Solar The Solar Panel Thread

Moto Mech

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
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Mole Creek, Tasmania
My first 2 flexible panels cost me $1100(some of the first released) and lasted 4-5yrs on our old van, glued flat to the pop top with no airgap.
These failed(could see no damage or hot spots) after a month of 40+ deg weather in Qld. Van was parked up at a mates place while we stayed there.
Had another 100w flexible panel that I used as a portable one, it lasted 3yrs, again no visable damage, one day it worked, next day nothing.
And now this one. It sat outside at home for 3days in mid 30deg weather while we sorted stuff out for a week away. I got up to wash panel and thats when I found it.
Dont seem to be any links.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
My first 2 flexible panels cost me $1100(some of the first released) and lasted 4-5yrs on our old van, glued flat to the pop top with no airgap.
These failed(could see no damage or hot spots) after a month of 40+ deg weather in Qld. Van was parked up at a mates place while we stayed there.
Had another 100w flexible panel that I used as a portable one, it lasted 3yrs, again no visable damage, one day it worked, next day nothing.
And now this one. It sat outside at home for 3days in mid 30deg weather while we sorted stuff out for a week away. I got up to wash panel and thats when I found it.
Dont seem to be any links.
Thanks for the response. The ONLY link that is common is HEAT on thin flexible panels. The only other possibility is solar controller or hookup and that seems unlikely. Have no more suggestions - wild or not.!! Just should not happen with quality panels and reasonable care.
 

Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
Since they have a flexy silicon like compound to cover them I wonder if tree sap or bird poo with it's corrosive nature has penetrated the outer layer and allowed moisture to do a job, I have seen it harden and crack similar surfaces as well as eat away some very hardy 2 pack jobs, not to mention etch glass.
 
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Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
Since they have a flexy silicon like compound to cover them I wonder if tree sap or bird poo with it's corrosive nature has penetrated the outer layer and allowed moisture to do a job, I have seen it harden and crack similar surfaces as well as eat away some very hardy 2 pack jobs, not to mention etch glass.
Wild and way out of left field @Drover !! Possible, but on ALL four setups?? But water/moisture egress would cause a similar whitish burn mark under the silicon outer cover if outer cover was cracked or split or eaten through.
 

Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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Cooloola Coast, QLD
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Kookaburra Poo is mighty stuff, all failures could be from a variety of instigators with the same result, a rock, heat stress, coating failure, bird poo, avocado tree sap to start it, with similar end result. Or just plain crap components and cooking from the inside out........an electronic forensic lookie needed....lol.
 
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bigcol

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Nov 22, 2012
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Swan Valley Perth
for something that is supposed to be in the sun and heat, to have heat failure.....................................?
the new ones that are cracked - hmmmm
the older ones........
my very very limited elekrikal knowledge would suggest checking the joints from panels to cable that feeds controller
and checking the controller (if mounted on panels)
 

bigcol

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Nov 22, 2012
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Swan Valley Perth
buggered if I know
all I know is 240 bites baddly, so I dont touch it - thats what them mystical erektrikery people are for.........

I do know, that some solder joints (12V) in cars - clocks and such.... sometimes crack - making clock not work, or better yet, a Xmas clock (only works once a year) - tis usually a "dry" solder crack

re-do solder - and away you go with new fully working clock
 

mikerezny

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Sep 11, 2016
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Mount Waverley, VIC
So I need to supply a picture of the short circuit voltage and current from panel using multi meter.
Voltage I can sort no worries but how do I get/show current??
Hi,
I think you mean Open Circuit voltage and Short Circuit current.
You measure these, in sunlight, on the two wires coming off the panel without the solar regulator connected.

You will need to get hold of a multi-meter that can read DC volts (very common)
as well as DC current. Most reasonable multi-meters will read 10A DC.
If you are in doubt, post a photo of your multi-meter and I should be able to determine if it will measure DC current or not.

