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Old 01-19-2021, 10:58 PM   #1
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New Solar Controller, best one?

I have been looking at 30AMP solar controllers and I find they range from $26.00 to $150.00. I am adding an additional 100W solar panel and two more batteries.

So can anyone tell me a good brand that will work without giving me problems.

It is going into my 2021 Magnitude XG32 that comes with a 10AMP controller.

I only want to do this one time.
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:04 PM   #2
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Renogy and Victron make good MPPT controllers.

David
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
Renogy and Victron make good MPPT controllers.

David
Two of the better ones out there
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Old 01-19-2021, 11:53 PM   #4
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Does Zamp also make controllers?
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:21 AM   #5
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My xantrex allowed for custom setups regarding solar input vs battery pull vs inverter vs shore power.(on a now sold vehicle]
Lots of info provided on its screen.

https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-84-20...ntroll&sr=8-22

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01LR...rb_top?ie=UTF8
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Does Zamp also make controllers?
Yes they do, but they are PWM types. These work ok on 12V panels but you lose about 15% of available power due to the PWM workings. MPPT types use about 98% of available power. And if you wire two panels in series to limit voltage drop, you absolutely have to use an MPPT type.

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Old 01-20-2021, 04:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
Yes they do, but they are PWM types. These work ok on 12V panels but you lose about 15% of available power due to the PWM workings. MPPT types use about 98% of available power. And if you wire two panels in series to limit voltage drop, you absolutely have to use an MPPT type.

David
I noticed that the MPPT units cost more. I am not concerned about that. I just want it to work and not be a problem. So based on your recommendation I will buy that one. I don't know what the difference between the PWM and the MPPT. I will add a 100w solar panel to the existing 100w, and add 2 batteries. I was told in an earlier post that I should use 30A controller. So that is what I am going to do. Just have to find the right controller and get it ordered.
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Old 01-20-2021, 06:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GTM41261 View Post
Two of the better ones out there
Well I settled on an EPever 20amp MPPT controller on Amazon, It had decent ratings. Sadly the Renogy had a lot of out-of-the box failures. The reviews were pretty bad. The EPever also looked easier to use and a lot of features. I will add the other solar panel and this controller and two more batteries. Since it is already solar equipped it should just wire and play. Keeping my fingers crossed. My current controller doesn't have an AC output meter, so I read that I just ignore the wire connectors for that.

The big warning was, install battery wires before the solar panels, or it will be ruined. That was for any brand.
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Old 01-20-2021, 11:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTRvs666 View Post
I have been looking at 30AMP solar controllers and I find they range from $26.00 to $150.00. I am adding an additional 100W solar panel and two more batteries.

So can anyone tell me a good brand that will work without giving me problems.

It is going into my 2021 Magnitude XG32 that comes with a 10AMP controller.

I only want to do this one time.
Personally.... I would save your money and spend it on something else.

I have a 2020 SV34 with the same 10A Go Power Solar Controller. The 2020 Magnitudes / Omnis were only solar prepped. I added two Renogy 160W flexible solar panels. I also added two Duracell 6V Deep Cycle Batteries.

The 10A would work just fine with two 100W panels and keeps the house and chassis batteries topped off if there is sun and no shore power.

I know the "experts" will say you need a bigger controller but when you look at it more closely and real performance versus theoretical performance, the 10A can do the job:

- Solar panels are not 100% efficient
- Solar panel performance degrades over time from the first time light hits them
- Unless you are tilting the panels directly to the sun at all times and have complete unobstructed sunshine you are not getting the full power generation of the panels
- Unless you are going up on your roof and cleaning your panels every week you are not getting the full power generation of the panels

After all of that real world consideration, I am probably luck to be pulling 10A from my panel generation.

So unless you intend to install 5 or 6 panels, the 10A Controller can do the job. With 320W of "potential" power generation on my roof, my controller and wiring does not get hot, I have not blown the fuse and my four (and sometimes 6 batteries when the BIM160 latches to charge the chassis batteries as well) get topped off just fine.


