Battery Charger/Regulator - seeking information

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 13:19
ThreadID: 65889 Views:2292 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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My mains battery charger has just failed (or "dropped its guts", as the old man was wont to say), so I'm looking for a replacement of better quality - not too hard a task.

However, within a few months I'll be buying one or two solar panels, and will need an appropriate solar regulator.

With my limited knowledge of these things, I'm wondering why couldn't the same unit do both jobs (not both at the same time) ?

Is there something out there which does battery charging/regulating via solar or mains, and if not, does this suggest a gap in the market for such a product ?
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Reply By: Member - Lance S (VIC) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 13:44

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 13:44
Nic,

I have a MP3129 solar charge controller.

It is a LCD which displays charging of solar and battery voltage and watts every minute and shows what has been coming thru every hour and shows you the wattage on previous day. Once it get downs to 11.6v it kicks in again and when it gets to say 14.2v it goes into float mode until it drops again, then starts to recharge.
For memory it cost about $150 as i also have 2 x 80w BP panels in sequence.

cheers,

Lance
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Follow Up By: Nic I (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:44

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:44
Thanks Lance, but will it also charge the battery form mains power ? That's what I'm looking for - a charger with input from either solar panels or mains.
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Follow Up By: Member - Lance S (VIC) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:57

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:57
Nic, sorry mate didn't read it properly, it only tells you what you are charging from the solar panels
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Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 17:29

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 17:29
Nic

The only feature common to both devices is an output of 13 odd volts.

One achieves this starting with a DC voltage of just above that voltage. The other starts with 240V AC. The componentry for each of these functions is entirely different, so little if any savings could be achieved by putting it all in the one box.

Perhaps you could shine a 240V flood light on the solar panels and charge the battery that way :-)

Bob

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Reply By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 17:49

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 17:49
Nic,
It would be very easy to do.

All you would need to do is feed the DC output of a power supply into the input stage of the solar regulator.

You'd need to make sure the DC power supply you used had a lower output current rating than the maximum capacity of the solar regulator and the output voltage of the DC power supply didn't exceed the maximum input voltage of the solar regulator.

So long as you only had either the solar panel or the power supply connected to the solar regulator at any one time I can't see why it wouldn't work just fine.

Oh, the output voltage of the DC power supply would probably need to be a minimum of about 15 volts.

Geoff

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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 23:00

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 23:00
Hi
Apart from making sure the charger output is limited to the capacity of the regulator & that the charger o/c volts is not much more than 17v, the real problem I believe could be the chargers wave form.
IT IS only normally straight rectified ac [ half sine waves, it falls to zero & rises to peak 100 times per second, not smooth [ flat, continuous] as from solar.
Depending on regulator design this could be a problem , I would check with reg supplier first, & hope they know what they are talking about
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Reply By: Gramps - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 20:31

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 20:31
Not exactly what you asked but may give food for thought

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Reply By: Nic I (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 14:23

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 14:23
Thanks everyone, all good suggestions and much appreciated.

Given the numbers of caravans, RV's, camper trailers and traytop campers with at least one auxiliary battery, solar panel(s), and an onboard 240V charger, I still find it somewhat peculiar that there's no single unit on the market to supply regulated charging power via mains or solar.

I realis that the input circuits are different, but why duplicate the output circuits uneccessarily ?

Definitely a hole in the market for an enterprising sparky/designer/manufacturer.

Oh well, off to get a Ctek and either Steca or Plasmatronics - does anyone know the cheapest way/place to but them ?
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