Victron Energy MPPT Solar Charge Controller How to & Troubleshooting Guide

If you have a Victron MPPT solar charge controller, knowing how to troubleshoot the issues with these charge controllers can help save you money on repairs and/or replacements. Follow this guide to learn how to resolve some of the common issues with these units, as well as perform various functions.

How to wire your victron energy MPPT solar charge controller

To wire your Victron MPPT solar charge controller, follow the installation instructions below:

General

  • Mount vertically on a non-flammable substrate, with the power terminals facing downwards. Observe a minimum clearance of 10 cm under and above the charge controller for optimal cooling.
  • Mount the solar charge controller close to the battery, but never directly above the battery in order to prevent damage due to gassing of the battery.
  • Use a direct battery voltage sense source (BMV, Smart Battery Sense or GX device shared voltage sense) if larger temperature differences or extreme ambient temperature conditions are expected. Improper internal temperature compensation can lead to reduced battery lifetime.
  • The battery and PV connections must be guarded against inadvertent contact. Install in an enclosure or install the optional WireBox.

Grounding

  • Battery grounding: You can install the charger in a positive or negative grounded system. Apply a single ground connection, preferably close to the battery, to prevent malfunctioning of the system.
  • Chasis grounding: A separate earth path for the chasis ground is allowed because it is isolated from the positive and negative terminal.
  • The USA National Electrical Code requires the use of an external ground fault protection device (GFPD). The MPPT chargers may not have internal ground fault protection. The system electrical negative should be bonded through a GFPD to earth ground at one (and only one) location.
  • The charger must not be connected with grounded PV arrays ( one ground connection only)
  • The plus and minus of the PV array should not be grounded. Ground the frame of the PV panels to reduce the impact of lighting.

PV configuration

  • Provide a means to disconnect all current-carrying conductors of  a photovoltaic power source from all other conductors in a building or other structure.
  • You shall not install a switch, circuit breaker, or other device, either AC or DC, in a grounded conductor if operation of that device leaves grounded conductor is an ungrounded state while the system remains energyzed.
  • PV voltage must exceed Vbat + 5V for the controller to start. Thereafter minimum voltage is Vbat + 1V.
  • Maximum open circuit PV voltage: 75V respectively 100V

Cable connection sequence

  • First, connect the cables to the load, but ensure that all loads are switched off.
  • Second, connect the battery (this will allow the controller to recognize system voltage).
  • Third, connect the solar array (when connected with reverse polarity, the controller will heat up but will not charge the battery).
  • Torque: 1 Nm

The system is now ready for use.

Connecting MPPT Control display

A VE. Direct cable is needed to connect the display to the solar charger. The cable is not included with the MPPT control display and needs to be purchased separately. It is not possible to extend the VE. Direct cable, the maximum length cannot exceed 10 meters.

Connect the power cable (only needed for old style solar controllers) as follows:

  • Connect the black wire ring cable lug to the negative battery terminal. If a battery monitor is used on the system, connect the black wire to the system side of battery monitor shunt instead.
  • Connect the red cable ring lug to the positive battery terminal.
  • Plug the RJ12 terminal into the power terminal on the back of the display.

How to connect victron solar charge controller to app via Bluetooth

To connect your Victron Energy solar charge controller over Bluetooth, always connect from within VictronConnect. Do not connect from the phone’s system menu because VictronConnect will not find your unit.

To connect, follow these steps:

  1. Enable the Bluetooth on your phone.
  2. Open VictronConnect, and scan:
  3. On a phone or tablet, pull down the screen, or tap the refresh button to initiate a scan,
  4. On a computer or laptop, click the “Scan or Refresh” button on the left.
  5. The first time you attempt to connect the phone will ask to pair with the charge controller. Enter the PIN code. The default PIN code is 000000
  6. The connection is complete.

Another way to connect your Victron solar charge control is by using a VE.Direct Bluetooth dongle.The VE.Direct Bluetooth Smart dongle allows non Bluetooth VE.Direct Victron product to be accessed via Bluetooth using the VictronConnect App. The dongle is able to read data from any product that has a VE.Direct port and is especially useful for products with no built-in Bluetooth. The dongle has two indication LEDs, a push button and a VE.Direct connector.

