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Frequently Asked Questions

Shading Basics
How do solar lights work?

 

Batteries
What battery sizes are available?
What are the battery chemistries?
How long should batteries last?
How does temperature affect batteries?

 

Serial Numbers
Where do I find my serial number?

 

Power Consumption
How much power do different components consume?

 

Warranty
What warranty is on my product?
How do I initiate a warranty claim?

 

Return Materials Authorization (RMA)
How do I get an RMA number?

 

Built-in Self Test (BIST)
How do I run a BIST?

 

R829 Calendar Programming Software
How does the calendar programming work?
Polara Voice Chip
How do I change a Polara Voice Chip?

 

More Information
How do I contact Customer Support?

 

General Troubleshooting and Tips

 


Shading Basics

Q: What do I need to know about shading?

A: Here are a few key points about shading:

All products that are solar based should be installed in a location that is free from obstructions (buildings, trees, power lines, etc).

Minor shading can affect the ability of a battery to recharge properly.

Example:

minor shading on a solar panel example
This is an example of minor shading on a solar panel.

 

Major shading will cause the battery to prematurely deplete and the system to stop functioning.

Examples:

 

Major shading in a poor location
This is an example of major shading in a poor location.

 

an example of major shading on a solar panel
This is an example of major shading on a solar panel.

 

For more information, read our article on shading.

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Batteries

Q: What battery sizes are available?

A: The following sizes are available:

  • 14Ah, 12V (R920-E/R820-E/R829-E/R247-E)
  • 34Ah 12V (R920-F/R820-F/R829-F/R247-F)
  • 33Ah (SC315-G/R820-G/R829-G/R247-G)
  • 35Ah (SC315-G/R820-G/R829-G/R247-G)
  • 75Ah (SC315-G/R820-G/R829-G/R247-G)
  • 100Ah (SC315-G/R820-G/R829-G/R247-G)
Q: What are the battery chemistries?

A: All batteries utilize sealed lead acid battery technology.

Q: How long should they last?

A: Batteries will usually last between 3 and 5 years, depending on many factors:

  • Daily depth of discharge
  • Discharge rate
  • Ambient temperature
  • Charging ability (solar panel shading)
  • Storage time without charge

Batteries will self-discharge at a rate of around 2–3% per month, depending on temperature, when in storage. Batteries have a usable shelf life of around 9 months at room temperature before they need to be recharged.

Q: How does temperature affect batteries?

A: At higher temperatures, the battery capacity will increase, while at lower temperatures, battery capacity will decrease. While this may seem advantageous for higher temperature climates, the lifespan of a battery will actually decrease the higher the temperature the battery is exposed to over time. A rough estimate is that for every 10ºC, the battery will have half the lifespan. Referring to the battery specification sheet will provide additional information on estimated lifespan using a combination of temperature and cycle count graphs.

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Serial Numbers

Q: Where do I find my serial number?

A: Different products have different locations.

Gen 2 (R829/R247/R820)
  • Solar engine serial number → back side of the engine
  • Energy Management System (EMS) serial number → side of EMS
Gen 2 solar engine serial number
Gen 2 Solar Engine Serial Number
Gen 2 Energy Management System Serial Number
Gen 2 Energy Management System Serial Number

 

Gen 3 (R247E/R920)
  • System serial number → Bottom of solar engine or front of Energy Management System plate
The R920 system serial number is on the bottom of the solar engine.
R920 system serial number – bottom side of solar engine

 

The R920 system serial number can be located on the front side of the energy management system plate.
R920 System Serial Number – front side of Energy Management System plate

 

Gen 3/G-Series (SC315-G/R820-G/R829-G/R247-G)
  • System serial number → Side and inside of cabinet
The SC315 system serial number may be on the side of the cabinet.
The SC315 System Serial Number – Side of Cabinet

 

 

The SC315 system serial number may be located inside the cabinet.
The SC315 System Serial Number – Inside Cabinet

 

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Power Consumption

Q: How much power do different components consume?

