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Thread: PWM or MPPT.

  1. #21
    Travelling Podologist Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigguwesty View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong @Cuppa but basically the PWM charges are in short regulating on off switches.
    They switch on at a set voltage and off at a set voltage.
    Not sure if top end PWM chargers can supply a float voltage but my cheaper one doesn't. .

    As for pannels, try find them without controllers.
    They are usually cheaper..
    PWM = Pulse Width Modulation - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-width_modulation). Not sure I fully understand it, but basically the 'on/off switches are electronic rather than mechanical (Mosfets) which do what they do constantly at very high speed. Has nothing to do with whether a regulator which uses them has a 'float' capability. This is to do with multi stage charging. However I would think it would be highly unlikely that any regulator which has no float capability was anything other than a 'dumb' charger & almost certainly not going to employ PWM technology, regardless of what it says on the regulator. If a regulator does not have a float capability it would be an ultra cheap one capable of damaging the battery & shortening it's life. They are available for a couple of bucks & are best consigned to the hard rubbish asap. ALL reasonable to top end solar regulators use PWM technology, increasingly more also use MPPT technology to optimise this. Unfortunately the acronyms have been employed by shonky manufacturers & vendors as selling points with little basis or meaning. I would be 99.9% certain that your PWM reg has about as much PWM technology in it as my big toe Kallen.

    As far as panels with a regulator attached to the back of the panel, you are correct, they are not a good idea, & very few of those regulators are worth keeping. But if kept, if removed from the panel & installed close to the battery together with heavier cabl, will improve the efficiency/performance of the solar set up. I have bought portable panels with panel mounted regulators, but treated the regs & supplied wiring as throwaway items, & the panels themselves were still good value.


    Of the ebay sellers I think that Low Energy developments who have a reputation for quality at low prices.Others, in my experience have low prices & low quality. Problem is that all solar panels look much the same, but looks are deceiving.
    Last edited by Cuppa; 9th April 2017 at 12:20 PM.

    2006 4.2TDi ex-Telstra Remote area Camper. 425w roof mounted solar, 360Ah Aux batts, BCDC1240, Onboard hot & cold pressurised & filtered water, (25 litre hot water calorifier), ARB fridge, ARB freezer, Built in kitchen, 240v, 3 Genie exhaust + dynotune, 2 lift, Lovells GVM upgrade, ROH Blaktrak steel wheels, Bridgestone D697s, Redarc gauges/pillarpod, Hema HX-1, CB, dual rear view cameras, Onboard 30amp Victron mains charger, second glovebox, dual seat conversion, Tyredog TPMS, Boss PX7 onboard air with 9 litre tank, 350w inverter, Steel bullbar, Harrop Eaton diff lock (front), Warn winch, Snorkel, Dual spares , 160 litre water tank, 2010 Tvan Tanami. (incl another 70 litre water tank) with matching wheels/tyres (& 3rd spare)
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  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Cuppa For This Useful Post:

    bigguwesty (9th April 2017), jay see (10th April 2017)

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  4. #22
    Patrol God bigguwesty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuppa View Post
    PWM + Pulse Width Modulation - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-width_modulation). Not sure I fully understand it, but basically the 'on/off switches are electronic rather than mechanical (Mosfets) which do what they do constantly at very high speed. Has nothing to do with whether a regulator which uses them has a 'float' capability. This is to do with multi stage charging. However I would think it would be highly unlikely that any regulator which has no float capability was anything other than a 'dumb' charger & almost certainly not going to employ PWM technology, regardless of what it says on the regulator. If a regulator does not have a float capability it would be an ultra cheap one capable of damaging the battery & shortening it's life. They are available for a couple of bucks & are best consigned to the hard rubbish asap. ALL reasonable to top end solar regulators use PWM technology, increasingly more also use MPPT technology to optimise this. Unfortunately the acronyms have been employed by shonky manufacturers & vendors as selling points with little basis or meaning. I would be 99.9% certain that your PWM reg has about as much PWM technology in it as my big toe Kallen.

    As far as panels with a regulator attached to the back of the panel, you are correct, they are not a good idea, & very few of those regulators are worth keeping. But if kept, if removed from the panel & installed close to the battery together with heavier cabl, will improve the efficiency/performance of the solar set up. I have bought portable panels with panel mounted regulators, but treated the regs & supplied wiring as throwaway items, & the panels themselves were still good value.


    Of the ebay sellers I think that Low Energy developments who have a reputation for quality at low prices.Others, in my experience have low prices & low quality. Problem is that all solar panels look much the same, but looks are deceiving.
    I think your spot in with the terms being used on units for marketing.
    Mine is a cheap solar controller.
    It does step down the amps as the battery nears full.
    But cant be sure if that the controller or simply the battery??
    Cheers
    Kallen Westbrook

  5. #23
    Travelling Podologist Cuppa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigguwesty View Post
    I think your spot in with the terms being used on units for marketing.
    Mine is a cheap solar controller.
    It does step down the amps as the battery nears full.
    But cant be sure if that the controller or simply the battery??
    I would suggest that it is the battery, & that it is is actually still some way off of being ‘full’ (but to leave it connected risks damage through over charging). This, in part is the reason that a charger like that will shorten battery life. You can check this with a multimeter - provided you have no loads connected to the battery - monitor the charging until you see the charging current reduce & you consider the battery full. Disconnect the charger & let the battery stand for half an hour, then read the voltage across the terminals. This if full should be between 12.7v & 13.1v depending upon the age & condition of the battery. Then connect a load (a 60w headlight globe or similar is easy to do) to the battery for half an hour, disconnect it & let it stand for another half hour & then measure voltage across the terminals again. If the battery had been fully charged & is in good condition the voltage (which went down as soon as the load was connected) should have bounced back up to a minimum of 12.6v.

