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Old 06-14-2011, 10:56 PM   #1
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Solar controller may be acting up

In my '07 SMB. the 2 solar panels send 130 watts of power to the Blue Sky controller and to the 4D battery. Since it's build, the panels/controller keep the battery topped off on sunny days at 14 v. Lately, when it reaches 14 volts or so, I hear a faint clicking from somewhere and the voltage display dips to about 12.5 v. and then creeps back up to 14 v. in a minute or two. Everything seems to be working fine and is charged, but I don't know all there is to know about this circuitry. This is a new behavior. No, the fridge is not turned on. Any ideas?
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: Solar controller may be acting up

Jeffrey

Mine has done that since installed. It seems as if it is cycling for some reason. Could it be the battery wizard that is also under the back seat?
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:21 AM   #3
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Re: Solar controller may be acting up

you might be hearing the seperator. Pull the ground to the seperator and see if the clicking goes away. While you're at it try to start the vehicle and see if the starting batteries are low...you might have a battery going bad or a poor connection somewhere. According to some who have the Surepower seperator, it's common for the seperator to click after sun hits the panels and the house batteries reach between about 12.7 and 13.3, but if you have a bad battery it pulls the voltage back and fourth making the relay click on and off.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:54 PM   #4
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Re: Solar controller may be acting up

Thanks, Guys. I had the two starter batteries replaced under warranty about two years ago. They seem to be working fine for starts and the dash gauge looks right. Why would the separator click like that? If the house battery is reading 13-14 v. then I think it's still good, too.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:52 PM   #5
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Re: Solar controller may be acting up

Once it dips below 12.8 (or around that voltage) the seperator opens but I believe there is a bit of a delay. Once it opens and the charge starts, the battery voltage will rise past 12.8 [to 13.3] and close. It could be that now both batteries are at a high enough voltage that one bank or the other can keep both banks at a high enough voltage that the seperator stays closed until the vehicle sits without a charge for a while such as over night when no solar is active. BTW it still could be a connection problem rather than a battery issue, or something else such as a short or faulty seperator...I'm just giving you my best guess without actually being there. Maybe somebody else has an idea.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:25 PM   #6
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Re: Solar controller may be acting up

Up to now, the panels kept the house battery at 14v steady with nothing drawing or less with the fridge running. But it stayed there. Now something is cycling, and I'm suspicious. I don't think the house system has anything to do with it but, of course, electricity is magic and the most non obvious thing is the fix.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:57 AM   #7
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Re: Solar controller may be acting up

I would agree with Dave, the first thing to do is disconnect the ground wire going to the SurePower separator. This will leave it disconnected, at least allowing you keep the two systems apart in your debug. If continues to click, then you can rule out the separator and the van batteries. I have attached a bulletin from Bluesky that is about a clicking relay, it does not sound like it your issue, but you might want to look at it.

There are a few things hat can make the separator engage and disengage, it could in fact do that and be working as normal. The voltage comparator on the Surepower monitors the voltage and will engage over 13.4 (?) this would be at the separator. Again it if falls below 12.8 it will disconnect. There is some built in hysteresis that will prevent it from acting on short duration spikes.

Now if the Bluesky is putting out 14 volts with x amps, that should be enough engage the separator. Now with two battery systems joined you have a totally different load or current draw on the system. If the output of the Bluesky is 14 volts and the current load goes up then, the voltage must drop. This is a normal function of all "power supplies", and depending on the circuitry involved would determine how fast the power source reacts to the additional load and increases the output. As it meets the current demands the voltage level would go back up. This is why when the refrigerator comes on the voltage drops, if it is just off the battery it would drop until until it turned off again. If there is a power source, then it should try to regulate the output and provide more current.

I don't have solar but I would think that the Bluesky would be trying to put out a set voltage. I think you said it was 14 Volts (Factory Setting). If you don't have temperature compensation that should not change. It would think you want to see if you are in bulk charge mode (the indicator would be solidly on). If so it is possible that you just don't have enough current coming out of the system to meet the demand. This would be normal if your charge current was very low.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:09 PM   #8
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Re: Solar controller may be acting up

Exact same thing going on with my '07 SMB. 1 solar panel, 68 watts of power to the Blue Sky controller and to the 4D battery. Since it's build, the panel/controller maintained the battery topped off on sunny days at 13.5v. Lately, when it reaches 13.8 volts or so, I hear a faint clicking from the seperator under the bench and the voltage display dips to about 12.5 v. and then creeps back up to 13.8v. in a minute or two. This started after I had to replace the starter bateries end of last summer. Never noticed it before then. Stranger than fiction though because everything seems to be operating fine.
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