As the sun is shining, how do you check if solar is working?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Encantador, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Thanks for all the replies yesterday.

    My MH has one solar panel on the roof, the salesman didn`t know much about it and it wasn`t mentioned as far as I can remember at the handover. Is there a way to.....

    a) Find out what size it is and
    b) Check whether it is working.

    There are two leisure batteries fitted, one being an extra we had thrown in as part of the deal.

    Thanks

    Steve
     
  2. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    Is there a solar panel picture on a control panel in the motorhome? Mine has a list of pictures ( leisure battery, engine battery, waste water level, fresh water level, solar panel & outside temperature) If it has, press the bit next to the solar panel & it tells you how charged it is. Mine was reading 90 (I take that to mean % but I might be wrong!) yesterday. The 2 batteries each read 98. So I'm reckoning that means the solar is charging the batteries & I hope I'm right.:Wink:
     
  3. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    The one sure way, make sure no mains charger on, voltmeter across battery, if it's over 12.5V it's charging. If it's over 13V it's charging well. If it's over 14.6V it's about to die ( faulty solar regulator ).

    There should be a charging LED on a solar regulator somewhere.
     
  4. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Thanks, did not see anything on the control panel that made me think solar when I went through the sequence a few times yesterday, will take another look.

    I don`t suppose a Solar Regulator would happen to have those words or even the word Solar on it would it? I doubt it will be that simple... :BigGrin:

    Is a voltmeter something I need to get and learn how to use?

    Thanks for the replies, I will go take a proper look and report back later.

    Steve
     
  5. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Yes. Very much so. Cost £10 max.

    Very easy to use. Just click to a range of 24V DC or 200V DC depending on what is on offer. Stick one probe on each battery terminal. It may read 12V or it may read -12V which just means you have to probes the wrong way round.

    It's the only 100% sure way of knowing exactly what is going on.

    Solar regulator is a problem, if an aftermarket fit is would be a small box ( couple of cigarette packets ), but if part of a full control until it could be built in to a control panel somewhere. Hence the One True Way, the voltmeter.

    Here is one that would do and you would click to the "20" at 10 o'clock.


    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Digital-L..._Measurement_Equipment_ET&hash=item3370527901
     
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  6. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    And there's the difference in experience!!!! I rely on pictures & Hilldweller has the technical knowledge. I shall now learn how to use a volt thingy.
     
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  7. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Can I ask what I am supposed to be seeing on the control panel when on EHU?

    It says hab battery 13v cab battery 12.v and I think it is saying 1.25a is `leaving` the hab battery. Lights an heating are on and elh connected.

    I think yesterday when on ehu it showed a charge going `into` the hab battery.

    Does this look normal?

    Thanks

    Steve
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    sounds about right Steve, depending on the size of your charger and the power being used, you may just be taking out slightly more than the charger is putting in.... hence the 1.25a drain
     
  9. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Thanks, nice to know.

    Still no idea on whether the solar is even connected let alone working, beautiful sunny day today.
     
  10. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    thats why you really need a voltage tester/multi meter.

    one way that might give an indication......

    unplug hookup, turn on the heating and check voltage on your panel meter, get on the roof and completely cover the solar panel (old blanket or cardboard should do it) and check the voltage again...if its working the voltage should be slightly lower with the panel covered.

    even on a bright sunny winters day you wont get much from the panel as the sun is too low in the sky
     
  11. ramsthom

    ramsthom Funster

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    If cab battery is only 12volts it seems a bit low. Usually swift motorhome are able to charge the cab battery on EHU. To do this select the cab battery on the control panel and see if cab battery voltage charges to a higher voltage of around 13 volts.:BigGrin:
     
  12. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Thanks, there is a seperate button on the control panel with a picture of a cab, it is the only switch with it`s own red light, when pressed the red light comes on and the display looks as though power is leaving the hab battery at a rate of knotts, I turned it off quick... :BigGrin:

    I assumed when on EHU with just lights and heating on there would be more than enough power without draining the hab battery as seemed to be happening earlier (see earlier post). It`s certainly a learning curve....

    Steve
     
  13. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    I would have a look on the roof and see where the cables go through and then follow them on the inside :thumb: then report back
     
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