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Good Grief!! - Did I order the wrong MPPT SmartSolar Charge Controller???

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  • Good Grief!! - Did I order the wrong MPPT SmartSolar Charge Controller???

    Ok to make a long story short. One of the Victron dealers (dealer A) recommended the Victron 100/20 solar controller for my set up. I posted previously about this in another thread and its water under the bridge. I ordered from a different dealer (dealer B) as they carried a bunch of other things I needed the first dealer (dealer A)did not carry and I got a pretty good discount on the other parts. Delaer B matched Dealer A on the Victron prices.. What I did not do is verify with dealer B until later that I had the correct solar controller coming - my bad. I am just learning the Solar vernacular and overlooked the PV power of the panels and concentrated on the volts and amps.

    So can the experts please confirm that I messed up?

    I have 2-190Watt Go Power Panels that I plan to put in series, 380 watts total. Max panel output (used open circuit numbers) is 48.18v @ 9.98 amps in series. Max power numbers are 40.8v @ 9.45 amps - again in series configuration.

    Solar cell type Monocrystalline ( Information taken from the back of solar panel ) Does not match what Go Power has on their web page. Numbers are higher.
    Output power 190 W
    Max Power current 9.45A
    Short Circuit current 9.98A
    Max Power voltage 20.4V
    Open-circuit voltage 24.09 V

    So the controller I have on order that has shipped is the Victron SmartSolar 100/20 which was recommended by dealer A based on my original 75/15 choice. They recommended I needed the 100/20
    Victron 100/20 specification
    https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...-20_48V-EN.pdf
    Nominal PV power, @12V is 290W however its rated for 20A . However there is a footnote I don't really understand. "If more PV power is connected, the controller will limit input power".
    Is this saying it will waste the overage?

    Now after I ordered from Dealer B I happen to email a thank you to them for the great pricing and package deal. For some reason I wanted to verify I had the correct controller ordered. hoping to catch it before it shipped. Person I had been dealing with was out, but a second person said no I needed the 100/30 unit as I was exceeding the PV on the 100/20 unit.. This was about 12 hours after I got the shipping notice.

    Victron 100/30 specifications

    https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...-100-50-EN.pdf
    Nominal PV power @ 12V is 440W Rated charge current is 30A

    My gut says I goofed up (cant type how I really feel) and I do need the 100/30 model - however some of you are running more panels that 440W and are using this unit? Now if I look on the AM solar site at some of their kits close to what I have, they too are running the 100/30

    So is it strike two? and I need to exchange this one too? Remember I just returned a PWM model to a third place. I have heard of folks belonging to the two truck club the get things correct. Am I the new founding member of the 3 solar controller club to get things right?

    BTW - I sent all of the above information on my solar panels to dealer A to ask that they re-verify their recommendation. Have not heard back yet.

    So please tell me where I am at, and any recommendations.

    Thanks
    Keith

    Maybe I should stay in my corner today


    2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel. Reese R20 Titan hitch, Steadyfast system, 2004 F350 King Ranch dually

  • #2
    I understand your confusion - I was confused as well. A couple of things to remember:

    The smaller charge controller will only limit you if your panels are perfectly positioned and the sun is full up in the sky on a perfectly clear day and you are requesting full power from the controller.

    My panels are providing a little over 50% of max output power right now - they are flat on the roof (don't have tilting brackets) and it is winter, so the sun never gets high enough.... even in full sunlight I will loose about 15% to 20% due to the sun angle even at noon because I don't optimally tilt/adjust them.

    Are you tilting your panels? If yes then definitely switch controllers.
    Will you continue to regret getting the smaller controller? If yes ....
    Will the current one work equally fine for your 190Watt each flat panels (not tilted)? Most likely yes

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by openrangeowners View Post
      I understand your confusion - I was confused as well. A couple of things to remember:

      The smaller charge controller will only limit you if your panels are perfectly positioned and the sun is full up in the sky on a perfectly clear day and you are requesting full power from the controller.

      My panels are providing a little over 50% of max output power right now - they are flat on the roof (don't have tilting brackets) and it is winter, so the sun never gets high enough.... even in full sunlight I will loose about 15% to 20% due to the sun angle even at noon because I don't optimally tilt/adjust them.

      Are you tilting your panels? If yes then definitely switch controllers.
      Will you continue to regret getting the smaller controller? If yes ....
      Will the current one work equally fine for your 190Watt each flat panels (not tilted)? Most likely yes
      Open range
      Thanks - I feel a little bit better.
      No - panels are flat (well maybe on a little slant - parallel with the curved roof)

      So your saying I may be OK. I was worried on the perfect day out west I could overload and fry the controller. Your saying that wont be a problem?
      Thanks
      Keith
      2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel. Reese R20 Titan hitch, Steadyfast system, 2004 F350 King Ranch dually

      Comment


      • #4
        You cannot fry the controller because it will limit the output current to 20 amps at 14.5 volts.

        I originally thought the same when I saw the maximum power output. I worried about this as well but was told

        When I spoke to BattleBorn/DragonFly technicians, they mentioned that the rating is the max the controlling is willing to output regardless of the input power it is receiving (as long as the input does not exceed the max voltage input).

        From Victron community forums - accepted answer:
        The MPPT has contol over how much power to draw from the PV array - so there is no problem with having a PV array that has a higher max 'power' then the MPPT can use.

        The MPPT can easily control power by reducing the charge current delivered the battery, as a result the PV voltage will increase closer to the open circuit voltage and the solar panels will operate at a less efficient point on their power curve.

