Solar Panel/Sargent EC328/12V Electrics Fault

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Post by Guest on Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:08 pm

Hope it works out ok. Mine is still working ok.
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Post by dash on Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:04 pm

After having the same problem with 328 unit after solar installation it was good  to read this thread.
Had the same response from sargent and am grateful for the upgraded panel with v 2.22 software from graig foot it seems to have addressed the problem and 12v is staying on, although it is early days yet reading other outcomes, am confident with upgrade outcome.
it is good to know there is still some good firms about 
          thank you
            Dash allthumbz
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Solar Panel/Sargent EC328/12V Electrics Fault - Page 4 Empty Not out of the woods yet.... EC328S

Post by Driftwood6 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:19 pm

The new panel with V2.22 arrived by courier today but it has a different fault. It constantly shows a 61 amp discharge. Refitting the old panel returns  charge/discharge to normal so obviously I have received a faulty replacement unit. Sargent are now closed for the weekend so I will hit the phone again on Monday.  AAAGGGHHH!


Update. I have just found out that the unit can be re-calibrated by holding the selector for a couple of seconds whilst displaying the charge/discharge. Time for me to read up on this a little. I'LL BE BACK.........


Last edited by Driftwood6 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:27 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Found out more information)
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Solar Panel/Sargent EC328/12V Electrics Fault - Page 4 Empty Recalibration when fitting a new EC328S panel

Post by Driftwood6 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:24 pm

All OK. Lack of instructions anywhere in the manual or with the item but found out by applied logic that by holding the selector button down for two seconds whilst charge/discharge was displayed the unit calibrated itself and all seems fine now.

As a matter of interest I also have a problem with my outside temperature under-reading by six degrees and this problem has not sorted by changing the control panel (I was hoping it would). Sargent have sent me a new sensor but wire routing difficulties mean that I have not yet been able to install it to see if the problem is then solved. To be honest it is not worth disturbing the refrigerator connections, which would  probablybe necessary) because of this minor problem so I will just live with it. Unless anyone knows better of course :)
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Post by Cymro on Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:40 pm

Blast! Have just read these posts, Driftwood 6, and had I read them a few minutes earlier I would not have troubled Sargent with an email query.

My 2-week old Nuevo has the EC328S, with v2.22. All seems OK, apart from a strange reading for the Current, which like yours shows a discharge of -60.5 amps.

Thanks to your post, I'll try the remedy to recalibrate tomorrow morning (assuming no eclipse to mess up the solar!)

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Post by Driftwood6 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:41 pm

I apologise to Sargent because having read the manual again the recalibration info is clearly there in section 5.2 on page 12. If you don't have the manual it can be downloaded from here http://www.sargentltd.co.uk/EC328_User_Instructions.pdf
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Post by Guest on Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:02 pm

Oh the joys of a new motorhome.......hugegrinshugegrinshugegrinshugegrins
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Post by Cymro on Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:08 am

Cymro wrote:Blast!  Have just read these posts, Driftwood 6, and had I read them a few minutes earlier I would not have troubled Sargent with an email query.

My 2-week old Nuevo has the EC328S, with v2.22. All seems OK, apart from a strange reading for the Current, which like yours shows a discharge of -60.5 amps.

Thanks to your post, I'll try the remedy to recalibrate tomorrow morning (assuming no eclipse to mess up the solar!)


Success! Now gives a sensible current reading. Very many thanks for guidance.

Isn't this Forum a wonderful source?
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Post by -mojo- on Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:33 pm

Cymro wrote:My 2-week old Nuevo has the EC328S, with v2.22.

Out of nothing more than curiosity, does anyone know what the "S" in EC328S refers to? I checked mine and it shows as being a EC328B (also with V2.22 because Sargent very kindly upgraded for me when I fitted a solar panel)? I concede that it ~might~ be because mine is supplied via B1lb0s, but that seems a bit unlikely...
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Post by inspiredron on Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:34 pm

I seem to recall that when I accidentally changed mine from 328 to 325 I had the option of S or B when I changed it back. I looked at the manual and the suffix was something to do with enabling certain optional features and EC328S seemed right for my van. Sargent manual not handy at present but easily available on line.

