top 30a charge controller? need input

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notsobright
notsobright Solar Expert Posts: 247 ✭✭
I need a charge controller for upto 30a output.

I dont need MPPT but I do want the most advanced unit that has the most features, set points, logging capabilities, etc. so if that includes MPPT then as long as it can be disabled that should be OK. Reliability is number one priority. must have a solid reputation.

I tried the latest tech from the top manufacturer and I wont be making this mistake again.

what are my options? Id like to have a list of the top candidates to start with so I can research them each and make a more informed decision on what is the best unit in the 30 amp range.


thanks

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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input

    For smaller mppt controllers, Rogue (Oregon) 30 amp and the Morning Star TS mppt 45 amp controllers are probably the best lower power controlled, or a pair of Morning Star 15 amp Mppt controllers.

    What array Vmp/Imp input and what battery output voltage are you looking at?

    The TS 45 mppt supports 150 Voc... The others are 70 volts or less.

    But you pay for the mppt.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input
    ... Reliability is number one priority. must have a solid reputation. ...
    Trace / Xantrex C-35 or C-40 simple PWM, less smarts, less to go wrong, but no comms. You can install shunts and measure yourself.

    What was the major brand that dissapointed 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 ||
    || 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 ,

  • notsobright
    notsobright Solar Expert Posts: 247 ✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input
    BB. wrote: »
    For smaller mppt controllers, Rogue (Oregon) 30 amp and the Morning Star TS mppt 45 amp controllers are probably the best lower power controlled, or a pair of Morning Star 15 amp Mppt controllers.

    What array Vmp/Imp input and what battery output voltage are you looking at?

    The TS 45 mppt supports 150 Voc... The others are 70 volts or less.

    But you pay for the mppt.

    -Bill

    I have the components listed in my signature line. the panels Vmp is 17.5 according to their spec sheet but I have seen the solar voltage as high as 19.6 as indicated by the msview software for the controller and the combined Imp is 21a as indicated by the msview software

    the batteries are 12v and the largest one is a lifeline AGM 210ah@20hr.


    thanks
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input
    I have the components listed in my signature line. the panels Vmp is 17.5 according to their spec sheet but I have seen the solar voltage as high as 19.6 as indicated by the msview software for the controller and the combined Imp is 21a as indicated by the msview software

    With PWM, as the batteries charge up, and approach Float, the average voltage measured at the panel side, will increase, and as the panels are unloaded, their voltage will drift up to Vmax.
    I would consider it a normal event, and it's what all the discussion is about trying to harness the power and detect when the batteries drop off of heavy charge.
    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: 33,479 admin
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input

    If the run between the solar panels and the battery bank is short--and you don't have a lot of solar panels (maybe over 800 watts), a PWM controller should be fine.

    The Xantrex and Morningstar lines are fine. The MorningStat TS 45/60 family also has a remote battery voltage sense lead--Actually pretty nice if your controller to battery cabling is a bit on long side.

    Both the TS PWM and TS MPPT have the remote battery voltage sense capability. (edited for clarification as it costs extra for the monitor. niel) [actually, according to the manual, the voltage sense terminals should be present on the base controller--just add some small gauge wiring from battery to VS terminals. -Bill]

    Another option to look at is the RBTS (Remote Battery Temperature Sensor)... If the controller and the battery bank are not at the same temperature (different rooms, etc.)--An RBTS can be nice. Also, sometimes the charge controllers read their own temperature higher than the battery bank temperature--As temperature rises, the controller drops charging voltage and if the battery is cooler than the controller, it will slow down the charge current and take longer to fully charge.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • notsobright
    notsobright Solar Expert Posts: 247 ✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input

    I dont think that the MorningStar monitor is a true monitor, voltage only I think. they are working on a true one with amperage capabilities but its only in development from what they their techs tell me.

    I,ll look more into that Rogue, is anyone here using one?

    any others that fit the 25-45 amp range I should look into?
  • notsobright
    notsobright Solar Expert Posts: 247 ✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input
    mike90045 wrote: »
    With PWM, as the batteries charge up, and approach Float, the average voltage measured at the panel side, will increase, and as the panels are unloaded, their voltage will drift up to Vmax.
    I would consider it a normal event, and it's what all the discussion is about trying to harness the power and detect when the batteries drop off of heavy charge.

    off topic but certainly a worthy discussion! is there not a controller available that can make use of every ounce of energy the panels can provide at this point in time?

