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Old 10-10-2016, 10:00   #1
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One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

Hi!

Cannot make up my mind which is the more KISS solution:

One high-end MPPT regulator, e.g. Morningstar MPPT TS-45:
TriStar MPPT - Morningstar Corporation

or

two high-end MPPT regulators, e.g. Blue Sky
Blue Sky Energy Inc. | Solar Boost 2512i-HV & 2512iX-HV

Two not a problem with Blue Sky as they got IPN (communicate with each other) so will charge same bank efficiently.

But what is more KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)? Two involves more cabling and also a possible weak link, the IPN cable (thin RJ11 cable as I understand it), could bring a bunch of RJ11 cables though, as they're cheap. More complex electronics = weak point. Though, who am I to judge whether Morningstar vs. Blue Sky is more complex than the other.

One regulator means a single-point-of-failure. Simpler system design though.

And the Morningstar not only has temperature sensor cable but also Voltage sensor cable. Given this a second thought though, I will run short cables between regulator and battery bank and very fat so is this really necessary? The MPPT will sense the voltage on its terminals on the battery side and it'll be very similar to what is measured on the battery bank.

Temperature though is a different story, the components will be separated in my setup and the batteries might get warmer than the MPPT in tropical climate, or colder than the regulator if in cold waters.

Please don't make this a discussion whether KISS is appropriate or not, let's for the sake of argument assume it is desirable.



Have a nice day.
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:32   #2
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

You answered your own question, one is simpler, if redundancy is an issue, carry a spare
My opinion
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:51   #3
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

The Blue sky also has a remote temperature controller. If you have two controllers join by the IPN then you only use one temp. sensor.
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:36   #4
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
You answered your own question, one is simpler, if redundancy is an issue, carry a spare
My opinion
Simpler, but if one of the Blue Sky goes, I'll still have half the solar panels charging. However it will have five years warranty with both brands I think so I can run the engine a lot while getting a replacement unit + moor in marinas and use shorepower.

A spare Morningstar MPPT 45 A is not economically feasible.

But, I could maybe bring a cheap Chinese PWM regulator, 20-30 Amps or so and disconnect some panels.

Cheers
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Old 10-10-2016, 13:48   #5
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

To add to this, this controller is similar in cost to a 45 A Morningstar:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/152253592460

Better buy, please?

Cheers
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Old 10-10-2016, 13:53   #6
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

When my controller went on the fritz mid-pacific, I just connected my panels directly to the batteries (single bank). Our at-sea consumption is more than the daily panel output so there was little danger of overcharging, but I monitored the battery voltage anyway. I still had to run the engine for charging about 45 minutes per day.
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Old 10-10-2016, 22:46   #7
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

Morningstar generally considered to be (much) more reliable than the Blue Sky I would pick a single Morningstar every time over any combination of Blue Skys.

But why not Outback or Midnite or Genasun?
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Old 11-10-2016, 02:11   #8
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

Definitely use temperature control. Heat is the enemy of batteries. I would go with the redundant system, robustness is a very valuable property of any critical system. I wouldn't bother with voltage sensing, that's for long charging cables. Our 1100ah battery had 14ft cables and 120A charging current do its a different situation, voltage sense was important.

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Old 11-10-2016, 05:46   #9
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

I see. If I don't need Morningstar's voltage sensing at batteries I can go for the Outback rather.

The MidNite is to low in Amps, unless I buy a really expensive model from them. Genasun is too low on Amps.

I am planning for 600 W.

Cheers
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Old 11-10-2016, 13:35   #10
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

Guys, the battle is on between Morningstar MPPT TS-45 vs. Outback FlexMax 60.

Morningstar
Pros: No fan = no noise + no power consumption of the fan.
Cons: No display, less Amps for similar money.

Outback
Pros: More Amps, Display
Cons: Fan - just how noisy is it?

Which is the more reliable unit, please?

Cheers
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Old 15-10-2016, 23:05   #11
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob666 View Post
Guys, the battle is on between Morningstar MPPT TS-45 vs. Outback FlexMax 60.

