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PV200 & PV210 (USA) Solar PV Tester Support & FAQs

Get the most from your Seaward PV200 and PV210 solar PV testers with this selection of text and video FAQs


We have created a series of FAQ videos to help you with any problems you may be having with your PV tester. Click here to download the PV200 or PV210 manual where you can find the complete list of operating instuctions.

If you are unable to find the answer to your problem below, please use the contact form to get in touch and we will be more than happy to help you.




PV200 & PV210 FAQ's


How do I disconnect the PV200/210 when a fault has occurred?

Note: Appropriate PPE, including arc flash protection, must be worn at all times when using the PV200/210.

The PV200/210 has multiple internal devices intended to safely disconnect the internal load from the PV system under test, however, it is possible that under certain fault conditions the load may not be disconnected internally. In this case, current will continue to flow after a test, even if the PV200/210 is switched off.

If the internal load has failed to disconnect, the PV200/210 will normally display an error message such as “FET” but if there is any doubt, the current flow should be checked using a separate independent device such as a DC current clamp.

Care should be taken when disconnecting the PV200/210 from the PV system in order to minimise electrical arcing and reduce any risk of damage. Never attempt to open any PV string fuses while the PV200/210 is connected to the PV system as this is likely to cause arcing and damage to the fuse holder.

If a fault within the PV200/210 is suspected, it should be disconnected from the PV system by disconnecting the PV test leads at the MC4 connector. Take firm grip of the red PV test lead, at an appropriate distance on either side of the MC4 connector junction, and swiftly pull the connectors apart. Separating the connectors as quickly as possible will reduce the amount of electrical arcing.

If the PV200/210 has failed or been disconnected under load it should be sent to an authorised service centre for repair.



How can I extend the auto shutdown period on the PV200 or PV210?

After 1 minute of being idle the PV200 or PV210 will turn itself off in order to conserve battery power. This auto shutdown period can be extended as follows:

  1. Turn the PV200 or PV210 unit off
  2. Press and hold the NULL key, then press both the ON/OFF (Riso and Mode) keys together. Keep holding the NULL key.
  3. The display will show “OFF” on line 1, and the turnoff time on line 2 (in minutes)
  4. Keep holding the NULL key and press the Viso key. Each press of the Viso key will increment the turnoff time.
  5. Increment beyond 10 to set the time back to 1 minute

Note: When displaying DC Operating Power the Auto Shutdown function is deactivated whilst DC voltage or current are detected. This will allow extended time for monitoring DC power.



How do I download the PV200 or PV210 to the DataLogger?

Connect the PV200/210 to PC using the USB cable. (This will create a COM port on the PC)

Run the Seaward Solar Datalogger application on the PC. Select the correct COM port. (Use the Help menu – Trouble shooting guide, to help finding the correct COM port)

Press the Recall key to put the PV200/210 into recall mode, press and hold the Recall key on the PV200/210 while in recall mode. After a few seconds the PV200/210 will transfer all its stored data to the PC.

By default the Datalogger application will save the data in CSV format. This can be opened using Solar Cert or Microsoft Excel. Note that each row of data will have the readings from the Survey 200R where possible.



How do I measure continuous resistance with the PV200 or PV210?

To make a single measurement:

  1. Connect the red and black test leads as shown.
  2. Hold down the Rpe button until the lock symbol appears.
  3. Pressing the Rpe key turns off the latch facility - there is no need to press the Rpe to take a reading, as the unit is constantly measuring when latched.
  4. The resistance between the test probes is displayed.


How do I measure resistance with the PV200 or PV210?

To make a single measurement:

  1. Connect the red and black test leads as shown.
  2. Press the Rpe key.
  3. The resistance between the test probes is displayed.


How do I measure the DC operating current of a PV installation with the PV200 or 210?

The PV200/210 can be used to measure the DC operating current of a solar PV installation as shown.

  1. Disconnect all cables from the PV test inputs (8 & 9 in figure 2).
  2. Connect the current clamp to the red – black 4mm probe inputs.
  3. Move the current clamp switch to the 40A position.
  4. Press the zero key on the current clamp for a few seconds.
  5. Place the clamp around the DC cable of the solar installation.
  6. Press the Viso key until the clamp icon (figure 3, icon b) appears on the LCD.
  7. The measured current is shown on the LCD next to the clamp icon.

Note: The Auto key is disabled whilst the DC power measurement is in use.



