MPPT v Plasmatronics Solar Regulator

I am thinking of adding another 80 watt panel to my solar setup on my Hilux and canopy. This will take me on or just over the 20A input current for the Plasmatronics PL20. I currently have 240 watts of panels and I was thinking that since that is right on the limits, if I have to change my regulator I might as well go right over and get something like an 130 watt panel. I would then need a 40A regulator.
I am finally getting to my question :-

Is there a 40A MPPT regulator that will give me the data I currently get out of the PL20? Currently I know what the charging I is, the load I, the totals in and out for the day so far, whether the batteries are on float and when, the SOC plus a 30 day record of I in and out etc.

Also with an MPPT regulator, do the panels all have to be the same?

Thanks in advance,
Bob
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 19:25

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 19:25
Hi Robert,

I did a quick search on ebay but did not find anything in MPPT but came across this one which is a plasmatronics, perhaps like yours.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/40amp-Solar-Charger-Controller-Regulator-LCD-Display-/290679884951?pt=AU_Tool_Parts_Accessories&hash=item43addf0c97


I see your sig line is from the Banjo, mine is from Henry lawson

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Member - Robert R1 (SA) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:14

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:14
Thanks Bruce.

The PL40 would be a direct swap for the PL20 that I have and the easiest option. I just thought that if I had to fork out $400 for a new regulator I might as well look at the MPPT ones because they are supposed to give you more power particularly in poor light conditions.

I like your quote. I bet that describes most of us on this site.

Regards,
Bob
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:59

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:59
Bob, with everything I have read on these pages I had been leaning toward MPPT as well. Infact I bypassed PWM regulators because of the comments here.

I got into solar about 9 months ago as part experiment and part knowledge building. In that time I have learnt a lot, coming from an electronics hobyists background.

I recently acquired a new van (secondhand) and it was already fitted with a Steca PWM regulator and an 80 watt polycrystaline panel. I thought I will swap the existing regulator over for the spare MPPT regulator with LCD display I have.

I did that and found that I liked the stecca better as it had a "tank style" guage for a battery level display. To clarify, it has a good liquid crystal display which displays everything you need to know, each item in turn at the press of a button, probably like your plasmatronics.

What I found was that under most normal circumstances there is very little difference between PWM and MPPT in operation, as observed during operation. I also found that the poly panel works very well also. (I have a folding 160 watt Mono setup as well) Meaning there is not much difference in the panels either in normal operation from my observations.

I swapped back the Steca and I will be staying with the Steca PWM in the van.
I am more than happy with it

As a further comment, I was showing my mate, who has not gone solar yet, how good it is and inadvertently connected the batter supply to the solar panel input on the reg and, of course, blew the input transistors. Trying to find replacements was proving impossible so I bought another Steca look alike off ebay.

When I opened up the new Fangpusun (Steca look alike) and it proved to be nearly exactly the same inside. the only difference was the identifiers on the transistors. Otherwise the circuit is exactly the same. The rating of the input transistors apparently determines the rating of the regulator.

In summary i would stay with the PWM if your happy with it, and, Poly panels are not as bad as they are made out to be.

I added this in case someone is wondering if the Steca look alikes are as good as the Stecca, in my experience so far, they are.

Re my sig line, I guess you would be right in suggesting most on here would relate to that.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Member - Robert R1 (SA) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 19:58

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 19:58
Thanks Bruce for your comprehensive reply. I think you are probably right.

Regards,
Bob
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 20:05

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 20:05
Hi Bob. You could do what I did and buy a portable 120 watt (or 140) panel that comes with its own PWM regulator and just use it in addition to your existing setup. Something like this
AnswerID: 487201

Reply By: Bigfish - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 21:08

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 21:08
Why not just run 2 regulators? Just buy another smaller one to suit the panel. Save some money and will work perfectly.
AnswerID: 487206

Reply By: murrayman - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:06

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:06
hi, why not fit a plasmatronics shunt and you can run up to 250 amps through it then, cheers mm
AnswerID: 487237

Follow Up By: Member - Robert R1 (SA) - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 20:26

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 20:26
Hello Murrayman,
Thanks for that suggestion. Good idea.

Regards,
Bob
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:21

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 08:21
I bought one of these
40A MPPT charger

It is one of the very few true ebay MPPT controllers.

You would also need the optional remote meters to do what you want.

That will give you about 18A in the morning with your current 240W.

I also have an outback MX60 which I am probably going to sell if you are interested PM me. It's too big for my new camper.
AnswerID: 487240

Reply By: Cravenhaven - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 18:54

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 18:54
You could have a look at the Redarc BCDC1240, It has an MPPT regulator plus a DC-DC converter for proper battery charging from your vehicle.
cravenhaven

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