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Old 01-05-2021, 02:44 AM   #1
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Solar controller options

Hello everyone, first time posting on this forum, normally i am on other forums.
Need help with purchasing a solar controler for my toy hauler. right now I have purchased 4 renogy 12 volt 100 ah batteries ( currently installed). And just purchased 3 200 watt newpowa solar panels with cables and hardware. Now my last purchase is the control charger. Any recommendations? i have a few monitoring gauges for the batteries and the system out put from the inverter. this is the last piece i need and I think its an important one.
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Old 01-05-2021, 12:18 PM   #2
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A MPPT for sure, give you more options than a PWM. A higher voltage/amperage one will allow for different configurations and expansion.
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:16 PM   #3
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I think the Gold Standard that everyone looks to right now is the Victron line of controllers. Amazon handles them.

I'd recommend this one (but I'm not a math person, and I'm not positive your 600 watts of panels isn't slightly too big for this model. I'll leave that subject up to someone more attuned to the numbers. If someone does indicate that you need to go bigger, note that it's usually cheaper to get two smaller units than one bigger one.):

https://www.amazon.com/Victron-Energ...9873919&sr=8-6
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:11 PM   #4
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Do you already have an inverter in your rig or do you plan to install one?

There are lots of good MPPT chargers out there, but if your inverter has the ability to integrate with a charge controller that is the one I would go with.

I my case I have a Magnum inverter so I went with a Magnum controller. There is a single connection wire between the units and both are controlled from a single display from a single wire.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:29 PM   #5
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IMHO you'll want a 40 amp MPPT controller. My preference is Epever, but there are others. 40 amps sounds a bit light for 600W but it's a good match. A 40 amp controller will accept about 540 Watts from the panels. 600W of panels will virtually never produce more than 540W. And if they do, it will be for just an hour or two on a very sunny June day when a few percent loss for an hour won't be noticed. I have three 40 amp MPPT controllers each with three 200W panels in series (72 volts open circuit provides good MPPT headroom). I like the reliability of multiple controllers and 40 amp is the sweet spot (three 40's are usually less costly than two 60's). Also, 40 amp makes for a nice modular upgrade path when you upgrade.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:44 PM   #6
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I've been running 600 watts with my Epever 40 amp MPPT controller for several years now. The instructions on my model say the controller can handle a max of 780 watts of panels @12v.

One thing I'd do differently, is oversize the controller so I could add more panels later if I wanted. At the time the 40amp controller was the largest in the price range I was comfortable with.

Prices on MPPT controllers have really come down. I started with a cheap PWM controller and when I switched to the MPPT, it was like getting extra amps for free. I was surprised how much more I was getting out of the panels, and the system starts producing usable power earlier in the morning.

I've been very pleased with the performance of the controller and system. I'm running 4-150 watt panels. I've I've wired the panels as two groups of two pair in series, then connected the two pair in parallel, so I'm pumping 42 volts into the controller.

I supplement the system with an hour of generator time before bed in the winter and get up with my batteries at around 80%. That's with a residential refrigerator and a few phones and tablets plugged in over night. I'm pretty sure I'd be just fine without the hour of generator time, but I always feel better going to bed with my batteries at close to 100%. A battery monitor is very helpful too.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Nwcid View Post
Do you already have an inverter in your rig or do you plan to install one?

There are lots of good MPPT chargers out there, but if your inverter has the ability to integrate with a charge controller that is the one I would go with.

I my case I have a Magnum inverter so I went with a Magnum controller. There is a single connection wire between the units and both are controlled from a single display from a single wire.



yes i have already installed a Pure Sine wave inverter 3000 watt continious and 6000 watt surge. i will upload some pics of what i did for some better understanding
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:33 PM   #8
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With some(most?) of the cheaper MPPT controllers they only have time controlled absorption charging, at best a guess as to what the battery bank really needs.

The Victron SmartSolar takes account of the state of the battery bank upon start up and adjusts the absorption time accordingly, better for the batteries. With el cheapo batteries, perhaps not a big deal. If going with premium batteries like Lifeline, Trojan AGM, etc, I would want a better quality controller. Victron, Magnum, there are others.

I have a Victron, purchased from a real dealer with real customer support for 10% less than the Amazon price. They had a sale on. Normal price is the same as the Big A.

Northern Arizona Wind and Sun out of Flagstaff, AZ. No affiliation.

Oh, make sure that you get temperature compensation.
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Old 01-06-2021, 01:23 AM   #9
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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...FG1JAJEM&psc=1

this is the Controller I was looking at
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Old 01-06-2021, 02:03 AM   #10
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Having used and installed several over the years, I've come to Victron. Performance, fkexability, ease of setup and monitoring, history...

Blue app on your phone or tablet.

