Back To Staring At The Solar Regulator Read Outs Again.

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by JJ, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    I have had solar power in my van(s) for years and years and years.

    When I fitted the first panel I used to stare at the regulator display for hours...

    20160609_144822.jpg

    As time went on, I got more panels and ended up with a Steca 2020 regulator (bought from our Blessed Leader second hand). This was fitted in my self build Iveco (aka The Black Beast or Wagon).

    Again, lots of button pushing and looking at the amps and volts and state of charge and so on.

    As time passed I overcame this obsession and stopped looking. It just worked. When other motorhomers start going on and on about their solar amps and volts and watts, my eyes glaze over and I move away...

    The classic Hymer I bought had a solar system fitted decades ago. No fancy controller, just a box with a light. I never knew what the light meant. Sometimes it was on and sometimes it wasn't. It was postioned practically out of view.

    20160609_143814.jpg

    This regulator/charger put electricity into the leisure batteries and the starter battery. It worked perfectly.

    Last year I took one of the panels off the Iveco and fitted it onto the Hymer. Double the power.

    All was fine until a couple of weeks ago when I started to notice a problem. I knew something was wrong because the interior lights started to go dim.

    I suspected the batteries. They went very low then very, very low. Then, after a few more days, the lights went out!

    Time for action... I bought a (very expensive) new battery. On fitting it I saw the charger was doing nothing. My trusty multimeter told the tale. Power at the panels and going to one battery but nothing to the leisure ones. GRRRRRR.

    Today I took the Steca charger (which had been going a bit funny... not set correctly) out of the Iveco, reset it and fitted it into the Hymer. This only charges the leisure batteries...

    ...but for the last hour, I am back to pressing buttons and watching the wretched display again...

    20160609_142859.jpg

    Got to go now and see if my SOC has gone up...

    I bet your eyes have glazed over and you have switched over to a different thread, haven't you. ;)

    JJ :cool:
     
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  2. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    State of charge only works on the steca if ALL your load is connected through it. It will be completely inaccurate if it doesn't know what is going out as well as in. It most likely will not provide sufficient charge after 100% is reached
    Otherwise it needs to be set to Vol rather than SoC in the settings.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
  3. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Steca would have the world believe their products are made in Germany and this gives them a premium price and profit for dealers
    They are very good but made in China and outside of Stecas control that they are sold as ........
    image.jpeg
    By the manufacturer
     
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  4. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    image.jpeg
     
  5. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Mr Techno...

    Thank you so very much for your interest and information.

    I have heard about your system.

    We live in different worlds.

    I don't care what the SOC does or doesn't mean... if it says 100% or 50% I don't mind. For 10 years (minimum) the Steca and my panels have given me all the electricity I can use and more. Experience (and the manual) has taught me that if something is flashing on the display I have to do something! Normally this involves the battery bank and only happens after years of continuous use.

    Talk of amps and volts and watts fails to spark (geddit?) my interest at all...

    I chose to live in a van many, many years ago. It was a lifestyle choice. I have adapted to it. I don't expect to duplicate house living in my van. I don't have a live in partner who wants a hairdrier or microwave or nightly soaps! I live in a (very) simple way.

    If I turn on a light and it works, if I plug in my Note 4 phablet/Sony laptop/mifi/shaver/hair clippers etc and they charge, if I turn on a tap and water (hot or cold) runs, if I open the fridge and my milk is cold then all is well with my world!

    (Actually, now I have replaced my sub woofer and storage boxes in their places, I can't see the read out very easily. I will soon be back to ignoring it completely as before.)

    However... the apple tree I planted yesterday with lots of horse poo compost and which I have watered well since appears to be dying!

    JJ :cool:
     
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  6. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    It will work better if set to Vol (y)
     
  7. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    You have over watered the apple tree.
     
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  8. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Okey dokey... will do as you suggest...

    Then will I be able to use my hair curlers?

    I won't move the sub woofer to get at the controller while Rammstein is on... something might go bang...

    JJ :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
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  9. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Watches, motorhomes, lorries, restaurants and women... I knew you knew about these matters... but never realised you knew about apple trees as well! :)

    JJ :cool:
     
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  10. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    New fruit trees do not like to be planted in soil which is prone to water-logging over the winter - often a problem with heavy clay soils. The best solution is to improve the drainage, either by adding soil conditioners and / or drainage trenches. However this takes time and preparation. If this is not possible then you can still make things easier for the trees:

    • Do not fill the planting hole with compost, as this will soak up water from the surrounding soil and drown the new tree's roots. Just back-fill with regular top-soil.
     
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  11. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Never mind all that... where's my mini-digger?

    JJ :cool:
     
  12. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Mini Digger !!!!. How many apple trees are you thinking of planting ?.
     
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  13. Cleve

    Cleve Funster

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    He knows about WOMEN... All hail the leader (I have tried and give up, their logic circuits are corrupt and they simply ain't wired like us boys)

    PS No offence to our chums but I am strictly jam side up
     
  14. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    I know a little about a lot, simply because I have never had any interest in football so have a memory bank far superior to any football supporter.
     
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  15. Cleve

    Cleve Funster

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    What is football? I seem to remember rugby football from my distant past but foot ball seems an alien concept!

    (take cover - I think some sort of competition of assorted divers is going to take place in my favourite home from home soon - my friends Dennis and Lawrence have tickets for a match at Toulouse - the girls are going, thank goodness I am working - they don't even know who will be playing) never did understand offside
     
  16. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    False Alarm...

    The aforementioned tree has made a full recovery depite the poo compost and watering. Three more "waterings" today and the shrivelled up leaves have all perked up completely.

    If only it was that simple with everything...

    JJ :cool:
     
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