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Post Info TOPIC: Cheap MPPT Recommendations


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Cheap MPPT Recommendations


 

Hi All,

I was hoping for some recommendations on a 20A to 30A mppt controller for lead acid deep cycle with 2 80w portable panels in series.

Currently looking sub $140 at 

Renogy Li 20 , 30

Tracer AN BN (AN seems to be re-badged at jaycar. )

Kickass Tm.

???

Wondering if the cheap Bluetooth available is worthwhile.

Any advice appreciated, thank you. 

 

 

 



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A lot of cheap MPPT controllers are rebadged PWM.

 

I get a maximum controller output from 120 watts (6 x 20w) of 11.3 amp (137 watts water cooled panel). Usually about 9 amps with about 125 watts out of the panels depending on battery voltage. Have a Victron Bluetooth MPPT 100/20.

 

So the very most you will get out of the controller from 160 watts is about 15 amps, but typically about 12 amps.

 

If you amortise the cost over 10 years a quality controller is good value.

 

My set-up:

https://thegreynomads.activeboard.com/t65231112/custom-6x20-watts-solar-setup-with-mppt/



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Procrastination, mankind's greatest labour saving device!

50L custom fuel rack 6x20W 100/20mppt 4x26Ah gel 28L super insulated fridge TPMS 3 ARB compressors heatsink fan cooled 4L tank aftercooler Air/water OCD cleaning 4 stage car acoustic insulation.



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Thanks for your time Whenarewethere.

Very comprehensive info and a fascinatinating set up.

I see you have a 100 20 which is not a cheap unit.

I'm not sure that I will be amortising the unit over 10 years - Though I should invest in one of those fire extinguishers with my installation skills.no

The Victrons surely have a following by the looks of it.

My set up will be portable so the investment will be vulnerable to damage hence some reluctance.

Then there's change of vehicle / array possibilities. 

I would also appreciate it if anyone else has comments on the other brands - surely there must be other reliable units?

 



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John,
Have a look at Epever MPPT solar controllers. I have fitted three of these; one to current new van, one to previous van and one to my first van. All totally reliable and very good value for money.
They come in a range of current and voltage limits.
For a quick look, below I'll post Amazon Epever URL.
Cheers,
Roy.

www.amazon.com.au/EPEVER-Controller-Intelligent-Modular-Designed-TRIRON3210N/dp/B084MCXYTJ/ref=asc_df_B084MCXYTJ/

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If you're on Facebook join the DIY 12/24v 4WD camping set-ups group. There is a wealth of experience on there, including a lot of people in the trade.



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Thanks for info Roy and Andy.

Great to have references for research.

Just FYI.

I only recently started on my set up.

In photo the $18 PWM on left still works OK then tried the $40 Mppt on right which pumped in more amps, quick to get LEDs to display fully charged however it continued to charge@ 17.05V and 1.2A.

When retailer was informed they promptly issued a refund.

Both pcb's have 6 transistors underneath.

Cheers



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Hi smile

My experience ! I have used two EPever/Tracer units, one currently, One Victron currently. Both brands worked well and still do and priced reasonably when I bought them, the Victron is a better unit probably but seem to be well over priced these days. I do not worry about the bells and whistles models, eg the bluetooth as that does not make them work better, hmm but your choice and might make them easier to setup. I did buy an MT5 remote readout(previous model) for the Tracer(I find it hard to see) but use some other meters also. 

I note Renology get a good rap but I know nothing of them. I would not buy anything called Kickass, sorry just old fashioned, or indeed any other stupid branded stuff badged to attract the punters. Who knows they might be world class aww I will never know.

Jaahn 



-- Edited by Jaahn on Saturday 5th of February 2022 05:18:44 PM

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Hi Jaahn,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and opinions.

Yes unless the bluetooth was cheap I might not worry if for lead acid regulation the units can sense and make settings Automatically or it's possible otherwise.

I did get one of those Anderson plugged inline meters which was a big help as well as the old multimeter.

It is difficult to know what comments to believe on the Web now as retailers offer incentives for comment and of course the employed influencers.

Yes what a product name (although possibly better than say Jiggerpin etc) , their website and video clips are different !! Perhaps targeted marketing .

Thanks for all help,

  cheers John.

 

 



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Hi (LC80) John

I have a Renogy DC/DC 50 Amp charger.

Although I have only had it a month or so, it is too soon to give any recommendations, but I have just completed a 1,200 kilometre trip, over a month

It does what it said it would do, it is restricted to having solar panels of less than 25 volts, and 660 watts

As for the Bluetooth, I purchased a Renogy one, and it is good

My batteries are under a dining seat, the Bluetooth allows me to check the batteries, without removing the cushion, and lifting the seat

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Tony

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Hi Tony,
Hope your trip was enjoyable.
I will certainly keep that in mind thanks.
Bluetooth and apps are a great invention hey, what a saving in wiring, mounting etc, not to mention convenience.
I don't know much about dc to dc - suspect that I will probably need that a little further down the track when I have proper digs on wheels possibly like yours - rather than just a bunk in the back of the 80 Series LandCruiser ha ha.
For now I hope I will get by with a stowable setup for shorter trips that include stopping for days out in the Scrub.
The idea being waking up on a nice sunny day lifting bonnet, plugging in the regulator, setting up array and plugging in to keep the aux battery topped up.
Ahh can't wait.

