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Solar Power Setup Questions


musingloudly

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The first thing I see wrong here, is your voltage drop from running 12ga wire a distance of 30 feet. Also, is that round trip, or one way? You need to keep your voltage drop under 3%.     The sec

Sorry about that. I am still not 100% after being ill. I meant to write that MorningStar controllers are built to US Specifications.    However, the Midnite Kid is manufactured in the US. Other cont

Paul,   Your comment prompted me to search and this is what I found. If the chart below is accurate, I am discharging my batts way too low. Until I am able to add some panels, I will likely take out

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Paul

http://www.cdrking.com/?mod=products&type=view&sid=20071&main=167

 

CR-King has now introduced a 50A solar charger controller for those in need of some upscaling of their system. If by any chance need bigger equipment Aliexpress could be the place to search for 80A solar controllers.

 

For the record, and because I feel safety should be the most important factor to consider when setting up a solar array, I must say something about these cheap-assed Chinese made solar controllers. 

 

I have three quality controllers, each made in the US. One is a MorningStar ProStar 30m PWM controller. The other is a lighting controller by MorningStar. It is a SunLIght 10L-12v PWM controller. The most recent one is a Midnite Solar (Beta) "Kid", 30 ampere MPPT solar controller.

 

I also have purchased a couple of those Chinese junk controllers. After having using each of them on a test array, I would NOT use one of those cheap Chinese controllers on my system, EVER. They do not meet any sort of safety guidelines. They are made with substandard materials and parts. They do not perform as well either.

 

The US made controllers, however, are made with pride, using quality parts, and meet safety standards that are some of the safest in the world, regarding solar controllers.

 

So, if you are going to buy one of those types of controllers, do so at your own risk. They could, very easily, destroy your battery bank by over or under charging, or start a fire. Using any substandard parts in a solar array is something I cannot get my head around, especially when your very life may depend on their performance. 

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thebob
I have three quality controllers, each made in the US.

 

Paul what makes you think that Morningstar controllers are made in the USA? Their main office is in 8 Pheasant Run Newton PA where they do R&D their other facility is in 10611 Iron Bridge Rd, Jessup, MD Is their shipping and packaging facility. Their manufacturing is done in Taiwan.

 

They do go to great lengths to keep this a secret, but it's quite easy because the company is an employee owned company. Yes, thats right the great socialist ideal in action, ownership of production by the workers!

 

That CDRKing controller probably has exactly the same components in it as the Morningstar one.

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Paul

Sorry about that. I am still not 100% after being ill. I meant to write that MorningStar controllers are built to US Specifications. 

 

However, the Midnite Kid is manufactured in the US. Other controllers built in the US are from Rogue. Outback used to be, but were outsourced after the former owners of the company (the current owners of Midnite Solar) sold the company. Prior to then, I believe they were manufactured in the US as well. 

 

I do stand by what I previously stated, though. After doing some research, after buying different types of controllers (I currently own five different controllers) and testing them against each other, I find the Chinese models a distant second to those manufactured to US standards or in the US.

 

If you need further proof, I will be happy to open up the cases and take photos of the internal circuitry of the controllers, to show the difference in the workmanship and general manufacturing quality difference of these units. Not to mention, I think the warranties speak for themselves, too. 

 

MorningStar? MorningStar offered a 5 years warranty.

Midnite? Midnite offered a lifetime guarantee on my Beta Kid. (Standard production models have a two year warranty.)

The Chinese models I have? 1 year on one unit; one month on the other. 

CDR King? On the model linked above, the warranty is 1 week replacement, three months repair. 

 

I think that speaks pretty loudly, regarding the quality of these various units. 

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Knowdafish

I have installed more than a few Morningstar controllers and never had one failure. They have been constantly updated and improved upon over the years. I am quite impressed with their products. 

 

Their are numerous companies that do the engineering and design of their products and have them made in China to their exacting specifications. Finding a supplier in China that "gets it" and will build to those specifications is not always an easy task, but it has been getting easier over the years. 

 

My brother was involved with doing business with China in the late 80's and was in Tianamen Square the week before the famous tank scene. He said back then that, in general, Chinese businesses

were very aggressive at getting your business but were woefully inadequate at doing what it takes to keep it, and he was

dealing with low tech products too. 

 

That attitude has dramatically, but not completely, changed.

