Construction Of Battery Charge Control For Photovoltaic System
This study was carried out on construction of battery charge control for photovoltaic system using mostly discrete components. The charge controller varies its output to a step of 12V; for a battery of 200Ah rating. The design consists of four stages which include current booster, battery level indicator, battery charge controller and power supply unit. The designed system is very functional, durable, economical, and realisable using locally sourced and affordable components. This work is a prototype of a commercial solar charge controller with protection systems that will prevent damages to the battery associated with unregulated charging and discharging mechanisms.
Table Of Contents
- Title page
- Certification page
- Table of content
- 1.1 Background of the study
- 1.2 Statement of the problem
- 1.3 Aims and objectives
- 1.4 Significance / Justification of the study
- 1.5 Research methodology
- 1.6 Expected findings
- 1.7 Expected contribution to knowledge
- 2.1 Overview of solar charge controller
- 2.2 Types of Solar Charge Controllers
- 2.3 Comparison between MPPT and PWM
- 2.4Charge Cycle of a Charge Controller
- 2.5 Charge Controller
- 2.6 Overcharge Protection
- 2.7 Deep Discharge Protection
- 2.8 Component Selection for Controller Design
- 2.9 Battery charging controller
Design Of Battery Charge Controller For Photovoltaic System
- 3.1 Current Booster
- 3.2 Battery Level Indicator
- 3.3 Battery charge controller
- 3.4 Power supply unit
- 3.5 Mode of Operation
Construction Procedure And Testing
- 4.1 Construction procedure
- 4.2 Testing / results
Summary Of Findings And Conclusion
- 5.1 Summary of findings
- 5.2 Conclusion
1.1 Background of the study
A charge controller is an essential part of any alternative energy system. In its simplest form, a charge controller’s job is to make sure the power (such as a solar panel) ‘plays nice’ with the load (such as a battery). The simplest implementation of this is a single diode placed in between a solar panel and battery. This ensures that the battery does not discharge into solar panel at night. A more sophisticated implementation will be adding the ability for the charge controller to disconnect the solar panel when the batteries are fully charged in order to prevent over-charging damage to the batteries (James and Dunlop, 1991).
The current version of the open source free charge controller is a converter for charging batteries, A bulk converter steps down voltage from a higher voltage level to a lower voltage level. In this case, it would step voltage down from the 18volts of a solar panel to the 12volts of a battery (Harrington and Dunlop, 1992). Since the converter is software controlled, it can be programmed to charge any battery chemistry, change it drive frequency to achieve maximum conversion efficiency as well as implement MPPT to allow a solar panel to deliver maximum power, all without any changes to hardware (Robert and Isaac, 2007). A charge controller also called charge regulator or battery regulator limits the rate at which electric current is added to or drawn from electric batteries. It prevents over charging and may prevent over voltage, which can reduce battery performance or life span, or may pose a safety risk. It may also prevent completely draining (deep discharging) a battery, or perform controlled discharges, depending on the battery technology, to protect battery life.
The term charge controller or charge regulator may refer to either a stand-alone device, or control circuitry integrated within a battery pack, battery-power device, or recharger (Dunlop, 1991; Harrington and Dunlop, 1992) Basically, there are four types of charge controllers. These are namely :-
- Series charge controller or series regulator
- Shunt charge controller or shunt regulator
- Pulse width modulated charge controller (MPPT)
- Maximum power point tracker (MPPT)
A series charger controller disables further current flow into batteries when they are full. A shunt charge controller diverts excess electricity to an auxiliary or shunt load as electric heater, when batteries are full (Harrington and Dunlop, 1992). Pulse width modulated (PWM) and maximum power point tracker technologies adjust charging rate depending on the battery voltage level to allow charging closer to its maximum capacity. Charge controller may also monitor battery temperature to prevent over-heating. Some charge controller systems also display and transmit data to remote displays and data logging to track electric flow over time (Sanjit, 1980; James and Dunlop, 1991; Robert and Isaac, 2007).
