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geokeg

Solar charger not working. Hull #178, Blue Sky system.

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The charger works well when plugged in to shore power and maintains 100% charge.  When disconnected there is no positive charge taking place.  With all users off and circuit breakers normally powered by the batteries there is a .5 amp draw on the system.  In 4 days the charge is down to 75% and battery voltage is 12.8. The trailer is parked in full sun, no shade and getting lots of sun exposure.  I plugged in shore power and voltage went to 13.6 and 9.0 amps positive charge rate.  My solar control knob is on.  The switch and display near it are in EMS Bypass.  I tried Normal Operation position with no change in indications and went back to EMS Bypass.

 

Am I missing something in set up configuration, (I am not sure it has ever worked becuse it has been hooked up to shore power most of the time).  Could I have the "shunt not connected" issue others have had and how would I confirm and resolve it if I do?

 

 

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George and Gretchen


Gig Harbor, Wa.


Hull Number 178

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Blue sky, in California, can be extremely helpful, the tech called me on his way off work and trouble shot with me for over an hour while he drove home, before we quit for the night. I ended up finding the problem myself when I returned home, too much to deal with on the road, changed to a powered site to not worry about it. He did call me back the next day to see how it went.

 

My problem was the main neutral connection from the DC fuse panel had vibrated loose and was causing a crazy draw.

 

My first recommendation is call them. Good luck and let us know what you find.

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Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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We picked up our Oliver  May 31 (Hull # 137), and had a similar experience, although it took me awhile to realize there was a problem (first time owning a travel trailer.)  We, too, always were hooked up to shore power, but noticed that the voltage would decline while the trailer was in storage parked in the full sun.  After several discussions with Tommie (and my own numerous contacts with Blue Sky), Tommie recommended that a local RV repair shop take a look.  Diagnosis:  the solar panels were never connected!  The repair shop fixed that problem, and the solar panels charged -- for a short period of time, but then stopped.  Opening up the charge controller, I eventually realized that the solar panels would charge when the lid to the controller was left open and upside down, but not charge when the lid was on.  I then stumbled across a video a former owner (Wincrasher)  made of his Ollie, and realized that the charge controller box in my Ollie was installed the reverse of his.  This in turn had caused the wiring from the battery and solar panels to be severely bent over to connect to the controller terminals, and resulted in the terminals disconnecting from the controller circuit board when the lid was on the controller box.  We ended up taking the Ollie back to factory for some modifications, and a new charge controller was installed while we were there.  The final irony:  the solar panels still were not charging!  Anyway, this turned out to be an easy fix.  The incoming cables from the solar panels and batteries had been connected in reverse (solar to the battery terminal and batter to the solar panel) when the new controller was installed.   Once I fixed that, the charge controller has since worked great.

 

I suggest you use a multimeter to check the voltage from the solar panels.  If there is none, make sure the panels are connected.  If there is, then the culprit may be the charge controller.  Good luck!

 

Russ & Mary Caslin

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Russ & Mary Caslin


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Hi geokeg (George and Gretchen),

 

As Randy mentioned above, it is useful to contact the technical support engineer at Blue Sky in California.  His name is Boz and he is excellent!  His contact email is below.

 

"Boz Kamyabi" techsupport@blueskyenergyinc.com

 

Chances are Boz will direct you to aid him by performing a few diagnostic activities centered around the controller.   As Russ and Mary suggests, you would be wise to own a multi-meter and know how to use it.

 

I assume you have copies (paper or electronic) of the technical documents for both the controller and the monitor?  Boz will be referring to these documents as you gather the data he will need.

 

Is it safe to assume your controller is operational?  Have you seen any indication via the monitor or via the indication light on the controller cover, of progression through the charge phases?  Are you familiar with the charge phases as documented in the technical manuals?  Boz will be expecting this level of knowledge.

 

Keep in mind, you will need to pop the cover in the controller to measure the voltage coming from the PV array as well as the voltage going to the batteries via the controller.  These actions have risk and you need to feel comfortable working safely around electrical equipment.

