|Item Weight||5.3 ounces|
|Package Dimensions||5.7 x 3.2 x 1.6 inches|
|Item model number||SU-SU702|
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Sunix 10A 12V/24V Solar Charge Controller Charge Regulator Intelligent , USB Port Display Overload Protection Temperature Compensation
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- Battery Voltage: 12V/24V, auto & Charge Current: 10A & Discharge Current: 10A
- Adopts double MOS series circuit control makes the voltage loss dropped by 50%. With the PWM fuzzy control in charging, the charge efficiency is improved a lot.
- With Over-load protection & Lightning protection & Under-voltage protection & Over-charging protection & Reverse Polarity protection & Short circuit protection.
- Wide LCD screen display . users can select the proper working mode based on the different conditions.
- Easy to set up and operate. Available for DC lamp and phone charging. Suitable for home, industrial, commercial etc.
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Color : Black
Material : Plastic
Rated Voltage : 12V / 24V (Auto Switch)
Max. Charge/Discharge Current : 10A
Max. Solar Panel Input Voltage : ≤50V
Stop Charge Voltage : 14.7V/29.4V
Low Voltage Recovery : 12.2V/24.4V
Low Voltage Protection : 10.5V/21.0V
USB Output Voltage/Current : 5V 2A
No Load Loss : =10mA
Temperature Compensation : -3mV/Cell/℃
Operation Temperature : -20℃ ~60℃
Item Size : 13.3* 7 * 2.5cm
Item Weight : 120g~152g
1. Over-load protection
2. Short circuit protection
3. Lightning protection
4. Under-voltage protection
5. Over-charging protection
6. Reverse Polarity protection
Package Includes :
1 X Solar Charge Controller
1 X Instruction Manual
Top customer reviews
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The manufacturer doesn't do a great job of explaining who this item is for, how this particular charge controller distinguishes itself from other controllers, or how to actually use it. This review will let you know all those things and more. We'll review some specific numbers based on purchasing the 20A model and using it with your own 12V battery bank. Almost everything you'll read here applies just as well to the 10A model, or 24V batteries, but you'll need to adjust the numbers as appropriate. (Even if not required, consider the $2 upgrade to the 20A model, if only to keep your options open at a later time, or to intentionally run your system well below max spec).
The Sunix Charge Controller CMDT-A2420 (and A2410 for the 10A model) is for someone who is looking for a basic solar charge controller for lead-acid batteries, but they're willing to spend just a few extra dollars to upgrade from the more common bottom-shelf variant. Actually, that's kind of the funny thing? This unit is selling for a price that is actually LOWER than similar models which are lacking some of the features found in this one! On the upside, a few of the other controllers will also support other battery types, but many competing models will lack the extra row of icons on the bottom of the LCD display.
The user of this product will either have a 12V or 24V battery bank, and they will be using lead-acid batteries. They have one or more solar panels that they've tied together into a single string with an output voltage that is more than required to charge the battery (at least 14.8V going into to the charge controller). You can use panels which put out significantly more voltage (up to 50 Vdc), but be aware that some of its ability to charge the battery will be diminished when you significantly mismatch your panel and battery voltages. Finally, the charge controller is limited to 20A, which is around 360 watts for solar panels which are designed for 12V systems. (For the 10A model, the limit is much tighter, only 180 watts.)
What if you need more than 360 watts of solar power? You can feed your single battery bank with two different sets of charge controllers (each with their own unique solar panels). Yes, that's allowed. Also, if you're working with solar panels that are intended for 12V batteries, if you put two of your panels and two of your batteries in series and make everything 24V, the controller supports a 24V system at around 720 watts (because the controller's limit is based on amperage, increasing the voltage will increase the maximum wattage while keeping amps the same). If your needs exceed this, and you don't want to double-up, you should look into a different charge controller.
What if you don't want to hook up a battery? What if you want to use a charge controller to act like a regulator and just run your load off of solar power. Is that allowed? No, that configuration is not supported. The charge controller will not turn on without a battery present. You could try to work around that restriction by adding a small token battery, but such a large mismatch can lead to unintended operational problems.
So at this point, you might not know all the features that this particular charge controller has to offer, but you should have a good idea of who it is for, what it is supposed to do, and if it might work well for your basic needs. Think that this one might work for you? Then read on.
I'm sure that you spotted the two built-in USB charging ports, and those are 2A each. They are always on, taking power from the solar cells or the batteries as needed. If you need a high current charger or more ports, you'll have to roll your own solution, such as connecting a 12V automotive-style USB adapter to your battery bank
The included manual? Junk. It covers too many different models with different features, the text is microscopic, and it is hard to follow if you're trying to learn the system. Don't worry, I'll explain pretty much everything you need to know to operate the charge controller. The manual is more handy as a reference once you've already figured things out.
