Solar panel not charging Batteries

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Scattycat, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    We seem to have a problem with the charge from the solar panel not getting to the batteries
    I got a local company to replace the control unit last year 'cause we had a similar problem then and all was well for sometime, but it is now not charging again.
    The last time it happened I cheched the current coming from the panel on a good sunny day and it was fine, about 18 amps if I remember, but practically zilch at the battery connections.
    As I said when the new controller was fitted all was fine but the new one seems now to have packed up.
    Any suggestions will be much appreciated
    Do you think the panel is faulty, (although the company that fitted the replacement controller didn't seem to think so), or is it that they fitted a crap controller?
    TIA
     
  2. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    An awful lot of controllers, while stating they can handle 30 amps, seem to fail with much more than 10 amps going in to them.
    What type of controller do you currently have fitted ?

    As a by the by, how many panels have you got up there ? We have 3 giving a total max output of 300w.
    In real terms that equates to ( on a really sunny day and with flat/low batteries ) about 14 amps..
    For you to get 18 amps I am guessing you have about 400 watts of panel power ?
     
  3. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    It should be a simple test to check voltage into and out of the controller. What are you getting at those points ?
    Could the diode on the rear of the panel be faulty or failing. My DIY taught electronics can't offer much help other than that.
    A second faulty regulator is a possibility, if it was me I would disconnect the live feed in and out. Let the regulator cool, then connect the battery first and a few mins later the solar input. May do naff all but may just reset things.
     
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  4. Hydrocell

    Hydrocell Funster

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    Hi Mike

    It’s more likely to be the controller than the solar panels however you may have a loss connection coming from them but it is more than likely to be the controller, a good quality controller can make a big difference it’s worth spending a little more to have the right product, I have a large MPPT controller regulating the charge from two 100watt panels and I never have a problem with my three leisure batteries or my engine battery.

    I’ve replaced a few of those smaller type controllers that some companies with ones like mine for friends and they have the same results as me.

    Hope this helps

    Regards

    ray
     
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  5. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    I suggest 18V.
     
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  6. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    if you measured AMPS at the battery then you will have removed one of the battery terminals with the solar still connected. A sure way to ruin most controllers or at the very least upset them.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    The controller is one put on by a dealer the make is Antarion
    . . . . And sorry Hilldweller, you're right, I meant volts.
    In fact I'm checking all the connections now and the panel is giving 19.4 volts.
    Our panel is a single 100watt
     
  8. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Sounds like panel is working.. whats the voltage to the batteries on the output of the regulator, bear in mind if the batteries are full it may not give any, so turn on a few lights, fans etc.. If you see 13-14v then it's working.
     
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  9. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Just what I was about to say... What makes @Scattycat think the controller is faulty?
    My controller is mostly giving no output - because my batteries are usually full already...
     
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  10. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    Hi matey,
    On the output side of the regulator when it gets to the panel in the habitation area with everything off is between 1amp and 0.5 amp
    Looking at the paperwork that Came with the controller, it looks as though it is only rated to take a force charge of 14.5 volts
    So if the panel is putting out 19 volts ma be I just need a better controller.
    As I said, it had been working fine before, well over winter and down in Spain in march and April.
    May be the hotter and sunnier weather we've been getting here this summer has just been too much for it.
    I dunno, I'm no expert
     
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  11. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    Battery this morning reading 12.1 panel in hab area shows 0.0/ 0.5 amp charging with nothing turned on
     
  12. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Ahhh.... I see....
    Could it be that the hab panel isn't actually passing on the charge to the battery? What voltage are you actually getting at the battery?
     
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  13. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    Exactly what it says on the habitation panel
     
  14. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    the panel output may well be 17-19v but the regulator makes sure only around 14v is actually charging the battery the current is boosted by doing this but the regulator will only pass sufficient to charge, once the battery is substantially charged the charge current will reduce. (eventually to zero)

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Just wondering if the hab panel being between the solar controller and the battery is causing a problem.... What make of panel is it? Electrobloc?

    This morning when you had 12.1V and 0.5A at the panel, what were getting from the controller output at the controller? 12.1V?
     
  16. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    Maybe if you are able, check the four voltages tomorrow one after the other:
    1. At the controller - input from solar
    2. At the controller - output to control panel
    3. At the control panel - battery reading
    4. At the battery - battery voltage
    This should help show where to look further hopefully
     
  17. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    Hi, what MPPT controller are you using?
    I've looked on ebay and there seem to be quite a few different types,some a cheap as £28 or so
     
  18. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Funster

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    My cab battery wasn't getting it's share from the solar and I traced the problem to the jumbo 50 amp fuse beside the battery, on the charging feed from my Reich E Box having failed. No idea what had caused it, couldn't see any shorts etc, replaced the fuse and it's been ok since. I did have another jumbo 50 amp fuse that was beside the leisure batteries fail about 4 years ago for no apparent reason. I replaced that after checking things out and it's been fine since too (n)
     
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  19. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    sun is low in the sky overcast only to be expected.
     
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  20. EssexBoy

    EssexBoy Funster

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    There's lots of reasons why you could be experiencing the low battery indication, but if you can take the suggested readings, you'll know where the volts are actually "going missing" :)
     
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