Solar panel lightening strike

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:24
ThreadID: 134163 Views:4650 Replies:10 FollowUps:9
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G'day all, on the 5th of Jan. this year we were camped on the Murray River & our camp was struck by lightening, including 2 of us! Smashed 1 panel of our 220w solar setup as it melted the regulator on fire. Should the other panel still be ok as it looks good, would I just need another mppt regulator? We were taken by ambulance to hospital for observation, it melted the battery in the caravan & the car parked beside
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:31

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:31
I would say if the regulator caught fire you'll definitely need a new one!

The panels are another thing, disconnect them, place them in the sun and see what
your getting out of them, you may find the open circuit voltage is ok, if not then look inside the terminal blocks and see what condition they are in, if the connecting tape is ok but the panels reading zero vaults in the sun then try cutting on wire going to the bypass diodes if it has one and see if you get any voltage then?

If the panels are producing reasonable volts a new regulator should get you going again.

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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:42

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:42
Thanks, one is shattered so I will check the other one as you suggest. What size regulator would I need for 110w?
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Reply By: Dean K3 - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:57

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:57
220w output new regulator depends what current output is all specs should be on back of panel on a sticker est of 20 amps minimum
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:41

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:41
Thanks, it was a double panel of 220w but with 1 shattered I am hoping to get the other one working - it should be 110w as half.
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Reply By: Mal58 - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:26

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:26
Wow that would have been super scary. Glad to hear that you are okay.

Obviously the panel that is shattered and the regulator are damaged beyond repair.

You will have to test the other panel by disconnecting it from the damaged one. The plastic covers where the wiring comes out have two tabs on the side and can be opened.

Put the panel in the sun and a check of the open circuit voltage and the short circuit current should indicate if the panel is ok. Also as mentioned before also check the diodes.

Just as a side note, the regulator that was destroyed says MPPT. Sorry to say was not actually a MPPT regulator. There are plenty of YouTube videos about this.

A good quality PWM regulator such as the EP Solar series would be a good compromise between cost and performance.

Cheers,
Mal

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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:44

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:44
Thanks Mal, wow even though it says mppt thats not the case!
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:33

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:33
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Lightning (not lightening) is insidious. When entering appliances it gets everywhere. You see the obvious but even though the second panel may seem to be unharmed, it could have suffered and fail later.
Adding replacement panels and a new controller to the remaining panel is unlikely to be cost effective. You would do better to replace the whole system.
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:48

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 13:48
Thanks Alan, I am planning to replace the lot with the same system but I am hoping I can get the other panel going for a spare
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Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 14:47

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 14:47
Gday
Gee , that would make your pacemaker rev pretty high, glad to hear you are ok .
Muzbry
Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 14:58

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 14:58
Certainly recharged it!!!!!
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Reply By: Gronk - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 19:56

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 19:56
Was this at Jingellic ?? If so, we were at the other end of the campground. Glad everyone was OK after getting checked out.
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 20:26

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 20:26
yes Gronk, we were - what an experience to walk away from!! My partner had a burst blood vessel on the back of her head from the lightening going down her umbrella into her body & as she had thongs on I was leaning on her the current passed onto my arm & burnt it as it went to ground through me as I was bare footed.The shock wave threw us onto the ground!! The flash of lightening was so bright & the clap of thunder next to you is indescribable!! My daughter granddaughter & dog were up the other end of the awning to witness it all suffering only fright & momentary deafness! What did you see/hear about it then?
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 22:15

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 22:15
I had talked to you earlier in the day. My wife complained about the deafness as well. Scared the crap out of us, although we were 100m away. We didn't know about the lightning strike until we saw people running towards your camp.
With a strike that close to you, you are very lucky.
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 22:26

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 22:26
Gronk, thank you
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 06:26

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 06:26
WOW!

What an amazing story and glad you are okay.

Did you buy a lottery ticket...? Would be first thing I'd do, then I would replace the whole solar system.

Good luck, Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 12:12

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 12:12
By the sound of it he was nearly a member of the solar system!
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 12:19

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 12:19
To see if your panel is OK, separate the two panels. Connect a current meter across the output terminals. The short circuit current should be around 6.5 A. The open circuit voltage should be around 21 - 22 V. Both tests should be done with the sun well up and face the panel directly at it. Adjust the panel angles until you get maximum readings.
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Reply By: RMD - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 19:44

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 19:44
Mixing white paint into black paint is Lightening. ie Grey.
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Reply By: Dean K3 - Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 22:04

Monday, Jan 23, 2017 at 22:04
I didn't want to ask how you were after this event, and from what been mentioned by others damn lucky to be with us - asking people how they feel etc after such event can make it worse for some people so I don't get nosey

that amperage i worked out was based on a total wattage 220 around 18 amps so close to 20 amps per earlier response.

It maybe easier and safer to replace whole unti than to stuff around replacing glass sheets (expensive) and sourcing correct regulator. Know with company i worked for (radio comms industry) we used plasmatronic PL20 for the small trailers and PL60 for the bigger units but hefty price to pay for them.

I have converted my own 80w foldout to mppt (according to GSL spec sheet) but wiring it up and attaching etc was a time consuming job in itself -reason being left it on charge into evening one night out bilyn pool (north of meekatharra) looked briefly at battery LED gauge was below safe level in red and just managed to start next morning -little bit of investigation with OEM supplier sure enough no blocking diodes to prevent back current into panels at night

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