Solar seriously nipping my head

Northernraider

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My solar is definately not working ...despite it showing on the solar controller that 7 + amps going in ....after a full day off sunshine today not a drop has reached the batteries. They are at 12.3 volts tonight :(
These are new batteries only a month old, I'm losing the will to live with it I really am.
So tonight I disconnected all the wires at the controller. I've checked the connections at battery and retightened everything there. I then reconnected the wires to the controller in the following order, negative to battery , positive to battery , negative from panel , positive from panel. I'll see if it does anything different tomorrow or Tuesday and if not then something is definately not working properly. In September when I fitted the solar it was working fine and replenishing my batteries within a few hours ....since November there has been nothing ....fine perhaps in Scotland but where I am now I expected them to be working.
Because I fitted them myself I'm full of doubts whether I've done something wrong or if I've pressed a button on the damm controller and somehow switched them off I don't know but something isn't right .....im pretty sure the wiring from the panels themselves to the controller is ok but I'm not absolutely certain as the connectors are confusing due to the + - SYMBOLS on them.
I'm hoping worse case scenario it's the cheap Chinese controller that's knackered
But if so where do I get a controller here in spain?
 
Oct 26, 2014
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Pity Lenny didn't get chance to have a look see, for most things electrical he's your man (y)
 

funflair

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Have you checked with a voltmeter that you have a connection from the controller to the batteries, after that possibly set your meter to Amps and see if this agrees with the reading on your panel.

Martin

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Feb 24, 2013
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don't know how much solar panel size you have but 7A output seems optimistic to me

that said I really am the last person who should ever get involved in technical threads

but I do and can share your frustration over it not working, but I would have had it fitted and now be asking the fitter what is wrong

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funflair

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don't know how much solar panel size you have but 7A output seems optimistic to me

that said I really am the last person who should ever get involved in technical threads

but I do and can share your frustration over it not working, but I would have had it fitted and now be asking the fitter what is wrong
I think he is down in Spain David(y)

Martin
 
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Northernraider

Northernraider

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I'll get the voltmeter on it tomorow and post the figures

I'm in Valencia today was a full day of sun at 21 -22° .

My German neighbour has solar on his van and is getting a good input.
There's definately more sun here just now than I was getting in Scotland back in October and at that time they were giving a good output.
 

PP Bear

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Don't expect much from solar in this weather. Sun is very low in the sky, so you might be like me, and hardly any charge at all.

In fact I had to slave start the motorhome tonight, that's the first time in 7 years, so i believe you've done it all correctly, just rubbish weather for solar:)

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Jan 19, 2014
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Post a photo of your solar controller and the connections when you measure and post your voltages and current as well tam ...then there will be no confusion when folk are advising...
Andy.
 

Lenny HB

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Where you are a couple of hours either side of midday you should be getting around 40% - 50% of the panels rated output, around 2½ - 3 amps per 100 watts of panel that is the current at 17v from the panels The charge into the batteries will around 4 amps.

As @Stealaway says check the input voltage on the controller in good sun about 16 - 17 volts on the input, the output should be slightly higher than the resting battery voltage gradually rising as the battery charges up to around 14.4 volts on a charged battery.

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Abacist

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My Chinese controller has lights and a display to say what is going on, whether the wires are connected right etc. you should not be playing around with the connections without covering up your panels to stop them generating a charge and risking. Short which will blow your controller
 
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Northernraider

Northernraider

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Ok bright sunny day today the controller (solar ) is saying 4.5 amps
The main van controller was showing leisure battery at 82% last night and 12v
It's currently still showing 82% but at 12.7 v
Here's pics of the controller and how I have it wired up.

And the main van control panel.

My biggest worry is that I've connected the wires from each panel correctly.

Otherwise it's pretty simple a pos and neg from panels to controller and then a pos and neg from controller to battery with a 20 amp inline fuse.

The controller is a cheap Chinese thing that came with the kit...no instructions for it so I've no idea if maybe I've to set something on it or something I don't know I'm rubbish with electric
 

Lenny HB

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Looks like all wired OK and working just need some trunking to tidy up the cables on the roof and you will be done.
If you start stopping in one place for a few days at a time it would be worth investing in a decent MPPT regulator.

