Midnight Solar and Outback

NovazNovaz Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭✭
My thoughts about which charge controller to buy have changed some what is there any big differences between Midnight and Outback
I am impressed with the Midnight Classic which would be way more than I need at current levels but with my thoughts on future off grid in a cabin
it may be better to buy bigger now than to have to upgrade in the future .
I also like the amount of help via youtube that Midnight Solar has strange that they support both systems.
Roy

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Same guys designed both controllers. :D

    Outback is less expensive and can 'talk' to other Outback equipment via the HUB.

    MidNite has more features including the ability to use the WhizBang Jr. shunt monitor, the "Follow Me" function for multiple controllers, and the "Waste Not" function for managing opportunity loads.

    So it largely depends on where you see your system expanding to in the future. Will you need/want those extra MidNite features? Or will you need/want more OB equipment all 'on the same page'?
  • H2SO4_guyH2SO4_guy Solar Expert Posts: 213 ✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Both are good. I have an Outback VFX-3648 and it is very good. I chose the Midnite Solar controllers because they can do more and have been very happy with them. Wish I had a few more! I have various other PWM controllers too and they all work, just prefer the Midnite units. While a little more, I would consider the purchase with an eye to the future as you have mentioned.

    Good luck and let us know how it works out
    12K asst panels charging through Midnite Classic 150's, powering Exeltechs and Outback VFX-3648 inverter at 12 and 48 volts.  2080 AH @ 48 VDC of Panasonic Stationary batteries (2 strings of 1040 AH each) purchased for slightly over scrap, installed August 2013.  Outback PSX-240X for 220 volt duties.  No genny usage since 2014. 
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,975 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Novaz,

    The MidNite Charge Controllers are a considerably fresher design, and have very good communication abilities, plus the FirmWare can be updated with the CC in place in the field. The MidNite FW updates make significant advances in what the Classic and KID CC can do.

    Now, the WhizBang jr Current Monitor is included with all standard Classic CCs (just not with the Classic Lite).

    There is also the fairly new KID CC from MidNite. It is an MPPT CC, but with a 30 Amp maximum output current. 30 Amps may not be enough for the envisioned system, but there will be the ability to parallel a second KID with the first to double the output current, if your needs may expand.

    These decisions are never simple. The OB CCs are reliable and efficient CCs, by the way.
    The KID CC:
    http://www.solar-electric.com/midnite-solar-kid-mppt-solar-charge-controller.html

    Have mostly replaced the venerable Outback MX-60 CCs here with MidNite Classics, and they are doing great. Ant while OB has been very good at customer support, MidNite is the absolute best for support, and they have a very active Forum, where Tech Support and Engineering are daily participants ... even on most weekends! Cannot beat that. Good Luck, 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.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback
    Vic wrote: »
    Novaz,

    The MidNite Charge Controllers are a considerably fresher design.
    Have mostly replaced the venerable Outback MX-60 CCs here with MidNite Classics, and they are doing great. And while OB has been very good at customer support, MidNite is the absolute best for support, and they have a very active Forum, where Tech Support and Engineering are daily participants ... even on most weekends! Cannot beat that. Good Luck, Vic

    I also replaced my MX-60 with a MidNite Classic and am VERY happy with the results! And gone are the MX-60's uncontrolled voltage surges during sweeps that were shutting down my inverters on over-voltage. :D
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Upgrade path is one thing, but be sure you understand the idle losses of a bigger controller. If you arent using the full capacity or at least half of the classic, or outback controllers, then the idle losses will bite hard. Thats where the kid comes in, it has really low idel losses and can run medium sized systems quite happily. Alll depends on how long from now til upgrade. If its a couple3 years, id go kid for sure. You can always resell it, or use if for the boat/rv/outhouse etc etc.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,469 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Another note. I have a Classic 200 & Morningstar tristar MPPT 60. The classic has a 160V array on it (2KW) and the Morningstar has a 110V 3Kw array. The Classic 200 dissipates 3x the heat the tristar does. So if you don't NEED to use the higher voltage (for long line runs or whatever) stick with lower voltage arrays.
    And if web interface or logging is important, the 2 brands are VERY different in their capabilities.
    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 ,

