Can you have a solar panel with no controller?

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Cossieg, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. Cossieg

    Cossieg Funster

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    Friend has been finding his fridge tripping out at about the same time each day, around 1pm. Local company have had a look and reckon that the solar panel is connected directly to the leisure batteries and the high voltage generated at 1pm when the sun is strongest is tripping the fridge. The van is a 2007 Adria and the panel was fitted by the supplying dealer. Friend claims they've been right through the van and checked the wiring but can't find anything like a solar controller of any sort. Is it possible that a dealer would fit a solar panel with no controller and what would be the affect on the batteries if this happened? It's been like it since 2007!

    Local company are fitting a solar controller tomorrow.
     
  2. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    So were do the wires from the panel connect? having traced them
     
  3. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    It will fry the batteries, in bright sun depending on load the voltage from the solar panel will be between 16-21 volts. Some charging systems have a solar regulator built in if the panel is wired into the charger this could be the reason he can't find one, if it the case it's probably faulty.
     
  4. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Best way to prove it is to disconnect the panel were you think it is connected and measure the voltage on the ends. If there is no regulator is will be close to 23 volts in bright Sun
    Edit 21.5volts
     
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  5. Wildbill

    Wildbill Funster

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    In short no and they don't cost that much mane thing to remember last thing to connect is the solar
    first thing to disconnect solar or you will burn out the controller
    BILL
     
  6. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    The answer to the question is yes, in the sense it could be done. There is a type of controller called a shunt controller which effectively does just that, connects the panel directly across the battery terminals. It isn't the most efficient way of doing it but these controllers are clever enough to disconnect the panel when the battery voltage becomes too high.

    No controller means no disconnect so bad installation.
     
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  7. Cossieg

    Cossieg Funster

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    Seems the panel is wired directly to the batteries and the voltage measured was something like 20v! Could it have been like this since 2007 and not fried the batteries or other damage?
     
  8. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    If the disconnected open circuit voltage is over 20 yes there is no regulator. When connected it can be delivering 18 volts closed circuit so yes it will damage electronic components
     
  9. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    The batteries would have fried in a few weeks, if wet cells they would need constant topping up if sealed the emergency pressure valve would have vented , either way then would be dead in a very short time.

    Edit:
    l would have thought he would have noticed a strong sulpher smell.
    Don't see how it could have been like it for 8 years without noticing unless the van has spent most of it's life in covered storage.
     
  10. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    I think that would depend on how much current the panel is producing and how much load on the batteries
     
  11. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    If he's running a compressor fridge all the time it will drop the voltage
     
  12. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    True OP hasn't said what size panel, if 20 watt or less wouldn't cause much of a problem.

    Much bigger type of fridge wouldn't matter when the van is not in use and only a couple of hundred millamp drain on the electrics.

    Edit: Just noticed Andy said "running fridge all the time" , but 8 years continuious on a camping fridge!
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
  13. Cossieg

    Cossieg Funster

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    Not sure of the size of the solar panel but do know that he has a standard motorhome type fridge so not a compressor type. Get the feeling that people think that without a regulator this couldn't have lasted this long? Friend does wild camp and does use sites so a mix of uses but the leisure batteries are as old as the van. I'm just v surprised that a dealer would fit a panel without a regulator but he can't find anything and the output voltage is v high.
     
  14. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Dometic fridges have a solar input, could the 12v be wired into that as that would hold the voltage down when not running on gas. It is not normal practice unless you have loads of solar power and a big battery bank.
     
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  15. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    One of the first things , if it is now disconnected is the fridge still going off but if it's a normal fridge it shouldn't work off the leasure battery on 12 volt surely
     
  16. DP_JAY

    DP_JAY Funster Life Member

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    If,like our Adria, it is "pre-wired" for solar it may appear that there is no regulator.
    Ours has the Schaudt LR1218 fitted under the false floor next to the charger/controler.
    There is also an "extra" fuse on the charger which can be inserted to make the fridge run on 12v permanantly. We find this useful on channel crossings.
     
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  17. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Sorry to hijack the thread, but can you explain this please - where is this 'extra' fuse and where is it located on the EBL?
     
  18. DP_JAY

    DP_JAY Funster Life Member

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    If I remember correctly it is the fourth fuse from the left on our EBL226 & is highlighted in yellow.
     
  19. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    That is the AES Refrigerator fuse - I presume you have an AES fridge? It is not used with manual selection fridges but my understanding is that it should be present all the time if you have an AES fridge.
     
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  20. Stroppy Bird

    Stroppy Bird Funster

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    Mine is the same. It took me ages to work out why my fridge (not AES) would keep on going on 12v after switching the engine off. I eventually traced it to a fuse being in the AES fridge slot and problem solved. Unfortunately I had killed my battery off one too many times and had to change it. I'd be very careful about having a fuse in that slot if your fridge is not AES.
     
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