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Solar Regulators - MPPT

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Solar Regulators

What are Solar Regulators / Solar Charge Controllers?

Solar electric power systems are essentially very simple. You have a device which converts sunlight into electrical energy (a photovoltaic panel or 'solar panel') and this is used to charge up a battery. The battery allows you to collect energy when the sun is shining and store it until needed.

This simple picture is complicated by the limitations of the battery. If you leave the photovoltaic panel connected to a battery, the battery will slowly charge up. If you are putting in more energy than you are taking out, then the battery will eventually become fully charged. If this continues, the battery will become overcharged and be damaged by corrosion of it's plates and loss of electrolyte. To avoid this, some sort of charge regulator / solar regulator is used to stop the charging when the battery is full.

Some charge controllers / solar regulators have additional features, such as a low voltage disconnect (LDV), a separate circuit which powers down the load when the batteries become overly discharged (some battery chemistries are such that over-discharge can ruin the battery).Some charge controllers may also monitor battery temperature to prevent overheating. Some charge controller systems also display data, transmit data to remote displays, and data logging to track electric flow over time.

Pulse width modulation (PWM) and maximum power point tracker (MPPT) technologies are more electronically sophisticated, adjusting charging rates depending on the battery's level, to allow charging closer to its maximum capacity.

Series Regulator vs MPPT

The MPPT versus series regulated question is not always straight forward as it very much depends on the conditions under which charging is taking place.

MPPT is good if you need to run cables from an array over a long distance as it allows higher voltage panel strings (therefore lower power loss due to cable resistance, because of lower currents).

Other than that, MPPT is useful if you don’t want to (or can’t) match the panel specifications to the battery (e.g. on a motorhome you may want to use some uncommon, high output panels since the roof space is limited).

Be aware that the % gains claimed for MPPT (other than the above couple of examples) are not likely to be ‘real world’ (e.g. How many hours during the day do your panels work at 25°C or less ?!). The hotter the panels become –the maximum power point voltage decreases and gets close to a typical battery voltage, therefore wiping out most (if not all) the gain an MPPT unit will give.

The other issues with MPPT (particularly for boats at sea) is that it’s not always easy to bypass the regulator should a fault occur (e.g. due to lightning) since the panels and battery are not matched (e.g. high voltage panels and lower voltage battery). With a series regulated system (like the Plasmatronics regulators), the system can be kept running by connecting the panels directly to the battery and manually regulating.

Morningstar MPPT Regulators

Morningstar SunSaver MPPT 15L

Morningstar’s SunSaver MPPT solar controller with TrakStar Technology™ is an advanced maximum power point tracking (MPPT) battery charger for off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems.

The controller features a smart tracking algorithm that maximizes the energy harvest from the PV and also provides load control to prevent over discharge of the battery.

The SunSaver MPPT is well suited for both professional and consumer PV applications including automatic lighting control. Its charging process has been optimised for long battery life and improved system performance.

This product is epoxy encapsulated for environmental protection, may be adjusted by the user via four settings switches or connection to a personal computer, and has an optional remote meter and battery temperature sensor.

 

Key Features and Benefits:

Specifications
Peak Efficiency:
97.5%
Humidity:
100% non-condensing
Nominal Battery Voltage:
12 or 24 volts
Tropicalisation:

Epoxy EncapsulationConformal Coating Marine Rated Terminals

Maximum Battery Charging Current:
15 amps
Electronic Protections:

PV: Overload, Short Circuit, High Voltage

Load: Overload, Short Circuit

Reverse Polarity: Battery, PV and Load

Lightning and Transient Surges

High Temperature

Reverse Current at Night

Battery Voltage Range:
7-36 volts
Battery Types:
Gel, Sealed, AGM, Flooded
Nominal Maximum Operating Power*:

12 Volt Battery: 200w

24 Volt Battery: 400w

4 Stage Charging:

Bulk, absorption, float, equalize (optional)
Maximum PV Open Circuit Voltage**:
75 volts
Temperature Compensation:

Coefficient: –5mV/°C / cell (25°C ref)

