Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-29-2008, 06:49 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
1988 32' Excella
Zavalla , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7
88 Excella Solar Woes

Hi....I'm brand new to this forum, and it's already helped me by telling me that Solarmetrics is out of business. Well, their switch smoked on me three days ago and left me without AC and without batteries being charged. A non-solar guy came out and fixed my situation so that now I do have AC, but I cannot charge batteries through the inverter/charger because it keeps popping my circuit breaker. (I solved that by running an extension to an outside source. So, my batteries are now charged.)

I'm not sure what to do next. The solar system was part of my trailer which I purchased 8 years ago. It has never really worked well.....due to inadequate wiring and lack of knowledge on my part.

My solar charge controller is Trace Engineering Model C30A. My charger/inverter is Heart Interface Freedom 458 Model 81-2010-12. And I have 4 batteries.

I suspect that I need to replace the solar charge controller and replace the wiring from the solar cells. Does a new solar controller take care of the Solarmetrics switch which died?

Long posting. Thanks for any ideas and advice.

Suzanne
__________________

__________________
Suzanne 150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2008, 07:52 PM   #2
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanne 150
Hi....I'm brand new to this forum, and it's already helped me by telling me that Solarmetrics is out of business. Well, their switch smoked on me three days ago and left me without AC and without batteries being charged. A non-solar guy came out and fixed my situation so that now I do have AC, but I cannot charge batteries through the inverter/charger because it keeps popping my circuit breaker. (I solved that by running an extension to an outside source. So, my batteries are now charged.)

I'm not sure what to do next. The solar system was part of my trailer which I purchased 8 years ago. It has never really worked well.....due to inadequate wiring and lack of knowledge on my part.

My solar charge controller is Trace Engineering Model C30A. My charger/inverter is Heart Interface Freedom 458 Model 81-2010-12. And I have 4 batteries.

I suspect that I need to replace the solar charge controller and replace the wiring from the solar cells. Does a new solar controller take care of the Solarmetrics switch which died?

Long posting. Thanks for any ideas and advice.

Suzanne
Hi Suzanne,

I am a dealer/installer for a AM Solar. I need a little more info before I can point you point the right direction. How any panels, what is the output rating, what guage wire is used to run from the panels to the controller, and what is the distance from the panels to the controller, and then from the controller to the batteries.

Very important to know this. PM me if you like with the details.

OH, and WELCOME to the Forums!!!!
__________________

__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2008, 08:07 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
NevadaGeo's Avatar
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Genoa , Nevada
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,305
Wow! 63 minutes and an expert is on the case. Couldn't do that with a phone book AND the right classified section. Simply Amazing!
__________________
NevadaGeo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2008, 08:24 PM   #4
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,279
Quote:
Originally Posted by NevadaGeo
Wow! 63 minutes and an expert is on the case. Couldn't do that with a phone book AND the right classified section. Simply Amazing!
Yah! The Forums are GREAT.....aren't they??!!
__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2008, 09:30 PM   #5
1 Rivet Member
 
1988 32' Excella
Zavalla , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7
Smile

Thanks! I'll get the information in the morning. I did attend one boondocking group in Florida about 2 years ago with a lot of solar folks and that's when I learned that my guage wire was inadequate. I do have 6 panels.

And....uhhhhh.....how do I find out what the output rating is?

Thanks, Suzanne

Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster
Hi Suzanne,

I am a dealer/installer for a AM Solar. I need a little more info before I can point you point the right direction. How any panels, what is the output rating, what guage wire is used to run from the panels to the controller, and what is the distance from the panels to the controller, and then from the controller to the batteries.

Very important to know this. PM me if you like with the details.

OH, and WELCOME to the Forums!!!!
__________________
Suzanne 150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2008, 10:05 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanne 150
And....uhhhhh.....how do I find out what the output rating is?

Thanks, Suzanne
I have the AMSolar that lewster is now installing. Top notch equipment. I couldn't get a good picture but the top cable is 10/2 which comes from the solar panel to a combiner box on the roof (if you have one). A heavier gauge wire 8/2 runs from my combiner box to the charge controller and then to the battery. I have two 100 watt panels and a 65 watt panel.

The outside profile of the 10/2 cable is rounder and mine says HSC #10/2 (UL) Marine Shipboard Cable E140507 2006 90C 600W SPEC 245/1309 DT/N90T-10-600W

The heavier 8/2 cable in my system only has 105 degrees C and had tape listing it as 8/2. It has a flatter profile than the 10/2 cable.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	solarwire.jpg
Views:	102
Size:	130.9 KB
ID:	53382  
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 09:59 AM   #7
1 Rivet Member
 
1988 32' Excella
Zavalla , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7
Thanks Craig....appreciate the info....gave me a great idea too. I'll take some pictures! I'm about to go on the roof now. Couldn't do anything yesterday.
__________________
Suzanne 150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2008, 07:18 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanne 150
Thanks Craig....appreciate the info....gave me a great idea too. I'll take some pictures! I'm about to go on the roof now. Couldn't do anything yesterday.
Many installers find that the easiest place to run the cable through the roof to the inside of the trailer is through the refrigerator vent. This is where my combiner box is installed as shown in the photos. Some use a combiner box and then drill a hole through the roof. Anyway, they then use heavier cable like the 8/2 that they run down through the cabinet the refrigerator is in and then they drill a hole to run the cable either under the floor or as I did, inside a cabinet, under a shelf, behind the couch and then to the battery. Maybe from some of my photos you can get an idea of where some of your cable is. Hope this helps.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	AMSolarSunRunnerInstal 016.jpg
Views:	125
Size:	137.7 KB
ID:	53493   Click image for larger version

