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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-05-2012 08:11 PM
smp
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

That's enough convincing for me. It's the end of the season anyway, this project can wait until next year it's only one of many. I guess I need a holding tank more than I need a solar panel anyway!
09-05-2012 07:04 PM
Maine Sail
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

Quote:
Originally Posted by smp View Post
I'de be willing to bet it's the same thing from the same factory. If you haven't watched the video have a look.
And having had some knock offs side by side I'd guess not. The Chinese are very good at stealing a design right down to intricate visible details and cutting the quality where it can't easily be seen.

One of these LED bulbs is made in Taiwan and has very good color, beam width and a lower overall current draw as well as a constant current power supply. The other one is bluish, narrow beamed, no constant current power supply and draws more current. It comes from a Chinese knock off factory. To the untrained eye they appear identical but don't even come from the same countries of origin. It's no wonder the crap quality Chinese bulb can sell for four times less than the good quality bulb... Sad really...


I had a long talk with an engineer at one of the big car audio companies one day and he was commiserating about the number of counterfeit products they catch and find in the market. I was told the same thing by one of the solar controller companies. This is not even counting the "knock offs" that are not branded as the brand but look identical. The Chinese are knocking nearly everything they can off and selling direct though places like eBay. Car stereo equipment, solar, light bulbs, power supplies etc. etc...

I feel bad for the companies who actually designed and spent the R&D money to make these products only for a Chinese firm to buy one, copy it, cheapen it and then whore it on eBay to unsuspecting buyers.

The Chinese have the ability to build EXCELLENT quality stuff, I own a $hitload of it, but the number of bogus Chinese solar & LED products sold via eBay have left me with a bad taste for both eBay and no-name solar products. I have had too many customers hosed on eBay solar scams... Hell search the archives here, a guy here at SN just had it happen not to long ago even though he was warned ahead of time.
09-05-2012 06:17 PM
hellosailor
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

Maine-
The pix of the Blixt on that URL shows the polarity of the battery terminals as being opposite of the adjacent terminals for input/output, a good opportunity for something to slip and get sparky.
Unlike Genasun, who gang "same with same" to make sure that doesn't happen.

Judging the book by it's cover, perhaps. Or, noticing one engineering team paid more attention to their product than the other.
09-05-2012 06:14 PM
smp
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"I'm not totally clear on why MPPT is only worthwhile with the larger wattage panels/arrays. "
Cost effectiveness, plain and simple. If an MPPT controller is going to buy you a 10-20% gain (pick your own number) compare the price of that controller to simply buying a 10-20% larger panel in the first place. If you can do that with buying ONE panel and simply making it a little larger, that's often more cost effective than spending the extra money on an MPPT controller.
OTOH if you're buying four panels and there's no more room on the boat but your energy budget demands more power, the MPPT becomes very cost effective, it may be the only way to get blood out of the stones. So to speak.
That makes sense, thank you. My problem is that I think an 85 watt panel is all that I'll be able to fit. My energy demands are very low right now so I may end up just going with Maine Sail's suggestion.
09-05-2012 06:10 PM
smp
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

I'de be willing to bet it's the same thing from the same factory. If you haven't watched the video have a look.
09-05-2012 06:06 PM
hellosailor
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

"I'm not totally clear on why MPPT is only worthwhile with the larger wattage panels/arrays. "
Cost effectiveness, plain and simple. If an MPPT controller is going to buy you a 10-20% gain (pick your own number) compare the price of that controller to simply buying a 10-20% larger panel in the first place. If you can do that with buying ONE panel and simply making it a little larger, that's often more cost effective than spending the extra money on an MPPT controller.
OTOH if you're buying four panels and there's no more room on the boat but your energy budget demands more power, the MPPT becomes very cost effective, it may be the only way to get blood out of the stones. So to speak.
09-05-2012 05:33 PM
Maine Sail
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

Looks like a knock off of the Aurinco BLIXT controller...

Aurinco BLIXT
09-05-2012 04:59 PM
smp
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

Thanks Maine Sail, I value your opinion. I will look into that. I've read your solar write up (thank you very much for giving us all that great info for free BTW) and I'm not totally clear on why MPPT is only worthwhile with the larger wattage panels/arrays. Maybe I just need to read it again, more cafefully

In the meantime, for those searchers stumbling across this thread, here is an interesting video about another chinese MPPT controller:

I'm totally one of those "buy it once" people but I've had some good experiences with knock off stuff. If you think about it, Apple products, hell, MOST of the electronic devices we use day to day are manufactured in China so they have the capacity and the ability. Just a matter of sorting through all the lousy products to find those high value low cost needles in the proverbial haystack (which ebay surely is).
09-05-2012 03:22 PM
Maine Sail
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

Quote:
Originally Posted by smp View Post
Indeed! A 20 watt panel will not be up to snuff, the 85 that I'm considering will... and it's half the price of the 20 watt name brand setup.
As has been said you get what you pay for. Rather than buy a Chinese "MPPT", which is likely not even MPPT at all, why not buy an inexpensive Morningstar PWM controller like the SS-10.

Your MPPT benefit on an 85W panel will be so minimal as to barely be worth it and you'd be better to just throw that money at array wattage anyway.

Just grab a Morningstar SS-10 12V for under $50.00 and call it a day. You'll get a quality product, humans you can talk to, and it will hold up in the marine environment and do as is says it does. These are excellent little controllers for the money. Search around and you can get them pretty cheap...
09-05-2012 02:27 PM
smp
Re: "Tracer" MPPT controllers from China

Indeed! A 20 watt panel will not be up to snuff, the 85 that I'm considering will... and it's half the price of the 20 watt name brand setup.
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