Cheers John.



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I put an Anderson plug on the bull bar,saves lifting the bonnet up and down.

Just set up the panels and push the plug in.

plug.jpg



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Oh that's a top idea Alan, thanks for sharing

No flies on you mate, cheers.

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hi
EP Fever ,Tracer
I have 6yo 30ampMppt unit. No voltage adjust/display like some of the later units just flashing and coloured lights .
Puts out 28 amps from 400watts [2x 200w] Each 200watt puts out 10.5--11amps ++ mppt = 14amps
must be mounted vertically for rising heat to cool unit
1x portable set
1x fixed roof set

1x portable set can have the onboard PWM controller bypassed to use the van mppt or used completely independently as a standalone unit .

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I decided on the Epever Tracer AN series controller with the matching MT50 monitor display and temp sensor.

It was competitively priced and is very efficient.

If you want a controller with Bluetooth they will cost you a bit more.

 

I found the most competitive prices on Ebay.



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Cheers, Richard (Dick0)

"Home is where the Den is parked, Designer Orchid Special towed by Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited"

"4x250W solar panels, Epever 80A charger and 3x135Ah Voltax Prismatic LiFePO4 Batteries".



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Hi Swamp. Dick0, et al,

Thanks for your info, six years or so - good brand testaments hey.

Swamp your set up sounds like what I might end up with eventually - Wonder what batteries you're using?

I have checked out links and tips from others' replies and there are pros and cons including prices.

I see the merit in all recommended.

I've looked at Victron, Renogy, Epever - AN, N, Triron and BP.

For my pv requirement being a bit more portable the old tracer BP might be for me the most practical read durable, plus low self consumption, weather resistant and 2yr warranty.

It seems there's a new lithium model BPLI, it looks like the original BP but with software updated (which can be done with a blue tooth sender accessory).

Found a mob on ebay with the BP series and bluetooth, mt50 etc on special:  fitn solar.

Giving them a go.

Really appreciate all helpers here thanks.

PS  -  this has happened a couple times recently - I search and find a good deal (ends up being ebay)  then I go down the page to
"Seller's other items"
Pages of items including what I was about to buy but some at greater discount ie instead of $133 it's $112
Guess it was a previous promo but price still firm.
Happy with that, cheers all.



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Hi thanks LC80 for coming back with the information.

For other people who may be looking at this very question I could recommend Will Prouse  as he does good reviews on real items and uses technically good reliable tests IMHOaww

His recommendations in writing on his web site, ( in the USA). https://www.mobile-solarpower.com/solar-charge-controllers.html 

Jaahn

 



-- Edited by Jaahn on Thursday 17th of February 2022 07:39:46 PM



-- Edited by Jaahn on Thursday 17th of February 2022 07:41:58 PM

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Well, I am going to stick with my Projecta PWM, that came with my Jaycar Panels 8 years ago. I get consistent power from it, and when I tested the renogy mppt over the Jaycar pwm on my bike camper for the 2 X 10 lithium's I had I also only found a couple of watts difference in the output of the panels

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Ric - The Eccentric One



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Hi Jaahn,

Thanks for your reply and posting that interesting video.

I recognise that the PWM that performed well at the end of that video as being the 20 amp unit supplied in the Folding 160A panels that I bought.

When I tried that PWM, I found it did not respond to supply more power when I turned on my 4A fridge load - but the very cheapo MPPT did.

Unfortunately that was the MPPT that did not return to float properly instead it went over 17V.

However, the ip68  30A  7810BP Epever MPPT works very well so far.

That unit from fitn solar, an ip68 comms 1.5m lead with another non ip68 ext lead and a blue tooth unit (non IP68) for phone connection was $112 delivered.

I've included phone screen pics of testing when the sun peeped out one arvo recently.

After looking at the solar irradiance website for around my post code at the same time I figured the output to be in line I think. (50-70%)

The results reflect my rewire of the Folding panels -  in series.  (Each Panel has a diode and I didn't add anything else ).

Made a studded mounting plate in engine bay for temporary usage as I'm not sure if permanent mounting in that environment would be detrimental even though it's ip68 ?? 

I could leave it there (upside in attached pic) and wire blue tooth unit to the dry dash area.... one day I might add a fixed panel but the car won't get under the roller door.

Added an internal extension lead to Bullbar for panel connection.  @plain truth.

Thanks and Regards All.

John.

 

 

 

 

 



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LC80 wrote:

one day I might add a fixed panel but the car won't get under the roller door.

 


 

I couldn't get under my roller door. Straightened the curve in the cross bars, all 4, a job in itself, which gave me a few more cm. If I don't sit in the car the roof rack touches the roller door. If I sit in the car as I have to to drive in & out of the garage there is a few mm clearance. Have to keep drinking beer!

