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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Steca 3030 solar panel controller.
6 terminals on the bottom.
2 for the solar panel.
2 for the battery.
2 for “the load”
the load image appears to show a low energy lightbulb which seems rather odd.
Why would I need to connect a bulb to the solar panel?
All my electrics are connected to the battery through a fuse panel
Should they all be connected to the solar control panel? That wouldn’t seem to make sense.
Thanks guys and gals and others
 

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You do not need to use the load connections and you can just wire up your loads (via the appropriately rated fuses) to the battery.

The reason the load terminals are there is because Steca units can be programmed for "night light mode" whereby the load terminals switch on when the solar panel voltage goes under a certain level (i.e. when it is dusk). This can be useful for rural solar lighting projects.

The other reason you might want to connect loads from the load terminals is to protect the battery from damage through deep discharge. Again, the Steca units can be programmed to switch off their load output when the battery voltage falls below a certain level. This is a useful feature in case you forget to turn something off. However, the current rating of the load output is limited (check the data sheet) so you certainly couldn't power something hefty from it like an inverter.

On my camper I have a Victron MPPT charge controller (similar to the Steca) and I use the load output to supply a 12V fusebox which acts as a distribution board to all of my loads except for my inverter which is powered from large cross sectional area cables directly off the battery.

I don't remember if the Steca 3030 (assume it's the PRS3030) can be programmed via it's buttons. From memory I think you need the PA RC100 remote control unit to change its settings (rather expensive for a one-off)

One last thing, when you are wiring up a solar charge controller, it's always good practice to connect the battery before the solar panel. In some models (e.g. Phocos charge controllers) you can actually damage the controller if you connect the solar panel before the battery. It's somewhat counter intuitive but it's a common issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow. Thank you for such a comprehensive reply.
So in effect, I can just forget about it, or say, just connect all the lighting circuits to it (LEDs) although it’s currently connected to the battery, probably best leave it as it is.
Is that reasonable?
 

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Yes. I had a quick look at the manual for the Steca PRS3030 and it confirms that the detault (out of the box) behaviour is for the load terminals to be configured to protect the battery from deep discharge damage. i.e. they go dead when the battery voltage gets critically low. Here's exactly what it says:

Connect loads that must not be deactivated by the solar charge controller deep discharge protection, e.g. emergency lights or radio connection, directly to the battery.

Loads with a higher current consumption than the device output (i.e. 30 amps in your case) can be directly connected to the battery. However, the solar charge controller deep discharge protection will no longer intervene. Loads connected in this manner must also be separately fused.

The manual also does make a big thing about the connection sequence (battery first, then the solar) so make sure you follow that part properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you. I already sussed the connection sequence out and it doesn’t work if you connect it the wrong way. I think I’m probably better just connecting everything to the battery. Nothing draws a lot of current
 
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