charge controllers linked to PC?

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cizzi
cizzi Solar Expert Posts: 109 ✭✭✭✭
Is there such a thing as a charge controller with a PC interface? either via USB or something similar? So I could monitor the battery and load on my PC..?

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  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    The outback Mx 60 will Xantrex and Blue sky have proprietary interfaces that might interface with with a pc. I just don't know.

    Icarus
  • cizzi
    cizzi Solar Expert Posts: 109 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    Checked out the outback Mx 60 but its out of my price range. Thanks.,
  • boB
    boB Solar Expert Posts: 1,030 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    If you are looking for something to use for data logging, you might try Jeff Jarvis' outfit, www.aprsworld.com since he does that kind of stuff.
    Don't know if he has USB right now, but I know he has RS232 and some
    wireless stuff.

    boB
  • crewzer
    crewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    ALso take a look at the Morningstar TriStar controller: http://www.morningstarcorp.com/products/TriStar/index.shtml

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,532 admin
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    cizzi,

    When looking for something to log your solar panel's output, remember to check the amount of power that device will use.

    For example, my old PC is not too power hungry... It only runs on about 20 watts with the screen off. But, run that 24 hours per day to log data and I am up to about 1/2 a kWhr per day. My 3 kW grid tied system averages around 13 kWhr per day (over 1 year). That would be 4% of my total power generated just for logging.

    A faster PC (or older desktop system) can easily consume much more power than my old laptop... It would not be hard to see a smaller system end up just supplying power to run the data logger (especially during poor weather) with little left over for actual home loads.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    What do you want to do with the data? real time monitoring? of just historical ? there are options that my be within your $ range (low cost?)

    Eric
     
    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
  • SavingEnergy
    SavingEnergy Registered Users Posts: 9
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    I agree with Crewzer, check out the Morningstar TS45 or TS60 controllers. I have a TS60, and have started writing software to interface to it. You can monitor/control everything from a PC or micro-controller. I'm using a TINI based micro-controller running Java. I'm creating a web application that I can access using the browser on my PDA (via WiFi network). The TS60 interfaces via a serial port, communicating using the MODBUS protocol. Wasn't too hard to get it working, but I'll admit I'm a software guy by profession.
  • SolarJohn
    SolarJohn Solar Expert Posts: 202 ✭✭
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?
    cizzi wrote: »
    Is there such a thing as a charge controller with a PC interface? either via USB or something similar? So I could monitor the battery and load on my PC..?

    For a low-cost data logger, check out the Lascar line:

    http://www.lascarelectronics.com/

    I wrote a little about my experiences with it here:

    http://solarjohn.blogspot.com/2007/03/solar-electric-system-measuring-and.html

    I hope this helps.

    John
  • cizzi
    cizzi Solar Expert Posts: 109 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    John thanks, thats what I was looking for.

    Claudio
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?
    I agree with Crewzer, check out the Morningstar TS45 or TS60 controllers. I have a TS60, and have started writing software to interface to it. You can monitor/control everything from a PC or micro-controller. I'm using a TINI based micro-controller running Java. I'm creating a web application that I can access using the browser on my PDA (via WiFi network). The TS60 interfaces via a serial port, communicating using the MODBUS protocol. Wasn't too hard to get it working, but I'll admit I'm a software guy by profession.
    SavingEnergy,

    I'm very interested to hear you're working on TS-45/TS-60 modbus interfaces from Java. I am currently doing the same thing, and will be open sourcing the code soon. I wanted to ask you about specific registers etc, and see what you think about this project, which is now a master's thesis at the university of Auckland:

    http://www.solarnetwork.net/

    I'm looking for help with the modbus (using jamod with javax.comm libraries on debian. tried rxtx but had weird locking issues which wouldn't go away when opening/closing the comm port) anyway, happy to discuss it here, but if you want to email me too I'm at jwrgorman@gmail.com.

    thanks! John
  • cizzi
    cizzi Solar Expert Posts: 109 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: charge controllers linked to PC?

    Thanks !

    Claudio Izzi
    System Administrator
    http://www.learningshells.com