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Old 03-10-2015, 21:04   #1
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Solar Charge Controller and Solar Flares

OK here's my question for all the electrical engineers. What are the chances/ possibility of the solar charge controller being damaged by a direct solar flare similar to the one that hit Quebec in march of 1989 and is there any way to protect against such damage? Or just carry a spare controller stored in my Faraday cage.
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:59   #2
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

Because our atmosphere absorbs most of a solar flare’s dangerous rays, terrestrial systems are fairly safe from solar flares.

The Quebec storm, of 1989, was a “G5" Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). During a CME, the fluctuations of the sun's magnetic fields cause a large portion of the surface of the sun to expand rapidly, ejecting billions of tons of particles out into space. Sometimes CMEs accompany solar flares; but not all solar flares produce CMEs and not all CMEs accompany solar flares.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:48   #3
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

OK so I guess I should have said CME activity. NASA is saying there was a g1 event on the first expected to hit us on the 7th. Still if we are charging and get hit with an event of sufficient magnitude will it fry the controller?
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:27   #4
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

If an event is strong enough to fry the electronics in your charge controller, it will also fry your starter, alternator, gps, cell phone, vhf, and pretty much anything more advanced that a plain black Bell 500 rotary dial telephone set.


And if you have a car, it will become lawn sculpture, unless it is a robust OLD diesel with no electronics and computers involved.


Your quartz wrist watch will also become scrap metal, you'll need a wind-up model.


Little issues like this are why the governments tell us to just "don't worry, be happy" and not follow any GPS instructions during the event, unless you're really sure they match the road maps.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:10   #5
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If an event is strong enough to fry the electronics in your charge controller, it will also fry your starter, alternator, gps, cell phone, vhf, and pretty much anything more advanced that a plain black Bell 500 rotary dial telephone set.


And if you have a car, it will become lawn sculpture, unless it is a robust OLD diesel with no electronics and computers involved.


Your quartz wrist watch will also become scrap metal, you'll need a wind-up model.


Little issues like this are why the governments tell us to just "don't worry, be happy" and not follow any GPS instructions during the event, unless you're really sure they match the road maps.
OK got old diesel mechanically injected, with hand crank for emergency, windup clock on the boat, not sure how it would damage the starter for the engine. Sextant and books paper charts the only item I would be worried about is the controller due to it being turned on and running when the CME hit.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:45   #6
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

I wouldn't worry about it. The magnetic fields associated with a CME are simply not strong enough to damage the electronics on our boats.

Power grids are another matter, if you remember from science class a wire passing through a magnetic field induces a voltage in the wire, the more wire(turns of a coil) the greater the voltage. The hundreds of miles of wire in a power grid cause voltage spikes that can play havoc with the system.

As for a CME frying alternators and starter motors? If we get one strong enough to do that then we, as in us humans, will no longer have a use for those devices or anything else.
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Old 04-10-2015, 20:19   #7
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

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Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
OK so I guess I should have said CME activity. NASA is saying there was a g1 event on the first expected to hit us on the 7th. Still if we are charging and get hit with an event of sufficient magnitude will it fry the controller?

G1 is a pretty weak magnetic storm. They happen all the time (about 1700 per solar cycle or one every few days on average ).
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Old 04-10-2015, 20:33   #8
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

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G1 is a pretty weak magnetic storm. They happen all the time (about 1700 per solar cycle or one every few days on average ).
I understand that a g1 is a rather weak storm my question on here is if we get hit with a G5 or larger CME will/ could it have a detrimental effect on the controller
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Old 04-10-2015, 20:44   #9
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

No. You are fine.
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Old 04-10-2015, 20:54   #10
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

Alex thank you for the consise and direct answer. Was wondering due to a c3 spike being a high volt dc spike with a pwm controller rated for 48 vdc max.
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Old 04-10-2015, 20:56   #11
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

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Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
I understand that a g1 is a rather weak storm my question on here is if we get hit with a G5 or larger CME will/ could it have a detrimental effect on the controller
Sorry, I misread your post and thought you were asking about the g1 expected on the 7th.

Even a G5 (Extreme storm) happen every two to three years and I've never heard of one affecting a controller yet. SteveSails pretty well sums it up.
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Old 04-10-2015, 20:59   #12
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

Newhaul,

There is no danger to your solar controller from CME. The wires are not long enough to produce any spike that could cause damage. That is unless you used a thousand feet of wire and made many loops around your boat.
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Old 04-10-2015, 21:54   #13
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Sorry, I misread your post and thought you were asking about the g1 expected on the 7th.

Even a G5 (Extreme storm) happen every two to three years and I've never heard of one affecting a controller yet. SteveSails pretty well sums it up.
Stu i no problem I was referencing that event just as a reference so all would understand what type of event I was asking about.
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Old 05-10-2015, 13:27   #14
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Re: solar charge controller and solar flares

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If an event is strong enough to fry the electronics in your charge controller, it will also fry your starter, alternator, gps, cell phone, vhf, and pretty much anything more advanced that a plain black Bell 500 rotary dial telephone set.


And if you have a car, it will become lawn sculpture, unless it is a robust OLD diesel with no electronics and computers involved.


Your quartz wrist watch will also become scrap metal, you'll need a wind-up model.


Little issues like this are why the governments tell us to just "don't worry, be happy" and not follow any GPS instructions during the event, unless you're really sure they match the road maps.
How about a direct hit by an asteroid?
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Old 05-10-2015, 16:17   #15
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Re: Solar Charge Controller and Solar Flares

Depends on how much metal and mass is in the asteroid. If there's no significant EMP pulse from the impact explosion, the electronics will keep working just fine. Once you locate them. If they didn't spontaneously combust.
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