Heat Is Often The Culprit

Fried Circuit Board

Whether you are working with household electronics, batteries, or solar components, heat is usually your enemy. When an electronic device quits working, the first and easiest check is to look for a burnt place on a cord, plug, or maybe on a circuit board. Soemtimes you may smell something “hot”, or electrical” before it burns up. When there is a place of high resistance, electricity pushes through that resistance and generates heat. That’s exactly how a hot water heater works. We want heat in a water heater or a toaster but they are made to handle it whereas a cord, plug, or circuit board is not. When they get hot, something will begin to burn.

Most electronic equipment has a built in fan. Some have a “heat sink” which is nothing more than a chunk of metal with fins on it to help dissipate the heat.

Keeping electronics in an air conditioned room or at least one with good air circulation will help them work more efficiently. I made the mistake of building my solar electronics system outside because I had seen one built by a professional that was outside. He was 400 miles further north than me and that make a big difference.

Here in South Georgia, the temps often get in the high 90:s and my inverter had to take a break to keep from burning up. It’s designed to throttle back when the temperature gets too high.

When I got a new inverter, I rewired the system so it could be inside and I’m much more comfortable with that.

This seems odd but solar panels put out the most electricity on a cold day. If you’re going to overcharge your system, it will probably be on a good cold winter morning when the sun is bright. In the summer when you need ac, you won’t be getting as much power but you will be getting longer days to generate power and more direct sunlight. My system seems to do better in the winter because my mini split shares the heating job with a wood burning heater. When the sun is out, we use the mini split and when it is dark, we use the wood heater. Occassionally, we use both.

In conclusion, try to keep your electronics cool. Make sure fans are not blocked or covered with dust. Check by touching to see if its too hot. Don’t close your equipmemt up in a tight place. Don’t let the heat get you down.