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Old 25-11-2011, 13:53   #1
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Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

Seems like the more I research the dumber I get. I plan to have a wind generator, solar panels, and maybe a dc gen on my boat. Looks like I need a controller for the wind generator. I know there are some that will let you combine wind and solar together. But then there are PWM and MTTP. But it looks like MTTP is for solar only. Plus I can't figure out if the controller is also a battery monitor so I can see the current state of my battery bank. I also can't figure out if the dc gen needs to go thru the controller or not. Mama said I should have been an electrical engineer.
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Old 25-11-2011, 14:41   #2
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Re: ?? about wind/solar controller

I think you've actually got it pretty close to right...

Your wind machine will work best with it's own controller, and they often come with the wind machine. Wind machines need to be constantly loaded or otherwise controlled so they don't over-rev, and the controller is often part of that control mechanism, hence the special need.

Solar will work best with an MPPT controller, and they are specific to solar.

It's possible to use what's know as an PWM Diversion Load Controller for both solar and wind, but it will be suboptimal for solar so I would recommend against it.

And your DC generator will need it's own controller because the way you control output from the alternator is different from both solar and wind. In the case of the DC gen, it's likely the same mechanism as the alternator on your boat's main engine.

So, I think it's best to assume each device will have it's own purpose-designed controller.
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Old 25-11-2011, 14:55   #3
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

We have all three on our boat, wind solar and genset..
tried to put all three throu one controller and had the same issues as yourself.. seems the power from the solar and the wind are two different types of feed..
Anyway, we went with "Morning star" equeptment for the solar and wind, a TS15 for the solar and a TS45 for the wind.. the 45 allows for wind and is programable throu "dip" switches and allows the use of a deverter load to "dump" extra power.. our "dump" load is sent to the water heater.. recently spoke to another person from the forum and he sends his "dump" to muffen fans for ventalation.. our genset is tyed into the power comming into the boat as the shore power lead, and doing so, charges the batteries throu the shore power charger..
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Old 25-11-2011, 15:03   #4
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

If you go back over my past posts on solar / wind, batteries, & controllers... I have covered this subject exhaustively, laying out the pros & cons, for the most energy efficient & reliable system. Ours has given decades of mostly trouble free energy, even through thousands of nights on the hook.

Best of luck with it...

Mark
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Old 26-11-2011, 00:48   #5
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

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Originally Posted by clayzone View Post
. Plus I can't figure out if the controller is also a battery monitor so I can see the current state of my battery bank.
The solar controller will generally only give you the AHrs in from the solar array (if it has any display at all). So you will need a battery monitor to measure the current out and to display the SOC.
There are some sophisticated controllers that allow you to fit an external shunt. These also function as a battery monitor and some can regulate the battery better because they know the actual net current going into the battery.
My solar contoler, with some optional extras, will display the current and AHrs separately for the main engine DC generator and solar array .
It will instruct the solar controller to drop back to float when the net current going into the batteries is less the 5 amps and the voltage is above 14.2 (these setting are user adjustable)
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Old 26-11-2011, 04:08   #6
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

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There are some sophisticated controllers that allow you to fit an external shunt. These also function as a battery monitor and some can regulate the battery better because they know the actual net current going into the battery.
My solar contoler, with some optional extras, will display the current and AHrs separately for the main engine DC generator and solar array .
It will instruct the solar controller to drop back to float when the net current going into the batteries is less the 5 amps and the voltage is above 14.2 (these setting are user adjustable)
I like that. What controller does it?
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Old 26-11-2011, 05:27   #7
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

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I like that. What controller does it?
Its an Outback FX 60 with the optional Mate and Flexnet DC

I get a lot of information on the batteries, but there are cheaper systems with external shunts.
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Old 26-11-2011, 06:32   #8
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

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Originally Posted by clayzone View Post
Seems like the more I research the dumber I get. I plan to have a wind generator, solar panels, and maybe a dc gen on my boat. Looks like I need a controller for the wind generator. I know there are some that will let you combine wind and solar together. But then there are PWM and MTTP. But it looks like MTTP is for solar only. Plus I can't figure out if the controller is also a battery monitor so I can see the current state of my battery bank. I also can't figure out if the dc gen needs to go thru the controller or not. Mama said I should have been an electrical engineer.
Anything that charges your battery bank really SHOULD have some type of "controller" associated with it if you want to avoid overcharging the battery bank and want the batteries to last as long as possible. The controllers should also be set up for the type of battery you have on board i.e. flooded, AGM or Gel.
I have two battery banks on board. One is for the house and is 12 volts and my electric propulsion is 48 volts. I have two seperate solar panel systems for each bank that go through Morningstar controllers (PWM) and have been trouble free for over four years now. I also have a 48 volt wind Marine Air-X wind generator that has all the control electrics built into it and stops when the bank has reached full charge. So it just needs to be connected to the battery bank. Very, very simple. Other wind generators may require an external type of contoller. Check with the manufacturers.
I use electric propulsion and so don't have an engine with an alternator for charging. I do use a portable 47 lb Honda 2000 generator for charging sometimes. For that I just have to use the AC chargers already installed on board as they already have the "control" electronics in their design circuits and stop charging when the battery is fully charged.
I have several seperate battery monitors on board. One is a Xantrex XBM which is a separate device monitoring the 48 volt bank. I also have a Paktrakr battery monitor for the 48 volt bank too. The Morningstar solar controllers also will show battery voltage and solar panel charging current for the 12 and 48 volts respectively. But do not show the total current into and out of the battery banks but, do provide a little back up instrumentation. Hope this helps.
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Old 26-11-2011, 09:21   #9
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

