AC500 not charging with PV240

I’m attempting to charge my AC500 with the PV240 panel. I have connected the DC input cable to my panels and nothing is displaying on the input screen. I also attempted to charge the BS3003 using the DC input cable provided and nothing is displaying on the screen as well. I connected the panels to my ECO flow mini and it was drawing 180 watts. Is there something I’m doing wrong here?

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Welcome to the forum @cprattiii !!

Have you double checked the settings on the display to make sure you are in PV charging mode?

Yes, the settings are turned on for PV

Well, the obvious things to check:
The DC cable has four inputs, two for DC1 and two for DC2. Check the connections to make sure you’re using either DC1 or DC2, not one wire going to DC1 and the other to DC2.

If that’s all good, get a voltmeter and see what voltage your getting from the panel. It should be close to the panel rated voltage. If you get nothing, it’s likely a broken wire inside the MC4 connector.

When you plug that DC cable in, you have to rotate it to find the right orientation before it slides into place, then screw the outer cover on.

As for trying to charge the B300s directly from solar or whatever, it looks like you need that D050S adapter.

Yes, I have the DC cable secured properly and tightened securely. I also tried connecting to the DC1 inputs exclusively with no luck and tried the same for DC2.

I can connect the PV240 panels to my ECO Flow mini and that charges fine. so the connections are good.

I also tried the charging from the B300s directly with the cable provided. That has a simple connection to the unit with two MC4 connectors that plug right into the panels cables.

@cprattiii You are referring to PV420 420W solar panel, right?
Regarding this issue, we have the following suggestions

1. try to use car charging, can it be charged?

  1. Is the mode setting correct? PV select PV mode, car charging select Others mode

  2. If the car charging can be charged, the machine is normal. It is the solar panel or cable problems.

Can you use a multimeter to measure the voltage of the solar panel, and measure the connection cable the presence of voltage?

  1. If the PV and car charging can not be charged, then check the conversion cable if there is a problem

  2. If there is no problem with the conversion cable, do not exclude the possibility of mainboard failure. You need to contact the support team for futher processing.

UPDATE: I had it working briefly by using my other PV420 right out of the box.
Here are the steps I took.

  1. I put the panel outside
  2. Connected the panel to both DC 2 inputs and the unit was charging.

So at this point , I thought it could be a problem with the other panel (Although it charged my ECOFlow fine)

  1. I shut the solar input off so I could use the AC power output.
  2. I still saw that it was briefly drawing inout Watts so I unplugged the DC2 cables.
  3. After using the AC and switching it off, I set solar input ON for DC1 and DC2.
  4. Plugged the cables in DC1 inputs and no joy. Repeated the same for DC2 and the same.

Now I’m back to where I started.

Is there something that needs to be reset?

There’s no need to turn off the solar input to use the AC output, or vice versa. They can both be used at the same time, and it’s how my AC500 has been operating for the past 2 weeks.
Check the firmware update screen. If nothing else, contact support directly.

Thanks, I’ve updated the firmware and will give it another shot in the morning. I read it was not recommended to charge and discharge at the same time. Not sure how accurate the info is.

Q: Does Bluettipower portable power station support charging and discharge simultaneously? A: Sure. However, in order to better protect the cycle life of the battery, it is not recommended to charge and discharge the battery at the same time.

I also have contacted support and have a service request in.

A battery can only be charging or discharging.
If the AC out needs 400 watts and there is 600 watts available from the solar then there will be 200 watts that the charge controller can use to charge the batteries if they need charging.
If there is only 300 watts available from solar then there will be 100 watts coming out of the batteries to give the AC out what it needs.

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@cprattiii In regards to bluetti’s Q&A answer… their response can be misinterpreted as they are referring to optimizing overall cycle-life and degradation of the cells… But in no way should you be concerned about simultaneously charging/discharging these batteries. Thats what these kinds of machines are made for! haha I think their response was on the overly cautious HR compliant side of things, if you know what I mean? haha

These LifePo4 cells are rated to 4500+ cycles before you’d ever possibly notice a degradation. haha thats an extremely long time and quite frankly, would be impressive if the unit is still around at that point. haha

But back to your issues charging with the pv420 panels.. I would continue to do as @St8kout talked about above.. and by using a multimeter, try isolating where the problem is coming from. Read the voltage output on each panel first, (id start with the one that worked for you) Then attach the adapter plug and read the voltage coming out where you'd plug it into the bluetti. It should be the same or show VERY little voltage drop in reference to your first reading. Then try this same thing for your other string. Both numbers should be pretty close and this should help break down where the issue is coming from.
I tried color coordinating the plugs/ports you'd be measuring for each line to make it easier..

