Dead Solar Panel

Hi all , this one tricky. A mates panel reads 19 volts but will not produce any current. It is only 5 years old and sits out in the sun all day supposedly charging his van batteries. We put the multimeter on it and made sure we had the right connections but are tearing our hair out and there's not much of that left!! All we could get was 0.0 amps. Any ideas apart from buying new panels?...... W
Warrie

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Reply By: Tony F8 - Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 13:22

Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 13:22
Just asking, have you put the multimeter after the regulator, and remember unless your multimeter has a shunt in it, it wont read amps
AnswerID: 600422

Reply By: Zippo - Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 14:09

Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 14:09
More information required:

> what is the panel rating (watts or amps)?
> what current scale were you using on the meter?
> where/how did you connect the meter to read current?
> have you checked that the meter's fuse (internal, for current scales) is OK?

How would I check the panel? To determine if it is "dead", disconnect the panel output from the regulator and (using a current scale suited to the panel short-circuit current rating) connect the meter ACROSS the panel output. (DO NOT DO THIS WITH THE REG STILL CONNECTED.) This is the quickest way to verify that the panel does/does-not produce current.

If no output and some sun exposure, he's dead Jim. Otherwise, move on to check the reg and the connections. If the reported problem is that the battery bank isn't being charged, there are a multitude of possibilities beside a dead panel, and more probable too. Among them are a faulty meter (fuse) and an incorrect manner of checking panel output current.
AnswerID: 600425

Reply By: Mal58 - Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 14:09

Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 14:09
Hi Warrie,
Solar panels can die. I am having one replaced on my camper trailer at the moment. The panel is less than 18 months old.

The following Youtube video explains how to test solar panels.

How to Test Solar Panels

Cheers Mal
AnswerID: 600426

Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 14:55

Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 14:55
Thanks Mal, I watched the clip and I'm sure we did what was shown re the multimeter. His vans inside meter with all its flashing LED's etc also shows zero amps. If yours died after 18 months then my mate is lucky he got 5 years.....W
Warrie

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