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Using a solar panel as a dusk til dawn sensor? Answered

Someone on my youtube channel commented that you could use a solar panel as a dusk till dawn sensor. Let me explain the scenario. I used a solar panel to keep a battery topped up, which was wired with a digital timer switch to operate an automatic car antenna. At a certain time of the day, it would extend, and then at night, it would retract, according to the timer I programmed.

So enter this person's comment:

Can I just say, you don't even need the timer. Use the load outputs from the charge controller and the door will open as soon as sun hits the solar panel and close again at sunset.. The charge controller has the timer function already built in.

Now he is obviously referencing a charge controller, which is NOT part of my set up. The solar panel I use has built in overcharge protection, so no need for a charge controller.

Can someone tell me what he's referring to, or how to wire it? Would I need a different solar panel? Because the one I use doesn't play well with a charge controller. If I attach the solar panel to it, it doesn't charge the battery.

Thank you to anybody that can help.

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beoirsicnarf

14 days ago

Hey there AussiAlf! Yes, it is for my chickens. I had considered the photocell at one point, except my chickens like to stay out a bit past dark before heading in, so the photocell would close the door before they all went to bed.

I'm trying to specifically address what the commenter said about using the timer on the charge controller. This one: https://www.amazon.com/Charge-Controller-Intelligent-Display-Regulator/dp/B07KXDFVNM

And I think I found the answer. You can set the mode by holding down the SET button for 5 seconds. Switch it to 01 and it will shut the door at dusk + 1 hour. Plenty of time for the chickens to get inside. So the controller does indeed have its own built-in timer.

Charge Controller Manual: https://elinetechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ELI-SOLAR-ChargeControlerManual.pdf

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AussieAlfbeoirsicnarf

Reply 14 days ago

Glad you found a solution. I too had a problem with some late arrivals being locked out. I resolved that problem by adding a delay relay switch to the circuit..also very cheap on Ebay.
Cheers..

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AussieAlf

14 days ago

Hi beoirsicnarf,
Sounds like you have an automatic door to let your chooks out each day. I used a photo control sensor for mine and it works like a charm. No adjustment needed with change of seasons. A lot cheaper and simple to set up...I have the one attached.
Cheers..

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