A: Here is an overview of the power required.

SC315-G AC Power Supply:

Input voltage range: 90-264VAC
DC output: 15V
Power: 60W

System Power:

Average light bar power – when flashing: 1.576W (per light bar)
Carmanah GEN III Energy Management System, system-idle power: 0.15W

Polara XAV talking button system (2 pushbuttons + controller):
System-idle power: 0.03W
System-active power: 4.9W

Polara Bulldog button (current draw):
Off current: 15 micro Amps
On current: 350mA (max.)
On-time: 11sec. (max.)

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Warranty

Q: What warranty is on my product?

A: Warranties are as follows:

  • R820/R247/R829 – 3 years product, 1 year battery
  • R920/R247E/SC315 – 3 years product, 1 year battery (orders sold on and before March 17th, 2016, only)
  • R920/R247E/SC315/R829G/R247G – 5 years product, 1 year battery (orders sold on and after March 18th, 2016, only)
Q: How do I initiate a warranty claim?

A: Your first course of action is to contact our Technical Support team if you are having an issue or have any questions. We can often resolve things without having to initiate a warranty claim.

When contacting Technical Support, have the following information on hand:

  • Serial number of system
  • Original order number (if known)
  • Photos of the issue (if pertinent)
  • Description of issue
  • Troubleshooting steps taken

It is ideal to have a technician on site before calling so we can deal with the issue first hand and perform proper diagnostics.

Technical Support will gather all of the data, verify warranty status, and determine if any product needs replacing.

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Return Materials Authorization Number (RMA)

Q: How do I get an RMA number?

A: Find an overview of how to make a valid warranty claim here.

Your first course of action is to contact our Technical Support team if you are having an issue or have any questions. We can often resolve things without having to initiate a warranty claim.

When contacting Technical Support, have the following information on hand:

  • Serial number of system
  • Original order number (if known)
  • Photos of the issue (if pertinent)
  • Description of issue
  • Troubleshooting steps taken

It is ideal to have a technician on site before calling so we can deal with the issue first hand and perform proper diagnostics.

Technical Support will gather all of the data, verify warranty status, and determine if any product needs replacing. You will then be provided with an RMA number and instructions on the next steps.

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Built-In Self Test (BIST)

Q: How do I run a BIST?

A: All Gen 3 (R247E/R920/SC315/R247G/R829G) have a built-in system test (BIST) that can be run at any time by personnel servicing the product.

  1. Using the up/down arrows on the user interface of the Energy Management System, locate “bISt”.
  2. Hold the SET button for a few seconds.
  3. Scroll the menu to “yes.”
  4. Hold the SET button down again for a few seconds.
  5. The BIST will begin to run and take around 10 seconds. LED light bars will come on briefly during this time.
    • Note – Radio operation is not tested by this function.
    • Note – The solar engine (R920/R247E) should be closed during the test to help with the solar charging test.

The BIST checks for the following:

  • Display (code 0001)
  • *Ambient Temperature (code 0002)
    • This code can be ignored if it is reported. This is used for manufacturing/assembly only.
  • EEPROM (code 0004)
  • Battery (code 0008)
  • Supply Voltage, Vcc (code 001)
  • Keypad (Code 0020)
  • Radio I/O (Code 0040)
  • Ambient Brightness Sensor (Code 0080)
  • Real Time Clock (Code 0100)
  • Charger Enable (Code 0200)
  • Current Gain (Code 0400)
  • Open Circuit LED driver voltage (Code 0800)
  • Charger (Code 1000)
  • LED circuit and light bars (Code 2000)

BIST codes can be combined in multiple faults. For example: Code 1080 (Code 1000 and Code 0080). This would be a charging issue with lack of ambient light, usually due to the system being tested indoors.

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R829 Calendar Programming Software

Q: How does the calendar programming work?

