How to Troubleshoot a Solar Inverter?

How to Troubleshoot a Solar Inverter?

No matter how expensive and robust your solar inverter is, it can still malfunction sometimes. Choosing a reliable and well-reputed brand like Bahoo Power guarantees minimal chances of malfunctioning.

In some cases, the equipment (like solar panels, batteries, and cables) connected to the solar inverter can also cause a malfunction. But before you can get rid of the problem, you first have to identify the problem.

Usually, the solar inverter’s self-diagnostic auto-detects the error and notifies the user, but in some cases, it fails. This usually happens when the problem is either undetectable or external equipment is causing the problem. In either case, you must be aware of all common problems to remedy the inverter.

Common Problems And How to Troubleshoot Them
Let’s discuss all the problems that commonly occur in solar inverters and how to troubleshoot them.

Software Glitch And Voltage Spikes
Almost all modern solar inverters have an LCD that notifies the user of possible errors. The user manual contains a list of errors with their corresponding error codes. Whenever a problem occurs, the LCD displays the corresponding error.

Solar Inverters Display Error Code on the LCD

Sometimes, the error is simple, and interpreting it from the user manual helps resolve it. But if you are still trying to figure out the problem, I suggest you restart the inverter once; sometimes, it is just a glitch in the software, and it auto-resolves with a restart.

A common issue with inverters is that their circuit breaker turns off. It usually happens when the inverter detects a spike in the voltages. Restarting the inverter and turning on the circuit breaker usually solve this problem. However, if the system has detected a different fault or the fault remains, this solution may not work.
I recommend consulting a professional if you cannot diagnose the problem. It is unsafe to keep turning the inverter on when it is faulty.

Not Providing Enough Power
If your solar inverter is not providing enough power, the problem could be with the solar panels and the rest of the equipment. Solar panels do not do well on cloudy days, and since they do not generate much DC power, the inverter cannot process enough DC power to provide AC power.

Solar Power Systems Do Not Do Well on Cloudy Days

But in some cases, if the solar panels’ voltages mismatch or any connections loosen up or rust, still, the performance of the inverter reduces. Moreover, solar inverters have a limited life; their performance reduces as they age.

If your solar inverter is not doing well even when it is sunny outside, disconnect your inverter, panels, and batteries. Check all the connections and thoroughly clean them.

Solar inverters often heat up when they are working at full capacity. They are equipped with fans for auto-cooling, and the software regulates their capacity, which keeps them from reaching unusually high temperatures. However, external conditions also impact their temperature.

If a solar inverter is installed in a congested space or warm area, it may keep heating up. This is because the inverter also dissipates heat, adding to the external heat and keeping the inverter warm.

If the temperature rises beyond the inverter’s capacity to cool down, its fans may never stop working. Moreover, the inverter heats up more than usual and can also stop working, leading to a shorter lifespan.
Ensure your inverter is placed in a cool, dry, and shaded place and the inverter’s fans are working properly.

Not Charging Batteries
If your batteries are not charging, the problem could be with the batteries. Most solar inverters are designed to charge batteries only if the voltage is above a certain threshold. But some batteries fail to maintain that threshold if they are not used and charged for a long time or if they have reached the end of their life.

It is also essential that the battery and the solar inverter are compatible. Solar inverters and batteries come in a variety of specifications, and not all of them are compatible with each other. If a solar inverter is designed for 12V batteries but is connected to 24V batteries, it may not charge them.

Another possibility is the connections between the solar inverter’s output and the battery are either loose, rusted, or inaccurate. If the connections are loose, tighten them; if the battery terminals or connectors are rusted, clean them. Check the polarity or connections; inverters do not charge batteries if the polarity is reversed.

Earthing Leakage
Inverters can give an electric shock and affect connected appliances’ functioning if they are not properly earthed. It can also lead to permanent damage to the inverter and other appliances and can also cause a serious hazard. Ensure your solar inverter is properly grounded.

Improper Earthing Can Malfunctioning

Causing Interference With WIFI Signals
Though this is slightly uncommon, it occurs sometimes. Your solar inverter can cause interference with WIFI and cellphone signals. This usually happens if the inverter is not properly installed or is faulty.

In such a case, test whether the signals of your WIFI improve if the inverter is turned off. If you are sure about this problem, you can either move the inverter to a different place or get it repaired from the service center.

Precautions to Keep Solar Inverters From Malfunctioning
Always consider the following factors to keep your solar inverter from malfunctioning.
● It is properly grounded.
● It is installed in an airy, dry, and cool place.
● All the connections are right, tight, and clean.
● It is well-maintained and serviced from time to time.
● The equipment (solar panels, batteries, and accessories) connected with the solar inverter are well-maintained and healthy.
● The equipment connected with the solar inverter is compatible.

Final Thoughts
Solar inverters can malfunction for various reasons, and there is a solution to all common problems. Always consult the user manual provided by the company.

If you are unsure of the problem or if it seems serious, please do not try to repair it. Opening the solar inverter or mishandling it not only voids its warranty but can also permanently damage it and cause a hazard. Instead, take the inverter to the company’s service center or consult a professional.