Tristar 45

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mwilsonnm
mwilsonnm Solar Expert Posts: 26
Helllo,
    I recently added 2 Kyocera 130 panels and a Tristar 45 controller w/meter to my system. The 4 panels are wired in parallel for a total amp output of approx. 29 amps. Bear with me... I was using a Prostar 30 w/meter controller and found the "array Output " reading (in amps) to be very helpful in seeing how efficient my panels were working. Is anyone familiar with the TS 45 and can they explain to me how I can find this measurement on the new controller? If not, what reading could I use to measure the array output? Thanks, Mark

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  • crewzer
    crewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Tristar 45

    Check the TriStar's meter manual: http://www.morningstarcorp.com/products/TriStar/info/TS_Meter.pdf

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • mwilsonnm
    mwilsonnm Solar Expert Posts: 26
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    Re: Tristar 45

    Thanks Jim for the advice, however I have read the manual  and do not see any reference to "solar load or "array output" except for the bar graph that appears on the display. The graph is only a very rough estimate as to the amps being delivered. Am I missing something? If you have access to the manual on page 11 under first display the #2 reading states "battery current". Is this the charging current? Thanks again, Mark
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    Re: Tristar 45

    Maybe I am missing something in your question--but is not the TS-45 a non-MPPT controller--so that the array current going into the controller basically matches the battery current coming out of the controller (probably less a few hundred milliamps to power
    the electronics)?

    Only a MPPT type controller will have a difference between battery and solar panel currents.

    Regarding battery and solar panel voltages--from the manual:
    • ”Battery“ voltage is measured at the controller terminals.
    • The ”Battery sense“ display is the actual battery voltage
    (measured with the sense wires to avoid the voltage drop to the
    battery terminals). ”valid“ means the sense wires are connected
    and working correctly.
    • The ”Solar“ voltage is measured at the solar input terminals. If
    in a PWM state, the voltage will be the average of solar Voc
    and battery voltages with the FET switches opening and closing.

    When the controller has finished the bulk charge and is starting to taper the charging current down to the battery--the solar panel current will also drop (unless there is a diversion load in the system somewhere--which is unneeded for Solar PV panels).

    If you are using the LVD terminals, I would assume that this is coming from the controller outputs and would be included in the controller output (battery) current.

    And, technically, I would believe that battery current is simply the current from the solar panels to the TS-45 "battery bus" output. For it to equal the charging current, there would have to be zero other loads on the battery... If, for example you have a 10 amp load also connected to the battery (~120 watts or 12v*10amps), then the charging current would be the reading on the TS-45 minus the 10 amp load.

    If you want to see the true state of current going into or out of your battery, take a look at these:

    http://store.solar-electric.com/metersmonitors.html

    A battery monitor would connect from the battery to the outside world--so this meter would keep track of the total current feed into and out of the battery bank.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • crewzer
    crewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Tristar 45
    I was using a Prostar 30 w/meter controller and found the "array Output " reading (in amps) to be very helpful in seeing how efficient my panels were working. Is anyone familiar with the TS 45 and can they explain to me how I can find this measurement on the new controller? If not, what reading could I use to measure the array output?

    Mark,

    Bill’s basically got it.

    The ProStar controller includes load connections, and the optional digital meter continuously displays battery voltage, solar current, and the load current. The meter automatically scrolls through these three displays.

    The TriStar does not have load connections, it’s not an MPPT controller, and it doesn’t have an DC-DC step-down capability. Accordingly, it only tracks current flowing from the array to the battery connections, and the “Battery Current” display is the array’s current, and this is the reading you can use to measure your array's output.

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • mwilsonnm
    mwilsonnm Solar Expert Posts: 26
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    Re: Tristar 45

    Jim and Bill,
    Thanks to both of you for the explanations. I don't even want to mention on this forum what I thought the "battery current" reading was. :? It's very clear to me now and I appreciate your time and patience. Regards, Mark    :-)