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Solar Panel and Sargent EC328 revisted

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Solar Panel and Sargent EC328 revisted Empty Solar Panel and Sargent EC328 revisted

Post by Barney Broadway on Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:40 pm

Hi one and all

Hopefully just a quick question.   Have just contacted Roadpro regarding supplying and fitting a 100w panel to our Broadway.  Was told by the guy I spoke to that they did not did not use the EC328 connections as 'the wiring is not good enough'.   When I said that I understood that Sargent had sorted the solar panel issue out with the release of an updated control panel (software version 2.22) he insisted that my info was incorrect.  Upshot is that I've left it with him to investigate but just wanted it confirmed that the solar panel problems with the EC328 units have indeed been sorted - provided the control panel software is updated.

On a side note I had extreme difficulty in getting him to understand that I wanted the solar panel to charge the vehicle as well as the leisure batteries.  That the EC328 would do this automatically but if Roadpro bypassed the EC328 they would have to fit a master unit somewhere in the van that would take up valuable storage space.

Regards

Mike
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Post by Paulmold on Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:32 pm

Have you tried the guys down at Lowestoft,  Solar Energy Alliance. No personal experience of them but I had a quote which was about half of Roadpro.

The Battery Master is about the size of a matchbox if you need one.



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Post by Dutto on Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:18 pm

Hi there,

What I know about solar panels and the electronics attached to them could be written on the back of a postage stamp with a whitewash brush ....

.... but I do know that I wouldn't deal with someone who didn't know as much about something as myself. tap_fingers

The response you have received smacks of someone trying to sell an older version of a product .... tap_fingers tap_fingers

.... so I suggest that you get a second opinion pronto. look here look here look here

Hope this helps. allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround

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Post by moggyminor1966 on Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:19 pm

I had my software updated by Sargent for free and it completely solved the issue of the 12V power turning off but leaving the water pump on in extreme sunshine.
My Nuevo had a factory fitted 30W panel on which I replaced myself with a 100W Cleversolar panel which I just connected to the existing wiring in the wardrobe which goes directly to the Main EC328 unit in the wardrobe.
It works fine so it makes no sense whatsoever to use a separate controller. I asked Craig Foot at Sargent about wiring it up to the existing wiring and he confirmed it was OK. He is very helpful so if you want a bit of reassurance then give him a ring.
The Cleversolar panel is excellent.
If you do a search there are photos on the forum when I fitted it.
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Post by Wearsider on Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:18 pm

I have exactly the same configuration on my Lancashire (Nuveo) as Moggyminor1966 and it has worked perfectly for the last 18-months.
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Post by artheytrate on Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:48 am

I've fitted a 60 watt solar in parallel with 30 watt standard fitted by A/S, so total 90 watt and working well with Sargeant unit.

John.
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Post by Barney Broadway on Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:27 pm

Many thanks for the advice folks.  Confirmed my own thoughts.  Staying away from Roadpro.  Was tempted originally as they are doing a 2 for 1 fitting offer.  Am currently exploring Paulmold's suggestion as Lowestoft is only just down the road so to speak.  Just not brave, or foolish enough to fit myself.   The thought of drilling through the roof gives me the whim whams.

Mike
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Post by CC on Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:30 pm

Barney Broadway wrote:
Just not brave, or foolish enough to fit myself.   The thought of drilling through the roof gives me the whim whams.

Mike

Hi Mike.... It's pretty easy to fit yourself and the hole through the roof is easy peasey... I've seen guys fit these at shows and it was enough to make me want to fit my own, you can take your time and care! They just want to get them done as quick as they can and I know for a fact they don't show your pride and joy the same care you will! (Ladders leant against van etc with no padding, tools thrown around on roof etc) 

Not sure if your Broadway has the ceiling vent in the cupboard roof but I drilled through here and bought the cable through the vent, no insulation or wires etc to worry about and it looks fairly neat, took seconds to go through the GRP

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Don't presume cause they do it for a living they can do a better job than you can yourself... I've seen some 
cringeworthy shockers by so called pros confused0

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Post by artheytrate on Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:01 pm

Nice neat job CC.

John.
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Post by Barney Broadway on Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:39 pm

Hi Cruising Comet,

I've already decided, given the distinct lack of 'informed' information I'm getting from so called professional installers, to take the plunge and do it myself. Just waiting for Sargents to get back to me with instructions as to how to get at the solar panel connectors on the EC328.  The wardrobe floor has been fitted so tight to the wiring that even if I take the darned thing off the back wall I will not be able to lift it up to get at the bottom.  I'm hoping that removing the front panel will reveal the necessary sockets.  Have an e-mail out to Sargents asking for advice.