To connect to the Victron solar charge controller via the dongle:

  1. Connect the dongle directly to the VE.Direct port of a compatible Victron solar charge controller.
  2. Ensure that the compatible Victron solar charge controller has been powered up so that the dongle is also powered.
  3. Connect to the dongle using the VictronConnect app. Once the VictronConnect app has established a successfully connection with the dongle (and the firmware was successfully updated), the blue LED will be on and the red LED will be off.
  4. Open the VictronConnect App.
  5. The app will establish communication with the dongle and the solar charge controller.
  6. When the connection is active, the blue Bluetooth LED will stop blinking and turn to solid.
  7. The charge controller where the dongle is connected to will show up in the list of the VictronConnect app.
  8. It will be called VE.Direct smart, together with the name of the connected Victron solar charge controller. You can change the name if desired.
  9. Select “VE.Direct smart” from the VictronConnect app device list.
  10. The solar charge controller can now be accessed via the dongle and VictronConnect app.

How to program your solar charge controller from your smartphone

To program your Victron solar charge controller from your smartphone follow these instructions below:

  1. Download the VictronConnect app onto your phone.
  2. Connect the solar charge controller to the battery.
  3. Next, search for the controller on the phone app.
  4. After you have connected to your solar charge controller, you may get a notification that the firmware needs to be updated. You will need a pin code, the default pin is 000000.
  5. Now you can select the unit and move to the next screen where you are asked to update the firmware.
  6. Moving on, you will now see the main screen. At the top right corner of the screen, click on the cog icon to open the settings menu. Then click the battery menu.
  7. On the battery main screen, select the battery preset menu and choose “User Defined”.
  8. Lastly, inside the User Defined settings menu, you change the following:
  9. Absorption voltage
  10. Absorption time
  11. Float voltage
  12. Equalization voltage
  13. Equalization current percentage
  14. Automatic Equalization
  15. Temperature compensation
  16. Low Temperature cut-off
  17. Once done, go back to the main screen and click on the floppy disc icon on the top right to save your settings.

How to program victron solar charge controller without the app

In the settings menu of the MPPT Control, you can view and change the solar charger and MPPT Control settings. To navigate the settings menu:

  • Press the SETUP button for 2 seconds to enter the settings menu
  • The first menu item is shown.
  • Navigate to the desired menu item by pressing the up and down button
  • Once arrived at the desired menu item, press the SELECT button to view the value the setting has been set to.
  • To modify the this setting press the SELECT button again. The value will now blink.
  • Press the up or down button to choose the desired value.
  • Press SELECT to confirm the change, you will hear a beep and will see the word SAVED. The change is made final.
  • Navigate to the next menu item, or press SETUP to return to the setup menu.
  • To leave the setting menu, press the SETUP button again.

You can change settings in the BlueSolar MPPT charge controllers using mpptprefs.

  • Connect the VE.Direct to USB cable to the BlueSolar MPPT charge controller.
  • Connect the other end to a Windows PC.
  • Power-up the charger. Note that some models can be powered from either the battery terminals or the solar panel terminals, while other modes can only be powered from the solar terminals.
  • After successfully connecting the charger to the computer, there are two ways to change the settings. The common way is the interactive mode. When a large number of chargers must be (re)programmed, it might be useful to use the tool in batch mode.

For interactive mode:

  • Start the mpptprefs.exe tool by double clicking on it. The tool will try to locate the MPPT charger by scanning the available ports and downloading the settings once it finds a compatible charger. First you will see an overview of charger model, firmware version and the actual settings.
  • When the settings are to your liking, make sure to press x and enter to save them to the connected charger.

Charge algorithm

The menu allows you to change the following settings:

  • v- Modify battery voltage setting

Set the battery voltage to auto detection (0) or a fixed voltage (12, 24, 36, 48) to disable the auto detection.

  • a- Modify absorption voltage
  • b- Enable/disable batterysafe mode

Switch on or off the batterysafe mode, note that batterysafe mode has been removed as of version 1.13. If you connect a model with recent firmware, this option will no longer be shown.

  • f- Modify float voltage
  • c- Modify current limit

Allows you to set a lower maximum charge current.

  • i- Modify equalization voltage

Available from firmware 1.16 and higher.

  • j- Modify auto equalize mode

Set up auto equalize mode, available options: 0= off, 1= daily, 2= every other day… 250= every 250 days.

  • k- Modify temperature compensation
  • m- Modify absorption time limit

Set up the absorption time limit. Enter the time value in the notation hh:mm, where hh=hours (0..12), mm= minutes (00..59).

  • t- Switch back to the factory defined battery table/rotary switch position

Modifying any of the charge parameters a, b, f and c automatically creates a user defined battery type. Use this option to switch back to the factory defined algorithm.

