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Old 20-05-2019, 14:27   #1
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Solar controller recommendations

I have two 100W panels in parallel charging two AGM battery banks (house and starter) via a PWM controller. Hoping to switch to MPPT for improved efficiency and would appreciate brand recommendations. Yes, I do know MPPT is more expensive. Thanks in advance.
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Old 20-05-2019, 14:28   #2
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

Should also have explained that I want an MPPT controller capable of charging the two banks.
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Old 20-05-2019, 14:34   #3
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

Check out the Renogy 40 amp Mppt controller for $119.00 I'm running 4 x 240 watt panels through 2 of these in a split port and stb. configuration. Working great so far.
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Old 20-05-2019, 20:30   #4
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

Victron SmartSolar 75/15
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Old 20-05-2019, 20:37   #5
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

I was put onto the Fangpusan range of MPPT solar controllers. I ended up installing two of their 60 amp units and have been moren than impressed with their price and use. Highly recomend a look.


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Old 20-05-2019, 21:18   #6
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

The conventional wisdom is to use one MPPT per panel if possible to maximize capture (while redundant capability otherwise never hurts, if requiring more $ up-front). I bought a Victron because it is accessible with Bluetooth, plays well with other Victron components, and is widely employed. At around $110 I don't think that it's more expensive than other brands. I didn't research this too deeply other than to learn that some off-brand MPPTs are really PWM on the inside. Renogy and Fangpusan people seem to like their stuff (isn't Fangpusan just re-badged Victron?).
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Old 21-05-2019, 01:44   #7
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

"Conventional wisdom is to use one MPPT controller for each panel" - sorry have never ever heard of this and never done an installation based on this. Can you advise where this is printed or how you came across this information.


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Old 21-05-2019, 05:25   #8
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

It is a popular approach here on the forums, certainly not the norm out in the wider world.

Ideal for partial shade handling.

Yes takes up more room, and need to buy panels that deliver good value per SC or it gets expensive.
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Old 21-05-2019, 06:46   #9
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

I like the bluesky range. They are visually presentable which allows me to mount them in the open where they get good ventilation.

They also have alot adjustability such as switching from absorption to float based on end amps. Click image for larger version

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Old 21-05-2019, 07:10   #10
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

I have a Blue Sky 3000i and I'm very happy with it. It's more expensive than the Victron MPPT controllers, but I wanted a controller that displayed the data and settings on the controller itself. I like that I can see the battery voltage and amps in at a glance.
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Old 21-05-2019, 07:30   #11
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

Blue Sky is also one of the few charge sources that has "no Float, just stop" as an option when AHT is done.

I believe it requires the IPN-Pro Remote or UCM module in order to enable stopping the charge cycle based on EndAmps.
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Old 21-05-2019, 08:51   #12
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozsailer View Post
"Conventional wisdom is to use one MPPT controller for each panel" - sorry have never ever heard of this and never done an installation based on this. Can you advise where this is printed or how you came across this information.
Greg H
I don't mean to be curt, but I'd suggest googling it (keywords multiple MPPT shade efficiency). Some hits:
https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2014/02/dual-mppt-defined-understanding-mppt/
https://forums.sailboatowners.com/index.php?threads/partial-shading-two-panels-two-controllers.158915/


There's no smoke and mirrors with this....it's not just a boating thing or forum lore. If boaters don't use multiple controllers it's because they're okay with relatively less efficiency for maybe good reason (including financial, weight, space), or they just don't know better.
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Old 21-05-2019, 10:55   #13
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

The advent of Victron's pricing model, where several small but excellent MPPT SCs became actually cheaper than just getting one big central one, is really what made this idea more practical.

Matching a 75/15 up with a big single higher-voltage 200+W is what really brings great value.

Using old-school 20Voc panels designed for PWM, the MPPT doesn't give nearly as much an improvement, maybe 10% overall.
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Old 21-05-2019, 11:17   #14
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
The advent of Victron's pricing model, where several small but excellent MPPT SCs became actually cheaper than just getting one big central one, is really what made this idea more practical.

Matching a 75/15 up with a big single higher-voltage 200+W is what really brings great value.

Using old-school 20Voc panels designed for PWM, the MPPT doesn't give nearly as much an improvement, maybe 10% overall.
I couldn't agree more! Coupling larger and cheaper higher voltage 200+ watt panels to a Victron MPPT is the best value on the market. Solar has never been so cheap.

I generate more power than I can use with two 45w panels with an Outback PWM controller and my recently-installed Canadian Solar 265 watt (30v) panel with the Blue Sky 3000i MPPT controller. I'm in float before noon on most days. Even on cloudy days I can keep up with my energy needs.
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Old 21-05-2019, 11:41   #15
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Re: Solar controller recommendations

We are very happy with our Victron SmartSolar controllers. We use 330 watt panels, so went with the SmartSolar 100/30s.

Cheers, RickG
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