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Solar panels

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kaspian
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Post by marconi Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:09 pm

gassygassy wrote:Remember that they bought Marquis Motorhomes and you might be tempted to think they might have their eye on Sargent as well.

Why would they want to show an interest in buying a Company that must have cost then a fortune in errors in 2019 /20 and destroyed their reputation. Mind you Marquis, yes you have a point, maybe they are suicidal maniacs.
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Post by Roopert Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:12 pm

marconi wrote:
in all the ECXXX models

In fairness to owners of some ECXXX models, this is not correct.

There are a number of EC models that work very well. Examples that I know of are the EC155 and the EC328. I've owned the latter (fitted into a van not converted by A/S) for 7 years and it has served me very well. As I've said before, this model is still produced by Sargent and is still used by the company that converted my van.
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Post by Peter Brown Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:22 pm

I think it was 2002 that AS bought Marquis - not recent, and I'm sure they would have no interest in Sargent.

The Sargent systems to my  mind peaked with the EC328 and its solar dual battery charging is peerless.

The standard EC500 is acceptable but you need to know it well to get to that stage.  If you piggy back other kit over the EC500 its essential to switch off the smart charging in the EC500 else the two systems confuse each other.
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Post by marconi Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:24 pm

Roopert wrote:
marconi wrote:
in all the ECXXX models

In fairness to owners of some ECXXX models, this is not correct.

There are a number of EC models that work very well. Examples that I know of are the EC155 and the EC328. I've owned the latter (fitted into a van not converted by A/S) for 7 years and it has served me very well. As I've said before, this model is still produced by Sargent and is still used by the company that converted my van.
 
Oh thanks, good to hear that, I thought that the EC328 appears regularly in the archives as a problem child regarding solar.

Thats most interesting, so the implemantation could have been different being a different coverter.
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Post by marconi Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:35 pm

As an aside, I  took a photo of one corner of my EC700 PCB, I was very disappointed to see bad crimping on two terminals when I looked at the photo the other day.
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Post by kaspian Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:41 pm

Only two?   hugegrins
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Post by Roopert Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:03 pm

marconi wrote:
Oh thanks, good to hear that, I thought that the EC328 appears regularly in the archives as a problem child regarding solar.

Thats most interesting, so the implemantation could have been different being a different coverter.

No - it's a bog-standard EC328, with standard Sargent wiring loom. There was a minor issue with the firmware on early versions, but Sargent upgraded that for me for nothing when I added a solar panel.

My experience of the solar implementation on the EC328 is that it's very good. People refer to the built-in dual-channel PWM controller as a "cheap Chinese" controller, but in my experience it works very well. I replaced it with an MPPT-based controller, and although there is a small improvement, it's nothing major.

When I spoke about it to the sales chap at the converter that I used, he said that they had no plans to fit anything other than the Sargent controller for the foreseeable future, as it does everything that they need it to.
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Post by marconi Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:09 pm

kaspian wrote:Only two?   hugegrins
hugegrins

Its a very small corner of the board in the photo, I just checked, out of 5 visible crimps 2 are not done properly. Considering they claim all sorts of accreditation and have professional Crimping Machinery that is disgusting. The operator should never have then inserted the terminals into the shell. Typical British couldn't care less workmanship.
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Post by kaspian Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:20 pm

If you want a real laugh try looking at A/s efforts at making off a co ax connector !  I used to make off all types of coax cables sometimes 10,000 ends at a time without a single failure. If we terminated cables and ran them in to standards set in my Van's we would have been looking for a new job ......
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Post by marconi Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:44 pm

kaspian wrote:If you want a real laugh try looking at A/s efforts at making off a co ax connector !  I used to make off all types of coax cables sometimes 10,000 ends at a time without a single failure. If we terminated cables and ran them in to standards set in my Van's we would have been looking for a new job ......

I already had that laugh or rather was made to feel sick.
The F plugs on the external TV socket not tightened on the cable, loose on the socket and coax crushed and bent at an angle of less than 45 degrees. It looked like it was difficult access but when I re did them it was easy with no need for crushing and simply fitting the bottom plug first so the top one doesn't make it difficult to get at. Where do they find theses people.
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Post by gassygassy Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Marconi wrote: Typical British couldn't care less workmanship.
How about this: French, Pilote workmanship
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
I have another photo somewhere of my brand new 2016 Rapido electric wiring showing an 8 pin plug and socket in the wiring harness to the electric bed. One of the blade connectors is clearly sticking out of the socket, not mating correctly and the operative who pushed the plug and socket together would have known it was not connected properly. Brownhills failed to find it on three visits. I obtained the wiring diagram from the bed designer in Italy and dismantled the bed  wiring loom systematically until I found it. So much for French quality. Having thought that I had resolved the faulty electric bed issue, it then collapsed in one corner where the bed shaft came out of its bearing at one end. That was enough, I got rid of it and won't ever have an electric bed again.
Or a French one, I doubt.
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Post by marconi Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:52 am

Roopert wrote:
marconi wrote:
in all the ECXXX models

In fairness to owners of some ECXXX models, this is not correct.

