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I purchased a 20 watt solar panel to be mounted to the hardtop of my boat to charge my batteries. The directions say put the controller within five feet of the batteries and the solar panel can be up to 20 feet from the controller. The wires that came with it we're not 20 ft long. I extended them with 12 gauge stranded wire and used the proper waterproof butt connectors. I do not see either of the lights on the controller lighting up if I move the controller back two within five feet of the solar panel the lights light up as they should I have solid continuity through the splices but the controller lights do not come on when I put the controller back by the batteries. My question to you is can I reverse the connection and leave the controller in the overhead box and run the wires back to the batteries and have the solar panels still perform is proper function.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To the close voter - This IS about design. Very much so. The items involved are 'off the shelf', as are components in a circuit, but the optimum way of configuring them requires design. fwiw. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Feb 19 '20 at 0:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The directions say put the controller within five feet of the batteries" - if you 'reverse' the connections, will the controller be within 5 feet of the battery? If not you can't do it according to the directions. What voltage do you measure at the controller end of the 20 ft cable? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19 '20 at 0:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BruceAbbott You are correct about not matching instructions. I'd expect it to be very unimportant with 12 gauge cable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Feb 19 '20 at 1:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon, the OP is asking if the installation instructions can be ignored ... that is not "design" \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Feb 19 '20 at 2:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jstola "Nobody said it was, sir, she said" ie yes. that alone is asking if something different could be done. However: FIRST he described what he had done that was non standard in order to try to meet his need, gave wire size, connection method, and described the results. He then described an alternative "non standard " arrangement that he felt may work. -> All that by itself gets him over the starting line for trouble shooting consumer equipment and probably a few others things. BUT yes, it IS design, as surely as someone trying to light a LED with a FET ... \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Feb 19 '20 at 4:37
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Congratulations on doing it properly as you can in your situation, on adding an extension in a competent manner and in thinking about other ways to achieve your requirement.

Fortunately, it is likely that you have done something wrong with your extension cable. I say "fortunately" because it shoul be possible to make what you have done work.

Perhaps the polarity from panel to controller has been reversed when you added the extension. Check the polarity with a voltmeter, with the cable connected to the panel and disconnected at the controller.

12 gauge wire from panel to controller should be VERY adequate and cause no problems at all. Resistance is under 0.1 Ohms and voltage drop at 20 Watts is probably around 0.1 - 0.2 V.

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