Wicked. phantom load!

miketmiket Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭
 Got a. 1.1 amp phantom load Showing on my Bogart 2020.  Anything that ‘Could’ Create one,  is on a power strip and strips are all off.  magnum 4024 is set for. Search, 5 watts or more.   

Even There, when  all power strips are unplugged.    i have an mx 60 outback MPPT  C/C. To round out  the equipment list   4 616 Dekas. 

 i do have a 48 Volt string of BP 110 panels that show only 16% output in full sun.  
Anything unusual, relating to this possibly?



  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,609 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Do you have a clamp on ammeter to verify if there is any current flowI the Bogart could be out of calibration, not that I'm familiar with the Bogart, just a thought.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,170 admin
    Welcome back Mike!

    I am guessing the 1.1 Amp @ 24 volts is not the phantom load itself, but the Magnum inverter not going into search mode (25 Watts running, 7 Watts search):


    So... It is possible that your phantom AC loads could be capacitive (or even inductive)--If you have something plugged in that has line filters (capacitor network), you could be getting a current that is out of phase with the AC Voltage sine wave (capacitors have a +90 degree phase angle between voltage and current). This all gets down to that, technically, your AC loads could be drawing zero power (PF near 8.0), but you could still be drawing current--5 Watts (or possibly 5 VA--which "ignores power factor), could be keeping the inverter awake.

    Has anything changed? Is this always been happening, or did it just start? Did you change an inverter, add a (typically) electronic load (computer, laptop, TV, etc.) that may be drawing power.

    Do you have a Kill-a-Watt type meter... There is the Amp (and VA) modes that could help debug.

    Things to try:

    Unplug the power strips and any other loads one at a time (and/or kill breaker to each circuit) ... There are "filtered" power strips that may have capacitors for noise reduction, and could be drawing more than zero amps.

    Try setting the Inverter to 10 or 15 Watts for search mode (I presume you can program the inverter?). And see if it will go into sleep mode. I have seen the small 300 Watt MorningStar inverter with 6-7 Watt search mode... Larger inverters seem to default at 15 Watts (the few I happened to check specs on recently). It is possible that the inverter may not reliably detect 5 Watt even if loads are less (than 5 Watts) at that search setting.

    Regarding your solar panels... If you have just one string, you can test Voc and Isc on each panel (disconnected panel measure Voc--open circuit voltage; and short the panel with a 10 amp DMM or a DC Current Clamp DMM and measure Isc--Note, if MC4 connectors or similar, avoid connecting/disconnecting under load (or short circuit). Throw a dark tarp over the panel before plugging/unplugging. MC4 connectors can be damaged if arc'ed).

    Note that Voc is almost always at full voltage with any sun on panel. Isc is proportional to the amount of direct sun on panel. On clear/sunny day with panel pointed at sun, should be close to Isc (technically, I would say >50% of Isc). If have more than one panel, check each one for Isc quickly, typically you will have a mix of good and bad panels. Good panels will have the same Isc measurements (within 10% usually). Bad panel will be much lower (typically 50% or less).

    If you do not have a DC Current Clamp DMM, I would suggest you get one. They are the cats meow for debugging and understanding DC power circuits. There are decent ones at $100, and even "good enough for our use" at $50 on Amazon. Here is a sample link or two to start your search:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019CY4FB4 ($100 version)
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07546L9RT ($50 version)

    The problem with off grid systems, is that the charge controller will limit solar panel current if the battery is not discharged significantly, and/or if there are not big DC loads on the battery bus.

    If you have other strings of panels, then you can compare between the various strings and see what the rest are doing (assuming they are good). Which also raises the Vmp-array and Imp-array voltages for the various strings. If, for example, the Vmp-string between the BP and other parallel connected panels is >10% difference, then an MPPT controller cannot effectively get the best Vmp/Imp of each string.

    Then there is also the fact that many BP solar panels had problems with the J-Box connections... Here is a website that lists models that are under a class action claim (scroll down and click link to see affected models):


    You can go to the home screen of the above website and see some major failures.

    My panels did fail too, but I caught them before that got "that bad". Basically my Imp fell to 50% less than I typically saw (on my GT system), and if you looked close to the glass side of the panels above the junction box, many of the panels showed a light "coffee colored" stain over the J-box (from overheating).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,563 ✭✭✭✭✭
    BB. said:
    Welcome back Mike!

    The problem with off grid systems, is that the charge controller will limit solar panel current if the battery is not discharged significantly, and/or if there are not big DC loads on the battery bus.

    Not understanding why you would say this Bill, If the cc is in bulk it will output max current until the set-point unless limiting is set. If it is a problem I certainly have not heard of it, so thanks ;)

    The op should disconnect the mx-60 and test. That is avery old charge controller and a failure mode is it gets stuck in sweep and misses sundown. On a small system mx-60 can miss loads and be sweeping also.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,170 admin
    I did not see that the controller was in bulk... No voltages on the battery bus/details/etc.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    FWIW, I have two Bogart meters (#2025 IIRC), one for a 12v bank, and another for a 48v bank.  The 48v one also appears to have a small phantom load. 

    AFAIK, there's no way to adjust/calibrate current.
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • miketmiket Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭
      Thanks Bill for your Very comprehensive reply. For starts, the  inverter Magnum. 4024) does not seem to go into Search.   

      Tried every search setting. It is 10 yrs old now.      It had a transfer issue. 5 yrs back,   It may be a relay board, as I recall.

      i will unplug all strips and check again. The strips are all kinda old.   i unplug EVERYTHING when  Chasing Phantoms or shut down at nite.  
      I really. Only have a few ac devices, so  i look for the .2 amp “overhead” load from the idle magnum inverter.  If I see more. The hunt is on  
      all strings, but the BPs, are at spec.    The search continues.   
    Next step is to Swap out my DC supply conduit and,Run Cat 5 or telephone wireTo remote my magnum Controller to the house monitor location, located by the front door.  I like ‘one stop shopping’!  The only thing in the conduit is the Bpgart. line And  3 AWG 8 conductors. 

     Phantom check,  was post install of new batteries and solar Array expansion,  and after dark.   I may do a clean sweep of the old panels and sell off or donate the old Arrays.    The goal is identical strings of CS 310s x6. This will make best use of my insolation which. spreads peak collection over the days sun.  I face southeast and due to Trees, Earliest sun is on the west side and Tracks across the length  of the house trough the afternoon and late day.  almost a fixed tracker effect.  panels are in Portrait orientation. 

    More later! 

     Up and moving as a busy beaver! 

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,170 admin
    The tare (idle) load for that inverter is around 25 Watts or 1 [email protected] VDC (at least present production units). Search/standby mode is an average 7 Watts.

    So it may be the inverter is simply never going into search (when running, should be 25+xx Watts on DC bus... So at least within measurement accuracy, it seems there is very little AC load current or possibly even zero current.

    Dust and humidity on internal boards and components causing issues?

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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