I am in the process of building a cabin in Hawai'i with my partner Marina.

We have a work camp with a deep cycle battery and a an array of solar panels strung up in some trees.

solar panels suspended from ohi'a trees

The panels charge the battery through an mppt, but today we noticed that the battery wasn't getting charged and the system was only generating 0.1 amps despite good panel voltage and ample sunlight. At first I suspected a fuse so I opened up the mppt to discover a bit of corrosion on the upper left side of the board. This made sense because we've had a lot of rain the past few days and the mppt wasn't very well protected from the weather.

circuit board for the mppt

corrosion on the upper left of the circuit board

Poking around with the multi-meter, a via in the corroded area that was supposed to bridge a trace from one side of the board to the other wasn't electrically connected anymore. I used some alligator clips to manually bypass this area and hooked up the solar panel and battery connectors. With the temporary bypass in place, the mppt charged the battery normally.

To make the bypass more permanent, I cut a notch in the side of the circuit board with a hacksaw for a jumper wire to rest.

jumper wire resting in the notch on the front side

jumper wire resting in the notch on the back side

Next I started up the camp stove to make some coffee and to heat up the soldering iron. I first heard of this trick of soldering with a propane stove from my friend Dominic who lives on a sailboat in New Zealand.

heating the soldering iron with the stove

soldering the jumper wire in place

Then it was time to make some coffee.

making coffee

I put everything back in the case and the mppt worked properly again, pulling down 5.9 amps from the panels.

screwing the board back in to the case

mppt pulling down 5.9 amps from the panels

a bit of coffee

charging my laptop and the deep cycle battery