Solar charging problem (possibly)

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by walburga, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. walburga

    walburga Funster

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    Hope someone can give me a bit of advice on the following :

    Just changed motorhomes, and on our shakedown 1st outing I've got a possibly problem.
    I've got a 90 watt solar panel on the roof, feeding into a Duo battery solar regulator, which is set to charge 10% engine battery and 90% leisure batteries.
    Even in bright sun the LB's don't rise above 13.4 volts.
    I've got a remote meter that talks to the solar reg and this gives me a bit of info, including the voltage that the panel is producing which I assume is reaching the solar reg. This voltage varies between 19 & 20.5 volts, but when I put a meter to the solar panel input terminals on the solar reg it only reads 13.2 to 14.5 volts. Why dosn't this read up to 20.5 volts as per the remote meter ?
    A bit more info...I've got 2 x 110 ah Elecsol LB's, both 6 years old (approx), both showing 'green' in the magic eye, and both measuring approx the same voltage as showing on the remote meter, 13.4 volts.
    I know Elecsols have not had good rep but would this affect the apparent discrepancy in the voltage readings described above ?
    I'm likely to change the LB's in the near future even though the elecsol's look brand new.

    thanks in anticipation.

    Allen
     
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    That is the battery voltage ! I wonder if it's crude regulator that just switches the panel direct to the batteries most of the time ???

    It could be doing it at a speed that is fooling your meter. Are you sure your meter is set to DC Volts ?
     
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  3. walburga

    walburga Funster

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    Possibly Brian....but why does the remote meter say the panel is producing approx 20 v ?
    The meter is defo set to DC volts.
    Perhaps someone could check the voltage at the solar panel input terminals of their regulator whilst their LB's are at 14+ volts.
    I think I'll disconnect the solar panel input tails (carefully) and measure the volts from there as well.

    Allen
     
  4. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    The higher voltage readings are of the open circuit value which is reduced to a charging closed circuit voltage at the regulator. If you look at night the reading will be zero or if very cloudy it may only be around 15.
    21.5 volts is the normal open circuit voltage of most panels when they are producing maximum output.

    EDIT
    Conclusion, quite normal.

    EDIT
    Furthermore the voltage is only reflecting the state of the panel it does not mean that the regulator will be charging! that is dictated by the requirements of the battery at the time.
    So you could see 21.5 volts but no charge going in.
    If you apply a load to the battery the regulator will respond to the demand
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
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  5. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Allen, the "green eye" on any battery is useless and only eye candy. They use only one cell to show that the whole battery is in "good state" - waste of time. The battery make you are using may look ok, but they will be well passed their sell by date. Do a google search on them and you will read how bad they are and that they have NO support at all. I can say this with some conviction having owned 3 x 110amps one's that I thought were working fine until I changed them in May this year for 3 x 110amps ( cheap as chips ) and cannot believe I lived with crap batteries for so long..........
     
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  6. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    Exactly the same experience & with the same result. Mine were only two years old.
     
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  7. walburga

    walburga Funster

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    A bit more info........just spent the last hour moving a roof rail from over the panel!!!
    I'll bet a 'professional' put it there!!!
    LB's now reading 14.2 to 14.5 v.......must be must be bulk charge or pulsing. Will check later to see how long before they drop to 13.8 v.
    No facility on my system to check amps coming in....might change the solar reg at a later date.
    Will report back later.

    Allen
     
  8. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    If its as sunny there as here you should see 21.5 panel voltage at your remote meter now too
     
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  9. walburga

    walburga Funster

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    Hi John (and Tony), everywhere I read it says the elecsols are rubbish...but the LB's are now reading 14.4 ish.....and I'm on a pension! Wife says change them now !!!

    Hi Andy, I could see 19 to 21 v at the remote meter before moving the rail. It's just the solar panel connection to the solar reg where I was reading 13.2 ish with the multi meter. It was that, that I was questioning.

    thanks for all replies

    Allen
     
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  10. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    I had 2 x 110 Elecsol batteries until the end of last year. They lasted 6 years before failing to hold a decent charge. Yours are the same age and I think 6 years is pretty fair life - I would hardly call that rubbish. Having talked to some trade members whose judgement I respect, they maintain that there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the Elecsol battery other than being over-marketed. The business got into trouble and failed because they offered a 5-year warranty that left them open to all sorts of dubious claims when people had abused the battery. I'm not supporting Elecsol and if they still existed I would probably not buy them again - they were, after all, just selling a pretty standard calcium technology battery that was a bit overpriced.
    If I were in your situation, I would change the batteries now in order to avoid risk to the charger, or possible gassing if one fails soon which, on the basis of probability, it is likely to do.
     
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  11. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    My elecsols have a 7 yr warranty certificate but I binned them when they went bust
     
  12. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    A bit over 3yrs bought by previous owner
    image.jpg
     
  13. jollyrodger

    jollyrodger Funster Life Member

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    I have same Duo reg/remote
    On the regulator press the far right button 3 times and on the third press hold till the lights flash,then press until the desired settings are reached to alter % by default 90%/20% try number 5 =50/50% see how that goes .
    I have number 1 =90% Aux 20%Main
    Or have you tried that .
     
  14. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    They will read 14.4ish as your solar panel is doing all the work. It is when the sun goes down and the batteries are under load - see how long they stay at 12.7volts?
    I can sit from 6/7pm until midnight TV, Sat system, Sat box, lights, shower, hot water, fridge, and fan running and when I go to bed, batteries will read 12.6volts, but after about 20/30 minutes recover to 12.7volts or more having taken 12/15amps out. Thats when you know........ as when I had these bloody awful eleccrap by 8pm they were reading 12.4volts or worse. I'm also on a pension.
     
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  15. walburga

    walburga Funster

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    Hi JR, got mine set to No 1...10% engine battery, 90% LB's. Just wondered what voltage is at the solar panel terminals when measured with a multi meter.

    Allen
     
  16. jollyrodger

    jollyrodger Funster Life Member

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    Just measured at reg terminals 21.9 (250w solar panel) remote reading Max v 30.1v
    My number 1 batt is the aux batt as fitted . batt number 2 is in fact a bank of 2 as fitted by me to run inverter.
    Start batt has its own 60w solar
    Over the last w/e thurs-tues inverter on throughout.TV.pc. 12v to fridge HDMI drive toaster microwave lights no problems at all :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
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