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Old 05-08-2020, 05:37   #1
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60A or higher controller

My apologies (and request for direction) that this likely has been covered before.

However, my 720W rig's controller has had a fatal issue and I need to replace it ASAP.

Who's got "get this" or "avoid this" stories for their 60A or higher controller?

Or, a pointer to a discussion where it's already been sorted

Thanks!

L8R

Skip
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:05   #2
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Re: 60A or higher controller

I like my Outback FlexMax60

An experience story: I replaced it earlier this year because I wasn't putting out any current. before hand troubleshooting it had voltage coming in so both me and the Outlook tech on phone thought it was the controller. Turned out it was a burnt MC4 connector that was hard to see (took it apart twice in the sunlight before I saw that it was burnt up)
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:20   #3
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Re: 60A or higher controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I like my Outback FlexMax60

An experience story: I replaced it earlier this year because I wasn't putting out any current. before hand troubleshooting it had voltage coming in so both me and the Outlook tech on phone thought it was the controller. Turned out it was a burnt MC4 connector that was hard to see (took it apart twice in the sunlight before I saw that it was burnt up)
Great support story.

So, what did you do with the take-out (or were you allowed to return the new one)?

L8R

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Old 05-08-2020, 06:48   #4
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Re: 60A or higher controller

I, too, have had good luck with the Outback units. Never had a problem with the Flexmax 80. The inverter was twice a lightning casualty. Both times I quickly got boards shipped in and had it fixed in a week.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:05   #5
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Re: 60A or higher controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
Great support story.

So, what did you do with the take-out (or were you allowed to return the new one)?

L8R

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Sold the old in Boot Key for $100 within 20 minutes of posting it on the FB page. Since I got the new at a discount because it was a returned unit it only ended costing me $200 with the sale of the old. So in the end I figured that was cheap price for the lesson learned and as a replacement to an 8 year old controller
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:28   #6
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Re: 60A or higher controller

Another happy Victron user - for three years now. And since Victron's warranty is an outstanding five years I'm still under warranty!

The only complaint I have is that the bluetooth range for the iPhone is a little short. I have to sit within 6 ft of the controller to get a good Bluetooth connection - but this is just a quibble as bluetooth is only needed when you are configuring or checking the statistics.

I set a 600 watt array up with three 20 amp controllers. The boat is a 12v boat but the panels are wired for 24volt (a mix of parallel and serial) - to keep the wire size down. I didn't want to put higher than 24 volts in the exposed locations of my bimini and deck for safety reasons.

The great thing about the Victrons is that three 20 amp units cost only slightly more than one 60 amp unit. For me this has a lot of advantages:

- Redundancy. A failure of one controller (or set of panels/wiring) doesn't take out the whole system.

- Trouble shooting - The Victron keeps a daily history of watts. I know what to expect proportionally from the three systems each day. If one starts to perform less well, something is wrong.

- Better MPPT performance - If you have a large flat deck where the panels are all at the same angle to the sun and no shading then this doesn't matter. But my panels are at different angles. Each MPPT is constantly optimizing for its panels. My MPPT's are port Bimini, starboard Bimini and stern. Each of these has different angles to the sun.

- Synching - I was worried that the multiple controllers would fight with each other between float and absorption but this hasn't been a problem in the real world. If the boat is occupied (e.g. refrigeration is on) I set the float voltage to 13.8. On most days the controllers don't go to float until the afternoon because of the refrigerator. But even 8 hours through the day at this float voltage won't bother the batteries.

I've bought my controllers online from PKYS. Great prices and fast shipping.
https://shop.pkys.com/MPPT-Smart-Sol...oth_c_806.html
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:52   #7
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Re: 60A or higher controller

Outback and Midnite are the leaders for these larger controllers. Both are excellent. Midnite has innovated a little more and is arguably now slightly the leader, but a lot depends on on local pricing etc.

It is perhaps a time to consider installing the alternative approach of multiple smaller controllers. CarlF has posted an excellent summary of the advantages in post #6

This will require extra wiring to be fed between the panels and the controller, so this may not be practical especially as many of the gains are small. If contemplating this solution the standout out choice is the Victron controllers.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:25   #8
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Re: 60A or higher controller

My boat came with a 60A Outback Flexmax solar charge controller. The PO had put it in an aft lazerette just under the hatch, which was a potential wet spot as it was directly under the hatch on the aft deck. It was also 25' away from the batteries. It did have a 60A circuit breaker right next to it for the output cable (which was too small for the amperage and the length of the run).