You can download the Victron connect app and select a product in demo mode and see the features and capabilities.
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:03 PM   #11
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very good info above. interesting thread to follow as well. so while on the subject , let me ask a question. i am looking at buying a new toyhauler. an option of a 200watt victron solar package for $995. i do not know what all the includes s, such as inverter and such. the only reason i am considering it is because i optioned the 10 cu ft 12v fridge. we dont boon dock but 1 trip we make is a 2 day drive. i went with a 200ah agm battery for $450. nothing is set in stone as of right now. i see that same 200watt victron system offered on several toyhauler models. anyone know anything about them?
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:20 AM   #12
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very good info above. interesting thread to follow as well. so while on the subject , let me ask a question. i am looking at buying a new toyhauler. an option of a 200watt victron solar package for $995. i do not know what all the includes s, such as inverter and such. the only reason i am considering it is because i optioned the 10 cu ft 12v fridge. we dont boon dock but 1 trip we make is a 2 day drive. i went with a 200ah agm battery for $450. nothing is set in stone as of right now. i see that same 200watt victron system offered on several toyhauler models. anyone know anything about them?
don't know much about them, but i do know the biggest question to consider when looking at solar and inverters is. What will i be using, and how long till I reach a shore power system? I do nothing but boondock living in middle of Nevada, so for me a large solar system and battery pack (within reason of storage space) is a must. My only regret is getting the 12 volt batteries instead of 6 volt, maybe down the road but not right now. I would think a 200 watt system for an overnight trip till you get to destination would be just fine expecially with a 200 AH battery
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dsrace View Post
very good info above. interesting thread to follow as well. so while on the subject , let me ask a question. i am looking at buying a new toyhauler. an option of a 200watt victron solar package for $995. i do not know what all the includes s, such as inverter and such. the only reason i am considering it is because i optioned the 10 cu ft 12v fridge. we dont boon dock but 1 trip we make is a 2 day drive. i went with a 200ah agm battery for $450. nothing is set in stone as of right now. i see that same 200watt victron system offered on several toyhauler models. anyone know anything about them?
There are a few things to look at here.

1. Do you have the skills, time or "want to" to install a system yourself. If not, how does the price of this system compare to what having someone else install it cost? If you can do it yourself and want to, what is the cost? The nice thing about DIY is you can set it up exactly how you want.

2. How much charging do you need? Does this system provide it? I do not know how much power you currently use. You need to figure that out. Its s rated in amp hours (AH) and think of it as your MPG in a car. Then you have your tank which in this case you say is 200 AH. With AGM or FLA batteries for the best life they should never drop below 50% so you have 100 AH usable.

In many cases with a trailer at "idle" nothing running but basic controllers you probably draw about 2-3 amps. During use times it is probably somewhere between 6 and 12 amps (this can vary even larger). If you run the furnace at night that can draw 8-12 amp alone. So once you know your draw you can take your tank (100 AH) and divide it by your MPG (how many amps you are drawing) to see how long it takes to hit "empty".

Now your solar is how you refill the tank. To make math very easy, each 100 watts of solar = 5 amps of charging during peak performance. How long peak is will depend on time of year, relationship to the sun, weather, etc. Most figures average 4-6 hours of peak charing.

So if you have 200 watts or 10 amps of charging how long doe it take to fill your tank. Say you only used 50 AH overnight that is how much you have to charge up. Lets say you are using your base of 3 amps meaning you have 7 amps left for charging. Now you have to take 50 and divide it by 7, which is just over 7. It would take you 7 hours of peak charging to replenish your battery.
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Old 01-14-2021, 04:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dsrace View Post
very good info above. interesting thread to follow as well. so while on the subject , let me ask a question. i am looking at buying a new toyhauler. an option of a 200watt victron solar package for $995. i do not know what all the includes s, such as inverter and such. the only reason i am considering it is because i optioned the 10 cu ft 12v fridge. we dont boon dock but 1 trip we make is a 2 day drive. i went with a 200ah agm battery for $450. nothing is set in stone as of right now. i see that same 200watt victron system offered on several toyhauler models. anyone know anything about them?
In very round numbers, your 12V fridge will run about a 50% duty cycle in a 70F ambient and a 100% duty cycle in a 100F ambient if it has typical external insulation (meaning not much). It likely has a Secor/Danfoss compressor that draws about 5.2 amps. As such a 50% duty cycle would mean 12 hours at 5.2 amps or about 60 Ah per day. 100% would mean 120 Ah per day. Hence without more detail to refine the numbers, and without solar, I'd guess you will get two days from the battery using a 50% discharge, in mild temps or one day if the days are really hot.

With 200W of solar, on good sunny summer days you should get roughly 80 Ah. That will cover much of the fridge use even if it's 100F out. On a semi-cloudy day 200W of solar will still do the job assuming your cloudy day is cooler.

Details that would help refine the above analysis include expected day and night temps, whether the condenser uses indoor or outdoor air, external insulation (pantry cabinets on either side help, etc.) how many compressors the fridge has (two will increase usage somewhat, especially if you keep the freezer very cold), the weather you expect to encounter, etc. But, IMHO 200W and two days with 100 Ah available from the battery should do the job quite well.
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