Midnite Classic Problems?

kaipo_boykaipo_boy Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭

Just wondering into the authenticity of this user report, he claims to be unbiased:

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/2015-midnite-classic-problems/

This is probably the wrong forum, but its the one I check the most often and the guy above was using his Classic in an offgrid battery system, obviously, so appears to have relevance to this forum...

aloha,

walt

Comments

  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,022 ✭✭✭✭

    Well, in true 'Snopes' format. It's True and false;

    I've had a manual since before he claims none was existing on their web site. That said, the manual has evolved as the product has evolved.

    The Midnight Classic, is complex, you can use it in a noncomplex manner, using default setting and just buy a Classic lite. It does more than other charge controllers, more function leads to more controls.

    I had a little problem with #4 in the #4 lugs, and I have 2 early design ones, they have been redesigned to make access easier. There's not a top that you can pup off and see the lugs. I've posted photos, but can't, won't, am tired of trying to figure out the forum software. Perhaps my library of posted photos is still out there somewhere...

    Arc Fault is not available on the Classic Lite, the 2 I have installed are Classic Lites. Arc Fault is and will be touchy. I doubt I would have mine enabled.

    I have heard the 'not equalizing' statement, but mine worked. I actually caught mine equalizing. used it for 2 years on auto equalizing. I'm now doing equalizing my self but more trying to figure out a routine, my battery was poisoned about the time of arrival 5 years ago. I've always had one cell with electrolyte that is very dark, SG seems fine, that cell uses more water than the others in general.

    I think the Morning star was a better fit for him. I would want a charge controller with out a fan for RV's, which is where many/most of his systems he helps people with, and I would have the charge controllers in an area that was well vented, likely with fans, as I would worry about heat gain in an enclosed area.

    Morning Star makes a great product, but it won't measure the current going into my battery, or turn on things based on rules I define. Midnite is more complex and perhaps more features to fail. I've only use very few of the features available to me. but I've no complaints, I've been up and running 4 years in July.

    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
  • kaipo_boykaipo_boy Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    edited May 2016 #4

    Wow. Thanks guys. The fan issue has been harped on before and to me, a couple of $5 computer fans being replaced every couple years is not a big issue, more like nuisance. Even disabling them and just adding some sort of auxiliary cooling arrangement would be ok.  I'll be hooking the controller up to a NiFe bank, like Mike's but smaller... and he seems to prefer the TS-60, although I think I'll need close to 100A, which means I'll have to get 2 of them, just like rantingBob... and Mike's got a good deal more experience than me, I sorta implicitly trust his judgment on this. Although, NiFe doesn't require EQ, which seems to be at the center of the most worrisome issue for Bob (along with efficiency).

    Lack of a manual doesn't bother me; as people have pointed out, pdf on their website works fine for me.

    I have been working with my Kid for about a year now, using a small bank of 4x6v Interstate GC cells, but I have been doing EQ manually and don't engage the auto EQ so have no experience with that. Also, having had bad luck with one battery in the bank most of the time didn't help (I ended up buying an adjustable power supply so I could do an EQ on 1 battery at a time if needed, to try to balance them out). Generally, I really like the Kid but have never had a Classic. Although it seems to suffer the same problem as its bigger brother... I was disappointed to see the small terminals inside the casing and note that those terminals were directly soldered to the board and I kept wondering how many gorillas had put in warranty claims for damaging the board while using a 1000ft-lb pneumatic gun to torque down the cable detent screws.

    Not completely sold yet as I've not looked at the Morningstar yet, but looks like that'll be in the works in the next few days.

    One thing I would like to clarify though, from Mike: are you referring to Morningstar's MPPT-60? or the PWM 60?

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,466 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have (in my .sig) MPPT controllers, both morningstar and the classic.   I like the silent simplicity of the Morningstar, and it has (only the 60A version) a web server internally for monitoring.   The Classic has the trio of turbine fans, and some fancy computer remote control software.   Updating the morningstar needs a DB9 serial port, classic needs win XP or win-10   In-between versions of win are sketchy as to the update actually working.
    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 ,

  • kaipo_boykaipo_boy Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Thanks for chiming in, Mike!
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,975 ✭✭✭✭

    Just a couple of quick comments,  from someone who admires and respects MidNite Solar  --  their products AND the company and its ethics.

     1.  The Manuals have been on the MN site for ages,  and am certain that the MN Support folks would have mentioned this to "bob",  as it would save considerable of their time ...  after all,  bob did exchange "over 100 e-mails with MidNite"

     2.  MidNite appears to have sent FOUR replacement Classic 200s to bob over an 18 -24 month period.
    seems to me that MidNite Solar has done a stellar job in trying to get bob out of his own predicament.

