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  • How to get the most out of my system.

    I have been playing for a few years with my solar shed project. Its been a steady project, adding new panels when I can afford them, cadging old batteries from family etc. To be fair for what it is and what I use it for - it performs OK.

    Before I go and buy some new batteries (which I regard as a consumable) I want to get the hardware up to spec, so decided to buy a new charge controller to take as much advantage of the panels I have.

    So my panels are 6x100 Watt configured as 2xp 2xp 2xp basically making them 3x200 Watt. These enter the shed and are then all paralleled (again) in a combiner box, and then out to the CC. Figuring on 80% efficiency it would produce 480 Watts at peek power.

    I have just bought an Epever T4210-UK which I think should work OK with my panels, but I am wondering what would be the best way to wire it in.
    I have included a photo from the sticker on the back of my panels to show their specs. I have read on here that MPPT works best at higher voltages, so I am wondering if rather than paralleling them in the combiner box, should I create a string of 3p3s with a voltage of 36V and an open circuit voltage of 64.8v, let the charge controller step that down to charge my 12v lead acid bank ?

    Or

    Simply replace the controller with the Epever - direct swap as it wont make any difference on this system ?

    Cheers
    Ump..
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Umpa; 05-25-2019, 05:04 AM.

  • #2
    If your MPPT can accept the higher input voltage then I would go with 2 parallel sets of 3 in series, or 2P3S.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by SunEagle View Post
      If your MPPT can accept the higher input voltage then I would go with 2 parallel sets of 3 in series, or 2P3S.
      Well I guess I should wait for it to arrive and check the data sheet because I have tried to find the online manual for it and to be honest I can't even find the 4210-UK, not even on epever's website. The only manual I can find is for the AN models, located here https://www.epsolarpv.com/upload/cer...MS-EL-V1.0.pdf

      Looking at that on page 13 it suggests that at 25C it can take 92V and at minimum operating temp its 100V (what ever the minimum is), so voltage wise I should be good to go either way.

      I might have got the terminology wrong regarding the panels wiring, I want to series 3 panels twice to give two independent banks of 36v and then parallel those together to up the power. Is that the same thing as you suggested ?

      If I decide to just simply swap the controller out and keep everything the same, would this lower the performance of the controller on a small system like this - given the open circuit voltage of the panels is about 21v and the working voltage is about 18V ?

      T.I.A

      Ump..

      Comment


      • #4
        The 10, in the 4210 model number means that it is a 100 max volts, open circuit., or " [LEFT][COLOR=#333333][FONT=Saira Semi Condensed][SIZE=16px]Max.PV open circuit voltage:[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR](92V at 25c according to Epever[/LEFT]
        2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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        • #5
          Originally posted by littleharbor View Post
          The 10, in the 4210 model number means that it is a 100 max volts, open circuit., or " [LEFT][COLOR=#333333][FONT=Saira Semi Condensed][SIZE=16px]Max.PV open circuit voltage:[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR](92V at 25c according to Epever[/LEFT]
          Yeah I figured that much. Not sure what the UK bit is or if its negative ground. I will find out when it arrives I guess.

          Comment


          • #6
            Umpa,

            I have some expereince with EP controllers. They will not work with an all parallel arrangement. There must be greater difference between battery voltage and panel voltage. These are MPPT controllers and need about 12 volts over the highest battery charge voltage (on a 12 volt system) or about 25-27 volts to work best. A series parallel arrangement of 2 series 3 parallel strings or 3 in series with two strings in parallel will work. But higher voltage conversion ratios will result in more heat being generated in the controller at the expense of slightly less overall effenicy . The connection of 3S 2P will result in The ratio of 64 volts in to 14 volts out is about 4.88 times and is a bit high, the conversion ratio of 2S 3P would be about 2.6 to 1 and the controller will run cooler and output more power , not a lot more, it's more about the heat generated with the higher voltage conversion ratio. Heat is the enemy of electronics gear and is to be avoided if possible. I was using the EP3215N and EP4210N models and this is what I found in my experience. I have never heard of the U.K. model and do not know what difference there is there. The one issue is positive ground or negative ground, if you are using modern electronic gear the controller should be negative grounded. I assume that U.K. Is negative ground unlike my older British sports cars that were positive ground.

            I have done done extensive testing in this area as a beta tester for MidNite solar and have proved this on multiple types of MPPT controllers, maybe only a few percent less power at higher voltage but 15-25 degrees F hotter at the controller, especially when the batteries are nearing full charge and the controller is in absorb stage and all the power is not needed.

