Prostar regulator hot - smelling like burnig metal

Submitted: Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 03:29
ThreadID: 124917 Views:3694 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Kununurra: Once you drink water from the Ord River you will never leave Kununurra, or so they say.

With new panels in place, we set out into the NT, but found when sun was on the panels, a hot metal smell in the caravan.; isolated to the Prostar. A Prostar self test gave temperature at 48 degrees, when it has previous to getting the new panels, it been around 25 -28 degrees. This is well below the temperature cut out level for the Prostar, but with a smell like that, something is wrong, so we returned to Kununurra. When we were parked in shade and had little input, there was no smell.

Our BT originally had two panels only - so we don't know if the wiring or Prostar (30 amp) is adequate for the new panels.

Any Prostar or solar power gurus out there? There are no solar tradespeople in Kununurra.

Thanks

Motherhen

Still in Kununurra - where we stopped in the street and four people came to see why we were back in town!

Motherhen

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Reply By: dazmit - Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 20:12

Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 20:12
Hi Motherhen

The new 125W panels are more efficient than the old ones so if you had 4 of the new type then a 30Amp reg would probably overheat - a 40Amp would be better suited.

Other thing to check is the tightness of the terminal screws at the regulator , these could be a bit loose which would create heat.

cheers

Darryl

Brisbane
AnswerID: 575625

Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 00:44

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 00:44
Hi Darryl

Ours are 130 w - and they say with the 'margin for error' the Prostar 30 should be ok, however we have ordered a Tristar 45. Even with the panels covered (there is a small voltage coming in - maybe from through the cardboard) and the Prostar in town being checked over, i think there is still a trace of the hot smell there - or i am getting paranoid. It is not from the fridge area, nor from the battery area. All panels appear to be working correctly.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 02:56

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 02:56
Motherhen,

Have you got 3 or 4 of the 130 watt panels?

On our van we have 1 by 120 watt, 2 by 125 watt and 1 by 130 watt and I have seen 33amps coming in.

Brian
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Reply By: Agnes Lifestyle - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 05:59

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 05:59
I have noticed a similar smell in our van recently. Only occasionally and very strong but haven't been able to locate. Will investigate as we have had work done on the van.

Dianne
AnswerID: 575626

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 07:26

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 07:26
Hi Again.

Unless you smelt it coming from the Solar Regulator area could I suggest you look at the INVERTER.

If you have an 1800 watt Inverter it will have auto switching in which case when power comes from outside the van it goes to the Inverter and then up to the rest of the van.

We had a smell in ours and didn't find it until the external power stopped working. What had happened was that our Inverter had been changed over and when the wires were connected in the plastic terminal block one of the wires had not been tightened properly, and electricians will tell you that this will cause heat. Well eventually the heat melted the plastic so much that the connection was lost and I then tracked down the problem to the Inverter.

Luckily I was in WA at the time and went to see Roger Bunny who is an electrical engineer and he sorted out the problem with a $2.00 spaggetti cable conector from Dick Smith.

Brian
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Reply By: ChrisVal7 - Monday, Aug 04, 2008 at 02:29

Monday, Aug 04, 2008 at 02:29
MotherHen,
how is it all going over there? Any progress with it all?
Chris
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Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Monday, Aug 04, 2008 at 04:12

Monday, Aug 04, 2008 at 04:12
Hi Chris

Still in Kununurra! We ordered a Tristar 45, as it seems the Prostar 30 was inadequate. With usual Perth idiocy, instead of sending by air that day because urgent - when it didn't arrive, the lady rang - he had sent it express post. Whatsmore, obviously not that day - because i got a parcel from my daughter - 1 day out of Perth, quicker.

Expecting it to be similar (both made by Morningstar), we found it quite a different controller - so spent the next couple of days wiring & puzzling. Eventually yesterday rang that wonderful Ian Robinson of boatandcaravan in Qld- who we didn't buy it from as we could get it quicker from Perth. He set us on the right path. We still don't understand all the displays, but at least we didn't get the smell when leaving panels all uncovered today. The batteries will be dying of shock!

Meanwhile, as we were waiting for the Tristar, we ordered rear airbags for the F250 (there is a sag) - and we also needed an air filter rather badly, plus ordered another oil filter ready for next oil change (we have the oil). He ordered the filters to come with the airbags to save freight. When they didn't arrive, he rang (Perth again) - and found they didn't have the airbags so didn't send the order - never thought to say this at the time or order. None due in until early this coming week! We would go on without but for the air filter (although he can get that quickly from Darwin - but said NT has a public holiday this Monday).

The weather is heating up already - so not only have to decide about the airbags, but whether it will be too hot for us to tour central NT when we get there. We still have a bit to see here, and may even take a long run into Purnululu leaving the van here if we decide on the airbags.

The parcel from home was a new Telstra modem, on a different scheme, and so far it seems to work (been on line twice with it).

So things in the chook run are looking up - slowly.

Mh

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Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Monday, Aug 04, 2008 at 19:12

Monday, Aug 04, 2008 at 19:12
Hi Mother Hen.
I am so glad that things are looking up and that you are now able top see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, Val thought the regulator would have been marginal with your new panels. We replaced just one panel in Adelaide earlier this year, and we are now at our upper limit of regulator capacity.

Will it be too hot in central Autralia by now? - maybe not. We were scampering around there one year up until September and it was OK. Steadily gets hotter during the day, but remained cooler at night right up until we left in early October.

One place weloved in the centre was the West Macdonnells - particularly liked Ruby Gorge.

Good luckwith it all,
Chris
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Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2008 at 06:18

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2008 at 06:18
Hi Chris

We are going to Purnululu for a couple of days, while waiting for the elusive air bags and the filters we need. It will be a lot longer than going from Halls Creek as per my trip plan, but it will save us time in getting further along the road. I don't cope well in the heat, and need to do walks and climbs in cool weather. Our days and nights here are getting warmer, and this evening it is realy quite hot and humid. However i think we will still give it a go unless something else goes wrong, in which case my 'driver' will head for home driving 12 hour days.

Mh

Motherhen

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