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Old 22-09-2009, 10:03   #1
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Question Solar Panel Problem

Hi Everyone. I have 120watt solar panel that has worked fine until yesterday and it just stopped total output.
So I went through all the connections and actually redid them. All the way to the meter I am getting 19.6 volts. So I thought the meter was bad. I connected the panel directly to the cable running to the battery
Again nothing. I cannot get the panel to put power into the batteries.
Anyone have any ideas why?? My wind generator is also connected to the
Same wire running to the batteries. But it has been for years.
So how can a panel have the proper voltage but isn't charging??
Thanks for any input
Marilyn
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Old 22-09-2009, 10:05   #2
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Voltage plus amps. Have you checked the amps?
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Old 22-09-2009, 10:23   #3
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Marilyn .

Sorry that your first post has to be about a problem; but (fortunately) our membership is very good at solving problems.

Do we understand correctly that you are getting voltage readings (19.6V) at sundry points from the solar panel and up to, but not including at the (Volt)? meter terminals, nor beyond?
This would definitely suggest that the panel is putting out, and that there is an open circuit (or high resistance connection) somewhere in the wiring to the meter. The open cct. is going to be between the last 19.6V reading and the first no-volt reading at the meter.

If Ive miss-stated the problem, please explicate further.
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Old 22-09-2009, 13:03   #4
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Do you have a charge regulator/controller? And if so have you checked it.
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Old 22-09-2009, 14:41   #5
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If the panel has a high resistance connection, you would still read voltage at the output, but it wouldn't be able to deliver any significant current.

A 120 watt panel should be able to put out at least ten amps into a direct short.
Disconnect the panel from the boat's wiring and put a piece of wire on each terminal.
With the panel in direct sun, tap the wires together momentarily. You should be able to see a spark. Don't worry about shock or damaging the panel.

If you don't see a fairly healthy spark, the panel itself has a high resistance break somewhere. If that's the case, look for corroded connections in the connector box.

Steve B.
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Old 23-09-2009, 06:01   #6
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re solar panel problem

Hi,
Thanks for the feedback.
I did check the amperage with my digital meter (it has up to 10 A)
And I am getting at various times (at the connection from the panel before it goes through the deck to the voltmeter) 4.5A, 3A, etc at various times. Thast is on the wire directly from the panel. Then I used to have a plug in the deck, whick I cut out and put in male/female crimp connectors. (the entrance throught the deck is protected) the wire goes directly to the voltmeter, where it is not recording anything. I put the positive wire together on the other side of the meter with the battery wire so it would be a direct connection bypassing the voltmeter. I have a Link meter and nothing is recording on it except the wind generator. As there is very little wind here in Carriacou at this time I can definitly tell if the panel in inputing. It stopped so suddenly too. Wierd. I redid all the wiring connections to the battery cable.
I plan on rechecking the connections again. and checking the Amps at the wire that is connected to the battery wire.
Interestin is my friend gave me the panel as he said it was doing the same thing and the company sent a new on to him. I put the other on up and it has worked perfectly until yesterday.????
Help??




Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Marilyn .

Sorry that your first post has to be about a problem; but (fortunately) our membership is very good at solving problems.

Do we understand correctly that you are getting voltage readings (19.6V) at sundry points from the solar panel and up to, but not including at the (Volt)? meter terminals, nor beyond?
This would definitely suggest that the panel is putting out, and that there is an open circuit (or high resistance connection) somewhere in the wiring to the meter. The open cct. is going to be between the last 19.6V reading and the first no-volt reading at the meter.

