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Mppt charge controller


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14 minutes ago, Pastida@1 said:

Plans coming  along now.  Still lots more to ask.

We will be having 600w of solar panels on our sailaway.  What would be the best charge controller for this. 

Cheers

John 

 

Cheers

John

Good controllers are:-

Outback

Morningstar

Midnight 

Tracer

e.g

http://www.bimblesolar.com/offgrid/mppt

 

Edited by rusty69
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For the record, according to Bimble Solar, the Tracer BN is exactly the same as the Outback & made in the same factory.
I have 2x 30A MPPT controllers, & 4x 165W panels. They have other sizes too.
2 panels in series into 1 controller, & the MT50 MPPT meter is handy too.
Mine have been on 3 years now, never a hiccup, a case of fit & forget.

Edited by Ssscrudddy
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25 minutes ago, Pastida@1 said:

Thanks for that.  I was going to fit 2 x 320w solar panels.  So I will need a charge controller for each panel then by the look of it. 

It will depend on panel spec and how you connect them.You could have one x 60 A(possibly 50A),or two x 30 A.

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I have 500w (2x250) and one Tracer but I have the panels in parallel. I know this is less efficient but it was how they were wired with an older controller and I decided not to change them because when travelling you often find at least one gets shadows.  That way at least one panel is giving full chat.  If I was in a marina I would probably put them in series as long as my berth was not in any shade.

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I quite often find that one bit of the boat might be in shade while another is in the sun. If you have your panels in series, you will more likely get some output in poor conditions, but also have more chance of one being blocked by shade (stopping both from working).

So, if you are having the panels next to each other, prolly go for serial, but if they are spread apart you might find it frustrating trying to keep both in the sun.

But to answer the original question, I've been using a Tracer 20a for the two panels I have (in series) and it works fine. Apparently there is a slight issue with them at very low output levels but they are still good for the money. I plan on doing one or possibly two more panel pairs in a similar way.

One more thing to consider - do you need to be able to walk past the panels? For this reason I have fitted fairly narrow ones thus leaving a bit of walk way on the roof.

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I bought 2 x 245W Canadian Solar 3 year old panels and a 40A Tracer MPPT from Bimble in September. All good!

Given that you will rarely/never get 640W out of your panels on the UK canals, you would probably be fine with a 40A controller, particularly as the Tracer can cope with higher than 40A if I have read things correctly.

http://www.bimblesolar.com/offgrid/mppt/Tracer4215BN

"For 12V Solar System: 520W solar panel (150V for max input voltage)......................
The BN tracer models have a current limiting function, you can connect twice the rated power to the controller so if your on a budget you can use a smaller controller with more panels so that you get more power in winter or low light but don't risk overloading the controller in the summer.  The output will be limited to the max listed above."

 

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May I ask, as a newbie, why the negative comments about wind?

Surely a small wind generator can only help by adding a few amps - especially for liveaboards in the winter months when the sun shines less.

Only downside I can see is noise/vibration from the generator, which could be minimized with good rubber mounts?

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I've been thinking the same thing.  Surely some amps is better than none at all.  There are too many doom and gloom merchants on here. If they don't have one themselves they poo poo any ideas lol. I might just fit a Rutland wind turbine as well as solar panels yet. H

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35 minutes ago, Pastida@1 said:

I might just fit a Rutland wind turbine as well as solar panels yet.

Fill yer boots. 

We were asked if there’s any point to them to which the answer is ‘no’. But if you want to splash out on one and have your boat vibrating away to get half an Ah in then you go for it. 

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34 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Fill yer boots. 

We were asked if there’s any point to them to which the answer is ‘no’. But if you want to splash out on one and have your boat vibrating away to get half an Ah in then you go for it. 

Is that the only negative for wind power - vibration through the boat?

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1 hour ago, Pastida@1 said:

I've been thinking the same thing.  Surely some amps is better than none at all.  There are too many doom and gloom merchants on here. If they don't have one themselves they poo poo any ideas lol. I might just fit a Rutland wind turbine as well as solar panels yet. H

Its a cost benefit thing. Solar panels are now so cheap that you get a lot more for your money by adding solar panels.

Wind Turbine

benefits: Some power when gloomy or dark and sufficient wind av available

Cons: Expensive (compared to Solar), Noisy, require rigging/derigging each time you moor/set off, bulky object on roof whilst locking. Less reliable than solar (Subjective opinion).

If you have money to burn, like noisy drumming sounds whilst trying to sleep, don,t mind rigging the setup every time you moor, happy to spend time de-rigging every time you set off and prepared to pay for maintenance parts then go for them.

However if you want some power during winter when the solars are not performing and you don't want to run the engine up then why not, not for me because of the above.

 

On the Solar controller question I'm another vote for the Tracer BN series I have 3 plus the MT50 display, cant fault them for the money. If you do get a Tracer make sure its the BN series as these are, I understand, made in a different factory to their other controllers and are supposedly of a better quality electronically.   

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