Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 30-10-2011, 01:19   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: South East Asia
Boat: 122 year old Historical Sailing vessel
Posts: 121
Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

OK so its been ask a few hundred times but here we go again. Lets have the tables thoughts on best solar charge controlers. Just had a donation of 6 150W panels and need to locate a good controler for them. So lets go gentlemen - and ladies - what is working and what is pure marketing BS?
__________________

__________________
H/V Vega is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 08:18   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Your latest thoughts on Solar charge controlers

You will need a 60A controller for those, or two smaller ones. Morningstar and Outback make 60A MPPT controllers. We are installing the Morningstar. My first choice was Outback, but I read several complaints on the rf noise generated from them. Also, they are larger in size than the Morningstar. I have no first hand experience with either, but we will see how the Morningstar works soon.

For less money, you could buy PWM controllers. Trace make the C60 for 1/3 of the price of the MPPT. This is a very good controller for what it is.

Mark
__________________

__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 08:28   #3
Registered User
 
mbianka's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,125
Images: 1
Re: Your latest thoughts on Solar charge controlers

I have standard Morningstar controllers (Pro Star 15's) on the 12 & 48 volt panels on board and a Morningstar Sunlight controller for my home LED lighting systems. All have worked without fail for over four years now. If you do go with a Pro Star I would go with the one with the meter. I have both and the metered unit makes keeping track of how the system is working much easier.
__________________
Capt. Mike
mbianka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 08:53   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Your latest thoughts on Solar charge controlers

The Pro Star is a 15 amp controller. He would not be able to use it with his panels.

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 09:27   #5
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,769
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
Re: Your latest thoughts on Solar charge controlers

i really like bz industries pwm controllers-- they have digital read of battery condition and last about 7 yrs so far-- mine are 25 amp rated. mineis model m20, hey do have others.
zeehag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 13:45   #6
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 17,314
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

There is a point where MPPTs are not practical yet - spend the bucks on more panels instead.

But I think at 2x150 you can benefit from an MPPT one.

b.
__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 13:58   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
There is a point where MPPTs are not practical yet - spend the bucks on more panels instead.

But I think at 2x150 you can benefit from an MPPT one.

b.
That's 6x150 he has, which necessitates a large controller. Adding a MPPT to this array will be like adding another panel without the added space requirement (and the same cost).

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 13:59   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Istanbul
Boat: Jeanneau Sun Oddyssey 37 ft 2002
Posts: 61
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

I have got 2*125W (2*75 A, 12 V batteries) panels connected to a Steca Solarix controller 20 A, which has coloured light indicators also for the state of the batteries and charging. Happy until now. The boat is in the Mediterranian coast of Turkey with bright and cloudless sun shine in summer.
__________________
Idle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 14:06   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

The OP has a 900 watt array and has asked for information on controllers for this array. Information on anything smaller than a 60 amp controller is of no value to him.

Not putting down any other controller, just pointing out that they are not suitable in his application.

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 14:17   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,061
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

Not going to state which is best. I have had experience with Morningstar Sunsaver MPPT, with Xantrex C12 PWM, and with the switched relay type voltage-sensing controllers (can't remember the brand).

They all worked just fine and I didn't see any difference when I switched from the Xantrex to the Morninstar because I was swayed by the MPPT "hype". I spent a lot of $ and while I might buy MPPT again "just because" everyone says it's better, if I bought a boat that came with PWM I wouldn't toss a perfectly good controller for the slight improvement from MPPT, if any.

One thing I have observed is that it is not as efficient to mix multiple controllers in the same battery bank. My theory is that the battery sense circuits on each controller are influenced by the output of the other charge source(s), and will tend to throttle down the charge sooner than if only one controller was involved.

My installation involves two banks of solar panels, one each side of the boat. I was advised by a solar panel dealer to put them on separate controllers, but I got better results by diode-isolating the outputs of each panel (so one or more in shade doesn't pull from the others) and having just one controller in the picture.
__________________
SailFastTri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 19:15   #11
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 17,314
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
That's 6x150 he has, which necessitates a large controller. Adding a MPPT to this array will be like adding another panel without the added space requirement (and the same cost).

Mark
!

OK then. MPPT sure thing.

Where we are a small MPPT costs roughly same a s a 100W panel. Hence not worth the investment as long as deck space no issue.

In any case, when we come across a good and not too expensive MPPT unit, we will get one and use our PWM as a spare.

Link to a Victron unit that is 40A and Victron is regarded OK here (EU).

Victron BlueSolar- Solar Regulators

b.
__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 21:23   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: South East Asia
Boat: 122 year old Historical Sailing vessel
Posts: 121
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

Thanks for the feed back so far please do keep the thoughts and advice coming. These things are expensive for us and I need to insure the right one makes it on board. BTW we just uploaded a whole selection of images from our 2011 Mission of Mercy loads of sailing images etc. Have a look HERE
__________________
H/V Vega is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 22:04   #13
Registered User
 
deckofficer's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Northern and Southern California
Boat: too many
Posts: 4,198
Images: 4
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

Wow, can you say "sail management"? How long have you been aboard H/V Vega? Also for charge controllers, on a vessel like Vega, are you charging a 12 volt bank or something higher like a 48 volt bank? I will be going the 48 volt route as that will cut current by a 1/4 for the same work done, wattage. I'll just run a 48 volt inverter so that wire size and runs are more manageable and use a 70 amp switching power supply (less weight) for the 12 volt needs. If the charge controllers you are looking at have 48 volt models, then 900 watts worth of solar at 68 volts ( 4- 17 volt panels in series) would only be about 13 amps.

__________________
Bob
USCG Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean (CMA)
http://tbuckets.lefora.com/
deckofficer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 22:17   #14
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,769
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

i know bz ind has larger than this need--look up bz ind and find pwm controllers. this company is very reasonable in pricing. they have many controllers--i mentioned that mine is 25 amp--- but the company makes larger -----my 25 amp controller was 80.50. was most reasonable pricing i have seen --my old one lasted 7 yrs -- very reasonable.
nice boat.
zeehag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-10-2011, 22:46   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Istanbul
Boat: Jeanneau Sun Oddyssey 37 ft 2002
Posts: 61
Re: Your Latest Thoughts on Solar Charge Controllers

I deliberately gave the voltage of the system I have. If you have a system with 24 V than a 40A regulator will probably be OK. I don't have any opinion for the prices at the moment. Up to my knowledge Steca Solaris have a maximum of 40A. I presume you will check the market for price and suitebility anyway.
__________________

__________________
Idle is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Please Help - Need Advice on Charging via Solar keao Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 15 03-01-2016 21:04
What About 'these' Solar Panels ? SV Demeter Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 119 07-05-2012 20:19
Cheap Charge Controller - Wind and Solar, Two or Three Outputs ? GaryBmth Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 10 05-10-2011 06:02
For Sale: Bluesky SB50 MPPT 50AMP Solar Charge Controller + LCD - Gold Coast, Australia TrevC Classifieds Archive 1 26-08-2011 03:30



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:16.


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.