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Old 28-04-2017, 13:04   #1
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Solar charging problems ...

No response to my previous question in the forum, but I'll throw out another anyway ...

I get 14-15v at the panels (2 140watt Kyocera) and down the line to the controller. But the controller only acknowledges the same or nearly same voltage as the batteries. So, if the batteries show 12.3v, the input might show 12.3 or 12.4 and therefore won't charge them. I assumed it was the controller, sent it off, and I got a software upgrade, but still the same problem.

Anyone with thoughts on what this could be?
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Old 28-04-2017, 13:09   #2
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

my first thought would be too small wires causing voltage drop
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Old 28-04-2017, 13:12   #3
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

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Originally Posted by alctel View Post
my first thought would be too small wires causing voltage drop
No, they are the right size. Besides, I'm getting the same voltage from the end of the wire as at the panel. Everything worked fine for a long time -- this is a new development.
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Old 28-04-2017, 13:37   #4
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
No response to my previous question in the forum, but I'll throw out another anyway ...

I get 14-15v at the panels (2 140watt Kyocera) and down the line to the controller. But the controller only acknowledges the same or nearly same voltage as the batteries. So, if the batteries show 12.3v, the input might show 12.3 or 12.4 and therefore won't charge them. I assumed it was the controller, sent it off, and I got a software upgrade, but still the same problem.

Anyone with thoughts on what this could be?
Output voltage for a solar panel open circuit is very different than under load. Hook up a couple of 10 watt light bulbs directly to the panel output and check how much the voltage goes down. If you were getting good output before - could just be a bad connection somewhere.

Also likely that you have a PWM controller - I think most MPPT controllers incorporate a voltage booster (buck-boost) - could be time for an upgrade.

Don't discount wire size too fast. I have a dedicated 10ga wire to each of my 100watt panels... And 6ga to each battery. Voltage drop in solar systems is a big issue. Don't want big enough - want really big!
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Old 28-04-2017, 13:47   #5
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

Are your batteries seriously discharged? As your batteries get closer to a full charge you should see higher voltage from the charger.
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Old 28-04-2017, 14:29   #6
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

How many amps are you getting into the batteries?
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Old 29-04-2017, 05:12   #7
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

I feel a bit stupid, but it seems it was a bad connection after all. I can't believe I missed it last time I checked. A fuse holder (not the fuse itself) from the panels seems to have had the faulty connection. I could have sworn last time I tried to run this down (a few weeks ago), I was getting full voltage at the end of the PV line. But, if this is the whole problem, I'm happy. Unfortunately it's a drizzly day in Port Antonio, Jamaica, and no way to check for sure yet.
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Old 29-04-2017, 13:36   #8
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
I feel a bit stupid, but it seems it was a bad connection after all. I can't believe I missed it last time I checked. A fuse holder (not the fuse itself) from the panels seems to have had the faulty connection. I could have sworn last time I tried to run this down (a few weeks ago), I was getting full voltage at the end of the PV line. But, if this is the whole problem, I'm happy. Unfortunately it's a drizzly day in Port Antonio, Jamaica, and no way to check for sure yet.
Just out of curiosity, what is the condition of your batteries and what happens with an alternative charging source?
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Old 29-04-2017, 15:08   #9
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

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Just out of curiosity, what is the condition of your batteries and what happens with an alternative charging source?
The batteries are in excellent shape, keep a charge and are only 1.5 years old (they are 6v "golf cart" lead acid batteries wired in series -- two banks).

They accept charge well from other sources (engine alternator or output from portable generator).
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Old 29-04-2017, 16:17   #10
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
The batteries are in excellent shape, keep a charge and are only 1.5 years old (they are 6v "golf cart" lead acid batteries wired in series -- two banks).

They accept charge well from other sources (engine alternator or output from portable generator).
Thanks, you answered my real question. So they do charge from other sources.
Best of luck. Solar regulators seem to be an animal of their own.
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Old 29-04-2017, 17:35   #11
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

14-15 Volts at the panels would be MM.

When I stick the meter into the 'input' holes of our PWM regulator the voltage is

So I would start here. The voltage of your panels sounds off the base.

Can you look up the spec sheet of your panels pls? Or can you link to the spec sheet?

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Old 30-04-2017, 04:13   #12
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

He found the solution. See earlier post. Bad connection.
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Old 01-05-2017, 19:05   #13
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Re: Solar charging problems ...

HI I had major problems with my system sounds a bit like your problem. The issue was resolved with an upgrade to the negative post. This made for a better connection and improved charging good rounding is important
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