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Old 02-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #1
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Solar MPPT Charge controller advice

I'm looking at the controller below.

Morningstar TS-MPPT-60 TriStar 60 Amp

I have already purchased a PWM controller but when I started doing the math for the length of the copper wire run and wattage going to the controller I realized I'd be better coming in at 24v or higher. I already have a 30 amp PWM controller but I'm thinking I'll use that as a backup and maybe charge car batteries with it or something.

Is this a good MPPT controller? Not much interested in Outback. Also can I get by without a battery monitor and just this charge controller with the addon display panel?
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:04 AM   #2
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Morningstar is a well know, highly respected company with excellent products. I have no first hand experience with their products though. Pricy but highly rated.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. I had pretty much decided on this charge controller but as with anybody new to something I'm apprehensive about choosing a wrong direction. About like when I built my long range rifle. Didn't read enough and built a rifle on 30-06 and then had to turn around and spend another grand plus on building it on 308.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:12 PM   #4
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Thanks for the variety of help with this and mostly the other posts. I went with the Morningstar 60amp MPPT charger and remote display for it. For the inverter I went with a Xantrex 1000watt pure sine wave with remote on/off switch. I'm off here in a little bit to purchase the frame materials for my solar install. I think you guys will be impressed with my unique approach.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:49 PM   #5
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We will need pictures of everything to prove it really is happening. And so we can do it without learning all your lessons.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:34 PM   #6
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x2 with details and pix! I love to study other's mods to learn how to build a better mousetrap.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:49 PM   #7
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Battery monitor

I am using a Trimetric 2025RV battery monitor. This unit requires a shunt on the negative battery terminal to register amps going in or out of the battery. That info is sent to the monitor where a processor keeps track of the amps and time to get a running total of amp/hours which is then shown as percentage of battery capacity. I believe the charge controllers just display amps without the time factor so you don't get amp/hours. If you want accurate battery capacity go to a monitor system. The remote for the charge controller just displays the same info in a different location, so you can place the controller near your batteries and the remote in the cabin for example.
I have been testing our new system since Dec 26/12 in Texas. I have 230 watts(2 x 115) 24v panels, a 30 amp MPPT charge controller(converts 24v to 12V), 3 group 27 deep cycle 12V batteries in series(300 amp/hours), a 200w inverter, and a 1000 pure sine wave inverter. We run LED lights, a 24" LED TV with DVD player, and 12V water pump. When we don't need the furnace we use 8-12%/day of our battery capacity and get back to 100% before noon daily. This means we can go without sun for at least 4 days which isn't too likely in South Padre Island area. On the way south from Toronto we ran our furnace for 3 nights with almost no sun which is the real test.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJAY
I am using a Trimetric 2025RV battery monitor. This unit requires a shunt on the negative battery terminal to register amps going in or out of the battery. That info is sent to the monitor where a processor keeps track of the amps and time to get a running total of amp/hours which is then shown as percentage of battery capacity. I believe the charge controllers just display amps without the time factor so you don't get amp/hours. If you want accurate battery capacity go to a monitor system. The remote for the charge controller just displays the same info in a different location, so you can place the controller near your batteries and the remote in the cabin for example.


I have been testing our new system since Dec 26/12 in Texas. I have 230 watts(2 x 115) 24v panels, a 30 amp MPPT charge controller(converts 24v to 12V), 3 group 27 deep cycle 12V batteries in series(300 amp/hours), a 200w inverter, and a 1000 pure sine wave inverter. We run LED lights, a 24" LED TV with DVD player, and 12V water pump. When we don't need the furnace we use 8-12%/day of our battery capacity and get back to 100% before noon daily. This means we can go without sun for at least 4 days which isn't too likely in South Padre Island area. On the way south from Toronto we ran our furnace for 3 nights with almost no sun which is the real test.
Bill


If you get an intelligent remote with the controller, it does monitor the state of the battery including AHr. Mine gives that and % battery used, voltage, lifetime usage, lifetime charge, temperature, and a lot more. The intelligent remote must be matched with a specific compatible charge controller.

Your system is matched well to your needs! You did your research. I curious as to why you have 2 inverters?
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJAY View Post
I am using a Trimetric 2025RV battery monitor. This unit requires a shunt on the negative battery terminal to register amps going in or out of the battery. That info is sent to the monitor where a processor keeps track of the amps and time to get a running total of amp/hours which is then shown as percentage of battery capacity....
Then the Trimetric will be a future purchase.

