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Post Info TOPIC: No Solar input from my panels to the batteries


Senior Member

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No Solar input from my panels to the batteries


Where do I start to see why or whats not working , apart  from taking it somewhere. Which I probably will but would like to know what I'm talking about. I have 2 x 80w panels and a 20 amp reg ,which tells me 0 amps in, all factory fitted but out of warranty.

Cheers



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Do you have a multi meter? Next do you know how to use it? If you do and you know how to use it, skip to the next paragraph. Not trying to be funny but it is the instrument you need to check what is going on and you need to know what probe to put where and what the turn the dial to so you get a reading. This might help but watch out for the adverts trying to such you into clicking on them. www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Digital-Multimeter but they demo a rather flash up market meter that knows the difference between AC and DC voltage. Simpler meters are either marked AC or DC or with the relevant symbol, the wavy line for AC and a solid line with a dotted line under it for DC, you are looking to measure DC voltage

OK, select something around 20vdc on the meter. I'm assuming it is a PWM controller. At the solar controller, put the red probe on the positive and the black probe on the negative of where it says solar or shows a picture of a solar panel. You are looking for some where around 20vdc. If you see the voltage then you can move onto the next paragraph, if not, more testing is needed. Follow the wires and look for a circuit breaker switch of a fuse, probably doesn't have any for 2 x 80w panels, but worth checking to save a lot more work. If you are feeling confident climbing a ladder and getting on the roof then read on, if not, time to go to the professional and let them fall off the roof. If you can lift one of the panels off, you need to check inside the box on the back of the panel using the same test, if you have no voltage disconnect one of the cables and try again. This will determine if the panel has failed or if the wires are short circuit and this is what is pulling the voltage low. Unless you are skilled with automotive wiring, the finding of a short circuit means you nee to fine a professional.

OK, so you have 20vdc on the solar side, with the red probe on the battery positive and the black probe on the battery negative connections on the solar regulator, do you see battery voltage. If you do the solar regulator may have died. If you don't see any voltage, then I don't know why the solar controller shows anything on the screen, so double check the tests, if you still don't see voltage there, then go to the next paragraph. Try a shut down/reboot, take a photo first so you have a back up if you loose confidence as to which wire went where. Now, disconnecting the 2 solar wires, then the 2 battery wires from the controller, count to 100 and put the wires back on the battery terminals at the controller. Wait for it to go through its start up process if has one, then connect the solar wires. It will either start working again or it's passed on and requires replacement

OK, follow the battery wires from the regulator to the battery, you are looking for a fuse or a circuit breaker that has tripped or a wire broken.

Hope that helps

T1 Terry

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Senior Member

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Date:

Thanks Terry,
Don't have a multi -meter but will go out and buy one, as I now know how to use it.
Cheers
Mick

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It is most important when you are working with your batteries, you disconnect the solar panels from the regulator first. If the batteries are disconnected from the regulator, i.e. battery change, and your solar panels, still connected, are getting a good dash of sun, you can blow the regulator, the reason, all this power coming in with nowhere to go. I am not saying that this is your problem, but I have blown at least 1 regulator before I realized that this could happen.

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goldcoaster wrote:

Thanks Terry,
Don't have a multi -meter but will go out and buy one, as I now know how to use it.
Cheers
Mick


 Hi goldcoaster :)

I would suggest that you spend just little bit more and get an 'auto range' type meter not one with manual selected ranges. You might think one with a dozen switch positions will cover more but just a nuisance and more likely to set it incorrectly.

With automatic range selection it will just read the voltage etc properly whether it is a large or small value. Easier. A multi meter is the most useful tool to have for solar checking. I have several biggrin all auto ranging. 

You do still have to select Voltage and AC or DC, or current, or resistance, so be careful to get that correct and the matching correct sockets for the leads or you might blow the internal fuse. You can replace that your self.

Jaahn 



-- Edited by Jaahn on Monday 9th of September 2019 05:25:23 AM

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Cheeers Jaahn

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I can recommend one of these www.ebay.com.au/itm/UNI-T-ACA-DCA-AUTO-RANGE-CLAMP-METER-UT204-MULTIMETER-True-RMS-Carrying-bag-AU/152143486593%3D1110001%26algo%3DSPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20190711095549%26meid%3Df5c6ea747fe9449d99cda6f827bada87%26pid%3D100047%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dag%26sd%3D153631664373%26itm%3D152143486593%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100047.m2108 not the cheapest multi meter but it has reasonable accuracy and the clamp meter does measure DC current fairly accurately. I use these all the time, if I need extreme accuracy I use the Fluke meter, but that costs a lot more, I can buy 6 of these for the cost of the fluke and if it gets wet in the rain the Fluke dies an early death, the Uni-T seem to survive the harsh conditions better

T1 Terry

 

Make that 12 of the Uni-T for the replacement price of the Fluke, I just looked up the price bleh



-- Edited by T1 Terry on Monday 9th of September 2019 04:21:20 PM

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You can lead a head to knowledge but you can't make it think. One day I'll know it all, but till then, I'll keep learning.

Any links to any sites or products is not an endorsement by me or do I gain any financial reward for such links 



Guru

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Date:

Got a new 200w panel. No voltage. Opened the back panel, one wire had come away from its solder. Resolder, works great.
Tony

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Veteran Member

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Date:

Thank you Terry for the ebay link, I had been looking for a DC ammeter for some time

that did not cost the earth. Meter now ordered

regards Alex



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Veteran Member

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I suggest you go to Jaycar buy a digital meter you put in line with leads coming off solar panels this will imediately let you see if it is panels faulty .

if reading ok the check wiring to solar regulator . put meter at this point to ensure leads have not been cut / damaged if reading at this point it would look like regulator is buggered.

Talk to jaycar they can offer advise that has been my experience.

Goodluck being a detective, is rewarding when you sort it out yourself.

 



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Eaglemax wrote:

Got a new 200w panel. No voltage. Opened the back panel, one wire had come away from its solder. Resolder, works great.
Tony


It surprises me how many panels we find with the wire broken off at the MC4 connector, but inside where it was crimped onto the pin. A slight mistake on where they put the cable when they close the crimper and most of the wires get broken at the connection. Because we strip the pins out of the plastic cover so we can a better contact area between the male and female connectors and then solder the connection to make sure, we find these broken wires and end up putting a new pin on the cable. It would be really frustrating trying to figure out why the panel worked sometimes but not others, dependant on just how the cable was positioned as to whether it made a contact or not. I think there is a good possibility that many panels are considered rubbish due to such a simply problem that can be so easily fixed, if you just know to look for it.

 

T1 Terry  



__________________

You can lead a head to knowledge but you can't make it think. One day I'll know it all, but till then, I'll keep learning.

Any links to any sites or products is not an endorsement by me or do I gain any financial reward for such links 

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