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Electrics Expert Needed


Stevan
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I went to check my van today before going away tomorrow 2015 Sterling Eccles and was dismayed to see that the battery status light on the sargent solar panel controller showing red. Panel output light flashing green.

 

Out came the multimeter, Battery in situ caravan powered up but nothing other than the control panel turned on 12. 67v, battery in situ powered off 12. 68v, battery open circuit 12. 68v, Solar panel output at battery terminals 0. 6v! I know that on a dull autumn day the solar panel will not be at its best but I was expecting an output somewhere near13v open circuit just putting out the merest trickle charge enough to keep a float charge in a full battery. Do I have a fault, or is the solar controller being too clever for its own good and shutting down completely when the battery is disconnected, preventing me from taking a reading? I would take readings either side of the controller if I could get at any connectors without dismantling the van and risking the warranty.

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It sounds like your controller has given up.

I have just been in the same problem new in April 2015. Mine is a Solar Technology Int. They asked me to check the series of the panel and controller, my readings (in dull weather) were 0. 6 from the panel but only 0. 06, the technician said it looks like the controller, I have returned it to them for a replacement.

 

Test it like this

http://www. selectsolar. co. uk/cat/171/testing-your-solar-panel-regulator

 

HTH's

KB

Edited by kiaboy
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It sounds like your controller has given up.

I have just been in the same problem new in April 2015. Mine is a Solar Technology Int. They asked me to check the series of the panel and controller, my readings (in dull weather) were 0. 6 from the panel but only 0. 06, the technician said it looks like the controller, I have returned it to them for a replacement.

 

Test it like this

http://www. selectsolar. co. uk/cat/171/testing-your-solar-panel-regulator

 

HTH's

KB

Thanks for the link, the trouble is, I cannot arrange for a bright sunny day, nor access to the connections!

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Thanks for the link, the trouble is, I cannot arrange for a bright sunny day, nor access to the connections!

 

Can you see the connection at the bottom of the controller?

Any photos of what you have?

Edited by kiaboy
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Can you see the connection at the bottom of the controller?

Any photos of what you have?

No connections visible anywhere other than in the battery box, all are well hidden away . The solar controller itself has a wire coming out at each end (at least two core) and both just disappear into the structure.

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No connections visible anywhere other than in the battery box, all are well hidden away . The solar controller itself has a wire coming out at each end (at least two core) and both just disappear into the structure.

 

Sounds like a trip to the dealer with it if you do not wish to remove any panels, amazing the manufacturer has "boxed it in" to an extent that you are unable to "service" the part.

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What about a phone call to Sargent and see what they say

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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Eureka!

 

Just spent half an hour wading through the Sargent website, it seems that my original second guess was actually correct! The red battery status light indicates that the battery is full. And when the battery is full the controller goes into full shutdown and appears to be not working!

 

So a red light is good, and no output indicates that it has worked properly. It is too clever for its own good!

 

Thanks to those who replied.

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Eureka!

 

Just spent half an hour wading through the Sargent website, it seems that my original second guess was actually correct! The red battery status light indicates that the battery is full. And when the battery is full the controller goes into full shutdown and appears to be not working!

 

So a red light is good, and no output indicates that it has worked properly. It is too clever for its own good!

 

Thanks to those who replied.

That is good news glad you are sorted.

Ours is the opposite (green is full) Strange that red is good mind you,.

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Glad you got sorted.

 

Now, I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that if a battery was disconnected, power should first be removed from the controller as damage could result?

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Glad you got sorted.

 

Now, I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that if a battery was disconnected, power should first be removed from the controller as damage could result?

That is what my system says, removing the battery from the system without first removing the Solar Panel in line fuse will cause damage to the Controller. There are stickers on the battery base stating exactly that, so you are not wrong

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Pleased you got it sorted Steven :)

Both my controllers are green when charging and flashing green when the battery is full. Flashing green is when the controller goes into PWM mode, the speed of the flashing indicates whether its equalise, absorption or float mode.

 

A red light indicates the battery is low and the LVD (low voltage disconnect) has turned the power off, in my case to the TV

 

That is what my system says, removing the battery from the system without first removing the Solar Panel in line fuse will cause damage to the Controller. There are stickers on the battery base stating exactly that, so you are not wrong

 

When I fitted mine I was considering fitting a on-off switch in the cupboard rather than connections, it would mean I could turn it off easily but it would also mean that it could be turned on easily if it was having a service etc. As I have it now all I have to do is remove the blade fuse from the controller.

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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Stevan just a pointer for accessing the connections for the solar panel regulator. Not certain about your model but on many of the Swift vans the connectors are above and behind the microwave oven. There is a fascia panel above the microwave which is just held on by 4 magnets. If you remove this panel you will see the connectors for the regulator and 13 amp socket for the microwave.

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Stevan just a pointer for accessing the connections for the solar panel regulator. Not certain about your model but on many of the Swift vans the connectors are above and behind the microwave oven. There is a fascia panel above the microwave which is just held on by 4 magnets. If you remove this panel you will see the connectors for the regulator and 13 amp socket for the microwave.

Clearly a different arrangement in mine. The controller is directly below the solar panel on the opposite side of the van to the microwave. One lead from the controller disappears upwards behind the wallboard presumably towards the panel itself with the connector probably inside in the adjacent wardrobe. The other lead disappears in the direction of some trunking in the direction of the caravan's main controll panel, with the connections presumably hidden somewhere in the trunking.

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Its cheaper to fit a controller near the panel but its better to fit one near the battery.

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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