How do I measure voltage with the PV200 or PV210?

  1. Connect the red and black test probes to a voltage source
  2. The PV200/210 will automatically measure the voltage between the probes.
  3. The polarity of the voltage is shown using the icon to the left of the displayed voltage.
  4. AC voltages are indicated by alternating + and – symbols.


How do I null the resistance on the test leads of my PV200 or PV210?

The PV200/210 can automatically compensate for the resistance of the test leads using the following procedure:

  1. Hold the tips of the test probes firmly together as shown, ensure a good electrical connection.
  2. Press and hold the Rpe Null key.
  3. The measured resistance of the test leads is shown in the primary display until a beep is heard.
  4. The Rpe display will now 0.00 and the Null icon are illuminated on the display.
  5. All subsequent measurements will take into account the test lead resistance compensation until the function is disabled by pressing the Rpe Null key again.

Note: A maximum test lead resistance of 10Ω ohms can be taken into account. If the test lead resistance is greater than 10Ω an error beep will indicate that the lead Zero function has failed.

For ease of use, the PV200/210 will store the lead compensation when switched off and recall this value when next switched on. The stored value is only applicable to the test leads used when the compensation measurement was made. If the test leads are replaced the Rpe null function should be repeated using the replacement test leads.



How do I Pair the PV200 or PV210 with the Survey 200R?

The PV200/210 can automatically compensate for the resistance of the test leads using the following procedure:

  1. Make sure there are no other units operating nearby.
  2. Turn off both the PV200/210 and Survey 200R unit.
  3. On the Survey 200R, press and hold the On/Off keys, keep both keys pressed.
  4. On the PV200/210, press and hold the Riso and Mode keys, keep both keys pressed.
  5. To place the Survey 200R into transmit mode, hold the first and press the OK button to get a flashing triangle in the bottom left corner of the 200R display
  6. The Survey 200R will now send its “Pairing” signal. When the PV200/210 detects this signal, it will remember the serial number of the Survey 200R, and will look for that particular serial number in all future communications.
  7. When the PV200/210 has successfully paired, it will beep and display the serial number of the Survey 200R. This should normally happen within a couple of seconds.

Note: The top line of the PV200/210 display will now show the W/m2 icon.



How do I perform a continuous probe to probe insulation resistance test with the PV200 or 210?

  1. Connect the red and black test leads as shown.
  2. Press and hold the Rpe key until the lock icon appears on the display.
  3. The resistance between the test probes is displayed.
  4. Press the Rpe key to terminate the continuous measurement mode.

Do not connect the PV200/210 to a voltage source while performing the resistance measurement as this will blow the fuse located in the battery compartment.

The continuity measurement is not stored in memory with the automatic test sequence. Continuity measurements are stored as individual records that only record the continuity measurement.



How do I perform a probe to probe insulation resistance test with the PV200 or 210?

To make a single measurement:

  1. Connect the red and black test leads as shown.
  2. Press the Rpe key.
  3. The resistance between the test probes is displayed.

Note: Do not connect the PV200/210 to a voltage source while performing the resistance measurement as this will blow the fuse located in the battery compartment.



How do I perform an automatic test sequence (IV curve mode 2) using the PV200 or 210?

Selecting Automatic Test Sequence

The Viso key is used to select either the 250V, 500V or 1000V insulation test voltage, please refer to relevant standards for testing requirements.

The Mode key is used to select the required auto test sequence below.

ModeMeasurements
2I-V curve, Vo/c, Is/c, Vmpp, Impp, FF


How do I perform an automatic test sequence (IV curve mode 3) using the PV200 or 210?

Selecting Automatic Test Sequence

The Viso key is used to select either the 250V, 500V or 1000V insulation test voltage, please refer to relevant standards for testing requirements.

The Mode key is used to select the required auto test sequence from below.

ModeMeasurements
3I-V curve, Vo/c, Is/c, Vmpp, Impp, FF, Riso


How do I perform an automatic test sequence (mode 1) using the PV200 or 210?

Selecting Automatic Test Sequence

The Viso key is used to select either the 250V, 500V or 1000V insulation test voltage, please refer to relevant standards for testing requirements.

The Mode key is used to select the required auto test sequence from below.

ModeMeasurements
1Vo/c, Is/c, Riso


How do I recall data from the PV200 or 210?

Each successive press of the Recall key will increment the user memory location indicator and display the measured values stored in that memory location. The location number is shown on the bottom of the LCD display.

