Solar not working, but batteries charging with generator

Gingernutty
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Solar not working, but batteries charging with generator

Postby Gingernutty » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:36 pm

Any ideas where to start looking? Nothing changed recently, but solar panel does not appear to be charging batteries, tho they charge fine from generator. Reasonably new batteries. Charger is a powersaver multi-stage smart battery charger, bc-012-25a. Is there likely to be a fuse or something somewhere?

Gingernutty
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Re: Solar not working, but batteries charging with generato

Postby Gingernutty » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:47 pm

Forgot to mention, we have checked the panel is clean - AND the sun is shining! :)

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Mark
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Re: Solar not working, but batteries charging with generato

Postby Mark » Sun Jun 07, 2015 2:16 pm

Something to keep you going until the cavalry arrive..... :)
Can you check the voltage that the panels are producing, measured at the input to the controller?
Then, if that voltage is good, check the voltage that the controller is putting out, at the controller.
If that is good, disconnect the solar cables from the battery and check their voltage at the battery end.

Those checks should help you home in on where the problem lies.
Mark
I ache in the places where I used to play - Leonard Cohen

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Dave34m
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Re: Solar not working, but batteries charging with generato

Postby Dave34m » Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:50 pm

This happened to me recently, it was the fuse on the solar controller. Easy fix, good luck

Gingernutty
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Re: Solar not working, but batteries charging with generato

Postby Gingernutty » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:10 pm

Well, thanks for your kind suggestions - but ridiculous as it sounds, we actually can't find our solar controller anywhere! We have a folder full of pamphlets etc that came with the bus, so we know what it is supposed to look like, but we can't locate it - in either the logical or illogical places! Hard as it is to believe, since everything else seems to have been so well thought out, we are starting to assume that it was located in an inaccessible place such as in the space above the bathroom cubicle or behind the meter board, based on where the cable seems to enter the bus from the roof. I didn't want you to think we were ungrateful for your suggestions.

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yachty
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Re: Solar not working, but batteries charging with generato

Postby yachty » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:35 pm

You should find controller either close to cable entry from roof or around battery. i can look quite different from brand to brand most will have led lights on them except small ones that are used a lot in ex rentals Because the only use small panels (they are just a small box about 30 x 30)
Peter
RV Repairs Ltd, 1996 Mitsubishi Rosa, 360w solar, 220ah AGM battries, 110 compressor fridge

Gingernutty
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Re: Solar not working, but batteries charging with generato

Postby Gingernutty » Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:41 pm

We now have essrntially a new solar system, but would appreciate some help in understanding the system and whether it is working as it should. In the process of fitting the new system, the auto-electrician discovered the old solar controller tucked in behind the wall panelling, so I don't feel so bad for not having been able to find it!

We had a 123w panel on the roof already, and have added 2 x 250w panels - so 623w total - I am assuming these are wired in series but not really sure (given I have tried to educate myself but feel I am failing miserably - hence request for help!). Batteries are 2 x 225a/h 6v Vision AGM batteries, again assuming these are wired in series as we have a 12v system, so therefore giving 225a/h. The new controller is a mustpower 40 amp contoller (pc16-4010a). Max PV input power is 600w for a 12v system, but one of the 250w panels is installed on 45^ angle on luton, so auto-electrician thought it would be ok to have just the one controller. (We understand we won't probably ever get full effect of 623w on roof and need to park so angled panel faces north to get any effect from that but seemed best solution for the space we had).

Settings on controller currently are:
1. set to lead acid battery type (other option is lithium)
2. battery a/h set to 200
3. absorb voltage set to 13.5
4. refloat voltage set to 13.7
5. float voltage set to 14.3
6. max current set to 40
7. absorb current set to 10
8. low battery voktage set to 10.5
9. high battery voltage set to 15

So what is it telling us currently?It's 12.30 pm, slightly overcast day, some periods of sun and we are facing near enough to north.

PV and battery lights are on, a few symbols showing, according to the manual these are good signs indicating the system is working. Display alternating between 21-22 PV, 0 kw output; and 12.3 battery, .8 ?
(I'm not entirely sure what these represent, but battery was 12.5 earlier, then 12.4 and now 12.3).

What is worrying me?
1. The battery symbol on the controller only seems to be at about 1/4; last night the battery condition indicator on our other monitor (Jayco micro monitor) was at Fair, so we ran generator and got it up to Good, and the battery symbol on the controller also went up to 3/4.
2. The DC voltmeter (another monitor) is on 12 - when the generator is running it is up much higher, and also used to be much higher when solar panel was charging previously.

I feel as though the solar system is maybe not actually charging the batteries - what should I be expecting to see?

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Re: Solar not working, but batteries charging with generato

Postby Neddy » Sat Aug 15, 2015 1:34 pm

It certainly does sound as though the solar setup is not charging.
During the day you would expect 13.7 volts on a fully charged battery and 14.3 volts if it was charging.
You will need a digital multimeter to see exactly what is going on - have you got one?

Do you have a manual?
It would be good to know what parameters are being monitored on the LCD screen.

Neville.


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