Jayco Eagle camper solar problem

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 12:55
ThreadID: 65205 Views:3084 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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Hi all,
I'm looking for an honest reliable camper/RV solar installer in Perth northern suburbs or mobile, competent with Plasmatronics charge controller for my system which mysteriously stopped charging AGM batteries from two 120w roof mounted panels.

Batteries still charge easily from Xantrex 20amp 3 stage in-camper charger, registering data on PL40 controller.
Also charge from extra 100w folding panel from camper/tow vehicle anderson plug when connected.This also registers on PL40 data.

Have disconnected roof mounted panels at junction boxes and checked voltage which showed 19/20V as normal on bright day on PL40 data.
Haven't been able to check short circuit amps yet without suitable meter.

The system which includes a shunt and temp sensor has been faultless for about two years was built by a business in Malaga which folded about 3 months after completion and I have no way of finding the guy who did the installation.

I really need a competent person to find the problem as this electrickery is not my forte`.

Hope someone can assist.

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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 14:08

Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 14:08
Cant help you with a sparkie but I have a couple of PL20 that perform flawelssly.......I assume the PL40's system is very similar

first impressions are that the PL40 may be Ok as it is registering charge through the shunt

if you put a multi meter on the controllers terminals you should determine if voltage is being passed through the controller to the battery charge feed line

The roof panels should have an inline fuse between them and the controller....... check both polarities.........might be as simple as that.

Look at the the static battery voltage registering on the PL40 whilst not under charge...connect the roof panels and see if the voltage goes up....at least this may narrow the area in which to look.........

if there is no voltage difference then the PL40 is not getting current from the roof panels...........

if there is an increase in voltage then you have narrowed the area in which to look...and i would then be checking the integrity of the circuit between the PL40 and the batteries...once again check for fuses on both polarities


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AnswerID: 344777

Follow Up By: sastra - Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 15:53

Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 15:53
Thanks for that bungarra, before I disconnected the panels the solar voltage showing on the PL40 was 19/20V and the battery volt was showing 12.6V at state of charge reading of 71%.

The voltage at the battery terminals was very close to the PL40 reading. The charge amps was fluctuating between 0.0 and 0.2 amps although the battery volts did not change.
My uneducated electrickery brain cannot understand how you can have solar panel volts without producing amps to the batteries.

There is a 40amp blade fuse in a rubber holder on the positive wire attached to the shunt and although it appears still intact, I have not been able to pull the damned thing out of the holder. Must be some trick to it I'm thinking!

FollowupID: 612744

Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, Jan 18, 2009 at 12:33

Sunday, Jan 18, 2009 at 12:33
Hi sastra

You can have a static voltage display but not be producing / generating amps (current) if the controller is deciding the battery is full............except that you state the PL40 indicates 71% SOC...that is a bit confusing....as it indicates the battery does require a charge and the controller knows this..........

buy the way when the controller is displaying solar voltage (open circuit) it will not charge for that period of display

as I said I have a couple of PL20 systems and having wired them myself I know them intimately.....I assume that the PL40 programming and wiring is very similar if not the same ........

if the controller is displaying a solar panel voltage then I guess we can dismiss that side of the circuit (unless it is breaking down under load but unlikely)

*****THE FACT that no charge is going to the batteries makes me suspect the circuit between the controller and the battery bank

..the solar panel + goes to the battery diirect and the solar negative and the battery negative go through the controller..........and the controller switches the negative as the batteries require charge......

on the controller the smaller dia wire (maybe not be smaller depending upon the installer).....it is simply monitoring the battery voltage....(connected to the battery +) ....it doesnt carry any current.....the larger negative wires to the battery completes the charging circuit......

visualise it this way......if you had a water source feeding a trough of water with a ball valve on the fill up side controlling in flow then as water is drawn out from the trough then water would flow in.........if it was flowing out quicker than flowing in the troughs storage would lessen and eventually run out.......if the flow capacity in was greater than the draw out then the trough would always remain full......the ball valve would then shut shut off...keeping the trough full

water flow in or out....current (amps) flow in or out is the same

back to the battery.......the solar panels are the "water source"....the PL40 controller is the ball valve.....the batteries are the trough.........the batteries want a charge....it appears a charge is available (as indicated on the PL40) but not getting through........STILL POINTS to the circuit between the battery and the PL40

That blade fuse should be a straight pull out..use a pair of pointy nose pliers and try harder!

Check that there is not other fuses ...both positive and negative lines should be protected somewhere

.....worst case scenerio is the controller but before you go spending money it is a good oportunity to trace the circuits yourself


Life is a journey, it is not how we fall down, it is how we get up.
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FollowupID: 612887

Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 18:44

Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 18:44
I found that there is a guy (Chris) at Challenge Batteries that actually knows what he is talking about with solar systems.
They are in Osborne Park but can't remember the street though.
AnswerID: 344813

Reply By: Topcat (WA) - Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 18:50

Saturday, Jan 17, 2009 at 18:50
Try WA Solar Supplies. They have been suppling & installing Solar systems for over 20 years. Good people to deal with. Cheers.
AnswerID: 344814

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