    I’m guessing that the initial reading will at best be around 12.4v or 12.5v, which may not sound like a lot less but in actual fact is only around 75% to 80% of the battery capacity.
    Those chargers ‘work’ in as much as they put some charge into the battery, but will end up costing an expensive replacement battery far sooner.
    My expectation of life for a deep cycle battery is a minimum of 8 years, & hopefully more than 10. A cheap charger alone can reduce this to less than 4, but because the battery has not been fully charged there is a tendency to over discharge it in regular use (below 50% State of Charge) making an 18months or less lifespan very likely. I’ve seen some folk kill a good battery like this in 12 months! When a new battery cost $100’s this makes the cost saving on the regulator pale into insignificance! Let alone the inconvenience of the power system you are relying on letting you down in the middle of Woop Woop.

    Right-o I’ll climb down off my soapbox now.
    Last edited by Cuppa; 9th April 2017 at 12:55 PM.

    2006 4.2TDi ex-Telstra Remote area Camper. 425w roof mounted solar, 360Ah Aux batts, BCDC1240, Onboard hot & cold pressurised & filtered water, (25 litre hot water calorifier), ARB fridge, ARB freezer, Built in kitchen, 240v, 3 Genie exhaust + dynotune, 2 lift, Lovells GVM upgrade, ROH Blaktrak steel wheels, Bridgestone D697s, Redarc gauges/pillarpod, Hema HX-1, CB, dual rear view cameras, Onboard 30amp Victron mains charger, second glovebox, dual seat conversion, Tyredog TPMS, Boss PX7 onboard air with 9 litre tank, 350w inverter, Steel bullbar, Harrop Eaton diff lock (front), Warn winch, Snorkel, Dual spares , 160 litre water tank, 2010 Tvan Tanami. (incl another 70 litre water tank) with matching wheels/tyres (& 3rd spare)
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  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Cuppa For This Useful Post:

    jay see (10th April 2017)

  7. #24
    Patrol God threedogs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay see View Post
    So far this is the cheapest and local too.

    Look at this on eBay http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/232165689627

    Thoughts.
    Vic off road have low prices on solar panels.
    This is one of my solar panel set ups panel is a 120 watt folder
    also have an 80 and a small 10 watt
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by threedogs; 9th April 2017 at 01:19 PM.
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  8. #25
    Legendary GQtdauto's Avatar
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    Where did you get that box from TD ?

  9. #26
    Legendary GQtdauto's Avatar
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    Cuppa , just having a look at my setup I would definitely benefit from an MPPT regulator , trouble is I would need two of the suckers one on the tug and one on the camper .
    Probably $600 odd or more , I could buy 600 watt of solar panels for that money but wouldn't have the room to put them all anyway .
    Been keeping an eye on camper and car batteries and charging cycles and volts and amps , all batteries are new , two in camper , and two in the GQ but all deep cycle 110 amp .
    Camper hasn't been below 12.7 but when I run the big double thumper compressor the car batts go down to 12.4 , but bounce back to 12.9 - 13.0 in about ten minutes depending on sun on solar panel that is .
    Running a fridge takes it to 12.7 until the fridge gets cold then bounces back to 13.1 again depending on solar or if I'm driving .
    Going to pay more attention to the way they charge and float after I finish installing the 100 watt panels on the GQ but will also test the thing out by turning fridge on to freeze , running radio and maybe pumping up the tyres to see how it recovers and how low it gets .
    May even hook up all batteries together and run both fridges for a few days just to make sure 340 watt of panel is good enough and regulators are doing the job properly , if not will look to upgrade .
    I like the Morningstar brand of regulator having had one in the van but it was a big sucker in physical size for a 45 amp regulator .
    Because I haven't really placed much of a load on the batteries yet for any great length of time I might just end up with hot beer and spoiled food .

  10. #27
    Patrol God threedogs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GQtdauto View Post
    Where did you get that box from TD ?
    It was from Jaycar it was one of a few weatherproof ones they sold

    When I first brought my 80 watt panel back in '92 I paid $100
    it was ex telstra from the outback somewhere they change them every 3 years regardless
    My 80 is still going strong after all these years, a reg from Piranha cost $150.

    heres a mounting idea
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Solar-Pan...item5b29a14707
    Last edited by threedogs; 9th April 2017 at 02:38 PM.
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  11. #28
    Patrol God threedogs's Avatar
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    @Cuppa I was just reading the stats on a 120 watt folding panel.
    It states one 60 watt panel will return approx 3.40 AH, question is
    being 2 x 60 panels does that mean I return 6.80ah approx or is it
    only 3.40 still.
    when hooking two panels together is it pos to pos and neg to neg
    what happens if you go pos to neg, having a brain fade sorry lol
    04 ST 3lt auto, not enough Mods to keep me happy, but getting there

  12. #29
    Legendary GQtdauto's Avatar
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    Sorry TD where did you get that box from ? I seen your reg on fleabay .
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/30A-MPPT-...-/310962224695
    If you keep pos to pos neg to neg it stays 12 volt but if you go neg pos you double to 24 volt .

  13. #30
    Legendary GQtdauto's Avatar
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    Sorry TD you got it from Jaycar , must learn to read more gooder.

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