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Paul

A typical controller until fairly recently, should have lasted about five to ten years. Technology would have changed enough in that time, that it would have been a smart thing to replace them by then anyway, simply to have a more efficient, better quality unit. 

 

HOWEVER, nowadays, the firmware can be updated, making these units much better than the PWM controllers. Not to mention, MPPT is a newer technology and much more efficient, allowing you to harvest a higher percentage of the sun's energy.

 

For the first time in my life, I wish I were a young man again, just to see how much technology will change over the next 50 years. 

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thebob

 

 

A typical controller until fairly recently, should have lasted about five to ten years. Technology would have changed enough in that time, that it would have been a smart thing to replace them by then anyway, simply to have a more efficient, better quality unit. 

 

You could build your own. http://www.freechargecontroller.org/Free_Charge_Controller

 

 

 

For the first time in my life, I wish I were a young man again, just to see how much technology will change over the next 50 years. 

 

You old relic.

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musingloudly

Hey guys, any thoughts on on grid / vs off grid. I am thinking of buying a cheap-o grid tie inverter (7k) for a 500 watt unit which I can switch on and redirect my panels to when my battery bank is full. Anyone here doing that?

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Paul

Hey guys, any thoughts on on grid / vs off grid. I am thinking of buying a cheap-o grid tie inverter (7k) for a 500 watt unit which I can switch on and redirect my panels to when my battery bank is full. Anyone here doing that?

 

What you are talking about having now is a hybrid system. As you said, if you have a hybrid system, you could have the grid to provide power (and charge your batteries on overcast days), and your solar array and batteries provide power during power cuts. The question is, what utility company provides your power? Did you see the thread on VECO considering leaning a bit green?

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musingloudly

Yes I have seen the article and have heard about Veco's plans for some time. It's interesting how and when this will roll out. I'll most certainly be looking at this and looking out for success stories from subscribers who opt to go with Veco's offering. I live in the Guadalupe area and Veco is the supplier. I am going to place an order for a grid tie inverter this week but am a bit skeptical given that its unclear to me how the grid tie inverter will work with the digital meters Veco has installed and whether it will truly "reverse" the meter. I won't be able to generate enough to give sell back. My aim is to put a substantial dent in my bill; enough to justify the costs I've put in the system.

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stevensanph

Yes I have seen the article and have heard about Veco's plans for some time. It's interesting how and when this will roll out. I'll most certainly be looking at this and looking out for success stories from subscribers who opt to go with Veco's offering. I live in the Guadalupe area and Veco is the supplier. I am going to place an order for a grid tie inverter this week but am a bit skeptical given that its unclear to me how the grid tie inverter will work with the digital meters Veco has installed and whether it will truly "reverse" the meter. I won't be able to generate enough to give sell back. My aim is to put a substantial dent in my bill; enough to justify the costs I've put in the system.

the digital meters do not go backwards. if you want to get credit for the power you provide to the grid you will need to apply for net metering.
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musingloudly

The digital meter will reflect flow going the other way (go backwards) as I have monitored it myself. I've read so many times though that I will never be able to get a credit for it. That's fine. I don't have enough capacity to sell back anyway.  It's merely to help defray some costs. For example, if consume 100 watts but generate 50 I will only pay for the other 50... fingers crossed. I am afraid that I will have to pay the 100 I consume plus the 50 I generate.

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Woolf

The digital meter will reflect flow going the other way (go backwards) as I have monitored it myself. I've read so many times though that I will never be able to get a credit for it. That's fine. I don't have enough capacity to sell back anyway.  It's merely to help defray some costs. For example, if consume 100 watts but generate 50 I will only pay for the other 50... fingers crossed. I am afraid that I will have to pay the 100 I consume plus the 50 I generate.

 

Read this post

 

http://www.livingincebuforums.com/topic/72619-veco%E2%80%99s-net-metering-encourages-solar-generation-power-savings/#entry841342

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  • 3 weeks later...
Paul

The digital meter will reflect flow going the other way (go backwards) as I have monitored it myself. I've read so many times though that I will never be able to get a credit for it. That's fine. I don't have enough capacity to sell back anyway.  It's merely to help defray some costs. For example, if consume 100 watts but generate 50 I will only pay for the other 50... fingers crossed. I am afraid that I will have to pay the 100 I consume plus the 50 I generate.

 

Update on this?

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