 

It is also valuable to attach photography to your communications to greatly aid in the diagnostics.

 

Keep in mind you are not the first to encounter issues as you describe, however, each owner may have implemented slightly different solutions.

 

Curious!  Can you describe your batteries?  I assume you have four AGMs.  There may come a time when you will need to speak with the technical support engineer at the Trojan Battery Company, but let’s hold off on that guidance until we know more.

 

Buzzy

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Buzzy


2016 Oliver Elite II - June 9, 2016
2016 F150 Lariat 3.5L EB, Max Towing

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Thanks folks for your excellent and helpful responses.  I have looked at the Blue Sky site and downloaded their manuals and wow what a resource the site is!  I have some studying to do, and I do have a fine Fluke Multimeter to put into action later.  Buzzy, I do have the AGM Batteries.  I have also e mailed Jason at OTT and informed him of my situation.

 

We are really enjoying our trailer but darn it, this should not be happening.  OTT needs to know about it so they can work the manufacturing and delivery process improvement that needs to happen.  As much as we paid for our units; this should not be an issue that has affected as many as it has!

 

Frustrated rant over...  thanks again.  Will get back as things develop.

 

George


George and Gretchen


Gig Harbor, Wa.


Hull Number 178

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George,

 

It is good you notified Jason.  Keep in mind the newly built Ollie trailers will come equipped with Zamp gear in place of the Blue Sky.

 

I believe you may have the Blue Sky Solar Boost 2512iX-HX installed. (You should verify that assumption by looking at the markings on the cover panel.)

 

If that is true, please review Page 7 of the manual in great detail.  The Setup and Wiring Diagram will guide you when using your multi-meter.

 

I asked the question regarding your battery choice for a reason.  Please keep in mind you must never allow the controller to equalize your AGMs.  That process will fry your batteries and they would need to be replaced.  There are two methods for turning off the equalization function within the controller.  The first method involves setting the Dip Switch #4 to the "off" position.  You would need to pop the cover and understand the layout of the internals.  Your system should have been configured in this fashion at time of installation.  My feeling is, you should double check that this was done with your own eyes.  The second method involves a knowledge of the configuration parameters as accessed via the monitor.  I developed a knowledge of both methods and set both to prohibit equalization of my AGMs.  You may need coaching to work with the multiple layers of parameters.

 

A word to the wise.  The OTT staff may not have all the information you require.  Our Forum or Boz may be your best sources.

 

Buzzy

 

 

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Buzzy


2016 Oliver Elite II - June 9, 2016
2016 F150 Lariat 3.5L EB, Max Towing

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Thanks again Buzzy.  Your knowledge and helpfulness are a wonderful asset to the Oliver owners community.

 

George


George and Gretchen


Gig Harbor, Wa.


Hull Number 178

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We have similar symptoms to what Russ described.  We went a long time before realizing our solar wasn't charging.  We usually camped with hook ups and store plugged into shore power.  On an extended boondocking trip to AZ and southern CA in February we realized we weren't getting any charge.  We did a lot of troubleshooting while out in the desert with the help of Steve/ScubaRX.  Also had a local repair facility look at it once we returned.  Jason is going to take care of it while we're at the rally in a couple of weeks.  This is something worth checking out right away.  It's taken me a while to get familiar with the Blue Sky controller and display.

 

Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Darn, sounds like we definitely have a manufacturing or supplier parts problem here in Ollie Land.  Please let us know what resolves your issue.  We need to get these things working and charged up before the big eclipse on Aug. 21...

 

George


George and Gretchen


Gig Harbor, Wa.


Hull Number 178

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I suspect many owners have had, or continue to have, issues with their Blue Sky gear.  Despite that realization, I believe Blue Sky gear is the best-of-the-best.  Just like an Ollie!

