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Old 09-03-2013, 11:54 AM   #1
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Help me understand our solar system.....

We have a 1993 E250 SMB that we just purchased. It has a panel on the roof(unsure of any specs on it) and a pair of gauges on the wall above the guacho bed. The panel that the gauges are mounted on says Photocomm, INC and Mark III/5.

This is our first RV and as such I have no clue what I'm dealing with. There is a gauge labeled battery and another labeled panel. What are these two measuring and what should I be on the lookout for?

Also, there's a small red light next to the gauges. What does it designate?

Thanks for any help, I appreciate it.

BB
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....

Congrats on your new baby !!!

Are you able to take some pics of what you are describing.....???
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:00 PM   #3
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....

the sun comes up, the sun goes down, what else you need to know?
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianBlair
We have a 1993 E250 SMB that we just purchased. It has a panel on the roof(unsure of any specs on it) and a pair of gauges on the wall above the guacho bed. The panel that the gauges are mounted on says Photocomm, INC and Mark III/5.

This is our first RV and as such I have no clue what I'm dealing with. There is a gauge labeled battery and another labeled panel. What are these two measuring and what should I be on the lookout for?

Also, there's a small red light next to the gauges. What does it designate?

Thanks for any help, I appreciate it.

BB
Many controllers have some way of measuring the batteries status and the panel charge voltage or amperage. Usually a digital gauge will be labled what it is or there will be a switch that toggles through the various reading setting. Input/output voltages are usually very close to each other while an amperage reading is more important and indicates how much sun is hitting the array and/or what the batteries need as far as charge required to reach a full state of charge. Some use LED's only which blink when the battery reaches a full state of charge. The speciality concepts Mark III I had has a row of red yellow and green LED's. I can't remember if there was one LED that blinks indicating a charge. I have a picture of the one I pulled out some years back on my web site I'll try to post up.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:34 PM   #5
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianBlair
We have a 1993 E250 SMB that we just purchased. It has a panel on the roof(unsure of any specs on it) and a pair of gauges on the wall above the guacho bed. The panel that the gauges are mounted on says Photocomm, INC and Mark III/5.

This is our first RV and as such I have no clue what I'm dealing with. There is a gauge labeled battery and another labeled panel. What are these two measuring and what should I be on the lookout for?

Also, there's a small red light next to the gauges. What does it designate?

Thanks for any help, I appreciate it.

BB
Many controllers have some way of measuring the batteries status and the panel charge voltage or amperage. Usually a digital gauge will be labled what it is or there will be a switch that toggles through the various reading setting. Input/output voltages are usually very close to each other while an amperage reading is more important and indicates how much sun is hitting the array and/or what the batteries need as far as charge required to reach a full state of charge. Some use LED's only which blink when the battery reaches a full state of charge. The speciality concepts Mark III I had has a row of red yellow and green LED's. I can't remember if there was one LED that blinks indicating a charge. I have a picture of the one I pulled out some years back on my web site I'll try to post up.
A couple common controllers used by SMB.



Sorry for the low res pics.


SMB also installed controller brought in by the customer so you will need to post a picture of it for better help by the group.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:24 AM   #6
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....

Here's a few photos.....

Obviously I'll need to replace the rubber gaskets under the panel mounts.......disregard those!

My concern is that the red light is constantly illuminated.....I'm assuming this indicates some sort of problem?

Thanks,

BB
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:17 PM   #7
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....

FWIW, I found this about Photocomm when looking for info about your controller.

HistoryIn 1981 real estate developer Donald Anderson and electrical engineer Lane Garrett formed Photocomm, Inc. to market solar power products and take advantage of the federal alternative energy tax credit. The company survived an industry shakeout when the tax credit expired in 1985. In 1988 ARCO Solar veteran Robert Kauffman became CEO and took Photocomm public.

Westinghouse invested $1 million in the company in 1990, and Photocomm soon acquired Solar Wind Energy and Solar SignAge. New World Power invested $2 million in Photocomm in 1993, and Westinghouse began selling its holdings.

Photocomm supplied a $3.6 million system for the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, California, in 1995; it also bought Sunelco (mail-order solar electric systems). In 1996 Photocomm bought Solarjack (solar-powered water pumps). That year Coors family-controlled ACX Technologies, through subsidiary Golden Technologies, bought New World Power's stake in Photocomm.

John Coors replaced Kauffman as president and CEO and proceeded to integrate Photocomm's operations with another ACX Technologies solar power subsidiary, Golden Genesis. Photocomm began doing business as Golden Genesis in 1998.

Throughout the late 1990s the company suffered annual losses, which it attributed in part to reorganization-related charges. In 1998 Coors stepped down as president and CEO, and VP Michael Davis replaced him.

Kyocera International acquired Golden Genesis in 1999 and changed its name to Kyocera Solar. In 2000 the Japanese government accused Kyocera Solar of illegally receiving government subsidies and suspended it for three years from acting as an agent installing solar battery products. That year Davis left the company and Kyocera veteran Douglas Allday replaced him.

In 2001 Kyocera Solar introduced its MyGen (My Generation) rooftop-mounted generation systems for homes and small businesses. In 2002 the company sold its Sunelco catalog business to Sunelco division manager Tom Bishop; it also sold its Kyocera Solar Argentina unit to division manager Fernando Salgado. Steven Hill, another Kyocera veteran, replaced Douglas Allday as Kyocera Solar's president in early 2004.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:40 PM   #8
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....

hope this helps

Greg
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File Type: pdf SC3_15_INSTRUC_MANUAL.pdf (135.4 KB, 6 views)
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:58 PM   #9
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....

Thanks Greg, that's a tremendous help.

Have a good one,

Brian
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:59 PM   #10
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Re: Help me understand our solar system.....



The charging light (highlighted in blue) either indicates that the panels are charging the battery or the battery has reached full charge (float stage). Some blink and others just are lit while in the float level. If you charge via shore power (hopefully you have that option) you can turn on the shore power charge and see what the indicator does. It may also turn off after reaching a fully SOC
It should either stay on, blink indicating a fully charged battery. At night it should be out (no sun so no indication). The fuse is highlighted in Blue.

The battery {fuel} voltage gauge (highlighted in green) is the SOC-state of charge, with the gauge colors indicating the status of the house battery or batteries. Red means the system needs to be charged, yellow means the batteries are low and the green means the system is full or close to fully charged.

The Panel gauge (highlighted in red) is the one that tells you how well the panels are pushing power into the battery system. The more sun + the batteries SOC moves the needle. If you're in good sun and the batteries are low (wanting a charge) you will see the highest reading. In low sun there might not be enough activity to move the gauge even if the batteries are low. You need more sun. In the opposite direction, if the batteries are full (and you are not using any 12 load) the gauge might not more much either. As soon as you turn something on the gauge might move a little more than where it was.

So in a nut shell, if the battery fuel gauge is in the red and your panel is in full sun, the panel output gauge should be the highest for what the panel can output. The more solar panels you have dictate how high the gauge can read.
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