Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby davidg » Sun May 04, 2014 10:12 am

I'm out of suggestions, sorry
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby jules » Sun May 04, 2014 3:00 pm

Wangapeka, I suggested dead batteries as a possibility because sometimes, when they're on the way out, they refuse to go up to the levels you'd normally expect. One way to rule this out would be to connect a panel directly to the batteries, and with appropriate safety procedures check using a meter to see if the voltage rises as it should. You'd have to keep an eye on things though so as not to overshoot.
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby davidg » Sun May 04, 2014 3:10 pm

A last suggestion.........

Have you checked the battery with a multimeter as "Jules" has said and these controllers are certainly affected by dead or low voltage battery issues.

If the voltage is excessively low then they will not work properly, without a kick start from another properly charged battery, had to do this before, monitor meter told when it kicked in and started charging even before any LED's told me.
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby Privatteer » Mon May 05, 2014 3:35 am

You need to retest with a decent amp meter.

If you measured 60A (assume actually 38A) at the battery iit would indicate tracer is working.
Given how long batteries were in storage they may be damaged and not take a charge.
Record the voltage of each cell and charge for a couple hours while keeping a close eye out for overheating or any gassing. Then check again and see if any have rissen.
Also could you double check panel specs. I am wondering if you have exceeded the solar controllers max input and it is shutting down to protect itself. It might be better to try with 3 panels only
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby Wangapeka » Mon May 05, 2014 5:02 pm

davidg, jules,Privatteer,

you all seem to focus on the battery and suggesting it could be damaged?! As stated, the nominal 12V Battery sits at 12.5 V - I just don't understand how it can be damaged??? (

David, your comment:
"monitor meter told when it kicked in and started charging even before any LED's told me" flashes a light! :idea: Maybe that PV LED only comes on when it's actually charging?? And the battery voltage may be too high to take a charge right away? I think I need to test again and put a load on the battery.
The supplier also wasn't quite sure if that light should be on (in that state) as he never tested it. Unfortunately the weather is bad at the moment and I only get another chance to check it in about a week. So I'll report then.
Meanwhile, thanks so much to everyone for your input!!
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby jules » Mon May 05, 2014 8:25 pm

Wangapeka wrote:davidg, jules,Privatteer,

you all seem to focus on the battery and suggesting it could be damaged?! As stated, the nominal 12V Battery sits at 12.5 V - I just don't understand how it can be damaged??? (



It's more a matter of elimination. It's fairly easy to rig something up to check to see if your batteries will rise above 12.5V, as they should. At the same time, the fact they're at 12.5V now, doesn't necessarily mean they're ok. Sure, the problem could well be your regulator but home testing a pcb fault isn't easy while checking the batteries is.
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby davidg » Mon May 05, 2014 8:57 pm

Wangapeka wrote:you all seem to focus on the battery and suggesting it could be damaged?! As stated, the nominal 12V Battery sits at 12.5 V - I just don't understand how it can be damaged??? (

Checking it as "Jules" said is easy, always worth eliminating easy to check things. ;)
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby Wangapeka » Fri May 30, 2014 9:51 am

WIRING FAULT – UPDATE:
Some time has passed now, but I was away and we also had a stretch of bad weather.
Meanwhile I had the tracer controller at my home and tested it on the stand-by 12V system (see specs above)

It turns out that when the tracer is connected to my panels at home the PV- LED comes on straight away and stays on from sunrise to sunset. At the time of connecting the battery was nearly full (12.5V - the batt LED solid green). The next day battery was full (12.8V, batt LED flashing green) and PV LED still solid green! Because of some of the comments I started to have doubt about this, thinking maybe if the controller isn’t charging then this LED does not come on.

I also wanted to see if a higher voltage on the PV input makes a difference, so I connected a 48V battery on the PV input (I didn’t have any other source) – and the PV-LED came on as well. All this is pretty obvious stuff but I needed to confirm the controller works as it should!
We also tested (now on the friend’s setup) there is actually charge coming from the panels (not relying on the V-meter) and connected a 240V/75W light bulb to the PV wire – which lights up the bulb sufficiently to confirm. If we then connect the wire back into the controller - NO light on the PV-LED! THIS IS SO WEIRD!!

We also had a load on the battery to see the voltage drop and see if that courses the PV-LED coming on, as the batt should then take charge again. (although, this should not make any difference as the test at my home has shown). We don’t want to drain the batts any more than necessary because obviously, we can’t charge them as it is. Friend has another 2 smaller 6V batts that he “lives on” at the moment and can carry them away to charge. But for the big batt bank he has to organize a generator to charge them up again and the charger he uses delivers only 8 amps.
Some comments suggested damaged batteries – so we tried the smaller (2x6V) batts (T105’s) on the controller, and they are new – same result, NO PV-LED.

So, this is the mystery:
We know the controller is o.k. because the PV- LED comes on in another 12V panel setup and also at ca. 50V input (PV-side) - any charge (or power)on the PV side should bring up the PV-LED – AND IT DOESN’T!!!
How is it possible that a live PV wire at my friends place doesn’t bring up the PV LED but at my location it does??? This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced!!!

Has anyone come across something like this? Regards, Mike
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby Privatteer » Fri May 30, 2014 10:59 am

Then I go back to my last comment about double checking panel spec to ensure you have not exceeded controller input and its shutting down to protect itself.
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Re: Help needed, please! Can’t find fault in PV wiring!

Postby davidg » Fri May 30, 2014 11:54 am

Wangapeka wrote:know the controller is o.k. because the PV- LED comes on in another 12V panel setup and also at ca. 50V input (PV-side) - any charge (or power)on the PV side should bring up the PV-LED – AND IT DOESN’T!!! How is it possible that a live PV wire at my friends place doesn’t bring up the PV LED but at my location it does??? This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced!!!

Whats the VOC of Your PV that it's connected to?
What's the Volts when the PV is connected PV side of the controller when at your place?

Whats the VOC of your mates PV it get connected to?
What's the Volts when the PV is connected PV side of the controller at your mates site?
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