ProStar and RTS

boisblancboyboisblancboy Solar Expert Posts: 131 ✭✭✭✭✭
Has anyone here soldered the RTS into the circuit board of the ProStar? The connections are really tiny and I am kinda worried about getting things too hot. Plus I need to get a smaller soldering iron with a very sharp tip. Thanks for the suggestions

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,572 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProStar and RTS
    Has anyone here soldered the RTS into the circuit board of the ProStar? The connections are really tiny and I am kinda worried about getting things too hot. Plus I need to get a smaller soldering iron with a very sharp tip. Thanks for the suggestions

    A REMOTE unit should connect via a connector, I don't think you should need to solder to the inner circuit boards.

    If you do actually need to solder to the board, use a temperature controlled iron that won't melt the traces off the board. I would avoid too small of a tip, as the smaller they are, the less heat they conduct, taking longer to heat parts to soldering temps. Also, be sure to use ROSIN core electrical solder. I prefer old fashioned tin/lead solder, as it has 100+ years of known reliability, but local laws may be different for you.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
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  • boisblancboyboisblancboy Solar Expert Posts: 131 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProStar and RTS

    Thanks for the tip. yes I have to solder them in according to the manual, plus I have opened up the case and looked at it myself. It kinda sucks if you ask me, they could have made setup at little more simple than this.
  • EcnerwalEcnerwal Solar Expert Posts: 101 ✭✭
    Re: ProStar and RTS

    (note to self - don't buy this brand - customer is expected to solder on the board - that's not good engineering practice)

    If (and it's a big if) you have the right kind of iron, you can have a vanishingly small tip and lots of power. But it won't be a $15 iron - you need something with active temperature control. The one I use professionally for soldering SMDs by hand is an elderly but highly functional Weller, which uses a tip that can be swapped out which is set to either 600, 700 or 800 F by which tip you use. I have a 1/64" radius 700F cone tip on it (adequately sharp to poke an eye out) which solders nice and fast since it also has 60 watts driving it - if it's not hot enough. When hot enough, it turns itself off.

    Newer models more commonly have a sensor at the tip and a dial and readout at the base. Temperature can be changed without changing the tip, and can be set at any desired temperature. Nice, but not really needed for many things.

    In either case it's important to have the tip CLEAN and to use decent solder with flux. And even with a temperature controlled iron, if you are not using it, turn it off.

    For tiny stuff, a pair of cheap reading glasses works, and for some reason costs a lot less than "magnifiers" that do the same thing. If you have boring eyes, a pair from the drugstore should do it. Being blessed/cursed with a messy prescription, I just have a set of "absurd reading glasses" (not great for reading or anything else beyond about 8 inches from your nose) which have my normal prescription elements, and an added 5 diopters. From on-line prescription glasses suppliers at the lower cost end, these are still cheaper than "magnifiers".

    In either case, LOTS of LIGHT on the subject also helps. An LED flashlight with a Luxeon or Cree emitter it just the ticket, if you can get it held in place to light things up.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProStar and RTS
    Ecnerwal wrote: »
    (note to self - don't buy this brand - customer is expected to solder on the board - that's not good engineering practice)

    http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/support/library/RTS.IOM.Install_sheet.05.EN.pdf

    i tend to agree, but only with that particular charge controller as others seem to have a provision for connection without soldering. see page 2 in the link above as it shows the prostar needing the soldering job, but just below it it shows the tristar with a terminal block for easy connections. note to morningstar-connectors are not that expensive and the extra labor and errors made by customers will not make good p r for you in saving that 10 cents!:grr
  • boisblancboyboisblancboy Solar Expert Posts: 131 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProStar and RTS

    I think for the time being I am just going to forego soldering in the RTS. I am only charging one battery and the controller is only 24" from the battery anyway. Its definently not critical to have the RTS installed in my situation.

    Im thinking down the road if I expand my system I will get a different controller anyway, most likely an MPPT and I will make sure that the temp probe, if I had to install in myself is easy!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,612 admin
    Re: ProStar and RTS

    I would get even a "cheap" medium sized iron and rosin core solder to attach the RBTS... As long as everything is clean and dry--it is not hard.

    You can always practice on some copper wire first. Just keep the tip of the iron clean by wiping dirt off with a wet paper towel or sponge one in a while. And there are lots of websites with instructions, pictures, and videos.

    A proper solder joint needs to be "clean". Needs to be properly heated (shiny and "wets" to the metal--solder "lays" against metal/seams--does not "ball-up" like water on wax). And the wire will not be moved until the joint has cooled (bumping the wire while the solder is still liquid will create a "cold" solder joint--makes a gray/mushy/slushy looking joint). Once the solder has "flowed" into the joint (and out the other side in a circuit board connection), just lift the iron.

    The RBTS can really improve the amount of useful power stored in the battery (sometimes up to 20% more useful power--and can extend the battery life too).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • boisblancboyboisblancboy Solar Expert Posts: 131 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ProStar and RTS

    I do know how to solder the problem is that I dont have a good iron or even a small tip. The "joint" for lack of a better term is very tiny! Let alone there are small components all around this juction. Like I said, I do know how to solder and have done enough of it to know what I am doing, but never an this small of a scale is all.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,612 admin
    Re: ProStar and RTS

    For small soldering projects--a free standing magnifying glass will be a great help.

    I designed lots of printed circuit cards with surface mount devices on them... I am a klutz and will leave the soldering to the professionals...

    However, when they are not around, and I and to do some repairs/changes--I bought a $2,000 stereo microscope with large objective to object distance and found to my great surprise that soldering under magnification made it 1,000x easier than I thought it was going to be.

    Obviously, you don't need a $2,000 stereo microscope for your job--but a good magnifying glass on a stand (or inexpensive jeweler's or inspection glasses) really make a HUGE difference.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭
    Re: ProStar and RTS

    Try 7.99 for one that would work

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062758
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