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-   -   Solar panel ‘idle’ (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448/solar-panel-idle-201904.html)

steilkurve 10-13-2019 10:39 PM

Solar panel ‘idle’
 
Hey all. Local dealer installed a WattMobile solar system on my new 2020 Bambi 22FB. Boondocked for the first time this weekend. Was unable to get the panels to charge the batteries. There was full sun on the panels but the Remote Meter was showing a moon next to the panel icon (meaning it thinks it’s night time) and had the mention next to solar charge. Scoured the manual and I cannot find a solution. My portable Zamp panel connected to the Zamp outlet worked fine, but not the fixed panels, even when the portable panels were disconnected. Any thoughts? Below is a link to the controller I have.

http://azimuthsolar.ca/product/mppt-...-1224v-ml2440/

GMFL 10-13-2019 11:52 PM

Some photos if the install might help. Maybe there is a panel disconnect switch Between the panels and the controller that is turned off. Or maybe a breaker tripped.

steilkurve 10-14-2019 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GMFL (Post 2298087)
Some photos if the install might help. Maybe there is a panel disconnect switch Between the panels and the controller that is turned off. Or maybe a breaker tripped.

Thanks. I don’t believe there is a switch between the panels and controller. The latter is hidden away (not sure where it is to be honest) and the dealer never mentioned one at delivery. I’d be surprised they would have put a switch next it if tucked away like that. And I f a breaker tripped, would the remote meter not be off? I was more thinking it’s a controller config thing. Manual is cryptic. I park my AS a local warehouse. Will go and visit today to bring back pictures.

GMFL 10-14-2019 07:49 AM

Ok,

If it was properly installed there should be a “disconnect” between the solar panels and the controller. As you know Solar panels put out voltage any time they are exposed to sunlight. The purpose of the panel disconnect switch is to have the ability to turn off the panels and remove that voltage source from the system for maintenance and or service without having to cover the panels on the roof.
A proper install should have this disconnect.

I’m not familiar with your brand charge controller, but with the “moon” displayed it is telling you that the voltage coming from the solar panels is zero or below the threshold to turn the charger on.
(Best Guess)

steilkurve 10-14-2019 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GMFL (Post 2298142)
If it was properly installed there should be a “disconnect” between the solar panels and the controller. As you know Solar panels put out voltage any time they are exposed to sunlight. The purpose of the panel disconnect switch is to have the ability to turn off the panels and remove that voltage source from the system for maintenance and or service without having to cover the panels on the roof. A proper install should have this disconnect.

Thanks again. I will search for such a switch. Guess it would be in the storage compartment under the bed (22FB) as the meter is mounted on the base of the bed (terrible location BTW) and the panels are right above on the roof. I suspect the controller is somewhere in there. At any rate, will head over to my AS today and bring back photos/findings. Appreciate your help.

rowiebowie 10-14-2019 08:11 AM

Call your local dealer who installed it. I realize they were closed for the weekend, but they'd be my first call when the manual did not help.


Good luck.

steilkurve 10-14-2019 11:00 AM

5 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by GMFL (Post 2298142)
Ok,

If it was properly installed there should be a “disconnect” between the solar panels and the controller. As you know Solar panels put out voltage any time they are exposed to sunlight. The purpose of the panel disconnect switch is to have the ability to turn off the panels and remove that voltage source from the system for maintenance and or service without having to cover the panels on the roof.
A proper install should have this disconnect.

I’m not familiar with your brand charge controller, but with the “moon” displayed it is telling you that the voltage coming from the solar panels is zero or below the threshold to turn the charger on.
(Best Guess)



Ok so just went to my AS. Could not locate a panel disconnect switch. Only thing is a 30 AMP fuse between controller and battery connector inside the trailer or that’s what I believe it is. Only anomaly I as a newbie was able to pickup is that the green negative wire from the solar panel seemed connected to the positive terminal of the controller. The cryptic manual seems to say the fat left terminal is positive. Not sure if that matters though I’d suspect yes. Thought of trying to reverse the two but before I do, thought I’d check in with the experts here! I’ve attached a few photos. All thoughts welcome!Attachment 354226Attachment 354227Attachment 354228Attachment 354229Attachment 354230

GMFL 10-14-2019 12:50 PM

That sounds like your problem. If you can confirm the polarity of the solar wires is correct then swap them that should solve your problem.
If that turns out to be the case. NEVER go back to that installer. They should have checked that system before releasing it to you.
If that is the problem then that means they never check the output before returning it to you.
Sloppy work.....

steilkurve 10-14-2019 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GMFL (Post 2298278)
That sounds like your problem. If you can confirm the polarity of the solar wires is correct then swap them that should solve your problem.
If that turns out to be the case. NEVER go back to that installer. They should have checked that system before releasing it to you.
If that is the problem then that means they never check the output before returning it to you.
Sloppy work.....


Yep. Will for sure talk to the dealer about this. Two more quick questions for you if I may:

1) Aside from swapping the wires, is there any other way to determine polarity of what’s coming from the panels?

2) Any precautions I should take before swapping the wires? Turn off all the beakers I assume? What about the controller? It’s on even when I disconnect the battery.

