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Old 29-10-2014, 17:58   #1
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RF Noise from MPPT Controller

The noise from my 2 x 140w Kyocera panels in series with an MPPT controller make my VHF nearly useless. To talk to anyone more that a few boats away I must turn them (Panels) off.

Any thoughts on where the RF is radiating in this simple system?

Output wires from controller to Batteries?

MPPT controller box?

Input lines from the panels?

I have Ferrite chokes on all the wires and it does not appear to do much.

I have ordered cable sheathing and will ground this . Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 29-10-2014, 18:39   #2
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Re: RF Noise from MPPT Controller

It is generally the MPPT controller itself that generates noise. I am surprised that it is noisy on VHF frequencies, though.

Should be easy to isolate - disconnect the output and see if the noise goes away. Disconnect the input and see.

What brand/model controller is it?

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Old 29-10-2014, 19:11   #3
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Re: RF Noise from MPPT Controller

I designed wireless internet equipment that went up on poles,
and I created a power-over-ethernet system that used a dc-dc converter
to convert 12v going up the pole to 5v to power the microprocessor,
and I found out pretty quickly my dc-dc converter was a terrible fail,
and any pole with radio equipment did not work.
I figured out I used the wrong diode and it just radiated power all over the spectrum, TVs didn't work anymore, a disaster. I had to redesign it to run at a lower frequency and use the right diode and better board layout, it was no problem after that.

So it is the dc-dc converter in the MPPT controller, it is poorly designed. You might fix it by shielding it, i.e. surrounding it with metal.
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Old 29-10-2014, 19:44   #4
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Re: RF Noise from MPPT Controller

The RF energy generated from the MPPT controller is being conducted from the controller by the wires connected to the controller and being radiated from the controller enclosure.

A two-pronged approach is required to resolve the problem.

Decrease the conducted RF emissions from all the cables using multiple stage filters. Use an array of different-value parallel capacitors on both sides of large inductors to kill the conducted emissions. Place these components near / adjacent to the MPPT controller. Select component values that will exceed the voltage, current, temperature and ripple / MTBF conditions.

Decrease the effect of radiated emissions by placement, routing and shielding. Cable shielding should be grounded at one end only. Route the cables away from the VHF, the VHF antenna wire and the VHF antenna. Field strength decreases by the square of the distance, so maximize the separation. Place the MPPT controller as far away from those parts also. The best shielding is a Faraday cage, a contiguous metal enclosure w/o openings. Shielding effectiveness decreases rapidly once openings are added. The shield MUST be grounded.
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Old 30-10-2014, 07:41   #5
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Re: RF Noise from MPPT Controller

Will,
Others here have given lots of good ideas....but by far the simplest / easiest (and possibly cheapest) solution is to return the MPPT controller to the dealer, and buy one that does not do this, such as a Blue Sky 2512ix....
(I'm with Mark here....VHF radio interference from MPPT controllers is rare...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Antares View Post
The noise from my 2 x 140w Kyocera panels in series with an MPPT controller make my VHF nearly useless. To talk to anyone more that a few boats away I must turn them (Panels) off.

Any thoughts on where the RF is radiating in this simple system?

Output wires from controller to Batteries?

MPPT controller box?

Input lines from the panels?

I have Ferrite chokes on all the wires and it does not appear to do much.

I have ordered cable sheathing and will ground this . Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I've dealt with radiated RFI from various sources on others' boats over the years, and while "shielding" always comes up as a solution, it usually isn't....as the main issue is almost always a combination of poor-design / defective equipment, and RFI being radiated by the wiring connected to this equipment....
99% of the time, these are the causes of the problem, so dealing directly with those causes is what will usually solve the problem....

---- So, using a different MPPT controller would be my first suggestion...

