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Old 02-07-2014, 14:47   #1
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Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

A quick search turned up several forum members who have or had the Rogue 3048 aboard their boat. After a fantastic conversation with an employee of Rogue today I find myself leaning towards selecting the 3048 for use aboard our boat. For those of you using this MPPT, could you give me your thoughts and experience thus far with this unit? Looking for some feedback before I make my purchase.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:18   #2
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fog Bank View Post
A quick search turned up several forum members who have or had the Rogue 3048 aboard their boat. After a fantastic conversation with an employee of Rogue today I find myself leaning towards selecting the 3048 for use aboard our boat. For those of you using this MPPT, could you give me your thoughts and experience thus far with this unit? Looking for some feedback before I make my purchase.

Thanks in advance!
I'm interested in the Rogue 3048 also. So I will be riding along here hopefully to learn something. In my case I want to use it to control two 300 watt 76 volt solar panels in series to charge my 48 volt LiFePO4 electric motor propulsion battery bank. The 3048 looks like it can do anything immaginable as far as programming for individual requirements---and even data log it for a month too! It looks to be pretty new, so reliability is of interest as well...
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:04   #3
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

Fog Bank,
I purchased the Rogue 3048 in March, and installed it and 2 Kyocera 140W panels on my boat in Mexico. It is a great unit, and its backlit screen gives you all the information you need. It's exciting to see 15 amps coming in from the panels, and 18 amps being sent to the battery bank!

HOWEVER

The controller does generate considerable RFI on my SSB radio. Even early in the morning (0730) when the sun has a very low angle. The HAM nets usually begin about that time. I installed a breaker in the wiring from the panels to the controller (as recommended by Rogue), and just disconnect the panels during these nets. That solves the problem, but I have to remember to reset the breaker!


I have added ferrite chokes to most of the wiring to/from the controller, as well as the Icom 802 radio. This has helped, but the problem still exists. The next step is to add more ferrites when I return to the boat in Oct.

Also, I am getting RFI into my Icom VHF. I tested this by opening the solar panel breaker ahead of the controller, and sure enough the noise disappeared.

My next steps are more ferrites, and possibly rerouting the #6 panel/controller wiring for more separation from the radio wires.

Overall, the Rogue is a great unit, but be aware of the noise it generates.



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Old 04-07-2014, 12:07   #4
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

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Originally Posted by bajatrawler View Post
Fog Bank,
I purchased the Rogue 3048 in March, and installed it and 2 Kyocera 140W panels on my boat in Mexico. It is a great unit, and its backlit screen gives you all the information you need. It's exciting to see 15 amps coming in from the panels, and 18 amps being sent to the battery bank!

HOWEVER

The controller does generate considerable RFI on my SSB radio. Even early in the morning (0730) when the sun has a very low angle. The HAM nets usually begin about that time. I installed a breaker in the wiring from the panels to the controller (as recommended by Rogue), and just disconnect the panels during these nets. That solves the problem, but I have to remember to reset the breaker!


I have added ferrite chokes to most of the wiring to/from the controller, as well as the Icom 802 radio. This has helped, but the problem still exists. The next step is to add more ferrites when I return to the boat in Oct.

Also, I am getting RFI into my Icom VHF. I tested this by opening the solar panel breaker ahead of the controller, and sure enough the noise disappeared.

My next steps are more ferrites, and possibly rerouting the #6 panel/controller wiring for more separation from the radio wires.

Overall, the Rogue is a great unit, but be aware of the noise it generates.



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Thank you Bajatrawler! Which breakers did you end up using from the panel? Rogue, in my conversation with them, highly recommended those available from Midnight. The RFI issue is something I'll need to deal with once I get there. How severe was this issue for you VHF specifically?
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:18   #5
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

Quote:
Originally Posted by bajatrawler View Post
I purchased the Rogue 3048 in March, and installed it and 2 Kyocera 140W panels on my boat in Mexico. It is a great unit, and its backlit screen gives you all the information you need. It's exciting to see 15 amps coming in from the panels, and 18 amps being sent to the battery bank!

HOWEVER

....Overall, the Rogue is a great unit, but be aware of the noise it generates.
Fantastic info bajatrawler! As soon as I got to the RFI part of your post ferrite beads popped into my head, but I see you've got that nicely covered. RFI drives me nuts. Another favorite hobby of mine is ham radio, and I was into that before sailing. So my boats have always been HF equipped for sure. (love working CW (code) at night when there's not much else to do).

