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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Solar Charge Controller Recommendations?

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msiminoff

Silicon Valley, CA

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Posted: 12/28/11 11:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So it looks like I am in need of a new solar charge controller...
The Heliotrope RV-30s that had been a great match for my previous Trojan golf cart batteries isn't as well suited for the new Odyssey AGM's.

The ideal replacement controller will need to have temperature-compensation (±24mV/ºC), user-selectable bulk (14.7V) and float (13.6V) charging voltages as well as the ability to disable equalization charging. MPPT would be nice too.

I have a little less than 200W of solar panels (three UniSolar US-64's) and don't plan to add any additional wattage, so a 20-25A controller is plenty big.

Since Heliotrope's HPV-22B is no longer available, it looks like the leading contender is Blue Sky's Solar Boost 2000E.

Any other manufacturers, models, retailers I should be considering ??

Thanx!
-Mark

* This post was edited 12/28/11 12:08pm by msiminoff *


'04 Alpenlite Saratoga 935, 328W of solar, 300Ah Odyssey batt's, Trimetric, Prosine 2.0
05 Ram3500, Cummins, Goerend Trans, Vision 19.5 w/XDE's, Dynatrac Hubs, RR airbags w/ping tanks, Superhitch, Roadmaster Swaybar, Thuren trackbar, RS9000XL/MyRide


DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Posted: 12/28/11 11:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't have any other recommendations for you, but I'll put my vote in for Blue Sky's Solar Boost 2000E MPPT solar charge controller. It has worked flawlessly in my system for the better part of five years (220W solar, Xantrex Prosine 2KW inverter/charger/converter, and 2 Trojan T-145 flooded cell batteries).


-'07 Dodge 3500/QC/SB/SRW/4x4/6.7L CTD/6-spd auto/35" Toyo MT's/Ride-Rite air bags/RS9000XL shocks
-'07 Apex 8 fully optioned w/220W solar/2 T-145's/2KW Prosine/Honda EU2000i/Tundra fridge/AC/etc
-'00 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4x4, highly modified w/5.9L Magnum V8


KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 12/28/11 12:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have used Blue Sky products on a number of off grid installations and I really like their products. In my opinion the best controller out there is the Outback FM60 but it is definitely overkill for 200 watts.
MPPT is worth every penny. Without it you loose about 20% of your arrays production due to the mismatch in voltage. Most panels Vmp is around 17.5 and most batteries need to be charged at around 14.5 volts. This leaves about 3 volts multiplied by however many amps your panels put out that you can never use.

FolsomBrad

El Dorado Hills, CA

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Posted: 12/28/11 01:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What does MPTT? stand for?


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ped

cincinnati

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Posted: 12/28/11 12:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

From what I understand an MPPT, especially with under 200W is a waste of money. If you get any benefit at all, it will be maybe 10% realistically if that. On big systems is where they make the extra money worth while.

.02

ped

cincinnati

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Posted: 12/28/11 01:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

KD4UPL wrote:

I have used Blue Sky products on a number of off grid installations and I really like their products. In my opinion the best controller out there is the Outback FM60 but it is definitely overkill for 200 watts.
MPPT is worth every penny. Without it you loose about 20% of your arrays production due to the mismatch in voltage. Most panels Vmp is around 17.5 and most batteries need to be charged at around 14.5 volts. This leaves about 3 volts multiplied by however many amps your panels put out that you can never use.


You don't really lose anything, you just do not take full benefit. But that is semantics.

You're paying 2-4X the amount for a realistic 20W maybe 30W at most on such a small system. It's essentially cheaper to add another small panel. And the "boost" only kicks in when your batteries are quite low. So if you have a fairly adequate battery bank the boost state will only be active a small portion of the time. As well, if you plan to run a genset in conjuction for the bulk charge then you will likely never see the boost at all as the genset keeps the battries above the boost voltage levels.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/28/11 04:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

While the Blue Sky is a good unit, for small solar, I very much like the Rogue Controller. If is much more feature rich and includes temperature compensation, which is an "add on" Blue Sky.

Rogue


Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, Magnum 3000 watt PSW inverter.

DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Posted: 12/28/11 01:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FolsomBrad wrote:

What does MPTT? stand for?

MPPT = Maximum Power Point Tracking

3rd Rodeo

NW Oregon

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Posted: 12/28/11 07:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have the Blue Sky controller as well. I had one on my last camper too. It is nice to have an accurate digital readout of the battery voltage.

With the coffee maker pulling 80 amps through the inverter, the solar array was putting in more than 15 amps. It did taper down after the brew was done. I love solar.

Question: With an adjustable voltage set point, is it wise to have it in the mid-high 13s for storage, and the low 14s for actual use in the field?


2005 Dodge 2500 4x4 CTD, 6 speed, PacBrake, SB Clutch, Smarty Jr. programmer,
Ranchos, Timbrens, 315/70/17 BFGs, Line-X
2011 Lance 950-S 270w Kyocera solar, Blue Sky MPPT, T-125s, 1100w inverter

Clay Smith

Quartzsite, Az

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Posted: 12/28/11 01:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been running with the Blue Sky charge controllers on many RVs for over 10 years, they all work great. The 2000E would be a good choice.

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