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outback solar mppt controller

ktmrfs
Explorer
Explorer
anyone had any experience with the outback mppt controllers? I see solar blvd has a 10A for $99 and a 20A for $149.

the 20 A would be a nice update from the morningstar 15A at a reasonable price.

https://www.solarblvd.com/product_info.php?products_id=3065
2011 Keystone Outback 295RE
2004 14' bikehauler with full living quarters
2015.5 Denali 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison
2004.5 Silverado 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison passed on to our Son!
43 REPLIES 43

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
Yes, you can do whatever you like for the situation. In Spring and Fall I set it to 14.8/14.5 and on nice days it gets to 14.8 late in the day and does a bit of 14.5 before dark.

In mid-Summer, long days, that means it gets to 14.8 earlier and spends way too long at 14.5 so the batts lose water all afternoon, being overcharged. So I changed it to 14.8/13.6. That still got the batts to full (hitting baseline SG as confirmed by hydrometer, not just from Trimetric info) before they got drawn down again from camping activities from supper-time on.

So it is not a bad thing to do the 14.8/13.6 routine on long summer "nice days" You don't go to a lower float as with "storage" while still camping and using the batteries to run things.

I tried 13.2 at first and the Trimetric showed when a load came on, I lost the solar charging input at first and there was a draw on the batts until the solar could pick up the slack. So that is why converters are set a t 13.6 for "normal" when on shore power. Same thing when on solar while camping. You need that 13.6
1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

Almot
Explorer III
Explorer III
BFL13 wrote:
The way the Eco-Worthy works is it has two adjustable voltages. The first is for how high it will get the batteries in the first place (absorb voltage setting) this can be set as high as 15v. the next setting id for Float voltage which goes from about 13 to 14.5v.

This has been my understanding too. It can't stay at 14.5 for some time and then switch to 13.6 - or whatever Float you prefer.

Once hitting 14.5, it will switch to Float - that can be either normal 13-something (and then you have no Abs time but plenty of good Float time), or again 14-something (then you have plenty of Abs time and no "normal" Float time. Or something in between, i.e. it will switch to Float that is higher than normal Float for most conditions but lower than normal Abs.

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
Almot wrote:
BFL13 wrote:
I sure don't need to strap my laptop to the controller and do a bunch of geeky stuff

Nobody does. When firmware (the geeky software that is "firmly" embedded into controller) is well composed, it does this all. I never connect laptop to my controller, don't feel any need. My controller display is enormously informational. Though, even with less informational display of Tristar you wouldn't have much need for a laptop after you've set it up. Some other people are having fun downloading all the weekly, daily etc graphs for output.

Your Eco firmware has limited features, so it can't generate these graphs - no big deal. Some other limitations of this charger seem more important to me. Like those you mention in the end of your post - zero Abs time and thus the need to choose between either +14V for the rest of the day (I don't like this, be it storage or camping), or instant transition to +13V Float after it hits V Abs (acceptable for storage, and not good for when camping).


No. The way the Eco-Worthy works is it has two adjustable voltages. The first is for how high it will get the batteries in the first place (absorb voltage setting) this can be set as high as 15v. the next setting id for Float voltage which goes from about 13 to 14.5v.

If you want the controller to keep the batts high for any time after it gets them to your Absorb setting, you have to pick a high Float setting. But if you want to float at 13 you can do that. What you can't do is stay at Absorb once it gets there. And you can't do the real absorption time above 14.5 since that is as high as Float goes, so if you want time at 14.8 you can't have it. (my 6s are happy with that, so no problem for me--in fact I had to drop Float to 13.6 so they wouldn't lose so much water from overcharging during "high summer")

If you are in storage and don't want it to get so high in the first place, just set your Absorb at 13.x. You could set Float to the same 13.x and have no drop at all.
1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

Almot
Explorer III
Explorer III
BFL13 wrote:
I sure don't need to strap my laptop to the controller and do a bunch of geeky stuff

Nobody does. When firmware (the geeky software that is "firmly" embedded into controller) is well composed, it does this all. I never connect laptop to my controller, don't feel any need. My controller display is enormously informative. Though, even with less informative display of Tristar you wouldn't have much need for a laptop after you've set it up.

Some other people are having fun downloading all the weekly, daily etc graphs for output, you are doing this with a notepad and pencil when you feel like. Either way this is just an R&D, a fun. Not something "necessary".

Your Eco firmware has limited features, so it can't generate these graphs - no big deal. Some other limitations of this charger seem more important to me. Like those you mention in the end of your post - zero Abs time and thus the need to choose between either +14V for the rest of the day (I don't like this, be it storage or camping), or instant transition to +13V Float after it hits V Abs (acceptable for storage, and not good for when camping).

JiminDenver
Explorer
Explorer
I'll have to go through the TC menus again. I need to set the tablet up with MSview anyways.