Range: –30°C to +60°C

Set points: Absorption, float, equalize

Rated Load Current:
15 amps
Dimensions cm (HxWxD) :
16.9 x 6.4 x 7.3 cm (6.6" x 2.5" x 2.9' in)
Self Consumption:
35 milliamps
Weight:
0.60 kg / 1.3 lbs
Transient Surge Protection:
4 x 1500 Watts
Power Terminal :
16 mm2 / #6 AWG
Operating Temperature :
-40°c to +60°c
Enclosure:
Die cast aluminum with plastic cover
Storage Temperature:
-55°c to +100°c
Optional Extras Remote Meter, Remote Temperature Sensor, USB MeterBus Adapter (UMC-1), PC MeterBus Adapter for RS-232, DIN Rail Mounting Clips
Certifications: CE Compliant, RoHS Compliant, UL 1741 / CSA 107.1-01 Recognised Component, Manufactured in a Certified ISO 9001 Facility

*Input power can exceed Nominal Maximum Operating Power, but controller will limit and provide its rated continuous maximum output current into batteries. This will not harm the controller (reminder: do not exceed Voc).
**Exceeding Maximum PV Open Circuit Voltage may damage the controller

Morningstar ProStar MPPT 25 & 40

The NEW ProStar MPPT™ is a mid-range MPPT solar charge controller with TrakStar Technology™ that provides maximum power point tracking (MPPT) battery charging for off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 1100 watts.

Available with and without advanced built-in meter.

This device is ideal for industrial and residential applications.

A Wire Box for ProStar MPPT accessory to reduce hazards associated with exposed wires and connections can be purchased separately.

This controller allows multiple modules in series for 12V and 24V battery systems.

Detailed battery programming options allow for advanced battery support for the latest Lithium, Nickel Cadmium, and Lead Acid battery types.*

*Note: some battery types require a compatible battery management system.

 

KEY FEATURES AND BENEFITS

Specifications
PS-MPPT-25, PS-MPPT-25M
PS-MPPT-40, PS-MPPT-40M
Max. Battery Current:
25 Amps
40 Amps
Load Current Rating :
25 Amps
40 Amps
Max. PV Open Circuit Voltage (Voc):
120 Volts (without damage to unit)
Nominal Battery Voltage:
12V or 24V
Nominal Maximum Operating Power*:

12 Volt Battery: 350W @45C

24 Volt Battery: 700W @60C

12 Volt Battery: 550W @45C

24 Volt Battery: 1100W @60C

Peak Efficiency:
98%
Battery Voltage Range:
10-35V
Voltage Accuracy:
<= 0.1% +/- 50mV
Self-Consumption:
normal: 0.6W; maximum: 1W
LED Indication:
(1) status, (3) Battery S.0.C
Transient Surge Protection:
solar, battery, load
Meter Operating Temperature Range:

-40°C to +60°C

Storage Temperature:
-20°C to +60°C
Humidity:
-40°C to +80°C
Tropicalization:
Conformal coating, marine-rated terminals
Load & Lighting Control:

Low Voltage Disconnect, Low Voltage Reconnect Settings: 11.4V/12.6V or custom (x2 for 24 volt systems)

Lighting Settings: Dusk-dawn or custom

Electronic Protections:

Automatic recovery without fuses

Solar Input: overload, short-circuit, high voltage warning, reverse polarity, high temperature, nighttime reverse current

Load Output: overload, short-circuit, high temperature, reverse polarity

Battery: reverse polarity (no battery removal)

Battery Charging:
4-stage charging: Bulk, Absorption, Float, Equalize
Temperature Compensation:

Coefficient: -5 mV / C /cell (25 C / 77 F ref.)