The primary function of a charge controller in a stand-alone PV system is to maintain the battery at highest possible state of charge while protecting it from over charge by the array of solar panels and from over discharge by the loads, Although some PV system can be effectively designed without the use of a charge control, any system that has unpredictable loads, user intervention, optimized or undersized battery storage (to minimize initial cost) typically requires a battery charge controller (James and Dunlop, 1991). The algorithm or control strategy of a battery charge controller determines the effectiveness of battery charging and PV array utilization, and most importantly the ability of the system to meet the load demands. Additional features such as temperature compensation, alarms, meters, remote voltage sense leads and special algorithm law enhance the ability of a charge controller to maintain the health and extend the lifespan of battery, as well as providing an indication of operational status to the system caretaker (James and Dunlop, 1991; Harrington and Dunlop, 1992).
One of the best ways to get power to remote, off-grid locations in Nigeria, is through Solar Home System (SHS). The system consists of photovoltaic panel, battery, and a solar charge controller. Solar energy is stored into batteries. A solar charge controller regulates the voltage and current that is coming from the solar panels and going to the battery [Neha, 2013]. The charge controller is a switching device that controls the charging and discharging of the battery. This will protect the batteries from damage and hence prolong the lifespan of the battery [Kondracki etal, 2014].
Figure 1: Block Diagram of a typical non-grid tied Photovoltaic (PV) System.
Photovoltaic System consists of a PV / Solar Panel (module), charge controller, batteries and power inverter. The PV / Solar Panel (module) or array converts the sunlight energy into DC electrical energy. The charge controller conditions the DC electrical voltage and current produced by the PV / Solar Panel (Module) or array to charge a battery. The battery stores the DC electrical energy so that it can be used when there is no solar energy available (night time, cloudy days etc.). DC loads can be powered directly from the PV / Solar Panel (Module) / Battery. The inverter converts the DC power produced by the PV / Solar Panel (Module) / stored in the battery into AC power to enable powering of AC loads. [Samlex, 2014]
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
There are inherent power losses that occur when the solar is connected directly to a load/ battery without matching their internal impedances for which in addition to the non-linear (I-V) operating characteristics of a PV module and variations in its output power with solar insolation and operating temperature; an MPPT charge controller is used in most solar power harvesting systems to ensure maximum rated power is drawn from the solar panel and delivered to the battery while charging it in a healthy mode to increase its lifespan and for efficiency purposes under varying atmospheric condition.
Many are available commercially for high current ratings and relatively expensive so we are building a simple, cheap, adaptable, elementary and durable one from first electronic principles that does the job quite as well and has the lucrative advantage that it can be deployed in rural homes and developing areas of the world for enterprises and households cheaper than conventional MPPT charge controllers from the leading industrial manufacturers.
1.3 Aims and objectives
The main aim of the study is to construct a battery charge control for photovoltaic system.
Specifically, the objectives of the study are given as follows:-
- Preventing battery overheating to limit the energy supplied to the battery by the PV array when the battery becomes fully charged.
- Preventing battery undercharge to disconnect the battery from electrical loads when the battery reaches a low state of charge.
- Providing load control functions to automatically connect and disconnect an electrical load at specified time, for example operating a lighting load from sunset to sunrise.
- Designing a control algorithm for charge controller to determine which particular algorithm will be suitable and efficient for charge regulation (Stevens, 1999, Robert and Isaac 2007)
- Knowing how to design, select and match guidelines for battery application and charge control requirements in PV systems.
1.4 Justification Of The Study
Photovoltaic systems remain the best alternative to the power supply problem in Nigeria today. And the important of a charge controller in a stand-alone photovoltaic system cannot be over emphasized as mentioned earlier. But the efficiency of a charge controller clearly depends of the regulation technique that is used.
