Solar controller upgrade on a budget

wildebus

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2,228
Hmmm that says if you have up to 300w solar PWM if costs a consideration, above 300w MPPT
I would have thought considering MPPT before then is worthwhile personally, but the key thing is the higher the voltage the more power you are potentially wasting with PWM.

The other thing you often see touted by some is the idea that you get a better cost return by adding more solar rather than getting a more efficient controller - which assumes of course you have the room for more panels! A lot of folk who have added solar have uses all available space.
 

wildebus

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2,228
When they change the distance to 5.5m instead of 0.5 they are suggesting a 2.8 volt drop. That would equate to something like a 0.5mm2 cable, so there really does seem to be something up with the figures
Considering that website was a from a solar company, the info is very disappointing and misleading. I find it an interesting coincidence that their recommendations are always to stick to PWM controllers. And lo and behold, what is the only product they sell ....
 

Okta

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432
I fear that a lot of adverts for cheap solar products are misleading. Not only am I suspicious about PWM controllers being described as MPPT but a good number of solar panels are described as monocrystalline despite having the appearance and price of polycrystalline.
 
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nabsim

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2,133
Don’t get me wrong I have a decent MPPT controller with 300w of solar and would advise anyone who asked to do the same.

I was surprised when I got the link in an email from the company considering they have specialised in boats and stuff for years. It is linked to a blog post from 2017 although that shouldn’t change things.

Thought it would warrant some discussion :)
 

SquirrellCook

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167
If it's any help I'll mention my experience. The first attempt was with a 100W semiflexible panel and a cheap controller. Fed up with odd things happening in the first year I upgraded to a more expensive controller. This worked well, but I was never really happy with the results being displayed. Extra panels were added to help with the dull days, but still not happy. In the end I called it the "sunshine meter" Yes in optimum conditions it charged well. What I wanted was improved poor condition performance. This year I changed over to a Victron unit and the results have been very different. It does not act like a "sunshine meter" The peek power from the panels has never reached the figures previously displayed. That said the batteries are being charged better. Charging starts earlier in the day and finishes much later. Also the batteries appear to have gained capacity. My conclusion is that the other controllers did not perform as claimed. It seems having a lower charge current over a longer time is better than a brief blip when the sun shows itself.

Mark
 

Rec

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1,343
One of these days, when we finally get to another meet, I am going to collar one of you to explain the mppt controller! I look at it occasionally but the thing means nothing to me :rolleyes:
 

Landyseverywhere

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21
The one shown in the original photo is Pwm,I knew that when ordering it but it said mppt so when it arrived I complained and after offering 10 then 20 then 50% refund I got full refund and told to get rid of it...free controller...did same with a1500w inverter that was actually under 1200w.
I have an off grid home in Spain that I'm building a 3000w 48v solar set for After a lot of research I bought renogy controller,very well designed and made,would recommend a fraction of the blue ones.may not be as long lasting but designed to run 24/7/365 how much use would it get in a MH?
 

Markd

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573
How much use in MH?
I leave mine running all the time to keep batteries topped up whilst not on journeys - so that's all the time.
But i accept that it doesn't do as much "work" as a domestic system - not sure whether larger current flows "wear out" controllers.
Presumably reliability comes with quality materials and careful fabrication and that costs more?
 

Landyseverywhere

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21
Generally speaking current=heat,electronics hate heat,
Does high price mean high quality?the million dollar question.My opinion sometimes .I have cheap Chinese rubbish that has proved through use and abuse to be far better value than its brand name competitor,and visa versa,I remember a well known and respected German tool manufacturers technical rep telling me that a drill would only be used X mins a year,so why use components bearings etc with a 20 year life expectancy ,costing more lowering profit and lengthening the time to the next sale,when the customer would be satisfied and buy again after 5 years.
 

nabsim

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2,133
Same here my solar controller is on 24/7/365 in the van and I expect it to work, albeit I am disappointed six months of the year. Equipment should work well wherever it is sited so long as within it’s rated capacity.

or are you meaning that Motorhome’s are only designed for a few weeks use each year and to be changed after a few years? I don’t follow that philosophy either although the motorhome manufacturers do
 

Landyseverywhere

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21
Just suggesting " horses for courses"Why buy a rolls Royce if a mini will do all you need it to do .Unless you Want a rolls and money doesn't matter
 

Molly 3

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672
Epever has good reviews it is a true mppt ,it has a built in screen that Tell's you what's going on without buying any extras. Most eBay cheap mppt controller's are fake .lots of utube vidios shaming them..
 

trevskoda

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1,460
Thanks for the advice folks. I will keep a look out and take a look at YouTube.

And thanks for the recommendation Trevor but the price of that one is way more than I wanted to pay. Also, I have a VSR between my leisure and van batteries so I don't need some of its functionality.

K ;)
You can buy one at less money for smaller panel,but always better to go big so if you add more panels it will cope,plus it gives a trickle to starter battery.
 

Trotter

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1,600
Plus 1 for the Epever. Worked well for me.
I was going to put the solar through my Ctek d250, but the Epever seems to be doing the job so well, there doesn’t seem any point in changing it. I’ve got 270ah of lead acid going through it, so almost at it’s max (300ah). If it ain’t broke, why fix it?😬
 

SquirrellCook

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167
So many factors come into this, and much you can't control.
Retailers/distributors lie! Just like Politicians. Some will tell the truth, some will try and not understand what they are selling.
Buy cheap and it works, buy another as a spare. It may have a guarantee, but may take a while to resolve.
Online reviews, really. And their qualification are? I expect many are seeking moments of fame.
I'm having a fight at the moment over some batteries that are not all that was claimed of them. Too start with I'm blamed myself and purchased another set only to find them worse than the first.
The sensible thing would have been just to have purchased some more and forgotten them.
I've now spent 5 years worth of batteries on proving my point, the best outcome. Another set of duff batteries.
Find someone to hold your hand before you leap, make sure they jumped a few times before. Also check for old injuries.
Sometimes when you pay more, you may also be paying for an invaluable aftersales service.
 

clarkpeacock

Full Member

Messages
17
This has come down a bit since my last post.


Cheers

H
Can highly recommend these. I have a the 30a version coupled with 8 x 160w panels plus 1000Ah of battery (10 x Yuasa EN100-6) and victron 350w inverter in my full time off grid home in the UK. This replaced a Steca 30a PWM unit that struggled to keep up with demand in winter months and kept shutting down. After several weeks of seemingly constant rain and little sun, batteries are still fully charged this year - typical use of 12v lights, 240v tv, phone charging, laptops etc. What a difference by just changing the solar regulator to MPPT!

We do have a diesel generator for the washing machine and vacuum, but the nearest neighbours are more than half a mile away, so nobody to complain :)

I have the excellent Victron 75/15 in the motorhome, but I think the EPever range offer even better value for money.
 

Silver sprinter

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210
Thanks for all the posts. Good reading While I already knew it. My brain is very limited. But. I struggle big time with this so if I ever convert my sprinter. Will be asking a lot of silly. questions. The build doesn't worry me to much. Pockets will determine what I do. But this side of it scares me. But thanks again for all posts
 

Trotter

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1,600
Thanks for all the posts. Good reading While I already knew it. My brain is very limited. But. I struggle big time with this so if I ever convert my sprinter. Will be asking a lot of silly. questions. The build doesn't worry me to much. Pockets will determine what I do. But this side of it scares me. But thanks again for all posts
There’s a lot of good kits available out there, from reputable dealers. The secret is finding one. Can’t fault the guy I used. Complus Energy. I’ll send contact details via PM if you want me to.
 

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