Range: -30 C to +60 C / -22 F to +140 F

Setpoints: Absorption, Float, Equalize

Data & Communications:

Communication Port: MeterBus

Protocols: Morningstar MeterBus, MODBUS

Datalogging: 256 days, daily records

PC Software: MSView

Dimensions:

Standard: 20 x 17 x 7 cm (w/ Wire Box: 20 x 28.5 x 9.2 cm)

Weight:

Standard: 1.4 kg / 3.1 lbs (w/ Wire Box: 1.8 kg / 4.0 lbs)

Battery/Temp. sense:
0.25 - 1.0 mm2 / 24 - 16 AWG
Optional Extras Ground Fault Protection Device (GFPD-150), Remote Temperature Sensor (RTS), Remote Meter (RM-1), Wire Box (PS-MPPT-WB), PC MeterBus Adapter (MSC), USB Communications Adapter (UMC-1), Meter Hub (HUB-1), Relay Driver (RD-1)
Certifications:

CE; RoHS; ETLListed (UL1741,UL62109); cETL(CSA-C22.2No.107.1), TUV (IEC 62109-1); FCC Part-15 Class B compliant, Manufactured in a certified ISO 9001 facility

*Input power can exceed Nominal Operating Power. Controller will limit and provide its rated continuous maximum output current into batteries.

Morningstar TriStar MPPT 30, 45 & 60

Morningstar’s TriStar MPPT solar controller with TrakStar Technology™ is an advanced maximum power point tracking (MPPT) battery charger for off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 3kW.

The controller provides the industry’s highest peak efficiency of 99% and significantly less power loss compared to other MPPT controllers.

The TriStar MPPT features a smart tracking algorithm that maximizes the energy harvest from the PV by rapidly finding the solar array peak power point with extremely fast sweeping of the entire I-V curve.

This product is the first PV controller to include on-board Ethernet for a fully web-enabled interface and includes up to 200 days of data logging

Key Features and Benefits:

Specifications
TS-MPPT-30
TS-MPPT-45
TS-MPPT-60
Max. Battery Current:
30 Amps
45 Amps
60 Amps
Nominal Maximum Operating Power:*

12 Volt Battery: 400w

24 Volt Battery: 800w

48 Volt Battery: 1600w

12 Volt Battery: 600w

24 Volt Battery: 1200w

48 Volt Battery: 2400w

12 Volt Battery: 800w

24 Volt Battery: 1600w

48 Volt Battery: 3200w

Max. PV Open Circuit Voltage (Voc):**
150 volts DC
Nominal System Voltage:
12, 24, 36 or 48 volts DC
Peak Efficiency:
99%
Battery Voltage Range:
8-72 volts DC
Maximum Self-consumption:
2.7 Watts
Transient Surge Protection:
4500 Watts/port
Ambient Temperature:

-40°C to +45°C

Storage Temperature:
-55°C to +100°C
Humidity:
100% non-condensing
Tropicalization:
Epoxy encapsulation, Conformal coating, Marine rated terminals
Electronic Protections:

Solar: Overload, Short Circuit, High Voltage

Battery: High Voltaget

High Temperature, Lightning and Transient Surges, Reverse Current at Night

Battery Charging:
4-stage charging: Bulk, Absorption, Float, Equalize
Temperature Compensation:

Coefficient: –5mV/°C/cell (25° ref)

Range: -30 C to +80 C

Setpoints: Absorption, Float, Equalize, HVD

Communication Ports

MeterBus:

RS-232:

EIA-485:

Ethernet:

TS-MPPT30

Yes

Yes

No

No

TS-MPPT45

Yes

Yes

No

No

TS-MPPT60

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Dimensions:

29.1 x 13.0 x 14.2 cm (11.4 x 5.1 x 5.6 in)

Weight:

4.2 kg / 9.2 lbs

Optional Extras: TriStar Meter-2 (TS-M-2), TriStar Remote Meter-2 (TS-RM-2), Meter Hub (HUB-1), Relay Driver (RD-1)
Certifications:

CE and RoHS Compliant, ETL Listed (UL1741), cETL (CSA C22.2 No. 107.1-01), FCC Class B Part 15 Compliant, U.S. National Electrical Code (NEC) 690.5 Compliant, Manufactured in a certified ISO 9001 facility

*Input power can exceed Nominal Maximum Operating Power, but controller will limit and provide its rated continuous maximum output current into batteries. This will not harm the controller (reminder: do not exceed Voc).
**Exceeding Maximum PV Open Circuit Voltage may damage the controller.

