Charge controller decision while expanding system

bbbuddybbbuddy Solar Expert Posts: 125 ✭✭✭
This is a decision I'm going to have to make in the next several months...keep my FM60 and add another one or an FM80 or sell the FM60 and get a Midnite Classic 150.

We have 800 watts on the FM60, and are adding 1400 watts of panels and upgrading to 24v. So we could have 2 chargers with 1200 watts each, or 1 with 2400.


I have been wrestling with this.

Pros for Midnite Classic 150:

1. Sell the FM60 to help pay for it

2. Has detachable front face for adjusting and watching from inside house

cons:
1. No redundancy, if it breaks I have no power



Pros for keeping FM60 and getting another or the FM80:

1. Redundancy, even if one broke would still have solar.

cons:

1.costs more money for another controller.

2.Would have to buy a Hub and Mate to make them viewable from inside.

3.Do I understand correctly that the Mate only allows a VIEW of the controllers, not adjustability? But the Classic has both?

4. Would have to buy another mounting panel and cable,breakers etc


On the surface it looks like the Classic makes more sense, but sacrifices redundancy, which gives me "peace of mind".

Can anyone add anything here?
Magnum4024PAE, 2 Midnite Classic 150s, 3100watts solar, 432ah lifepo4 battery.  Off grid since 2004.

Comments

  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controller decision while expanding system

    If you had a mate & hub & flexnet DC (rather than the trimetric), there would be an advantage to the outback controller because of the system integration. But since you don't, my choice would be to go for the classic.

    If you want redundancy keep your old controller and buy either the classic or another outback.
    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 965 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controller decision while expanding system

    Another option would be to keep the FM60 and buy a Classic "Lite" for less money than the full blown Classic. I think they're going for
    around $500. http://www.solar-electric.com/misoclli.html

    You can monitor (and control) the Lite inside via a computer running the provided local app software inside or even off site over the internet.

    You could also, later on, add the display if you want.

    boB
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controller decision while expanding system

    It's not my money... but I vote for 2nd CC (Midnite) approach.
  • bbbuddybbbuddy Solar Expert Posts: 125 ✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controller decision while expanding system

    Do I have it right, the Classic can be remote controlled by removing the front panel, not just viewed?

    and the outbacks can only be viewed remotely, and that it takes the addition of a Mate and Hub to just view?
    Magnum4024PAE, 2 Midnite Classic 150s, 3100watts solar, 432ah lifepo4 battery.  Off grid since 2004.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,994 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Charge controller decision while expanding system
    bbbuddy wrote: »
    Do I have it right, the Classic can be remote controlled by removing the front panel, not just viewed?

    I honestly don't know, but I do know that you can control the Classic's (regular or lite) via a network cable on your computer. boB is one of the people working on it. (who is on a bathroom break, while figuring out Master and slave configurations for the classic) and to be honest how much controlling are you doing? I mostly set and forget, I took off the auto equalizing during this heat wave we're having, but likely the BTS would handle that, but it might take 3 months to do an equalizing....
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
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