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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
I am fairly new to solar power.  I have built a system for my medical mobility scooter.
The scooter is permanently stored on the lift on my truck.  It is a 24 volt scooter.  I have installed a 24v solar panel on the truck, and am using a cheap ebay solar charge controller to charge the scooter with.

My issue is that it seems that every waterproof charge controller I can find says you have to hook the battery up before you hook up the solar panel (or other power source).

I use my scooter!  which means that I have to unhook it from the truck, use it, then store it back on the truck and plug it into the charger again.  The controller I have does not seem to be cutting off when the battery is "full."  I have to keep an eye on it and manually cut it off when the battery is fully charged.  

I have the solar panel ran through a cutoff switch in the cab of the truck, as well as a battery status indicator led panel installed in the dash.  I also have a 24v 10amp converter hooked up so that I can charge the scooter while driving at a higher amperage than I can get from the solar panel.  The panel is for topping the battery off and keeping it topped off while my truck is sitting since there are many times it sits all week long without being started.  The voltage converter is also ran through a cutoff switch in the dash.  Im using a continuous usage solenoid to have a switch be able to cut it on and off.

So, I guess my big question is this:  Are there any low cost, waterproof solar charge controllers out there that have automatic battery detection, and you don't have to have the battery hooked up first?  Cause its installed UNDER the truck...  I thought just leaving both switches turned OFF would do the trick.  That way I could plug the scooter in, and then cut the charger on...  but it doesn't seem to be working out that way.  Either that or my current charge controller isn't working properly.

All help is much appreciated.

-Pastor Josh


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Posts: 3,058
Reply with quote  #2 
I THINK the reason they say connect the battery first is to reduce the possibility of sparks causing an explosion at the battery. I have a couple controllers permanently connected to their panel and then connected to the device battery via a 12v accessory plug. I plug/unplug them at will with no problems. Can't recommend a particular controller though as all mine are all 12v, not 24v.

All controllers I KNOW OF are controlled from the battery side and will shut off when disconnected. When reconnected they turn back on. They also act as battery maintainers rather than chargers so don't shut down completely but maintain a 'float' voltage. They should be safe to leave connected.

Morningstarcorp.com makes several small controllers that might work for you, and they are good at responding to your queries. However they're not waterproof. Could you possibly mount it in the cab?

Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay

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Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #3 

A solar charge controller can optimize the charging of deep cycle batteries by solar panels.It can also prevent electricity from batteries from going through the solar panels when there is no sun.

Best solar flood lights - Top reviews of 2018
Best solar flood lights - Top reviews of 2018  
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