There is one more major feature included in the controller, but you are not required to take advantage of it. You can always hook up your load directly to your battery, or you could wire it into the charge controller (or you could even do both with two different loads). If you hook a load up to the charge controller, that load will be limited to 20A (240 watts on a 12V system), but you gain a number of features. Sadly, the default screen displays battery voltage. But you can hit the LEFT button at any time and see the connected load's current (in amps) on the display. As long as you are not editing a parameter, at the touch of the RIGHT button, you can always turn the load off and on as desired.
If you prefer, you can set the load to be controlled in a light-sensitive mode. The control panel has a light sensor built into the front, so it you place the controller in an appropriate location (recognizing that the controller itself is not waterproof), it can automatically turn the load on at night and off again in the morning (and with a programmable delay, if you so choose). There are icons at the bottom of the display which confirm the current day/night setting. That's great for automatic outdoor lighting.
To change the load activation mode, hit the LEFT button until you find the screen with a number and the letter "h" on the right. Carefully press and HOLD the LEFT button for at least 5 seconds to enter edit mode, release it, and then use the MIDDLE and RIGHT button to adjust the settings. For manual mode we discussed (where you can turn the load off-and-on), set the value to 0 (which is the default). For fully automatic light-sensitive mode, set the value to 24. For an automatic on/off with delay, set the value to the number of hours you want it to be delayed. Tap the LEFT button again when you are done.
There are other options which you can review at any time by tapping the LEFT button.
If the battery has been drained below a preset voltage, the system can automatically disconnect the load to reduce the wear to your batteries. The cut-off voltage is user-selectable on the LOAD OFF screen, but I wish it allowed for a cutoff voltage that was higher than 12.0V on a 12V battery. The load will automatically cut back in once the battery starts to recharge, and the recovery voltage is user-selectable on the LOAD ON screen. Of course, if you wire your load directly into the battery, then none of these features are actually used.
The charge controller offers a number of user-defined settings, but on this (and many of the lesser controllers which look similar to this one), it is hard to know which menu items can and can't be modified. (In fact, you'll find reviews on Amazon and YouTube videos where people demonstrate how they aren't able to get the controller to allow them to edit anything at all!) A benefit of this particular model is that it adds a wrench icon at the bottom of the display. If the wrench is present, you know that you are in a menu item that can be customized. So many people miss that! Now you know, and you won't be one of them, right? To enter edit mode, hold down the LEFT button for 5 seconds and then release it. When editing, the MIDDLE button will increase the number and the RIGHT button will decrease the number. When you're done, tap the LEFT button to exit to the next screen.
Earlier we talked about placement of the charge controller, but placement is important for one more reason, and that is temperature compensation. Cold temperatures can damage lead-acid batteries. To minimize this, for each degree Celsius below zero, the charge controller will reduce the battery charging voltage by 0.018V (or 0.036V with a 24V battery bank). If your batteries will be placed in an area that can experience freezing temperatures, it is important to make sure that the controller is placed nearby. Additionally, the control panel has a screen that can display the current temperature, but unfortunately for US customers, they missed the obvious option to output the temperature in Fahrenheit. Finally, you should be aware that the charge controller itself is rated for environments no colder than -20C (which is -4F).
The way that this PWM charge controller (and similar models found on Amazon) end up charging your batteries is not likely to match your own expectations (or even what someone else may have told you that you wanted). I'll explain why the typical three-stage charge does not work so well for us, the method used by this charge controller, and I'll justify why this controller's method should be your preferred method of charging a smaller solar powered system. I wish that I could incorporate two stickied forum topics from SolarPanelTalk into this review: "Bulk Absorb Float Equalize What Does It Mean" and "Are You Killing Your Batteries?". I'll reference them in my answer below.
If you've spent some time looking into charge controllers, you're probably expecting at least a three-stage charging solution with several different parameters that you can adjust. If we were working with an always-on charging system, and we had a consistent power budget, the multi-stage recommendation is what you should be looking for, but that's not what we have here. We're working with restricted windows of optimal sunlight, and our power supply is subject to change at any time (by reduced sunlight or additional loads). Worse, we're usually working with small wattage systems which do not have the power to quickly replenish our batteries.
The ordinary battery charging assumptions just don't make sense for us. Once we've exited our initial bulk charging cycle with an 80% charge, we're already running out of daylight, and the next two cycles (which take EVEN LONGER) never have enough time to complete the remaining 20% that we need to maintain battery health. The standard charge recommendation leaves our small solar charging systems with batteries that are chronically undercharged, leading to damage and shorter useful lives. What we need is a different method of charging our batteries, and that's what many owners of small systems have arrived at: the daily charging cycle.