    Im still astonished at the lack of technology in this field. we have had plenty of time and other advancements since the first PVs. there must not be enough intrest or money to be made.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input

    I guess I messed up my previous post... Remote Battery Voltage Sense Leads (I did not mean Battery Voltage Monitor)...

    Basically, most charge controllers watch the battery voltage at the end of the cables from the charger to the battery---Any voltage drop in cabling due to charging current makes the battery voltage look higher than it really is.

    With RBVS, it measures the voltage at the battery +/- bus --- So the length and awg of the cable (charger to battery bank) is not as important any more.

    The base TS PWM unit should voltage sense connections (seems to indicate that in the installation manual)--but one person here seemed to indicate that you had to get the remote digital meter face option (not cheap) to have RBVS....

    Battery voltage sense is really nice... Basically on a 12 volt battery, every 0.10 volt error is a 10% difference in state of charge (resting voltage). During charging a fast charge is 14.5 to 14.8 volts and a more leisurely charge is around 14.2 volts.

    And, it is definitely not a Battery Monitor--A completely different animal (although, also very nice and very close to mandatory for use with AGM/Sealed batteries where you cannot measure specific gravity and don't want to wait a couple of hours (no charge, no discharge) to measure the resting voltage.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • bobdog
    bobdog Solar Expert Posts: 192 ✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input

    Not sure if you're looking for a PWM, but I have the Morningstar Prostar 30. It has a voltage meter built in and it is at least able to tell me the current state of the battery bank. It also has temp sensor and battery sensor capabilities. You can get it without the meter if you wish. It works for 12 and 24 volt. Might take a look at it. I've been happy with it so far after 3 years. I've thought about moving up to a 45 amp CC so I might be getting rid of the Prostar soon. PM if you're interested.
  • notsobright
    notsobright Solar Expert Posts: 247 ✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input

    at this point I do not trust Morningstar remote meters or charge controllers. I base this only on my experience with the sunsaver duo and RM-1 controller and meter.

    not just one set of them but four controllers and two meters. I plan to make a detailed post about all this at some point but we are still trying to solve the problems that according to them (morningstar reps) I am the only one that has reported these issues but they have been quick to replace these units and very nice people to deal with.

    until we do figure it out I need something I can count on so I am hoping for more input on reputable controllers but the thought occured to me there may be a band aid fix for this in the mean time (see my last post)


    thanks
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input

    I think you might find a trmetric TM-2025 battery monitor more of what your looking for.

    I can't tell from your signature if you have 2 or 4 battery banks. Perhaps your trying to monitor both, a 200 AH flooded and 3 AGM in a bank of it's own?

    I think a trimetric TM-2025 will monitor 2 banks, though I rarely have mine(TM2020) setup at all. It does have the advantage of being hard to outgrow, it will move to your next system or as you add to what you have.

    As for the voltage reading displays you really can't tell much from them until you get a feel for what is going, if it's 7am and your running a microwave and the voltage reads 11.7 your likely OK, if it's 7pm and the suns gone down after a sunny day and you haven't had a thing running all afternoon and your voltage is at 12.4, you might have problems. I think this touchy feely part of living off solar is all part of the experience.

    Nothing is linear, a 900 watt microwave run for 30 minutes uses the same wattage as a 30 watt light run for 900 minutes, but draws a battery down more. So even battery monitors will just give an idea of where your at.
    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 backup...lol), 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.
  • RegGuheert
    RegGuheert Solar Expert Posts: 102 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input
    off topic but certainly a worthy discussion! is there not a controller available that can make use of every ounce of energy the panels can provide at this point in time?

    Im still astonished at the lack of technology in this field. we have had plenty of time and other advancements since the first PVs. there must not be enough intrest or money to be made.
    I think the issue here is really with the battery technology, not with the controllers. You have AGM batteries and you ABSOLUTELY cannot charge above a certain voltage level or they will outgas. The only way to keep the voltage down is to limit the current into the batteries. So as you approach full charge, the power you can extract from your array is more and more limited.

    That said, I agree it would be great to have a battery that would let you charge at full power until it is full and then stop. SMES or flywheel energy storage anyone?
  • SteveK
    SteveK Solar Expert Posts: 387 ✭✭
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    Re: top 30a charge controller? need input
    I,ll look more into that Rogue, is anyone here using one?

    I have and still have it as a spare. It is wonderful. Built like a tank compared to some other ones in it's slot. Won't do remote very well. Gathers perfectly and never gets hot even at it's max. Marc Loring takes his work personally and it shows in the customer service and performance ends of it.

    No UL if it's an issue.