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Old 26-06-2016, 19:51   #16
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Re: Multimeter Mystery, Solar Troubleshooting

Thanks for all the replies. This is really embarrassing, but in fact I had just wired the multimeter incorrectly. When I wired it correctly I also see zero amps.
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Old 26-06-2016, 20:12   #17
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Re: Multimeter Mystery, Solar Troubleshooting

I suspect you put the multimeter ammmeter leads to the + and - terminals of the solar side of your regulator, effectively shorting the solar panels (don't try this on the battery side, or you will be letting the smoke out of something). That gave you a short circuit current of a bit over 4 amps, which you should be able to compare to the panels specs. It also showed that nothing was wrong with the meters

With the multimeter correctly wired in series with the panels, you now read zero amps on both meters, so you either have a problem with the regulator or the wiring to the battery. The previous suggestion to measure the VOLTAGE across the output (battery) terminals of the regulator is a good one. If you read 12-13 volts, the regulator starts to be suspect. If you read 20 volts or near zero volts, things point toward the battery wiring, especially fuses. The absence of the led indicators on the regulator also could be the result of an open circuit to the battery.
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Old 26-06-2016, 21:07   #18
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Re: Multimeter Mystery, Solar Troubleshooting

Also might be wise to be sure to connect the battery leads first, then connect the wires from the solar panel. Some controllers don't like to see an open when powered up by the panel.
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Old 27-06-2016, 07:54   #19
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Re: Multimeter Mystery, Solar Troubleshooting

noelex seems to have followed your post. I agree with that post. also, it could be that the wire is shielded and grounded, hence canceling out the readings.

when you went series with the multimeter, did you connect to the pos at the output to the pos battery or to the wire end that was connected to the controller terminal? if you didn't go to the wire I'd suggest you do. The wire might be bad. If you went to an other positive connection, then did the led's on the controller light up?

in essence you were posting two topics. The controller led's not lighting up and the test equipment disfunction....which appears to be an operator error to me. As mentioned before, an easy mistake to do....been there done that ;-) Electrical wiring is really quite simple, especially DC wiring. In a charging system you have the factory...solar panels...the highway to the assembly and distribution facility....charge controller...and the highway to the retailer....Battery. that highway is the positive wire. the highway going back is the negative wire. that highway allows the trucks....voltage....to go back to pick up more product. we only have so many trucks, so if I stop the trucks from going back I won't have any trucks to deliver product....Amperage. When troubleshooting. I start at the factory, then the first highway, then the assembly facility, then the highway from there, checking both lanes...Pos. & neg.

the LED's tell me "something" is wrong. If I keep it simple and do it step by step the problem will show itself. It's elementary, my dear Watt-son ;-) If your reading volts/amps on the output side of the controller and the LED's aren't lit up then the controller has a problem and might not be long for this world. Check to see that the voltage from the controller is being regulated. If it's over 14.7, that would be a faulty controller. Is the watt rating of the controller higher than the combined watt rating of the panels? If not, Make it so or you'll be replacing the controller again. A panel doesn't put out it's full rating vary often, but that one minute at high noon with no clouds or haze and spotless glass, is all it takes to fry a controller.

I hope this helps you and others for that matter. Have fun with this project, by keeping it light. You'll learn and we'll learn too....if you keep us posted ;-) " We can do, what I couldn't do alone"

PEACE
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