Oh Outback, now what?

Options
dmiller
dmiller Solar Expert Posts: 68 ✭✭✭✭
I was ready to drop the dime on an Outback charge controller and inverter/charger for my new groovy offroad camper. Then the news about the sale and those bad senior manager boys.
So what do you think? I liked the way the Outback systems connects. I like the sealed inverter because I can install it in a somewhat dirty area.
Any sign their QC has slipped? What other system might I consider? No systems starting with 'X' please.

Don

Comments

  • boB
    boB Solar Expert Posts: 1,030 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?
    dmiller wrote: »
    I was ready to drop the dime on an Outback charge controller and inverter/charger for my new groovy offroad camper. Then the news about the sale and those bad senior manager boys.
    So what do you think? I liked the way the Outback systems connects. I like the sealed inverter because I can install it in a somewhat dirty area.
    Any sign their QC has slipped? What other system might I consider? No systems starting with 'X' please.

    Don


    We, (MidNite) have shipped a lot of system with their inverters and controllers, and nothing new (ish) has presented itself that I know of as far as quality. They're just fine, as is "X" and "M", as far as I know... And a lot of all these seem to go out.

    What have you heard ?? I probably don't get out as much as others do...
    boB
  • dmiller
    dmiller Solar Expert Posts: 68 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    I haven't heard anything. It's just somewhat negative news about a company that has good products, especially for what I want to do. Their inverters are a bit pricy but the sealed units are well built for rough service. And as I said the inverter and charge controller network in a way that looks good to me.
  • n3qik
    n3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    If you want/need Outback, Then now is the time to get one. It will be of the same quality as before the company got sold. Now a year from now, yes they may make changes/cheapen the stuff. But right now you will get the what you need.
  • dmiller
    dmiller Solar Expert Posts: 68 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    What does Alpha make? I hope not inexpensive electronics.
    BTW, anyone know where Outback products are manufactured?
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    http://www.alpha.com/Products/

    Alpha really markets itself as a solutions company rather than a "product" company. Fro folks I know in Bellingham WA, they seem to have a pretty good local rep.
  • JESSICA
    JESSICA Solar Expert Posts: 289 ✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?
    n3qik wrote: »
    ... Now a year from now, yes they may make changes/cheapen the stuff...

    "Cheapen the stuff"? Why?
    Please, explain.
  • n3qik
    n3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?
    JESSICA wrote: »
    "Cheapen the stuff"? Why?
    Please, explain.

    This is what happens when the bean counters get involved.
  • dmiller
    dmiller Solar Expert Posts: 68 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    I'm thinking about not using flexmax due to RFI concerns. This is in a camper with every radio and gadget in existence. Any comment on better behaved controllers in the 60 amp range? MPPT
    I did settle on the sealed outback 2012
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,468 admin
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    I am afraid that you may have to try several and see how they perform for you application... I believe the Xantrex XW MPPT controller 60 amp and MorningStar 45/60 MPPT controllers have FCC class B (or at least, have been tested to those levels)--Which appears to be quite rare in the off-grid energy field (good for them).

    Otherwise, the MorningStar Tri-Star PWM 45/60 amp controllers have an On/Off setting which is intended to reduce audio noise (I think it slows the PWM switching to below audio frequencies)--Who knows, may reduce RF noise too (if the rest of the unit is "quiet").

    If you like to DX AM--I am not sure that any charge controller will be very quiet when put in a small space close to an AM radio. One person here posted that he simply switched off the DC battery breaker to his charge controller--Making it nice in quiet in the AM band when he and his wife wanted to listen to the radio.

    We have a "sticky thread" here with about 70 posts:

    Radio Noise from PV System

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,766 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    I am with Bill's last post 100%. If you tried one of the class b controllers it would have to be, and it's wiring at least 36 inches from anything operating in the am band.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • dmiller
    dmiller Solar Expert Posts: 68 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    Thanks Bill, I should have searched before posting.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,766 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    We use to wire the push to talk circuit to our main charge system on the boat when we out cruising. When we "listen" we had a second battery that was not being charged during radio time, which was often, back then...

    God there was a lot to be concerned with in those days! Hard to sink a house!:roll:
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • dmiller
    dmiller Solar Expert Posts: 68 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?
    I am with Bill's last post 100%. If you tried one of the class b controllers it would have to be, ...............

    I'm not sure what that means?


    AM isn't important. VHF during the day, including FM. I have Sirius, wireless LAN, wired ethernet, audio amplifier and cable, 110v from inverter, audio amplifier and speaker wire, possible future satellite television.

    What about putting a charge controller in the steel case with the batteries? I could run a ventilation fan when the charge controller is working.
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?
    BB. wrote: »
    If you like to DX AM--I am not sure that any charge controller will be very quiet

    Sure they are, AM DX happens after the sun goes down. Controllers are quiet then.
    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

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,468 admin
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    Some of the charge controllers still output RF noise even at night (the micro processor still ticking along)--hence the need to kill the battery power. If I recall correctly, they killed the controller in late afternoons--sun was still up but they wanted to listen to the radio.

    As for the recommendation of 36" away, at least, from the charge controller--It seems like there is capacitive coupling at AM frequencies--and moving away the controller from AM radios helps.

    I am not sure you will have much help with a metal box around the controller... For lower frequencies (30-180 MHz) much of the noise comes out the cabling.

    Above that area, much of the RF noise comes from the "slot antennas" (case joints, air slots, etc.) and a box may help a little bit--but the metal box may make the problem worse unless it is well sealed against RF.

    No problem about not finding the thread before--It is not always easy to find stuff unless you know exactly what to search for.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,766 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?

    Bill,
    Mikes controller is quiet after sundown, I tested it with a 10 dollar am radio! So is the xwcc BTW.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,766 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Oh Outback, now what?
    dmiller wrote: »
    I'm not sure what that means?


    AM isn't important. VHF during the day, including FM. I have Sirius, wireless LAN, wired ethernet, audio amplifier and cable, 110v from inverter, audio amplifier and speaker wire, possible future satellite television.

    What about putting a charge controller in the steel case with the batteries? I could run a ventilation fan when the charge controller is working.

    AM is an indication to how well the designer considered his shielding and other issues as it is easy to test. A $65,000 Agilent spectrum analyzer would be much better ! Good Luck!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net