If you absolutely cannot replace your MPPT controller with one that doesn't cause this interference (which is absolutely the best solution), and the RFI is so bad that it wipes out the VHF reception, you may spend more time/effort/money on this than you think, and you may not ever get a 100% solution....(fyi, I've been working with RF and RFI for decades)


---- But, if for some reason you must use this exact controller, then buying ferrites that work well at VHF freqs, such as Mix 43, is a good start...
Fair-Rite 43 Material
Fair-Rite Materials
A quick e-mail / call to Fair-rite Corp. will get you the exact material for your application...
Tell them what your problem is (156mhz RFI) and ASK them for their specific recommendations!!
Buy a bunch of 'em, not just a couple!!
Place them on the wires both + and - coming out of the MPPT controller...put them right there at the MPPT controller, just as the wires leave the controller's case....

---- Make sure your MPPT is in a metal / shielded case....

---- Also, twisting the wires coming from the panels into the MPPT controller will also help...

---- Make sure that your VHF antenna cable is good, with good shielding, and all connections are well-made and clean 'n tight...



I hope this helps...

BTW, please tell us what model MPPT controller you have....as I have two Blue Sky 2512ix controllers mounted right next to both my VHF and HF-SSB radios, and my four Kyocera 130 watt panels are within inches of my backstay (HF-SSB antenna), and have no significant RFI form any of this at all, and it all runs 24/7/365 for 8 years now....with no RFI issues...(just to give you an idea of how low noise level you CAN achieve, I regularly hear Australian Maritime Weather broadcasts on 12362khz and 12365khz right here at my dock in Florida, 9,500 miles and 11,000 miles away....just yesterday, they came in loud 'n clear, and my solar panels and Blue Sky 2512ix controllers were charging away...)


Fair winds...

John
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Old 30-10-2014, 10:37   #6
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Smile Re: RF Noise from MPPT Controller

Check the Coax from Vhf to its antenna.If the shield is open(usually right at the connecter-PL259) or the Coax has absorbed water,the VHF will still work somewhat,but be susceptible to interference.Water in Coax is a common fault,caused by the tiniest "nick" in sheath,chafe,etc,& corrosion will be visible @ VHF end.Also,if you have anything else tapped into ur VHF antenna,using "splitters",etc.,disconnect them temporarily,& run coax straight thru VHF-Ant. Just a thot from experience.
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Old 30-10-2014, 12:06   #7
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Re: RF Noise from MPPT Controller

[QUOTE=nimblemotors;1666035]I designed wireless internet equipment that went up on poles,
and I created a power-over-ethernet system that used a dc-dc converter
to convert 12v going up the pole to 5v to power the microprocessor,
and I found out pretty quickly my dc-dc converter was a terrible fail,
and any pole with radio equipment did not work.
I figured out I used the wrong diode and it just radiated power all over the spectrum, TVs didn't work anymore, a disaster. I had to redesign it to run at a lower frequency and use the right diode and better board layout, it was no problem after that.

So it is the dc-dc converter in the MPPT controller, it is poorly designed.You might fix it by shielding it, i.e. surrounding it with metal.[

Tin foil. It might sound like a joke but worth a try around the MPPT. Ground the tin foil like the outside of coax would be. I'm leaving to put my tin foil hat on.
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Old 30-10-2014, 14:31   #8
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Re: RF Noise from MPPT Controller

Thanks all ! I have some great ideas/solutions to work with.

I think I have some obvious issues with my installation. I have two separate VHF antennas (Mast high and radar post low) and both on Stb side. My DC panel is in the center and that where the shunt (Neg) for the Link is and the pos is on the battery switch. I will separate these. The run from the controller direct to he battery is only about 24" or less direct and this keeps it out of the dc panel area.

I have a spool of copper shielding for the wires.

The MPPT Controller is from Hamilton Ferris. I do not know if they make their own or brand one. I hate to buy a new one as they are expensive but understand it might be cheap in the long run.

I will try a few of these things and get back. THANKS!
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:19   #9
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Re: RF Noise from MPPT Controller

Others have reported similar problems with BZ MPPT's. The Ferris Powerboost 250 MPPT controller looks identical to the BZ MPPT250. Is this the model that you have from Hamilton Ferris?

The Cape Dory Board • View topic - Solar charge controller

BZ Products MPPT250 - 25 Amp 12/24 Volts MPPT Charge Controller
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