After the first press of Recall, the Store key can be used to decrement the user memory location indicator to recall previous memory location.

If a memory location holds an I-V Curve result, the I-V curve icon will be displayed on the LCD. The display toggle key (centre right, with 1 on it) can be used to switch between the two sets of I-V curve result data. When the I-V curve results are displayed on the LCD the I-V curve data will be copied to the NFC device and NFC will be displayed at the bottom of the LCD for the duration of the copy.

The curve can be viewed using an NFC enabled Android device running the PV Mobile App.



How do I set the date and time on the PV200 or PV210?

  1. Turn off the PV200/210.
  2. Press and hold the key and then press simultaneously the key and the key.
  3. The date format and time format is shown as follows:
    MM = month
    DD = day
    YYYY = year
    HH = hours
    MM = minutes
    SS = seconds
  4. Use the key to navigate to the field that you wish to change.
  5. A flashing field shows that this field can be set.
  6. Use the key and the key, to increase or decrease the value. With each change, the seconds’ field is set to zero.
  7. Turn off the device to save the setting.

Note: If the PV200/210 has established a Solarlink™ connection to the Survey

For the 200R, the date/ time of the PV200/210 will automatically be synchronized to the date/ time of the Survey 200R.

The Survey 200R real-time clock is the master and the PV 200/210 the slave.



How do I store data in the PV200 or 210?

The Solar PV200/210 can store up to 999 complete sets of measurements. The number of records currently held in memory is shown on the bottom of the display i.e. if the display shows 16 there are 16 records in memory and the next result will be stored in location 17.

The current test is complete. The PV200/210 displays a question mark (?) asking whether the current test results should be stored.

  1. Press the Memory Store key to store all measured values on the display. If there is memory space available the Store icon will appear, and the readings will be stored in the memory.
  2. The current test results are being stored into the memory location 10 as indicated on the LCD.
  3. If the memory is full, the buzzer will sound and the results will not be stored.
  4. If there are no valid readings on the display when the store key is pressed, the buzzer will beep, the Store icon will flash and nothing will be stored.

Note: After the results are stored to memory they are read back to ensure that the data is correct. If the read data is different from what was written then a READ FAIL warning will be displayed.

Pressing a button will return you to the test results where the Store can be performed again. Should this happen the first set of data will still be recorded and take up a memory location. When reviewed or downloaded the corrupted record will be tagged as corrupt.



How do I turn on or off my PV200 or PV210?

To turn the PV200/210 on, press and hold the Riso and Mode keys simultaneously.

To turn the PV200/210 off, press and hold the Riso and Mode keys simultaneously.



Where is the serial number on my PV200 or 210?

Please disconnect the tester from all equipment and make sure it is turned off before proceeding!

The serial number can be found under the batteries in the back of the tester

  1. Loosen the screw to gain access to the battery compartment
  2. Remove the plate
  3. Remove the batteries

The serial number should now be visible



Where is the user changeable fuse on my PV200 or PV210?

Before opening the Solar PV200 or PV210 ensure that it is disconnected from all voltages!

Electric shock danger!

All replacement fuse types are specified for ratings and size on the battery compartment cover on the rear of the tester. You can purchase a replacement fuse from Seaward by quoting part number 27B137.

  1. Power the unit off.
  2. Disconnect all the test leads from the unit.
  3. Position the Solar PV200 or PV210 face down and release the captive screw in the battery compartment cover.
  4. Remove the battery compartment cover.
  5. Lift one end of the fuse out of the fuse holder with the help of a flat bladed screwdriver.
  6. Lift the defective fuse completely out of the fuse holder.
  7. Insert a new fuse as described and specified by the text on the battery compartment cover.
  8. Ensure that the new fuse is seated and centred in the fuse holder.
  9. Relocate the battery cover over the battery compartment and fasten in position with the battery cover captive screw.

The Seaward PV200 or PV210 panel circuit is protected by a 15A 1000V solar fuse. This fuse is not operator replicable. If this fuse blows then the Seaward PV200 or PV210 will indicate an error before the panel is shorted, the PV200 or PV210 must be returned for service.



What is curve tracing?

Curve tracing diagram
We have created a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions about curve tracing, including 'What is curve tracing?', 'Why is I-V curve tracing important?', 'What is PV Fill Factor?', plus many more.


Click here to view FAQ's


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