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Old 11-08-2011, 12:25   #1
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Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

My Blue Sky Solar Boost 2000E MPPT has stopped working. My batteries are not charging.

A few days ago it had a normal voltage of 14.2 volts but input Amps from the panels was 0.3 amps and the input to the battery was 0.0.
The red LED inside the back which shows if the MPPT is working is not on.

I went into the back panel and fiddled with the Temperature Sensor Compensation settings (the 4 little slide switches) and it came back on again.


It did it a few days later and I fixed it again.

Today its done the same and I can't fix it by flicking the little switches.

I have:
Checked all the battery connections and the Temp Sensor lug.
The Battery compartment was not hot or even warm, just ambient temp.
Dropped the panels so they are not getting sun.
dropped the solar panels to reduce the input.
Dropped the voltage from 14.2 to 13.6
Disconnected the temp sensor from the unit and slid the switches on the Compensator to Off.


Nothing has worked.


The unit is 8 months old.

It has been hot here.


Any ideas?


Thanks,


Mark
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Old 11-08-2011, 13:10   #2
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Because messing around with it made it work a few times I would guess a bad connection somewhere. Perhaps a bad solder joint on the board at or near the switches?

Could also be a bad connection on one of the connectors.

Or a switch that is going bad.

Are there any carbon pots. on the board? They aren't the most reliable electronic components. Sometimes moving the wiper back and forth will work until you can get a replacement. However you need to know where they should be set when you finish messing with them.

Any scorched areas on the board? Check for burned components.

Any leaking capacitors?

Not knowing a thing about the unit, those are the things I would check.

How old is the unit Mark. I see they have a 5 year warranty.
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Old 11-08-2011, 13:28   #3
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

there should be a 30-amp fuse on the positive lead going to the batteries. Check this first.

If you have the optional battery temperature sensor, disconnect it.

The units do have a history of shutting down in high temperature. In the troubleshooting guide in your owners manual, it suggests either ventillating the compartment or reducing the amount of PV power coming in the the unit when this happens.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-08-2011, 15:10   #4
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

what you've described sounds like ...


1) bad solder joint. happens all the time with commercial electronics. usually happens around joints leading to external controls, like knobs, switches, buttons, wires. these CCA manufacturers like to skimp on the wave solder machine to save $$. the quick fix is to heat all the externally-led joints to reflow them while adding a small bit of solder. the best method is to remove solder first, clean, then resolder.

2) oxidized mechanical contacts. happens in the resistive material of pots, switch contacts, button actuators. oxidization builds up and causes a film to form between the 2 contacting pieces. Go get some Deoxit5. Spray a tiny bit directly into a switch/pot/button and exercise the switch. Deoxit5 is non-conductive so this can be done with power applied. Downside is that the repaired part will eventually fail again and will need to be re-cleaned (i'd give it a year). NOTE: do not go to a consumer electronics store and buy "stereo contact cleaner". that stuff is garbage and does not remove oxidation.

3) internal thermistor. this component in your MPPT senses heat within the unit and will shut the unit down if a certain temperature is reached. Like a resettable breaker, but instead of current sensing, it's heat sensing. if the thermistor is good, then the only solution is to vent!
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Old 11-08-2011, 16:04   #5
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
The units do have a history of shutting down in high temperature. In the troubleshooting guide in your owners manual, it suggests either ventillating the compartment or reducing the amount of PV power coming in the the unit when this happens.

Hope this helps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyniceguy View Post
3) internal thermistor. this component in your MPPT senses heat within the unit and will shut the unit down if a certain temperature is reached. Like a resettable breaker, but instead of current sensing, it's heat sensing. if the thermistor is good, then the only solution is to vent!

Spot on!!!!

It was the last line in the Trouble Shooting guide and I must have missed it!

Its now 6PM and the unit came on when I just clicked it.

I'll have to move the box a few inches. That means cutting anohter hole in the Galley Bulkhead, something I am loath to do.... a whopping great cable hole to make 3 whopping great cable holes.

Before I cut I will drop a pannel tomorrow and see how it goes.

I think you have hit on the problem because its been quite hot here, the trade winds have dropped and the galley does get a bit of sun to very near the box, and the box gets quite hot anyway.

I hope thats the problem.

Thanks so much for the idea

I will report back


Mark
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Old 11-08-2011, 16:13   #6
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

How about a 12 volt fan? There must be a way to connect it up so it only runs when you are getting enough sun to charge.
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Old 11-08-2011, 16:34   #7
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
How about a 12 volt fan? There must be a way to connect it up so it only runs when you are getting enough sun to charge.
arghhh all that tinkering... time for decent Northern Lights genset and a 18kBTU CruisAir A/C... that'll get the temperature down so you can charge your batteries

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 11-08-2011, 16:43   #8
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

A lesson I have to learn, never think small.
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Old 11-08-2011, 18:58   #9
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
How about a 12 volt fan? There must be a way to connect it up so it only runs when you are getting enough sun to charge.
Great idea A small computer fan would do it it would be neat if it only came on when its getting lots of sun

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Old 11-08-2011, 19:44   #10
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Great idea A small computer fan would do it it would be neat if it only came on when its getting lots of sun

Mark
I use one of these in my car, it works ok. It might be what you are looking for.

You'd have to modify the fan a bit, lengthen the wires connecting the fan to the panel, then mount the panel in a port near the converter.

Solar Power Auto Car Cool Air Conditioning Cooler Fan
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Old 22-08-2011, 15:28   #11
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Its still playing up.

I bought a 12 volt Caframo fan and placed it right near the curcuit board whilst the board is unscrewed and forward from the box. So the fan is hitting the board directly.

Still at 12 noon the thing switched itself off.

I dropped the panels so they get little sun.

Then later, 3pm it came on again but as soon as I raised the second panel it switched itself off.

So if heating isn't the problem, what could it be?

Have I previously fired the board because of too much heat?

How could I tell?



Mark
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Old 22-08-2011, 15:40   #12
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Hmmm, reset your clock?

Did you ever go over your board and all the connections? Also I see there are several pots near the connectors that could be a problem. Also connections at your solar panels and in the main line from the panels to the controller. Check the board carefully for burnt components.

Did you try the contact cleaner?

I'm still suspicious of the fact that when you move something it works or doesn't work for a while. However, if you have gone over all the connections and tried the different settings it looks like it is time for a new one or to send that one back for service.
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Old 22-08-2011, 15:42   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ
How could I tell?
With a cold-spray, which cools the pcb while in error mode. Try Google it....

ciao,
Nick.
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Old 22-08-2011, 16:33   #14
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Great idea Nick. I haven't used cold spray in so many years I forgot how useful it is.

Mark, the idea is to spray a small section of the board (or a connector) at a time to see if that changes things. Let the board normalize and spray another section until you have isolated an area, then localize a component with the spray. Shows up bad solder joints very quickly.
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Old 22-08-2011, 17:14   #15
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Re: Solar Boost 200E Stopped Working

Mark,
What is the battery voltage doing. If the unit is just turning off due to hi internal temps it maybe doing as designed. Does it reset overnight? Can you shade part of your panel?

Bill
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