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Old 02-19-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
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Solar Controller

It is bright and sunny here in California’s Borrego Springs, and this morning, all of a sudden the two aftermarket inverters in our Airstream stopped working.
We charge our system with four large solar panels producing an equivalent of about 600 watts going into our system. We control the flow of energy to our batters and subsequently to our inverters using a Zamp Solar Charge Controller. Once when the Controller showed a spike to 16 volts I wrote the manufacturer and the representative said it was a surface charge and not to worry, because simultaneously the Controller showed a charge of but 0.2 solar amps/hour.

Today, when the inverters stopped working I again thought high voltage and sure enough, it was reading 16-plus. We turned everything off and about an hour later again tried the inverters, and all was well.



Could my problems with the inverters have resulted from a spike in volts to the inverters?



Can someone tell me what’s going on and if we need to worry?


Thank you.
Bert
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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Could my problems with the inverters have resulted from a spike in volts to the inverters?
Absolutely - inverters can have over and under voltage protection.

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Once when the Controller showed a spike to 16 volts I wrote the manufacturer and the representative said it was a surface charge and not to worry, because simultaneously the Controller showed a charge of but 0.2 solar amps/hour.
Humph... fully charged batteries should be "floated" at something like 14.2 V (14.7V at most). 16 volts will cause your batteries to use lots of water, and may damage connected electronics.

Does your controller use a temperature sensor to control voltage levels?

- Bart
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:51 PM   #3
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re: "showed a charge of but 0.2 solar amps/hour" -- amps is a rate so this is like saying you traveled at 55 mph per hour.

16 volts isn't a 'surface charge' - a surface charge doesn't go higher than the applied charging voltage and that should not go above about 14.4 volts on your RV system. Bart is on it there.

Check the solar charge controller to see if it has a battery voltage setting. It needs to be at 14.4 for bulk and 13.2 for float (see the battery manufacturer recommendations).

Good question about the temperature sensor, too.
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bert Gildart View Post
Today, when the inverters stopped working I again thought high voltage and sure enough, it was reading 16-plus. We turned everything off and about an hour later again tried the inverters, and all was well.
Hey Bert - For the past few days the same thing has been happening to us. How did you resolve your issue? Did you have to replace your charge controller?
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:24 PM   #5
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I think Zamp uses Go Power for a charge controller. Does anyone have better recommendations? Not saying that there is any thing wrong with the Go Power but just curious if anyone suggests another brand.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:17 PM   #6
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