        When assessing the suitability of a solar array for a particular MPPT, the primary specification to check is the maximum PV voltage limit. Ensure that the PV array Voc (open circuit voltage) rating is at least 5 to 10% below the MPPT limit. This is to protect for a scenario with very cold temperature combined with very high irradiance - as the PV Voc rating can be exceeded in the right conditions.

        The other specification to check is the maximum PV current limit. Also ensure that the PV array Isc (short circuit current) rating is below the MPPT limit.

        Providing these 2 criteria are satisfied, then you can basically install as much 'theoretical' PV power as you want. More PV power is great for overcast days, as you can still have decent solar yield when the solar conditions are unfavorable. Under good conditions the extra power just won't be utilized.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well dealer A just confirmed that I should use the 100/30. They don't understand it but Victron confirmed to them that I would exceed the PV voltage. I wish I understood this more.
          openrangeowners
          Thanks for the information. Hopefully it will help others in choosing correctly. I need to sleep and think on this.

          Thanks
          Keith
          2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel. Reese R20 Titan hitch, Steadyfast system, 2004 F350 King Ranch dually

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah you won't fry it, but in super perfect ideal conditions you'll have excess solar power the controller won't be able to use. I think you'll probably be fine, but bigger is always better. I've been out west in the summer and never gotten my rated output from my panels.
            Neil Citro
            2018 Reflection 28bh
            2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

            Comment


            • #7
              I went through the same thing withe getting a 100/30 or a 100/50
              Both allow up to 100v from the panels, but send up to 30 or 50a to my battery. You will be limited in what you put to your batteries.
              I actually had the 100/30 on order and sent it back. Glad I did because I am getting about 587 up to 700w coming from my 720w array.
              Tilted. Cost should be close.....get the 100/30

              Comment


              • #8
                Well I have to return my Victron BlueSolar Pro PWM solar charger to BB. While they claim the charger is set up for the BB lithium batteries, Victron insists the charger is not suited for Lithium.

                So I'm back on the hunt for a suitable lithium charger (preferably a small MPPT) that will fit inside a folded solar suitcase. I know I could install a solar charger in the rig but this would make the suitcase unit unusable to others in my family that may wish to use it.

                JIm
                2017 Imagine 2600RB
                2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
                  Well I have to return my Victron BlueSolar Pro PWM solar charger to BB. While they claim the charger is set up for the BB lithium batteries, Victron insists the charger is not suited for Lithium.

                  So I'm back on the hunt for a suitable lithium charger (preferably a small MPPT) that will fit inside a folded solar suitcase. I know I could install a solar charger in the rig but this would make the suitcase unit unusable to others in my family that may wish to use it.

                  JIm
                  Bummer. What are you panel numbers and space available?

                  I am sending mine back to. I need the 100/30 I think. The engineer in me wants it 100% right.
                  2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel. Reese R20 Titan hitch, Steadyfast system, 2004 F350 King Ranch dually

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yoda View Post

                    Bummer. What are you panel numbers and space available?

                    I am sending mine back to. I need the 100/30 I think. The engineer in me wants it 100% right.
                    Keith,

                    I need a simple 20A charger but with a charge profile made for lithium. I was hoping for Victron since I like their products where I may end up with a Renogy unit.

                    Jim
                    2017 Imagine 2600RB
                    2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post

                      Keith,

                      I need a simple 20A charger but with a charge profile made for lithium. I was hoping for Victron since I like their products where I may end up with a Renogy unit.

                      Jim
                      All of the Victron SmartSolar MPPT units can be set up with the Lithium profile. Some of the Go Power PWM units have the lithium profile built in. Good luck
                      2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel. Reese R20 Titan hitch, Steadyfast system, 2004 F350 King Ranch dually

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yoda View Post

                        All of the Victron SmartSolar MPPT units can be set up with the Lithium profile. Some of the Go Power PWM units have the lithium profile built in. Good luck
                        Keith,

                        Thank you. My limit is the narrow space in the suitcase when its closed. I'll begin looking at this and other units to see if one will fit.

                        Jim
                        2017 Imagine 2600RB
                        2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Or find a bag and some Velcro straps to hold it on the outside. Just a thought. I assume the suitcase has a handle - just tie it there and put fool proof connections on it so if it is passed around there is no question on how it goes.

                          Take Care
                          Keith
                          2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel. Reese R20 Titan hitch, Steadyfast system, 2004 F350 King Ranch dually

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Yoda View Post
                            Or find a bag and some Velcro straps to hold it on the outside. Just a thought. I assume the suitcase has a handle - just tie it there and put fool proof connections on it so if it is passed around there is no question on how it goes.

                            Take Care
                            Keith
                            Thank you Keith.

                            I love industrial Velcro where we use this a great deal in assisting in holding laptops and other instrumentation in cars. I was planning on using Velcro to install the Victron PWM unit right to the back side of the solar panel but I'm not comfortable with conflicting information on its use for Lithium. I really do not want to sacrifice quality where the larger Victron MPPT would be the most desirable since that extra 15-20% output would be nice to have. Some plug in connectors and Velcro would work well to just hang it in the same location but to remove it when the panel is not in use. I'll let you know what I eventually go with where this is a good compromise.

                            Jim
                            2017 Imagine 2600RB
                            2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yoda Keith,

                              I have a Victron 75/15 MPPT unit coming where I'm really looking forward in geeking out with this thing. Its Bluetooth where it will interface with my BMV712 as well as tailor its charge profile based on battery temperature. The battery temp probe currently runs from the battery to the BMV712 where it will wirelessly transmit to the solar panel controller. I can program it through the Victron Connect app so It will be convenient as well.

                              This unit will also fit in the solar panel enclosure so its a win win. I still plan on mounting it with industrial Velcro.

                              Jim
                              2017 Imagine 2600RB
                              2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                              Comment

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