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Old 15-06-2008, 14:22   #1
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No amps from solar controller

Greetings All;
This is my first post since joining the forum. Hope someone out there can offer some advice as I am about at my wits end with the solar panels on my boat. Although considering I may be a half-wit, perhaps I haven't gone that far. Anyway, I recently acquired a boat equipped with 2 Kyocera 120 watt panels, wired thru a Pro Star PS-30 controller. There is also a Kiss wind generator (no controller) and a Link 20 monitor. House bank is 2 Lifeline 8D's AGMs. The most obvious problem currently is that the Pro Star does not show an amps out on the display, nor does the Link 20 ever show any amps in when the solar should definitely be producing. The voltage reading on the controller mirrors what the Link 20 shows for battery voltage, and the battery status lights respond to decreasing battery voltage. With the boat anchored in the Virgin Islands (plenty of sunlight) and no load whatsoever, the house bank will slowly self-discharge (as would be expected), making me quite certain that the solar is not producing. Here are some test results; open circuit reading from the solar array: 17-19 volts. Open circuit reading on the battery leads to the controller: equals battery voltage as per Link 20. Amp reading across the leads from the solar array: 6 - 6.5 amps on a sunny day. The controller was replaced once by Morningstar who reported that a bench test of the returned unit showed no problem. At there suggestion, I isolated the 2 panels and checked readings. The controller showed no change in its readings with either panel attached independently. Voltage and amp readings on the panels where identical.
All this seems to point towards a bad controller. The only thing I haven't tried is disconnecting one battery lead at the controller and putting my ammeter in series to see if there is any meaningful draw.
So, does anyone have a suggestion of where I might look next?
Ralph
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Old 15-06-2008, 15:15   #2
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Hi Ralph
I've got a PS-15 and a PS-45... the 15 is my solar and the 45 the 4-winds charger..
In reading the manual, the operation of the 15 is the same as the 30..
Just reading the manual for the 15 and there is a check list to go through and possible problems......do you have the manual?
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Old 15-06-2008, 15:58   #3
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I second the manual for the controller.

I have a Xantrex solar controller that threw me for a loop. It had to be hooked up in a certain sequence in order to work. I had been working on cleaning connections up and hooked it up out of order (not wrong, but hooked up a different connection first, second, etc...)

Not sure if your model has the same restrictions, but I was royally confused by that one until I figured out the proper sequence to hook it up by.

I, too, was getting no power out of the unit. Luckily, mine had been giving power initially, so I knew I must have screwed something up. I had thought I broke the controller.
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Old 15-06-2008, 19:40   #4
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I do have the manual and just happen to have it here at home because I was going to call Morningstar tomorrow. The book does say to connect the battery FIRST and since I've recently changed the house batteries (in effect disconnecting the battery) this might be the cause, although it seems a little incredulous. But, we're talking boats and electronics so nothing is beyond the realm of reality! I will check it out tomorrow.
Thanks,
Ralph
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Old 15-06-2008, 20:22   #5
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May just be that the link is not getting the right readings on the amps due to hook up issues. Make sure there are NO negative leads on the battery banks except to the LINK SHUNT. It may be that the solar/wind was installed incorrectly to read on the Link.
Ditto the link hookup order ssullivan noted above.
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Old 16-06-2008, 07:23   #6
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No amps from solar

There is definitely a wiring issue with the Link 20. I confirmed with Xantrex that there should be no connections to the battery negative except the battery side of the shunt; all other ground connections belong on the other side of the shunt. On Quest, the alternator is grounded to the engine block. The negative cable from the house batteries is also grounded at the engine. A cable then connects from engine block to the battery side of the shunt. The ground side of the shunt is then connected to a buss bar that serves as ground point for the house circuit. Consequently, while the Link seems to be okay monitoring the wind generator output, it has no idea what the engine alternator is doing. It is possible that until I correct this, the Link will not properly see the solar output. Still, it seems the solar controller should be showing output. Anyway, redoing the house battery ground as per Xantrex's recommendations is on the old "to-do" list.
Ralph
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