 

Last summer I had my issues and worked closely with Steve (ScubaRX), Tommy and Boz.  At the time, Tommy mentioned to me how there was not a depth of knowledge in problem solving Blue Sky issues within OTT.   I was not certain Tommy had an opportunity to train co-workers prior to leaving OTT.   Also, my research indicated no Blue Sky service technicians within my New England region.  In addition, OTT has now migrated away from Blue Sky to Zamp.

 

That all adds up to a strong need for growing knowledge within our community of Forum members and document our work within the Forum history files.  I believe if we are unsuccessful with this task, the day could come when we would need to switch out our gear for Zamp as the problem solution.  In my view, that would be disappointing.

 

As we craft a path forward, I believe we should each document in some way our problem(s) and solution(s) so we can assemble a trouble shooting guide.  The reason I say this is due to my experience with two issues.  One issue involved a loose wire between the shunt and the monitor.  That could happen at any time to any owner.  The other issue involved a lack of understand on how to reboot the controller.  Once again, a base of knowledge we all need.

 

Buzzy

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Buzzy


2016 Oliver Elite II - June 9, 2016
2016 F150 Lariat 3.5L EB, Max Towing

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Hi Buzzy.

 

Thanks for that input and how we might expand our collective knowledge base as we work Blue Sky/Solar Charging issues.

 

All conditions noted below are with shore power disconnected.

 

First set of meter readings to check pv output.  With Blue Sky cover removed had 13.2 v for batteries and 21.3 for pv output going into controller with overcast daylight.

 

The charger indications are status light on steady for about a minute during which time the input = 0 and output charge = 0.  The status light then cycles off and input goes to input = .1a and chg out=0.  This cycle repeats in about 1 minute intervals.

 

So, it appears the solar panels are connected and delivering power to the controller but for some reason the controller is not getting it to the batteries.  You mentioned "rebooting" the controller.  I have not seen that in the documentation but I would sure like to try it. I have downloaded the Blue Sky tech data if the info. is there, could you please provide the reference or the steps in the procedure? (or should I get that from Boz at Blue Sky?)

 

Thanks,

 

George

 

 


George and Gretchen


Gig Harbor, Wa.


Hull Number 178

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Hi Buzzy. Thanks for that input and how we might expand our collective knowledge base as we work Blue Sky/Solar Charging issues. All conditions noted below are with shore power disconnected. First set of meter readings to check pv output. With Blue Sky cover removed had 13.2 v for batteries and 21.3 for pv output going into controller with overcast daylight. The charger indications are status light on steady for about a minute during which time the input = 0 and output charge = 0. The status light then cycles off and input goes to input = .1a and chg out=0. This cycle repeats in about 1 minute intervals. So, it appears the solar panels are connected and delivering power to the controller but for some reason the controller is not getting it to the batteries. You mentioned “rebooting” the controller. I have not seen that in the documentation but I would sure like to try it. I have downloaded the Blue Sky tech data if the info. is there, could you please provide the reference or the steps in the procedure? (or should I get that from Boz at Blue Sky?) Thanks, George

If you're at 13.2 then your batteries are charged and the controller will not send any power to the batteries. You should let the batteries discharge down to 12.5 or less and then check the status lights.


Happy Camping,


null


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle


2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4


Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel


Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


 

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Just found the statement to momentarily remove all power; battery and pv, to reboot microprocessor, in the Troubleshooting table.  So, red Manual knob to OFF to shut off pv input and trip the inline breaker on red (positive) lead coming out of controller and going to battery.  Will try this tomorrow and put the meter on it to verify dead power to controller.  Then after a minute or so I will close the battery breaker to restore power to output side of controller then go to ON with red knob to re power the pv input to controller.  Does anyone who has done the reboot disagree with this sequence or offer a correction?

 

Thanks,

 

George


George and Gretchen


Gig Harbor, Wa.


Hull Number 178

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George,

 

First off, thank you for offering to share your experiences with the Blue Sky gear.

