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Old 31-10-2011, 00:06   #16
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Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

Well where to start. We have had Vega for almost 10 years now. When we got her she was a cross between a floating barn and a goat shed. It took us quite a few years to get her back to being a good sailing boat and her interiors comfortable to live in. Half the year we are in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand where we work with our supporters and sponsors to gather the educational and medical supplies needed by the small isolated island communities we assist. The other half the year we are out making our deliveries. This year we managed around 15 tons of supplies delivered. (The boat was so full we were sleeping on deck from Jakarta to East Timor).

Our electrical system is 12 volts sadly and consists of 6 X 255 amp Lifeline AGM batteries, Xantrex 2000R, Balmar alternator, Xantrex freedom 25 inverter / charger. We just received a donation of 6 X 150 W solar panels from Hooray Energy ( a Singapore start up company that is the first to design panels from concept to boat for marine use. Fully certified waterproof and loads of other features. They have a website) Now the problem is they make panels but the regulator the have is a joke at 20 amps etc. We need some seriously efficient and effective to manage our charging. With 3 freezers running when we are delivering medications and vaccines that must be kept cold Vega is a poser hungry beast. That is why I turned to you lot to get your ideas on what will be the most effective and least headache for us to have on board. I have to use donated money to buy this controller and feel responsible for making sure we get the best available. Not to mention we have to live with it for months at a time in the middle of no-where.
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Old 31-10-2011, 05:56   #17
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Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

For a 12v system most of the controllers mentioned are too small.

Outback make IMHO the best controllers and the Outback 80 would be a good choice.

The re is a new controller from Midnite that looks promising, (made by the designer of the Outback 60 and 80),but it has only been on the market for a short time and you are better going for a proven product. There are often a few firmware updates before the sophisticated controllers are sorted out
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Old 31-10-2011, 06:18   #18
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Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

I came across the new Midnights when looking for a new controller. They look very nice, however, their smallest model is for 100V solar systems. Their market is off-grid home systems, not boats.

Mark
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Old 31-10-2011, 12:12   #19
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Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I came across the new Midnights when looking for a new controller. They look very nice, however, their smallest model is for 100V solar systems. Their market is off-grid home systems, not boats.

Mark
The maximum voltage for the Midnite and Outback models is typically 150V. This is only a maximum many people use them, as I do, for a 12v system.

This Midnite solar controller

Midnite Solar Classic 150 MPPT Charge Controller, 150V 96A

The Midnite model is a new controller that is in competion with the Outback 60 and 80 models (which are used on many boats with larger solar arrays).
I think the Outback is a better choice at the moment, but the Midnight controllers are the only ones that have managed to beat (slightly) the Outbacks efficiency. Only time will tell if they can equal the reliability.
One advantage the Midnite units have is the display can be remote, which is extra for the Outback. Given the large size of these units this would be a bonus for many boat installations, although the OP boat should be large enough that it is capable of finding room
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Old 31-10-2011, 12:34   #20
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Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

I have two Morningstar TS-MPPT-45. I have two banks of panels: 4x75 watt @ 41 volts; 2x265 watts @39 volts. The best I have seen is 63 amps into my nominally 12 volt system.

My choice came down to Outback or Morningstar. Morningstar won on price. I also
have the remote control panel up on the Nav station so I can watch things happen.

They have been operating for about a year and I am very happy with them.
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