Help me identify my solar regulator - MPPT or PWM?

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 17:07
ThreadID: 101505 Views:3559 Replies:10 FollowUps:6
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So my question is do i have a multi-stage solar controller with bulk/absorption/float? Or a cheap PWM splash waterproof single stage solar regulator?

here is the manual that came with the solar panel & controller - the english is terrible.

Solar Controller page 1
Solar Controller page 2
Solar Controller Page 3
Solar Controller Page 4

Here it is on ebay - Ebay Solar Panels and controller

I've just outlaid some serious coin for a solar setup and i want to make sure my controller is the equal of the setup below....

130w solar panel
2 x ritar 120ah batteries
matson IR-12 charger
2000w pure sine wave inverter



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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 19:52

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 19:52
Can't help with that regulator, but you may be interested in Antenergy - ?.
Deal/price comparisons on Ebay (only) suggest you are due a reasonable quality 'real' MPPT. One of the MPPT's (Wellsee) that is included in some sub $200 kits on Ebay (delivery included !) can be had for $12.50 solo .....have seen them bagged as fake on Youtube. I bought a deluxe 120W kit from Lowenergydevolpments on Ebay (PWM) - quite happy overall - but hey...Ebay shopping....what a 'game'.
AnswerID: 508184

Follow Up By: Sleeprequired - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:09

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:09
yeah i'm thinking it can't be genuine...

so given i'll have a total of 330w i've been looking at this thread - http://www.myswag.org/index.php?topic=26033.25

and they're recommending this product - http://www.mppsolar.com/Photovoltaics/MPPT%20SCC-4.pdf

its the ocm-3012 model.
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Reply By: Sleeprequired - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:09

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:09
PCM-3012 sorry...
AnswerID: 508187

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:14

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:14
Page 4 of the manual identifies it as being an MPPT type controller.
So does the ebay advertisement.

So it is probably a matter of whether you believe the seller or not.


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AnswerID: 508188

Reply By: Racey - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:19

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:19
page 4 describes it as an MPPT Waterproof Controller.
AnswerID: 508190

Reply By: Sleeprequired - Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:22

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013 at 20:22
yeah seems far fetched...

so is there any way to actually test it? or find out if it is?
AnswerID: 508191

Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 00:44

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 00:44
Seems it is a MPPT reg....that does not mean its is a multistage charger.

MPPT mostly involves the input side of the reg, optomising the enegery comming from the pannel.

My guess is that it would be a simple 2 stage regulator......chaging / floating or a sinple single stage reg.

the only way you will find out is some observation with a meter over a charging cycle.

cheers
AnswerID: 508223

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 00:47

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 00:47
A word of warning on that controller. It has all tis positive connections commoned. That means that you can only have one of the negative leads connected to earth. If you are using a battery charger that has its negative terminal connected to earth then you can not have your load circuits connected to earth. This may be a little difficult to arrange.

For instance if you are using a 12 V TV then its negative line may be connected to the co-axial cable braid. If your antenna installation has the co-ax braid earthed you are going to upset the operation of the regulator.

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Follow Up By: Sleeprequired - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 09:34

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 09:34
ok so i currently have an espresso machine hooked up through an inverter, is that an issue?

or only an aerial? are you talking about anything with an earth on a 3 point standard wall plug?
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 14:57

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 14:57
Which circuit will be the one that has the negative side earthed to the van? The battery or the house load?

You could overcome the problem by ignoring the load terminals. Connect the load directly across the battery. That way the only circuit you don't have to worry about one side becoming earthed is the solar panel. You will however loose any protection from excessive battery discharge that you will get by using the load terminals.
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Reply By: Sleeprequired - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 09:32

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 09:32
geez there's a lot to know for a beginner in this game

ultimately i want to be able to

a) charge from solar - can do this now but want more solar and better controller
b) charge from shore power - got the madson for that

and eventually (as i'm swapping my car soon)

c) charge from the car.

I've been looking at the redarc BCDC1225. I can get it around 350.

Questions

Is the solar controller capable of taking 330w of panels?
is it as good as a standalone mppt controller?
Can i put it in my campervan or does it have to go in the car?
Would getting separates be smarter?

My reasoning for the campervan question is because the car isn't always near the poptop when we're setup.. am i on the wrong track here?
AnswerID: 508255

Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 12:09

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 12:09
should have stuck with the plunger mate :)
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FollowupID: 785714

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 15:31

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 15:31
"Is the solar controller capable of taking 330w of panels?"

You can put any size panel on to it, however the current limiting in the charger output will only allow a maximum of 25 A to your battery. When your battery voltage is 14.5 V and you are getting a full 25 A into it that equates to 362.5 W. As your charger is not 100% efficient you will need extra power to drive it, that could amount to up to 30 W and as your panels will be flat on your camper you are loosing a little more power. Your 330 W array will be a good size.

"is it as good as a standalone mppt controller?"

It can be used as a stand alone controller so in effect it is a stand alone controller. You will no doubt find controllers that are a little more efficient but at how much extra cost?

"Can i put it in my campervan or does it have to go in the car?"

The BCDC1225 should be within 1 metre of your battery. Where is your battery?

"Would getting separates be smarter?"

Only if you are a paranoid belts and braces type. At $350 you will be paying heaps more for the same quality separate equipment. You should have a mains powered battery charger in your rig as well as the solar. Just accept the fact there is a very slight chance you will have to share a generator or head for a caravan park way down the track.


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Reply By: rooster350 - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 15:12

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 15:12
I have the exact same one as that, bought it a couple of months ago...mine works a treat, very satisfied with it.Took a bit of nutting out for a start as I have a amp meter hooked into it to keep tabs on what is actually(within reason)going into my 2 100ah batteries, it has not had a really good test yet but that will change in a bit over a weeks time when we head off on a 3.5 month trip up north...cheers
AnswerID: 508281

Follow Up By: rooster350 - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 15:13

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 15:13
It is MPPT....
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FollowupID: 785742

Reply By: Sleeprequired - Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 23:34

Friday, Apr 05, 2013 at 23:34
Well I'm happily charging my ritar 120 ah battery. I'm using my matson charger which has 3 settings... Gel, flooded, and calcium.

Which option should I choose.

I'm using the matson ir12 charger.
AnswerID: 508309

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