Solar blanket

Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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While mine are PWM ( I'm only a poor pensioner,) I have found by observation that using each with their own controller not to cause any change in charge until the battery gets to nearly full charge then one charger will shut down, usually the one with the less amount of sun, until then they seem to ignore each other and charge away happily, checked that by looking at what each was putting in individually and when both plugged in, stupid things not complying with the manual again.
When my ProStar 35 and TPS 1230 die they will get MPPT units to replace them, something with a screen but not the price of a new car, the Prostar performs well and the TPS must be good as Jayco fit them to their vans. Not a fan of Victron as they don't look cool enough, I like the one Booties has though.
 

Fallen

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Feb 7, 2019
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Next weekend I'm about to try my new setup, 300W cheap twin folding panel with bypassed PWM connected to onboard stock TPS 1230 PWM in parallel with stock 120W roof panel. Connection of portable is via 8B&S 5m extension (replacing crap 16 B&S that came with it) to Anderson on van, then 6 B&S from that to TPS. This lets me see the combined solar from the one spot. Will see how it goes.
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
Next weekend I'm about to try my new setup, 300W cheap twin folding panel with bypassed PWM connected to onboard stock TPS 1230 PWM in parallel with stock 120W roof panel. Connection of portable is via 8B&S 5m extension (replacing crap 16 B&S that came with it) to Anderson on van, then 6 B&S from that to TPS. This lets me see the combined solar from the one spot. Will see how it goes.

Looking forward to your full report @Fallen .
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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While mine are PWM ( I'm only a poor pensioner,) I have found by observation that using each with their own controller not to cause any change in charge until the battery gets to nearly full charge then one charger will shut down, usually the one with the less amount of sun, until then they seem to ignore each other and charge away happily, checked that by looking at what each was putting in individually and when both plugged in, stupid things not complying with the manual again.
When my ProStar 35 and TPS 1230 die they will get MPPT units to replace them, something with a screen but not the price of a new car, the Prostar performs well and the TPS must be good as Jayco fit them to their vans. Not a fan of Victron as they don't look cool enough, I like the one Booties has though.

Hey there @Drover , the TPS and especially the Morningstar you have are pretty tough and good units for PWM types. I think that unless you do something really foolish (or stupid) with them - most unlikely for you! - then they will see you out of your camping days. Yes, I like the LD solar model as it has its own screen and a lot of features too. Not a lot of the sophisticated items that the Victron has like printouts and remote settings- features I do not need - and it does not cost anywhere near the Victron. But to each his own as they see fit or need. I still prefer to be on site and see what is happening and set the controls by buttons on the unit. Old fashioned I guess! But at around $140.00 for a proper MPPT is good value.

27 Jul 17 (3).JPG
 
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Drover

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At the controller I would have the onboard solar panel wiring run to a single Anderson piggy back style with a tail running to the TPS the portable lead would plug into this at the controller, simple way to connect them all up................don't know about running 6B&S though, a lot for at most 16amp if lucky.

Yes @Boots in Action , same reasons for me, rather be able to read the screen, the wifi angle and other stuff doesn't ring any bells other than problems with me...The Morningstar for most things is better than your average PWM while the TPS is just average I think.
 
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Macca_75

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Aug 3, 2016
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Physical size difference is minimal, still fits in the bag The mppt controller will out perform the pwm, but with a single blanket deployed whilst the battery is at or near capacity the mppt probably wont add much more. I have little faith in cheap nasty controllers. The Victron gives me cheap confidence, protect costly assets, have a more reliable charge profile and will perform better if the battery is low
View attachment 64469
So @Crusty181 - turns out if you have 2 (or more) Victron MPPT Smart Controllers (say 1 in the van/fixed panel and 1 on the portable blanket) you can setup a VE Smart Network between them (uses the built in Blue Tooth). This allows them to share information and ensure they work "together" on the same battery (bank).


So... I will be buying a Victron MPPT Smart Controller for the portable blanket and just connect it tot he same Anderson as I use for the car when driving. The cost of the new controller won't be much more that buying the wires, lugs, etc to run and Anderson to the existing controller. AND it's more simple (for me anyway) AND it gives me a spare controller should something happen on our 6 month trip AND it make the blanket more efficient when used on something other than the van

WIN all round :)

@coys 53 Hopefully all of that has gone to far off topic and helps you make a decision...
 