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Northernraider

Northernraider

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Looks like all wired OK and working just need some trunking to tidy up the cables on the roof and you will be done.
If you start stopping in one place for a few days at a time it would be worth investing in a decent MPPT regulator.
Yep I think I need a better controller...nkt sure where I can get one here though

I'm so used to eBay
 

funflair

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View attachment 212682 View attachment 212683 View attachment 212684 View attachment 212685 View attachment 212687 View attachment 212688 View attachment 212689 View attachment 212690 View attachment 212691 View attachment 212692 Ok bright sunny day today the controller (solar ) is saying 4.5 amps
The main van controller was showing leisure battery at 82% last night and 12v
It's currently still showing 82% but at 12.7 v
Here's pics of the controller and how I have it wired up.

And the main van control panel.

My biggest worry is that I've connected the wires from each panel correctly.

Otherwise it's pretty simple a pos and neg from panels to controller and then a pos and neg from controller to battery with a 20 amp inline fuse.

The controller is a cheap Chinese thing that came with the kit...no instructions for it so I've no idea if maybe I've to set something on it or something I don't know I'm rubbish with electric
You should be connecting controller to the battery first and then add the solar to the controller, that way the controller sees the battery and know what voltage it is/should be i.e. 12 or 24 volt.

Martin
 

Lenny HB

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Yep I think I need a better controller...nkt sure where I can get one here though

I'm so used to eBay
I have a good one for sale and cheap, just upgraded mine as I the one I have is although very good not ideal for my Gel batteries, it's a 300W MPPT one only a year old looking for £45.
I'm heading down to Spain on 12th March then on to Portugal retuning home on 20th April perhaps we could meet up.

Looking again you need to do something about those cables on the roof those sticky pad cable tie bases will soon go walkabout with a bit of warm sun on them.

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funflair

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lunarman

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@Northernraider It appears that the Frankia has a schaudt controller and I assume a schaudt electroblok. When I had a panel on my pilote connected direct to the battery the schaudt display never showed the correct volatges and current. I substututed the solar controller with the schaudt one which connects the panels to the electroblok and everything corrected itself the DT panel showed the correct information.

I beleive that this is a not uncommon phenomenum with schaudt installations.

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Northernraider

Northernraider

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Well after a full day if sunshine the end result battery showing 12.4v and at 81% which is less than it was when I went out.

I'm not sure if the shaudt panel has a clue what's going on ....the van hasn't been hooked up to electric yet since I fitted the new batteries so that coukd also be part of the problem so I think next week I'll find an aire or campsite with electric and plug in for a day or two to reset the panel.

I'm fed up with the bloody thing I really am
 

Lenny HB

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Get yourself down to a Chinese Bazar and spend €5 on a multimeter then you can measure the voltage at the batteries.

Edit:
Forget that idea just rembered you have got a meter.
 
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Northernraider

Northernraider

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Yep I have a multimeter.
I just can't understand how they were working really well back in September October when I fitted them. I'm pretty sure the sun I'm getting here just now is more than I was getting in Scotland back then.
This cheap controller is supposed to have different settings on it and I wonder if somehow I've pressed something on it that has mucked it up. Or that when changing the batteries it's confused the shaudt panel and it isn't picking up on the batteries being charged.
To add to the confusion normally if I run the engine it shows it putting in 25 + amps but tonight when I try that it is only putting in 10 amps which makes me wonder if it's detecting a higher charge.

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Lenny HB

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Taking a 10 amp charge would indicate the batteries are in a higher state of charge than when they were charging at 25 amp.

How does the voltage directly across your batteries compare with the panel?
 
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Northernraider

Northernraider

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Well the solar must be doing something.
I parked up earlier today at el saler batteries were reading 93% went out on the pushbike for a couple of hours came back they reading 100%

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I’m wondering if you have a loose connection somewhere and the moving about jiggles it and sometimes it works sometime it don’t..?
 
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