The other day I had my first semi serious problem with my solar panel system. And even though I fixed it I still don't know why it happened.
About lunchtime I noticed that my Bogart engineering battery system monitor was showing that the batteries were discharging instead of charging, and since it was a bright sunny day I knew something was wrong. Thank goodness I had the monitor or I probably wouldn't have known it was happening until the batteries were dead.
I went out and opened up the front storage area of the Arctic Fox where the solar controller lives and checked a few connections with my electrical tester and quickly figured out the solar panels were putting out plenty of power but it wasn't getting to the solar controller.
Between the solar panels and the solar controller I had installed a fuse box just like you're supposed to. This fuse box, that I bought from Home Depot, is made for fusing home air conditioners and is relatively small and light and perfect for fusing the solar panels. It also acts as a way to quickly and easily disconnect the solar panels from the rest of the system.
For some reason one of the contacts inside the fuse box had overheated and not only melted some of the plastic around it but had welded the contacts together. all of these shenanigans blew the fuses and disconnected the solar panels from the system just like it was supposed to.
The only way to fix this was with a new fuse box so I hot footed it to the nearest Home Depot and bought another fuse box. Thank goodness I wasn't boondocked 30 miles from the nearest town or my level of comfort would have taken a serious turn for the worse.
This time I bought a higher-quality air-conditioning fuse box because when I first installed the solar system I think I bought the cheapest thing that had and maybe that had something to do with its premature failure. I paid about $30 for the new one, which is about twice as much as I paid for the first one, and it looks way sturdier than the old one so I'm hoping that will fix the problem, because not being an electrician I wouldn't know where else to look.
I had it all fixed up and working properly again in a couple of hours and everything's been working normally since then. Just keep in mind this problem had absolutely nothing to do with the Arctic Fox and its reliability, this was a system that I had installed myself with the full knowledge that my electrical abilities are normally limited to changing light bulbs.
The old fuse box before I finished removing it
You can see how the left side contacts are overheated and melted.