Kyocera Solar panels

Submitted: Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 06:33
ThreadID: 123729 Views:5007 Replies:7 FollowUps:2
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We seem to have a problem with our Kyocera 120watt panels of 2002 vintage.
As we were mostly in parked locations with battery charger operation. Now we are travelling off road our max panel charge is 12.4 amps from four (4) 120 watt panels suppling 3 glass matt batteries installed by BT in late 2005

The 12.4 amps was when batteries were down to 12.2 volts and about midday in Middle Lagoon north of Broome at about 32 degrees.

Please can any one help
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Reply By: Motley - Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 08:19

Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 08:19
I have limited technical knowledge on this subject, but my experience says you should be seeing something around 25amps on the reading on the Pro Star.

Suggest that, if possible, you cover one panel at a time with a blanket and see what it does to the reading. If no change when you cover a panel, that should at least point to a faulty panel or a faulty connection.

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AnswerID: 571890

Reply By: Geriatric Gypsys - Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 09:20

Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 09:20
we had to replace three panels of a similar vintage which was done under kyocera warranty as they apparently had a bad batch about that time.
The tell tale sign on ours could be seen by looking thru the glass at the end of the panel where the silver connectors are located, the faulty ones had a rusty burnt mark on them.
It was a slow process to change them over as they had to be sent back to sydney
from the west.
for kyocera to check before they would send replacement panels back.
hope this is some help

Regards Rex
AnswerID: 571891

Reply By: Deleted User - Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 12:47

Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 12:47
When I fitted an extra panel I removed the cover from the junction box which connects all panels. Water had got in and once in it cannot get out with the result the electrical connections were badly corroded. I reterminated them and sealed the cover with silicone. I would suggest you start your diagnosis by inspecting the box if just for peace of mind. You will have get on top of the roof to do this.
You have two panels not working. It is unlikely the solar controller is faulty.

E r n
AnswerID: 571892

Reply By: Sundy & Cyclone - Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 18:52

Friday, Jun 08, 2007 at 18:52
We also had similar problems with 2 of our 120 watt Kyocera panels and went through the process of covering them as motley suggestedand the answer was immediate.
Unfortunately, because we were not the original owners of the van and therefore the panels, Kyocera would not honour the warranty as it is only extended to "the original owners of the panels! ".
So we ended up buying a couple of russian made panels which so far are working well (now it's our batteries that need attention ???????????),
Anyway good luck,
regards Tony.
P.S. I've been told that the "Rainbow Power Company." in Nimbin are very good and clued up on B.T.'s
AnswerID: 571893

Follow Up By: Burt and Mary - Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007 at 02:33

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007 at 02:33
Somebody ended up with 2 free 120w new panels replacing yours. That is nonsense that Kyocera would not replace the panels because you are not the first owner. Unfortunately you have been sadly ripped off on your Kyocera panels as well as those Russian panels as they are junk with low warranty according to the solar installer. The solar installer that changed over our faulty Kyocera panels had a pile of failed Unisolar probably 30 going to the dump and 6 of those Russian things. He could not get a warranty on those Russian panels despite been only 18mth old. We are not the first owner of our BT and there was no question about who was the first owner, the panels were swapped over and we paid for the removal and installation of replacement panels and fitting new junction box $200
I think I am correct is saying warranty has to be honoured under Australian law even if you are not the first owner. This scam was changed around 1998.
FollowupID: 848036

Follow Up By: Sundy & Cyclone - Wednesday, Jun 13, 2007 at 19:16

Wednesday, Jun 13, 2007 at 19:16
Actually nobody ended up with free panels at my expense as I still have the old Kyocera ones at home and intend following up the situation when we get home (in Cairns at the moment) in light of the recent information I have received on the forum.
Also our double sided russian panels which I installed are working very well and have done for the last 2+years and came recomended by 2 different solar specialists.
Regards Tony
FollowupID: 848037

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Jun 09, 2007 at 05:23

Saturday, Jun 09, 2007 at 05:23
All 3 or our Kyocera 120 watt panels that were fitted in May 2001 failed. Two were replaced at BTi about 2 years ago and the 3rd failed last year while in WA.
We had the last one replaced under warranty last September and there was no question of original owner.

The person who was supplying BTi with Kyocera panels back then was Rob Sharman of Tasman Energy who can be contacted on 1800 226626 and he then has to complete a claim form and submit it to kyocera in North Sydney.

The details that are required are the Model Number, Serial Numbers and Date of manufacture. Ours were Model KC 120 -1 dated 2000.10. To get to these details you will have to left the panel off the roof as the details at that time were being placed on the underside of the panel.

The easy way to check if the panels are putting anything into the system is to systematically place covers such as blankets over all but one panel and in turn check what if any out put is coming into the system.

We were told that we would have to send the panels to Kyocera in Sydney and if they arrived in one piece and were found to be faulty then they would be replaced. As we were going to be travelling through Sydney we delivered our faulty one, but as the required paperwork had not been submitted to them we were unable to collect the new panel and it was delivered to us in Melbourne about 10 days later.

The good thing is that Kyocera will replace your old 120 watt panels with new 130 watt panels. The man at Kyocera told me that their policy is to replace ALL of the panels as if some have failed the others will also, so make sure you explore this avenue. The old 120 Watt panel and the new 130 watt panels are both the same physical size.

The bad thing is that 4 by 130 watt panels WILL at times be putting out more than 30 amps and the Prostar 30 regulator is not big enough to cope. I replaced ours with the 40 amp regulator that BTi are now fitting to all new vans.

The problem with the panels is aparently something to do with the conductor that they used for a period inside the panel.

Good Luck.

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AnswerID: 571894

Reply By: The paca people - Saturday, Jun 09, 2007 at 05:31

Saturday, Jun 09, 2007 at 05:31
We had failures with two of our three 2002 manufactured Kyocera panels; third panel was working at about 1/3 capacity and suspected consequential damage to the 3 Marine batteries as a result of not being ever fully charged.
A contributing factor to the un-charged state of the batteries was an original Shop error where the ProStar Solar Controller and the OmegaLec 240v battery charger agreed with each other that the batteries would be Gel but the batteries actually fitted were conventional led-acid and the charging algorithms of both Solar and 240v were not pushing enough voltage at the batteries.
It would pay to check your Solar Controller for the correct battery type selection [assuming you have a ProStar].
This is
The biggest factor that decides whether the battery is sealed or flooded to us, is the presence of watering caps. If the batteries have caps to add distilled water, we consider it flooded. If it has none, and is maintenance free (no caps) then it should be charged as a "sealed" battery.

We charge slightly lower, and disable the strong equalization on the sealed setting. Once water is evaporated from a sealed battery, it cannot be poured back in, hence the lower setting.

Make sure the PS is set to the sealed setting and you should be in good shape.
AnswerID: 571895

Reply By: Spirit Gypsys - Wednesday, Jun 13, 2007 at 08:15

Wednesday, Jun 13, 2007 at 08:15
Us like wise to all of the above,
our pre-owned van is a Oct 2001 and 1 panel failed in nov. 2005 and the other 2 in june 2006 . Kyocera replaced them under warranty when I told them they were purchased thru Bustracker.
I was suposed to pay the freight to sydney but put it on Kyoceras account with Starfeight as I had the warranty return authority no's to quote before I sent them back.

kyocera said they had a "bad batch" about that time.??????

Seems like there may have been a few bad batches , eh.!

AnswerID: 571896

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