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Boots in Action

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So @Crusty181 - turns out if you have 2 (or more) Victron MPPT Smart Controllers (say 1 in the van/fixed panel and 1 on the portable blanket) you can setup a VE Smart Network between them (uses the built in Blue Tooth). This allows them to share information and ensure they work "together" on the same battery (bank).


So... I will be buying a Victron MPPT Smart Controller for the portable blanket and just connect it tot he same Anderson as I use for the car when driving. The cost of the new controller won't be much more that buying the wires, lugs, etc to run and Anderson to the existing controller. AND it's more simple (for me anyway) AND it gives me a spare controller should something happen on our 6 month trip AND it make the blanket more efficient when used on something other than the van

WIN all round :)

@coys 53 Hopefully all of that has gone to far off topic and helps you make a decision...

Well @Macca_75 , it appears that your use of the latest technology will cover all bases. I am afraid that I am not that up with it, and have to fall back to less technical methods. Just shows where technology is going and how fast too. Lots of benefits for those up with the latest. Good luck and hopefully you will provide some feedback for those of us who are interested and a little bit envious too!
 

mikerezny

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Sep 11, 2016
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Hi,
Great to read that Victron have released solar controllers that will work together. That is ideal for those with roof-top solar and portable solar each with separate controllers. One issue less to deal with.

Now, if we could find similar solutions to cover the scenarios which also include a 240V charger, charging via the tug alternator, and a couple of sets of solar panels. A proper energy management system.

Then add to that instant swap over from pole 240V to inverter to power 240V appliances inside the van such as that provided by domestic UPS systems and products manufactured by Enerdrive.

Our wish list at an extended beer o'clock a couple of years ago was a single cabinet which had a few inputs for solar panels, 12V from a car alternator, and 240V. Output was 12V and 240V pure sine wave. Inside were batteries and a completely silent vibration free generator and petrol tank.

We are a few steps closer. There is even now discussion elsewhere on manufacturing silent portable generators. They have fitted silencers to big compressors, pumps, and generators. But it is much harder to do it with an air-cooled petrol engine.

Oh bugger, strayed again. Apologies.

cheers
Mike
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
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Hi,
you are right. After a sleep, the reality came back this morning. Of course, almost nothing is better than Bunnings.

cheers
Mike

Yes Mike @mikerezny , you are dreaming or is it a "nightmare'? That prototype Drifta Dot is not for the real world or for the "above average" person. Sure, great technology and sometime maybe in the future when we are all millionaires and Tech savvy. You would need to be an electronic engineer (or have one accompany you all the time!!) when you travelled anywhere, especially in the outback. Who could sort out your electrical problems out there?? Like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, great machines, but take them away from their proper environment - proper tarmac motor way - and they can soon become a liability, and a very expensive one too! My personal feelings: Is it a fantastic setup...yes. Do I like it....yes. Do I want it...NO. Do I need it...No. Could I afford it... Definitely No. Do I like basic (proper) camping ...Absolutely. So any ideas of changing are not even an after thought! Realistic I am, not a "dreamer"! .
 

Falco

Member
Jul 4, 2016
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Gold Coast
To the people wondering about a mppt controller over a PWM. I replaced the PWM controller on my caravan because I noticed that the PWM controller was not turning on until about 90 minutes after the sun came up in the morning. I purchased a bluetooth Victron controller and it turns on at the first "sniff" of sunlight. The extra money paid for the mppt controller is well worth it. In my opinion
 

Drover

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Hey @Falco I would have chucked the thing myself, PWM's like MPPT have a large range of quality variations, my PWM will certainly outperform some of the so called MPPT units which aren't......................
 

1DayIll

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Apr 26, 2016
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Ok I need to reread this thread with a clear head. I want to set up so I can free camp and not sure how to go about this. I just want basic charging for lights, phones iPad etc. don’t even have a 12v tv and not sure if I would need to change the set up in the van.
Is there a set up for dummies somewhere I could read.
 

mikerezny

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Sep 11, 2016
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Hi,
First off, you need to describe what you already have.
What type of power supply / battery charger is installed in the van?
Do you have a battery in the van?

cheers
Mike
 

1DayIll

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Apr 26, 2016
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Yep, should I start a new thread or continue here,
I have a standard 2008 16-49-1 with a battery, that much I know. We have run the lights off the battery but that is all. Not sure I have anywhere else that I can use.
Might need to replace battery as well as it is most probably to old
What else?