Because I am new to this I decided it would be wise to start with a very affordable charge controller to experiment with. The LD296 charge controller was only around 15 bucks at amazon so I figured if I fried it during my experiments it wouldn’t be a total loss. The instruction manual for this thing is tiny and the english translation is terrible, but I managed to figure out what I needed to know from it. To make it easier to read and make it available online I snapped some photo’s of the manual and turned it into a downloadable pdf document. Feel free to click here
to download it.
One of the key things I want to do is tie in my dumb battery charger to the charge controller in parralel with the solar array. The idea here is when the batteries die and there is no sun to charge them back up I would like to be able to turn on the generator in hopes I could charge the batteries and run the cabin at the same time. Running the dumb battery charger through the charge controller should make the cheap charger “smart”. I am not sure at this point if that is a bad idea or if it will cause any damage to either the charge controller or the solar panels. Worst case scenerio I will add a disconnect switch or A/B switch to select which power source feeds the charge controller. It would be cool if I could figure out a way to use some relays to make it autoswitch if I turned the generator on!