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Old 16-03-2023, 18:24   #16
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

A current that much lower for series connectionÖ unless something is broken this must be the array current, not the battery charge current.
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Old 16-03-2023, 18:49   #17
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

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Originally Posted by Msailor View Post
I'm hopeful that other sailors (those who can't wire in series) have dealt with low voltage panels and have found controllers to do the job. Any suggestions?

Note, new solar panels is not now an option. Thanks for any ideas.
Check out Morningstar - thatís what I went with after all my research

https://www.morningstarcorp.com/wp-c...er-mppt-en.pdf

Note the fine print: **PV Voltage must be greater than Vbattery + 1 Volt to start chargin

Iím assuming, it was a few years ago, thatís the spec that pushed me to that controller
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Old 17-03-2023, 06:41   #18
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

Thanks Marty, appreciate the Morningstar info. Looking at their spec sheets, seems that all their MPPT controllers have the 1 V differential requirement for charge starting. They reference "PV voltage" for the differential. The question of course, is whether that's panel VOC or something else, like panel VOC minus voltage drop from connection to the controller. But it does seem that Morningstar's start requirement is easier to reach than Victron's.
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Old 17-03-2023, 09:46   #19
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

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Thanks Marty, appreciate the Morningstar info. Looking at their spec sheets, seems that all their MPPT controllers have the 1 V differential requirement for charge starting. They reference "PV voltage" for the differential. The question of course, is whether that's panel VOC or something else, like panel VOC minus voltage drop from connection to the controller. But it does seem that Morningstar's start requirement is easier to reach than Victron's.
Reading through this thread, a few times, makes me think I'm still not 100% getting all concepts here in play. I still might be mixing up, or not understanding, which is being used or the impacts of Vmp vs. Voc from a controller standpoint

That said, I can say the Morningstar controller works with a pair of flex panels in parallel with the following specs:

Specification:
Optimal power [Pmax]: 100W
Working voltage [Vmp]: 18V
Working current [Imp]: 5.56A
Short circuit current [Isc]: 5.8A
Open circuit voltage [Voc]: 20V
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Old 18-03-2023, 08:29   #20
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

Agreed this stuff is difficult to fully understand. Solar panels do seem to come with good info about VOC--which is fixed and you can easily verify with a voltmeter. They also give you good info about the target voltage, MP, for getting maximum power.

Seems all MPPT controllers use a voltage differential as a requirement for battery charge starting, but that info seems to hard to find--and hard to understand because of undefined terms for one of the numbers in the differential arithmetic, that for panel voltage. So consumers like me (and perhaps you), think its panel VOC, when its not. When its undefined, I call it voltage drop. Noelex says its what the controller does to get maximum power, and so its deliberate voltage adjustment on the panel side (as opposed to voltage regulation on the battery side).

As your experience compares to mine, seems pretty clear low voltage panel systems like ours do better with low differentials, and so Morningstar will be better than Victron. Even though there may be other factors particular to different controllers affecting charging, because panel VOC will diminish over time and a high differential system will stop charging well before a low differential system, a high differential controller is not for me. Thanks again for your input.
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Old 18-03-2023, 09:25   #21
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

Ocean Planet Energy did an article about controllers. They said that the only 2 controllers that actually boost are Genasun GVB & Western WMarine10.
Take a look at their site and see if they will do the trick for you.

Unfortunately that article came out after I bought Blue Sky Energy "boost" controllers that don't actually boost low voltage.
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Old 18-03-2023, 10:06   #22
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

Itís a non issue. Just compare Voc with Vmp and you will find a 15-20% gap between the two. If your Vop is too close to the battery charge current, you are not going to get the rated output from your panels and you require a so-called boost-controller, which does dc-dc conversion to boost output voltage up.
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Old 18-03-2023, 10:13   #23
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

Dead simple, mercury wetted contacts, long life, relatively cheap.

I am not using because I moved to high voltage panels.

Not trying to sell, just what I have used.
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Old 18-03-2023, 13:12   #24
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

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Ocean Planet Energy did an article about controllers. They said that the only 2 controllers that actually boost are Genasun GVB & Western WMarine10.

Take a look at their site and see if they will do the trick for you.



Unfortunately that article came out after I bought Blue Sky Energy "boost" controllers that don't actually boost low voltage.


Thanks for the post! I was unaware of the "boost" type controller.
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Old 18-03-2023, 13:14   #25
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Re: Solar Controller for Low Voltage Panels? Not Victron!

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Dead simple, mercury wetted contacts, long life, relatively cheap.



I am not using because I moved to high voltage panels.



Not trying to sell, just what I have used.


Interesting controller. Seems to have a different approach to battery charging than the three stages I'm familiar with. Thanks for the reply.
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