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Old 06-14-2015, 10:26 PM   #61
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Don't be surprised if they failed due to the heat buildup.
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Old 06-14-2015, 11:20 PM   #62
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Don't be surprised if they failed due to the heat buildup.
My first thought too. I searched, plenty about severe output reduction, but nothing about permanent frying.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:31 AM   #63
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Don't be surprised if they failed due to the heat buildup.

But that's a design flaw if that's the case. It's sunny...it gets hot.


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Old 06-15-2015, 12:57 AM   #64
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But that's a design flaw if that's the case. It's sunny...it gets hot. Jim
Conventional wisdom for conventional panels is a 1" airspace underneath for cooling. With semi flex versions I`m not sure, mfr should know(? any install instructions with panels). These panels were ok on canvas but that caused other issues, fixing which maybe led to excess heat build up.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:51 AM   #65
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But that's a design flaw if that's the case. It's sunny...it gets hot.
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Yes, quite true. I have two Unisolar flexible solar panels on the aft (not walked upon) part of my flybridge. i removed them from my canopy top because I could not prevent chafing. Anyway, all they have for ventilation underneath is a section of rubber rubbing strip about 2cm thick and 3cm wide longitudinally under the centre of each panel, and they are still poking out plenty 10 years down the track. Sounds like faulty panels to me.
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:42 AM   #66
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They advertise these things as being able to glue them to almost any surface. No mention of air gaps or ventilation. Even a normal house panel has to be cooking on a roof in the hot Phoenix AZ sun.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:58 PM   #67
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Are your eBay panels Chinese? Just about any product I've bought from eBay to do with solar, garden lights, deck lights etc have not even lasted a season. The Chinese will feed melamine to their children and their pets for a buck. They will happily sell us crap and then buy our land with the profits.

We are so stupid in the west, we have layers of product laws.

Sorry about the rant, I feel your pain over your dead panels.
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Old 06-28-2015, 09:06 PM   #68
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Maybe its not heat. I disconnected panels one at a time and the port panel output was zero. The middle was 85 watts( normal for 0930 in the morning) and the starboard panel was 5 watts. I think I have two failed panels. I have a message into the vendor. I will let you know what happens. These panels were hitting 320-350 watts three weeks ago.
My guess is that its not heat. The manufacturer engineer requested that I take resistance readings at night to test the diodes. It looks like diode failure. I am hoping they can ship me two new panels. They requested I take pictures of the ohm meter readings. What BS, and boy that was fun at night on top of the bimini with ten thousand NY mosquitoes eating me alive!

Panel 1 Starboard + to - OPEN -to+ OPEN
Panel 2 Center +to- .945 K ohm -to+ 68.7K ohm

Panel 3 Port +to- .490k ohm -to+ 2.18k ohm










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Old 06-28-2015, 10:06 PM   #69
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I'm afraid it's probably still a failure due to heat. Diodes typically fail when over heated. But if they warrant them that's all that matters.
However if they do replace them please take steps to ensure ventilation.
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:23 AM   #70
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The diodes are sealed in the junction box on top of the panel where the leads exit.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:36 AM   #71
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I'm afraid it's probably still a failure due to heat. Diodes typically fail when over heated. But if they warrant them that's all that matters.
However if they do replace them please take steps to ensure ventilation.
That may be, but a solar panel's purpose is to sit in the hot sun, and needs to be designed accordingly. Every panel I have seen in the past 10 years has blocking diodes, and they work just fine in the harshest conditions.
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:08 PM   #72
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And that is the point.
Unless I misunderstand the OP he's got a failure on all three units. So is it a quality issue or an install problem.
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Old 08-28-2015, 05:24 PM   #73
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Dave,

Now that you're underway again, any solar updates/observations? Have you received your replacement panels?
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Old 08-28-2015, 08:25 PM   #74
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Still waiting

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Dave,

Now that you're underway again, any solar updates/observations? Have you received your replacement panels?

Al, I am still hopeful that the eBay seller that I bought the panels from will replace the two bad panels. Apparently there is some trade war issue going on with China and the panels cant get through customs. I hope this isn't all a bunch of bull he's feeding me.
I still believe the setup I installed is a good one. I average 60-80 amp-hrs a day from the one good panel. If I can get three up and running I should get 180-240 a day in the summer months.

If the seller bails on me I will open the diode connection up(its filled with a rubber sealant) and see if it is the diodes and then replace them myself. If that doesn't work plan 'B' is to find another supplier with the exact same size and replace. I need the same size to fit the modification we did to the canvas.

As to all the comments on heat, I aint buyin it! Solar panels are cooked on hot roofs. Yes the panel output drops with heat, the panels don't fail because of heat. Mine just don't get that hot.
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Old 08-29-2015, 08:45 PM   #75
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Dont know if they will work for you, but its a start on how to find some replacement diodes.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/15amp-Bypass...-/130488969237

as for heat, yes the bypass diodes can short out when over heated, thus giving you zero output. If you end up replacing the diodes, use thermal epoxy to pot them. That will conduct their heat to the case much better than a rubber potting.

good stuff in here if you wanna learn some about them.
http://www.vishay.com/docs/89398/solarcell.pdf
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Old 08-30-2015, 08:58 PM   #76
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I have recently installed 820 watts of rigid Panels. so far I have seen a Peak of 747 watts. I have been averaging 3 kilowatts a day. On a full sunny day with low batteries I'm sure it will produce more
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Old 08-30-2015, 11:29 PM   #77
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I have recently installed 820 watts of rigid panels. so far I have seen a peak of 747 watts. I have been averaging 3 kilowatts a day. On a full sunny day with low batteries I'm sure it will produce more
Wow, that's very good. I figured my semi flexible would put out half of its rating, but panels seem to do much better than that. Yep, the technology is coming along.
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:43 AM   #78
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Dont know if they will work for you, but its a start on how to find some replacement diodes.

15Amp Bypass Blocking Diode for DIY Solar Cells Panel | eBay

as for heat, yes the bypass diodes can short out when over heated, thus giving you zero output. If you end up replacing the diodes, use thermal epoxy to pot them. That will conduct their heat to the case much better than a rubber potting.

good stuff in here if you wanna learn some about them.
http://www.vishay.com/docs/89398/solarcell.pdf

Thanks WB, this why I love TF!!
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Old 10-13-2015, 06:50 AM   #79
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Update

Well here we are at Joe Wheeler SP in Alabama. I purchased some new diodes for the panels so I could attempt a repair. I dug out the RTV encapsulation on the two failed panels and took readings. The STB panel had no output before I removed the RTV but after, it suddenly was working great. I checked the diodes and they were fine. Not sure what the issue was but I now have two working panels and we are hitting 170watts at midday. It was probably one of the MC4 connectors. The port panel has full 31vdc output at no load but goes to 19 volts and only 5-10 watts when loaded. The diodes are fine. Haven't come up with any possible cause when doing my internet research. I would appreciate any insights TF may have. Looks like I will replace the port panel.

The eBay seller, Discountsolar has stiffed me on replacements or a refund. He strung me along saying he was getting replacements and then he stopped responding to my communications. That's the down side of going cheap on eBay.
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:03 AM   #80
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Dave I am glad that your panels are working again.
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