I moved the charger to right above and slightly aft of the batteries, replaced the positive and negative output cables with larger ones, routed the negative directly to the main negative bus, and left the existing circuit breaker close to the solar panels. I put in a new circuit breaker on the positive output close to the controller and a mega fuse close to the battery. I wanted the C/B on the output both to protect the wiring from the controller to the battery since it was still a 6' run and I could turn it off if I wanted to isolate it from my new LiFePO4 battery bank.

I also installed a new AC charger next to it and wired it the same with a C/B to the house battery bank and a large fuse close to the bank. I did not put a fuse or C/B on the charger output positive to the starter battery right at the charger since it was a relatively short run but did have a large fuse at the starter battery.
See photo attached.
The Outback charger controller worked very well even though it was several years old.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:43   #9
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Re: 60A or higher controller

Morningstar. Excellent equipment and support
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Old 05-08-2020, 15:32   #10
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Re: 60A or higher controller

Before I say anything I do agree that Victron, Outback, Conext (Schneider) & Selectronic are probably the better ones but also the dearer ones BUT .....
On my last boat I had one of the MPPSolar units and for the life of me I can't understand why those 'other' brands can't incorporate all functions into the one unit?
(like MPPSolar does)
Can't be so hard to have inverter, charger & solar controller all in the one unit?
5000w for under $1,000Australian $$.
Yes, I have an Outback inverter with a Conext solar controller as it came with this boat.
I'm thinking of having an MPPSolar unit for everyday use & keep all the existing for emergency fall back.
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Old 05-08-2020, 15:54   #11
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Re: 60A or higher controller

I'm a new Victron user so I won't make a recommendation yet, though I am happy so far.(1 or 2 months now)

I just wanted to note that CarlF's range problem with the IPhone app has not been a problem for me. Actually, I can manage my controllers from the dock and I.can see my neighbour's controllers from the next dock row.

Maybe the new controllers have better range?

But it tells you that you MUST secure the PIN on these devices because otherwise a malicious person could destroy your batteries and/or your boat electronics.
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Old 05-08-2020, 16:22   #12
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Re: 60A or higher controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
My apologies (and request for direction) that this likely has been covered before.



However, my 720W rig's controller has had a fatal issue and I need to replace it ASAP.



Who's got "get this" or "avoid this" stories for their 60A or higher controller?



Or, a pointer to a discussion where it's already been sorted



Thanks!



L8R



Skip


May I suggest you read this blog:

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...andybob-solar/

I find it very enlightening and I have followed some of his advice and it worked very well. Good luck!
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Old 05-08-2020, 16:56   #13
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Re: 60A or higher controller

outback flex max 80 user -- like it and seems pretty bulletprood
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Old 05-08-2020, 18:28   #14
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Re: 60A or higher controller

My outback 80 has been flawless. I distrust MC4 connectors so I just cut them off and used crimp splices. I’d understand the MC4 if you had the need to disconnect them.

However the options for the Outback are pricy, it’s cost quite a lot of money adding the battery monitor so that I could drop to float based on trailing amps charge. I believe their primary market is for large complex land based Solar arrays and their strength is in networking multiple large controllers etc together.

But having said that, I’m not sure many controllers have the capability to drop to float based on acceptance rate, and any other method is not precise.
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Old 06-08-2020, 04:12   #15
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Re: 60A or higher controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
My outback 80 has been flawless. I distrust MC4 connectors so I just cut them off and used crimp splices. Id understand the MC4 if you had the need to disconnect them.

(clip...)
Yesterday, when we arrived there were brilliant flashes and some smoke (not much left, likely) coming from the now-dead Blue Sky Solarboost 6024 controller.

I could not tell you, so would have had to spend precious time looking, where my tools for the MC4 connectors were.

Fortunately, I'd also not put on more shrink-wrap when I put blocking diodes in line on the positive legs, as it would have further delayed me.

But I was able to depress the clips far enough, one at a time, with my fingers, to allow the legs to disconnect.

I'd have had to cut the lines if it were hardwired...

2 points for connectors

In the meantime, the search continues apace; a friend is, unfortunately in the beginning of the auction for his OutBack Power FM60-150VDC FLEXMax 60 Charge Controller (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Outback-Fle...y/402350566607, if you're interested), so it won't be available for a while.

Outback and Victron are my leaning currently; I sure wish that BS still made the 60A charger...
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