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2016 242 LSE Solar Panels Inop


Well-Known Member
Lebanon, Oregon
Boat Make
Boat Model
242 Limited S E-Series
Boat Length
We bought our 16 242 LSE new in early 2017, and had it on the water nearly every week last summer. Much of the time was spent floating, as by the end of the season it had just shy of 60 hours on it. Other than the Connext ERR issue, losing a couple bolts from the trailer fenders and a cupholder trim ring, and having to replace a poorly crimped speaker cable connector, the boat has been trouble-free.

Due to the oldest kid graduating college in May and the middle child graduating HS the first week of June, we didn't get on the water until a few weeks ago. The first outing was short, as we ended up getting caught in a thunderstorm - very unusual for these parts. The next weekend, after about three hours of floating and listening to tunes, the low battery alarm sounded. I started the engines without issues, so I turned the key off and we floated a bit longer.

We floated for much longer periods last summer without issue, but I figured the house battery must just be a bit low since we had only put a few minutes of run time on the clock the first couple outings, as we didn't have the kids with us to board and tube. And, I may have neglected to put a tender on the batteries over the winter, so the house battery being weak wasn't a surprise.

We spent a few days over the 4th on the lake, and did plenty of boarding, but still ran into low voltage issues on the house battery. I've not done the DVSR mod, so Connext is pretty useless in terms of telling me what's really happening with voltage, but I brought my multimeter so I could do a little troubleshooting. I was able to confirm that the engine charging circuit is working fine, as is the DVSR, but the solar panels weren't putting out nearly what I expected to see. In full sun, at the panels just beyond the diode, I was getting half a volt. Huh?

Once I got home, I pulled the panels off to do a bit more testing. The first thing I noticed was a pretty sub-par job on the wiring, obviously someone was a bit too aggressive when stripping insulation. Not that I haven't done the same thing myself, but I certainly wouldn't have sent it like that.

After getting the panels off and testing them individually, there was no resistance across the terminals, and neither panel was providing any output. However, If I apply pressure to the lower corners of each panel, bending them slightly, they provide 17 VDC, as per spec. Apparently there's an internal connection failure on both panels, which seems rather odd. At first I was thinking that the exposed conductors inside the wiring box had created enough of a short circuit to cause the panel to fail, but given that both panels have the same problem I'm inclined to think there was a problem in production.

My hunch is that the panels have never worked, but given that the battery was fresh last year I just didn't notice. Sure would be nice if Connext provided some real battery info.

I'm assuming I won't have any trouble with a warranty replacement, we'll see what the dealer says tomorrow.