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Thread: Solar Controller

  1. #1
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    Default Solar Controller

    I'm building a portable battery box with a 400W inverter, some usb ports, and a couple of 12v cig adapters powered by an optima yellow top and a 48w old arco solar panel. I plan on using this as a standalone unit for trips/camping.

    However, I'm not really on the up and up with regard to solar controllers. I'm looking for a cheap one that is reliable and won't over charge my optima. Any suggestions?
    "When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. There is no other way for land to survive the impact of mechanized man, nor for us to reap from it the aesthetic harvest it is capable, under science, of contributing to culture." - Aldo Leopold

    2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport 3.5XS - 265/75R16 Cooper ATP, Aisin Manual Hubs, Bilsteins, Airlifts
    1999 BMW F650
    1990 Bianchi Bicycle - the daily driver

  2. #2
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    E. Sierras
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    cheap and simple, these get good reviews for reliable/efficient -

    http://www.altestore.com/store/Charg...ller-LVD/p799/
    '87 &'10 4runner
    '10 Tundra

  3. #3
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    Auburn, WA.
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    I have the Brunton as seen in this thread.
    http://expeditionportal.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=28712

    Inexpensive and does the job for not overcharging the batteries.
    I believe I got it off of Amazon.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Kentucky
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    I think this is probably the most popular solar controller out there for small one panel setups....

    Morningstar SunGuard 4.5 amp 12 Volt Solar Charge Controller

    It's small and cheap and get's the job done. Measures 1 1/2" x 2" x 2 1/2" so it might fit in your battery box.

    backwoodssolar.com $33 http://www.backwoodssolar.com/catalo...s.htm#SUNGUARD

    Northern Arizona Wind and Solar $30.47 http://www.solar-electric.com/sg-4.html


  5. #5
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    I would also suggest the Morning Star SunSaver 6. It is slightly more expensive, but it can be set to charge sealed or AGM batteries such as your Optima. The charging voltages for a flooded lead acid and an AGM ares slightly different, so using a charger/controller designed for and sealed battery will extend the life of your battery.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rando View Post
    I would also suggest the Morning Star SunSaver 6. It is slightly more expensive, but it can be set to charge sealed or AGM batteries such as your Optima. The charging voltages for a flooded lead acid and an AGM ares slightly different, so using a charger/controller designed for and sealed battery will extend the life of your battery.
    about $40
    http://www.altestore.com/store/Charg...ntroller/p803/
    Jim
    4x4 Tourist


    Trip reports are on my Blog: "Sun To The North"

    Two Favorite Expo Quotes: "A bad day on the trail is better than a good day in the city" & "Bad days make for GREAT stories!"

  7. #7
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    FLA and AGM are generally the same as regards charging voltage - it's GEL that takes a different charging voltage.

    The SunSaver manual is a bit goofy, in that it shows 14.1v charging for a "sealed" battery, and 14.4v for "flooded".

    BUT - AGM and GEL are both "sealed", and for that matter some FLA are also sealed.

    So ignore the "sealed" and "flooded" and set the thing for whichever voltage you need for your battery - 14.1v for GEL, 14.4v for FLA and AGM.
    Last edited by dwh; 03-07-2011 at 10:54 PM.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
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    I'm probably just go with the brunton......it's more my price style lol. Plus the optima was/will be free if I can restore it (was down to 4.4V and sat for a year in a car).
    "When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. There is no other way for land to survive the impact of mechanized man, nor for us to reap from it the aesthetic harvest it is capable, under science, of contributing to culture." - Aldo Leopold

    2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport 3.5XS - 265/75R16 Cooper ATP, Aisin Manual Hubs, Bilsteins, Airlifts
    1999 BMW F650
    1990 Bianchi Bicycle - the daily driver

  9. #9
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    Ft. Collins CO
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    994
    are any of these pulse controllers or are they all simply off at 14.5Vish on at 13.0V?
    "When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. There is no other way for land to survive the impact of mechanized man, nor for us to reap from it the aesthetic harvest it is capable, under science, of contributing to culture." - Aldo Leopold

    2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport 3.5XS - 265/75R16 Cooper ATP, Aisin Manual Hubs, Bilsteins, Airlifts
    1999 BMW F650
    1990 Bianchi Bicycle - the daily driver

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    455
    The morningstar is a PWM (pulse width modulation) controller. I would steer clear of the Brunton as it appears to be a simple on/off controller, and not even Brunton seems to have a spec sheet.

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