  • l- Modify load output/ lighting controller (timer) settings
  • m- Modify load operation mode
  • h- Modify load switch high voltage level (load operation modes 5 and 6)
  • l- Modify load switch low voltage level (load operation modes 5 and 6)
  • s- Enable/disable lighting controller (timer)
  • p- Modify lighting controller timer programs (when lighting controller is enabled)
  • e- Clear history data

How to reset your victron solar charge controller

To reset your Victron solar charge controller follow these steps:

  1. Start by covering your solar panels
  2. Disconnect the battery from the charge controller by either removing the fuse or turning off the circuit breaker.
  3. Wait at least two minutes, then reinstall the fuse or turn the circuit breaker back on.
  4. Then, uncover your solar panels.
  5. Verify this operation when your battery bank is partially discharged and no other charging sources are present. You have successfully reset your solar charge controller.

Victron solar charge controller LED blinking codes and their meaning

Regular operation

Blue Bulk LED blinking- Not charging

The bulk LED will blink briefly every 3 seconds when the system is powered but there is insufficient power to start charging.

Bulk, Absorption and/or Float LED blinking

The LED(s) might blink every 4 seconds indicating that the charger is receiving data from another device, this can be:

  • A GX Device (eg Color Control with a Multi in ESS mode)
  • A VE.Smart network link via Bluetooth (with other MPPT chargers and/or a BMV or Smart Battery Sense)

Fault Situation

  1. Float LED blinking green- Charger temperature too high
  2. Bulk LED blinking blue, Float LED blinking green- Charger over-current
  3. Absorption LED blinking yellow, Float LED blinking green- Charger or panel over-voltage
  4. Bulk LED blinking blue, Absorption LED blinking yellow- Internal error e.g calibration and/or settings data lost, current sensor issue.

Can I use my victron solar charge controller to power a load without batteries?

It depends on the type of load. During low current situations the MPPT control bandwidth is too small to be able to maintain a stable voltage. The result is that loads that need to see a stable voltage before they can activate or loads that require a certain “under voltage” to activate will not be able to run.

Loads where under voltage does not apply, like light globes, can be operated without any problems.

It’s always advisable to use your charge controller with batteries to smooth things out and avoid risk of blowing up the charge controller when the solar array input or load demands fluctuate

Why is my solar charge controller not working?

There could be several reasons why your Victron solar charge controller is not working:

Check that the PV voltage is high enough compared to the battery voltage. Either read it with a remote panel or VictronConnect.

 Or measure the voltage with a volt meter. Make sure to measure the voltage on the terminals on the charger. Not, elsewhere, to rule out any faulty wires or fuses. The panel voltage needs to be at least 5V above the battery voltage for the charger to start power conversion.

  • If you have a Victron solar charge controller with a remote on/off switch (a green two pole connector, labeled L H), check that the jumper is in. L and H need to be shorted for the unit to switch on.
  • Check that the battery voltage is set properly in the settings.
  • Check for error codes and troubleshoot as required.

How to read error codes on your MPPT solar charge controller

Solar chargers indicate an error with their LEDs. Detailed error codes can be read with a remote panel, such as the Color Control GX or the MPPT Control.

The MPPT Control LCD screen displays the following information:

  • A number reading
  • The unit of the reading: V, A, W, kWh, h or !
  • The type of reading: load, battery, PV, min, max or charge stage.
  • Connection status indicator.

To read error codes, enter and readout the history menu by following these steps:

  • Press the SELECT button while in the status menu
  • Press the up or down button to navigate through the history items.
  • Scroll to LAST ERRORS on the history menu items and press SELECT. Here you will see the last 4 daily errors. The number of blocks in the lower right of the LCD determines which error is currently shown, with 1 block being the latest and 4 blocks being the oldest.

All victron energy MPPT solar charge controller error codes & their meaning

Err 2- Battery voltage too high

The error can be due to other charging equipment connected to the battery or a fault in the charge controller. You may also get this error if the battery voltage is set to a lower voltage than the connected battery. This error will auto-reset after the battery voltage has dropped.

Err 3, Err 4- Remote temperature sensor failure

The most like cause for this error is the remote T-sense connector is connected to the BAT+ or BAT- terminal. This error will auto-reset after proper connection.

To troubleshoot, check if the T-sense connector is properly connected to a remote temperature sensor.

Err 5- Remote temperature sensor failure (connection lost)

Check if the T-sense connector is properly connected to a remote temperature sensor. This error will not auto-reset.

