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Monday, July 24, 2017

Another charge controller failure

Last year I set up a small solar electric system for the shed at my beach. It was pretty simple: a 50 watt panel, charge controller, 12V deep discharge battery, and a 400 watt inverter. It was big enough to run lights, a radio, and could charge electronic devices like cell phones. It worked fine all summer and fall.

Sometime during the winter, the system failed. Due to my injured leg I haven't been making the trip to the beach much. Finally I felt good enough to haul some tools to the shed. It didn't take me too long to isolate the problem to the charge controller.

This was the second charge controller failure of the winter.

The one I had on my boat died, but that was no fault of the device. The fact that it spent the winter in solid block of ice was all on me. The failure of the one in the shed was a real mystery. It was on a high dry shelf all winter. Maybe the low winter temperatures were a factor, but that's the only thing I can think of that might have been an issue.

Before replacing it, I went on Amazon and gave the failed charger a two star review. Amazon asks you soon after you bought something what you think of it. Rarely do I give out reviews right away. I'd have given the charger a five star review then. It only avoided a one star because it worked for a few months and cold may have been a factor.

Since I'd already used my backup controller on the boat, a replacement had to be ordered. In a real grid down situation, there would be no replacement on its way from Amazon.

By the way, we just missed a major kill shot from the sun. A huge X flare shot out, but fortunately it headed toward Mars rather than Earth. It would have been strong enough to take down power grids and satellites.



  1. It's going to happen one day and then....oh whatever shall we do lol? I'll be fine, thank you very much. And so will you I'm sure.

  2. Speaking of the sun . . . we dragged out our fifteen year old Sun Oven and have used it this week and are learning to effectively use it. Our cottage is very small and it heats up fast when I cook indoors.

    I watched the instructional video showing how to boil eggs without water. dehydrate vegetables, even bake bread in it so am getting inspired to try it again. Better late than never.

    Just sending this link FYI as you may find it useful if you don't already have one. Can't believe how much they have gone up in price as I paid around $99 for mine way back when.

    1. Makes good sense to us it on sunny days so you can keep your house cool.

      Sun ovens looks solid and well built. Tempted to get something like that for camping/sailing.

  3. Overcast days are just slower. It is very well made and durable. We are in the high 90's with humidity to I don't want to heat up the house.

    They teach people in other countries how to purify water with it. They donate ovens to villages that have no fuel. One of the videos explains how they have a WAPI (a tube with wax in it) to show when the water is pasteurized.

    I was wondering if you could use it on your boat. He says the only part that will burn you is the interior pan etc and to wear mitts. The outside stays cool.

    So far I have cooked rice, squash casserole, okra combo casserole, and scalloped potatoes. I'm planning on trying bread next. It will also do pre-soaked beans but it takes a while.

    1. Probably work on the boat. If not there are other solar cookers that do.

  4. As for the sun flare, God is yet merciful.