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Post by -mojo- on Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:55 pm

I guess there must be more than one version of the manual out there then! I'm pretty familiar with the Issue 01 (June 2011) version, and that makes no reference at all to EC328B or EC328S (though the authors do seem a bit confused in places, as there is one reference to the EC500 and one to the EC325).

Perhaps I should just leave it alone though - it's often way too easy to fiddle with things that you don't need to fiddle with, as others have rightly pointed out to me here in the past!
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Post by inspiredron on Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:42 pm

-mojo- wrote:I guess there must be more than one version of the manual out there then! I'm pretty familiar with the Issue 01 (June 2011) version, and that makes no reference at all to EC328B or EC328S (though the authors do seem a bit confused in places, as there is one reference to the EC500 and one to the EC325).

Perhaps I should just leave it alone though - it's often way too easy to fiddle with things that you don't need to fiddle with, as others have rightly pointed out to me here in the past!
Sorry, I have checked the manual now and there is no reference to S or B.
Trawling my memory I can only think that I set it to the wrong version and a feature was then missing - I cannot remember what. It could have been external power for the whale water system, alarm, event timer - I really cannot remember now.
There is no problem in playing by setting to another version and then checking the menus.

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Post by Organplayer on Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:08 pm

Perhaps a kind member with greater knowledge than I, could offer an opinion on 2009 Auto Sleepers Broadway super m/hme, which we have recently acquired and has a Sargent 325psu with a 130watt solar panel connected through the 325 solar connectio 

The Auto Sleepers manual shows the solar panels fitted should be 20 to 100watt.

Can "trouble" be seen on the horizon with this setup?.

Thankyou.

Ed and Lynda
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Post by Peter Brown on Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:34 pm

I think its Mojo who has detailed knowledge of the regulator Sargent use. I wouldn't imagine it a problem in northern Europe buy maybe southern Spain, Italy, Greece, etc. If visiting those areas it may be prudent to cover 25% of the panel - don't put any adhesive tape on the top surface of the panel.

Peter

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Post by moggyminor1966 on Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:50 pm

Organplayer wrote:Perhaps a kind member with greater knowledge than I, could offer an opinion on 2009 Auto Sleepers Broadway super m/hme, which we have recently acquired and has a Sargent 325psu with a 130watt solar panel connected through the 325 solar connectio 

The Auto Sleepers manual shows the solar panels fitted should be 20 to 100watt.

Can "trouble" be seen on the horizon with this setup?.

Thankyou.

Ed and Lynda
The EC325 takes a max. 100W panel whereas the EC328 takes a max. Of 120W. I have a 100W panel fitted.
I would be inclined to ring Craig Foot at Sargent and ask if there is any danger to the PSU by having a panel exceeding the max.of 100W in your case.
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Post by Organplayer on Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:56 pm

Hi Moggyminor.Thanks for you prompt reply. I shall do as you suggest first thing Monday morning. I really had a job trying to impress upon the dealership/salesman that this installation was not right according to the AS manual, but was met with the statement that they have fitted 130watt solars many times before and no problems have ever come to light. I shall insist the solar connection is removed from the EC325 and a separate controller be installed or change the solar for a 100watt panel.
This being our 6th m/hme in 20 years, we have never had this question/problem before with any of them, and they were all fitted with solar panels. Again thanks for you input.
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Post by Peter Brown on Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:53 pm

My van of the last 3.5 yrs has an EC325 and it works very well if you understand it.

The EC325 is unique in the Sargent series of power supply/control systems.  The charger is designed to 'fast charge' the Leisure battery using up to 18volts.  As a voltage that high could destroy 12v habitation circuitry (including solar panel regulators), whenever the EC325 is on hook up and turned on it disconnects the 12v habitation circuitry from the leisure battery and charger.  At the same time a separate regulated 12v power supply unit is connected to and powers the 12v habitation circuitry.

If you connect an independent solar panel regulator to the leisure battery of an EC325 system it is very likely to be damaged by the Sargent Charger so the regulator built into the EC325 must be used.

A solar panel connected to the EC325 charges both the leisure battery and vehicle battery when the van is not on hook up.  If on hook up you can charge either the leisure battery or the vehicle battery (but not both together) by operating the appropriate switch on the control panel.

If constantly on hook up for a long period of time (over a week say) the leisure battery will start to lose electrolyte by gassing even though the charger is intelligent.  Under these circumstances it is therefore a good idea to switch the charger off for a day every week to let the battery do some work.  Sargent soon recognised this as an 'Achilles heel' of the EC325 so it was quickly replaced by the EC328 which has the leisure battery constantly connected and doesn't charge at such a high rate.

