Upgrade Charge Controllers

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Mangas
Mangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
I am adding four 225 watt panels to my 40 panel array. The four panels will add charging power to one of my two battery banks (each bank 32 Trojan LP 16s 375 AH @ 20).

Reason, I want to add charging (about 15%) to one HVAC zone where the air handler is running harder to cool the house (more square feet) than the other air handler to equalize operating voltage levels between the banks. Since the system was built, one bank voltage runs about 10% below the other bank because the harder working air handler (and A/C condenser) runs more often.

Also, I plan to upgrade the Outback Charge controller on this side from a 60 to an 80 to accommodate the new larger array. Question, since I am going to all this trouble, I think I'll replace the other Outback 60 charge controller with the larger Outback 80 Charge Controller too. I realize each bank operates independently but figure after 5 years it wouldn't hurt to build in some extra charge controller capacity into the other bank and have the same technology and firmware controlling both banks.

What do you guys think? Hope I have explained this somewhat coherently.
Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers

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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,471 admin
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    How happy have people been with the new FM XX (60/80 amp) Outback series?

    Early reports (more than a year ago?) has some problems with poor MPPT and some other issues...

    People happy with their FM's now?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Vic
    Vic Solar Expert Posts: 3,208 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Think that Bill is correct about the woes of the FM series CCs 9 months or a year ago. The FM section of the OB Forum has quieted regarding the bug where the CC does not go to sleep at night (or something similar), so at least think that OB has fixed this issue.

    I recently got the Xantrex XW SCC. and have been surprised at the plain vaninalla-ness of the features and one bug that X calls "innovation" (reporting that it is in Asorb, when it really is, and should be still in BULK). So for me, X has more problems than OB FMs.

    I've been very happy with OB CCs, and expect that the FM series should be an improvement on the MX-60.

    If one can wait a bit more time, the Midnite promises to be a step foreward (Midnite was founded by the founders of OB -- at least this is my impression). The Midnite Classic CC may well ship this Summer ... Sounds like a very nice box.

    Mangas, you may want to poke around on the OB Forum, if you have not already done so. Here is a link to the FM CC Section:

    http://www.outbackpower.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=29

    Good Luck, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    mangas,
    very good on your expansion and if you had complaints about your fm60 then it would stand to reason you wouldn't be willing to go with them on the fm80 or am i presuming too much here?


    vic,
    as to waiting on the classic, you bet we all have been anxiously awaiting on its appearance. from what i understand is that beta units are still in process of going out and that standard production is not quite ready to be had yet as feedback on beta testing is still ongoing. i know what the website says and i side-commented about it to halfcrazy that this may need to be updated while we were discussing about ham radio. i do believe that would be the beta production and not public production that they are referring to on the website from what i've surmised. maybe i should not be mentioning this at all in case i've got it all wrong and it wouldn't be the first time that i got something all wrong.:cry:
  • Mangas
    Mangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Good to talk to everyone again.

    Bill's right about the OB FM 80s' having some early teething problems. My understanding is the FMs' operate differently than the MX series using different technology (firmware?). Is this correct Bill?

    I can wait on replacing the second tried and true MX 60. It has been such a good unit. Appreciate your input Vic. I will look at the OB website. Reliability is what I most care about.

    Thanks Niel, I did consider the XW CC but have had such good performance from OBs' that I had hoped to stay with them. Then again if the same people are not involved with OB now makes me wonder. Was unaware the Midnite product was out there in Beta. Need to educate myself.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • Chuck46
    Chuck46 Solar Expert Posts: 95
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Mangas,
    I used a FM80 and have for almost a year now. I have not expireanced the MPPT bug with my system. It always goes to sleep when it should and as far as I can tell follows the charge routine as programed. Now I did buy mine aftwer the bug was discovered so I think it has a different firmware version then the one with the bug.

    On another note where in AZ are yoou Im NE of Sprigerville myself and am interested in what you are doing for air conditioning?

    Thanks Chuck
  • Mangas
    Mangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Chuck,

    We're in SE Arizona.

    I am running two 2.5 ton Trane variable speed A/C compressors and air handlers.

    The furnace units are propane fired. We disconnected the heat pumps as they were drawing too much idle power.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,768 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Mangas,

    One of the forum members who has a lab full of test gear has said the Morningstar MPPT is number one followed by the XWCC. I assume this is still true and I like both. I also assume that others including myself, are often swayed by free beta equipment, and there are others who just complain. If you are tied to Outback because of system constraints those are different issues.

    My number one requirement is making this equipment easy to read for my clients. Both of the above are great with the nod going to the XW as it scrolls the data. The user just stands there, OK they have to take off their sunglasses. Good Luck
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    maybe you misunderstood me dave as i am in no position to offer a beta unit as i only made mention that it is in beta testing right now and is not ready for mass production as of yet and he may not want to wait to replace at least one of the ccs.

    mangas,
    you can see what the midnight solar website says as it does state it is in beta right now and if you were to look at halfcrazy's sig line it states he has one in beta.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,768 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Neil I think you are assuming that I am talking to you. I do not know why as it was adressed to the OP.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Mangas
    Mangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Dave, I think I'll throw the dice on two new matching OB FM 80 CCs'.

    I'm sheepish to say, I only look at the "volts in and volts out" data and maybe the array watts once in awhile.

    I've got SW plus' but wish I had the newer XWs' with the better sine? Maybe next go round.

    I'm all for your comment about making the hardware easy to use for the technological neanderthals among us (me). Considerate. Cuts back on the late night calls to you guys. Don't know what I'd have done without this forum.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers
    Neil I think you are assuming that I am talking to you. I do not know why as it was adressed to the OP.

    fine and dandy, but you made a comment to the op about betas being offered and you assumed i was talking to you about the betas?
  • Vic
    Vic Solar Expert Posts: 3,208 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Touche Niel ... .. . !
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,768 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    OK a misunderstanding, I was just giving my offgrid amigo another side of the CC issue as he said he had not been paying much attention lately. I have a garage full of beta's and not just from solar. It is nice to get free equipment but it always comes with a price, my point here...

    Mr Mangas, if you even think about going to the XW you should seriously consider the xwcc to make all the devices play nice together. If you want to see one out in the desert my buddy John near Tombstone has a few operating in an uninsulated power house now for 2 years.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Mangas
    Mangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Upgrade Charge Controllers

    Thanks Dave.

    If I can get over there, I'll take a look.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers