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Old 05-05-2016, 03:39 AM   #1
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Default Thoughts on Morningstar MPPT CCs?

After looking around at various brands, come Transit build time, I'm looking at speccing it with two Morningstar MPPT controllers. One would be for the rooftop panels (assuming the panels are identical make/model), the other would be for a receptacle on the side of the van for a portable panel setup.

I do read a lot of reviews, and the one thing that is nice about the Morningstar models is that they are fanless. They do need to have airflow, but having no fan means one less thing that can break.

Another nice bonus is that they one can download panel data to a spreadsheet for fine tuning.

Has anyone have any experience, good/bad/ugly with these CCs that they don't mind sharing?
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:09 PM   #2
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Unless they have changed them over the last couple of years, they have several shortcomings. We had one for several years on our solar setup.

The biggest issue for us was that the controller was strictly timer based, so it had the tendency to overcharge on regular basis if the batteries were full from another source, and it ran a complete charge cycle. One poster on the Yahoo board nearly completely boiled a wet cell dry over a relatively short time while on shore power, parked in the winter, as the controller gave a full absorption charge every day on top of the full battery and shore charger on float. On a trip we took that we had shore power all the time, we had to add water once a week, where before the solar was on we added once every two months. There are similar cost units that use a shunt to base charge times based on battery charging amps, which is much better and will not do the chronic overcharge of full batteries.

Our Morningstar was very hard to program the profile or change charge settings. It required a laptop, a port adapter, and add on box, a program, and cables. The other units program at the remote without any add ons.

AMsolar used to sell the Morningstar units as their standard in the smaller systems, that is where we got ours, but they have now changed to mostly BlueSky controllers. We had changed to a BlueSky 2512 model even before AMsolar did. It has been much better with only a few annoyances.

Bogart now has a controller that pairs up with their Trimetric meter that looks promising, also. Shunt based, very programmable for the remote. It is a PWM, however, not MPPT. The poster that boiled the battery is currently installing one and will be doing a side by side test with the Morningstar they still have, so it should be a good source of information.

Almost all the smaller units are fanless, I think.
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:28 PM   #3
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Here is another example of a switch from Morningstar to Blue Sky...

The Big “Beastly” Solar/Battery Upgrade Part II – Component Details – Wheeling It
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:37 PM   #4
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Very good advice. Since I definitely will have multiple charging points (secondary alternator, Onan generator, multiple solar CCs, having even AGM jars boiled dry isn't my idea of a good time.

The Blue Sky is 40 amps, but around $75.00 cheaper than the Morningstar, as per Amazon. On the top of a van, with two panels (not sure how high I can go, ARV states they go with two 95W panels without a major reconfiguration of the roof), I don't think I ever would hit the 40A capacity limit, barring a cloud edge event. The second CC will definitely remain, because I can get a roll-out panel or two and stake those out, for additional charging.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:53 PM   #5
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We are running the 2512 Blue Sky 25 amp controller on 300 watts of Grape Solar panels without any issues but are close to the high end recommended for the 2512.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:16 PM   #6
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Here’s another option - fwiw. I am a huge fan of Midnite’s stuff.

http://www.midnitesolar.com/pages/kid/index.php
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheral View Post
Heres another option - fwiw. I am a huge fan of Midnites stuff.

http://www.midnitesolar.com/pages/kid/index.php
I see a shunt in their list of available parts, but none in the wiring diagrams I looked at. Are they shunt controlled units?
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:20 PM   #8
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HandyBob seems to like the Bogart solar controller for small systems and is not happy with the Midnite Solars that he used...

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...-2030-perfect/

https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/...ssic-problems/
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:20 PM   #9
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I've had 3 other RVs prior to my current Roadtrek and have had solar on all of them using Blue Sky controllers. I have found them very reliable and never have had a problem.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:57 PM   #10
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Yes the Midnite units can use shunts, I believe called the Whiz Bang Jr. You can use their units with or without the shunt.

I have three Midnite controllers running our off grid home (3 kW) and have been happy with them. I read Handy Bob’s review - Seems Handy Bob should design his own controller Anyway, the Midnite comment was just a fwiw, cause the more things we look at, usually we make a better choice at the end of the day.
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