This document provides instructions to help eLynx customers identify and resolve potential causes for low battery voltage conditions. eLynx devices use a solar panel and battery to supply power for 24/7 operation. During sunny days, the solar panel is sufficient to fully power the system while also charging the battery to capacity. During periods of reduced light (e.g., cloudy, rain, snow, night, shade) the battery uses its stored power to make up some or all the power deficit from the solar panel.
Sometimes a device may begin reporting lower than usual battery voltage ratings or stop communicating altogether. This could be due to several different causes, the most common of which include:
- Solar panel - Supplying low or no power due to lack of light from debris, shade (including nighttime), position, connection, or degraded performance over time.
- Battery - Supplying low or no power due to lack of solar power source, faulty battery, connection, or degraded performance over time. One of the most common symptoms is if the system stops communicating at night.
If you are experiencing low battery voltage issues with your device, please review the following sections to identify and troubleshoot possible causes.
For reference, the primary components of the device are shown in the following picture:
- Charge controller
- Terminal strip
Step 1: Confirm that the charge controller is receiving power from the solar panel.
The charge controller is used to receive power from the solar panel, charge the battery, and supply an electrical load to the terminal strip so that other devices (e.g., modem) may draw power from it.
The charge controller has an information display that has helpful data about the flow of power in the system:
- Voltage - The measured voltage being received from the solar panel, normally between 13 to 14 volts (V).
- Solar panel icon -- Indicates the charge controller recognizes that a solar panel is attached and supplying power.
- Battery icon -- Indicates the charge controller recognizes that a battery is attached and receiving power.
- Light Bulb icon -- Indicates power is being sent from the battery to the terminal strip to power other devices.
During normal operation, the Voltage will show between 13-14 volts, all three icons are visible, and arrows between the icons show that power is flowing as expected.
If one or more of the above items on the charge controller is missing or lower than expected, then that may indicate the source of the problem to be investigated.
Step 2: Confirm that the solar panel is properly positioned and connected.
If the solar panel icon is not visible, then it is not working or delivering power. Check the following:
- Position - Check that the solar panel is properly positioned to receive sunlight (i.e., facing south, facing upwards at around a 30–45-degree angle, has not been knocked over or moved).
- Debris Cover - Remove any debris that may be covering the solar panel cells (e.g., snow, dust, grass, leaves, etc.).
- Light Reception -- Check the solar panel is receiving sunlight (i.e., not in shade, nighttime, cloudy, etc.).
- Connections - Check that the cable from the solar panel to the enclosure is intact (i.e., not cut or damaged) and its three wires are properly connected to the terminal strip.
Step 3: Confirm that the battery is working properly.
During normal operation, the battery will receive power from the solar panel, build and hold a charge level to maximum, and deliver power to the system to operate the modem. The charge controller should display the following battery information:
- Voltage level reading between 13 and 14 volts
- Battery icon is visible
- Battery icon charge level (i.e., horizontal bars) shows as full or near full.
Batteries may sometimes be defective or begin to fail over time and can no longer hold a charge. Troubleshooting symptoms may include:
- Voltage level less than 13 volts -- If the voltage level is less than 13 volts and is declining over time, this may indicate the battery is losing its ability to hold a charge or deliver sufficient power.
- Low or empty battery icon or power loss at night -- After a full day of sunlight, look at the battery icon on the charge controller. It should have several bars showing the battery's charge level at or near "full". If not, this means the battery is either not receiving enough power from the solar panel to charge during the day, and/or the battery may be losing its ability to hold sufficient charge to power the modem throughout the night.
- Battery icon not visible -- If the battery icon is not visible on the charge controller, then check the connections to the battery terminals and verify that the battery cable wires are properly inserted into the terminal strip ports. If the connections are secure, then the battery may be dead or defective.
To test whether the battery can deliver power:
- Disconnect the solar panel by unplugging one of the solar panel wires from the terminal strip (i.e., flip up the respective terminal connector port and gently pull out the wire temporarily).
- Ideally this test should be performed at the end of the day when the battery should be at or near maximum charge.
- If the voltage on the charge controller is 12V or lower and/or drops quickly within a few minutes, then this is an indicator that the battery may be defective.
- IMPORTANT: Remember to re-insert the solar panel wire into the terminal strip after testing is finished!
Please contact eLynx Support if you continue to experience low battery voltage issues after performing the above troubleshooting steps.