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electrical:solar:pwm_tweaking [2017/12/12 09:24]
frater_secessus [the controller's achilles heel]
electrical:solar:pwm_tweaking [2021/06/26 11:46] (current)
frater_secessus [the controller's achilles heel]
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 ====== Tweaking a PWM controller for maximum power ====== ====== Tweaking a PWM controller for maximum power ======
  
-[[electrical:solar:charge_controller#pwm|PWM controllers]] are inexpensive and durable.  Their chief downside is they cannot generate as much power from a given panel as the more expensive [[electrical:solar:charge_controller#mppt|MPPT]] can.  This page is intended to help people get the most out of their PWM system.  It assumes the 'dweller owns [[electrical:solar:pwm configurable|a configurable PWM controller]].+[[electrical:solar:charge_controller#pwm|PWM controllers]] are inexpensive and durable.  Their chief downside is their ability to generate power is limited when battery voltage is low ([[electrical:solar:charge_controller#mppt|MPPT]] output is unaffected by battery voltage).  This page is intended to help people get the most out of their PWM system.  It assumes the 'dweller owns [[electrical:solar:pwm configurable|a configurable PWM controller]].
  
 Note:  much of this information also applies to [[electrical:solar:shunt_tweaking|tweaking shunt controllers]]. Note:  much of this information also applies to [[electrical:solar:shunt_tweaking|tweaking shunt controllers]].
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-===== the controller's achilles heel =====+===== PWM's achilles heel =====
  
 During charging with a PWM controller **the solar panel will be running at the voltage of the battery bank**.  Unfortunately, this is almost never the voltage at which the panel makes its rated power (Vmp).  The panel will make less and less power when battery voltage is low.   During charging with a PWM controller **the solar panel will be running at the voltage of the battery bank**.  Unfortunately, this is almost never the voltage at which the panel makes its rated power (Vmp).  The panel will make less and less power when battery voltage is low.  
  
-This affects charging in all three [[electrical:12v:charging|charging stages]] but it is devastating in [[electrical:12v:charging#bulk_stage|Bulk]].  Let's do some math to see why.  +This affects charging in all three [[electrical:12v:charging|charging stages]] but it is devastating in [[electrical:12v:charging#bulk_stage|Bulk]].  Let's do some math to see why.((temperature derating is not considered))  
  
 {{ http://bestsolarpanelforhome.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/57-79-600x600.jpg?200}}Consider the spec sheet for a random 100w panel (right).  100W is made when the panel is run at 17.8v (Vmp).  The current will be around 5.6A (Imp) when the panel is in the usual operating range. {{ http://bestsolarpanelforhome.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/57-79-600x600.jpg?200}}Consider the spec sheet for a random 100w panel (right).  100W is made when the panel is run at 17.8v (Vmp).  The current will be around 5.6A (Imp) when the panel is in the usual operating range.
  
-17.8v x 5.6A = 99.68w <-- full power, if we could run the panel there Which we can't with PWM. \\+17.8v x 5.6A = 99.68w <-- rating under laboratory conditions \\ 
 +17.8v x 5.6A = 94.70w <-- MPPT running at 95% efficiency \\
 14.8v x 5.6A = 82.88w <-- power at a high Absorption voltage, as with flooded lead acid \\ 14.8v x 5.6A = 82.88w <-- power at a high Absorption voltage, as with flooded lead acid \\
 14.4v x 5.6A = 80.64w <-- power at a lower Absorption voltage \\ 14.4v x 5.6A = 80.64w <-- power at a lower Absorption voltage \\
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 12.1v x 5.6A = 67.76W <-- power at 50% state of charge;  bulk charging 12.1v x 5.6A = 67.76W <-- power at 50% state of charge;  bulk charging
  
-This last number shows how far off PWM output can fall when battery voltage is at its lowest.((The last number is also the source of the "30% boost!!!" claims some MPPT makers make.  Yes, at that point MPPT at 94.69w (after 5% MPPT efficiency penalty) is 40.2% more than PWM's 67.76w but that is when the disparity is the widest.  Most of the time the MPPT charging advantage is lower, perhaps 15%.))  It's also when the battery needs the most current to get out of that deep cycle trough.  +This last number shows how far off PWM output can fall when battery voltage (Vbatt) is at its lowest.((The last number is also the source of the "30% boost!!!" claims some MPPT makers make.  Yes, at that point MPPT at 94.69w (after 5% MPPT efficiency penalty) is 40.2% more than PWM's 67.76w but that is when the disparity is the widest.  Most of the time the MPPT charging advantage is lower, perhaps 15%.))  It's also when the battery needs the most current to get out of that deep cycle trough.  
  
 ===== the plan ===== ===== the plan =====
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 During the bulk charging stage the battery needs every bit of power it can get.  Any loads applied during this stage slow down charging and, more importantly, prevent the system from reaching power-making voltages as soon as possible.   During the bulk charging stage the battery needs every bit of power it can get.  Any loads applied during this stage slow down charging and, more importantly, prevent the system from reaching power-making voltages as soon as possible.  
  
-Wait until your bank is well into Absoroption before using [[electrical:solar:nonessential|discretionary loads]].+Wait until your bank is well into Absorption before using [[electrical:solar:nonessential|discretionary loads]].  
 ==== set Vabs and Vfloat relatively high ==== ==== set Vabs and Vfloat relatively high ====
  
 Since the panels make more power at higher voltages((up to Vmp)) cranking up Vabs and Vfloat to higher-but-still-sane levels will result in more power being harvested.  Since the panels make more power at higher voltages((up to Vmp)) cranking up Vabs and Vfloat to higher-but-still-sane levels will result in more power being harvested. 
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 +Using the above panel as an example, Vabs of 14.7v will yield 3.5% more power than a Vabs of 14.1v.  Vfloat of 13.8v will yield 4.5% more power than a Vfloat of 13.2v. \\
 +Note:  consult the battery manufacturer's recommendations for the actual maximum voltages.  Controller presets often are set too low by the factory since they don't know what battery you will use it with. Better safe than sorry, say their lawyers. 
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 +DO invest in the $10 temperature probe option.
 ==== battery: maintain a higher state of charge ==== ==== battery: maintain a higher state of charge ====
  
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   * keeping your bank as charged as possible will let the panels produce the most power for conditions   * keeping your bank as charged as possible will let the panels produce the most power for conditions
  
-In other words, the lower your battery voltage gets the worse the system works.  There are two courses of action to take that will help reduce this effect.+In other words, the lower your battery voltage gets the worse the pwm charging works.  There are two courses of action to take that will help reduce this effect.
  
   - **Cycle less deeply** - Instead of cycling to 50% state of charge (12.2v) consider cycling to only 75% SoC (12.4v).     - **Cycle less deeply** - Instead of cycling to 50% state of charge (12.2v) consider cycling to only 75% SoC (12.4v).  
-  - [[electrical:12v:alt_and_solar|combine]] your solar charging with even small amounts of [[electrical:12v:alternator|alternator]] or [[electrical:shore_power|shore power]] charging.  Either one of these will help get the bank "out of the mud", particularly if they are added early in the morning.   +  - [[electrical:12v:alt_and_solar|combine]] your solar charging with even small amounts of [[electrical:12v:alternator|alternator]] or [[electrical:shore_power|shore power]] charging.  Either one of these will help get the bank "out of the mud", particularly if they are added early in the morning.  An isolator generally costs less than upgrading to mppt.
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electrical/solar/pwm_tweaking.1513088649.txt.gz · Last modified: 2020/10/11 19:48 (external edit)