We’ve had our full solar capacity up and running for about a month now. Besides my son accidentally shorting out the fuse one day, everything was going well. Until the controller box melted.
We hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary when suddenly there was a strong smell of plastic. My son called me downstairs and we sniffed and sniffed, following our noses to the battery setup we have in the garage.
My son hopped up and turned off the power, but the smell was just as strong. Fortunately, my husband arrived home from work just minutes later and disconnected the panels from the setup.
To our horror, the controller box warped and melted right before our eyes. Our imagination got the best of us, and we thought for sure some sort of Decepticon would spring from the wall fully formed.
That didn’t happen. But we were in a pickle. We still had power from the fully charged batteries, but the energy from the panels wasn’t making it to the batteries to recharge them. So we needed a new controller box.
We tried to locate Shaggy, the guy who sold us our first panel, but as usual his business was closed and he didn’t answer his phone. So then we went to another guy that installs solar panels. He wasn’t really helpful. He said he didn’t carry the pieces but he could come out and look at the setup (for a fee). We didn’t need anyone to come and look at it. The melted box was obviously the issue.
We went to another lighting place. Lo and behold, the owner said they did have solar charge controller boxes in stock. However, he couldn’t find them on the shelves. He asked us whether our controller box was the correct voltage for our setup.
Concerned that we may have added too much with the fourth panel, we decided to check the information on the panels again. Each panel is 8.17 amps and the controller that melted was 40 amps, so theoretically, it should have been fine with four panels. I think maybe we need to add one more battery to the setup, but my husband is poo-pooing that idea.
By the time this guy “found” the controller he had in stock, my husband had already swung by Shaggy’s business again and was fortunate enough to find him there. Shaggy had a 30 amp controller box in stock.
My husband bought the new controller box which Shaggy charged $1,200 pesos for. He said the box cost about $30 online which would have made the dollar to pesos conversion about 600 pesos. Talk about price gouging.
In the meantime, I ordered a 60 amp charge controller from Amazon for about $30 with shipping. It will be here in a few days.
For me to work these few days while we wait for the new controller since it’s been delayed in customs, my husband installed the 30 amp controller box after disconnecting the fourth panel, since 30 amps would not be able to handle it. It’s working fine. No household appliances are morphing into Decepticons. And we learned a little more about solar energy setups.