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Post by Gromit on Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:41 pm

Thanks for that Peter.

A very clear description of something I only partially understood before. I knew there were reported problems with independent solar panel regulators when used with the EC325, but didn't know the reason.

The day is young - still time to learn something else new! biggrin

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Post by Peter Brown on Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:09 pm

I should be doing something else but...

I've been doing a bit of research and the sort of solar controller/regulator we are looking at are rated at either 12v or 24v and by maximum current.  The one installed in the Sargent unit is rated 12v at 10A and that is how they arrive at 120W max panel.

However solar panel specification all give a maximum output current and the maximum current I have found for a 150W panel is 8 amps, so that panel would be ok on the Sargent regulator.

If anyone can point me at anything that contradicts my logic, please do.

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Post by Organplayer on Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:53 pm

Thankyou Peter for all your trouble in pointing me away from a blinder of a mistake, in having a separate solar controller installed.
Do I understand you correctly in your last but one paragraph, where you I think refer to the 325 solar charger as 12v 10 amp, and mention that a panel of up to 150watts could be used with the 325 system. I have probably got "the wrong end of the stick" as the old saying goes, but thought I should be certain of your meaning.
Looks like I may have to get the dealers to change my 130watt solar panel for a 100watt.
Once again thankyou for your expertise. I really am a "numpty".
Ed
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Post by Peter Brown on Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:45 pm

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

Above is a link to the data sheet for the solar controller that I believe is in the Sargent unit - I haven't taken mine apart to check as a very major job to remove it.

To clarify, what I am saying is that if the maximum output current of the panel you have fitted is 10A or less then you should be ok with this controller.  Do you know the make and model of the installed panel?

Peter

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Solar Panel/Sargent EC328/12V Electrics Fault - Page 4 Empty Re: Solar Panel/EC325 Sargent Controller

Post by cyclo on Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:59 pm

My Solar panel was fitted when I bought the van second hand, I don't know why but the dealer fitted a separate controller

rather than connecting into the Sargent unit. I can only assume they did not know that this could be done. On reading various

reports about the possible problems in doing it this way I rang Sargent's technical department who assured me that it would

not be a problem, that was 18 months ago.

David
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Post by inspiredron on Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:26 pm

Organplayer wrote:Looks like I may have to get the dealers to change my 130watt solar panel for a 100watt.

Ed
I don't think that is what Peter is saying. In his experience a 150W panel is only giving 8A maximum which is les than 10A.  Your 130W should give less than 8A unless it is a very efficient panel. so if that is so there is no need to change it to a 100W.  In any event 130W is so little over 120W that it is likely to be within the manufacturer's tolerance.  If they say that 120W is OK it is very likely that 150W would be.  They have to be conservative in saying what is OK.

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Post by -mojo- on Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:59 pm

I'd agree with the above conclusions from what I've learned about the EPIPDB-COM controller in the EC328 (and I think the same one is used in the EC325?).

I think it is unlikely that a 130W panel will be able to exceed the 10A limit of the controller in UK or even Southern European conditions - and I also suspect that there has been an element of "marketing interpretation" of the power output on these Chinese panels (in that they have found that if they state the power as 130W they get to sell a lot more of them than if they state the power as 120W) anyway. I've looked at a few and there seems to be some creative thinking going on there...

One thing that may be worth looking into, though, are the settings on the controller. When I looked at mine, it seemed to be set to factory defaults, which may not be entirely appropriate. This is not Sargent's fault as they don't know the type of install that the EC328 will be used in, but I was a bit disappointed that the converter of my van (not Auto-sleeper I should add) had not bothered to change it to something more appropriate.

On mine one setting was not very sensible (it was set to distribute solar power 50:50 between vehicle and leisure battery, even though a typical camper will use hardly any vehicle battery power when parked up on site) but the one that would be worth checking is that the battery type has been set correctly. Mine was not, and if they left that with the wrong setting you may risk too low or too high a terminal voltage on your batteries. However, it should not be ~too~ critical, as the battery type setting doesn't affect the float charge voltage, and that's probably the most important one in terms of keeping your batteries in good condition long-term.

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