Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 08-08-2012, 15:46   #1
Registered User
 
Rhian's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: On Beyzano, wherever she is, I live!
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 473 - named Beyzano
Posts: 26
Which MPPT Solar Controller?

I am just about to fit new solar panels, 4 x 135 watt, and am wondering which controller to purchase.

I have been advised to use an MPPT controller as they are more efficient but not sure which one to use. Currently looking at the Bluesky solar boost 3024iL and the Morningstar Tri-star TS-MPPT-45.

We have a 12v system and are wondering if the 40 amp models will be big enough and if anybody has any experience of these 2 models or can recommend any others.

Thanks in advance!
__________________

__________________
Rhian

http://www.beyzano.com
Rhian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2012, 16:19   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Oriental, NC
Boat: Mainship Pilot 34
Posts: 1,429
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Both controllers are going to be too small. Even considering just the nameplate ratings the 4 *135 will produce 45 amps of power into a 12 volt load. Many authorities recommend increasing the controller rating by 20% to cover vaugaries of solar panels and controllers. So I would go with a 60 amp controller.

And use really big wire if you are going to wire them in parallel and bring the main feed to the controller- 6 gauge at least. And you will need a 60 amp fuse near the battery.

David
__________________

__________________
djmarchand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2012, 16:32   #3
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

One of the things I didn't consider when setting up my controller was the amount of heat the MPPT unit would generate while doing its thing. Unfortunately, I mounted the controller in a compartment that doesn't vent heat well. If I ever replace the system, one of the main things I'll investigate is how a given controller vents and handles heat.
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2012, 16:34   #4
Registered User
 
Strygaldwir's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Deale, Maryland
Boat: SeaView - Privilege 37
Posts: 1,020
Images: 5
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Outback has worked very well for me for several years now.
__________________
Strygaldwir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2012, 17:24   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Home port is San Diego, California but currently cruising the East Coast of the USA.
Boat: Contest 48
Posts: 638
Images: 1
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

We have two 235-watt panels and they're controlled by the Morningstar 45-amp controller. It's been working great for three years now.

Fair winds and calm seas.
__________________
nhschneider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2012, 17:49   #6
Senior Cruiser
 
Roy M's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Southwestern Yacht Club, San Diego, CA
Boat: Searunner 40 trimaran, WILDERNESS
Posts: 3,042
Images: 4
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Bash, check out Catalog Frame. They have an automatic vent control unit that senses when a charger/alternator, alternate energy source raises the voltage to the point where the batteries outgas. It shuts off fifteen minutes after the charging ceases. I use one for my 740 Ah house bank, located down in the bilge area, with the exhaust gas going out to a locker discharging overboard. They are handy for engine room ventilation control, as well. Ooops! I forgot to say it's connected to a pancake ventilating fan. It's from a company called Yandina.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	BatVent3.jpg
Views:	273
Size:	6.7 KB
ID:	44565  
Attached Images
 
__________________
Roy M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2012, 18:09   #7
Registered User
 
GeoPowers's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Gulfport, MS
Boat: Beneteau 393
Posts: 947
Images: 27
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Both controllers are going to be too small. Even considering just the nameplate ratings the 4 *135 will produce 45 amps of power into a 12 volt load. Many authorities recommend increasing the controller rating by 20% to cover vaugaries of solar panels and controllers. So I would go with a 60 amp controller.

And use really big wire if you are going to wire them in parallel and bring the main feed to the controller- 6 gauge at least. And you will need a 60 amp fuse near the battery.

David
+1 to what David said. The charge controllers you are considering are too small for your array. I'd look into an Outback Flexmax 60, or maybe a Midnite Solar 150. I have the Flexmax 60, and it is pretty awesome.

FYI the Flexmax 60 handles up to 2 AWG if you are considering paralleling panels. I'm guessing from your wattage you might have Kyrocera's with a nominal 12V voltage rating? If so, I would consider a series-parallel set-up, or even a series connection if you are confident you will have minimal shading- it is better for lower light conditions like dawn, dusk, heavy clouds, etc.

Frank
GeoPowers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2012, 18:25   #8
Registered User
 
ExRonin's Avatar

Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 23
I have a similar array (2 130W and 2 140W). I use 2 Blue Sky 2512ix units and they work extremely reliably, and are also quite economical. With the IPN pro remote monitor you have all the data you need on panel performance. Also don't forget to put an auto relay (30A) on the PV inputs to the MPPT's so you can kill the solar regulators when your are charging in other ways ( running the engine for example) so those regulators wont become "confused".
__________________
ExRonin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 01:49   #9
Registered User
 
Celestialsailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In Mexico, working on the boat
Boat: Hallberg Rassy 35. and 14ft.Whitehall pulling skiff.
Posts: 8,013
Images: 5
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

I also have a Blue Sky. It works very well. What I didn't like about them was the cheesy galvanized household electrical box they supplied for it. I made a SS box for it.
__________________
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"

http://wwwjolielle.blogspot.com/
Celestialsailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 04:52   #10
Registered User

Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 463
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhian View Post
I am just about to fit new solar panels, 4 x 135 watt, and am wondering which controller to purchase.

