Which charge controller

Lightnin RickLightnin Rick Registered Users Posts: 14
Ok now that I have some panels that work. 4 Solec Checked to 18v 2A and 2 Solavolt 18v 2.3A. About a total of 220W.
I am looking to set it up at a small cabin that I may be at 4 or 5 days every month or 2 for now.
I am not sure what size charge controller to get.
I have and old Trace 2012 inverter, I do not know how to check if it works tho.
Is it worth setting the inverter up with.
And not sure amount of batteries.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Which charge controller

    Okay with 220 Watts of panel on a 12 Volt system you won't be exceeding 15 Amps. This sounds like a job for a PWM unit from Morningstar for example: http://www.solar-electric.com/mochco.html
    I'm assuming you don't want to spend a lot of money and go for an MPPT controller like a BlueSky or Rogue or the Morningstar 15 (although that might be a good choice).

    The thing is with the PWM type you'll have six panels in parallel, and they should have a fuse each to prevent problems in case one of them fails (shorts).

    In terms of how much battery this could comfortably recharge, the most (in my estimation) would be 225 Amp hours (as in 2 "golf cart" batteries in series) although half that would probably perform better (keeping within the 5%-13% of capacity charge current). You're really only looking at about 600-700 Watt hours per day on the DC side.

    No harm checking out that Trace 2012. As long as you aren't using this for essential power, you can risk having old equipment that might give up.

    Just my opinion. Others' may differ.
  • Lightnin RickLightnin Rick Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Which charge controller

    I had to cut back wires to about 1.5" to 2" from panel, They were bad. I will be installing Jbox there. where would the fuses go? and what kind.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Which charge controller
    I had to cut back wires to about 1.5" to 2" from panel, They were bad. I will be installing Jbox there. where would the fuses go? and what kind.

    Fuses for panels go on the positive lead anywhere between the panel and the point where all panels are joined. Often this is in a junction box at the panel. Since your panels appear to be 2.3 A max they should have 3 Amp fuses. Probably. The actual Isc of the panels isn't known, so that might be low.
  • Lightnin RickLightnin Rick Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Which charge controller

    would the one on this page be good?
    (link to NAWS competitor removed).
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Which charge controller

    Please visit our host's store page first: http://www.solar-electric.com/

    They have all the solar equipment needed for constructing a system. You don't have to buy from there, but it is a good place to start looking.

    Please do not link to NAWS competitors. They're paying for this site, so they should not have to "fund the opposition" as it were.
  • Lightnin RickLightnin Rick Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Which charge controller

    Ok sorry did not know. How about this one then.
    http://www.solar-electric.com/ps-30m.html
    Or would 30 be to big? Or would it be good if I plan expand later.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: Which charge controller

    Are you asking about the "MPPT 30A 12V/24V Solar Panel Charge Controller"?

    I cannot tell much about it. I have seen similar inexpensive controllers posted here that when you measure their performance/pop the case off of them, that they are not MPPT type charge controllers--just PWM of some sort.

    Actually, as far as I can remember, I have not seen one "inexpensive" MPPT type charge controller at all here. They were all PWM type (or the BZ brand which, based on test data a couple of years ago, did not function well as MPPT controllers).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Which charge controller

    I'm with Bill on this; for 220 Watts of panel it's better to get a good PWM charge controller than an 'inexpensive' (and therefor suspect) MPPT controller. You wouldn't see much advantage with MPPT on that small scale. Over-all you're looking at roughly 12, maybe 15 Amps of current @ 14.2 VDC. That's pretty easy to handle with a PWM controller.

    As an example; the Sunsaver 20 @ $90 vs. the MPPT 15 @ $250.
    It is unlikely the extra $160 would be worth the advantage in this application.
  • Lightnin RickLightnin Rick Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Which charge controller
    Ok sorry did not know. How about this one then.
    http://www.solar-electric.com/ps-30m.html
    Or would 30 be to big? Or would it be good if I plan expand later.

    I have a chance to get one like this used and good working 4 $100.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,905 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Which charge controller

    With the monitor, it might not be a bad deal, with out the monitor, there's only $50 difference, I'd go with a new unit.
    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.
  • Lightnin RickLightnin Rick Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Which charge controller
    Photowhit wrote: »
    With the monitor, it might not be a bad deal, with out the monitor, there's only $50 difference, I'd go with a new unit.

    By Monitor you mean meter? It does have that.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: Which charge controller

    The Prostar 30 would work. And it has a certain amount of expandability, being capable of 12 Volt or 24 Volt.
  • 54d1854d18 Solar Expert Posts: 81 ✭✭✭
    Re: Which charge controller

    I would definately allow for expansion, I made that mistake
    when I started out many years ago, I wish I would have had
    a site like this one for information, would have cost me more
    at the beginning, but less in the long run.

    I run a Rogue controller, with 490w of solar into a 12v bank of 900Ah.
    I know that I am just below the 5-13% mentioned earlier, but things
    run smoothly, delco never runs, even in winter use.

    Just my thoughts...
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