I have a few "extra parts" from having bought something then re-evaluated and purchased a more competent solution. Live and learn.

I am unfamiliar with electrical systems but learing. Got motivated to be very careful though in what I purchase and don't skimp after I ran a portable heater, microwave, and several other electrical appliances at the same time off an extension cord running to the house. I was in the camper wondering why the microwave was running so slow. A few minutes alter I went into the house and smelled that smell which says something electrical got way too hot. There was a blue haze in the garage and my big long extension cord had partially melted.

Oh, no need to preach to me about it. I called myself dumbf@ck numerous times.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:12 PM   #10
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I started with the 200 watt modified sine wave and found it's cooling fan starts with almost no load so it runs too loud when the TV is on. The 1000 watt is pure sine wave and has a remote start switch so I was able to mount it inside a cabinet to muffle the cooling fan noise and make it more pleasant to watch TV. We've used it for the TV and a 90 Watt crock pot and the fan doesn't come on(I guess because 90w is less than 10% of inverters capacity).
I was told the modified sine wave was no good for electronics but found the TV and laptop worked well.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:40 AM   #11
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ok. I understand that it was an evolution of sorts. I thought you might have something like an external kitchen with electric fridge on the 300 watt and everything else on the 1000 watt.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:13 PM   #12
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Got another question. Something I didn't think about. My Morningstar TS-MPPT-60 controller puts out 60 amps maximum. With my panels I'm guessing on a good sunny day I'll be putting out 40+ amps to the batteries. Will this roast my two batteries or will the charge controller have the smarts to reduce output? I'll have the temperature and voltage leads from the MPPT 60 connected to the battery for monitoring.

solar array: 4 x 145 Watt

If the controller does not limit the current going to the battery is there some other way I can do it? One thing I was thinking was to only have 2 solar panels connected at a time. It's a bummer though. I was hoping the charge controller would limit the current automatically and on cloudy days I'd get a little more kick from the added wattage of the four panels.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:46 PM   #13
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the controller monitors the battery state and will lower the voltage as needed to charge to the parameters you set. By dropping the voltage, the current will drop as well. My controller allows me to set the bulk rate, absorption rate, absorption time and float voltages among others. These settings are found at the battery manufacturer site.

Don't be upset if you never see 40 amps output. I understand mathematical you could see that amount of current. You would have to aim the panels perfectly, at the right ambient temperatures, perfectly clear skies and, here's the biggie..a dead battery. Yep, a mppt charge controller charges based on battery state. If it ain't drained, it won't put out the current. My system should max out at 25 amps. With my batteries around 67% (-71AHr) the charge controller only put out something like 16 amps. The battery was at 100% by mid day. I added load to panels by turning on lights and fans to get it to around 19 amps. I can't my notes so don't take the numbers exact. The point is, the controller will only put out what it determines the battery needs.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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On another forum somebody said you have to match your batteries and charge controller. They had also said it had no ability to figure out how many batteries you are using so it would blindly put out amps. I'll probably hook my solar panels up to a single battery this weekend via the Morning star and see what's going on. Thanks for the info man.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:48 AM   #15
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well, you sort of do have to match them up. Use your set up for a single 12v hybrid battery, and you're wasting money. too much generation. Put a 15watt panel on dual T145, and its like peeing in a lake. plus it will sulfate the batteries.

it's true that the mppt controller doesn't know what's hooked up. To help it with charging rates, it pauses the charge and measures the battery voltage, and panel output. from this information it calculates what the charge voltage should be. charge current is directly related charge voltage. If you have a programmable controller

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, you can tweak the calculations with the battery manufacturer's data and temperature compensation.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:33 PM   #16
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Spoke with Trojan tech today. He said that with 260 AH of battery I should be able to put 26-52 amps in without problems. I'm back to being excited about everything being well matched for my 25RR.

Let's see... I'm guessing I can burn up to about 80 AH a night and be good on battery usage. Should allow me to watch a couple movies. I'd be just fine with reading my Kindle but I can't cuddle with the wife reading the Kindle.

Glad to be nearing the end of my Solar project. Thanks to you guys. Now I just need to find a creek to throw 2 new 31D truck batteries into.
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