Help please with Solar charge and Stecca controller

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by JockandRita, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Hi all.

    Until a few months ago, we were running on 3 x 100A Elecsols connected to 2 x 75W solar panels. On bright sunny days at around early afternoon the Stecca PR2020 controller would show a reading of up to 9.8 amps from the panels, and whatever the batteries were taking as a charge, eg, 4.5. The only time the two figures were the same, is if the batteries were low, and would be taking all that the panels produced.
    The 3 x Elecsols became tired, and were replaced with 1 x 220A Elecsol. Now on a bright sunny day, the Stecca controller only shows a maximum reading of 4.5 amps from the panels, regardless of what the battery takes as a charge, however, if I disconnect the controller, and put a multi-meter in the circuit measuring Amps DC, double the amount of amps is measured, so I know that both panels are working fine........as before.

    Thinking that the controller was faulty, I had it exchanged under warranty, but the problem still exists, ie, only showing half the number of amps, which are actually being produced.

    Am I missing something here please, ie, have I done something wrong in the battery changing process? The instructions cleary show the module charge and battery charge as two seperate displays.

    Hopefully some one can help, as I am always ready to learn something new. :Wink:

    Cheers for now,

    Jock.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  2. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    High there Jock and Rita.

    I hope you are both well and happy.

    I have the same controller and when you disconnect and reconnect it you are meant to follow a certain procedure.

    You then have various setting choices including battery type.

    I have a manual but there also a downloadable one.

    Resetting it might help.

    I am sorry if you already know all this.

    Edit. WHOOPS. Just seen you have the instructions. Sorry.

    JJ :Cool:
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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  3. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Thanks anyway JJ. :thumb:

    Yes, we are both very well thanks, but could do with some winter sun in the coming months..........and not just for solar charging either. :Laughing: (staying on topic :Wink:)

    Cheers for now,

    Jock.
     
  4. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    At this time of the year the sun sits lower in the sky hence output is much reduced. I suspect you are comparing summer readings with Autumn and they never will be the same, in winter you will see the readings drop to under one amp (in the UK anyway) it is a function of the suns Azimuth.
     
  5. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Hi Jock
    Read the instructions again and pay attention to the SOC Vol setting.
    To function the way you might expect you need to set it to Vol NOT SOC (SOC is the factory default setting)

    SOC will only work correctly if all the vans 12 volt load is connected to the regulators load terminal.

    Once in Vol mode it will only show you what the regulator is delivering to the battery. It will no longer show you what is available but it will now function correrctly
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  6. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    BTW Steca are made by these Chinese chaps, just badged for higher prices in Europe.
    I fitted this for a customer a long time ago and still working well
    I only fit mppt units now
    [​IMG]
     
  7. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Thanks Roger, but this has been an ongoing problem since springtime. The readings on the multimeter, both here in East Anglia and in Germany recently, have been quite high, so I'm sure it's not a seasonal issue. :Sad:

    I appreciate that thanks Andy, and I will give it "another try", but why did it work all okay when 3 x batteries were connected, and on the SOC setting with nothing connected to the load terminal? :Sad:

    Yes Andy, I 'm aware of that thanks, as it is the Pfangpusun unit that I have had installed, however, I didn't post that info initially, as it may have attracted the wrong bias, to the fact that a Chinese unit had been installed.
    It is an excellent piece of kit.........but not working as it did before changing the battery/batteries..........unfortunately.

    I'll try again tomorrow.

    Cheers for now,

    Jock.
     
  8. FULL TIMER

    FULL TIMER Read Only Funster

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    I know very little about solar panels etc but when you changed the battery did you disconnect the solar's, I don't know if it would make a difference but I can remember when I was looking into fitting some that when wiring up you are supposed to connect the regulator to the battery bank before connecting the panels.
     
  9. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Yep, solars disconnected first, and reconnected last via the 15A inline fuse. :thumb:

    I've even been on the roof and checked out both panels individually, and with the help of Ash, removed one panel whereby it had 6 x blocking diodes fitted. Two of those were found to be faulty, so all six were replaced with new, and panel refitted and reconnected. On Sunday last, I got just over 8 amps on the meter, but only 3.9 showing on the module display, and 0.5 showing on the charge display (batteries fully charged).

    BTW Fulltimer, I thought you were parked up at Pidou's in Calais last Friday 20th. It was a MH identical to yours externally, but towing a trailer, however, when approached, the owner confirmed that he wasn't a member of FUN. If I had been "on the ball" I could have given him one of Jim's little flyers. :Laughing:

    Cheers,

    Jock.
     
  10. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Sorry Andy.

    I've been out and changed the settings to VOL mode, and the readings are the same. When I use my meter to measure amps from the panels, again, it's more than double what the controller is showing. I even tried replacing the positive feed from the controller direct to the battey (via the inline fuse).

    As said previously, this problem only appears to have come about, since I changed the battery bank, so it's either got to be something I have done, or haven't done. :Sad:

    It's as if only one panel is being recognised by the controller, as when one panel was removed, the readings on the controller were the same as they are now.

    Cheers,

    Jock.
     
  11. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    Bump, as still not resolved.

    Due to an error code 111 (which I have been informed is a grounding issue), today I moved the negative wire from the controller to a totally different earthing point, but without any success, ie, same readings. :Sad:

    Regards,

    Jock.
     
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