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Please see our installation diagrams here
Solar panels work on direct sun hitting the solar panel, they need direct sun light to generate power, so ensure you are testing on a good sunny day without any shading on the panel.
Shading of just a small part of the panel has a large affect on its output.
Winter or cloudy days only allow a small amount of sun light to reach the panel so you will see far less power in these conditions.
To check your panel with a multimeter please use the guide above under "How do I test my Solar Panel"
Often people think they are no longer getting power from their panels when the batteries are full. Power is only pulled from solar panels when it is required, if the batteries are full the controller will not be pulling power from the panels.
Charge controllers have staged charging cycles for a set number of hours, so you might see lots of power from the panels in the morning and then they reach a 2hr float charge and then don't give out more power. This is totally normal and how it is designed to work.
Solar works directly from the amount of sun that reaches the panel. If you are getting less power check to see if the panel is dirty.
Dirty - Panels that are laid flat don't get cleaned properly by the rain like panels on an angle so if you have flat panels you should clean them every now and again to ensure best performance.
Shaded - If you are on a boat or van make sure you have parked so that the panels are not shaded. Shading on only a small part of 1 panel will affect the whole solar array so even if you have just 1 cell shaded that will affect all of your panels efficiency.
It is a good idea to read our Battery Maintenance Guide here
Check the breakers and fuses on the DC side from the batteries to the inverter.
Check any breakers and fuses on the AC side, including the fuse inside the AC plug that is connected to the inverter if it has a 3 pin plug plugged into the inverter.
Some smaller inverters have fuses on the inverter as well, double check to see if your's has one and check if it has blown or not.
Reboot the inverter to see if that corrects the problem you have.
Most of the time this will fix your problem. If it doesn't then please continue with the next questions below to help.
Inverters are set to cut out with low battery voltage in order to protect your batteries from over discharge. If your batteries are low the inverter will cut out. If you are trying to draw a large current this will make your battery voltage drop and it may drop below the cut off point so the inverter cuts out.
With larger Outback and Victron inverters you can program the cut out point to be suitable for your system.
For smaller inverters this is usually set around 11V-12V or 22V-24V mark, check the specs for your model to see what it is set to.
Check the breakers or fuses on the DC side between the batteries and the charge controller.
Also if you have breakers or fuses between the solar panels and the charge controller check these as well.
The First thing to do is to reboot the controller to see if that corrects the problem you have.
Most of the time this will fix your problem. If it doesn't then please use the other questions below to help.
Check all the cables and connectors to ensure that there has not been a problem with them. Cables can have rodent damage or chafe and become warn, and connectors can get corroded or have water damage.
Often people think they are no longer getting power from their panels when the batteries are full. Power is only pulled from solar panels when it is required, if the batteries are full the controller will not be pulling power from the panels as the batteries are full. Charge controllers have staged charging cycles for a set number of hours, so you might see you get lots of power from the panels in the morning and then they reach a 2hr float charge and then don't give out more power. This is totally normal and how it is designed to work.
The charge controller requires a higher voltage on the Solar Panel (PV) side than the voltage it is trying to charge at. If the voltage is too low from the PV it will not be able to charge.
EG: on a 24V system you have 24.2V reading from the PV, but this is under the 28.8V which the controller will be wanting to charge at. Also once current is drawn from this the voltage will drop. You would want to be seeing at least 32V on the PV side of a 24V system.
MPPT controllers can take strings of usually 100V - 150V (check the specs of your controller). This means you can run 2-3 panels in series on most systems which will bring the voltage up for the controller.
If you have a long cable run from the panels to the controller you may be getting a lot of volt drop across the cable and losing power.