If Ive miss-stated the problem, please explicate further.
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Old 23-09-2009, 06:13   #7
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Oh By the way I do not have a controller, just a voltmeter. The Panel has diodes.
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Old 23-09-2009, 06:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamani74 View Post
... Then I used to have a plug in the deck, whick I cut out and put in male/female crimp connectors. (the entrance throught the deck is protected) the wire goes directly to the voltmeter, where it is not recording anything...
Check those new crimp connections (replacing deck plug).
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Old 23-09-2009, 11:26   #9
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What GordMay said!!! Or replace them.
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Old 24-09-2009, 14:14   #10
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And by the way the box is pristine, but the panel is very hot by the junction box. Looked at the top and it is perfect to our eyes. Can't see any visible problems. Too bad the pane is only 5 years old. I am the second owner so I don't think I can get a replacement gratis.
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:04   #11
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First thing is...... you should always have a charge controller on anything over about 50 watts. Second thing is most '12v' solar panels put out in the range of 18v+ 'open circuit' (usually around 18v to 21v actually). Third thing is very few 120watt 12v panels put out 10amps....around 5a is more like it. The fourth thing is that you may wish to do an internet search on that particular panel make and model and see if there are 'known issues' with the panel and see if the 'known issues' sound like what is going on with your panel. If it is, contact the manufacturer about replacing the panel. You don't have to tell them you're not the original purchaser, only that the panel (which probably has a 20 year warranty) appears to be bad ....if that is what your research indeed leads one to believe.

By the way, most solar panels heat up when they're in the sun. And without knowing the exact specifics of your wiring....which without a charge controller is jury-rigged anyways, it is difficult to impossible to say exactly what is going on.
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:20   #12
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Quote:
And I am getting at various times (at the connection from the panel before it goes through the deck to the voltmeter) 4.5A, 3A, etc at various times.
What do you get at other times, zero? Or is it just fluctuating various amperages? If your getting current it has to come from and go to somewhere.

You must isolate the panel or you could chase your tail forever.

1. Disconnect the wind generator and shorepower

2. Retest all points before and after connection points all the way up to the meter(literally, get behind the meter panel) with EVERYTHING turned off. Work your way from the meter back to the panel noting voltage and current levels. Look for any significant changes. If there is NO current or very small amounts found anywhere, go to step 3. If significant current is present before or at the meter but not after, WITHOUT load, there may be a defective diode in the meter panel, bleeding to ground or other moderate short to ground in a connection point. If significant current is present AT the meter but not after, WITHOUT load, I would suspect a defective diode in the meter panel bleeding to ground. The amount of current in the (loaded) circuit will be dependent on the brightness of the sun and the amount of load or severity of the short. Check all wiring insulation for scuffs that could be touching metal or shorting between the 2 conductors.

3. Make sure there is a load turned on (nav lights or something fairly significant) and retest again.

Is current present(not just voltage) just before the meter and after any thru deck connections?
Is current present to the batteries? If the batteries are topped you may not see any flow without a load.

The trouble will be just before wherever you lose the current.

After you fix this problem, get a controller to help keep your gear isolated. If one thing goes bad you may loose the whole shebang.

Hope this helps and I werent too confusing (think I rambled a bit)!
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:08   #13
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Hi there,
Thanks for your input. The solar panal has blocking diodes and is protected. A controller is only needed to prevent overcharging the batteries. As I am a liveaboard the batteries will never be overcharged so there you go!
It used to put out up to 10 amps at high noon. It is showing 19.7V but is putting out no amps. We tested it at the box (the direct prongs coming out the panel before the diodes) So I guess you are right about me contacting Kyocera and trying to get a replacement. I thank you again for your help!!
Marilyn
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:24   #14
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And your sure the ckt is not "open"? Remeber, no load, no current. Put a 12v bulb across the output of the panel. If it lights, it's not the panel. Hopefully, it's not the panel.....
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:29   #15
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Hi Fishman,
I did exactly as you suggested with my 5 year old 40W Sunware panel. To be sure there wasn't a cable issue I connected the 10W lamp directly to the output strips on the panel (I pried the waterproof sticky stuff away). The voltage, which was with open leads 19V, dropped immediately to 2V. So the panel is dead.

Earlier this year another sunware panel, 35W and 8 years old, was dead when I checked it. The supplier didn't even react to my mail.

Both panels are of the slightly flexible stainless steel backed type (you van walk on them); my boat is based in the Med. They were connected in parallel to the regulator.
Any suggestions to what caused the early demise?

Zoef
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