One other thing you might try if physically possible at this point, is to twist all the DC wires from solar panels and the in/outs of the Rogue wiring to/from battery switching. Sometimes this helps "fake" like the wire is actually shielded cable instead of plain parallel two conductor (which is the Rogues RF antenna). I'm sure you probably know this, but to make twisted wire, a neat trick is to put 10 feet or so of two wires in a vice, and then put the other ends in the chuck of your hand drill step back pulling them tight, and hit the trigger. Keep 'em pulled tight as they twist up and you'll end up walking slowly towards the vice and end up with about 4 or 5 feet of two conductor wire nice and tight, and uniformly twisted.

Since I don't have a Rogue yet, AND THANKS TO YOU!... My plan will NOW be to go ahead and purchase all shielded wiring for the Rogue/solar installation and also use ferrite beads as well. Then cross my fingers and see how that goes. All that just might work---dunno 'til I try. Anyway, thanks ENORMOUSLY for this heads up on the RFI. BTW, I plan to use the Rogue at 48 volts with two 300 watt 30+ volt panels (in series) mounted over the bimini to charge my 48 volt LiFePO4 electric motor propulsion batteries. (Freedom 32 sloop). Got rid of the tired and smelly ol' diesel. ;-)
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:52   #6
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

Fogbank,
I ran the #6 wire from the panels down to an unused 25 amp breaker on my Blue Seas electrical panel. I had to cut off the + buss bar in the panel connected to this breaker; the breaker was then turned into a simple on-off switch. This worked well to cut the panels off when needed.

The 30 amp breaker from the controller to the battery bank, was a Midnight Solar brand, single pole type, installed in their "baby box" enclosure. Got these from Northern Arizona Wind and Sun.

Friends have told me that they had to install a double pole breaker (where the negative is also interrupted) in their installations to eliminate the RFI. Have not tried this yet.

The VHF static was not too severe, but annoying. At first I thought the squelch was turned down too far, but by turning the panels off, I could immediately tell they were the cause. Weak signals received from a distance on the VHF did seem to suffer the most. Transmission did not seem to be affected as much, at least no one mentioned it.

By the way, I used the Anderson connectors from the above mentioned vendor, to connect the panels together. These are very hardy, reasonably priced, industrial type connectors with silver plated contacts, and are easy to assemble and disconnect. If you plan on removing your panels periodically, I would highly recommend them.


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Old 04-07-2014, 14:26   #7
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

Wireless1,
Thanks, I did not know about that vise trick. Hate to think about pulling all that #6 wire back out though to twist it. May try that solution on the run from the controller to the battery bank.

Were you able to source shielded cable in larger sizes? If I remember, the largest shielded wire I've seen is about 12-14 ga. Maybe your wire run is short enough to not worry about voltage drop. My run used up most of a 50' spool of 6 ga. duplex.










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Old 04-07-2014, 14:40   #8
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

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Originally Posted by Wireless1 View Post
BTW, I plan to use the Rogue at 48 volts with two 300 watt 30+ volt panels (in series) mounted over the bimini to charge my 48 volt LiFePO4 electric motor propulsion batteries. (Freedom 32 sloop). Got rid of the tired and smelly ol' diesel. ;-)
We plan to use the Rogue at 48v as well for the same purpose. Our electric drive is a Solidnav with an AGM bank.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bajatrawler View Post
Fogbank,
I ran the #6 wire from the panels down to an unused 25 amp breaker on my Blue Seas electrical panel. I had to cut off the + buss bar in the panel connected to this breaker; the breaker was then turned into a simple on-off switch. This worked well to cut the panels off when needed.

The 30 amp breaker from the controller to the battery bank, was a Midnight Solar brand, single pole type, installed in their "baby box" enclosure. Got these from Northern Arizona Wind and Sun.

Friends have told me that they had to install a double pole breaker (where the negative is also interrupted) in their installations to eliminate the RFI. Have not tried this yet.

The VHF static was not too severe, but annoying. At first I thought the squelch was turned down too far, but by turning the panels off, I could immediately tell they were the cause. Weak signals received from a distance on the VHF did seem to suffer the most. Transmission did not seem to be affected as much, at least no one mentioned it.

By the way, I used the Anderson connectors from the above mentioned vendor, to connect the panels together. These are very hardy, reasonably priced, industrial type connectors with silver plated contacts, and are easy to assemble and disconnect. If you plan on removing your panels periodically, I would highly recommend them.


