Solar Panel Charge Controller

How To Reset a Portable Solar Controller

A portable solar charge controller is essential in protecting your batteries from overcharging. Given that overcharging can reduce a battery’s lifespan and even destroy the batteries in extreme cases, charge controllers play a critical role in ensuring you get the most out of your appliances. However, if you notice your portable solar controller isn’t working, you’ll need to reset and restart it – but how should you do this?

To reset your portable solar controller, press all the buttons on the front of your controller. Hold them down until you see the controller start to reset. For some controllers, you will see a “reset” symbol on the screen, and you will be prompted to press the corresponding button.

In this article, I’ll explain how to reset your portable solar charge controller in further detail. I’ll explain the two types of reset to try, help you understand why your solar controller may not be working, and explain how to resent your solar inverter if necessary.

Performing a Soft Reset

A soft reset allows you to reset your charge controller without erasing any personalized settings you may have created. Performing a soft reset is a relatively straightforward process:

  1. Depending on your portable solar controller model, you should either press the reset button, the power and reset button simultaneously, or all buttons on the screen simultaneously. You can check which method you need to use in the user manual.
  2. Hold the button(s) down for a few seconds.
  3. In some models, a “reset” symbol will appear, after which the controller will prompt you to press a corresponding button. If your model is one of these, follow the instructions and press the relevant button.
  4. Once you’ve pressed and held down the right buttons according to your model, you will see your controller start to reset. The screen will blink and flash for a few seconds, after which the regular display will reappear.

Performing a Hard Reset

In some cases, a soft reset will not fix the problem with your portable solar controller. In this situation, you will need to perform a hard reset. To do so:

  1. Ideally, wait until nighttime before you perform a hard reset.
  2. Turn the controller over and mark how each of the four wires is connected.
  3. Disconnect all four wires. First, disconnect the two wires attached to the batteries, then disconnect the wires attached to the solar panels.
  4. Allow the solar controller to cool down. Ideally, you should allow the wires to stay disconnected for 15-20 minutes at a minimum.
  5. Once the controller has cooled down and you’ve let it remain disconnected for some time, you can reattach the wires. Use the markings you made before disconnecting them to determine how to reattach them.
  6. The controller will either restart on its own or require you to turn it on, depending on the model. When it restarts, it will look similar to a soft reset – that is, the screen will blink and flash for a few seconds before the regular display reappears.

The two methods described above work for both PWM and MPTT controllers.

Why Your Solar Controller Isn’t Working

There are several factors that may prevent your solar charge controller from working. Some of the most common include:

  • The controller isn’t turning on because of wiring issues. If you’ve recently performed a hard reset and the controller isn’t turning on, you may have attached the wires incorrectly. Check if this is the issue and rewire if need be.
  • The solar panels aren’t providing voltage to the controller. If there’s an issue with the output voltage, the wiring might be faulty. You need to check how the wires on the controller are connected. If the wiring is okay, the controller or solar panel may be broken, there may be an issue with the inverter, or there may be an environmental issue (dirty solar cells, low sunlight, etc.).
  • There is no power being transferred from the controller to the batteries. If the batteries aren’t charging, you should first check if they are full. If they aren’t full but aren’t charging, the issue may be dirty solar panels, wrong input voltage, or faulty wiring. However, if these aren’t the problem, you will need to conduct a hard reset of your controller and, in extreme cases, buy a new controller altogether.

Keep in mind that resetting your solar controller is generally not the first solution you should try. Charge controllers are extremely sensitive to change, and you shouldn’t change the settings unless you’re confident that the issue is with the controller.

How To Reset a Solar Inverter

A solar inverter basically changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Most appliances, whether residential or portable, run on AC current, so a solar inverter is necessary if you want the energy produced by your panels to be usable.

However, there are cases in which the inverter might have problems. As with a charge controller, there are several ways to troubleshoot your solar inverter issues – however, if you’ve tried everything without success, you may need to try resetting your inverter as well.

To do so:

  1. Turn off the inverter.
  2. Turn off the AC disconnect (if you have one).
  3. Turn off the solar disconnect box and the electrical service panel.
  4. Wait for about one to two minutes.
  5. Turn on everything you turned off in the reverse order. Therefore, start by turning on your electrical service panel, then the solar disconnect box, and finally the AC disconnect.
  6. You can finally turn on the inverter.

Final Thoughts

Several reasons your solar controller may stop working include wiring issues, lack of voltage to the controller, and power not being transferred from the controller to the batteries.

Fortunately, resetting a portable solar charge controller is a relatively simple process, especially if you only need to perform a soft reset. If you’re doing a hard reset, the main thing to be cognizant of is how each wire is connected, as misconnected wires will stop your charge controller from working.


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