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Author: Subject: Recommendations for new solar controller
Doug/Vamonos
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posted on 8-18-2010 at 09:31 PM Reply With Quote
Recommendations for new solar controller



Hi. Now that I got your battery recommendations and you are all thinking "solar", how about suggestions for a new controller. Here's the deal. My place at Geckos came with (2 years ago) four dried out Trojan 105s, three panels totalling 250 watts, and a SolarPro CC20 controller by ICP Global. I think it is now the Sunsei CC-20000D. I made the mistake of replacing the 105s with two 4-year old 105s from my camper and two new 105s. Should have never paired the old and new. Now all four are barely holding a charge. I've never felt good about the controller because it never shows more than a 3 amp charge and I've cleaned/re-terminated cables and such to be certain the wiring is correct. I've always believed I should get a 12 amp charge when the batteries are low. So now I will replace the batteries and get a new controller. I don't really want to spend $$ on the MPPT and I'm not sure it is even really needed (or beneficial) in my case. I'm only there a few days a month and never more than a week at a time. I have a generator I use in the morning (coffee), evening (movies), and overnight for a/c if needed, so I am not dependent on the batteries. The only real load I put on the batteries is to run the inverter and 5 cu foot chest freezer to keep ice while I'm there and I'll turn it off at night. I like to see the voltage level of the batteries and charging level of the panels, which is what I liked about the SolarPro controller. Suggestions? I'd like to keep the price less than $200. Thanks.
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Bob and Susan
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posted on 8-18-2010 at 09:38 PM Reply With Quote


#1 don't waste your money on a good controller until you buy some more panels

an mppt controller won't even turn on until
you get more than ~250watts of sun

remember voltage has very little to do with battery charge

never rely on voltage numbers




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comitan
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posted on 8-18-2010 at 10:28 PM Reply With Quote


http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/solar-power-that-works/



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posted on 8-18-2010 at 10:45 PM Reply With Quote


Morningstar makes a nice little PWM controller with a meter and temperature compensation in your price range. I had one in my camper and would highly recommend it. I believe it was a 20amp model.
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comitan
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posted on 8-18-2010 at 10:48 PM Reply With Quote


I also have the morningstar 10Amp in my RV and am very happy with it



Strive For The Ideal, But Deal With What's Real.

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Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

“The sincere pursuit of truth requires you to entertain the possibility that everything you believe to be true may in fact be false”
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Doug/Vamonos
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posted on 8-19-2010 at 03:50 AM Reply With Quote


A question about the Morningstars. I looked on the website and the sunsaver and prostar units each have + and - connectors for load. I'm confused. What load connects to that? Obviously you can't connect an inverter or other high amp draw to it. Do I ignore the load connection and just go straight to the batteries? Thanks.
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monoloco
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posted on 8-19-2010 at 04:08 AM Reply With Quote


Yes, the inverter needs to connect directly to the battery.
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larryC
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posted on 8-19-2010 at 08:39 PM Reply With Quote


Doug
The TS series controllers are nice, if you go that route, and the agm batteries, then be sure to get the RTS with it. AGM's are sealed, so they are very sensitive to voltage, and you do not want to charge them at too high a voltage. The TS series controller is user adjustable and the RTS will automatically adjust the user set voltages in the hot summers in BoLA. Good luck
Larry
PS Almost forgot, you can just ignore the diversion settings for your application.

[Edited on 8-19-2010 by larryC]
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comitan
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posted on 8-19-2010 at 08:54 PM Reply With Quote


My Morningstar has a jumper you remove for flooded batteries, I think the load connection is for light loads, I'm not using that connection at all.



Strive For The Ideal, But Deal With What's Real.

Every day is a new day, better than the day before.(from some song)

Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

“The sincere pursuit of truth requires you to entertain the possibility that everything you believe to be true may in fact be false”
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bonanza bucko
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posted on 8-19-2010 at 11:48 PM Reply With Quote


The new charge controllers....either Outback or Xantrex...make use of the "overhead" in the solar panels to reduce the inbound volts to the batteries to boost the amps thus increasing charging and reducing the time to full batteries.

"Overhead" means that a 12 volt solar panel will typically produce about 17 volts...same differences for 24 or 48 or 60 volt systems. The charge controller measures that overhead once every 60th of a second and reduces the volts to the system voltage (12V in your case) and thus increases the amps.

Like getting something for nothing.

VXA=W. Watts always stay the same so you can boost the amps by reducing the Volts.

BTW...the larger the nominal voltage of your panels and of your system the more the overhead is.

BTW number 2...if you need new batteries you should look hard at Surettes (Rolls) L-16s...they will last a lot longer and are very, very much worth the price. My old Interstate L-16 that were guaranteed for 12 years lasted 6.

Go to www.thesolarbiz.com for the details...good place to buy your stuff too.

A good charge controller...Xantrex the current hot ticket...is gonna cost you about $400. worth it.
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