They are having endless problems with the installation / installers of the wind turbine! The guy ropes keep slacking (that's because there are no lock nuts installed at the shackles), and not only are the batteries not charging properly, but the installation company apparently left absolutely no manuals for the charge controller nor the inverter - never mind the details on care and maintenance of the wind turbine itself.
It would appear that companies have jumped on the eco bandwagon, without the expertise to complete the job adequately / competently. Typical. RMan has spoken to a number of solar panel installers regarding the correct way to connect the solar panels we have been loaned and they all came back with different versions / solutions.
Finally, the suggestions from the company which supplied our Cotek inverter, made sense, and RMan's installation was as follows, and in this specific order:
|Diagram Source: http://www.sinetech.co.za |
1 Firstly, we trickle charged our new deep cycle batteries in order to ensure that they are at maximum charge before placing any load on the batteries. (Preferably charge them through normal grid power.) Apparently if one uses a deep cycle battery which is only initially carrying a charge of say 70% of it's capacity, then that memory remains and the battery will never recharge greater than that original 70%.
2 Then, we connected the batteries. This can be done in either parallel or series, depending on whether we wanted to increase the capacity (amp hours) or whether we wanted to increase the voltage respectively.
3 Then, and only then, using a multi-strand cable (to reduce resistance) we established a connection between the charge controller (regulator) and the batteries. That was done in order for the charge controller (regulator) to identify exactly what it is dealing with i.e. 12, 24 or 48v.
4 Then we placed an in-line fuse on our solar panels positive cable to the charge controller (regulator) and we connected the panels to the controller (regulator). Again, we connected the solar panels in parallel (or this can be done in series) to increase the capacity or to increase the volts.
5 Finally we connected the inverter to the batteries - using a b-i-g "quick blow" in-line DC fuse on the positive cable - a 150 amp was recommended for our system.
6 Ensure that you store your batteries on a wooden surface. Contact between cement / concrete and the batteries will cause a reaction and will kill the batteries. This could be as simple as placing a plank of wood on two bricks and placing your batteries on top of the piece of wood.
7 Check, and double check, that all your connections are good and tight - loose connections will cause overheating of the cables.
8 Store your batteries in a well ventilated and dry area.
The more ideal the conditions for your batteries, the longer they will last.
A lot of the above is basic knowledge, but silly little bits of info, like trickle charging the new deep cycle batteries and firstly connecting the charge controller / regulator to the batteries, and placing the batteries on a wooden surface are not well known. And perhaps it suits battery distributors to keep that information as much to themselves as possible...
As with all things technical, please, if you have an expert available, consult him / her to confirm the above prior to installing your own solar power system. This detail is what was recommended for our system.
Important: I have posted an update on the solar panel wiring diagram here and the battery wiring diagram here.