Solar power? Nope. :(
ZTC has three 55 watt solar panels mounted on top of the hard bimini and because our new battery monitor doesn’t read any power coming in from them, I have been curious about measuring their input. So, together with a friend, we tried to troubleshoot it. What did my genius friend find? There was NO FUSE in the fuse holder! I am virtually positive I have never opened that fuse holder before and without the fuse, it couldn’t charge. This means that it is entirely possible that our solar panels have NEVER been working, or at least, not as long as we have owned the boat.
Simple fix right?
****STOP! All boat owners know that something bad is about to happen. There are no “simple fixes” on boats!!!
We put in a fuse and what happens… we smell something burning. Guess what it was? The solar charge controller. 🙁
Apparently you can’t mix up the positive and negative wires on those things (there were stickers all over the device which said do not mix up the positive and negative wires), and they were crossed. The controller is now fried.
Here is the good news though:
- the panels definitely put out voltage, around 20 volts.
- I don’t think that controller could have handled any more panels anyway, and because we want to acquire more, we now have a good excuse to buy a nice MMPT controller.
- we found a small, as of yet untested, solar charger at a nautical consignment store yesterday for $1.00 that “might” work until we get the above. 🙂
Just another day in paradise:)
A photo I took back in March of the now-dead charger. Notice that the two outside wires are mixed up! Also notice the multiple “caution” stickers warning about mixing up those wires.