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post #1 of Old 07-17-2013 Thread Starter
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Solar charge controller question

It seems my solar panels are not charging the batteries (again!) and I suspect I may have to replace my controller. The panels check out OK and the batteries are fine. I'm going to try a last attempt to troubleshoot it, but the controller is more than 20 years old and perhaps on its last legs...

I started shopping for controllers and I came across some reasonably-priced ones that are not marketed as "marine" solar controllers. It seems the big market here is telecommunications and signaling (think of those posts with a panel, battery and controller mounted on top). I have found a "smart" controller that is rated 10 amp and can handle up to 130w of solar panels. My electrical system is simple- two 65w panels on the hard dodger and one big house battery (160amp). I don't think I need a lot of bells and whistles; just something to regulate the charge going to the battery so I don't overcharge it. Would I be a fool going with one of these controllers? Bear in mind that these are usually mounted outdoors in plastic boxes, so I don't think they are especially delicate. Is there something special about the so-called "marine" ones? I'm in Brazil so don't tell me about all the great deals at West Marine! I have to either mail order one from the US or find something local.

Thanks in advance.

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