 

I want to take a moment to confirm the problem as described in your initial posting to this thread.  As I understand, your Battery Capacity screen would record a less than full percentage, such as 75 percent, and your monitor would not show your system returning to 100 percent unless you were plugged into shore power.  Is that a correct statement of the problem?

 

It will be important to continue our work on the solar system without the use of shore power.  I will add, it is important to the life of the AGM batteries that you not draw down the Battery Capacity reading to 50 percent or less.  Also, you should be cautious about dropping the volt reading on the Battery Volt/Amp screen to 12.1 or less. (This knowledge was obtained from the Technical Support Engineer at Trojan Battery Corporation.)

 

As an aside, when you are connected to shore power or when running a generator, the inverter would be regulating the voltage to the batteries at a level of 13.5 volts.  That process would mask any efforts to identify the solar system issues.

 

Your observations indicate you have obtained a reading of 21.3 volts coming from the PV array to the controller.  I assume you obtained that reading from using your multi-meter on the controller terminals after removing the controller cover panel.  Is that correct?  You also indicate a reading of 13.2 volts.  I assume you used your multi-meter to obtain the voltage going through the controller to the batteries.  Is that correct?  I assume this work was performed without shore power.  Correct?

 

You also indicate the Charge Status light (I assume you are referring to the light on the monitor panel.) remains lite for an extended period.  This would indicate you are in Bulk status regarding your charge cycle.

 

At this point could you describe the values on two screens?  Battery Capacity and Battery Amp-Hrs From Full.  I believe your goal will be to restore the Battery Capacity to 100% and Battery Amp-Hrs From Full to 0 without the use of shore power.  (Sorry if this approach is too basic, I am just attempting to help the gentle readers who might be following along on this thread.)

 

As the PV array sends power through the controller to the batteries, we hope to see three variations as indicated on the monitor.  (It is important to focus on the Blue Sky IPN ProRemote monitor, since that is the device you need to have operational at the end of your work.)  The monitor should show:

 

1.       Fluctuation in the volt reading on the Battery Volt/Amp screen.

 

2.       Changes in the Charge Status light indicating progression from Float to Acceptance to Bulk within the charge cycle. (Please notice markings on the monitor panel for each phase in the cycle.)

 

3.       Increase in the percent for Battery Capacity with the offset reduction in the Battery Amp-Hrs From Full.

 

It would be valuable to minimize too many interventions until we can record the before, during and after readings.

 

As recordings are being collected, you might take a moment to reading the information within the technical manual for the monitor (Blue Sky IPN-ProRemote).  We may need you to record the values within the parameters controlling the transition from Float to Acceptance to Bulk.  More on that later.

 

George, it would be wise to contact Boz at some point in the future since he may be very helpful to you.  I also hope Steve (ScubaRX) will jump on this thread as time permits.  The work you are performing will be valuable in any communication with Boz or Steve.  If possible, you might consider posting pics to confirm your observations.

 

So far so good?

 

Buzzy

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Buzzy


2016 Oliver Elite II - June 9, 2016
2016 F150 Lariat 3.5L EB, Max Towing

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George,

 

I see nothing incorrect in the process you have used to “reboot” the solar controller by using the “red knob” and one of the breakers.  To help those readers who are following along, I have attached a brief video I created and cued it up to the point at which I identify where you find the “red knob” and breaker.

 

 

Does this video identify the components you have noted above?

 

George, I apologize for being imprecise in my use of the term “Reboot”.  I was attempting to describe my efforts to force the migration of the controller though the charge cycle by manipulating the parameters via the monitor.  This will all become clear if we need to get to that point in our work.

 

Buzzy


Buzzy


2016 Oliver Elite II - June 9, 2016
2016 F150 Lariat 3.5L EB, Max Towing

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Buzzy- Thanks for posting all of this info. I haven't had any trouble with my BlueSky equipment, but if I do, this will be very helpful to look back to for reference.

