Solar panel intermittent charging - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-11-2018, 02:00 PM   #1
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Solar panel intermittent charging

I have a 140watt flexible panel adhesive applied to the roof of my HC1. Tied to a 100 ah AGM battery through a Zamp controller. This system has worked for over a year, but recently the panel only works part time. I disconnected it from the system to check “open circuit voltage”. I can get readings just as the sun comes up and hits the panel (22v), or late in the day just as the panel has completely gone into the shade,(18.6v), but most of the day, with full sun, I get a reading of zero. Panel spec is 24.5 v in full sun. Any one see this problem before or have any suggestions as to a cause?
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:24 PM   #2
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sounds like maybe the panel is getting hot and causing an internal open circuit somewhere?
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:28 PM   #3
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I thought this might be the case, but yesterday it had switched back to 0 volts by 9:20 in the morning. The air temperature was probably 70 at most. I am pulling the trailer into the garage so I can work on it in the shade. I will pull apart the connections and see if I can and track down any obvious issues. Have to put the 8” wheels on it first.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:50 PM   #4
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I was referring to connections internal on the flexible panel. those are flexible circuits with an array of solar cells, connected in series and parallel... if a series connection between two blocks of cells fails, the whole thing dies
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:37 PM   #5
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A friend of mine installed 4 flexible solar panels on the roof of his trailer. 2 years later all 4 stop working.
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:53 PM   #6
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My 100 watt flexible does the same thing. Sometimes 4 or so amps but in full sun, when you think it would put out most 0.4 amps.
Dissappinting on a 7000 mile tour.
I plan on replacing it with a rigid panel this winter.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:01 PM   #7
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First off understand charging profiles. As a battery gets closer to a full charge the current from the charging source goes down.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
My 100 watt flexible does the same thing. Sometimes 4 or so amps but in full sun, when you think it would put out most 0.4 amps.
Dissappinting on a 7000 mile tour.
I plan on replacing it with a rigid panel this winter.
Yes very frustrating and a bit illogical based my limited understanding. I have a very curved roof so rigid would be tough. May have to switch to portables. If I discover anything I will post it.

Now that I re-read your post it depends on where you are measuring the current. As Bryon says the current will go down as the battery approaches full, if measured between the charge controller and the battery. If you are measuring the open circuit current with the panel disconnected from the system, it should be near the open current amps spec for the panel.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
A friend of mine installed 4 flexible solar panels on the roof of his trailer. 2 years later all 4 stop working.
I sure hope i do not have to remove this glued down flex panel from the roof of the trailer. Looks like it could be quite the project.
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:09 PM   #10
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I have checked the open circuit current and the short circuit as well.
Open circuit is OK, but the current is not.
I have tried full sun current into a load and sometimes is puts out 4 amps and sometimes .4 amps.
I think it is a problem in the panel.and have checked all of the connections.
Before we left I thought I could count on the 4 amps (maybe 40 - 50 watts) but going into Yellowstone where I needed it .4 amps.
At the time the battery voltage was 12.5 I checked the current from the controller to the battery as well.
Sometimes the controller would show the solar panel shut down for the night.
I suspect a bad internal connection.
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