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post #11 of 19 Old 10-02-2016
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

Mike

You are over-complicating this. Get a good AC charger. Get a good MPPT solar controller. For the laptop get a car adaptor, they're not expensive and very efficient.
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post #12 of 19 Old 10-03-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Mike

You are over-complicating this. Get a good AC charger. Get a good MPPT solar controller. For the laptop get a car adaptor, they're not expensive and very efficient.
OK maybe I will just do it like that I need a new AC charger anyhow might as well get a good one I suppose.
I've got 2 or 3 car adapters kicking around used them for years in the vehicle back in the day for navigation in the motor home I just never did like the way they got hot that's a lot of waisted energy, not so bad when you are riding down the road but on the hook using solar it seams to me that every watt counts.
I guess I could build the adapter into a coffee/tea cup warmer problem solved...
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post #13 of 19 Old 10-04-2016
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

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Originally Posted by Salty Mike View Post
I'd like an MPPT
For a boat, considerations must be made for an MPPT unless money is no object. There are times where an MPPT is not beneficial over PWM:
  1. In hotter climates
  2. Where batteries spend a lot of time at or near full charge (the "boost" is irrelevant because the batteries wouldn't take the additional power anyway)
  3. If different types of solar panels/modules are used (would need separate MPPT controller for each panel type on it's own string to get the "boost")

If you are full time cruising near the equator and have to make any additions/changes to your array, MPPT has little to no value to cover the increased cost. PWM would make more sense here.

If you do decide to get an MPPT make sure you get a good one designed for tough use. PWM controllers are simple and can handle temperature extremes, vibrations, etc. while an MPPT controller is a computer with advanced electronics. Any salt air, extreme heat/humidity, vibrations can ruin it easily if it wasn't designed for such use.

Looking over the thread, you have a lot of energy use calculations to do because these systems (if reliability and effectiveness are desired) must be designed as a whole. Making commitments to certain products or technologies without understanding the system in its entirety will cost you in dollars/amps/time in the future when more of either could have been spent sailing.

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post #14 of 19 Old 10-04-2016
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

If I understand your first post .... you have two starting batteries ?
Is this a powerboat?
twin engine sailboat ?
What kind of engine ?

The hysterical laughter you hear as you drive a way in your"new" boat ..... is the seller.
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-04-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDubya View Post
For a boat, considerations must be made for an MPPT unless money is no object. There are times where an MPPT is not beneficial over PWM:
  1. In hotter climates
  2. Where batteries spend a lot of time at or near full charge (the "boost" is irrelevant because the batteries wouldn't take the additional power anyway)
  3. If different types of solar panels/modules are used (would need separate MPPT controller for each panel type on it's own string to get the "boost")

If you are full time cruising near the equator and have to make any additions/changes to your array, MPPT has little to no value to cover the increased cost. PWM would make more sense here.

If you do decide to get an MPPT make sure you get a good one designed for tough use. PWM controllers are simple and can handle temperature extremes, vibrations, etc. while an MPPT controller is a computer with advanced electronics. Any salt air, extreme heat/humidity, vibrations can ruin it easily if it wasn't designed for such use.

Looking over the thread, you have a lot of energy use calculations to do because these systems (if reliability and effectiveness are desired) must be designed as a whole. Making commitments to certain products or technologies without understanding the system in its entirety will cost you in dollars/amps/time in the future when more of either could have been spent sailing.
Thanks CW,

I had no idea about the different panel deal, as I understood it you could push most any voltage within their specs to them and they would turn it into what was required to charge the batteries. Maybe I should get both and play with them? But like you say that stuff ain't free, maybe I should start off with an elcheapo PWM but that won't act as a good charge controller.

We plan to spend this winter as near the equator as possible then head up north next spring maybe spend a season in and around Ireland and Iceland sooner or later. I figure I've got 10 or 15 good years left if I'm lucky and I'd like to see as much as I can.

Yep I need to do those calcs thats for sure I'll be adding some refrigeration and replacing all the lighting with LED then the old navigation system will probably have to go eventually and be replaced with something newer and less of a power hog in the next few years, but for now I need to build up some sort of reliable system and work on it over time.
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post #16 of 19 Old 10-04-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
If I understand your first post .... you have two starting batteries ?
Is this a powerboat?
twin engine sailboat ?
What kind of engine ?
Hi Boatpoker,

What's a boat poker?

Yep 2 start batteries for a little Perkins 4.154 in my 41 Morgan OI ketch.
I don't know why unless it was because the PO was having trouble starting it because the transmission input bearing was seizing up.

But what the hay you know the saying "two is one and one is none".
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty Mike View Post
Hi Boatpoker,

What's a boat poker?

Yep 2 start batteries for a little Perkins 4.154 in my 41 Morgan OI ketch.
I don't know why unless it was because the PO was having trouble starting it because the transmission input bearing was seizing up.

But what the hay you know the saying "two is one and one is none".
Two is one is right as they will both die at the same time therefore it's pointless to have two for that job.

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The hysterical laughter you hear as you drive a way in your"new" boat ..... is the seller.
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post #18 of 19 Old 10-04-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Two is one is right as they will both die at the same time therefore it's pointless to have two for that job.

Boatpoker because I am a Boat Poker
Ahh I see you poke around in boats, Good one.

Of course you are right, I'm thinking I'll pull one out and put it in my Samurai.
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-05-2016
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Re: Charge Controller Conundrum

I think you will find there can be even greater and less obvious differences between PWM and MPPT. Typically, PWM controllers will be traditional 3-stage chargers, especially the cheap ones.

In contrast, a BlueSky MPPT controller will look at the solar panels, then look at the battery, and it will apply the maximum amperage that it can, at a very slightly higher voltage than what the battery is at. Let's say that's maybe 0.3V over what the battery is actually at. (I forget the specifics, would have to go find old notes.) So you may find it is charging a discharged battery at "only" 12.2 volts, instead of the 13.8 that you expected. That's intentional. Once the battery comes up another tenth of a volt, the charging VOLTAGE will be increased as well. Until it finally does get to 12.8 volts, and the controller switches from bulk to acceptance and float modes.

Any of the good MPPT controllers will be way more sophisticated than an old-style 3 stage charger or cheap PWM controller. Each will mumble "proprietary algorithm" and decline to discuss a lot of details, but they ARE using microprocessors to optimize the charging process, way more so than a PWM controller.

It may not make any difference to one user, but to the next one, trying to recover from three days of overcast and cram in every amp you can in just a few hours...these things can add up.

FWIW.
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