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  #21  
Old 09-01-2013
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Re: Solar charge controller question

Another detail I should mention: according to the panel literature, each panel should put out a maximum of 3.5a/18v per hour under optimum sun conditions. Should I expect something like 2a/hour during the sunny hours from each panel? It seems that I should be putting more into the battery than I consume if that's the case.

And yet another detail ... I measured 16v coming into the controller from the panels in the late afternoon sun. Can I assume the panels are working fine?
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Old 09-08-2013
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Re: Solar charge controller question

Another update:

I went to the boat yesterday to install the new controller. Following the advice Mainesail gave me, I checked the amp and volt output of the panels with the old controller before I removed it. it wasn't a very sunny day and the angle was getting low, but the old controller was putting out 1.3 amps and only 12.8 volts. We put in the new controller and saw a jump to 2 amps and 13.1 volts. It looks like the old controller might have been the problem after all. I left the panels charging my 160a house battery and will return in 2 weeks to see the charge state. If all is well, I hope the see the little blinking light that indicates a full battery on float charge.
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: Solar charge controller question

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Originally Posted by copacabana View Post
Another update:

I went to the boat yesterday to install the new controller. Following the advice Mainesail gave me, I checked the amp and volt output of the panels with the old controller before I removed it. it wasn't a very sunny day and the angle was getting low, but the old controller was putting out 1.3 amps and only 12.8 volts. We put in the new controller and saw a jump to 2 amps and 13.1 volts. It looks like the old controller might have been the problem after all. I left the panels charging my 160a house battery and will return in 2 weeks to see the charge state. If all is well, I hope the see the little blinking light that indicates a full battery on float charge.

Glad you found the issue. There are a LOT of suspect solar controllers out there and the market is akin to Snake Oil sales from the early days of pharmaceuticals........
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  #24  
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Re: Solar charge controller question

Thanks Mainesail. I hope I've nailed it. As I mentioned, I'll know for sure when I get back to the boat after two weeks of charging in the sun. If I find the battery on float charge, I'll be happy. Funny that the old controller didn't fail altogether though. I thought they either worked or didn't work.

I'll report back with the final results!
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Re: Solar charge controller question

Final results: I found the battery bursting with 12.9v and sitting on float charge. I believe the problem was solved by replacing the controller. Thanks for all the advice.
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Re: Solar charge controller question

Copa-
If the battery was bursting at 12.9v, it might have been "cooked" by a bad controller and then burst. Or, it might have been dried out resulting in a burst from "normal" and proper charging. At least in my understanding, what you saw doesn't give you a definite cause and effect, it could have gone either way.
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Re: Solar charge controller question

Sorry, I didn't mean literally "bursting", I meant fully charged. The battery seems to be fine. Anyhow, my next step is to add a cheap amp meter to monitor how many amps are flowing into the battery from the panels. For the time being I'm using battery voltage to determine the charge state.
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