Solar problems help!

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Bobby22, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    I have a 120w solar panel feeding 2 x 110 amp batteries and also engine battery. For some reason the regulator doesn't seem to cut off the supply to the batteries and it doesn't seem to get a charge to the engine batteries. My batteries are continually bubbling during daylight.

    When i pull the fuse and use the onboard charger all is well.

    The system is new, dealer fitted, and i have had the controller replaced but it's still the same.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    Hi Bobby. . Is your comtroler a dual output designed to charge two battery banks... or have the leads just been extended to incorporate the vehicle battery as well..
    If that's the case could that arrangement be confusing the controller so to speak...
    Only a thought!!
    Andy
     
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  3. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    Hello Andy, the solar panel is fitted into the van's distribution unit, it is meant to supply the battery bank then top up the engine battery. As i'm lead to believe.

    The controller is single 10 amp pwn.
     
  4. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Golden rule of regulators: 1 Connect battery so it works out 12 or 24V 2 Connect panels.

    So I wonder if you have managed to get it in 24V mode.
     
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  5. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    Thanks Brian,

    I fitted second controller myself 'by he book' . I wonder if the controller is set too high (factory set) and my batteries never actually reach this factory setting

    What should be the reading for a fully charged battery?

    I get 14.6 when on solar........13.9 immediately after disconnecting the panel.
     
  6. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    Ahh not a clue then.. not that I had anyway:LOL:
    But sounds like it should be a dealer problem...
    Brian suggestion seems possible but you would think the installer would be aware of that...
    Andy
     
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  7. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    Andy do you subscribe to the idea that the batteries are not reaching the controllers' parameters so carry on pumping in more?
     
  8. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    Well it sounds like it if the batteries are boiling all the time...
    Are you having to top up the water..
    The voltage of 14.6 should drop when the batteries are fully charged..
    I'd be checking the voltages and current flow with a multimeter.
    What I'm not sure about is the fact that your controller feeds the van power management panel which must then decide when the batteries are full and to distribute a charge to vehicle battery... so it seems you have more than just the solar controler to consider...
    Again just my thoughts as I have never put panels through the vans built in system... so is it the controller or the van pmp that's not right..
    Andy.
     
  9. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    After it has had time to settle down it should read around 12.6 volts or a little bit more. The voltage immediately after charging is not a reliable indication.
     
  10. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    I have taken a reading after about an hour and the batteris read around 13.2 so it would probably go back to the figures you mention.
     
  11. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    What van ?? and what is the fitted system thats already in place..
     
  12. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    Put a resonable load on the batteries for a few minutes and they should recover to 12.7v when you remove the load and without the panel connected... but if panels are connected the voltage should drop to say 13.4 v when the batteries are charged with a minimal current flow if there is no load on them say 200 to 400 milli amps.. the float voltage will depend on what type of batteries the charging system is configured for... ie wet cell gel etc
    Andy
     
  13. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    Rapido 680ff, Distribution DS 300-RA
     
  14. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    That looks normal. Our regulator keeps cycling 14.6 - 13.9 ish continually. In other words, a quick squirt of power then off. Which I don't like but the battery seems OK.

    I have no idea how the two batteries are linked, there are a few ways. So no comment.

    Anyway, it's new, get them to sort it to your satisfaction.
     
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  15. Derbyshire wanderer

    Derbyshire wanderer Funster Life Member

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    Is the bubbling gentle or furious with a smell to it?
    It sounds to me that the charge controller is possibly giving a slightly higher output than needed causing the batteries to gas a little. If there is no known brand name on it, it could be some mass produced Chinese unit that has never been calibrated at manufacture.
    Personally I would replace it with a Victron mppt controller as you will get the best charging regime from that available solar.
     
  16. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    Running all electical accessories now.
     
  17. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Ok... Sorry cant help on that one..
    I asked just in case was an Autotrail and they have their own built in solar regulator and smart charging..
    Might have been a clash between a seperate regulator and the built in one..

    Good luck with it..
     
  18. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    I'm not sure that the distribution unit is controlling the solar, there is a dedicated fuse in the distribution panel for " solar regulator which is connected directly to the hab battery.

    Thanks Bobby
     
  19. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    If you are charging both leisure and vehicle battery off the solar then something has to decide when to start charging the vehicle battery.. so I suspect the van pmp must be involved somewhere..and you indicate you don't think that is happening... so I'm still thinking you have more than just the solar controller to consider..
    Andy
     
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  20. Bobby22

    Bobby22 Funster

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    Hi Andy, batteries are recovering fine. To put you in the picture, since i got the van i had been on rally fields no problems solar great. When i parked up at home i left it for four days. I checked the levels on the internal control panel. The leisure batteries were fully charged with a slight drop on the engine battery.

    I plugged into 230v in the garage and switched on charger. All fully charged next day.
    That is when i noticed my batteries were bubbling.

    So disconnected solar and it stopped (still on 230v charge)

    Fully charged on ehu no probs if i disconnect the 230 v and leave to charge on solar i get constant bubbling until dark oclock.

    I spoke to the dealer's auto electrician and he suspected dodgy solar controller, so sent me a new one. I fitted it and have exactly the same bubbling and no charge to the vehicle it seems.

    I asked the AE if the solar was through the distribution unit and does it supply vehicle battery and he replied it was and did.

    I don't want to stew the batteries, and hope to resolve without having to drive 400 round trip to dealer.

    Edit, there is only one wire ,to each terminal, going into the battery bank.

    Thanks Bobby
     
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