Author Topic: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???  (Read 1373 times)

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Offline Moopla

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Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« on: March 26, 2012, 08:56:31 AM »
Hey all, well to put it mildly i am an electrical NOVICE and have a small dilemma. While visiting my parents in NSW over the weekend I was drooling over my dads solar/240v/ctekdc-dc charger/12v setup he has installed in his motorhome and trying to get my head around what all the gauges and lights actually meant???? ??? It was then that my dad said he had some other items left over that he decided not to use but thought i could use in our camper trailer setup. Now the old man has given me a solar system controller by Pro Vista. The model is an ISC3020. I think its a 30amp controller. It kinda looks like a small amplifier with a digital display. I was told by the old man it must be fitted inside the camper trailer away from the elements. He also gave me a 175W mono crystaline solar panel. Now the panel is HUGE. Its about 5 ft tall so i was going to wrap it up and store it in transit on top of the mattress inside the camper and setup a stand to support it when camped. Now, I have decided that i'm too useless to figure out how to connect everything so i was wondering if anyone could suggest an auto eleccy on brissies southside that could have a look at it. Also has anyone got any opinions on this solar regulator and panel setup?? Is there anything i should be looking for on the solar panel to make sure it is compatible???? To let you know we have a lifestyle camper trailer with dual 100amp batts in it. We have a basic led lighting setup and run a waeco 80ltr fridge. Now we run out of power around the third day and am hoping to expand my 12volt setup with some more gadgets later. So does anyone see this working ok? Thanks guys.. :cheers: Matty

Offline Maîneÿ . . .

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 09:51:13 AM »


All good tech numbers  ;D

13.4v  Float charge
14.4v  Boost charge
11.5v  Disconnect voltage
12.5v  Reconnect voltage
*RECOMMENDED* cable size is; 16 mm2 

Complies with following:
- CE compliant according EN61000-6-1 and EN61000-6-3
- UL 1741 compliant
- RoHS compliant
- Manufactured according to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001

Re the solar panel,
I think is likely to be 24v and even so it will work with the "Pro Vista Solar Regulator" so all is good  ;D ;D

The Amperage is the relevant number you need to be aware of

Put the solar regulator near the battery bank
so you can see the LCD screen and you will know instantly what is happening at a glance
 




Offline Burnsy

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 10:23:32 AM »
Now, I have decided that i'm too useless to figure out how to connect everything so i was wondering if anyone could suggest an auto eleccy on brissies southside that could have a look at it.

Know idea about what is where in Brissey but drop Jetcrew on here a line, he does solar installs over there.
www.getawaygear.com.au  "PERTH AGENT FOR MANDRAKES SOLAR POWER"
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Online boobook

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 06:21:44 AM »
I would definitely check the voltage of the panels, I seriously doubt that it will work efficiently with that controller unless it is a 12V panel.

To do that get a voltmeter across the leads of the panel in a fairly bright sunny day. If it reads between 18 and 23V then it is ok. If it reads 40 - 45V then it is a 24V panel.

If it is a 24v panel it won't destroy that controller but you will only get about 5A out of the controller. If it is a 12v Panel you will get about 10A.

That is a big panel to get just 5A from. To fix that either get a good MPPT regulator and you will get about 12.5A or get new panels.


Offline Maîneÿ . . .

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 09:07:24 AM »
I would definitely check the voltage of the panels, I seriously doubt that it will work efficiently with that controller unless it is a 12V panel.

Matty,
your ISC3020 solar controller is suitable for use with 12v &  24v solar panels up to 30a capacity  :cup:

it's LCD display screen shows battery level, power & voltage, fault messages, voltage regulation, current compensated load disconnection, auto re-connection, temperature compensation, manual load switch, over charge protection, deep discharge protection, reverse polarity protection for load, module & battery, auto electronic fuse short circuit protection for load & module, over voltage protection, open circuit protection, reverse current protection at night, battery over voltage shut down, the PWM controlled multistage charging system is suitable for voltages of either 12v or 24v.

Online boobook

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 02:41:44 PM »
Yep it is suitable for 12V Panels WITH 12V batteries OR 24V panels WITH 24V batteries, but not very useful for 24V panels with 12v batteries. Under these circumstances it will not charge the battery at more than about 5A. A MPPT charger will charge a 12V battery with 24V panels at about 12.5A.


Offline Maîneÿ . . .

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 02:59:04 PM »
Yep it is suitable for 12V Panels WITH 12V batteries OR 24V panels WITH 24V batteries, but not very useful for 24V panels with 12v batteries. Under these circumstances it will not charge the battery at more than about 5A. A MPPT charger will charge a 12V battery with 24V panels at about 12.5A.

Yes, the 175W mono crystaline solar panel would be 24v

so does he use a 24v battery system   ;D



« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 03:00:45 PM by Maîneÿ . . . »

Offline Moopla

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 03:36:17 PM »
Ok solar gurus, thankyou Mainey and Bobook for the advice. I am slowly learning what to look out for. What i have realised is the solar regulator seems like a good unit. The bad news is i think i now know why the old man didn't want to use the solar panel....Being the electrical monkey i am, I don't even own a set of multis to test the output so i went off to the auto electrician down springwood way with the details from the back of the panel. He is too busy to look at it this week but thinks the panel is prob 36v. I'm not sure how to upload a photo so here are the details from the back of the panel..


