Midnight Solar 150 Controller

andyrudandyrud Solar Expert Posts: 60 ✭✭
Anybody using a Midnite Solar 150 Controller? And if so, where did you buy it, and how do you like it?

Comments

  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    Not a 150 but I'm diggin' my 200. Like it a lot.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,984 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    andy.,

    I do HAVE a Classic 150, but have not quite installed it. Have brought it back to town to update the FW before installing it (as, just now, have NO internet at the OG site).

    It looks to be a great box. It has all the correct genes. Will report back soon on first operational impressions.

    Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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.
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    Vic, I wasn't aware of any new firmware upgrade to the Classics yet. If in beta I'd like to hear your take on them and what they are. I'm feeling left out!

    Andy, I can tell you this from my own observations. The Classic 200 has harvested the most energy so far from my system. I've done some comparison testing here, being able to switch in and out panels individually and as halved arrays. The Classic does a great job of it above 100W. Below that there are better controllers, of course this is obvious.

    My only beef with the Classic is the idle current draw i.e. resting/sleeping. Although it gathers a bit more it consumes far more than others. I am seeing 5.5W 24/7 drain (using a quality meter) with the Classic 200. Midnite has told me this is on the high end of what they expect to see but accepted it as valuable feedback. They typically see 4-4.5W there. Having said this, the guys at Midnite have assured me that this was on the list of revisions for them by making adjustments to their device. Maybe down to 3W or so. It's new ya' know? Patience is needed.

    It does do a load of stuff for that 5.5W expenditure.....

    I think this controller is a keeper.

    Added: The guys at Midnite have done great work on the Web Access end of things. Connect your Cat5 cable and DHCP is all there fully auto....no struggling with that crap is a big bonus IMO.
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    Steve
    The software upgrades will show up from time to time when boB gets new features done etc. The idle draw is important to us and I can assure you we will work to bring that way down. Possibly even having a super sleep mode based on sunset and sunrise where we turn almost everything off.
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    That sounds great Ryan. You guys did alot of work to provide sunrise/sunset calculations. Graphical data input even. It sure would seem a waste if it didn't actually perform any useful function beside the derivation of it.

    I'd like to note that the installation and configuration of this complex controller required no tech support for me to press it into service. That is saying alot for the well mapped design itself. I'm not exactly well versed and seasoned in all aspects of this field.

    On a side note, Midnite would be foolish (in my humble opinion) to not publish the acquired data (accumulated energy gathering based on location) of all of it's stations throughout the world. Once the assembly lines start full tilt that is.... What a valuable resource that would be....the acquisition of data is to be stored at or at least passed through the Midnite server after all.... Sounds pretty simple to do.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,981 admin
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    The problem is that actual power output is also highly dependent on battery usage/state of charge... A large array with variable battery usage would have a huge effect on solar energy capture. (full batteries do not accept energy from the array).

    What may be interesting is an "available power" during the day... Something based on historical MPPT energy from array and light levels detected during the day to produce a chart of Actual/Available Energy output per day. That could be useful for people (sort of a chart of used 50% of available output on Monday, 80% on Tuesday, 100% on Wednesday, etc.). Unless this was integrated with a battery monitor, you would never have more than 100% usage from the charge controller...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,984 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    Hi SteveK, and others,

    Thanks for the real world update on your Classic 200.

    If I'm reading your post correctly about the SR/SS calcs, I think that this data, calculated from the Lat/Long input, is used to allow the CC to know when to wake-up -- when to anticipate probable power production. The OB FM CCs did have a problem with its sleep/wake-up algorhythm and could get stuck wasting power (trying to make power from darkness) when it should have been sleeping. This is just guessing on my part.

    And, on the FW update, I brought the Classic back just in case there had been an update, as, with absolutely NO Internet at the remote site, did not know weather or not there was one.

    I, too, hope that MN can get the Tare losses down. This may be very important for many users. For me, the inverter pair consumes 500 Wh per day, so the CC's contribution is not huge.

    Will install the CC on the next trip out to the site. I do not want to squander one of these scarce resources. ... just have not had the time needed to watch it do its work. The install should be very easy, as will be replacing the POS Xantrex XW CC, which has been sitting idle -- it was a giant step backwards from the MX-60 !

    Thanks again, and your report, Steve, it about the only one that I've seen. The MN Classic CC has great genes, just look at the Parents ! Thanks, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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.
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    Vic, I think this is a controller you will like. I know nothing of the Xantrex controller or the MX-60 other than what I've read here. At this point I can't imagine anyone being dissatisfied with the Classic. Especially when MN finishes it off properly.

    You may see different results with yours being the 150V flavor of it. I've heard told the 150V is a bit more efficient and this may equate to a reduced idle current draw. I understand that MN is now formally testing for such specs and will be publishing these soon. I'm anxious to see your take on this as I'm really not properly qualified to expertly review such items. I believe my words here accurately relect my unit's performance, my appreciation of it and a thumbs up reccomendation of it.

