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Old 10-09-2021, 09:28 AM   #1
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Solar Panel Replacement

I finally got a new solar panel to replace the one that blew off the roof. Because the original mfr. is out of business (Global Solar Energy), we replaced with a compatible panel from GoPower. I now have four 100W panels with outputs of 17.6V and 5.7A. ea., wired in parallel. The tech confirmed each panel performs at rated output. The feed wires (10Ga) off the roof to the controller read about 19.V, but when I connect them to the Schneider C40 controller, voltage across the terminals is 7.45V. I replaced the controller...but still get the same readings. The batteries are discharged to the 12.3V range so the controller should be functioning. The remote reads zero amps and the status light blinks regularly sometimes, then I get a double blink, followed by a pause. A steady blink is supposed to indicate charging, but....no amps are going into the batteries. Any ideas where to check next? Could I have a bad diode up there?
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Old 10-14-2021, 02:46 AM   #2
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This is a weird one. If you truly confirmed voltage at the end of the wires coming down from the roof at 19v, it doesn't make sense that the voltage would drop to 7.45 when they are attached to the terminals. Did you get polarity right on terminals? Is there a setting issue in the C40? Is the battery bank reading correct voltage on the c40?

I would consider going up and verifying all panels are working at proper voltage and that they are wired correctly in parallel. Keep us posted on this one. Were you testing this in full sun?
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Old 10-14-2021, 10:19 AM   #3
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Thanks, Ed. Yes, all testing was done in full sun! I have checked my numbers multiple times, replaced with TWO new controllers and at this point, am just about ready to blow this system up! Honestly, if these issues plague the average solar setup, why on earth would one want to put up with these systems, all for the sake of not running their generator another hour or less?

The problem these days is labor. If you can't get up there and DIY, you are forced to pay big bucks for incompetent labor. I would LOVE to go up and solve this problem myself, but age and health dictate I stay on the ground:mad....it's killing me that I can't do so. This guy who did the work was a newbie...I had to coach him all the way.
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:11 PM   #4
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Well, do you have a buddy nearby that could go up and do some testing. It isn't hard. I feel your frustration with health limits.

On the other hand, solar systems are not complex in my opinion once you understand them. It is simply a matter of doing the tests.

I wish you well. Don't spend a ton, it isn't worth it as you pointed out. Eventually you will find a friend that can help for free....or drop by Utah and I will help.
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Old 11-28-2021, 08:30 PM   #5
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UPDATE: So I finally bought a ladder which I promised my wife I wouldn't do and climbed up to there. I instantly spotted a "cooked" fitting just before the red lead goes into the cable entry housing. Figuring this had to be a fuse, I removed this part and voila!...I found the culprit. Now I'm wondering who on earth could miss this when inspecting a non-working system? Not rocket science, I'm thinking.

So the next step is to re-configure this setup. I'm wanting to eliminate the branch connectors, thinking that the 20 amps passing through them may be too much in the future and, well, just to build a better system. I want to use a rooftop combiner box with buss bars, but all those I've seen are going for a hundred bucks a pop! Has anyone found any box for a bit less that will provide the same function?
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Old 11-29-2021, 01:00 AM   #6
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Get an MPPT charge controller, then change your panels to run in Series instead of Parallel. You will get better efficiency and it will start charging earlier in the day. You will be pushing less amps, but more volts. So you will lose less power over the wires.
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Old 11-29-2021, 11:59 AM   #7
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What Savnthewhales said is all true. But beware, that when you put them into series, even with an MPPT, you run the risk of a massive drop in current with even partial shade on one of the panels in the series string. There are many youtube video tests of this issue. Look up shade test on series vs parallel panels. Even with a good MPPT the shading of even part of one panel in a series string can knock out the current from the entire string of panels.
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Old 11-30-2021, 08:57 PM   #8
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Agreed, the best option for most is Series Parallel.

I just picked up 4 x 100watt HQST panels and will run 2 pairs of series and then parallel the pairs together. The panels are 24.3v and 5.34a. I am using a Victron 100/30. I was a little concerned that I could overvolt the controller on very cold days as the panels could generate 26v. Running 2S2P will keep it around 48v.
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Old 11-30-2021, 11:15 PM   #9
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STWales, that is interesting...I have decided to do the same with my 4-100W panels. I found an online calculator that tells me I need a Victron 100/50 controller. I like the size and cost of yours better, but don't want to undersize my system . What do others have to say about this?
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Old 12-01-2021, 04:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slabman View Post
STWales, that is interesting...I have decided to do the same with my 4-100W panels. I found an online calculator that tells me I need a Victron 100/50 controller. I like the size and cost of yours better, but don't want to undersize my system . What do others have to say about this?
We have three 100 watt Renogy panels and one 170 watt GoPower panel connected in parallel to a 100/30 Victron SCC for a theoretical 465 watts (lose 5 watts for the mismatched 170 watt panel). The most watts I've seen is 430 watts in the history of our 100/30 SCC. In theory the roof can provide 25 amps on a perfect day, with perfect angle, perfectly oriented to the sun. We'll never see 25 amps, but perhaps 22-23 is possible.

Enjoy,

Perry
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