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Thank you again! This is an incredible wealth of information that I intend to put to use.
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Old 04-07-2014, 14:57   #9
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

Are all MPPT controllers electrically noisy? I would rather have a quiet controller than have to jump through hoops to mitigate RF noise on my radios.
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Old 04-07-2014, 15:05   #10
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

If you look around, especially at surplus places, you should be able to find shielded twisted pair cable, like what is used on Navy ships. It's not real flexible, but it is shielded and twisted.
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Old 04-07-2014, 15:09   #11
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

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Are all MPPT controllers electrically noisy? I would rather have a quiet controller than have to jump through hoops to mitigate RF noise on my radios.
I think it is a matter of FCC compliance on the part of the individual manufacturer. Based on what I've read, compliance is more a voluntary thing.
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Old 04-07-2014, 15:56   #12
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

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Are all MPPT controllers electrically noisy? I would rather have a quiet controller than have to jump through hoops to mitigate RF noise on my radios.

DeepFrz,
When I bought the Rogue controller I spoke to their very helpful technical support guy about RFI. He said no one had ever reported any problems before. Oh well!


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Old 04-07-2014, 16:03   #13
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

Fog Bank, Wireless, et al,

I'm wondering why you would choose a controller that produced such high RFI that effects not just HF comms, but adversely effects VHF as well....when there are many hi-quality, well-made, reliable, MPPT solar charge controllers, from other US companies, that do NOT produce significant RFI???

{Although not my idea of a good fix, I know that some find switching off their array / controller, when using an HF radio to be a workable solution....
BUT...
But, your VHF radio (VHF-DSC radio I hope) is an integral part of everyone's on-board safety and communications system....and is used 24/7 when at sea and almost 24/7 when on-board...so why would anyone accept RFI that adversely effects VHF reception???
Just doesn't make too much sense to me....}

While "FCC compliance" (Part 15) is mandatory to all products sold in the US....and I'd hope that all of these controllers meet these specs....
The FACT is that even those meeting those specs, can be a significant source of RFI on-board....
Bottom line: Do your homework, as there ARE excellent MPPT controllers (and PWM controllers) that are RFI free (or close to RFI free)....as well as many MPPT and PWM controller that are full of RFI (such as the Rogue)...



I've have personally used/worked on, Blue Sky (my favorite), Morningstar, and Outback, and all have excellent reputations in both the maritime and land-based/off-grid solar industries...

Blue Sky Energy Inc. - Industry Leaders In Solar Boost Charge Controllers and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)

Home » Morningstar Corporation

Outback Power Inc. - Charge Controllers

{My current Blue Sky controllers are installed immediately next to both my M-802 HF and M-602 VHF, with the wiring running within a few feet of all radio wiring / coax....and my HF antenna / backstay, runs right between my panels (within 2" of my Kyocera panels)....and my back-up VHF/AIS antenna is also just inches away from the panels....
And, I have NO significant RFI issues at all.....actually only an occasional low-level carrier or two in the upper HF region (> 22mhz), that are so weak that normal atmospheric background noise is stronger 99+% of the time....so, effectively, NO RFI at all!!}

Here is an article (w/ some details and photos) of my current 520-watt solar array, which I installed in 2006...
Solar Panels


And, a couple other pictures showing how close you can place things, without RFI issues, if you choose the right products...



















Quote:
Originally Posted by Fog Bank View Post
The RFI issue is something I'll need to deal with once I get there. How severe was this issue for you VHF specifically?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wireless1 View Post
....RFI drives me nuts....
My plan will NOW be to go ahead and purchase all shielded wiring for the Rogue/solar installation and also use ferrite beads as well. Then cross my fingers and see how that goes.


I'm NOT saying you're making a bad choice....I'm just curious why you'd choose this brand/model of controller, when there are other controllers that are just as versatile, but produce NO (or very little) RFI....

And, also please understand that even if you spend the time and money on "shielded" wiring (haven't ever seen "shielded" 8ga or larger....but if if it was available somewhere, why waste the $$$$)....and further it by itself, is unlikely to make significant differences....



In addition to be a long time user of solar on-board (as well as in remote areas of the world), please understand that I also come from the "tech side" of things....so maybe there is something / some feature that you guys need, that I'm not aware of???
{I designed / installed my first remote solar power system (on shore) in the early 1980's, over 30 years ago....and few years later designed/installed my first solar panels on-board....and have been using solar as my primary energy source on my current boat now for > 8 years, including > 12,000 miles offshore / Atlantic crossings, etc....
I started in electronics / radio comms, in the early 70's...and have used HF comms on-board since then as well....been a ham for 35 years....majored in Physics....run my own electronics firm (not marine electronics) for the past 30 some years, etc. etc....and yes, I've used ferrites on control / power wires for decades, so I'm aware of what the will and won't accomplish...}




Again, just wondering if there is some feature that you require that this "Rogue" unit has, that others do not???

