Grid Powered Battery Charger

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

This circuit lets you keep the appliances plugged into your inverter. It won`t make the wind blow or the clouds go away, but it will keep your batteries safely charged even if you have a generation shortfall. I call it the Grid Charger Voltage Switch. The circuit utilizes a PIC microcontroller to monitor battery voltage and control a solid state relay, turning

Grid Powered Battery Charger
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it ON for a time period when battery voltage falls below an adjustable low voltage set point and OFF if it exceeds an adjustable high voltage set point. The circuit is extremely useful in alternative energy applications such as wind or solar, which experience long periods of calm or clouds when no power is generated to feed the battery array. The switch works in tandem with your charge controller. You charge your batteries using your wind or solar generation capacity just like you always do, but if the batteries get low because your wind or solar stops, this device will automatically turn on a grid powered battery charger to protect the batteries from chronic undercharging. It will permit you to run continual loads even when the sun doesn`t shine or the wind doesn`t blow. I like to think of this switch as creating a sort of reverse grid-tie arrangement. The alternative energy system is connected to the grid, but instead of sending excess power out onto the grid, this arrangement uses grid power when it is needed to meet electric demand and keep the batteries charged when conditions are not good for energy production. Unlike a true grid-tie, this system will not make your electric meter run backwards, but you don`t need the expensive equipment and your electric power will not stop when the public utility grid goes down. Build the circuit on a breadboard, PIC prototype board, or printed circuit board. You will also need to...

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