Off-Grid Solar and Off-Grid Solar and Wind-Generated Power Wind-Generated Power

Topic: Charge Controllers and Inverters

Tristar Solar Charge Controller

Charge Controllers

Seen below is one of three 150v 60a Charge Controllers by Morningstar Technologies that are in operation in our Springfield Ohio location. These particular controllers are fanless (so they make no sounds).

Charge Controllers, Quick Disconnects, etc.Solar Energy in Springfield Ohio
The MPPT Charge Controllers (TriStar) have been working flawlessly for about 8 or 9 years now. They've worked so well I wouldn't even consider another controller.
Springfield Ohio SolarSpringfield Ohio Solar Charge Controller

The controller's faceplate allows for easier monitoring.

*Note added this date, Friday April 6, 2018: Wind is here and the sun also.  Today this controller went into "fault" mode to restrict the amount of amps coming in to maintain the 14.4volt absorption mode.  There were over 60amps coming in but the limit on most of the controllers in here is 60amps.   In solar panels alone, there are 2,800 watts coming into this particular charge controller.  The wind generator also comes into this controller though it's not my preferred method.
Solar Calculator
The photo above shows the true amount of allowable amps into the system via this particluar controller.   The reason there are so many more panels on the mppt controllers is to compensate for the winter's lack of sun.  The trade-off is that during the summer months 12-16 of the panels need to be turned off (depending on how much wind might be producing electricity).   Ideally, there would be some manner in which a diversion control can be set to allow the excess energy do something.  At present there isn't a diversion controller installed yet.
Solar and Wind Breaker BoxWind and Solar Breaker Combiner Box

Also found in our Springfield Ohio location are controllers for the micro-battery banks.
The controller below is a 15amp model. 
The battery bank and solar array, as well as the load applied, is a maintenance-free system.   Even days without sun, the battery bank rarely will dip down below 12.3 with the load on.

Charge Controller


The Vanner Pure Sine Wave Inverter is not the largest here, but has worked flawlessly for about 7 years. This Inverter is totally silent.
Charge Controllers, Quick Disconnects, etc.

Below are seen the largest inverter in operation.   In most applications and appliances the aim has been to obtain devices that do not require an inverter (12v items connected directly to the 12v source without the need of an inverter).  Inverters waste energy in a number of ways, for instance to run a 20v item requires that the 12v battery supply be dragged all the way up to 110v then back down to 20v which is loss.   More often than not there is a 12v alternative to the non-12v appliances and devices.

Solar InverterSolar Inverter

The inverter seen below has a max of 6000watts and a nominal of 3000watts. It has a fan but it's not obnoxious and barely noticed.

Charge Controllers, Quick Disconnects, etc.
This particular unit has the ability to run direct AC current to backfeed one of the circuits for domestic use.

Charge Controllers, Quick Disconnects, etc.

Fused Disconnects

All solar panel arrays, along with the wind generator, come through fused panels such as the one seen below.

Charge Controllers, Quick Disconnects, etc.
There are also quick-disconnects between all legs of the micro-power plant. Charge Controllers, Quick Disconnects, etc.

Cabling is seen here as it enters one of the Quick Disconnects; one set is doubled up to allow more amperage through.

 Ohio Solar and Wind Generated Power

This is the main wall that handles 3 battery banks, including the largest of 5 that are presently within this building.

Solar and Wind Control Wall

Below is seen an item-specific charge controller which has its own battery bank and solar arrays.  This particular bank of batteries never requires service as the lights it supplies power to are not consuming enough amps to ever draw the battery bank below 12.2v (usually requiring several days without sun).
Solar and Wind Control Wall

The newest micro-system is seen in the photo below.   The battery bank that it handles presently is used only by the fans within the firewood stove, and a small water pump.

Solar and Wind Control Wall

The fuse box is not quite installed yet.   This fused panel will handle 8 of the 18 cameras within this building.   This will be the first installation of fuses ever (in other words, I've gone  about a decade without ever having utilized fuses or breakers whatsoever and without incident.
Future Fuse Box for Security Cameras

This small item-specific inverter powers the server of which you are presently reading this.    The server is a Macbook Pro running Linux.
Item-Specific Inverter

The charge controller by Morningstar producing good amps on a moderately sunny day.

Springfield Charge Controller of Ohio

The following is for sale to anyone that is local in the Springfield Ohio area (I don't ship).
The 2,000watt nominal (4k peak) is in all honesty a noisy inverter and is for sale for $10.00.
Handy man special, it works if you can live with the noisy fan.

$10.00 Inverter 2000 watts

This concludes Charge Controllers and Inverters

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