006 (Medium)

I don’t know whether you can see this well enough. It is the DC Isolator on a five kilowatt PV Solar installation at a home in Arana Hills.

Alison’s neighbor rang as he is a regular customer. He had an urgency in his voice so I listened intently as I put the keys into the ignition. The neighbor had a PV Solar installation that was smoking at the switch thingy on the side of the house.

I got the address and started on the way with a bit of a rush. I may have even pushed past a few people on the way but the lights were good to me. “Sorry if I cut you off”.  I also told them to call the fire brigade if it caught fire.

When I arrived I was guided to the side of the house and could immediately see the problem was the DC Isolator for the PV solar unit. I remember some of these having been recalled and did not try to touch it as there could be hundreds of DC volts inside.

I went to the pool area and stood on the ladder for the pool slide which let me see that there was another DC Isolator on the roof, at the panels, so I took the Extension ladder off the van and quickly went up and turned this switch “off” and locked it with a cable tie. Then I came down and turned off the AC Isolator to the PV Solar supply and locked it with a cable tie as well.

The emergency was now over so I inspected the switch to see if there was still a risk of fire. It was cooling at this point so the threat of a house fire was gone. You can see that it has melted the switch components inside the switch housing and the switch on the outside was not connected to the mechanism inside.

Now the culprit. It seems that moisture was an issue as the conduit at the top of the switch was not connected into the switch housing. You can see there is no evidence of glue on the conduit and the heat mark where the fire inside the switch was getting oxygen. I was able to put my screwdriver tip straight down past the conduit into the switch area. I also found water in the junction box that was directly under the Isolator. You be the judge.

If you want quality workmanship from qualified electricians call Chris and Mason Barry from Barry’s Electrical of North Brisbane on 0418739860.