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Old 11-27-2012, 01:33 PM   #1
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Sizing charge controller for six 100w panels laid flat?

Looking for real world experiences to help sizing of a charge controller to use with six 100w panels laid flat on the roof of the motorhome - not optimally tilted?
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:54 PM   #2
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Send a message via Skype™ to LandKinaMoho
Check with AM Solar in Oregon. Usually very helpful.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
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My suggestion is to overbuy on the charge controller if at all possible.

Seven years ago we installed 700 Watts of solar (4 panels of 175 Watts each, flat mounted), and bought an Outback MX60 controller.

Outback MX-60 charge controller

It was technically more than was necessary for the panels we had.

We had calculated our electric usage carefully, and the 700 Watts really was "enough." But I wanted to be more comfortable in my resolve not to run the generator pretty much ever, so a year later we added two more panels, bringing the total to 1,050 Watts, and we didn't have to buy a new controller.

I know controllers are expensive and nobody wants to spend more than they have to, but unless you're 100% absolutely positive you won't be adding panels (like you simply don't have more room on your roof), then you should at least consider providing for future expansion.

And if you haven't mounted your panels yet, in addition to putting them where they won't have any shadows on them (TV antenna, etc.), see if you can position them so you could add more panels if you decided to, without moving the ones already there. We just dropped the two newer ones into space we'd already allocated.

If we'd had to move panels around to put additional ones on, and had to buy a new controller, I'm not sure we would have done it and it would be a shame because I'm very very happy with what we have now.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:07 PM   #4
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I think the Outback MX60 is a good is a good recommendation. I've had one on 900 watt solar panels for several years with no problem at all.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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How many max amps are you guys seeing from your panel arrays?
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
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We have 600 watts of solar and the Morningstar 45 MPPT controller. It is just enough, but we kinda wish we'd gone for the 60 so we have the chance to upgrade our system and add more panels down the line. With our current charger 600 watts is the max we can take. Our panels output 30 amps on a regular day, but will boost to 40 on a winter day with tilt.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WheelingIt View Post
We have 600 watts of solar and the Morningstar 45 MPPT controller. It is just enough, but we kinda wish we'd gone for the 60 so we have the chance to upgrade our system and add more panels down the line. With our current charger 600 watts is the max we can take. Our panels output 30 amps on a regular day, but will boost to 40 on a winter day with tilt.

Since you have an MPPT controller, all you have to do is rewire your panels for 24 volts, you wiring, and controller, and batteries, will do much better in that configuration.

Ed
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers

Since you have an MPPT controller, all you have to do is rewire your panels for 24 volts, you wiring, and controller, and batteries, will do much better in that configuration.

Ed
Our panels are 24V and wired as such already. That's why we're able to get the boost to 40 amps in winter (the max spec output of our panels is only 30 amps). Without the higher voltage panels we wouldn't be able to take advantage of the MPPT feature.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:48 AM   #9
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Interesting tidbit about the MX60: It's a 60-amp controller, but you can bump it up to 70 if you follow the procedure detailed in the owner's manual. The manual actually says the information is a reward for reading the manual.
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