Peak power 175w
Open circuit voltage 43.9V
Max power Voltage  36.2V
Short circuit current 5.3A
Max power current 4.85 A
Max system voltage DC1000V
Weight 15kg

So i'll drop it down to the auto electrician next week but i'm thinking it's a 36v panel from a domestic application. So can anyone tell me if this panel will still work or should i bite the bullett and buy a setup from jetcrew? Keeping in mind what i have here already has cost me nothing and finances are pretty tight at the moment.. >:(
So any opinions would be much appreciated. Thanks very much guys. Matty

Online boobook

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 05:43:58 PM »
Ok you have a "24volt" panel and with the equipment you have, you can get about 4.5A charge. Not much for that size panel.

My question is this. Can you use the panel at that physical size conveniently? If so then get a MPPT charger capable of 10A or more, if not get new panels and keep the charger you have. Sell what you don't use.


Offline Moopla

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2012, 06:50:36 PM »
Awesome thanks bobook. I can stash the panel with the mattress while it's in transit. Its good to hear it's a 24v panel. How much would one of these mppt controllers set me back? and from where should i buy one?.Do you think it's worth it? Maybe i could add one of these controllers at a later date? We're heading away after easter and since funds are tight i might try and use the exising controller and add the other one later. Thanks very much for your help:cheers:

Offline Moopla

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2012, 07:05:21 PM »
Also what exactly is a MPPT controller and what does it do?? In monkey english please... ;D

Offline Maîneÿ . . .

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2012, 11:53:50 PM »
Also what exactly is a MPPT controller and what does it do??

In monkey english please... ;D

bugga, if you wanted in simple plain English I could tell you, but "monkey" english ???

Sorry I can't assist you
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Online boobook

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Re: Pro Vista Solar System Controller???
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2012, 04:26:52 AM »
Moopla, I'll give it a try. This does simplify things a little so people please don't shoot me if it misses or simplifies things....

Basically a battery likes to be charged at around 13.8 - 14.5v, and with several stages like a 4 stage charger does for example.

However a Solar panel runs at between 17 and 22V for a so called 12V panel, and between 35 and 45v for a so called 24v panel. So you can't just connect a solar panel to a battery or it will fry it with over voltage. A charger or controller regulates the voltage from the higher solar panel down to the battery voltages.

The most common type of regulator is a PWM Pulse Width Modulation which quickly turns on and off to drop the average voltage down to say 13.8V. So if you have panels like yours, 175W and 40v at 5A, the regulator will "regulate" the voltage to say 13.8V at those 5A. The exact charging voltage will depend on the state of the battery charge, and the charging stage, 1- 4. These are only about 70% efficient on a 12V panel with the losses going to heat. However with a 24V panel the losses will be about 60%, and only about 40% or about 70W actually gets to the battery.

On the other hand, a MPPT regulator has 3 functions.
1)It will regulate the voltage and charge with say 4 stages like a PWM or a normal battery  charger.
2)It looks for the sweet spot, or best performance, of your solar panel under current light and temperature condition. This is Maximum Power Point Tracking - MPPT. You will notice that the maximum power voltage of your panel is 36.2V and the maximum power current is 4.85A. Note 36.2 x 4.85 = 175.5Watts, that is the spec of that panel and it's best performance numbers. Most MPPT chargers will look for the sweet spot every few minutes or as light conditions change. Note the tracking refers to it looking for the best voltage and current, and does not refer to tracking the sun across the sky which is very different.
3)Here is the bit that helps you in this situation. Unlike a PWM regulator which regulates the voltage and can deliver the maximum current of the solar panel ( in your case about 5A), a MPPT charger internally converts the Solar DC signal to AC then back to DC. The reason for this is that it preserves the POWER of the input while regulating. So again in your case it would output 175 watts. At 13.8V that means it will output 12.5A ( 13.8V x 12.5A = 175.5W) in reality it would be about 12A due to inefficiencies but you get the idea. This is very similar to how a 12V to 240 v inverter works. A 480W inverter needs to draw 40A at 12V to supply 2A at 240V. ( 20 x 12 = 480W and 2 x 240 = 480W)

So the main difference is that while the controller you have can accept 24V panels, it will lose more than half the power to heat. Whereas a MPPT charger will be about 95% efficient in power transfer.

Which to buy?

There are lots out there and they ARE more expensive than PWM.
There are a few out there, especially on Ebay which are not true MPPT too and don't do the voltage and current step up / down. 'Wellsee' is a classic for that.
GSL is a good Australian brand and make a 12A one for $125 on ebay
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/GSL-MPPT-SOLAR-REGULATOR-PANEL-CHARGE-12A-12-24v-SYSTEM-/370493269008?pt=AU_Solar&hash=item56431ea410
Tracer make good efficient ones at low cost
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/MPPT-10A-Solar-charge-controller-100V-lcd-meter-12V-24V-auto-Tracer1210-/250955548812?pt=AU_Solar&hash=item3a6e1dc88c

Perhaps others could suggest good brands at a reasonable prices too.

Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 04:38:56 AM by boobook »