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Choosing Charge Controllers

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  • Choosing Charge Controllers

    Can someone please recommend the proper charge controllers for my panels?

    Information provided on panels:

    Peak Power (Pmax): 180 W
    Voltage @ Pmax (Vmpp): +5 -3%
    Current @ Pmax (Impp): 5.03 A
    Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 43.6 V
    Short Circuit Current (Isc): 5.58 A
    Maximum Series Fuse: 20 A
    Limiting reverse current (Ir): 5.58 A

    I will have two panels connected in parallel to a bank of four 105ah AGM batteries. Most of the cheaper charge controllers capable of 400W are made for maximum 25 volts.

    I'm new to solar power and don't have a whole lot of experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    IMO with 360 watts of panels you need to get a MPPT type charge controller. They usually will have a much higher Max DC input voltage so you should be able to wire both of those panels in series. An MPPT will also be much more efficient than a PWM type.

    You did not mention your battery system voltage or how you are wiring those 4 x 105Ah batteries but I would say don't wire all 4 in parallel or you run the risk of shortening the life of one or all.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by pgk23 View Post
      Can someone please recommend the proper charge controllers for my panels?

      Information provided on panels:

      Peak Power (Pmax): 180 W
      Voltage @ Pmax (Vmpp): +5 -3%
      Current @ Pmax (Impp): 5.03 A
      Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 43.6 V
      Short Circuit Current (Isc): 5.58 A
      Maximum Series Fuse: 20 A
      Limiting reverse current (Ir): 5.58 A

      I will have two panels connected in parallel to a bank of four 105ah AGM batteries. Most of the cheaper charge controllers capable of 400W are made for maximum 25 volts.

      I'm new to solar power and don't have a whole lot of experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
      First your spec Voltage @ Pmax (Vmpp): +5 -3% is not a spec, it is nonsense. It should be a voltage of roughly 35 to 36 volts. OK having said that you really have no choice but to use a MPPT Controller which is actually a good thing. You do not want to wire the panels in parallel as that is only required if you use a PWM controller. You DO NOT WANT PWM. Example if the batteries are configured for 12 volts, would make your 360 watt panels into 120 watts, and if a 24 volt battery 240 watts. With MPPT something unbelievable happens, You actually get roughly 360 watts from 360 watt panels. Who would think that is even remotely possible?

      You did not mention what battery voltage configuration you wil use or the voltage of the batteries. I hope not 12 volts as that is a huge mistake. At 360 watts, the size of the Controller depends on what battery voltage you use.

      If 12 volts you need at least 30 amps. .
      If 24 volts you need 15 amps.
      If 48 volts, no great option is available because no one makes a 48 volt controller that small of 10 amps or less. 48 volts pretty much starts at 1500 watts or 30 amp controllers. However you could use something like a Midnite Solar Kid which is a 30 amp controller and can run 12, 24, and 48 volts, and max power input is roughly 400, 800, and 1600 watts respectively to battery voltage

      If those four 105 AH AGM batteries are 12 volts, I bet anything they are, you do not really have enough panel wattage to support them or at least able to take full advantage of them as it takes 600 to 1000 watts of panels. Sounds like you just bought stuff and hoped it would work out. It is not going to work very good and you will be buying batteries in a year or so.

      FWIW get out of that 12 volt toy box you are stuck in. Put all 4 of them in parallel and you will be lucky to get 1 year out of them. Never ever parallel batteries unless absolutely necessary. It is never necessary unless you have mission critical application where you need to remove a string of batteries for maintenance. That is what happens when you are stuck inside a 12 volt box. You do not know batteries are 2 volts.
      Last edited by Sunking; 04-14-2017, 04:04 PM.
      MSEE, PE

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      • #4
        Grid tie panels require an MPPT controller to use with batteries. Wire the panels in series and get an appropriate sized MPPT controller.

        WWW

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        • #5
          Thank you SunEagle and Sunking! The information you provided is very helpful.

          I have purchased this charge controller: "ACOPOWER 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller 100V input HY-MPPT Series HY-MPPT40 With LCD Display" from Amazon to replace the 30 AMP PWM charge controller I currently have running.

          In your opinion, what would be the ideal set up with the batteries (12V), panels and charge controller I mentioned? The 4 x 105Ah batteries are all 12 V and I did wire them in parallel (which I guess is not good). Should I wire the panels in series to the batteries also wired in series? Maybe I could reduce it to 3 batteries to take full advantage of the panels?

          The batteries are used to power a monitor running at 12 volts as well as an inverted connected to some electronics.

          Thank you!


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