Sailboat solar & wind controller question...

I've got a pair of Kyocera 120 panels and a pair of Uni-Solar flex-32 panels (total of 18 amps at most) and a wind genny (FERRIS WINDPOWER 200, outputs as high as 20 amps, it's rated max, before blowing it's fuse) that's been all running through a TriStar 45 controller feeding a pair of Lifeline 8DL AGM batteries. With short wire runs on my boat, everything is 12vdc.

All had been fine for well over two years of constant, and sometimes rough, service till it recently failed to keep battery voltage below 15 vdc and spiked up above 17 vdc, which fortunately I'd caught quick and added loads, then disconnected some panels, before damaging the AGM's.

Anyways, not sure what happened to the TriStar, I'm thinking maybe I needed to have had installed their heftier 65 amp version to begin with instead.

Questions now are...

#1 - Am I screwing up even running the wind genny through the solar controller?

#2 - Now that I'm in the market for a new controller, are the newer MPPT controllers a good match to run everything (solar & wind) through one of them?

#3 - What happens with different voltages from multiple sources all going into the same input side of any controller?

#4 - I'm also in the market for some more flex panels, if there are any as large as Uni-Solar's Flex32's or bigger, or if there are any lightweight but rugged hard panels.

Appreciate any suggestions, or concerns I need to keep in mind.

Thanks,
Shane

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,572 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sailboat solar & wind controller question...

    I think each system needs it's own controller. PV benifits from MPPT, and wind needs a dump load output. I've not seen one that handles both at the same time.

    Glad you caught it before toasting the batteries.
    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 ,

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭
    Re: Sailboat solar & wind controller question...

    For a Sail boat your better off with a TriStar, with the constant shading, it messes up the Mppt tracking. In Clear conditions, in hot weather, it might add 5-10%.

    Today I was doing some comparsions of a TriStar to an Mppt unit in hot weather, the TriStar was only about 5% lower, the main reason was the TriStar has the panels at the battery voltage, which is below the Maximum Power Point of the solar BUT and a BIG BUT, its running at a higher current, close to Isc, so it was getting an extra amp making up allot of ground to an Mppt unit.

    You do need a seperate controller for the wind and as Mike posted, you need a diversion load/controller for the wind genny
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Sailboat solar & wind controller question...

    Thanks, mike90045 and Solar Guppy.

    I talked to the wind genny folks today, and they opined that if I've been running the wind genny and solar input together already through the TriStar 45 for over two years with no problems, then it's likely that I should be able to continue to do so, though perhaps I need that higher amperage TriStar 60 unit for a little more buffer.

    I'd asked MorningStar about using their TriStar unit this way back when I was originally installing the system, well over two years ago, and they said then it was doable, though I'm going to ask them again, just to be sure that opinion is widely held there.

    - Shane
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,572 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Sailboat solar & wind controller question...

    The longevity of the wind gennie is the concern. The controller is fine. Wind gens need a "Diversion Load" or "Dump" load, to keep their speed down, in a storm, when the batteries are fully charged.
    The charge controller shuts off the charge to the full batteries, and then the wind gen has no load, and spins freely, often PAST it's safe speed. Depending on the storm, if small no damage, but if several days of wind, you could burn out the bearings, or it could generate a high enough voltage, unloaded, that it could zap the controller.
    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 ,

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Sailboat solar & wind controller question...
    mike90045 wrote: »
    The longevity of the wind gennie is the concern. The controller is fine. Wind gens need a "Diversion Load" or "Dump" load, to keep their speed done, in a storm, when the batteries are fully charged.
    The charge controller shuts off the charge to the full batteries, and then the wind gen has no load, and spins freely, often PAST it's safe speed. Depending on the storm, if small no damage, but if several days of wind, you could burn out the bearings, or it could generate a high enough voltage, unloaded, that it could zap the controller.
    It has a mechanical centrifugal brake on it to limit over spinning, also I swing it out of the wind and tie it down when a big blow is coming, if/when I'm there.

    Regardless, as you say, the controller may have not been able to handle too high a voltage from it after the batteries were full, and that may be reason I fried it.

    Thanks, probably won't let wind genny run anymore while I'm not there in future to keep an eye on system, just to be on safe side.

    - Shane
Sign In or Register to comment.