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,023 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    I'd like to 2nd what ZoneBlue said about idle losses, I was surprised at how much energy the Midnight classic's use over night! So sizing your charge controller to your system is important! Mostly would not recommend the Midnight classic in a 12 volt system dues to the tare losses.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • NovazNovaz Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Thanks for all the replies guys
    I am currently out hunting a piece of land and saw 2 very nice parcels with plenty of room for my RV and cabin with clear views of the sky where they would be placed this is just up near the WA/Canada border
    this forum has really helped me a bunch and these latest replies showed me that the losses was something i was unaware of so i will take that into account and probably end up with a smaller system with the Kid on my RV and a KW system with the Classic on my cabin
    Thanks again
    Roy
  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Solar Expert Posts: 136 ✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Despite what I see as a completely horrendous design inspired by god knows what as well as a feeling like "something is off about this company" I went with the MidNite Classic 150 as it simply made the most sense. I haven't gotten to put it to good use yet but quality seems very good, internals seem good, I'm sure it will work very well, the features really can't be argued with. But damn it's ugly, which I guess is saying something seeing as I'd rather hang a Tickle Me Elmo from my wall and I still paid money for it.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback
    TucsonAZ wrote: »
    Despite what I see as a completely horrendous design inspired by god knows what as well as a feeling like "something is off about this company" I went with the MidNite Classic 150 as it simply made the most sense. I haven't gotten to put it to good use yet but quality seems very good, internals seem good, I'm sure it will work very well, the features really can't be argued with. But damn it's ugly, which I guess is saying something seeing as I'd rather hang a Tickle Me Elmo from my wall and I still paid money for it.

    The exterior design is in an artistic style call "Art Deco", which is well respected and appreciated by many people both in and out of the design and art world. There is nothing "off" about the company. The people that run it are the top engineers in the business, responsible for many of the best pieces of solar equipment ever made by several different companies over the years.

    Unless you are an electrical engineer capable of designing your own MPPT charge controller you are not in a position to make derogatory comments about the MidNite Classic. No one is forcing you to buy one, yet despite your opinions you bought one.

    No, I do not work for them or any other company.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback
    The exterior design is in an artistic style call "Art Deco", which is well respected and appreciated by many people both in and out of the design and art world. There is nothing "off" about the company. The people that run it are the top engineers in the business, responsible for many of the best pieces of solar equipment ever made by several different companies over the years.

    With these facts I have to agree. These are truly exceptional, awesome products.
  • NovazNovaz Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback
    With these facts I have to agree. These are truly exceptional, awesome products.
    With the time and effort put into the website that gives me a lot of confidence to buy its easy just posting generic pictures with prices but its the support on a product that gets my $
    I hope to be contacting them for a visit as they are only about an hour away
    Roy
    Happy 4th
  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Solar Expert Posts: 136 ✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback
    The exterior design is in an artistic style call "Art Deco", which is well respected and appreciated by many people both in and out of the design and art world. There is nothing "off" about the company. The people that run it are the top engineers in the business, responsible for many of the best pieces of solar equipment ever made by several different companies over the years.

    Unless you are an electrical engineer capable of designing your own MPPT charge controller you are not in a position to make derogatory comments about the MidNite Classic. No one is forcing you to buy one, yet despite your opinions you bought one.

    No, I do not work for them or any other company.

    Your response doesn't even apply to the quote you're responding to. Why do I need to be an "electrical engineer" to share my opinion of the products appearance?

    I'm well aware of what art deco is, I've spent a good deal of time in Miami and you hit the nail on the head when you said "the people that run it are top engineers in the business", not architects, graphic designers, or artists. I said nothing bad about the company nor the function of the product or quality of the products used in making it, I simply expressed an opinion on the appearance only of the product which was clearly designed by an experienced engineer and not a young, progressive design firm. It isn't design neutral nor is it designed with the younger crowd/fringe living hippy types in mind.

    It sounds like you're about as qualified to say there is "nothing off" about the company as I am to say there is so we'll leave that as a moot point. I bought their product based on the points you made, it's a quality product and that can't be debated but in my exchanges and dealing with MidNite I was left with the feeling that something was off with that company (and even so I thought their product was good enough that I purchased it), that isn't something you have to agree with.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,023 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Design is just a matter of opinion, I kinda like it myself, as an aging hippie!

    But to say the company is a bit "off" in my opinion is correct, but in a good way! I have had direct contact with boB and Robin, something you couldn't do in most companies large or small and of course you have to be very good to call something a "Classic" before it hit the streets and "Whiz Bang Jr" is not something I would even look at from another company...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,163 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Not to mention using names such as the KID and Brat for their new CC's.

    Best response time for a lot of my inquiries, and sometimes from the top brass...
    They care about their products and want them to work as advertised......
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    Its not really clear what you mean by 'off'? I would describe midnite as a company that is engineering-centric. Im no big fan of the aesthetic either, but thats subjective, and function is by far more important than form in this application. Documentation is not their strong point, partly explainable by the rapid development cycle they use, and they make up for it with surperb support. The fact that they manufacture in the US, is in itself quite extraordinary.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • Alaska ManAlaska Man Solar Expert Posts: 252 ✭✭
    Re: Midnight Solar and Outback

    I love the Classic I have and Midnight tech support has been above and beyond. They have a life-time cunstomer in me.

    Documentation may be a bit short, but most every question I had was answered in the video disk they sent along. I'm a visual learner anyway so it worked out good for me. Besides most of my freinds, my wife and even myself are considered "Off". I see it as a good thing.
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