opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

wild01wild01 Solar Expert Posts: 97 ✭✭✭
http://hudsonenergyfabrication.com/total_solar_system/304060_amp_digital_mppt_cha.html

I came across these on e-bay they look good for the price anyone used them?

I am a total cheap scape, but I don't want a bz level charger. if these things work it would be nice to know.

also nice to see made in canada

Comments

  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    There seems to be a total lack of any specifications for most of that stuff on their site.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,330 admin
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    Do you have a link for a manual? (I looked for one, and did not find any).

    Generally, just looking at the pictures, there does not seem to be much heat sinking (800 watts, need to dissipate some 40-80 watts of heat at full power). Just does not seem to be enough metal there to be a reliable unit.

    One very interesting specification is the 600 Volt input... If this is actually the series input voltage maximum for solar panels--this makes it a new class of solar controller! And if this is an isolated input system--it would work well with the Sunpower panels which require positive ground.

    Also would be a wonderful unit to connect in parallel (perhaps with a transfer switch and breakers/fuses) with a grid tied system to provide 12/24 at 40 amps to a battery/inverter off-grid backup system in emergencies. One (or two) of these would provide enough power to be very useful in an emergency situation.

    But--there appears to be little "there" there on the websites... I don't see anything that gives me great confidence that this is a good quality unit. Looks more like another BZ...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • wild01wild01 Solar Expert Posts: 97 ✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    http://cgi.ebay.com/EcoStar-Solar-Panel-Charge-Controller-200-amp-PLEX-MPPT_W0QQitemZ150248306434QQihZ005QQcategoryZ121837QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1638Q2em118Q2el1247

    they even have a 200 amp model, the auction has a lot of pics of the internal components. if they are junk 200 amps ought to look pretty when it melts down
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,330 admin
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    That 200 amp model... Solar Guppy can probably tell you with more authority... But that does not look like any MPPT controller that I can imagine.

    My guess--just a PWM controller. If you connected 600 Volts--you would just get "30 volts" worth of work out of them.

    Ain't no way that ther' be a 200amp*30volt=6kW MPPT controller. That, if you are lucky is a 10-20amp PWM charge controller (300-600 watt).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    I don't see an inductor so it looks like it's (most likely) a typical PWM controller.

    boB
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,330 admin
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    At this point, I nominate the ECOStar 200amp MPPT controller for the "Hall of Scam" award! :p

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    I know for a fact its an pwm controller ( unit in the OP's link ). When I was doing testing for MorningStar ( recent SunSaver Mppt ) we purchased a bunch of different units for competitive testing. At the time another seller on eBay was selling this unit, MorningStar purchased the controller and "sinewave" inverter from the seller.

    Turns out the charger is just a pwm controller and the inverter was a mod-sine unit ... MorningStar took the guys to task , at first still claimed they were Mppt and Sine wave, but after being told the facts backed off and they stopped selling the units

    I have tested just about everthing on the Market at this time, there are no lower cost TRUE Mppt units than the MoringStar Sunsaver Mppt, and anything on eBay that claims otherwise is just some guy dumping no-name china made pwm controller ( or Inverters ) ... so unless you want to throw your money away stay clear!
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    The second is complete BS ... The FETS look similar to TO-220, which does not have the lead spacing for 600V ... And as boB notes, there is no inductor

    At that price, I doubt they will be selling any, you can have 4 or 5 MX-60's or 4 WX-150-60's ( real 60 amp Mppt charge controllers )

    Hall of shame for sure
  • wild01wild01 Solar Expert Posts: 97 ✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    thanks for the input guys


    darnit
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    I am betting they don't even know what MPPT means, but that has become the latest buzzword.

    Not sure how they get 5-stage charging either, but then what do I know ;)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,330 admin
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    From a cost engineering viewpoint it looks kind of interesting--Is the LCD controller/display board also being programed/used as the PWM charge controller too?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    they also stated the controller cannot be grounded positive or negative.
    Windsun wrote: »
    I am betting they don't even know what MPPT means, but that has become the latest buzzword.

    Not sure how they get 5-stage charging either, but then what do I know ;)

    would 5 stage be,
    1 bulk
    2 acceptance
    3 float
    4 equalize
    5 meltdown
    ??????????????:confused::cry::p
  • Robin GudgelRobin Gudgel Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 58 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    Just to set the record straight, a TO-220 does in fact have sufficient voltage spacing for 600 volts. I know because boB and I are playing with some now! It does worry me some though.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,963 ✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    Better bush-up on the UL requirements, its .125" on the outer-layers and anything air to air.