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GrayGhost


2015 Legacy Elite II Hull # 98


2016 Dodge Ram Laramie EcoDiesel


 

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GrayGhost,

 

Thank you for your comments!  I do hope any readers of this thread understand I absolutely love both the Blue Sky equipment and my Ollie.

 

As an owner coming up on my one year anniversary, I am discovering how two aspects of camping can result in 95% of my maintenance issues.  The first is environmental conditions such as; sun, salt, dust, rain, etc.  You cannot avoid these and still have fun, so you just need a plan for preventive or ongoing maintenance.  The second aspect pertains to the “rocking and rolling down the road”.  Unless you plan to camp in a Walmart parking lot the rest of your life, you will cause a jarring effect on the Ollie components.  This aspect can have multiple examples, but in the Blue Sky equipment the loose wire I discovered could be directly related to my love of traveling on dirt roads with pot holes.

 

Keep in mind, I do not expect OTT to be able to discover these kind of issues, nor are they usually related to poor design within the components.  For me, they are just aspects of enjoying camping!  Like a full belly after eating a pound of bacon washed down with a six pack of Rebel IPA!  ????

 

Buzzy

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Buzzy


2016 Oliver Elite II - June 9, 2016
2016 F150 Lariat 3.5L EB, Max Towing

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I too would like to thank Buzzy for spearheading this discussion.  I know that his knowledge was hard won out of necessity but it is totally unselfish of him to share it so graciously.  And, while I'm at it, another big thanks goes out to Steve (Scubarx) for all his help and knowledge on similar items.

 

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Good news to report.  It appears that the solar charging system is now working as it should.

 

Here is a summary of what was done to resolve my problem:

 

* charged up batteries to 100% with shore power

 

* disconnected shore power

 

* removed pva input power from the Blue Sky controller using red manual knob

 

* removed battery power to Blue Sky controller with manual circuit breaker near the controller

 

* verified 0 volts on battery side of controller

 

* had 2 volts on pva side of controller, probably leakage through the switch or residual voltage in the controller

 

* left it unpowered for about a minute

 

* repowered battery side and then the pva side

 

* then let it do its power up routine.  It took a little time, maybe 2 minutes for things to stabilize and expected readings to return.

 

* note:  pv voltage with sun angle about 60 degrees from direct overhead and some clouds was 21.9.

 

I have left the controller cover off and will monitor through out the day tomorrow before I put it back on.  So far it is looking good!

 

My thanks to Buzzy for providing technical guidance and encouragement to proceed with troubleshooting.

 

I will provide an update if things change.

 

On Monday we are heading out to Cape Disappointment state park in southwest Washington state for 3 nights, solar power or not, (50 amp power available).

 

George

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George and Gretchen


Gig Harbor, Wa.


Hull Number 178

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George,

 

I am glad to hear your solar system is working!   Excellent work!  Thank you for sharing your experience.

 

One of the advantages of owning an Ollie is the community of owners.  When you buy an Ollie, you don’t just buy a piece of camping equipment, you buy into a village of happy owners.  Many of us enjoy learning new aspects of how our equipment works and then sharing that knowledge.  It is in the sharing that our knowledge can transition into wisdom.

 

With Blue Sky equipment, you have access to a whole set of metrics.  The key is understanding when the metrics are indicating a problem.  To add to the complexity, some metrics have prerequisites and can give a false positive until the system learns.  The system can also experience multiple interventions which mask the corrections needed.

 

Since you own AGM batteries, the following series of metrics may be of help.  I like knowing these values since a can gather the data at night when the controller has gone to sleep.  (I obtained this information from the engineer at Trojan Batteries.)

 

For the AGM batteries, you should understand the following relationship between battery charge (capacity) and volt reading.  100% = 12.84, 75% = 12.54, 50% = 12.24, 25% = 11.94, 0% = 11.64.  Your goal should be to keep your AGM batteries within the 100% to 50% range.