Err 6, Err 7- Remote battery voltage sense failure

The most likely cause for this error is the remote V-sense connector is connected in reverse polarity to the BAT+ or BAT- terminals. Check if the V-sense connector is properly connected to the battery terminals.

Err 8- Remote battery voltage sense failure (connection lost)

Check if the V-sense connector is properly connected to the battery terminals.

Err 11- Battery high ripple voltage

High DC ripple is usually caused by loose DC cable connections and/or when the DC wiring is too thin. After the inverter has switched off due to high DC ripple voltage, it waits 30 seconds and then restarts.

After three restarts followed by a shutdown due to high DC ripple within 30 seconds of restarting, the inverter will shut down and stops retrying. To restart the inverter, switch it OFF and then ON. Note that continuous high DC ripple reduces the life expectancy of the inverter.

Err 14- Battery low temperature

The charger is stopped to avoid charging LiFePO4 batteries at low temperature as it damages the cells.

Err 17- Controller overheat despite reduced output current

This error will auto-reset after the charger has cooled down. Check the ambient temperature and check for obstructions near the heatsink.

Err 18- Controller over-current

This error will auto-reset. If the error does not auto-reset, disconnect the charge controller from all power sources, wait 3 minutes and power up again. If the error still persists the charge controller could be faulty. This error can be caused by switching on a very large load on the battery side.

Err 20- Maximum Bulk-time exceeded

The maximum bulk time protection is a feature that was in the earlier chargers (2015 and earlier) and later the feature was removed. If you get this error, then update to the latest firmware. If the error persists, perform a factory reset to reset the configuration to factory defaults, and reconfigure the solar charger.

Err 21- Current sensor issue

The current measurement is out of range. Disconnect all wires, and then reconnect all wires to make restart the charger. Also, make sure the minus on the MPPT charge controller is not bypassing the charge controller. This error will not auto-reset.

If the error persists, there might be a hardware defect. Please contact your dealer.

Err 22, Err 23- Internal temperature sensor failure

The internal temperature measurements are out of range. Disconnect all wires, and then reconnect all wires to restart the unit. This error will not auto-reset.

If the error remains, there might be a hardware defect. Please contact your dealer.

Err 24- Fan failure (applies to skylla –IP44, IP65)

This error indicates that the fan is powered on but the circuit does not measure any current draw by the fan. Most likely is either obstructed or broken.

Please contact your dealer, there might be a hardware defect.

Err 26- Terminal overheated

Power terminals overheated, check wiring, including the wiring type and type of strands, and/or fasten bolts if possible. This error will auto-reset.

Err 27- Charger short circuit

This error will auto-reset. If the error does not auto-reset, disconnect the charge controller from all power sources, wait 3 minutes, and power up again. If the error persists the charge controller is likely faulty.

Err 28- Power stage issue

This error will not auto-reset. Disconnect all wires, and then reconnect all wires. If the error persists the charge controller is probably faulty.

Err 29- Over-Charge protection

This error will auto-reset. To protect the battery from over-charging the battery is disconnected. A possible cause is an over-sized PV array configuration if there are too many panels in series the battery voltage cannot be reduced any further. Consider wiring more PV panels in parallel to reduce the voltage.

Err 33- PV over-voltage

This error will auto-reset after the PV-voltage has dropped to safe limit. This error is an indication that the PV-array configuration with regard to open-circuit voltage is critical for this charger. Check the configuration and if required re-organize panels.

Err 34- PV over-current

The current from the solar panel array has exceeded 75A. This error could be generated due to an internal system fault. Disconnect the charger from all power sources, wait 3 minutes and power up again. If the error persists the controller is probably faulty.

Err 35- PV over-power

This indicates that the panel voltage is too high in combination with the desired battery voltage. Reduce the PV voltage by removing panels from the string or re-wiring them in parallel.

Err 38, Err 39- PV Input shutdown

To protect the battery from overcharging the panel input is shorted

Err 40- PV Input failed to shutdown

If the charger is unable to turn off the PV input, it will go into a safe mode in order to protect the battery from over-charging or having a high voltage on the battery terminals. In order to do that, the charger will stop charging and disconnect its out output. The charger will become faulty.

Err 41- Inverter shutdown (PV isolation)

PV panel isolation resistance too low. Check the PV array cabling and panel isolation, the inverter restarts automatically once the issue is resolved.

Err 42- Inverter shutdown (Ground Fault)

The ground leakage current exceeds the allowed 30Ma limit. Check the PV array cabling and panel isolation. This error will not auto-reset. Check the installation and restart the unit using the power switch.

