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what’s low voltage disconnect?

If your shopping for a charge controller for your solar panels, then you may have crossed a term called Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD), ever wonder why the prices of charge controllers that have LVD are higher than controllers that don’t have the LVD feature? Obviously people who buy charge controllers for their solar electric systems have battery based systems and the purpose of standard charge controllers are to keep the solar panels from overcharging the batteries (which can permanently damage batteries). A charge controller with an LVD feature, not only keeps the solar panels from being overcharged but also prevents batteries from becoming over discharged. If the solar array does not provide sufficient charge to offset the daily load requirements you are at risk of damaging your battery bank. If more than 80% of full charge is discharged from lead acid batteries and the battery is left in a discharged state for weeks or months, the batteries will be damaged permanently, which will cost you a lot of money to replace. LVD monitors the state of charge (SOC) and automatically disconnects the loads from batteries if a certain discharge threshold has been reached thus protecting your batteries from being over discharged. Typically an alarm system notifies you that the battery bank needs attention before the loads are cut off. A charge controller with LVD gives you both overcharging and over discharging protection in one single...

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Morningstar Solar String Calculator

Morningstar Corporation, a company known for its high quality charge controllers has released a string calculator for estimating the proper sizing and configuration of solar panels when used with the Morningstar charge controller product line. One of the most difficult aspects of setting up a battery based system is the compatibility between the various system components which include solar panels, charge controller, batteries and possibly an inverter. The calculator takes into account the solar panel and battery specifications as well as information on the ambient temperatures to help you not only select the right charge controller for your project but to string the system properly to ensure proper function of your off-grid solar electric system. The results of the calculator show you the number of solar panels that may be wired in series and parallel to safely operate within the charge controller specified range. All you have to do is either select the solar panel you will be using from the list, or manually enter the specifications of the solar panel if you don’t see it on the list, enter the model of the charge controller, and enter the battery voltage and ambient temperatures and presto! The calculator will spit solar panel configuration recommendations. I’m glad Morningstar took a proactive approach to help customers figure out a confusing aspect of purchasing and using the right charge controller for their project. What do you think? Give the calculator a try:...

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Want more power out of your solar array?

Don’t cook your batteries, when your dealing with a off-grid or grid tie solar with battery back up solar electric systems, you need a charge controller to protect the battery from overcharging which causes battery damage. Standard charge controllers can be fairly inexpensive compared to MPPT charge controller, but for the people who want the most power output, the MPPT is worth the extra price. What is is MPPT all about? Well, it stands for maximum power point tracking and what it does is keeps your the solar panels’ voltage and current at a point in which it maximizes the output of the solar array. Follow me? MPPT charge controllers are relatively new technology that first started being used in the late 90s, although today MPPT based controllers have evolved and became more reliable and are generally used in larger systems. If your using solar panels to charge a couple batteries then the benefits of a MPPT charge controller will not outweigh the cost. Although if your using solar panels and batteries for your home or business, well it would make sense to look into a MPPT controller. The picture above shows a Outback MX-60 MPPT charge controller with a LCD screen that shows important charging status. Do you think its worth the extra cost to go with MPPT based...

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RV Solar Power Kits
Aug14

RV Solar Power Kits

Are diesel prices costing you a fortune to keep your RV’s battery bank charged? Well many RV owners have started to incorporate solar power into their lifestyles to offset the use of their diesel generators which significantly reduces the operating costs of powering your RV. Solar panels can be either mounted flat or pitched on your RV’s roof space, although when laying the solar panels flat they operate at a higher then normal temperatures, which cases efficency losses. Solar Power mounts for RVs are typically adjustable, so while you are on the go, you can flatten the solar panels, and pitch them while you are stationery. You have to make sure when your putting a system together that you are using the proper charge controller and deep cycle batteries will be needed for maxium system performace over its lifetime. It all depends on your lifestyle to find out what type of system you will need to offset your usage. We have offer some pre-packaged RV kits that include compatbile solar panels, charge controller and mounts designed specifically for...

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Charge Controllers 101

What’s a charge controller? And why do I need one? Many consumers who are charging batteries with solar panels or have a grid tied system with battery backup will need a charge controller. A charge controller is a unit that sits between a solar panel and battery bank and regulates the charge so the battery is not over-charged. Over-charging a battery can lead to battery and solar panel damage, because once the battery is full, without a charge controller the electrical current can go back into the solar panel causing major damage to components. The picture above shows a morningstar sunkeeper charge controller which is a basic controller that does a great job regulating the electric current that comes from a solar panel into a battery. Charge controllers come in different voltages, for example the sunkeeper comes in a 12v or 24v….your charge controller has to match the voltage your solar panel puts out and how you have your batteries wired up. If you have a 12v solar panel, you would need a 12v charge controller and wire your batteries up in a 12v series. Even though most residential systems do not have a batteries and will never need a charge controller, those people who are working on off-grid systems or are building the next solar powered car, lawn mower or are trying to retro fit solar panels onto your devices, you need to understand why charge controllers are...

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