 

I can tell you from first-hand experience it is possible to draw the battery charge (capacity) down to 8.1 volts.  Since the controller requires a minimum of 9 volts to turn back on, how you resurrect the system can be a challenging experience.  In other words, I would not recommend you try that aspect of knowledge acquisition. ????

 

Please feel free to circle back if questions/concerns arise.

 

Have a great camping trip.  I have fond memories of kayak camping the San Juan islands of Puget Sound.  Beautiful section of the country!

 

Buzzy

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Buzzy


2016 Oliver Elite II - June 9, 2016
2016 F150 Lariat 3.5L EB, Max Towing

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George,

 

I almost forgot!

 

Let me shed some light on a metric which you will observe on the “Battery Volt/Amp” screen.  It is the “Amp” reading.  You would expect to see a value which could resemble “+XX.XA”.  This value can vary based on environmental conditions.  I typically review this value during the day when the controller is regulating power to the batteries.

 

The amps reading on this screen is the net charge amps going into the battery.

So as an example, if the 320 watts of solar power is producing say about 18V, then 320W/18V= 17.78 amps.  However; please keep in mind that in real world conditions, 320 watts of solar panels hardly ever produce their full power.

 

Knowing how this value is determine and what you might expect, could help you identify a problem.  Example being, a poor connection involving the shunt.

 

In case you are at a cocktail party and the question comes up regarding the calculation of net charge amps, now you know!  Aren’t solar systems fun?! ????

 

Buzzy

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Buzzy


2016 Oliver Elite II - June 9, 2016
2016 F150 Lariat 3.5L EB, Max Towing

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Bad news in the west.  The solar charger only works when the top/control panel is removed from the box.  When it is put back into the box it stops working.  I have duplicated this several times.  All connections seem to be good.  I have an e mail into Blue Sky Tech Support to get their input.

 

More when it happens...

 

George

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George and Gretchen


Gig Harbor, Wa.


Hull Number 178

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George:

 

Your description of the solar not working when the lid on the controller box is on, but working when the lid is off is what I experienced (see my earlier reply to your post.)   I've sent you a PM.  Feel free to call.

 

Russ

 

 


 


Russ & Mary Caslin


AZARCOFLGAIDILKYLAMIMOMTNMNCOKSCTNTXUTWYmed.jpg


 

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For the AGM batteries, you should understand the following relationship between battery charge (capacity) and volt reading.  100% = 12.84, 75% = 12.54, 50% = 12.24, 25% = 11.94, 0% = 11.64.  Your goal should be to keep your AGM batteries within the 100% to 50% range.

Buzzy,

 

Thanks for posting these numbers.

 

Before I ordered my 2016 Elite II, I did research on batteries, and ended up ordering the AGM battery upgrade. During my research I found a good web site http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm and they had a nice printable table for Voltage vs State of Charge http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/voltchart1.gif, and I posted it inside the pantry door.

 

The numbers on my printed table are quite different from your numbers. I searched the internet, and mostly found the same data as in my chart. However, when I looked at the Trojan Battery web site, I found your numbers for their AGM batteries. http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/TrojanBattery_UsersGuide.pdf.

 

Importantly, the numbers at the critical 50% point are quite different for deep cycle (12.06) vs. AGM (12.24).

 

I made new table in the same green / yellow / red style, if anyone with AGM batteries wants to print it out.

 

Thanks again, Buzzy,

 

David

AGM-Battery-Chart.thumb.jpg.23e6294c9cfbc05756069a68f00a42fe.jpg

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David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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One other thing about the Blue Sky system. Last week we spent four delightful days boondocking on BLM land on the Colorado River outside Moab. There would be no shore power, so before the trip I wanted to be sure that I understood the Blue Sky controller, so I could verify that it was charging correctly. Reading through the manual was tough, but I found the Blue Sky web site has good videos. http://www.blueskyenergyinc.com/faq/

 

The Programming Your IPN Pro Remote video was especially helpful for me. Note the Chapters button just to the left of the full screen button, that allows you to jump to the section you want.

 

David

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David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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