For the daily charge cycle, we aim to pump our maximum available current into the battery until we hit our ideal voltage, and then if we manage to hit it before we run out of sunlight, use PWM to keep it there. The default voltage on the Sunix charge control actually ends up being a great starting place, which is 14.7V on the PV OFF screen. Because we've got a limited budget of solar energy, overcharging is rarely an issue. Does this method sound simple? It is. But you're not going with this method because you're restricted to a cheap or simple charging controller. In fact, many owners of more sophisticated charge controllers have adjusted their settings to use this same simple method. You're using this method because it offers the best charge and best battery life with our atypical constraints.
At this point, you've got a choice in the amount of effort that you want to put into this. You can say that the default is good enough and move on to other things. If you want to optimize for maximum battery charge and maximum battery life, then you need to find the exact point at which your batteries are fully charged. Arguably, this is what you and everyone else should have been doing all along.
The authoritative way to determine if your battery is fully charged is NOT voltage. It is to use a hydrometer to test the battery acid itself. Specifically, you'll want a *temperature compensated* hydrometer. Searching on Amazon for "B000JFHMRU" will find you one for $8.21 and searching for "B0002KKTYU" finds another for $11.02. You'll want to consult a good guide for measuring the specific gravity of battery acid.
According to the daily charge method, if you've measured your batteries with a hydrometer at the end of a cycle, and you still aren't regularly reaching a fully charge state, you would increase your charging cutoff voltage setpoint in your charge controller, let it run for at least another full day, and measure again. If you continually fall short of a full charge (which is more possible during the winter months, and even more possible if you've attached too large of a battery with too small of a solar array), then you're going to have to use a supplemental charge (or adjust the size of your system) if you want to optimize for charge and battery life. The guides I mentioned over at SolarPanelTalk provide additional details.
Left unaddressed by this are the potential maintenance items of desulfating the battery plates and removing any stratification of acid concentrations, and that is usually addressed by the equalization mode which is found in the even more expensive four stage charge controllers. On a monthly basis you could manually perform your own equalization cycle (a controlled overcharge of the battery for a short period of time). Alternatively, you could use a continuous desulfating device, one of which I found on Amazon for $20 by searching for "B00IQ5X91I". Stratification could be addressed as simply as physically shaking your battery on a monthly basis. Don't want to desulfate or destratify your battery? It isn't required. You could say that what you've already done is better than average, and move onto other things. If you do end up needing equalization, you can revisit this later.
At this point, you should have everything you need to know about this charge controller. You should be able to make a much more informed decision with this purchase, and once you receive it, you should be ready to hit the ground running now that you already understand how to use it and what you may want to adjust.
Is this the best charge controller out there? Absolutely not. Is it the best in its price range? Yes, I believe so. There were a number of small improvements they could have made to the Sunix Solar Charge Controller (such as a configurable default display, units in Fahrenheit or Celsius, a higher cut-off load voltage, better manual, and backlight) that keep this from being a five star review, but at this price, it should be more than a good start for anybody who is looking to start a small solar powered system with lead-acid batteries. Actually, is far too easy to spend more money and arrive at something that ends up being worse. I don't think you'll find a more tempting feature set without careful research and spending a lot more money.
I had to remove it from my little setup because it used more power then my 2 watt panel could make: I noticed the battery kept getting lower and lower over a few evenings so I checked the current draw for the controller with and without the load option selected - i had no load on the output for the reading, so I guess the USB ports in idle draw a little bit too: It showed to be drawing almost 15ma with the load turned off at the controller, and a little over 19ma with the load turned on at the controller
(I still plan to use it someday if I upgrade my solar panel)
update: I have switched to heavier gauge cable (10 gauge) between the battery and controller. This seems to have fixed the problem. Now it looks like my battery is almost charged and the voltage is jumping between 14.7 and 13.7 and the current between 6.3A and 2A. After reading online about PWM controllers I think that what i am observing now is the charge controller topping the battery off to full charge. I wish that the controller came with a better manual that explained what size cable to use and what behaviours should be seen from the controller (-1 star). I am happy now with my purchase and would recommend it to others. The only thing to do now I think it to place a fuse between the battery and the charge controller (i think).
HQST 100 watt panel loose so I can move to the best location. 30 ft. Cables connected the my Sunix CC. Connected to my Interstate deep cycle battery. Tried this out at my house the other day and everything worked well. The true test will be 6/1 when we camp for 8 days on ocracoke island with no hookups. Will update after the trip.. Happy camping. 😁
Don't do something stupid at it will probable work great for you. I didn't find the instructions difficult like others mentioned, and was able to quickly navigate the settable options.