Morningstar
Pros: No fan = no noise + no power consumption of the fan.
Cons: No display, less Amps for similar money.

Outback
Pros: More Amps, Display
Cons: Fan - just how noisy is it?

Which is the more reliable unit, please?

Cheers
Hi Bob,

since there is no overflow of replies I'll say a few words.

Personally, I would oversize the controller in case I'd want to add more panels later.

With regards to the Outback it would mean going for the FlexMax 80, and with regards to the MS it would mean going for the 60, for about 50 and 100 bucks more, respectively. Not so much more money in the grand scheme of things.

If you would end up adding more panels later, a bigger controller now might save you from buying another controller later. If you definitely will not add capacity, then why bother.

You can buy a display for the MS for about 80 bucks.

MS are designed and engineered in USA but made in Taiwan. If it matters. Good quality stuff have come out of Taiwan for decades, and I reckon MS have QC in place.

Outbacks are all American.

Some folks here have recommendef this vendor in the USA: (I have no connection with them)

Charge controllers from Wholesale Solar

You can also do some comparisons and research at their web site.

If you are in the USA I would give them a call. They should be very helpful and knowledgeable.

A person here on the forum I have become to respect very much for his knowledge on solar (and many other subjects) is Noelex77, you might want to try to pm him for a comment.

You could also try a Google search, just type in "Cruisersforum Outback MPPT" for example and you should get some info.

As to your question "which is more reliable" I think you won't get a definite answer on any forum. Instead, a lot of opinions. My opinion based on what I have read is that the MS might be a bit more reliable. But I have never owned one. So that's all it is, just an opinion.

If I was you I'd think really hard about the tiniest detail you want from a controller and then get the one that ticks most of the boxes. Both of these are very, very good.

Cheers,
Erik
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Old 16-10-2016, 06:06   #12
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

It would be helpful to understand the application. I can't imagine a boat installation that would require an 80A charge controller. If you are using 12V, the Flexmax 80 is not a good choice it will only support 1000W of PV versus 4000W at 48V. If you have 4000W, you have a huge boat or you are installing on your house. The Flexmax 80 retails at $580, that's pretty expensive for a 1000W controller.
For a boat, I would buy a couple of these for $40 and keep a spare. I have some of these and they work fine. Super cheap, made by the million, available everywhere. They work.
LCD 40A 12V 24V MPPT Solar Panel Battery Charge Controller Three Timer Screws MT | eBay


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Old 16-10-2016, 11:47   #13
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Re: One or multiple high-end Solar regulators?

Thanks for those kind words Erik.

I agree with the comments about the Blue Sky controllers. Both the Outback and the Morningstar are excellent controllers. I have an Outback 60 and it has been faultless. If there is any possibility of you increasing the size of the array in the future, the Outback 80 is worth considering . It is priced only slightly dearer.

The larger Midnite controllers are also worth a look (not the Kid for your sized array). When I purchased my Outback, the Midnite controllers had only just been released. I went with the Outback because of its history of reliable performance, but the larger Midnite controllers have proven to be just as reliable as the Outback and have slightly better features. Both are large, so make sure you have room. They need a well ventilated dry position, preferably reasonably close to the batteries, not necessarily easy to find on a yacht especially as the styling of both units does not realły fit in with most boat interiors. OK, they are ugly .

Both the Outback and Midnite have a enormous heatsink area and the fan is only a back up if someone installs the unit where there is no ventilation. It won't come on normally. A battery sensing wire is not needed for the sort of distances between the controller and batteries that are likely to be used on a yacht, but temp sensing at the battery is an important feature. The Outback (and I presume the Midnite) can also be converted to regulate by monitoring battery return amps. This requires some additional components that are expensive so I would not normally recommend this, but worth considering if you want the ultimate system.

These units are reliable. I am keen on back ups for anything vital and as we get almost alł our power from solar so I have back up regulator, but I think this is probably overkill. If the regulator fails you can always directly connect the panels to the batteries. If they are higher voltage panels you will lose power and even with "12V" panels you need to keep a careful eye on battery voltages, but you can get a reasonable amount of power with some care.
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