There are a number of EC models that work very well. Examples that I know of are the EC155 and the EC328. I've owned the latter (fitted into a van not converted by A/S) for 7 years and it has served me very well. As I've said before, this model is still produced by Sargent and is still used by the company that converted my van.

Roopert

I see from the archives that in May 2019 you changed the original Solar Controller in your EC328 for a Votronic.

I wonder how much more efficient that would be if the Controller was installed correctly.

I see from the picture that there is lots of bad practice in the original layout. Thin cables, multiple connectors and PCB track and I don't know what else in the Current path. The distance from the Controller to the battery is not known and will no doubt vary with model but it is certainly not as close as possible.

The original controller was a Dual Output like the Votronic so the EC328 is not 'Smart'. So as some have said the turning point for the ECXXX series was the 328, after which Sargent started trying to do the 'Smart' charging of Leisure and Vehicle Batteries.

I have also seen the opinion voiced that the 328 is wonderful because it has the Controller built in, it is not, it is a separate unit screwed in, using bad practice.
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Post by gassygassy Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:31 am

I took my 328 apart and looked at the controller wiring. The outputs ran from the controller on very thin wire to a connector on the pcb, and then another wire from another connector to the battery fuse output. I rewired it in thick wire first to the battery fuse output and then a thin (OK the original thin) wire back to the PCB which I presume has some electronics or relay or something that connects the 328 electronics to the control panel. I have already described how I wired the 30W panel via the 328 to the engine battery alone, and the 100W panel via a separate mppt controller to two 110 AH leisure batteries. This keeps them up to 12.5 /12.7 even with a black top motorhome cover over the panels.
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Post by Roopert Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:13 pm

I can't contribute any further to this thread.

I don't claim know anything at all about the way that the EC328 was designed, which means that I'm not qualified to debate the thickness of wires, or whether a controller should be internal or not.

So I'm not going to respond any further here.
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Post by marconi Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:35 pm

gassygassy wrote:I rewired it in thick wire first to the battery fuse output and then a thin (OK the original thin) wire back to the PCB which I presume has some electronics or relay or something that connects the 328 electronics to the control panel. I have already described how I wired the 30W panel via the 328 to the engine battery alone, and the 100W panel via a separate mppt controller to two 110 AH leisure batteries. This keeps them up to 12.5 /12.7 even with a black top motorhome cover over the panels.

Having read almost all of the long EC328 saga in 2015 [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Did you take note of the warnings about the EC325 Mains charger excessive voltage, which they say may damage any Solar Controller connected directly to the Leisure Battery and the note that its not OK to connect to a  Solar Controller direct to the Leisure Battery with the EC328. I don't know why not.

Perhaps you did consider that and that is your reason for having one Controller connected to the EC328 and one not. Although I would have thought it would be the Leisure battery feed that the EC328 would want to 'see' connected, so that it can play with its sensors and relays. Anyway you seem to have found no problems.
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Post by gassygassy Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:14 pm

To be quite honest I can't remember exactly the wiring between the 328 controller and the leisure battery. I do remember that the output wire from the controller went to a tag on the pcb. An adjacent tag on the pcb went to the fuse to the leisure battery. My electonic brain said that I wouldh't have wired it like that, which makes me think it is more likely that the two pcb tags are adjscent to each other and connected with copper track. My thoughts were " if I was wiring it I would have run the wire from the controller first to the output fuse and from the fuse to the pcb rather than to the pcb first and then back where it came past the controller on to the output fuse." A bit picky perhaps but I learned when I was about fifteen about earth loop hum on audio amplifiers, that all zero voltage points should go to one single chassis point. This served me well when I was getting comms equipment certified in government labs. I took a bit of kit which failed and when I examined it I fould lots of chassis 'earths'. It had been designed by someone else, not me. While I was still at the testing lab I asked if I could just do some earth wiring modifications, and ran each zero voltage point to one chassis earth, close to the mains input earth. It then passed the certification tests.
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Post by Sapper Sat Nov 07, 2020 7:03 pm

I think you'll find with the 700 switched off all the power goes to the engine battery
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Post by Alwaysurfing Wed Nov 10, 2021 4:22 pm