Err 43- Inverter shutdown (Ground Fault)

The voltage difference between Neutral and Ground is too high.

Err 50, Err 52- Inverter overload, Inverter peak current

Some loads draw large inrush currents in a start-up situation. In such circumstances, it is possible that the start-up current exceeds the over current trip level of the inverter.

Err 51- Inverter temperature too high

A high ambient temperature or enduring high load may result in shut down to over temperature. Reduce load and/or move the inverter to a better ventilated area and check for obstructions near the fan outlets.

Err 53, Err 54- Inverter output voltage

If the battery voltage is getting low and a large load is applied to the AC output the inverter is unable to maintain the proper output voltage. Recharge the battery or reduce the AC loads to continue operation.

Err 55, Err 56, ERR 58- Inverter self test failed

The inverter performs diagnostic tests before it activates its output. If one of these tests fails an error message is displayed and the inverter does not run.

Err 57- Inverter ac voltage on output

There is already AC voltage on the AC out terminal before switching on the inverter. Check that the AC out is not connected to a mains outlet or to another inverter.

Err 67- BMS Connection lost

The charger is configured to be controlled by a BMS, but it does not receive any control messages from a BMS. The charger stopped charging, as a safety precaution.

Err 68- Network misconfigured

This error applies to SmartSolar/BlueSolar MPPTs VE.Can (FW version v1.04 or higher) and SmartSolar VE.Direct MPPTs (FW version v1.47). It indicates that the charger detects multiple conflicting network sources, with the same priority, trying to send the same information to the charger.

To clear the error on the SmartSolar VE.Direct MPPTs, update the FW version to v1.48 or higher.

To clear the error on the SmartSolar/BlueSolar MPPTs VE.Can, update the software. If the error persists, it will be because the charger is connected with both a VE.Direct cable and on VE.Can. That is not supported. You will need to remove one of the two cables. The error will clear and the charger will resume normal operation, within a minute.

Err 114- CPU temperature too high

This error will reset after the CPU has cooled down. If the error persists, check ambient temperature and check for obstructions near the air inlet and outlet holes of the charger cabinet.

Err 116- Calibration data lost

If the unit does not work and you get error 116 as the active error the unit is faulty. Contact your dealer for a replacement.

If the error is only present in the history data and the unit operates normally this error can be ignored safely.

For SmartSolar modeles (not the BlueStar models), upgrading to v1.4x firmware is a one-way trip and you cannot go back to an older firmware once you upgrade. Reverting to older firmware gives error 116. To fix this, re-install the v1.4x firmware.

Check this too: Hybrid Wind and Solar Charge Controller vs Independent Units

Err 119- Settings data lost

The charger cannot read its configuration, and stopped. This error will not auto-reset.

To get it working again:

  • First, restore it to factory defaults
  • Disconnect the charge controller from all power sources
  • Wait 3 minutes, and power up gain.
  • Reconfigure the charger.

MPPT Control Connection Issues

If the display is unable to make a connection with the solar charger or if the text “” Disconnected” is scrolling through the screen, the MPPT Control has not established communications with the solar charger.

The most likely cause is an issue with the VE.Direct cable. To troubleshoot, follow these instructions:

  1. Check if the VE.Direct is plugged into the back of the display.
  2. Check if the VE.Direct cable is plugged into the solar charger.
  3. Make sure the VE.Direct connectors are inserted all the way into the VE.Direct ports.
  4. Check the VE.Direct port pins; ensure that they are not damaged, bend or missing.

MPPT Control Power Issues

The display is powered via the VE.Direct cable or via the power cable. If the display does not power up check these cables.

VE.Direct cable check:

  1. Check if the VE.Direct is plugged into the back of the display.
  2. Check if the VE.Direct cable is plugged into the solar charger,
  3. Make sure the VE.Direct connectors are inserted all the way into the VE.Direct ports.
  4. Check the VE.Direct port pins; ensure that they are not damaged, bend or missing.
  5. Check if the solar charger is able to provide power via the VE.Direct cable when no PV input (at night). Some early solar charger models need to have the power cable installed.

Power cable check:

  1. Check the fuse in the power cable.
  2. Check if the power cable is plugged into the back of the display.
  3. Check if the power cable is connected to the battery or to another supply voltage.
  4. Check if the supply voltage is between 6.5 and 95 Vdc.

Oscar

In his spare time, Oscar loves tinkering with electronics. Solar panels, wiring, old TVs and sometimes DIY powerwalls. When he is not busy trying not to electrocute himself, you can find him in the garden tending to his vegetables and chickens.

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