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Old 10-11-2014, 16:07   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Brisbane Australia
Boat: Fountaine Lipari 41 Evolution
Posts: 354
Multiple V Single Controller

I'm about to fit some new solar panels and a Wind generator to my existing system and I'm confused on the bast way to go.

I currently have 4 x 110 watt panels into a 30amp MPPT controller.

I'm intending to fit a D400 which has it's own controller and dump resistors.

I also have 2 x 275 watt panels I intend to add as well.

My initial thoughts are
Leave the existing panels and controller alone.

Install the D400 on it's own controller

Get 2 x 20 amp controllers and put each new panel on its own controller as 20 amp controllers are cheap, it gives me redundancy, if one panel is shaded the
then the other is still ok.

So here is where I get confused. Can multiple controllers co-exist? Would one controller sense the higher charge voltage being put in by one controller and then think that the battery is charged to a higher level than it is, and then effectively either switch off or go float?

How do I set it up so all controllers put in the maximum they can without getting confused by the other controllers, or do I have to go to one big mother of a controller? Is there some sort of sense diode I have to put in between the controllers?

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Old 10-11-2014, 16:32   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Petersburg, AK
Boat: Outremer 50S
Posts: 2,986
Re: Multiple V Single Controller

Multiple controllers are better (IMO) for just the reasons you state, if one panel is shaded it won't affect the control function of the other controllers.

Multiple controllers will work fine together. Properly installed they are sensing the voltage at the battery terminals and will control to that voltage. Doesn't really matter how many you have, they'll all control to their set voltage. One caveat, you do want them set to the same voltage, or have a specific plan for how they are staged. If you have one or more controllers set to lower voltages then the equipment on those controllers will stop charging sooner. Maybe that's OK, maybe not, depends on how you have things configured, how close to full your batteries are when the first controller drops out, and whether you are then losing any valuable charging.
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