I have been advised to use an MPPT controller as they are more efficient but not sure which one to use. Currently looking at the Bluesky solar boost 3024iL and the Morningstar Tri-star TS-MPPT-45.

We have a 12v system and are wondering if the 40 amp models will be big enough and if anybody has any experience of these 2 models or can recommend any others.

Thanks in advance!
Morningstar says that the Tri-star TS-MPPT-45 is ok for 4 x 135w panels in either parallel or series configuration.
__________________
Fuss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 05:10   #11
Moderator
 
noelex 77's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Living on dirt waiting for our new yacht to be built.
Boat: Half built Bestevaer.
Posts: 10,619
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuss View Post
Morningstar says that the Tri-star TS-MPPT-45 is ok for 4 x 135w panels in either parallel or series configuration.
Yes the Morningstar 45 would be fine.

My vote, as sereral others have suggested is for the outback. Midnite are another option with the only controler that is, arguably, better than the outback for similar money. The only drawback with the Midnite is that it is a very new product without the long history of reliability that the Outback has.
__________________
noelex 77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 06:08   #12
Registered User
 
GeoPowers's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Gulfport, MS
Boat: Beneteau 393
Posts: 947
Images: 27
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuss View Post
Morningstar says that the Tri-star TS-MPPT-45 is ok for 4 x 135w panels in either parallel or series configuration.
While the Tristar 45 MPPT is physically able to handle 4 panels, NEC says that the current rating of the controller must be equal to or greater than 125% of the solar array’s short circuit current output (Isc). That would be 36 amps. Not knowing the current rating of the panels in question I can't say for sure that it is over 36 amps, but it has to be close.

Similarly, even though the Flexmax 60's output current limit is 60 amps, if you read the manual the largest PV array that is supposed to be connected to it is 48 amps.

IMO they should call them the Tristar-36 and Flexmax 48!

Frank
GeoPowers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 06:12   #13
Registered User
 
silverp40's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Usually where the boat is...
Boat: Pearson 40
Posts: 514
Images: 7
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Blue Sky first came up with the MPPT concept, a very efficient way to maximize your PVs power.

Our Blue sky controllers have been both flawless over the last 3 years of continuous use. They also adjust the output when other sources of charging are present. 60 amp is correct for your application.

I have 2 friends with Morningstar units that have had issues with their PV controllers...

Good luck!
__________________
silverp40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 06:39   #14
Moderator
 
noelex 77's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Living on dirt waiting for our new yacht to be built.
Boat: Half built Bestevaer.
Posts: 10,619
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoPowers View Post
While the Tristar 45 MPPT is physically able to handle 4 panels, NEC says that [FONT=ArialMT][COLOR=#231f20][FONT=ArialMT][COLOR=#231f20]the current rating of the controller must be equal to or greater than 125% of the solar array’s short circuit current output (Isc). That would be 36 amps. Not knowing the current rating of the panels in question I can't say for sure that it is over 36 amps, but it has to be close.
Knowing the panels would be helpful.

The popular Kyocera 135 has a Isc of 8.37A. So 4 is 33.48 amps. In practice the Isc will not be seen, it only happens if the terminals are short circuited.

The nominal maximum solar input for the Morningstar unit is 600w, so 540w should be fine.
__________________
noelex 77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 06:54   #15
Registered User
 
jeremiason's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
Boat: Sea Ray 270
Posts: 1,427
Images: 2
Send a message via ICQ to jeremiason Send a message via Yahoo to jeremiason Send a message via Skype™ to jeremiason
Re: Which MPPT Solar Controller?

We have four Kyocera 135 Watt panels and three 85 watt panels run in series to a BLUESKY 6024HL 60 amp controller...

The nice thing about this controller is they let you run the pannels in series, accepting 36 to 48 volts, which generates more amperage output to the batteries...

The controller also accepts a second display head which can be mounted somewhere conveniant to monitor your solar power status.

Even with our mis-matched panels, I routinely make 40-44 amps per hour in direct sunlight... Of course your mileage may vary :-)

I also agree with the previous posting that any controller should be placed in an area that has good ventalation, as they all generate a certain amount of heat...
__________________

__________________
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

jeremiason is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
mppt, solar

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:15.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.