A: The school zone calendar software can only be programmed up to a maximum of 500 days. Once that 500 days expires, a new calendar must be created.

Review the user manual, or contact us for software and USB drivers.

  • User manual – Download PDF
  • Software – Contact us for software.
  • USB drivers – Contact us to request USB drivers.

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Polara Voice Chip

Q: How do I change a Polara Voice Chip?

A: Download instructions for changing a Polara Voice Chip here.

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More Information

Q: How do I contact Customer Support?

A: Please email or call us.

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General Troubleshooting and Tips

Gen 2 (R820/R247/R829): LEDs are not working.

Ensure the LED/LEDs are connected to the main harness prior to powering up the system with battery power. If this is not done, the system will require a hard reset before the LEDs will work properly.

 

Gen 2 (R829): Beacon is not coming on at the correct time.

Ensure the Energy Management System (EMS) time is correct. This is driven by the time on the laptop when it is programmed with the calendar. The EMS’ time may slightly drift over time, so if there is an issue with the beacon not coming on at the correct times, it is best to re-send the calendar and confirm the beacon time is correct. See page 14 in the R829 School Zone Calendar instructions.

 

Gen 2 (R247): Beacon is not flashing.
  • Ensure there’s a jumper present connected to Switch 2 on the main harness. See page 35 in the manual.
  • Check the batteries for voltage for >12.1V. The beacon will not turn on below 11.7V (low voltage disconnect).
  • Power cycle the system.
  • Check the Energy Management System.

 

Gen 2 (R820): Beacon is not communicating with another system, but both work independently with their respective pedestrian push buttons.

 

Gen 3 (R247E): Beacon is not flashing.
  • Check batteries for voltage for >12.1V. The beacon will not turn on below 11.7V (low voltage disconnect).
  • Check onboard user interface for LED error (open/short).
  • Check Energy Management System.

 

Gen 3 (R920/SC315): Beacon is not activating.
  • Check battery/batteries for voltage for >12.1V. The beacon will not turn on below 11.7V (low voltage disconnect).
  • Check on-board user interface for LED error (open/short).
  • Check Energy Management System.

 

Gen 3 (R920/SC315): Beacon is not communicating with another system at the intersection.
  • Check to make sure each system within the intersection is on the same channel.
  • Check the user interface to ensure it is detecting the radio. Refer to the sticker inside the solar engine for more information.
  • Try changing all systems to a different channel.
  • Check Energy Management System.

 

Gen 3 (R920/SC315): Beacon is activating randomly without pedestrian activation.
  • The system is most likely too close to another Carmanah system nearby.
  • Each network of systems must be on its own channel. We suggest changing the channels of all systems in this affected intersection to another channel to avoid interference.
  • Refer to the sticker inside the solar engine to adjust the channel. This is done directly on the user interface.

 

G-Series (R829G): Beacon is not flashing.
  • Check battery for voltage for >12.1V. The beacon will not turn on below 11.7V (low voltage disconnect).
  • Isolate time clock and see if the beacon works independently (switch to R247 operation temporarily; see sticker inside engine).

 

G-Series (R247G): Beacon is not flashing.
  • Check battery/batteries for voltage for >12.1V. The beacon will not turn on below 11.7V (low voltage disconnect).
  • Check onboard user interface for LED open/short.
  • Check Energy Management System.

 

Other questions? Contact Customer Support.

Learn About Carmanah

Every superhero needs a team behind the scenes that helps them save the world. We like to think we’re the Alfred to your Batman; the Kato to your Green Hornet; the Jarvis to your Iron Man. We spend our time working with traffic heroes like you to ensure we’re providing sustainable, reliable solutions for your traffic applications, from school zones to crosswalks to road signs. Whether your mission is improving walkability, slowing down traffic, or ensuring a sign can be seen, we’re here to help you do it. And we’ll help you in any location, while also meeting MUTCD regulations, ITE requirements, or other specifications.

Learn More