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Old 10-06-2010, 05:26 PM   #1
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Solar Controller Problem?

This past weekend, I mounted my solar panel to my roof rack and made a wire with MC4 connectors on one end and the SAE connector on the other. When I plug the panel in to either the roof plug or the taillight plug, the red light on the BlueSky Solar Boost 2000E doesn't exactly blink on and off like the diagram indicates it would if the battery was fully charged, and it isn't on steadily like if it were charging. It sort of pulsates. Depressing the "Equalize" button makes it pulsate faster. When switched to display solar panel current, it shows 00.2. When switched to display output charge current, it shows 00.0. The battery voltage is usually around 12.8 but has been run down as low as 12.4 with no difference in the led or the displays. When the engine is on and the panel is plugged in and in sunlight, the red light blinks on and off and the battery voltage shows over 14.

The past few days have been cloudy and rainy, so I haven't been able to do much troubleshooting. I know that the controller is supposed to switch to a trickle charge mode once the battery is at 90% full, but if it is set to 14.0 as full, then it should have started charging when the battery was below 12.6. When I had full sun over the weekend, I measured the panel's voltage at around 20.5, but I haven't been able to test it in full sun since Saturday so I can't tell you its amperage. The panel is a brand new Kyocera KD135GX-LPU 135 Watt 12V panel. Any suggestions? Is it unusual for the Output Charge Current to be 00.0?

Steve in L.A.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:47 PM   #2
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Re: Solar Controller Problem?

Your description sounds like an error message. But, nothing like that is listed in my manual. Maybe temp compensation is selected and no sensor (or a bad sensor) present?

My next guess would involve a call to Blue Sky Tech Support.

Mike
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:36 PM   #3
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Re: Solar Controller Problem?

All four dipswitches on the controller were set to 'Off'. Sportsmobile did the installation, but I did not have them install the solar panel. The manual says that switches 1 and 2 should always be on. It appears that there is a temperature sensor connected to the controller, so I also switched 3 and 4 on to indicate that the battery was a lead-acid type. Now the red light seems to be functioning properly in that it is on solidly indicating that it is charging. The solar panel current reads 4.6 in full sun and the output charge current reads 5.0.

Can someone explain what solar panel current and output charge current is and what a normal number should read? The manual isn't helpful.

Steve in L.A.
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:31 PM   #4
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Re: Solar Controller Problem?

Solar panel current is the amperage coming from your panel. Output current is usually a bit higher - as you noticed, your panel puts out more than the ~13-14 volts needed to charge the battery. Your charge controller can convert the ~17V coming down from the panel to a lower voltage with higher amps.

V * A = W

If your panel is rated at 135W:

17V * 7.9A = 135W
13V * 10.4A = 135W

This conversion yields the greatest effect when the panel's putting out full power.

By the way, in case you were wondering, these "12V" panels are rated at 17V because they don't always put out maximum voltage. This lets them put out a useful charging voltage even when the sun isn't shining fully on the panel.

Cheers,
Mike.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:43 PM   #5
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Re: Solar Controller Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveInLA
The solar panel current reads 4.6 in full sun and the output charge current reads 5.0.

Can someone explain what solar panel current and output charge current is and what a normal number should read? The manual isn't helpful.

Steve in L.A.
That sounds fairly close Steve. Depending on how low my batteries are, I usually read about 10 to 12 amps out of two 135's. Air temp, angle, and the suns angle will make a difference so it's hard to get the full amount juice they put out. I climbed up to take a look at mine and was surprised how dirty they were, another factor to deal with. When my battery bank (2 4-D's) reads 12.0 I'm fully charged W/I a couple hours.
Dave
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:09 AM   #6
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Re: Solar Controller Problem?

More info. I noticed the battery voltage was reading over 17 volts and the controller was still charging. After speaking with Bernie at SMBw, we determined that there is something not quite right with the temperature sensor. I disabled the sensor with the dipswitches for the time being until I can do more fiddling. Now it goes to trickle charge mode at 14.0 volts. I'll first need to check that it is connected to the battery properly since I am pretty sure Quadvan removed and reinstalled the battery at some point. If that checks out, there are some adjustments that can be made on the controller too.
Steve in L.A.
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