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Solar Controller Problems


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#51 acmedave

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Posted 31 March 2020 - 12:23 AM

I'm thinking your idea of disconnecting the load wire (cap it with a wire nut for now) is a good one.  rando's suggestion that this is a wiring error makes some sense.  FWC has not been using Victron gear for very long, and the previous units didn't have LOAD outputs, so this is a new area for them.  Issues may still be being worked out.

This is my plan for now. Still intend to try tracing out the hot wire coming into the load side of the controller.

 

I appreciate everybody’s help.

Will report back with any new discoveries.

I’ve learned a lot and have a lot more learning to do. You’ve all been great and patient.

Wishing you all safety and good health through this coronavirus crisis.

Dave


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#52 PaulT

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Posted 31 March 2020 - 06:13 AM

Dave,

 

Search for a “fluke fox and hound” tool. Home Depot sells several. Choose one that can work on a live circuit.  You may be able track down the other end of the circuit. You will need to have patience as you learn how to use the tool.

 

Paul


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I thought getting old would take longer.

#53 ckent323

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Posted 01 April 2020 - 08:46 PM

Something like this for 12 v circuits

https://www.amazon.c...011&s=hi&sr=1-6

 

 

I have tried using a 110 v live circuit detector on a 24 V circuit and it didn't work.  May depend on manufacturer though.


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#54 crashmaster

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 07:02 PM

Following this thread closely as I have a similar issue.  2018 Hawk, original owner, (November 2018 manufacture date), FWC installed Overland Solar system.  

 

The 100/15 MPPT controller failed just as acmedave's but I am only on my second MPPT, likely because my camper sits in a covered garage most of the time without sunlight on the panel.  

 

Brian at Overland Solar was puzzled by the failure as well and he immediately sent me a new MPPT.  I can't say enough good things about Brian, a stand up honest guy and great customer service.

 

Unfortunately I am nowhere near my camper but when I return to it I will for sure disconnect and cap the load wires on the MPPT and start following all your trouble shooting suggestions and report back.  Might be a couple of months for me to get there though.  

 

Vincent


Edited by crashmaster, 03 April 2020 - 07:33 PM.

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#55 pvstoy

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 10:54 PM

I have been thinking... why and what is FWC doing with the "load" ports on the MPPT?  It would be curious as how they have this wired to what end result they expect.  Are they turning off the battery system if it drops too low for protection or using it as a data point for the controller?

 

Here is more about the load ports on a Victron MPPT in rush.

https://community.vi...ontrollers.html

 

This viedo shows the extra pair of wires for the load that FWC is hooking up.  Like to know where and how they end.

.

.

 


Edited by pvstoy, 07 April 2020 - 10:58 PM.

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#56 crashmaster

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Posted 21 June 2020 - 09:44 PM

Hi acmedave, did you ever figure out the cause of you MPPT failures in your 2018 Hawk?

 

I just had my second Overland Solar MPPT fail on my 2018 Hawk with the FWC installed Overland Solar system.  It functioned properly for roughly 2 weeks before failure.  The load wires were connected to the MPPT.  The fuse going from solar to the battery was also good in both cases.

 

Very frustrating to not be able to depend on solar power in the camper.

 

I have another email in to Brian at Overland Solar and also a call into FWC in California.  Hopefully will get a response this week.

 

Let me know if you discovered anything else about our troubles with the MPPT.

 

Thanks, Vincent


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#57 Jack

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 02:45 PM

Fascinating reading. 3 failed Victron MPPT Controllers on two FWCs, along with your characterization of the problem, looks an awful lot like faulty wiring design or error by FWC. FWC needs to get involved - there may be more owners with this problem.
 

acmedave, the FWC dealer in Portland and Seattle, Mule Expedition Outfitters (dasmule.com), does custom mods on FWCs and other overland vehicles. I know they work with the folks in Woodland. If it's feasible for you to get to Mule, see if FWC can have Mule troubleshoot on their behalf.

 

Wiring is vastly improved from my previous 2005 Eagle, but it still looks like there are a lot of custom connections. I hope FWC is moving toward a relatively small number of wiring harnesses with connectors. Wire and connectors, even if unused, are cheap relative the cost of labor for custom wiring (and especially troubleshooting).

 

If they don't have already, FWC needs an in-house expert on wiring. Solar will continue to change rapidly, and the Sure Power 1413A already needs to be replaced as standard equipment (DC-DC, smart battery separator, or a smart lithium battery).

 

A few weeks ago, I had a very interesting conversation with whomever was answering the phones on Saturday. FWC is still on a dozen or so Excel spreadsheets for each build, hence the $250 post-order change fee. He also commented that the permutations of models and options results in over a million possibilities, but they are working hard to get onto a manufacturing software platform.

 

Another interesting comment. The majority of buyers have been older and often retired but there is a shift to more buyers in their 30s to 50s. FWC is working hard to increase sales in this group. Also, most owners aren't like us, the ones posting here. Not too surprising. Engineer-itis and geek-itis affects a relatively small part of the population. Maybe 80% or more of buyers will not make any changes to their FWCs over the life of their ownership.


Edited by Jack, 22 June 2020 - 04:46 PM.

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#58 crashmaster

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 02:59 AM

Still awaiting a reply from Overland Solar and FWC about my MPPT failures. I did speak with Service at FWC and they forwarded my troubles to a electronics guy about a week ago but I have not heard back as of yet.

In any case when I get a replacement MPPT from either FWC or Overland Solar I will not connect the load wire and hopefully that will work. What is also a bit strange is that my first MPPT lasted a little over a year and the second one only a couple weeks, although most of time my camper is parked in a garage so the MPPT did not have enough voltage to keep the charger on.
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#59 crashmaster

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 11:59 PM

I received my third charge controller from overland solar. I have disconnected and capped the load wiring from the controller since it is not needed and may be the cause of the problem. Hopefully third time is a charm!
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#60 Vic Harder

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 04:46 AM

I received my third charge controller from overland solar. I have disconnected and capped the load wiring from the controller since it is not needed and may be the cause of the problem. Hopefully third time is a charm!

keep us posted!!!


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