DIY Solar – Solar Charge Controller Troubleshooting

We’re here to demonstrate how to ensure your DIY solar system is properly charging the battery through the solar charge controller. We’ll be using a 12V solar system with a 12V solar panel, a PWM charge controller, and a 12V battery.

Using a multimeter

An important piece of equipment to have when doing DIY solar is a multimeter. A multimeter is able to measure both DC volts and DC amps, because you can’t always get the full picture based just on volts. So in this demo, we’ve got two different meters, one is set up as volts, one is set up for amps. With a multimeter, generally what you have to do is move the probe over to the amp outlet. So you want to make sure you go to the amp socket and set up your meter to measure amps. IMPORTANT: make sure that your meter can measure the amount of amps that your charge controller can put out. In the demo below, our meter can actually measure up to 20ADC, and I’ve got a 6A charge controller, so we’re fine!

Solar Charge Controller Demo

Learn a quick, easy way to ensure that your system is charging your battery through the solar charge controller.


About Author

Amy Beaudet
Amy Beaudet was in the solar industry at the altE Store from 2007 until her untimely passing in 2021. She was a sales rep, instructor, and an all-around solar evangelist, sharing her passion for solar around the world. When whe wasn't at work, she enjoyed sailing and skiing - but odds were good she was still talking about solar on the boat or on the slopes. See more of Amy Beaudet's blog posts.


  1. Edwin Valladares

    I have small system off grid of 1.8 kw and buy one Aquion S-30 Battery and Schneider xw + 6085. The problem I had it is I in the night the system turn off completely at 2 am they go to zero completely. In morning I need to jumped with another bank of 4 batteries of 12 I had before the Aquion to start up the completely the system and the start to charge the battery. I used the setting of you manual for the inverter. I need to know what I did wrong?


    1. Why the absorb time in my inverter it is one minute and the other are one hour?

    2. If I a need to do some change in the setting of the inverter please let me know which are?

    3. I only have one battery for the night let me know I need more batteries?

    1. Amy Beaudet (Post author)

      Your battery bank is much too small for that system. One stack is only 2200 watt hours. 1800 watts of solar will fill that in two hours (1800W x 2 hours x .6 losses = 2160 watt hours), so unless you are using most of your power during the day and freeing up space in the battery for more power to go into the battery bank, your charge controller is just shutting off in the morning with no place to put the power. Also, 1800W / 48V = 37.5A. You are not supposed to charge at more than 17A, you are charging over twice as fast, which will shorten the life of the battery. You should have at least 3 batteries with that size solar array.

      The charge settings of the inverter are only for when you are charging using an AC source like a generator to charge the battery, it has nothing to do with charging with the solar through a charge controller (which I assume you have). What are your loads that you have a 6000W inverter for? Remember your battery bank is only 2200Wh, so it can run 1000W load for about 2 hours. You need to do a loads list to calculate how much power you use, and from there we can say how many batteries you need. One is not enough. Go to our online loads calculator to help figure out what you need.

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