Kestrel Controller Not Working

fiddleheadfiddlehead Solar Expert Posts: 29
I need some help. A customer purchased his own Kestrel turbine and controller. Asked me to wire it into his existing off grid system.

I did so per the manufacturers instructions and the controller works for about a week and the quits. The homeowner gets a second controller and changes it out (thinking we had a bad controller), same thing. After some troubleshooting and talking to the techs. at Kestrel, we decided to "clean up" the DC side of this customers system. I spent a day taking every connection apart and installing new breakers and wiring the way I like to do it. I did find some loose connections and some heated wires from loose connections. I thought we had figured it out with those bad connections, but no. A third controller worked for about a week.

His system consists of an Outback MX 60 charge controller for his 2000 watt solar array. He has a Xantrax mod. sine wave inverter. A couple of Exeltech inverters to individual circuits that require pure sine wave power. He also has a generac propane generator.

I haven't spent much time troubleshooting this system other than rewiring the Dc side and checking that equipment grounds are all connected at one spot. I guess I will really need to dig into it for him and was hoping someone out there would have seen this problem and it is a simple fix that we have just overlooked.

If you need more info about the system I will need to go up there to see because I did not supply any of his equipment.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!


  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,629 admin
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    From the Kestrel website about their charge controllers--they don't seem to special... They have a normal dump controller, and a second controller that switches from the battery bank to the dump load--which type do they have?

    Can you replace it with a Morningstar or some other dump controller? Just set the "new controller" to be a bit above the Outback Bulk charging voltage--I.e., only cuts in if the wind turbine is seriously over charging the battery bank.

    Are they getting that much charging current from their wind turbine where it needs the controller? Does the wind turbine charge and the controller fail to control... Or is the wind turbine failing to output?

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • fiddleheadfiddlehead Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    They have the one that switches from the battery to the dump. I would say we would need some sort of controller. The controller stops charging the batteries and applies the brake. I believe the turbine is working ok, but will need to really get into it more. I just received an email from him earlier tonight letting me know that it is not working.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    According to the website all you need is a dump controller. I'll hazard a guess the dump controller is shunting the solar and or the battery's and failing due to the overload.

    Probably what needs to happen is the dump controller / wind genny must be isolated from the battery bank and solar charging potential. A dump controller simple engages a fixed resistive load ... if you have more than the wind being diverted, the controller will fail

    So Wind should be isolated from the battery, either by a diode or controller ( TriStar would be a good choice ) and on the input to this controller is where the dump load should go not on the battery bank side.
  • fiddleheadfiddlehead Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    I'm sorry, I don't quite follow what you are saying, my apologies. I have enclosed the instruction manual for the controller. It is wired as they show in the diagrams.

    I like what you are saying about it shunting, just seems unlikely that three controllers are all having the same problems.

    Sorry, having trouble loading the file, too big. It is easy to find on the website though. I see the link below.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    The documentation doesn't show other charging sources to the battery ... My concern is that the dump feature may be overloaded if the solar is raising the battery voltage, you will have to contact the manufacture to confirm if mixing wind and solar charging is OK on the battery side
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    Seems to me like trying to use this with a dump controller for the wind and an MPPT controller for the solar might be a bit counter productive. For one thing, the solar controller probably cannot equalize (not that most solar systems have enough power to do so anyway...).

    I am not fond of that kind of setup at all, it is possible for a total disaster to happen unless you have the Kestrel isolated and fused from the battery bank. If the dump controller fails in shorted mode, funny things will happen. I have never been fond of dump load regulation anyway, but for some turbines it is the only option.
  • fiddleheadfiddlehead Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    Thanks for the help. I will post when I find the fix.
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    What is the model number of this controller ?

    The PDF files state that you MUST use a divert resistor along side of the controller.
    From what I read, the main unit appears to have a small dump load integrated in its circuitry, however, not nearly powerful enough to assume the load that's put into it causing it to shut down when a certain load is met.

    A morningstar charge controller would eliminate this issue. A TS-45 or TS-60 with digital display. Expensive, yes. Worth it, yes.
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  • fiddleheadfiddlehead Solar Expert Posts: 29
    Re: Kestrel Controller Not Working

    It does have a dump resistor that is seperate from the controller. The resistor is tied to the controller which controls when it is used.

    I just heard back from my customer that said the third controller had stopped working, then worked for a while and now does not work at all.

    I'm lost as what to check next.
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