Thanks again.

pcskier 10-14-2019 06:45 PM

Solar panel ‘idle’
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by steilkurve (Post 2298290)
Yep. Will for sure talk to the dealer about this. Two more quick questions for you if I may:

1) Aside from swapping the wires, is there any other way to determine polarity of what’s coming from the panels?

2) Any precautions I should take before swapping the wires? Turn off all the beakers I assume? What about the controller? It’s on even when I disconnect the battery.

Thanks again.


Only thought I had is if they put the neg green prewire on the pos side of the controller—is there a chance they did that because they used the green as the positive up at the combiner box and were too lazy to change it? Just a thought! Nothing surprises me any more!

Also, it’s ok not to have a switch before the controller if the fuse has a trip switch which some people use to isolate the panels. (See yellow tab on attached pic) I have a dedicated switch as well, but might be worth seeing if the breaker is manually tripped.
Attachment 354254

GMFL 10-14-2019 07:06 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by steilkurve (Post 2298290)
Yep. Will for sure talk to the dealer about this. Two more quick questions for you if I may:

1) Aside from swapping the wires, is there any other way to determine polarity of what’s coming from the panels?

2) Any precautions I should take before swapping the wires? Turn off all the beakers I assume? What about the controller? It’s on even when I disconnect the battery.

Thanks again.

You can determine polarity with a volt meter. Place the positive lead (red) to the wire marked Positive and negative lead (black) to the wire marked negative. If you get a positive reading i.e. (12 volts) then your wire polarity is correct if you get a negative reading i.e. (-12) your polarity is reversed.
Also not picture below. Using a high-flow DC breaker is a much less restrictive choice.

GMFL 10-14-2019 07:07 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is a pic of the disconnect switch needed between the panels and controller.

steilkurve 10-14-2019 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GMFL (Post 2298380)
You can determine polarity with a volt meter. Place the positive lead (red) to the wire marked Positive and negative lead (black) to the wire marked negative. If you get a positive reading i.e. (12 volts) then your wire polarity is correct if you get a negative reading i.e. (-12) your polarity is reversed.
Also not picture below. Using a high-flow DC breaker is a much less restrictive choice.

Thanks. Got a volt meter. Will swing by my AS this week and test this.

If they are reversed, do I just swap them or should I disconnect the controller from the battery first, I guess by removing the fuse?

uncle_bob 10-14-2019 09:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steilkurve (Post 2298413)
Thanks. Got a volt meter. Will swing by my AS this week and test this.

If they are reversed, do I just swap them or should I disconnect the controller from the battery first, I guess by removing the fuse?

Hi

If they are reversed, there's a pretty good chance the controller has been damaged by the reversal. If you have any sort of warranty on the device, you might want to look into that.

A call to the manufacturer probably is a good idea if this is some sort of packaged system.

=====

If this into enough of a mess that you rip it out. Do the next one with more normal ( = commonly used ) components :)

Bob

pcskier 10-15-2019 12:55 AM

Solar panel ‘idle’
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by pcskier (Post 2298376)

Also, it’s ok not to have a switch before the controller if the fuse has a trip switch which some people use to isolate the panels. (See yellow tab on attached pic) I have a dedicated switch as well, but might be worth seeing if the breaker is manually tripped.
Attachment 354254

Doh!! Disregard my comment. The switchable fuse like the one I pictured is between the controller and battery, not between the panels and battery. I have a switch like GMFL pictured between panels and controller.

steilkurve 10-15-2019 07:15 AM

Ok so I went and tested he wires with a volt meter. I just a reading of zero. What would that mean?

GMFL 10-15-2019 07:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steilkurve (Post 2298489)
Ok so I went and tested he wires with a volt meter. I just a reading of zero. What would that mean?

We’re the panels getting sun.

steilkurve 10-15-2019 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GMFL (Post 2298497)
We’re the panels getting sun.

How silly of me. No sun. My small AS is sandwiched between two very high class As and it was early. Sun was low. Will return when sun is higher.

Have also emailed my dealer with photos of install. Awaiting reply.

uncle_bob 10-15-2019 09:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steilkurve (Post 2298528)
How silly of me. No sun. My small AS is sandwiched between two very high class As and it was early. Sun was low. Will return when sun is higher.

Have also emailed my dealer with photos of install. Awaiting reply.

Hi

I would go direct to the manufacturer. If the dealer didn't know enough about the system to wire and test it correctly, there is little chance he is very familiar with this system.

Bob

cru-in 10-15-2019 09:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steilkurve (Post 2298234)
Ok so just went to my AS. Could not locate a panel disconnect switch. Only thing is a 30 AMP fuse between controller and battery connector inside the trailer or that’s what I believe it is. Only anomaly I as a newbie was able to pickup is that the green negative wire from the solar panel seemed connected to the positive terminal of the controller. The cryptic manual seems to say the fat left terminal is positive. Not sure if that matters though I’d suspect yes. Thought of trying to reverse the two but before I do, thought I’d check in with the experts here! I’ve attached a few photos. All thoughts welcome!Attachment 354226Attachment 354227Attachment 354228Attachment 354229Attachment 354230

Wiring is kind of a mess. Only a few more minutes, and some care, and they could have cleaned this all up.


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