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Old 08-06-2007, 15:52   #1
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Solar Booster....?

Hi from sunny Florida.

I am installing one of these gizzmos and wonder if the audience have any real world experience with the thing?



Got it and the optinal battery temp sensor for free, so I thought what the heck, might as well install it..

Been reading the glowing testimony, and the Practical Sailor report and all that, it just sounds too good to be true...
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Old 08-06-2007, 16:34   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSY Man
Been reading the glowing testimony, and the Practical Sailor report and all that, it just sounds too good to be true...
I'm too lazy to look it up CSY, what's it supposed to do and why is it supposed to do it so much better? I'm guessing it's some sort of charge controller, eh?
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Old 08-06-2007, 17:41   #3
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Gives ya more bang for the bucks:

Quote:
ē The Ultimate Photovoltaic Charge Controller...
Increases Charge Current Up To 30% Or More!


Patented Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) technology allows Solar Boost 2000E to increase charge current up to 30% or more compared to conventional charge controllers. Donít waste money by throwing PV power away! Get the power you paid for with a Solar Boost charge controller.

The Solar Boost 2000E provides a precision Multi-stage Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) charge control system to ensure the battery is properly and fully charged, resulting in enhanced battery performance with less battery maintenance. An equalize function is also included to periodically condition liquid electrolyte lead-acid batteries.

A built in LCD digital display monitors solar charge performance.The display shows battery voltage, solar panel current and output charge current. You can actually see current boost working by knowing the difference between solar panel current and output charge current. A charge status LED indicates the present charge mode, \and shows when the battery has become fully charged.


Click Here to download the full PDF Data Sheet


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Old 09-06-2007, 06:48   #4
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I have an MPPT controller from Outback. I would say a 30% improvement is about right. It seems to provide more usable charge to the system when conditions are less than optimal. I see 2 amps/hours or so (165 watt panel) VERY early in the morning and very late in the afternoon. I also see 1 or so amps/hours when it is very overcast.

The MPPT also allows me to use 24 volt panels in my 12 volt system. I can't wait to add a couple additional solar panels. (okay at $1000 each, I can wait a little bit!)
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:13   #5
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CSY

The same unit that we have and it works very well. However it is NOT marinized. If moisture gets to the circuits, the display will not work and BlueSky will not stand behind it.

Wish I had purchased the Outback unit.
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:15   #6
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One question about these in general, some MPPT controllers apparently throw out a lot of RFI, so if that may be a consideration, try it before hard installing it.

Once you cut through the sales talk...the bottom line is that MPPT controllers are using proven technology, which ain't cheap, to USE excess voltage (by changing it into lower voltage higher amperage) instead of just DUMPING it, the way traditional generator regulators did.
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Old 09-06-2007, 11:47   #7
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Thanks for the comments and heads-up on moisture and RF, etc.

Does it have a switch to shut it off while using the HF radio..?
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:41   #8
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Originally Posted by CSY Man
Thanks for the comments and heads-up on moisture and RF, etc.

Does it have a switch to shut it off while using the HF radio..?
No switch on the unit, but I installed a toggle switch on the NEG suppy side to allow me to cut off the panels if necessary.

Roger
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Old 09-06-2007, 13:43   #9
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Roger on the switch.

Does it harm the panels in anyway cutting off the feed?
Does the voltage spike up or the temp go up if there is no load on the panels...?
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Old 09-06-2007, 16:16   #10
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Roger on the switch.

Does it harm the panels in anyway cutting off the feed?
Does the voltage spike up or the temp go up if there is no load on the panels...?
I've had no problems. I discussed having a disconnect with a friend who is an electrical engineer. He is the one who told me to put the disconnect on the NEG input to the MPPT. This is in line with the directions that advise connection the NEG last.

I have handled the panels during the day after having them disconnected for at least one hour and found no heat on the panel surface. I've used it for 6 months and disconnected the panels on numerous ocassions without a problem. I'm certain that others are much more qualified to offer opinion on how sound of a set-up this is.

Roger
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Old 17-06-2007, 19:24   #11
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Disconnecting PV panels

CSY Man: PV panels are comprised of photodiodes. When a photon of light impinges upon the surface of the semiconductor an electron and a "hole" are created so that the cathode of each diode becomes positive with respect to the anode. Disconnecting the circuit causes no voltage spike (unless current had been flowing through an external inductance at the time of disconnect). No heat is developed because no current flows internally through the diode except leakage and "dark current".

A disconnected PV panel with light impinging will develop a steady-state open circuit voltage (perhaps slightly more than 18 Volts for a nominal "12V" panel) and no damage will occur.

With an ammeter you can measure your panel's dark current by completely blocking out any ambient light from the panel and measuring the current from a 12V source to the panel. Good quality panels have such low leakage and dark currents that it is entirely unnecessary to use blocking diodes in series with the PV panel to prevent such "back flow" from a battery to the panel. Regardless of whether or not a blocking diode is used a fuse should always be installed close to the battery bank or distribution point at the "other end" of the wire leading from the panel.

After measuring the PV panel dark current you might notice that even on dark nights that a good panel will still generate a slight current to the battery bank from even starlight totally overwhelming any dark current. Again, if that is the case you will merely be wasting energy with the installation of a blocking diode.
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Old 17-06-2007, 20:17   #12
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I've got the outback, one thing i definetely like about it is the aux load, i have my wind generator directly to the battery and if it starts to overcharge, the outback will put a load on it.
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Old 17-06-2007, 20:51   #13
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Rick-
"Good quality panels have such low leakage and dark currents that it is entirely unnecessary to use blocking diodes in series with the PV panel to prevent such "back flow" from a battery to the panel."
VERY interesting, what would you call a "good quality panel" by brand?
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