Solar panel not charging

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Solar panel not charging Empty Solar panel not charging

Post by Robbie on Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:02 pm

On our recent trip away we noticed our batteries discharging after a few days with basically only lights being used and chargers. Looking at the control panel even when nothing was being used it showed 0.0A or -0.1A so at no time even in bright sunlight was it showing a + charge state. 
Anyone know the best test procedure to determine whether the fault lies with the solar panel of the Sargent 325 unit.

Cheers Robbie

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Solar panel not charging Empty Re: Solar panel not charging

Post by modelman on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:47 am

Hi Robbie, 
 I know absolutely nothing about the Sargent, but I assume there must be a screw-terminal block on the board somewhere for the solar panel 
output pos & neg to enter.
Connect a muli-meter to these teminals, set it to a higher DC range, something like say 200v & see what reading you get, I have several panels of various 
sizes around & they all seem to chuck out around 20v or so unconnected, irrespective of what voltage yours produce, you should get SOMETHING, so, 
if you DO, then the panel is probably good, if NOT, then  there may be a break somewhere, but I doubt it the panel as I've got a crappy old 15 year old panel that's been kicked from pillar to post in the workshop & it still works smile! 

 Peter seems to be the expert on the Sargent, & I've no doubt he'll soon tell you what to do.

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Solar panel not charging Empty Re: Solar panel not charging

Post by ian on Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:01 am

If you don't have a 'multimeter'...one of these :

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

A simple method of checking if the solar panel is working is disconnect the two wires(the ones connected to the solar panel) from the control unit(making sure they don't come into contact with each other) and using a  12v auto bulb press/hold the ends to make contact. Make sure the sun is shining. The bulb should light up. 

It is worth investing in a multimeter(under a tenner). Simple to use and you don't have to undo any wires on the control unit for checking how well the solar panel is performing.

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Solar panel not charging Empty Re: Solar panel not charging

Post by Peter Brown on Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:16 pm

With the 325 it is important that the panel is connected via it and not through a separate regulator and I trust that is the case.

Are you happy that the panel/325 have been working in the past? If that is the case then my first thought would be that the connector block on the bottom of the psu has worked loose - try pushing it back up.

The next step would be to unplug the panel and put a meter (or bulb) across the contacts in the downlead. Virtually any light will give some voltage and covering the panel with a blanket should remove it.

Please advise how you get on.

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Solar panel not charging Empty Re: Solar panel not charging

Post by Robbie on Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:19 am

Thanks for the input so far I will do as suggested and post how I get on, Hopefully I can get some time tmw to check the connections and carry out a test on the panel.

Cheers Robbie

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Solar panel not charging Empty Re: Solar panel not charging

Post by Robbie on Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:13 am

This morning I looked at the solar panel problem.

Firstly the connection from the solar panel to the Sargent 325 unit was checked which seemed ok. I disconnected the plug and connected the multimeter across the 2 cables which gave a reading of 20.32V DC. 
Then with the 325 panel switched off it was  re-calibrated,  Solar panel  was then plugged to the 325 unit. 
Before connection the current read out was 0.0A and after re connection it still was reading 0.0A.

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Solar panel not charging Empty Re: Solar panel not charging

Post by Peter Brown on Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:58 am

It sounds as thought there is a problem in the 325. I suggest you ring Sargent, advise your findings and see what they say.

Have you been certain that it was working in the past? The solar charging didn't work on my van when new and required a replacement 325.

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Solar panel not charging Empty Re: Solar panel not charging

Post by Robbie on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:02 pm

Update .............


Just of the phone with Sargent and we went through what was checked/Tested and it was a new one to them, there are also no charging wires leaving the 325 unit to test as the charging output connections are done internally and are connected to the 2 main battery wires inside ( vehicle and Leisure) which both charge at the same time.

One other test we carried out was to check the polarity of the solar wires had not got mixed up either at the plug or at the panel itself. If they get mixed up the Sargent unit will not work charging.

Hopefully the cause of the fault is inside the unit as a replacement is being sent from Sargent today. While on the phone with them I asked about the difference between the 325 and 328 unit as they no longer make the 325 units. Our unit is a warranty exchange so we got a chance to upgrade to a new 328 for £60 and they are also sending out a new control panel with the latest software upgrade. smile! result so far.up! very helpful people at Sargent.

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Solar panel not charging Empty Re: Solar panel not charging

Post by Peter Brown on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:15 pm

Excellent news.

I look forward to hearing how things progress.

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