            I am going to the suggest the connection of two in series ans three banks in parallel. Also to note with multiple strings in parallel each string should be fused to protect the array. Two parallel is not that important but with three or more it's more important as if one panel string shorts the still working panels will have enough power to possibly set a shorted panel on fire.
            I no longer use EP Solar gear.

            Your controller should be rated 40 amps and 100 volts max when cold. (Solar panel voltage raises with colder temperatures)
            david
            Last edited by Tecnodave; 05-26-2019, 05:06 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Dave, that was really informative and a great help. I would post a link to the controller I have bought, but I don't know if that's allowed here.

              Comment


              • #8
                Umpa,

                You are quite welcome, I'm here on this forum not only to learn but to help others as well. I do not think that links to other sites is allowed here, not sure, but I'm familiar with all the major brands and a lot of the chinese controllers as well. Please post more information as you get it. You gotta start somewhere.

                david

                Comment


                • #9
                  links are auto screened, and sometimes held for moderation. We'll approve links to mfgs and product data, but not sales hype
                  Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                  || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                  || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                  solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                  gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
                    links are auto screened, and sometimes held for moderation. We'll approve links to mfgs and product data, but not sales hype
                    I bought it from amazon, is that allowed ?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Umpa View Post

                      I bought it from amazon, is that allowed ?
                      I personally would allow an Amazon link to the exact product that you purchased, yes.
                      SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Umpa,
                        That is ok as I read mike,s response. There is a big difference between sales hype and just information. There are so many BSers out there you do have to cut somewhere. I think that's really good for the community. I have seen many solar schemes come and go, that could not possibly work as advertised. Moderaters are the police to weed out the pure bull####. Personally I have done electricity long enough that I want to pass on what I have learned. I do that in real life as well as on forums such as this. This is not the only forum that I can be found on, not only solar but instrumentation as well as other subjects. We all have different backgrounds. How many people do you know that were born on a homestead in territorial Alaska? Be willing to bet I'm the only one on this forum. Born off gridder LOL! Got a bit of expereince living off the grid!

                        One thing I will say about EP Solar, product support is zilch, maybe you can get a bit from the sales agent, but nada from EP. Ask them a non scripted question and they will clam up tighter than a geoduck clam. Other users are your only real hope. I sold off mine off as the early models did not have user adjustable settings and would wander in voltage output to where I needed to run a generator weekly to top off my batteries after a full day of sun. I bought a MidNite Classic 150 controller and basically retired the use of my generator. I'm floating before noon most always. The Classic is fully programmable and very versatile, lot more money than the EP units but the peace of mind is worth it. I paid for the Classic in less than two years of generator usage. The one Classic that I started with outperformed 4 EP solar units, for less money. I have about 2400 watts panels into each Classic and in 6 years have and no issues other than a buzzing in the fan caused by a small part falling into it. MidNite shipped me a new fan at no charge even though it was barely nicked. I now have many MidNite products including epanels, breaker boxes, combiners ,etc. 4 MidNite charge controllers. Two Classic's and two Kid's. Good product is worth it. Your power company charges a lot as system maintaince is a large part of electricity delivered. When you live off grid it's all on you as field service tech support for Offgrid is very rare. There are only two dedicated offgridders specialist's in my neck of the woods and I am very busy diagnosing system failures and advising folks on solar issues. I do not sell or install systems, only failure analysis with much expereince in battery systems.

                        Please do post your results and issues and I will respond with ideas of failure mode. I installed my first solar panels on a mountaintop two way radio system in late 1969, there were no MPPT or PWM controller then, just crude series and shunt controllers and 50 watt panels at $950.00 each, that's at 1969 dollars! But when you have a mountain top mission critical radio system solar at that price was less expensive than trucking fuel up there with a snowmobile 30 gallons at a time. I did radio communications for General Electric Co. and Alantic Richfield (ARCO) including ARCO solar was our customer as we were theirs.
                        david

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          FYI, A Geoduck clam.
                          Gooey duck.jpg

                          2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Littleharbor,

                            very familiar, there is great fishing and clamming in Alaska. I live on the left coast for that very reason, the clamming in puget sound is awesome as well as southern coastal Alaska where I'm from. (Matanauska Valley) not on the coast, but near enough that born homesteaders fished there very often.
                            David

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tecnodave View Post
                              Littleharbor,

                              very familiar, there is great fishing and clamming in Alaska. I live on the left coast for that very reason, the clamming in puget sound is awesome as well as southern coastal Alaska where I'm from. (Matanauska Valley) not on the coast, but near enough that born homesteaders fished there very often.
                              David
                              [FONT=comic sans ms]But can you see Russia from your house ?[/FONT]

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