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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 9/28/2014

Building on the events of yesterday I have finally got everything relocated to the new shed. It's sure been a long time coming!

We got started bright and early again. I had digging work to do to get conduit lines re-routed for the new shed's penetrations, while Solar LeRoy mostly worked on getting the charge controllers and batteries all hooked up properly. With the one dead battery I was short a full string, so we sorted out the "worst" of the batteries (indicated by unusually low voltage measurements) and set up the system with fewer batteries overall but without the burst one (which was certainly dragging down the system's performance). By the end of the day we had gotten everything re-routed except for my internet connection (bad cable), so we checked all of our connections and test ran the generator again...

...And that's when one of the charge controllers blew up. All of the magic smoke went out in a big, sooty poof.

Well dang...that's not ideal. We checked some of the connections but everything seemed tied in properly. Our best guess is that either it didn't reset properly to expect a 48V system (they default to 12V) or that it was already weak and the stress of the move pushed it over the edge. No real idea at this point. Solar LeRoy has pulled it and will be talking to Outback about a repair/replacement; in the meantime the system can get by with a single charge controller (they manage the input from the solar panels). It's not as dire as losing an inverter as happened a couple of years back at least.

One interesting discovery was made during the all night generator run that I need to follow up on at some point. As I mentioned we didn't have time to get batteries hooked up yesterday thanks in part to the discovery of the burst one, so I ran all night on the generator (an EcoGen). I've noted before that I sometimes have flickering lights when running on the generator, but given the experience of last night I'm now not so sure it's the generator's fault. During the entire evening running on just the generator I had absolutely no problems with lights - no flicker, no strobing, nothing like that. This indicates to me that the generator is putting out much cleaner power than I thought it was, which in turn tells me that the flicker is being caused by Outback's handling of the generator feed.

But that's a puzzle for another time. For now I'm just happy I've got most things moved. Next weekend I've got to move the generator to the pad and presumably we'll replace that blown charge controller. After that then I can focus on cleaning up our mess and tidying things up for winter.

Steven in Colorado


Shot of the batteries on the new shelving. You can see my monitoring computer currently on the one shelf, and to the left the wires that OUGHT to be going to the blown up charge controller.

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