I'll let you know how things progress.   The Chancellor though keeps muttering in the background and crossing herself.  Really does fill one with confidence.

Oh and in our Broadway EK we have no vent in the roof.  So will need to go through two layers.......very slowly and with the hand drill.  Am I glad I forgot to take that to the charity shop.

Mike
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Post by -mojo- on Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:03 pm

Barney Broadway wrote:I'm hoping that removing the front panel will reveal the necessary sockets.

It won't. The sockets point downward at the back edge of the base on an EC328, outside the casing. Also, hopefully you have noted that Sargent use security Torx machine screws to fix the front panel on, so you will need the appropriate bit if you're going to take the front panel off.

I removed mine because I wanted to change the default setting on the solar controller (which defaults to splitting the panel output 50:50 between engine and leisure battery) but I'm 99% sure you don't need to remove it to plug the solar connector in.

BTW, if you want to use a power drill to go cleanly through GRP, one way I've used before is to use a sharp drill but in reverse at medium/low speed. It's a lot slower but the chances of any splitting or chipping are much reduced...
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Post by moggyminor1966 on Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:30 pm

The user manual shows clearly the position of the input and details of the connector and wiring details.
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Post by CC on Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:46 pm

Barney Broadway wrote:

The wardrobe floor has been fitted so tight to the wiring that even if I take the darned thing off the back wall I will not be able to lift it up to get at the bottom.  I'm hoping that removing the front panel will reveal the necessary sockets.  Have an e-mail out to Sargents asking for advice.

Mike

If you undo the four screws fixing it to the wall you will be able to lift it and pull it forward, the cutout is beneath the sargent unit and there's enough slack on the cable to lay it flat then plug in the supplied sargent wiring harness, it can only push in one way so you can't really get it wrong.

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Post by inspiredron on Sun Feb 01, 2015 5:37 am

Bearing in mind that you have a very restricted area on the roof where you want that hole I think that you might consider drilling down from above into the wardrobe. It doesn't matter too much where you come out in the wardrobe but if your hole through the roof was too close to the corner where it rises (see CC's roof picture) to fit the gland .........?
Measure at least twice and drill once!

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Post by tony50 on Sun Feb 15, 2015 3:47 pm

Barney Broadway wrote:Many thanks for the advice folks.  Confirmed my own thoughts.  Staying away from Roadpro.  Was tempted originally as they are doing a 2 for 1 fitting offer.  Am currently exploring Paulmold's suggestion as Lowestoft is only just down the road so to speak.  Just not brave, or foolish enough to fit myself.   The thought of drilling through the roof gives me the whim whams.

Mike

If you have any concerns about RoadPro, You can speak directly to the owner if you ask for him he is very approachable, his knowledge is as good as you will get, he tests his stuff on his Motorhome all over Europe, having more than one Saterlite systems mounted on.  I don't know who you spoke to at RoadPro but I have been up there from Suffolk and found them very professional, if you are going to the Feb. Nec show he will probably be there you could always ring his place first, I have had good advice which cost me nothing on several occasions.He is not cheap but sells quality.

ps. I have no connection with this company whatsoever.

Tony A.
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Post by Watermark on Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:29 pm

I have installed an 80 watt panel on my Bourton and used the cable supplied by Sargents. What I have found, mainly by error, is that the software can be changed from the EC328 to EC325. When I did this in error as soon as I turned on the battery charger then the small sub panel would sound an alarm saying that the unit was over heated and was cooling down. As soon as I reloaded the EC328 software the alarm stopped and all is working normal, Solar cell charging both batteries and also the mains charger.
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Solar Panel and Sargent EC328 revisted Empty Sargent are a good company to deal with.

Post by Driftwood6 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:37 pm

Sargent have been very helpful to me when I started having problems with my EC328S control panel. They supplied me with a replacement unit (it is a very easy DIY job to change - unclip surround, two screws and two plugs) The only problem I had was that the manual was not a lot of use for setting it up initially. You have to a) ensure you select the EC328S (not 325) if it is not set already and b) recalibrate the charge/discharge reading by holding the selector button down for two seconds with the charge/discharge displayed. I have nothing bad to say about Sargent, they are the most helpful company I have ever met in the Motorhome world, challenged for customer service only by Auto-sleepers Willersey Service department.
As to connection to the main Sarghent box - I concur entirely with the contributor who enclosed the photograph showing how easy it is to lay the box down within the wardrobe. The only difficulty when refitting is the risk of dropping a screw down the gap at the back. Ensure you have a spare screw or two handy!
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