Solar Progress and Boat Problem Solved

According to our solar regulator control panel: 12,832 Amp Hours were generated by Tahina’s solar panels in the last 12 months. We have seven 85W panels. The boat was at Marinas, motoring, or otherwise had low power demands on many days. At peak, on a sunny day at highest sun angle, we generate about 35 AH (12 volt system) off the panels. I estimate we would have spent about 300-400 gallons of diesel in our high-output generator to to add those 13K AH into the batteries if we didn’t have the solar panels. Especially since we let the solar panels top off the batteries when the batteries have to be charged at lower amperage for two or more hours. Safe, clean, and no extra cost!

Meanwhile, I fixed another problem on the boat. On Sunday I set out to figure out what was wrong with one of our two main electric winches. I had just replaced the control box to this unit 6 months ago. A week ago, when we got back from two months travel in the states, I was pretty disappointed to find the winch wouldn’t work.

So, I set out to analyze what could be wrong. I tested the power, and the circuit breaker between the control box and winch. All was good. Then I shorted the circuit at the outputs of the control box and proved the winch still works. Either the switch or the control box seemed to be the issue. After disconnecting power to the system, I took out the control box and checked a 3A fuse inside. It was good. Checked my wiring hook-ups to the box. Everything was fine. Very puzzling, and made me think the manufacturer of the box must have a flaw.

I sent an E-mail to the supplier saying I believe the box is defective, and asked if they had any other suggestions for testing the unit. Meanwhile, I re-connected the wiring and re-installed the box. Then re-connected the circuit breaker and the power to the system. Guess what? It works! I was really puzzled why it now worked. But, the good news is I got to take it off my list of things to fix!

In retrospect, I believe that by de-powering the control box – and letting the capacitors dissipate – it reset something that allowed it to now work. If this ever happens again, that’s the first thing I’ll try.

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1 Response to Solar Progress and Boat Problem Solved

  1. Greg Ziolkowski says:

    In this day and age, it seems that the first rule with anything electrical is becoming “disconnect the power and wait two minutes”.
    Looking forward to more adventures.

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