I could ramble on and on...but I gotta' go!!


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 06-07-2014, 17:43   #14
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Re: Looking for opinions on Rogue MPT-3048

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Fog Bank, Wireless, et al,

I'm wondering why you would choose a controller that produced such high RFI that effects not just HF comms, but adversely effects VHF as well....when there are many hi-quality, well-made, reliable, MPPT solar charge controllers, from other US companies, that do NOT produce significant RFI???

{Although not my idea of a good fix, I know that some find switching off their array / controller, when using an HF radio to be a workable solution....
BUT...
But, your VHF radio (VHF-DSC radio I hope) is an integral part of everyone's on-board safety and communications system....and is used 24/7 when at sea and almost 24/7 when on-board...so why would anyone accept RFI that adversely effects VHF reception???
Just doesn't make too much sense to me....}

While "FCC compliance" (Part 15) is mandatory to all products sold in the US....and I'd hope that all of these controllers meet these specs....
The FACT is that even those meeting those specs, can be a significant source of RFI on-board....
Bottom line: Do your homework, as there ARE excellent MPPT controllers (and PWM controllers) that are RFI free (or close to RFI free)....as well as many MPPT and PWM controller that are full of RFI (such as the Rogue)...



I've have personally used/worked on, Blue Sky (my favorite), Morningstar, and Outback, and all have excellent reputations in both the maritime and land-based/off-grid solar industries...

Blue Sky Energy Inc. - Industry Leaders In Solar Boost Charge Controllers and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)

Home » Morningstar Corporation

Outback Power Inc. - Charge Controllers

{My current Blue Sky controllers are installed immediately next to both my M-802 HF and M-602 VHF, with the wiring running within a few feet of all radio wiring / coax....and my HF antenna / backstay, runs right between my panels (within 2" of my Kyocera panels)....and my back-up VHF/AIS antenna is also just inches away from the panels....
And, I have NO significant RFI issues at all.....actually only an occasional low-level carrier or two in the upper HF region (> 22mhz), that are so weak that normal atmospheric background noise is stronger 99+% of the time....so, effectively, NO RFI at all!!}

Here is an article (w/ some details and photos) of my current 520-watt solar array, which I installed in 2006...
Solar Panels


And, a couple other pictures showing how close you can place things, without RFI issues, if you choose the right products...























I'm NOT saying you're making a bad choice....I'm just curious why you'd choose this brand/model of controller, when there are other controllers that are just as versatile, but produce NO (or very little) RFI....

And, also please understand that even if you spend the time and money on "shielded" wiring (haven't ever seen "shielded" 8ga or larger....but if if it was available somewhere, why waste the $$$$)....and further it by itself, is unlikely to make significant differences....



In addition to be a long time user of solar on-board (as well as in remote areas of the world), please understand that I also come from the "tech side" of things....so maybe there is something / some feature that you guys need, that I'm not aware of???
{I designed / installed my first remote solar power system (on shore) in the early 1980's, over 30 years ago....and few years later designed/installed my first solar panels on-board....and have been using solar as my primary energy source on my current boat now for > 8 years, including > 12,000 miles offshore / Atlantic crossings, etc....
I started in electronics / radio comms, in the early 70's...and have used HF comms on-board since then as well....been a ham for 35 years....majored in Physics....run my own electronics firm (not marine electronics) for the past 30 some years, etc. etc....and yes, I've used ferrites on control / power wires for decades, so I'm aware of what the will and won't accomplish...}




Again, just wondering if there is some feature that you require that this "Rogue" unit has, that others do not???

I could ramble on and on...but I gotta' go!!


Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
Bajatrawler, in the post above yours pointed out that during his discussion with Rogue they informed him of no other instances of RFI being reported. Before I looked into the Rogue unit I spoke with Blue Sky, and that conversation sold me on why I should look elsewhere. That was admittedly disappointing as I several had suggested the Blue Sky 3048. While I began this discussion looking for feedback from current users, that feedback is only one portion of the equation that is this purpose. My discussion with rogue was personable, informative, and enjoyable. Had Blue Sky given the same showing, I might have gone a different direction.
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