RV Solar Panel Troubleshooting - How To Tell If It's Working Or Not?

Question: I have a solar panel to maintain battery charging. How can you tell if it is working or not?

Robbie: First off the Sun must be out!!!!

You'll need to disconnect the positive at the battery and with a meter see if your receiving voltage from the panels through the controller. It should be over 13.0 volts

NOTE: You cannot have the unit plugged into 110V or the engine running. Also the unit will need to be sitting for a few hours on battery only.

If you can take a voltage reading coming directly from your panel's wires, which must be disconnected from the controller, the reading should be as high as 29 volts. (The controller is the component that regulates the volgtage from the solar panel to the batteries). This test is for full size solar panels. The test I've given you cannot be done on the really small solar panel that mounts on top of your AC Cover or one that connects through a cigarette lighter.

If you have 29 Volts to the controller and nothing coming out of the controller then the controller is bad. If you do have 13 plus volts coming out of the controller and not at the battery positive then you have a bad connection somewhere between the controller and your batteries.

I suggest you look into a solar monitor that installs on an interior wall and gives you a constant digital display of the charge going to your batteries.

Good luck,

Comments for RV Solar Panel Troubleshooting - How To Tell If It's Working Or Not?

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Jun 19, 2013
solar panel charging
by: rose

i have got a new controller for my solar panel. at first my batteries were run down below 4.oo so i put them on a charger and got them up to 11.00 . hook them back in to solar panels and new charge control. the first light was lite up saying panels were working. second light was on saying battery was charging with the read out. but then it started going down 11 to 10 to 9 and so forth till my batteries were dead.. what is wrong cked connections. all are good. but my batteries are draining ... any help would be so appreciated thanks

Jun 21, 2018
40 Watt Suitcase Solar Panel NEW
by: John

I just bought a replacement controller for my solar panels, I hooked everything up just like the other one was. It does nothing, no led display, no voltage. My panels are putting out about 16 volts (checked with meter) but when connected to the controller, nothing. I my new controller bad? or am I doing something wrong?
Thanks for your help.

Jul 23, 2022
Trouble shoot solar system NEW
by: Mark

I installed a solar system in my astro van
2 / 100 watt panels on roof
Kit came with controller w blutooth
1500 watt inverter
200 ah lifepo4 brand new battery

I will pay someone with experience to
Check my system and make adjustments
Worc shrewsbury medway areas
My contact is 508-488-0351
Thanku! Mark B

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Robbie Warford, San Diego RV Repair

Hi, I'm Robbie. Welcome to Money-Saving-RV-Repair.com!

Like the name implies, this site is all about helping you save money while keeping your RV in tip-top shape--and that is all about you having the knowledge to do so.

I've been a technician in the RV industry for 30 years, operating out of San Diego, California. And let me tell you, I love my job.

But I also love empowering RVers with the knowledge they need to make the right decision on repairs, or to make the fix themselves--and that, my friend, is the reason for this website. I hope you enjoy.

Or, learn more about me, my RV service practice, & this website here.