Perfect Suitor 30A PWM CC

garynappigarynappi Registered Users Posts: 96 ✭✭
I installed one a few days ago as a test setup (2x 40w PV's one 35Ah deep cycle battery) on a table not wanting to take down my current system (Exterior perimeter lighting and water feature pumps only not grid tied) which has a Morningstar SL20 controller (1x100w 1x125w 1x95Ah battery) on it.

Things this one has / does that the Morningstar does not:

1. DC output jacks in addition to the load terminals.
2. Ability to turn on the load as long as you want. The Morningstar will only come on at night, or for a few minutes with the "test" button.
3. Has LCD display to show PV in and battery voltages and other system states, the Morningstar has no LCD.
4. Two USB ports are built in. The Morningstar has none.
5. Keyhole mounting slots for easy mounting / removal if needed
6. Has ambient air temp indicator in the LCD.
7. Visual indicator for charging, and float states. 

Issues some may call nits, others may consider them show stoppers.

1. The "heatsink" is thin, but likely adequate for the rating of the CC.
2. The menu navigation is convoluted, and takes getting used to.
3. The load on/off set point works oddly, but the load turns on and shuts off with the PV voltage at ~3 volts, the SL20 load comes on when sun is still up and stays on well into morning sunlight, a waste of battery reserve.
4. The temperature indicator is Celsius only, you cannot change it to Fahrenheit. NP I have a digital thermometer in my case.
5. For a 30 amp controller the input and output lug screw heads are terribly under size. I had to grind a screwdriver tip down to get a fit in the slotted head to tighten them sufficiently.
6. The "instructions" are very poor.
7. There are no specs or details / availability for the 12v output plug.
8. The LCD is not illuminated. NP my case has an LED night light in it. 

I have no idea how / where these claimed functions are or how to access them:

- Discharge capacity control.
- Discharge counter of ampere hour. 
- Working storage function: record the total run time of system, record timers of error during running time, record times of full charged battery.

Overall at less than $30 delivered this model greatly simplifies installation as I had to add USB ports, in/out voltmeters, and temperature indicator to my setup with the Morningstar controller. If it turns out to be reliable this one has several additional features than the more expensive SL20.

I've read few reviews of value on this one (several saying they purchased it and did not install it yet Grrr...), and so far I'm surprised that it has done so well on my test system. The seller on EBAY I bought from listed it as a PWM controller and did NOT call this one an MPPT controller which others do. 



  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,298 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The Morningstar Sunlight controller is a purpose built Lighting controller.  It uses the voltage from the PV panel to decide dusk/dawn and has several timing adjustments. It was never designed to run daytime loads, so it's a very different controller and you are making unfair comparisons against it,
    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 ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    gen: ,

  • garynappigarynappi Registered Users Posts: 96 ✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    The Morningstar Sunlight controller is a purpose built Lighting controller.  It uses the voltage from the PV panel to decide dusk/dawn and has several timing adjustments. It was never designed to run daytime loads, so it's a very different controller and you are making unfair comparisons against it,
    For my purposes, their uses are identical. The SL-20 dusk/dawn adjustment is the one in particular that I was looking to correct, but the LCD and other features I had to cobble together with the SL-20 were cumbersome. 

    As far as the SL-20 being a purpose build device, you are correct and it does an acceptable job but it's shortcomings were more than easily surpassed with what I reviewed. My purpose for the review was to do just that, if others decide to look into the Perfect Suitor with lighting control as their main use, I hope my comments and results work for them whichever of the two they may decide on.  

    As far as my comparisons being unfair... I feel differently. 
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,599 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I I find a lot of these inexpensive charge controllers are made by "y-solar" More than once, I've been able to direct people to their site to find manuals. I don't recall seeing any '2 button' controllers there, but it might be worth checking out. There site is currently down, likely due to stay at home orders, but here's a link, manuals will be under support;
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former, 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • garynappigarynappi Registered Users Posts: 96 ✭✭
    edited March 13 #5
    It's been nearly a year since I deployed this CC and I have to say for my purposes (dusk/dawn lighting, USB charge stations in the yard, and water feature pumps) it's been outstanding.
    Anyway, my batteries stay charged overnight without setting off the LVD meaning they are getting / taking a better charge than with the Morningstar, AND it's on/off times more reflect the actual natural light from daylight / night time.
    It obviously has better visual status indications than that of the Morningstar (which has none) also. Its only slightly down side is its physical size necessitating a larger enclosure and a somewhat perplexing issue the solar input indicates the battery voltage even when the panels are in the dark. I imagine there is some feedback / comparator mechanism in the input/output design.
    Overall for my purposes above this one is very hard to beat and I highly recommend it to anyone with similar purposes in mind. I've ordered a spare should I ever need it.
    At some point I plan on adding a solar attic ventilator and battery backup to my home alarm system to this system when I can find an elegant way to get DC power into the attic. Maybe a discussion for a separate thread.

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