Modern charge controllers employ the dynamic potentials of pulse width modulation in tracking the maximum power of the battery bank, through the voltage regulation set points. This method provides for a range of voltages through which charge disconnection and reconnection occurs. However, the type of charge controller described above makes use of several integrated circuits (ICs) to generate the pulses. This is usually complex and expensive to realize. In this project work, a single chip of IC 555 timer is used to generate the pulses, bearing in mind its basic function as a multivibrator, its availability and low cost.
1.5 Research Methodology
The project begins with the sourcing of materials and textbooks in the library and through the internet, to understand what a charge controller is and how it works including it’s basic functions. The research continued with an inquiry into the various types of charge controllers with their respective charge regulation techniques and designs which includes series design, shunt design, pulse width modulation and maximum power point tracking. Thereafter, the design of the project was done to determine the appropriate components to be used. Thus, linear circuit theorems were applied for the mathematical analysis of various voltages, currents and resistances at set points. For a 24v, 0.96Kw charge controller, it will handle a maximum current, I as follows:
From P = V2/R,
- P represents total power,
- V represents voltage and
- R represents circuit resistance,
If P = 0.96kw and V = 24v,
then 0.96 = (24)2/R or R = 24×24/960 = 0.6 ohms
By ohm’s law, V = IR,
where I represents the maximum current, it implies that
I = V/R = 24/0.6 = 40A
Therefore, the maximum short circuit current that can be managed by the charge controller is 40 amperes. Other theorems such as The venin’s and Norton’s theorems are also applied in addition to the modeled equations to calculate and determine the values of components used. After the designing, the components are sourced according to the design specifications made by calculation. Thereafter, the components are mounted by carefully following the schematic diagram for the project. The project work is tested to examine how it functions, and a charge controller algorithm is designed to operate the charge controller according to the voltage regulation set points. The last stage of the project work deals with conclusion, where emphasis is laid on problems encountered during the process of carrying out the project work and suggested solutions as well as recommendations on the need to encourage charge control in solar energy systems.
1.6 Expected Findings
At the end of the project it is expected that:-
- In a PV system, the battery system should be electrically designed for optimal performance and safety
- Adequate knowledge of different types and classification of battery charge controller will be acquired.
- Different design and hardware assembly for the various types of charge controller can be achieved.
- There is new technique in getting the maximum power by using the pulse width modulation technique; the PIC micro controller performs this function primarily. But it is believed that 555timer IC can also perform this function due to its characteristics (Sanjit, 1980; Lam, 1995)
1.7 Expected Contribution To Knowledge
- The project work will give an insight of the common terminologies associated with battery charge controller in PV systems.
- Detailed understanding of the actual modes operations of different charge controllers in PV systems will be enhanced.
- The effect of charge rate, charge regulation algorithm and set points on battery performance and life in PV systems will be clearly understood (Robert and Isaac, 2007).
The importance of equalization for batteries in PV systems will be known in addition to knowing the types of equalization and conditions necessary for adoption of battery equalization (Lam, 1995)
Summary Of Findings And Conclusion
5.1 Summary Of Findings
- After proper connection of the solar panel and battery leads to their respective terminals on the solar charge controller, the power and undercharging LEDs turn ON to indicate battery charging.
- After 12 hours and 20 minutes of charge, the optimum charge LED turns ON indicating full charge and undercharge LED turns OFF indicating that no more current is getting to the battery. Generally the circuit performed satisfactorily.
This study was carried out on the construction of battery charge control for photovoltaic system. This work has produced a low cost, reliable and functional solar charge controller, using locally sourced and available components.
In this chapter, complete experimental versions for the new battery charging controller is covered. That includes the circuit design and description of each module. All experimental test cases and results are showed and discussed. The major differences between the simulation model and the experimental version are clarified. Finally, the implemented system is validated.
The product worked satisfactorily and can be used in a solar home system to solve problems of power supply in Nigeria.
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