Unbelievable - when i first got the van I complained the solar didn't seem to work - was fobbed off with weather, ehu etc by the dealer.  Recently had reason to put in a written complaint about something else and threw in the solar just to add weight - turns out the solar was indeed not working as I suspected.  They feebly explained that the fuse - which is hidden inside the enclosure so not viewable - was blown.  My personal feeling is the solar was never commissioned as I had never until this point ever seen the amps fluctuate on the EC700 panel.  Even on dull days I now have a reading and the batteries have in turn not lost their capacity even this far into the end of year.....   absolutely amazing......  its taken me over two years of complaining to get this sorted out.
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Post by IanH Wed Nov 10, 2021 4:37 pm

It has been said, by me and others dozens of times on here that all solar controller outputs should go direct, via 10A fuse to each battery positive terminal by passing anything else, especially anything Sargent!!
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Post by Greyhound Wed Nov 10, 2021 5:00 pm

IanH wrote:It has been said, by me and others dozens of times on here that all solar controller outputs should go direct, via 10A fuse to each battery positive terminal by passing anything else, especially anything Sargent!!

Yep, one of the best things I've done to my van.  Solar is so efficient now compared to with the Sargent connection.
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Post by Caraman Thu Nov 11, 2021 8:20 am

Alwaysurfing wrote:Unbelievable - when i first got the van I complained the solar didn't seem to work - was fobbed off with weather, ehu etc by the dealer.  Recently had reason to put in a written complaint about something else and threw in the solar just to add weight - turns out the solar was indeed not working as I suspected.  They feebly explained that the fuse - which is hidden inside the enclosure so not viewable - was blown.  My personal feeling is the solar was never commissioned as I had never until this point ever seen the amps fluctuate on the EC700 panel.  Even on dull days I now have a reading and the batteries have in turn not lost their capacity even this far into the end of year.....   absolutely amazing......  its taken me over two years of complaining to get this sorted out.
This is indeed surprising as it is relatively easy to see if there is solar charge by looking at the EC700's CP or using a multimeter.  You said "They feebly explained that the fuse - which is hidden inside the enclosure so not viewable - was blown."  Where exactly is this fuse as I have not seen it?  Has anyone else seen it?

After this and other threads and one attempt at off-grid use in the Summer, I have finally decided to fit a Votronic 165 dual battery MPPT controller but left it too late as their price has escalated and there is now no stock in UK.  I am hoping the situation will improve before next Summer.
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Post by glyne lock Thu Nov 11, 2021 6:18 pm

2x80 w panels fitted .I can fit a 3rd panel if required. Just in day light early in the morning is the picture below 38 volts coming in and 1 amp this then gives me 2 amps to my leisure batteries and 1 amp going to the vehicle and this is before any sun[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Post by Dbvwt Thu Nov 11, 2021 6:26 pm

“After this and other threads and one attempt at off-grid use in the Summer, I have finally decided to fit a Votronic 165 dual battery MPPT controller but left it too late as their price has escalated and there is now no stock in UK”


Caraman, I was thinking about the 165 but after reading many threads went for the 250 in the end to future proof things. Just as well as I’m going to fit another 80W panel in the new year which would have been pushing things with the 165.
Worth the extra cost IMO which isn’t massive in the bigger picture.
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Post by Relaxez-Vous Thu Nov 11, 2021 7:12 pm

glyne lock, I like your solar installation. No reply needed but you get me thinking about solar panels connected series v parallel. With series shading of one panel will considerably affect the output, but really how often does that happen? Connect series, providing your solar controller can accept the higher voltage, you make better use of the available solar power that's both after dawn and before dusk because your solar voltage is greater than the batteries voltages, for far more time than would you get with parallel connected solar panels.

I'm going to ponder my choice of choosing parallel over series, with my installation it shouldn't take too long to change, in the Spring perhaps.
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Post by glyne lock Thu Nov 11, 2021 7:17 pm

Dbvwt wrote:“After this and other threads and one attempt at off-grid use in the Summer, I have finally decided to fit a Votronic 165 dual battery MPPT controller but left it too late as their price has escalated and there is now no stock in UK”


Caraman, I was thinking about the 165 but after reading many threads went for the 250 in the end to future proof things. Just as well as I’m going to fit another 80W panel in the new year which would have been pushing things with the 165.
Worth the extra cost IMO which isn’t massive in the bigger picture.
The extra cost for the 250 unit is a better unit and will not put it to the maximum limit with a second 80w panel .I did say this to greyhound and as he has said his solar system is all working great.with the help from another member on this forum has helped lots of people improve the solar system in there campers with this  modification and I am sure many more in the future. I am sure lots would like to give a big thank you to Marconi for his help
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