I try to plan ahead and research things so I don’t make mistakes, which might cost money and time to correct. I am a serious extreme boondocker, not to be confused with the boondockers that dry camp in campgrounds. Most of my time is spent base boondocking in remote areas, as I explore the area via, hiking, motorcycle, kayaking. I plan for periods of 5 to 6+ weeks away from populated areas or replenishing. My current location is now, 7½ weeks and I have not done everything in this high desert. Due to some previous issues, I have learned to believe in redundancy. So I have many systems that can be switched over to another one, electric, propane, generators, transportation and now solar with solar. My original plan was to have a product I can park in the sun and have my living portion in the shade, which I have done. Now I am putting together a smaller system for my second solar system, much smaller and separate.
My plan is to install a second set of solar panel/s, for a watt amount up to and not exceeding 300 watts. As I found in my first group of solar panels (600 watt), meeting the “tipping” point of what my demand and solar output is an amazing point, when accomplished. So, my plan is to initially install a solar panel 100 to 150 watt (please feel free to recommend). I don’t wish to install a panel too large due to needs to; tilt, avoid shadows of surrounding permanent equipment, and snow load. Eventual build out would be anywhere from 200 to 300 watts. Cable/wire run would be less than 12 feet, from solar panel/s to battery.
If I understand correctly, an MPPT Controller is not as important for a smaller amp/watt system, as it would be for a larger system. I like my Tri-Metric 2025 RV Battery Monitor and would wish to use an additional one for my second system too. Pianotuna frequently recommends a Rogue Controller, but I have never noticed that he ever supplies a link to any particular one, so I am not able to determine whether that would be viable consideration. If he, or anyone else has a suggestion, I would certainly be interested.
MPPT is only needed for 24V and above panels. With you only needing 300W max, getting smaller 12V panels won't be an issue. People seem to like Morningstar around here but the Blue Sky is not a bad choice at all and their owners speak well of them. I don't have solar personally so I can't say what's best or not.
The Blue Sky Solar Boost 2000E is a good 2-stage plus equalization controller that handles up to 350W and 25A with 12v panels. It includes an integrated display which is an additional cost with most other controllers. All their Solar Booster controllers provide MPPT and all include a battery temp sensor.
I have tested my 17v+ panels with blue sky MPPT and xantrex pwm
and found that on a clear sunny day I get a higher total yield using the MPPT controller
because after 4hrs of good sun the Xantrex went into float mode and started trickle charge maintance at 13.2v instead of continuing to charge
this might be different depending on the pwm controller
Options, always have options, and the journey goes much smoother ....
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