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Old 11-04-2016, 13:54   #1
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Solar MPPT & 140W panel test

Thought some others might be interested in how a particular product performed.

MPPT charger is Tracer 2215BN with their MT50 remote control & display. Didn't receive the remote battery temperature sensor yet, or the serial to USB cable which
could let a PC control or display the status.

Solar Panel is ALEKO 24V (nominal) 140W panel 55" x 27" x 1 3/8" approx

Overall they all seem pretty good, only tested in the yard. Some recommend flexible panels for a boat, this is rigid panel with tempered glass cover sheet. It's going on a rigid bimini so YMMV.

3:00PM afternoon sun, about 70 degrees F according to the controller

In order to get the most out of the panel, a 12V coffee maker was hooked up in parallel with a 110ah marine battery. The MPPT charger appears to be doing its job as shown in the first picture: the PV panel is measured at 41.1Volts and 2.8amps of power going in, and the output at the battery is 14.4Volts and 8.1amps. I confirmed the voltages with an ohm meter at the panel input and battery output. I did not confirm the current because my clamp meter is on the fritz, and I didn't want to mess with all of the wires to do it with my ohm meter. Not like some magazine is paying me, but I digress.

By manually tilting the panel in one hand, with the other hand taking the photo, the max power observed was about 124W. That is pretty good for a 140W nominal panel in less than perfect sun as far as I know.

To early to know how reliable the equipment will be, or whether I should have chosen a flexible panel.

The MPPT controller has programmable voltages, but I haven't changed anything other than set battery type to flooded and 110ah.

The MPPT controller and mt50 where $134 delivered, and the panel was $199. Both were from that * bay site from different sellers. I'll be getting the temp sensor, and USB cable for $10 from another.

Thanks again to this forum for providing lots of help. I'll try to answer any questions here, and update after the season. By the way, I'm not affiliated with any company or reseller for these products and am not getting paid or free stuff.
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Old 14-04-2016, 07:51   #2
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Re: Solar MPPT & 140W panel test

Dave777,

Thanks for the testing effort. I know the youtube guy that reviewed his 40amp model complained that the MPPT tracking was really slow ( 3 part review). what have you observed? I'm looking at getting a couple of these ( a 40amp anda 20 amp model) and controlling them with my laptop. The software that they provide looks OK and I think should do the job.
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Old 14-04-2016, 10:13   #3
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Re: Solar MPPT & 140W panel test

Nice result.

Well done! THX for sharing!

b.
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Old 15-04-2016, 07:14   #4
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Re: Solar MPPT & 140W panel test

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcmm View Post
Dave777,

Thanks for the testing effort. I know the youtube guy that reviewed his 40amp model complained that the MPPT tracking was really slow ( 3 part review). what have you observed? I'm looking at getting a couple of these ( a 40amp anda 20 amp model) and controlling them with my laptop. The software that they provide looks OK and I think should do the job.
I did see that one, but noticed it was an old review. According to an eMail reply from their tech support, the current version of their firmware is 7.x and the version he tested in the review was 2.x. Do you know him personally? Is it possible to see if he's still having issues? There are a number of issues which could cause a control system to fail, and we don't know what else was in the tested network. To be honest, I don't have a full grasp on what MPPT does beyond the simple explanation, or how a controller determines it in practise.

I did not see any problems. The voltage was pretty much instantaneous, like when I flipped the panel over from upside down to right side up. There was some change over time, I saw as high as 40 something voltz for a panel rated at 36.1V at max power point. When the sun went behind a could is would go into the low 30s. I tried shading with my hand and saw very little change, but when I put a snow shovel over it covering about 20% of the panel the voltage and current would go to about 0.
Definitely did not see a slow ticking up and ticking down. So my guess is he had a defective unit, old firmware with a bug, or something in his network interacting with the controller that interfered with their algorythm. Just a guess.

I saw other reviews made after the one you mentioned, so assumed the issue was fixed. I was most impressed with the review where the unit was opened and the coils are embedded in a rubber/silicone and was an improvement over the prior model which is resold by a number of us solar companies. The reviewer said the algorythm was improved from the older model - the RN series tracer with the front panel that has painted icons on it. This controller (BN series) is practically just a heat sink.

I haven't used the software though have a $10 set of USB cable and battery temp cable coming. Definitely will use the temp cable. Not sure about using their software, just because their little self-powered plug in screen is so easy. Of course, if I buy another controller, I'll just use the same mt50 to perform setup and get readings.

One neat thing, it tells you the kilowatts harvested over the last day, month, or since inception. I'm looking forward to comparing results with the Link10 on the boat.

As far as computer control, it is not ethernet based even though the cable connector is RJ45. It uses an older protocol called MODBUS so you could use their software, or your own with some effort.

What brand and size panels are you getting?

Let us know how it works for you.
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Old 15-04-2016, 07:20   #5
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Re: Solar MPPT & 140W panel test

I'm planning on getting one large 250 or 300 watt "Heliene" panel. Mostly because they are made in Ontario so I can avoid the solar panel chinese anti-dumping duty! But I plan on using 2 controllers because the large panel will be mounted permanently on my davits and I'll have 2 smaller 10o watt panels on "wings" on the lifelines.

But if the firmware has been improved then that was my only reservation! The windows software is pretty good and allows you to do some logging of data to tweak performance from what I can tell.
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Old 15-04-2016, 08:23   #6
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Re: Solar MPPT & 140W panel test

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I'm planning on getting one large 250 or 300 watt "Heliene" panel.
I'm also thinking of a larger panel for between the davits. Also going with a "home" panel instead of the more expensive, less rugged flexible marine panels. (more expensive too)

What mount would you use? Think I'll need to custom fabricate a mount.

The 140W Aleko was chosen becaused it just fits in a spot on the hard bimini.

If I do get another panel, I'd test them both for a while individually and serial and parallel before deciding if another MPPT controller would be worth it.
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