If you don't have one, it is probably a good time to consider getting one. They are very handy for 12V caravan work. Jaycar have quite a few digital types that are not expensive. I can look at the Jaycar website and make a recommendation if that would help.

OC Volts: easy, set the multi-meter to read DC volts, connect to the panel output, and read the voltage.
SC current: also easy, set the multi-meter to read 10A DC, connect to the panel and read the current.

The expected values will be printed on the specification sticker on the back of the panel.

I hope this helps.

cheers
Mike
 
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Billrw136

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Jun 20, 2011
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Gosford
The answer to my question is no doubt yes. Has anyone here replaced the Jayco supplied TPS -555 solar charge controller with an MPPT one? If so - which one would you recommend? Is this a straightforward task?
Many thanks
Bill
 

Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
It shouldn't be difficult Bill, @Billrw136 just require tag the cables, remove them and then remove the TPS and replace with your new unit and fit the cables...........just remember to disconnect the battery, 240 disconnected and if unable to disconnect the solar then insulate the cable end as soon as your remove from controller...........

I use a TPS-555 controller on my portable panel, they come in a variety of brands mine has the Camec label on it.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
Just removed panel from van, this is under the burn marks, also has another one on it now(3 in total) View attachment 59302 View attachment 59303

Certainly looks like an electrical burn (through) mark!! Most likely caused by a poor soldered joint arching across the broken solder joint when conducting solar current. Makes you wonder on how careful persons were in handling this "flexible" panel before you got it. They do have a limit on how much they can be flexed and the weakest points are the tiny soldered connections under the silicon cover.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
629
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
Just stumbled upon this article again, gives a simple easy to read explanation of charging/batteries/type/size etc which should help some of us less techo folks....
https://www.caravansplus.com.au/guides/calculating-how-big-your-battery-needs-to-be-a-44.html
Hello @Craig and Leanne , here is the great reference posted by @Drover that I mentioned in my earlier post. Suggest have a good read as it covers most of the questions you are asking about charging your battery. If still in doubt about connecting wiring, just put it to the forum. Lots here to help you.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
629
621
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
The answer to my question is no doubt yes. Has anyone here replaced the Jayco supplied TPS -555 solar charge controller with an MPPT one? If so - which one would you recommend? Is this a straightforward task?
Many thanks
Bill
Hello @Billrw136 , just read through your question about an MPPT controller to replace the PWM one you now have. I have had amazing success with my MPPT LD solar model TD2310 (Tracer Dream Series) rated at 30A and up to 100V. Bought on EBay for around $140.00 from C Trade in Forster in NSW. 2 year warranty too. Can do ALL the settings and recordings of power in/power out over a period and all the other things you want to know - all on site without having a computer hookup. Includes a battery temp probe also. Where I go, there is rarely any reception so I did not have a need for that system. It is slightly smaller than the Epever, so that may be a factor in where you want to place it.
The Epever is another brand that members have bought. It does the same thing too, but you need to purchase a computer hookup panel and lead to be able to change some of the settings. It has the advantage of being able to give a readout to your laptop so you can print out results etc. Cost is higher and then you usually have to add computer lead, hookup panel and a battery temp probe for the full system. Have a look on Ebay for all the info.
The big advantage of MPPT controllers is that you can hook up panels in SERIES and get the advantages of lower losses in cabling (no need for heavy cables when voltage from 2 panels will give between 29 to 36 volts). More if you want to connect up more panels in SERIES. If you look at some of my posts on solar panels and what sort of output I am getting, definitely consider installing one. Picture of my MPPT controller installed in my Penguin for you to see.
 

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Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
629
621
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
Just stumbled upon this article again, gives a simple easy to read explanation of charging/batteries/type/size etc which should help some of us less techo folks....
https://www.caravansplus.com.au/guides/calculating-how-big-your-battery-needs-to-be-a-44.html
Hello again @MarkAW , I just found the post that I referred to about battery charging and vehicle voltages. I am sure you will find it interesting reading and may help you with your problem. Some members have not had any major problems like yours, but there are quite a few who have. Good luck.
 
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