Also....

PWM Controllers are cheaper and older technology. They are less efficient but still a good option for maby basic solar implementations. They are unable to limit their current output so they just use the array current. So if the solar array can produce 20 amps of current and the charge controller you’re using is only rated to 10 amps, the controller could be damaged. It is also limited to 25V - 50V max so wiring panels in series is generally not a good practice with this controller.

The bottom line is PWM controllers supply a tiny amount of power to keep batteries full. PWM controllers are best for small scale applications because the solar panel system and batteries have to have matching voltages.

The Go Power is a PWM Controller and again.... I have had no issues after a year of using it with two 160W panels in parrallel and it does the job for keeping the batteries topped off. If it fails eventually, then I will likely replace it with a 20A or 30A PWM or MPPT controller.

MPPT Controllers are typically used with larger and more complicated systems but they still can be used for an RV application. An MPPT controller will decrease the amount of current drawn in order to maintain a desirable voltage at the output of the panel. When it becomes sunny again, the MPPT controller will allow more current from the solar panel once again. They also limit their output so you can make a solar array as large as you want and the controller will limit that output. However, this means your system isn’t as efficient as it could be since you have panels that aren’t being properly utilized. Even if your panels could produce 50A of current, a 30A MPPT Controller would only allow 30A to be used.

An MPPT Controller can accept 100 volts of input, which means you can wire the panels in series. The resulting higher voltage can mean lower currents but if one panel's performance degrades (it gets dirty, starts fialing, etc.), it takes the performance of the entire system down with it. You can still wire the panels in parallel as well.

The 10A Go Power Controller Thor uses is only available to RV OEM's. It has the following features:

-3 Battery Charging profiles: Gel, AGM, Flooded, and Lithium
-4 Stage Charging: Bulk, Float, Absorption and Equalize
-Monthly Equalize option
-Reverse Polarity protected
-Accepts up to 190 watts of solar at 12 volts (so it really could handle two 200W panels when you factor in my real world parameters above)
- Accepts up to 25V input
- Has over-current and over-temp protection (neither of which have I ever had happen with two 160W panels)
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:45 PM   #10
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Judge,
Thanks for the explanation of the differences between controller types.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge View Post
Personally.... I would save your money and spend it on something else.

I have a 2020 SV34 with the same 10A Go Power Solar Controller. The 2020 Magnitudes / Omnis were only solar prepped. I added two Renogy 160W flexible solar panels. I also added two Duracell 6V Deep Cycle Batteries.

The 10A would work just fine with two 100W panels and keeps the house and chassis batteries topped off if there is sun and no shore power.

I know the "experts" will say you need a bigger controller but when you look at it more closely and real performance versus theoretical performance, the 10A can do the job:

- Solar panels are not 100% efficient
- Solar panel performance degrades over time from the first time light hits them
- Unless you are tilting the panels directly to the sun at all times and have complete unobstructed sunshine you are not getting the full power generation of the panels
- Unless you are going up on your roof and cleaning your panels every week you are not getting the full power generation of the panels

After all of that real world consideration, I am probably luck to be pulling 10A from my panel generation.

So unless you intend to install 5 or 6 panels, the 10A Controller can do the job. With 320W of "potential" power generation on my roof, my controller and wiring does not get hot, I have not blown the fuse and my four (and sometimes 6 batteries when the BIM160 latches to charge the chassis batteries as well) get topped off just fine.


Also....

PWM Controllers are cheaper and older technology. They are less efficient but still a good option for maby basic solar implementations. They are unable to limit their current output so they just use the array current. So if the solar array can produce 20 amps of current and the charge controller youíre using is only rated to 10 amps, the controller could be damaged. It is also limited to 25V - 50V max so wiring panels in series is generally not a good practice with this controller.

The bottom line is PWM controllers supply a tiny amount of power to keep batteries full. PWM controllers are best for small scale applications because the solar panel system and batteries have to have matching voltages.