    Right now lat lon input is all for the purpose of calculating sunrise/set. It serves no other purpose (except possibly telling the unit when to update the Total KW cumulative data) but as Ryan said above it may come into play for super sleep mode in the future.

    If you read the manual there is a table that states specifically that the unit goes to sleep based upon the sunrise/set data. At the moment, MN terms "sleep" and "resting" as interchangeable....the unit will "rest" when there is not enough sunlight already so....??? I was fooled by this terminology but a phone call to MN after the purchase straightend me out on this.

    The idle power consumption, or Tare as you called it, is important to me. For example, I've spent $20ea on 3 LED light bulbs to save that much power per night. Knowing how difficult it is to gather sunlight I don't like to squander it this way. It amounts to ~10% of my total overnight expenditure of power from the bank at certain times of the year.... They will do better I'm sure.

    That's it. I bought it, I like it, it needs to be finished off properly.
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    Bill, I see your point there. I was thinking a bit towards total energy gathered by Midnite CC's based on location/region/quadrant and such. I don't think a solar refference could be made to allow an exact prediction of what one's own personal performance would be if a MN CC was installed....or versus a competitor even.

    Just thought it would be cool so to speak. Maybe more of a marketing tool or green score of sorts.....

    Thanks!
  • Willy ArnoldWilly Arnold Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller
    halfcrazy wrote: »
    The idle draw is important to us and I can assure you we will work to bring that way down. Possibly even having a super sleep mode based on sunset and sunrise where we turn almost everything off.

    Sorry to dig up an old thread, but 2 years later has there been any progress on this issue? It is very important to me.

    Thanks,


    Willy
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,981 admin
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    There have been serveral years of software development since... And I do not remember hearing anyone concerned about nigh time power usage of the Midnite Classic.

    If you do not get an answer here, Midnite Solar also has a very active forum:

    http://www.midniteforum.com/index.php

    Good luck,
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    from what i understand they did make a few small inroads into the tare losses. not sure of the official draw these days, but i usually see about 1a on 12v output as the crossover point for the cc to stop resting making the tare loss on mine about 12w which used to be 20w in the beginning if i remember right. i shut my classic off at night rather than use the power up needlessly and i would've done this with any mppt cc. tare losses on pwm ccs are quite low and i never needed to shut any of those off in the past, but i did anyway.
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller
    niel wrote: »
    from what i understand they did make a few small inroads into the tare losses. not sure of the official draw these days, but i usually see about 1a on 12v output as the crossover point for the cc to stop resting making the tare loss on mine about 12w which used to be 20w in the beginning if i remember right. i shut my classic off at night rather than use the power up needlessly and i would've done this with any mppt cc. tare losses on pwm ccs are quite low and i never needed to shut any of those off in the past, but i did anyway.


    I think most people probably don't bother to turn their CC off at night and I think that after sunset when the Classic goes into "rest" mode the power consumption is much lower - on the order of a couple of watts IIRC. A question asked on the Midnite forum would surely get a quick and accurate answer though..
  • Willy ArnoldWilly Arnold Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    Thanks everyone. I reposted the question over there.
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller
    Thanks everyone. I reposted the question over there.

    Willy,

    Since no one was answering over there (I think Bob was out of town when you posted it) and I was curious, I went ahead and measured it on both of my Classics during "Resting". Using a milliamp resolution clamp meter I got 112 milliamps at 55 Volts or just over 6 watts. I confirmed this reading on one of my Classics with my Fluke 87V. Not bad, but I'm not totally up to date on my firmware (I've missed the last few updates) so maybe it's even lower now.

    (I also posted this to the Midnite forum)
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 972 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar 150 Controller

    Hi Willy... I caught MTDOC over on the Midnite forum. I will copy and paste what I wrote over there to here.
    Sorry there is not too much I can do about this in software in the immediate future but hopefully this copy/
    paste will explain the situation some.....
    boB
    **************************************

    Well, there has been a hardware change that makes it able to turn off the arc fault board at night (remove power)
    and of course the Classic Lite doesn't have an arc fault board OR an MNGP. The MNGP draws a watt or so.
    Without those two items, the power draw is more like 3 watts.
    When the arc fault board gets powered off and the MNGP goes to sleep, power draw should
    be around 3.5 watts (maybe 3.75 at most ???)

    How old is your classic hardware ?

    Eventually, at night, the Classic itself and MNGP can go to sleep (low power processor mode) and
    should drop the power down to 4 watts or so from your measured 6 watts just from software.
    There had to be hardware changes to really drop the power though which happened around
    1/2 a year ago. That was the arc fault board turn off circuitry and another internal
    power supply rail from the aux switcher.

    Eventually, when power down at night is selectable, this will stop the Ethernet from running
    at night which is a compromise.

    boB
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