I have the TC probe and the VS probes installed. It's what the controller does below or above certain temperatures that doesn't agree with Lifeline. The rest of the time it is fine.
2011 GulfStream Amerilite 25BH
2003 Ford Expedition with 435w tilting portable/ TS-MPPT-45
750w solar , TS-MPPT-60 on the trailer
675 Ah bank, Trip-lite 1250fc inverter
Sportsman 2200w inverter generator

CA_Traveler
Explorer III
Explorer III
JiminDenver wrote:
So how do you get it to go to a specific voltage at a specific temperature?
The MPPT 60 ships with a remote temperature probe and also supports remote battery voltage sense.
2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
750 Watts Solar Morningstar MPPT 60 Controller
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland

Bob

CA_Traveler
Explorer III
Explorer III
I chose MPPT and 24V panels vs PWM and 12V panel because:

1. Lower cost per watt which basically paid for the higher cost MPPT controller.
2. More watts per square foot which allowed for more total watts.
3. Better controller and function
4. Easier and less costly wiring
5. Use of bypass diodes which allows for more solar power harvesting when shadows are a factor.
2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
750 Watts Solar Morningstar MPPT 60 Controller
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland

Bob

JiminDenver
Explorer
Explorer
So how do you get it to go to a specific voltage at a specific temperature?
2011 GulfStream Amerilite 25BH
2003 Ford Expedition with 435w tilting portable/ TS-MPPT-45
750w solar , TS-MPPT-60 on the trailer
675 Ah bank, Trip-lite 1250fc inverter
Sportsman 2200w inverter generator

KJINTF
Explorer
Explorer
The biggest reason I went with the Morningstar TS-MPPT-60 for my mounted system was for it's TC and custom settings. Not for normal camping, the Eco-w's were fine for that. I was worried about being in storage where the bank would see -20 and over 100 every year. Sadly the only thing that isn't adjustable is the temperature compensation and it doesn't agree with Lifeline in extreme temperatures. So every year I will have to go out and either manually set a float or disconnect the bank for the duration of the extreme weather. Just like I'd have to do with the Eco-worthy. Go figure.


Please explain
Adjusted the TC many times all with good success

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
The PWM gets warm but I don't know if it gets to the same heat. They come in various sizes for cooling "fins" or not. Yes, it is when near max rated amps it gets warm. If you go over the rated amps it (unlike most MPPTs) will not clip the amps, so it runs over rating and can fry itself if left like that too long
1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

JiminDenver
Explorer
Explorer
That's the best part. More options at different price points for different features. The only option for me until the Eco-w came out was the Rogue 30a at over $300. The MS 15a was $200 for too small.

The biggest reason I went with the Morningstar TS-MPPT-60 for my mounted system was for it's TC and custom settings. Not for normal camping, the Eco-w's were fine for that. I was worried about being in storage where the bank would see -20 and over 100 every year. Sadly the only thing that isn't adjustable is the temperature compensation and it doesn't agree with Lifeline in extreme temperatures. So every year I will have to go out and either manually set a float or disconnect the bank for the duration of the extreme weather. Just like I'd have to do with the Eco-worthy. Go figure.

BFL

Since you have used them side by side, does a PWM controller put out the same heat as a MPPT? Both the Eco-w's and the MS can really put out some heat operating at the upper ends all day long.
2011 GulfStream Amerilite 25BH
2003 Ford Expedition with 435w tilting portable/ TS-MPPT-45
750w solar , TS-MPPT-60 on the trailer
675 Ah bank, Trip-lite 1250fc inverter
Sportsman 2200w inverter generator

time2roll
Nomad
Nomad
Yes get what works best for you. If that is the low cost controller so be it.
I am sure the Outback is a fine controller if it does all that you need.

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
It seems there is a need for a very short Vabs time for storage, where you are likely to hit Vabs early morning, and a possible need for while camping "depending" on a bunch of factors that are variable.

In my case solar is only for camping and we use shore power for "storage" so smk's type of concerns for storage with solar are not an issue for me.

I do have an adjustable voltage (manual) solar controller, so I can reduce the voltage in the afternoon if need be, but it is not on a timer. I have to be there, see what is happening, and do something about it. No big deal! 🙂

I sure don't need to strap my laptop to the controller and do a bunch of geeky stuff which I would not be able to do anyway, not being all that computer-smart, in order to get my batts charged while camping! 🙂

As it happens the Eco-Worthy MPPT has no time at Vabs. it drops to "float" (adjustable) as soon as the batts get to the high set point (adjustable) for absorption. Kind of strange, but you can set the float voltage as high as 14.5 to do the rest of the day. so for storage, with that controller you don't need a timer. Just set float at 13.x and it will do that as soon as it hits whatever you chose for Vabs (which could also be 13.x of course.) No timer needed there and you could set it up the first day and leave it like that as long as you want for storage.
1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

Almot
Explorer III
Explorer III
smkettner wrote:
Almot wrote:
I wonder if my Rogue 30 is the only MPPT with automatically adjusted Abs time.

Morningstar Tristar MPPT and Bogart PWM both adjust absorption time as needed.
I assume most of the better controllers do. Well worth it IMO.

Yes, it's well worth it. That's why I wonder why not all the big MPPT have it.
Bogart is not MPPT.
Tristar - when I looked into the manual briefly, I recall it saying about automatically "increasing" Abs time by 30 minutes if starting voltage is too low. Also, that Abs time is user-adjustable. Don't remember "automatically adjusted", but I only read it briefly.