    Its a grey area where manufactures make parts closer than 0.125" but UL is quite clear on > 150V and the spacing requirements. They will allow using the parts but have fun on the PCB layout and the heatsink/chassis , one has to damn near wrap the board in a condom to meet UL > 150V

    Now I don't make any claim except what I was told when I was looking at 600V HV controller version of the SC-60 in 2005, Xantrex has some of the best compliance guys in the industry so I believe what I was told and they were very specific on what I would have to face as compliance issues, we determined it wasn't a path to take in the foot print of the SC/XW-60, just not enough room for the parts/layout to meet the 0.125" spacing requirements

    I know better than most the challenges your facing and truly wish you and boB the best in bringing your product to market!
  • Robin GudgelRobin Gudgel Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 58 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    I have been designing to UL standards for over 20 years and have hundreds of products listed through UL and ETL. Xantrex does have some good guys up there, but we don't always see eye to eye on things. In any case, UL does allow for 600 volts, you just have to know how to do it and still meet the spec. Xantrex does not believe in conformal coating any of their products which is why they sited the .125 inch spacing. I consider the lack of conformal coating a time bomb as far as corrosion goes. I have seen the effects of no and poor conformal coating many times. That is why all the Trace, OutBack, Magnum Energty and soon to be MidNite Solar power electronics are conformal coated. It is a real pain to add this process, but that is just one of the differences that set products apart. Oh yeah, when you conformal coat, UL allows a much reduced voltage spacing.
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    Sounding stupid which is one of my talents, 1/8 th or an inch give or take, so design your product half inch wider or longer then no problem .....unless u have a lot of these items to install, which is why Im stupid, now I think of it a 3 ft wide CC has a lack of appeal, I thought that conformal coating would be the norm nowadays especially when RE equip has an equal place in inhospitable places where the grid fears to tread :confused:
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    They're talking about the spacing between the legs of a TO-220 mosfet transistor package, which is only so much space. By itself, just air inbetween those legs, if you go too high of voltage, it will arc over... If you paint on some insulation, which also keeps things from corroding in harsh environments, the voltage at which is arcs over becomes much higher.

    The problem with painting on this coating is that it's a pain in the arse, and makes it hard to work on the circuit boards after it's been put on.

    boB :D
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    kk im out of my comfort zone:blush: I understand what u said that the component its self dictates the distance between the legs not each individual components spacing, see I told u I was stupid but now Im a little wiser,and coating such individual componenents for corrosion protecion inceases that insulation and thus increased spacing premium, Pass me a soldering iron:p
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    scratching my head and saying, huh? am i reading this right?:confused::roll: nobody changed the spacing on anything, but only increased the working voltage by coating it with the conformal coating and that resists arc over better than air. this would also be on the circuit board itself too as it would also arc there and not just between the legs of to-220 devices. it is really just insulating things and making it more physically stable. it can range from a total epoxy fill to a small layer applied to all parts and the board.
    on the flip side, and there is a flip side, the drawbacks to coating stuff is that the stuff is harder to repair should one wish to replace one bad part, assuming you can determine what went bad through the coating (hence whole boards are then swapped instead of real tech repairs due to inaccessibility) and the other is the lack of heat dissipation to the air so thermally it won't perform as well in some instances necessitating steps to compensate for the higher heats produced or living with parts' lifespan reductions.
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    yes thats what I meant Neil bad choice of words from me:
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    no problem, but when somebody passes you the soldering iron make sure you grab it from the handle.:p
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers

    dooh thats why it hurts,,,,,,,.......:confused:
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: opinions about the ecostar mppt charge controllers
    BB. wrote: »
    At this point, I nominate the ECOStar 200amp MPPT controller for the "Hall of Scam" award! :p

    -Bill


    I think Ecostar itself should be in the "Hall of Scam". In an lost cause effort to recover over $3000 I foolishly spent on substandard and misrepresented products from Ecostar, I discovered that Ecostar was run by a snake oil salesman named Darren Pope. This guy has been ripping people off for years selling car engines, Chinese ATVs, solar products, and used police cars on line. Over the last five years, he has created and dissolved 15 LLC's, changed his phone number over 10 times and has been sued numerous times. Don't take my work for it- Do an on line search for "Pahrump Valley Times Darren Pope" for just one example of what this guy has been up to.
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