The Go Power is a PWM Controller and again.... I have had no issues after a year of using it with two 160W panels in parrallel and it does the job for keeping the batteries topped off. If it fails eventually, then I will likely replace it with a 20A or 30A PWM or MPPT controller.

MPPT Controllers are typically used with larger and more complicated systems but they still can be used for an RV application. An MPPT controller will decrease the amount of current drawn in order to maintain a desirable voltage at the output of the panel. When it becomes sunny again, the MPPT controller will allow more current from the solar panel once again. They also limit their output so you can make a solar array as large as you want and the controller will limit that output. However, this means your system isnít as efficient as it could be since you have panels that arenít being properly utilized. Even if your panels could produce 50A of current, a 30A MPPT Controller would only allow 30A to be used.

An MPPT Controller can accept 100 volts of input, which means you can wire the panels in series. The resulting higher voltage can mean lower currents but if one panel's performance degrades (it gets dirty, starts fialing, etc.), it takes the performance of the entire system down with it. You can still wire the panels in parallel as well.

The 10A Go Power Controller Thor uses is only available to RV OEM's. It has the following features:

-3 Battery Charging profiles: Gel, AGM, Flooded, and Lithium
-4 Stage Charging: Bulk, Float, Absorption and Equalize
-Monthly Equalize option
-Reverse Polarity protected
-Accepts up to 190 watts of solar at 12 volts (so it really could handle two 200W panels when you factor in my real world parameters above)
- Accepts up to 25V input
- Has over-current and over-temp protection (neither of which have I ever had happen with two 160W panels)
Judge, between you and Bob Denman I get the best advice. So thank you.

I wish I would have read this before I punched the ticket for the new one, but since it is on the way I will go ahead and install it with the new solar panel and two batteries. It was only $80.00.

I just think the biggest difference will be the speed of the recharge. It is pretty sunny here in So Utah where we basically have the same weather as Las Vegas.
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Old 01-20-2021, 04:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CTRvs666 View Post
...I just think the biggest difference will be the speed of the recharge. It is pretty sunny here in So Utah where we basically have the same weather as Las Vegas.
Minus the hungover gamblers...
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Old 01-20-2021, 06:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Minus the hungover gamblers...
We are plagued with Snowbirders that drive under the speed limit. The days of the white buicks with embroidered kleenex boxes in the back window are over. Now it is white Prius'. I'll take the hangovers.
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:13 PM   #14
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Well I'm not a snowbird...
I'm just an Olphart that drives under the speed limit...
In my defense: I sell insurance for a living.
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Well I'm not a snowbird...
I'm just an Olphart that drives under the speed limit...
In my defense: I sell insurance for a living.
I can defend driving under the speed limit in a motorhome. I just need one of those train horns to wake em up.
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Old 01-27-2021, 07:26 PM   #16
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I have the Renogy 40 amp Rover controller and 4 100 watt panels and 4 100ah gel cells, you can set the display on the controller to read the amps and mine has been trouble free except for one of the in line 40 am fuses, they were poor quality and would loosen up on the connections, I replace the hardware on the fuse holder to 5/16 brass bolt and brass nuts with stainless steel shake proof washers and that took care of the problem, the newer controllers have a app you down load on your phone an you can monitor volts, amps and watts, good system so far.
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Old 01-27-2021, 08:55 PM   #17
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Last summer I installed a Newpowa 200W Solar Panel
Xantrex Freedom XC 2000w 80A Pure Sine Inverter/Charger
EPEVER 40A Tracer MPPT Controller w/Temperature Sensor

I may have gone a bit overboard for my little Class C, but I'm very happy with the performance!
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Upgrades: 190W Go Power Overlander Solar Panel, EPever 40A Tracer MPPT Controller, Xantrex Freedom XC 2000W 80A Inverter/Charger, VMAX AGM 240Ah Battery Bank, Big Foot Leveling Jacks, Jensen CAR1000
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