 

Look at the bracket on the roller door. Even though it is welded on you can add a spacer, you may be able to gain about another 30 to 50mm.

 

In the meantime we got a new garage door & I asked them to put this bracket up higher, explaining that I need more clearance, they saw my car. It was not an issue. So it can't be that critical. Two years on there has been no issues with the extra clearance.

 

 

P.S. spray a bit of Selleys silicone zip spray (or likewise) on the roller door guides a few times a year.



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50L custom fuel rack 6x20W 100/20mppt 4x26Ah gel 28L super insulated fridge TPMS 3 ARB compressors heatsink fan cooled 4L tank aftercooler Air/water OCD cleaning 4 stage car acoustic insulation.



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Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for your advice on the vehicle panel / door clearance.

I will give it more thought.  Body Corporate could be a complication.

Took a pic showing vertical guide rail length limitation,  I guess they could be lengthened and the whole roll mounted higher.

Cheers 20220310_111033.jpg

 



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About 10 years ago I bought a cheap "Super Cheap Store" 15 amp controller that was an MPPT, and put it in my caravan. It worked as intended, but at that time they were into caravanning and camping so maybe they do/do not carry them now.

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Ric - The Eccentric One



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It looks like the bracket on your track is almost as high as mine, but my bracket is higher than the other garage doors as I requested. The roller door is also squeezed up as high as possible as we have a very low roof. The black stuff on the door is 3 & 6mm acoustic insulation which is also good for thermal insulation.

 

DSC_05410_044218.jpg

 

DSC_05420_044221.jpg

I'm on our committee, for decades, sometimes pays not to say things that can't be seen.

 

Sorry for getting off topic.



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Procrastination, mankind's greatest labour saving device!

50L custom fuel rack 6x20W 100/20mppt 4x26Ah gel 28L super insulated fridge TPMS 3 ARB compressors heatsink fan cooled 4L tank aftercooler Air/water OCD cleaning 4 stage car acoustic insulation.



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Hi ric,
Yes supercheap have a brand XTM and had panels, kits on a sale recently.
I noticed they use the basic Epever BP mppt, ip68 rated unit similar to what I ended buying. Had good buyer reviews on their site. FWIW
Cheers

Hi Jonathan,
I measured and found I can only gain ~35mm due to the brickwork and lintels.
I could bend the tracks"stoppers out of the way and screw on another close to the top of the track ( the angled lead in end part of it) to get that.
So perhaps so, if I can Butcher (shorten) my roof rack clamp top ends and fit crossrails to panel ends.
Maybe a total height above vehicle roof of ~ 50mm then
Food for thought thanks. A future project.
But well what the heck, the old Cruiser is 27 years old this year, I may as well just drill panel screws straight into the roof !!
Nah just kidding she still ticks over like new at only 300k.
YES we won't digress to matters body corporate, I've totalled near 10 years but I'm not Jaded at all hahahahahaha...............
Why is it I want to get back to the bush?
Cheers.


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I have a 40 amp PWM controller, I decided to go MPPT and bought a cheap one on eBay. The power connections were too small for my cables, so I pulled the back off to see if I could fit heavier duty connectors. I found the back panel was the heat sink, but 2 of the transistors weren't even touching the heat sink. I could have fixed that, but the tracks on the circuit board were way too small to carry more than 5 amps, so I stuck with the more solidly built PWM controller.

Moral of the story, stick to a reputable brand.



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aj


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Hi Alan, Hi all,

Thanks for your advice, I agree with you - my first the ~$40 mppt was a failure. At least it was refunded.

Good opportunity for an update...

The Epever unit that I since bought (30A 7810BP) has been been successfully trialled out in the sticks this year between flooding rains but with subsequent vehicle bogging.!!

Without going into great detail I can summarise with one of the trips-

2 weeks camping 24 deg days
Approximately :
Drove vehicle avg maybe 30 mins a day.
Put the 160 w array out in the sun 5 days for 6 hours a day
Ran the 20 year old Engel 40l at ~0deg.
5 year old DELKOR 100a Aux FLA DC battery stayed just above 12Volts measured when under load.

Note I didn't put ANY beer in to chill, ambient red did the job more or less ;)

Met the goal of keeping frozen meats n snags inTupperware wrapped in newspaper at bottom of fridge from frozen to the last being just thawed by around day 11.
I do start with putting 2 x 2l bottles of milk in (one frozen) which I thaw when required.

Happy with that and I did leave the unit in the engine bay under bonnet.

I think that the Epever might really be a reputable brand as advised by some others here.(thanks)

PS Still toying with idea of putting panels on roof - perhaps the 160w folding pair or just an additional couple hundred watts.
I did worry about leaving the array beside the vehicle on roadside when unattended for hours.
?
Cheers to all.
John.



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Hi John,

Will Prowse of the Diysolar forum tested a number of solar controllers and EPever were one of his recommendation.  I have had one for a number of years along with a bluetooth dongle and have had no issues.  I would recommend them for anyone on a budget. 



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