The TS 15 from morningstar gives you the readout you are looking for.. It flashes between Battery condition(volts), the amps comming in from the solar and the load going out , weve attached the load going out to our refer (cool Blue) to monoter the usage..
Our storage consist of one bank, used for everything, 10 - 4ds with a storage of over 2000 amph..........
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Old 26-11-2011, 15:30   #10
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

I have just found, after months of surching, a wind/solar hybrid controller that also has a battery monitor. It displays battery voltage, wind turbine voltage, PV voltage, wind power, PV power, wind current, PV current, load current, battery power status, battery load status, over-voltage, under-voltage, over-load, short curcuit, ect.

It is designed to connect to a wind generator that has 3 wire, 3 phase output connections and no controls or rectifier in the turbine head. The controller also has manual and auto braking.

When installing solar and or wind I always install a cutoff solinoid that disables solar and or wind whenever the engine is running. This eliminates conflicts and allows the generator to do its job.
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Old 27-11-2011, 00:39   #11
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

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I have just found, after months of surching, a wind/solar hybrid controller that also has a battery monitor. It displays battery voltage, wind turbine voltage, PV voltage, wind power, PV power, wind current, PV current, load current, battery power status, battery load status, over-voltage, under-voltage, over-load, short curcuit, ect.

It is designed to connect to a wind generator that has 3 wire, 3 phase output connections and no controls or rectifier in the turbine head. The controller also has manual and auto braking.

When installing solar and or wind I always install a cutoff solinoid that disables solar and or wind whenever the engine is running. This eliminates conflicts and allows the generator to do its job.
Battery monitors give a lot of useful information, but the most important numbers are the AHrs in and AHrs out (or WHrs but AHrs is better).

I am not sure why you want to disable solar and wind with the engine running but be careful with a cut off solenoid. Wind generators need a load otherwise they will over speed in high winds some are OK disconnected, with power to the control mechanism maintained but not all.
If the wind generator slows down and becomes quieter when regulating it is worth setting the regulation points slightly lower than solar . This way it is the first source to turn off.
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Old 27-11-2011, 01:44   #12
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

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Battery monitors give a lot of useful information, but the most important numbers are the AHrs in and AHrs out (or WHrs but AHrs is better).

I am not sure why you want to disable solar and wind with the engine running but be careful with a cut off solenoid. Wind generators need a load otherwise they will over speed in high winds some are OK disconnected, with power to the control mechanism maintained but not all.
If the wind generator slows down and becomes quieter when regulating it is worth setting the regulation points slightly lower than solar . This way it is the first source to turn off.
Thank you for pointing out an ommision I made in my post. We take extra care that our systems are bullit proof. Since generators, solar and wind generators all use PWM in most cases we add the soleniods to eliminate conflicts. On solar we use a normaly closed unit to disable. On wind generators we use a double pole double throw solenoid. When this solenoid is activated it provides reverse voltage to stop the wind generator.

We also use a cutoff switch to disable the solenoids. This switch allows wind solar to operate when the engine is running. It is a safety to provide power if the boat has to motor and the alternator has failed.

I agree that Ah/out is important. But not as important as Ah/in. The display also has a graphic that shows battery charge level. I also failed to mention it has battery temperature compensation. This is the best wind/solar I have seen to date.
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Old 27-11-2011, 11:27   #13
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

edfoster what is the brand/model of the controller you are talking about?
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Old 27-11-2011, 11:58   #14
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

Two good reasons to have a separate controller for each system:

1. Controllers get hot. The more amps you put through them, the hotter they get. Separate controllers spread the heat out.

2. If you're charging on both wind and solar, and the batteries are close to being topped off during the middle of the day, you may want to have the wind generator shut itself down while the solar takes care of the last bits of charging and/or trickle charging. I have my wind generator programmed to shut itself down .25v before the solar generator shuts down.
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:57   #15
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Re: Questions About Wind / Solar Controller

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Originally Posted by edfoster View Post
...

When installing solar and or wind I always install a cutoff solinoid that disables solar and or wind whenever the engine is running. This eliminates conflicts and allows the generator to do its job.
Hi Ed,

I've just been asking questions about this very topic on another thread.

What conflicts are there that would cause problems with the alternator "doing its job" while the solar and/or wind is hooked up while the engine is running?
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