Best solar charge controller and inverter for a 400w system? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 01-07-2017, 02:34 AM   #1
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Best solar charge controller and inverter for a 400w system?

My insurance came through for roof cuts and awning replacement...but instead of replacing rubber membrane on roof.. we are having entire roof life time spray coated and they recommended if going to go solar do it now as coating is 3/8 inch thick rubber or at least the brackets installed. So I opted to go for it. 4 panels installed and wired to sprayed in junction box for $500. What controller and inverter are y'all using and battery set up run time etc etc .. any info would be appreciated!


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Old 01-07-2017, 10:00 AM   #2
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Don't have your controller answer but saw your roof at an RV show in Florida last year. Really neat, but pricey. I thin they wanted around 7 grand, but boy, was it sold and never have to worry about a leak? Perfect. Congratulations, good move.
Rusty
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:01 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Nate42379 View Post
My insurance came through for roof cuts and awning replacement...but instead of replacing rubber membrane on roof.. we are having entire roof life time spray coated and they recommended if going to go solar do it now as coating is 3/8 inch thick rubber or at least the brackets installed. So I opted to go for it. 4 panels installed and wired to sprayed in junction box for $500. What controller and inverter are y'all using and battery set up run time etc etc .. any info would be appreciated!


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Old 01-07-2017, 12:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lcv800 View Post
Don't have your controller answer but saw your roof at an RV show in Florida last year. Really neat, but pricey. I thin they wanted around 7 grand, but boy, was it sold and never have to worry about a leak? Perfect. Congratulations, good move.
Rusty


Campingworld wanted $9,000for rubber membrane replacement so $6,500 is kind of a deal. I think it is the right way to go.. installing the third ac as well


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Old 01-10-2017, 01:03 AM   #5
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I was hoping for a little more insight from some of the techies out there???????????? 6v, 12v batt...inverter type and size... what type of charge controller and how many amps etc etc


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Old 01-10-2017, 09:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nate42379 View Post
I was hoping for a little more insight from some of the techies out there???????????? 6v, 12v batt...inverter type and size... what type of charge controller and how many amps etc etc


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4 - 6v batteries. I have a Magnum Inverter with the remote control and automatic generator start as well as the BMK Battery monitor.

Sizing all depends on what you require to run and budget involved.
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Nate42379 View Post
I was hoping for a little more insight from some of the techies out there???????????? 6v, 12v batt...inverter type and size... what type of charge controller and how many amps etc etc


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How much do you want to $pend?

Trojan T-105 6 volt batteries are the way to go. Minimum of 80 watts of solar per battery 100 watts per would be better. There are basically two choices in solar controlers PWM and MPPT. IMHO on a smaller install like an RV there isn't a clear choice.

I use a 30 amp Morningstar PWM controller for 100 watts of panels at the moment. Eventually I plan to go 200-300 watt permanent install. I currently use a Renogy 100 watt portable suitcase, it allows me to park in the shade and put the panels in the sun. They work fine for topping up the battery. Typically you want the controller as close to the batteries as feasible to minimize power loss and keep cable size to a minimum.

Inverter; you will probably want a Pure Sine Wave, size it large enough to handle the biggest load you plan to use at a time. I am planning on 2,000 watts which will be enough to handle a single cup Keurig or my wife's hair curlers.

You will also want a good power meter to track your power in and out of your battery bank. I like the Victron BM700 series, it has an optional bluetooth dongle that will allow you to read the meter remotely (did I mention that I was born lazy and raised slow?) Trimetric also makes a good one.
[/URL] it was the industry gold standard for quite a few years. There may be others out there.

Think of your battery bank as a savings account, you can pull it out but it gotta go back in or you will be cold and bankrupt.

Aaron
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:50 PM   #8
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Need more info before making recommendations on a controller. I think its a bummer you were pressured into purchasing and installing panels like that. Your system needs to planned as a whole in order to have the best chance of success. Ideally you would have done an energy audit first so you know what kind of power needs you'll have on both the DC and AC side of things. Then you determine what kind of battery system and inverter will best fulfill those needs. Then you worry about how to properly recharge and maintain the batteries and that is when you design your solar charging system.

But too late for that, you've got panels installed and you now need to design around them. So we need to know the nominal voltage and wattage of the panels you've mounted and if they are wired in parallel or series before recommending a controller.

Features you should be looking for in a controller are:
  • Programmable setpoints - you'll want to be able to get the batteries up to 14.8V for bulk and absorption charging stages.
  • Temperature compensation - ambient temperature affects your voltage setpoints. A controller with temperature compensation will make sure you are charging to the appropriate voltages based on ambient temperatures.
  • Adjustable charging profiles - I change my storage charging profiles from camping season use.

To be honest, I've only use my Morningstar Tristar 45 PWM and it is a great controller that has all of those features. It cost around $200. I did not get the display panel for it and just hook it up to my laptop to interface with it.

Number of batteries and size of inverter will be based on your needs, so need more info on that as well. Since you've already got panels installed, their recharging capacity may drive this selection as well.
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ewarnerusa View Post
Need more info before making recommendations on a controller. I think its a bummer you were pressured into purchasing and installing panels like that. Your system needs to planned as a whole in order to have the best chance of success. Ideally you would have done an energy audit first so you know what kind of power needs you'll have on both the DC and AC side of things. Then you determine what kind of battery system and inverter will best fulfill those needs. Then you worry about how to properly recharge and maintain the batteries and that is when you design your solar charging system.



But too late for that, you've got panels installed and you now need to design around them. So we need to know the nominal voltage and wattage of the panels you've mounted and if they are wired in parallel or series before recommending a controller.



Features you should be looking for in a controller are:
  • Programmable setpoints - you'll want to be able to get the batteries up to 14.8V for bulk and absorption charging stages.
  • Temperature compensation - ambient temperature affects your voltage setpoints. A controller with temperature compensation will make sure you are charging to the appropriate voltages based on ambient temperatures.
  • Adjustable charging profiles - I change my storage charging profiles from camping season use.



To be honest, I've only use my Morningstar Tristar 45 PWM and it is a great controller that has all of those features. It cost around $200. I did not get the display panel for it and just hook it up to my laptop to interface with it.



Number of batteries and size of inverter will be based on your needs, so need more info on that as well. Since you've already got panels installed, their recharging capacity may drive this selection as well.


Thank you very much for the input... I'm looking to run heater all night. and 2 led tv's and DVD players in the evening for about 4 hrs each, water pump intermittently... all lights are led as to start conservation there..not sure on 4 12v batteries or 4 6v batteries...looking at 3000w pure sine inverter and a real good controller...New and totally ignorant to solar. Thank you for Patiance.


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Old 01-10-2017, 10:02 PM   #10
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4 - 6v batteries. I have a Magnum Inverter with the remote control and automatic generator start as well as the BMK Battery monitor.

Sizing all depends on what you require to run and budget involved.


Thank you bud


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