And as for charging the bluetti b300S expansion battery, It has a built in mppt solar charge controller so you dont need the D050S charging enhancer as @St8kout referenced above. As long as the voltage number falls between the 12-60v input limit of the b300s, it should charge up the battery.

Thanks for the post Mike, the info was very helpful.

I have updated the firmware, reconnected the cables and it seems to be charging.

I first connected the one of PV420 panels to the battery pack and the unit turned on and the green indicator was blinking. Note the main display does not show the wattage of the PV input.

I connected the second panel to the AC500 (DC1 input). I did get a warning and had to turn parallel charging off.
After adjusting the setting I was able to pull in 122w.
Screen Shot 2023-03-10 at 11.26.21 AM

A few questions:

  1. Is it more optimal to charge from AC500 unit with both DC inputs or is it essentially the same charging from the unit and battery pack.

  2. Is using the parallel PV setting used when the panels are in series? Typically used for more than two panels?

Thanks again for your responses!

@cprattiii So the phrasing of the manual is kind of confusing when it comes to the PV charging thru the AC500… Basically theres 2 ways you can string up your solar panels… In “series” connections, it increases the voltage, and the amps stay the same, where as when you wire them in “parallel”, the voltage stays the same, and the amps increases. Generally people start using parrallel adapters and wiring up the panels that way to “over-panel” and to keep the voltage down so that its doesnt overload the mppt charge controller. Generally speaking, you can go over the amp limit, but you never want to go over the voltage limit. Heres a little photo to kind of illustrate it…

Now back to the ac500 and the phrasing of the manual/settings… it can be kind of confusing because of its dual mppt function and ability to charge from multiple sources. But if you are strictly using solar/PV for a charging source, you will want to keep the “PV Parallel Enable” turned on…

As for what is considered most “optimal” for charging up your battery unit in this system… thats going to completely depend on each users individual setup. When available… I always try to connect my charging source directly or as close to the battery as possible…So in this case, would be to attach your solar panels directly to the b300s. That way the power isnt going from the ac500 pv input down thru the connection cable and then to the battery. Any added wire or connections is going to add some losses… Might be VERY minimal, but it does add up once you start expanding your system with multiple batteries and/or cable runs.

Hope this help!!

Thanks for the info, the diagrams are awesome! I’ll try charging directly to the b300s in series with my two panels.

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@cprattiii Keep us posted and snap some pics of your setup and results!! Im super jealous of your pv420 panels btw!!

It’s called “pass-through charging, and I would not have bought the AC500 if it did not allow it.
I bought a Jackery a long time ago and at first they said don’t do it. Then later they said you can do it but it shortens battery life (they use a different type lithium battery with a very limited number (around 500) of charge cycles.)
The Bluetti batteries are made for pass-through charging, it’s one of the selling points. Technically pass-through charging is not ideal but the 3500 charge cycles available makes it something you don’t need to worry about for maybe 10 years. Telsa Powerall uses the same battery technology and they say it will last 10 years.
Apple clarifies a “charge cycle” as a discharge from 100% to 0%. For instance, you might use 75% of your battery’s capacity one day, then recharge it fully overnight. If you use 25% the next day, you will have discharged a total of 100%, and the two days will add up to one charge cycle.”

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Dumb question… are you getting full sun on the panel? This can reduce your watts substantially if a cloudy day, or late in the day with indirect sun. I know this is obvious, but had to ask!!

I’m starting to get some better sun here in the northeast. Still waiting for the snow to melt. With two panels, the most I’ve got was in the mid 400’s
Screen Shot 2023-03-19 at 12.36.13 PM

Now that spring is here, should get some better results.