitoring there position & angle.
It is only in perfect conditions that you will get a full 65 watts out of the panel & the panel should be pointed towards the equator an an angle 15 degrees greater than your latitude. (This is a general set & forget setting)
All cables and connections should be of the lowest resistance - ie short thich cables & quality connectors. Keeping a volt meter connected to monitor the battery volts is the best way to see how your system is working.
Cheers Tony.
AnswerID: 152806

Reply By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 16:56

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 16:56
Sounds to me like a crook regulator. There's no way a 12-voltl battery will be over 12.8 volts having rested all night - and that regulator should kick in at 13 volts or so.

Could be dirty connections - so try those first tho.

The Projecta unit is good value - but with respect to the vendors it is not exactly a model of sophistication.
Collyn Rivers
AnswerID: 153165

Reply By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 17:01

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 17:01
Further thought re the above.

If it is connected: solar +ve to Projecta +ve then to battery plus (or the negative equivalent) then, if the those cables are far too light, the Projecta will pick up the voltage drop between battery +ve and the Projecta +ve - and thus read closer to the panel voltage. This will cause it to see the battery as more charged than it is - and to respond accordingly.

Check the wiring and post EXACTLY what goes where.
AnswerID: 153166

Follow Up By: Rosy - Thursday, Feb 09, 2006 at 11:48

Thursday, Feb 09, 2006 at 11:48
Thanks for your help. Everyone said to use heavy wire from battery to regulator but the heavy wire will not fit into regulator connections so I joined a thinner wire off the heavier wire (with connectors) and then into regulator. Perhaps this is my problem? Also if I touch the negative post on the battery with copper wire and then touch metal of trailer with other end of wire the regulator starts straight away. Does this mean the thing needs to be eathed. I am about to give up and am driving my wife (Rosy) mad!
FollowupID: 407950

Reply By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Thursday, Feb 09, 2006 at 12:18

Thursday, Feb 09, 2006 at 12:18
If you would like to make a rough skecth of exactly what goes where and send it me by post I can probably help you sort this out. It sound like a wiring fault and should not be hard to fix as long as one knows exactly how it has been put together.
You'll find my address on my website - same as my email address - except www. and no collyn@ bit.
Collyn Rivers
AnswerID: 154049

Follow Up By: Rosy - Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 12:40

Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 12:40
Thanks again for your offer of help. After checking all the wiring, going over everything with a fine tooth comb and havng several nervous breakdowns we finally decided to take the regulator back. With a new regulator everything worked perfectly !!!! and is still working on a cloudy day. Rosy
FollowupID: 409297

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