     3.  It appears that bob knows little about Solar system design,  as he attempts to compare the efficiency of a Classic 200,  with a PV String voltage that exceeds the capabilities of the Morningstar MPPT CC,  compared to the Classic 200.  SO  he rewires the strings to a LOWER voltage,  the Morningstar CC will survive,  and then brags about the efficiency of that Morningstar CC  --  seems quite unfair to me.  This is the second time that I've seen someone trying to compare a Cl 200's efficiency vs the Morningstar MPPT 60 when the string voltage of the Classic 200 exceeds the capability of the Morningstar ...   this seems NUTSO to me.

    Obviously,  the Classic has greater output current capability than most other CCs,  and having fans allow the product to be less expensive than would be a fanless Classic with the same output current rating.  Also,  keeping a fairly small footprint (similar to the MX-60)  allows easy retrofit into systems that could not easily accommodate a physically larger CC.

    The Classic DOES lack battery Sense Terminals  --  something that I would like to see added.   And,  there have been some bugs,  several of which took a long time to find and fix.  Part of the difficulty in fixing these is often compounded by a product's complexity,  and the Classic is a very comprehensive product,  and therefor more complex than most other CCs.

    MidNite has NOT said that it believes the Classic is more efficient than otherf/any other CC.   They have said (IIRC)  that they believed that the Morningstar might be a bit more efficient than the Classic 150,  and that also,  perhaps the MX-60 was  perhaps a bit more efficient.   BUT,  (IIRC)  that MidNite did believe that the total daily Harvest of the Classic 150  tops most other CCs (probably in the same class),  and THAT what seemed to matter most ...

    The Classic CCs have a very comprehensive set of functions and capabilities,  which will reduce the efficiency a bit,  and can cause somewhat more bugs,  and a bit of a delay in adding ALL of the functions that we all desire.   However,  the Classic does not require one to buy the Display gadget addon,  the Relay Driver Thingie,    the Hub gizmo,  and so on.

    As was noted,  the WBjr inexpensive battery current monitoring/recording device,  plus a Shunt for some systems,  adds even more functionality to the Classic.

    Believe that Haplessbob might well be a Morningstar Shill,  for all we know.   Seems quite gutless to post such garbage on a personal blog,  rather on a Forum,  where real users can respond to his drivel.

    Just MY opinions.  Thank You MidNite Solar.   for all of the great products!    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.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,022 ✭✭✭✭

    Vic,

    Bob has posted here in the past and apparently was barred. I actually think sometimes very knowledgeable people implode on forms. I'm surprised and regret the loss of several of these people, Including 'Coot and the wind energy guru, who's name escapes me. I've been kicked off many forums due to a certain Sun'god' who I have over a 10 year history now.

    I also do believe Midnite has had some head to head comparisons up in the past. 

    Thank you for pointing out that Bob was using a Classic 200, a unit designed for higher voltages, which helps with long wire runs and not comparable to the Morningstar as it is a purposeful design.

    Along with the Classic's with a built in display they also have a Solar only version, which is not yet sold by Northern Arizona Wind and Sun, which might save a few dollar and has a bit simpler menu for solar only, and a Classic lite which is identical other than not having a graphic display and also lacking the Arc Fault, but have all or most of the functionality of the standard classic, if programed through the network connection, of if you already have a Classic, you can use the graphic interface to set it up.  We also left out some of the other features such as having more than one Classic working in unison.

    They are a great group and I've had a pleasure in all my dealings with them. I've had some issues "networking" with one of my Classic lite's and they wanted me to send it in before I felt I had fully trouble shooted(?) the problem!

    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
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,975 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi Photowhit,

    Well,  am not too certain that Bob was that knowledgeable at comparing a Classic 200 directly to the Morningstar MPPT 60,  but doing so only after rewiring his PV strings from one string of four to two strings of two,  IIRC,  and then noting that Morningstar ran cooler ....   DUUUUHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh.   The TS MPPY 60 would have been toasted by over voltage,  most likely, had the strings not been rewired.   If bob knew that this was an unfair comparison,  he should have not made it.  AND,  if he did not know that this was unfair,  then he was not that well-informed.

    The Classic has had its bugs,  as we all know,  but,  still,   have never had to revert to MX-60s,  which are still in place on each system here.

    One previous Mod sure did spend a lot of hours here,  generally,  helping others ...  the only issue that I had was that he would form an instant opinion,  with only one suspect/marginal post from one user of some product issue,  and then,  forever after,  that product would be noted as,  essentially crap.

    I do know the wind-oriented chap that you are referring to,  and I do not miss that person  ...  he could be informative,  and often off-the-wall,  and in the Attack mode ...   seemed disruptive to me.  But he did know some things in detail,  and so on.   Not to speak too much about those who cannot respond here   ...  it's all good.

    You have made some good points about the newer additions to the Classic CC product line.  I have never felt the need for Arc Fault,  or even GFCI,  OR Auto EQ,  but still just spec Classic 150 Standard CCs.

    Just opinions,   FWIW,   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.
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