Morningstar TriStar MPPT 600v

Morningstar’s TriStar MPPT 600V charge controller leverages Morningstar’s innovative TrakStar™ MPPT technology and our 20+ years of power electronics engineering excellence, to enable the widest input operating voltage range available from a solar array, wind turbine or hydro input.

This controller’s standard and DB versions are for off-grid applications, and the TR versions were developed to enable retrofitting grid-tied systems with battery backup:


Rated for 60 Amps, the TriStar MPPT 600V controller does much more than efficiently charge batteries; it also provides remote communications, data logging, adjustability and metering. In fact, the TriStar MPPT 600V controller is the only 600-volt PV controller to offer open communication protocols and true Ethernet-enabled functionality.

Key Features & Benefits

The TriStar MPPT 600V charge controller delivers high reliability and excellent performance and features:

Applications

The TriStar MPPT 600V charge controller’s high voltage capability and flexible design enable several application scenarios including:

High Voltage Capacity

Extremely High Reliability

Very High Efficiency

Maximises Energy Harvest
Our TrakStarTM MPPT Technology features:

Communications Capabilities

Other Features

Specifications
Peak Efficiency:
97.9%
Maximum Battery Current:
60A
Maximum Input Operating Current:
15A (self limiting)
Maximum Solar Open Circuit Voltage:
600V
Nominal Maximum Operating Power****

3200Wp, 48 Volt

Nominal System Voltage:
48 Vdc (custom programmable to 24V, 36V and 60V)
Battery Operating Voltage Range:
16-72 Vdc
PV Input Operating Voltage Range:
100V to Voc = 525V
Wind/Hydro Input Operating Voltage Range:
Battery Voltage to 500V
Self-Consumption:
1.75 - 2.50 W
Transient Surge Protection:
4500 Watts/port
Electronic Protections:

Input: Overload, high voltage

Battery: High voltage, battery sense disconnected, remote temperature sense disconnected

General Operation: High temperature, reverse current at night, lightning and transient surges

Ambient Temperature:
-40°C to +45°C
Storage Temperature:
-55°C to +85°C
Humidity:
100% non-condensing
Tropicalization:
Epoxy encapsulation, Conformal coating, Marine-rated terminals
Battery Charging:

Charging Stages: MPPT, absorption, float, equalize

Temperature Compensation:

Coefficient: -5 mV / C /cell (25 C / 77 F ref.)

Range: -30 C to +60 C / -22 F to +140 F

Setpoints: Absorption, Float, Equalize

Communication:

Ports: Ethernet, EIA-485, RS-232, MeterBus

Supported Protocols: MeterBus, MODBUS RTU, MODBUS TCP/ IP, HTTP, SNMP v2, SMTP

Dimensions:

Standard Version: 39.2 x 22.1 x 14.9 cm / 15.4 x 8.7 x 5.9 in

DB & TR Version: 54.2 x 22.1 x 14.9 cm / 21.4 x 8.7 x 5.9 in

Weight:

Standard: 9.0 kg / 19.8 lbs

DB & TR Version: 12.8 kg / 28.1 lbs

Optional Extras: TriStar 600V Meter (TS-M-2-600V), TriStar Remote Meter (TS-RM-2), Meter Hub (HUB-1), Relay Driver (RD-1), 600V Ground Fault Protection Device (GFPD-600V)
Certifications:

CE, RoHS, NEC Compliant, ETL Listed: UL-1741 and Canadian CSA C22.2 No. 107.1.01, FCC Class B Part 15 Compliant

Four Versions:

Pre-wired with Ground Fault Protection Device All non-standard versions include a 1-Pole; 63A PV battery breaker*** and pre-wired PV/Battery busbars TR versions also include a pre-wired String Inverter busbar

* Can be used as a 2-pole version of the Disconnect Box.
** See GFPD-600V datasheet for additional specifications.
*** Can be replaced with 2-pole battery breaker.
**** Input power can exceed Nominal Maximum Operating Power, but controller will limit and provide its rated continuous maximum output current into batteries. This will not harm the controller.