Name:	AMSolarSunRunnerInstal 017.jpg
Views:	112
Size:	148.9 KB
ID:	53494  

Click image for larger version

Name:	AMSolarSunRunnerInstal 020.jpg
Views:	106
Size:	157.3 KB
ID:	53495   Click image for larger version

Name:	AMSolarSunRunnerInstal 021.jpg
Views:	113
Size:	149.1 KB
ID:	53496  

__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2008, 10:29 AM   #9
1 Rivet Member
 
1988 32' Excella
Zavalla , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7
Hi David....I'm beginning to see that my wiring is probably MOST inadequate. You talk about cables, and I have 10 guage wire....2 of them. After going into the Solar Controller, my wires go forward through the trailer. I'm beginning to suspect that my solar was installed at the factory since the wiring for the Solar Controller is behind aluminum and very much hidden from view.

Oh well, I'm working the problem. Slowly.

Suzanne
__________________
Suzanne 150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2008, 11:46 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,150
Images: 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanne 150
Hi David....I'm beginning to see that my wiring is probably MOST inadequate. You talk about cables, and I have 10 guage wire....2 of them. After going into the Solar Controller, my wires go forward through the trailer. I'm beginning to suspect that my solar was installed at the factory since the wiring for the Solar Controller is behind aluminum and very much hidden from view.

Oh well, I'm working the problem. Slowly.

Suzanne
Suzanne,
It could also be that the wires were fished behind the aluminum panels with a device made for that purpose. It is also done behind sheetrock walls in homes. The cables are just extra protection to prevent the inner wire from rubbing through on sharp areas and it keeps the two wires right next to each other. It is not much different that an outdoor extension cord except the wires themselves are heavier.
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2008, 06:32 PM   #11
1 Rivet Member
 
1988 32' Excella
Zavalla , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7
Thanks David. The wires behind the panels.....that makes sense. I'm waiting to hear from Lew now about what he suggests. I emailed him all the particulars.
__________________
Suzanne 150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2009, 11:03 AM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Melody Ranch's Avatar
 
1956 22' Flying Cloud
1953 32' Liner
1955 22' Safari
Valley View , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,960
Images: 78
Send a message via Skype™ to Melody Ranch
Where to begin

Original owners of my 21' Sovereign spent a bundle on putting the best solar system available, then, on it. Time has taken its toll.

I have ARCO M75 quad panels. They look good and no browning. The blue wiring is completely deteriorated. Output originally 47 WATTS and 3.17 AMPS. TRACE 2012 inverter...3000 watts for 6 min; 2000 watts for 20 min; 1400 watts continious. Three AGM batteries. I am replacing the dinosaur Univolt with a new IOTA converter charger.

Installation was done at a WBCCI International Rally by a vendor. Absolutely terrible workmanship. Guess what? Two of the panels had never even been hooked into the supply system....but who would know the wiring was still tucked into the original wrap hidden up top?

Any experts out there think the system ...or parts, are salvageable?

P.S. My system was also a Solarmetrics unit.
__________________
Melody Ranch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2009, 02:15 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
Wabbiteer's Avatar
 
1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,912
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 2
neat - I love solar anything but... new post new post new post time?
__________________

Wabbiteer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2009, 07:30 PM   #14
1 Rivet Member
 
1981 31' Excella Limited
Anchorage , Alaska
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 14
Hi all,

Looks like this is a bit of an old thread, but hopefully it's still being monitored since it's directly related to what I'm trying to figure out at the moment. Our Airstream also has the original Solarmetrics "Silent Generator" system installed, but other than some old receipts for the original system install, so far I've been unable to find any documentation on it. Our system has 6 75-watt panels, and the receipts indicate that it's a 2000 watt inverter. However, charging is often quite slow and the charge doesn't last very long. I expect that that most likely culprit is just old batteries (two currently installed, but room for 4 total). I'd like to do some upgrades on it, for example installing a better battery monitoring system, possibly and possibly an newer MPPT solar charge controller.

Some of the questions I'm trying to answer so far before I commit myself to upgrading:

Does the original Solarmetric system retain the old Univolt charger (Solarmetric system has a three position switch in the aft, one position selects solar charge, the other activates an AC powered battery charger - I'm wondering if this AC battery charger is simply the old Univolt, or if they replaced that with something else).

What kind of solar charge controller and inverter did they use? (want to be sure it would be compatible with AGM batteries before I spring any $ on those - need sealed batteries as the two "optional" battery positions are located in the interior, under the front couch) Suzuanne originally wrote:

"My solar charge controller is Trace Engineering Model C30A. My charger/inverter is Heart Interface Freedom 458 Model 81-2010-12. And I have 4 batteries."

Does anyone know if those are the Solarmetrics-installed components?

Where are the solar charge controller, AC battery charger, and inverter actually installed?

Thanks in advance for any light (pun not *really* intended :-) anyone might be able to help me shed on this!

aJ
__________________

__________________
akflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Diesel woes jking Classic Motorhomes 20 09-02-2007 07:14 PM
Toilet Woes-Need Help Pharmdawg Sinks, Showers & Toilets 2 10-19-2006 11:28 AM
Refer woes kevino Refrigerators 4 07-15-2006 06:59 PM
12 volt woes Tin Tortuga Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 5 02-03-2005 06:16 PM
Review Woes uwe Forum Admin, News and Member Account Info 7 09-20-2002 12:13 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.