Phase 5, Adding A 30 Amp ProStar Charge Controller

 

I've had good performance with my MorningStar 10L Charge Controller, but my system has finally outgrown the 10 Amp limit.  My solar array now puts out a tad over 14 Amps in full sunlight.  Shortly after I installed the 130 Watt Kyocera panel,  I came home and found my 10L controller was flashing a warning light, and was screaming.  A little investigation and I discovered I had used a 10 Amp fuse in the system.  Well, at some point during rainy day, the sun came out, and my array put out more current than the fuse can handle.  Phzzt!  Dead fuse.  This disconnected the charge controller from the battery, causing the alarm.  No damage.  I put in a slightly larger fuse, and the system is working fine again.  But the 10L is undersized now.  So it's important that I get the 30 Amp Controller connected quickly.

I have 6 gauge wire that will connect from bus bars in the attic, where all the solar panels tie into, to the 30 Amp Charge Controller.  This will keep the losses to a minimum.

 

A 10 Amp fuse just doesn't cut it anymore.  Note the fried conductor between the spade contacts.

I have two digital Voltmeters connected to my system.  The one on the left shows solar array Voltage, the one on the right is battery Voltage.  In the mornings and afternoons, these two meters are within 0.1V of each other.  But during the peak of the day, I'm producing more power than needed, so about once a second the controller disconnects from the array, causing the meter on the left to spike up to ~20 VDC.  Tells me that a lot of energy is going to waste.  I need to move more items over to solar power!

Here's what my 95 Watt array would put out in full sunlight, before I added the Kyocera 130 Watt panel.

My array, now at 225 Watts, is putting out a tad over 14 Amps (short circuit current).  This is enough current that making/breaking connections actually produces a good spark.

Since I've had good performance with my 10 Amp MorningStar charge controller, I decided to get the 30 Amp model, with an integrated LCD meter.  As with my 130 Watt Kyocera solar panel, this was another freebie.  I used the remainder of my Govt. Stimulus Check to purchase this hardware.

 

My Alt-Power panel is getting cluttered again.  Maybe time for another update to move things around.  At the top is my DC distribution panel with a 24 position fuse panel.  One fuse was blown, as indicated by the red LED.  In the center is a Prosine 1800 Watt inverter, just below is a MorningStar 10L charge controller.  To the right is the ProStar 30M controller, and a 400 Watt inverter is to its right.  Once I get the larger wiring installed, I'll clean things up again.

 

Just finished running the 6 ga wire from my solar panels, to the charge controller.  System is up and functional.  This is battery Voltage at the time.  During the peak of the day, this figure climbs to a tad over 14 Volts.

This is charge current during the peak of the day.  I now can produce more power with my solar setup than my 10 Amp Xantrex plug-in-the-wall charger.

At night, my outdoor Compact Fluorescent Lighting is running from an inverter. Details of this setup here.  My security cameras also run from this setup.  Total load on the system at night is 2.1 Amps.  The lights run for 6 hours, then are automatically turned off.

An overview shot of the two charge controllers, the automatic blackout switch, and the 400 Watt inverter running the outdoor lighting.

 

So What's Next?  Time to sell stuff on EBay to buy more panels!

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Last updated 10/28/08    All rights reserved.