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Frustrating Battery Charging Puzzle From Solar...

solar goal zero battery disco

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#1 bgilchr

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 08:03 PM

We're just about ready to head north through Colorado and Wyoming towards the Montana prairies when we found out we can't get current from our Goal Zero 100 watt panels through the Goal Zero Guardian controller and then through the Anderson battery disconnect to the battery.  The little controller reads "no connection to the battery."  When I put the voltmeter directly to the battery terminals the voltage reads 11.  When I connect the panels to the controller and then directly to the battery the voltmeter reads 5 volts.  The controller shows fast blinking red like it says it should at that voltage.  We'd been surprised yesterday when we discovered only 3 volts on the battery after it had been off the Deltran battery tender we have in the house for a few weeks, but then we'd taken a 150 mile trip a week ago.  It's on the battery tender right now.

 

We're new at this as you can probably tell.  A friend helped us with the drilling and mounting of the disconnect and routing through the water heater compartment to the little power cable compartment that comes next. The trailer's a 17 foot Liberty we picked up at the factory in January.  I'll call Goal Zero in the morning, though it seems like their stuff is working properly.  Any ideas or even answers you have would be hugely appreciated.

 

Bill Gilchrist

Cave Creek, AZ



#2 Bubba

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 02:29 AM

Both my MorningStar PWM and MPPT controllers have a minimum battery voltage of 10 in order to operate the controller.  I would suggest you test the controller. Connect the battery side of your panel/controller to another 12V DC battery, like your starting battery on your tow vehicle or even a riding lawnmower battery, to see if the controller functions. This is assuming that all batteries are the same type as in flooded lead acid. Use your volt meter to test the voltage before and after you connect the panels/controller.  If the panels/controller show charging the targeted battery your problem is the battery on your Casita.


Bubba (Member 1527)
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#3 Stephen_Albers

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:27 AM

We're just about ready to head north through Colorado and Wyoming towards the Montana prairies when we found out we can't get current from our Goal Zero 100 watt panels through the Goal Zero Guardian controller and then through the Anderson battery disconnect to the battery.  The little controller reads "no connection to the battery."  When I put the voltmeter directly to the battery terminals the voltage reads 11.  When I connect the panels to the controller and then directly to the battery the voltmeter reads 5 volts.  The controller shows fast blinking red like it says it should at that voltage.  We'd been surprised yesterday when we discovered only 3 volts on the battery after it had been off the Deltran battery tender we have in the house for a few weeks, but then we'd taken a 150 mile trip a week ago.  It's on the battery tender right now.

 

We're new at this as you can probably tell.  A friend helped us with the drilling and mounting of the disconnect and routing through the water heater compartment to the little power cable compartment that comes next. The trailer's a 17 foot Liberty we picked up at the factory in January.  I'll call Goal Zero in the morning, though it seems like their stuff is working properly.  Any ideas or even answers you have would be hugely appreciated.

 

Bill Gilchrist

Cave Creek, AZ

 

Bill,

 

You may not relate, but in the interest of success, I point out that installing multiple electrical devices ad hoc is not a good idea.  A professional service company will completely analyze your existing systems and then provide you with upgrade options.  Once you make your choices they will make the modifications and install ciomponents TO CODE, then test their functionality particularly as it relates to your existing componants and, most important of all, stand behind the job with support.  This is the cost effective way to assure your upgrades perform reliably as anticipated.   



#4 J and J

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:32 AM

Bill, I don't know the set up on your solar panel but typically there is an inline fuse between the controller and that connection to the battery. If your panel does have an inline fuse you may want to check that fuse not only visually but also for continuity with your volt meter. I have found that I can inadvertently blow the fuse on my panel simply by brushing the positive wire terminal against the battery tray while connecting or disconnecting.

 

John



#5 bgilchr

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 07:24 AM

 

We're just about ready to head north through Colorado and Wyoming towards the Montana prairies when we found out we can't get current from our Goal Zero 100 watt panels through the Goal Zero Guardian controller and then through the Anderson battery disconnect to the battery.  The little controller reads "no connection to the battery."  When I put the voltmeter directly to the battery terminals the voltage reads 11.  When I connect the panels to the controller and then directly to the battery the voltmeter reads 5 volts.  The controller shows fast blinking red like it says it should at that voltage.  We'd been surprised yesterday when we discovered only 3 volts on the battery after it had been off the Deltran battery tender we have in the house for a few weeks, but then we'd taken a 150 mile trip a week ago.  It's on the battery tender right now.

 

We're new at this as you can probably tell.  A friend helped us with the drilling and mounting of the disconnect and routing through the water heater compartment to the little power cable compartment that comes next. The trailer's a 17 foot Liberty we picked up at the factory in January.  I'll call Goal Zero in the morning, though it seems like their stuff is working properly.  Any ideas or even answers you have would be hugely appreciated.

 

Bill Gilchrist

Cave Creek, AZ

 

Bill,

 

You may not relate, but in the interest of success, I point out that installing multiple electrical devices ad hoc is not a good idea.  A professional service company will completely analyze your existing systems and then provide you with upgrade options.  Once you make your choices they will make the modifications and install ciomponents TO CODE, then test their functionality particularly as it relates to your existing componants and, most important of all, stand behind the job with support.  This is the cost effective way to assure your upgrades perform reliably as anticipated.   

 

This is what I've done, and I do have that support, from Casita, Goal Zero, and the professional installer.  We're working as a team as much as possible to solve the puzzle.


Edited by bgilchr, 09 August 2018 - 10:28 AM.


#6 bgilchr

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:55 PM

Thanks for helping you guys.  Still a puzzle.  The battery's at Interstate overnight getting fully charged then getting checked after 24 hours. Goal Zero asked me to get a voltage reading from the panels but I can't get one somehow. I won't check for continuity to the battery until I have the battery back tomorrow.  There is power out of the panels I think 'cos the controller shows it.  Thanks again.

 

Bill



#7 J and J

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 03:48 PM

Bill, the continuity check I suggested is on the inline fuse itself. The inline fuse should be somewhere in the cable which you connect to the battery. You do not need your battery present to check that inline fuse because the inline fuse is part of your solar panel assembly.

John



#8 bgilchr

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:10 PM

Bill, the continuity check I suggested is on the inline fuse itself. The inline fuse should be somewhere in the cable which you connect to the battery. You do not need your battery present to check that inline fuse because the inline fuse is part of your solar panel assembly.

John

Thanks, John.  I double-checked with Goal Zero and there is no in-line fuse with the panels.  They thought it was a defective controller but had me connect the panels to the truck battery before I sent the controller back and everything worked fine.  Interstate thought the battery might be defective so held it 24 hours.  With the full charge on the battery I read 12 volts at the battery disconnect.  Hopefully the panels will keep things healthy out back until we finally depart for points north Tuesday morning.

 

Moral of the story:  I've got to use that voltmeter more often!