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Morningstar Solar Charge Controller Review

My oldest Morningstar MPPT Charge Controller is about 12 years old.

Each one of their Charge Controllers come with a real English Manual and not a cheesy capitalist pamphlet.

Had I bothered to read the manual,
I would have been made aware years ago of the fact that the Charge Controllers by Morningstar are guaranteed for FIVE YEARS from the date of purchase.

In my defence, if there were a reason to read 68-pages of large print, I'd have probably been even more of an advocate for the Morningstar Chargers. Fact is, about all I've ever needed to refer to that manual for, was to glance at some of the pictorials and graphs and maybe a caption here or there.

There are 4 of those chargers here now, each handles 150v 60a and all work incredibly flawlessly.

Not being much at giving captitalists props these days, but every now and then I run across a company that simply stands out. A product that time-and-again catches me becoming aware of how perfect the product has been, how many years the item has endured.

Morningstar is just such a company, it stands out as one of the most reliable products that come to my mind.

Just to give you an idea of what the oldest Morningstar controller has survived, Here's a synopsis:

1.) A roof and ceiling fell in one of my past buildings, when we dug out the debris there was the MPPT Tristar still working.

2.) After F.E.M.A. declared our place a disaster (awesome response by FEMA to help out by the way!), I had to move.
So I mounted the batteries and Morningstar Charge Controller on a 40-foot bus. 8-100watt and 4-200w solar panels were mounted on top of the bus, along with 8-90watt solar panels in the adjustable window awnings. Lastly, there was a 55watt solar panel mounted on the hood of the bus that acts as an alternator and keeps the bus running batteries charged.

And off I went.

There are 8-100watt and 4-200w solar panels on top of the bus, along with 8-90watt solar panels in the adjustable window awnings. Lastly, there is a 55watt solar panel on the hood of the bus that acts as an alternator and keeps the bus running batteries charged.

3.) That bus pounded the pavements from Florida to Ohio, back down to Louisiana, then all the way up to Omaha Nebraska and for three months I wandered the States looking for a home.

The thing about the Morningstar Charger was how durable it is. My Bus didn't take bumps very well but there it was working every minute of every day just as fine as can be.

Recently I was in the market for yet another charger because I was getting too many solar panels and the amount of energy was too much. I was going into fault which is no big deal for Morningstar's Charger. For two days one of the Morningstar Chargers was blinking over-current warning but not once did it flaw. I knew there were protections against over-current built-into the Morningstar Controllers but it handled the over-current just fine for days.

Now let me tell you something about these Morningstar chargers compared to the one I almost bought (midnight solar 200). Firstly, one is plastic and one is comprised of 100% freaking steel (I like that).

The heat-sinks of the Morningstar Tristar series enable it to remain cool without the need of a noisy fan. As anyone that has ever owned an electronic device knows, internal fans are always getting clogged-up, seized-up, or just become defective over time.

Even during the period where I was seeing over-current into the Morningstar Charger, the heatsinks were only warm to the touch.

Not only are Morningstar's all-steel Controllers durable, but unlike the Midnight Solar Charger, the Morningstar Tristar's are able to be set-up almost plug-and-play (a no-brainer).

Whether you call or write to the Morningstar Support Agents, the responses are in fluent English. In fact the entire manual is in proper English (because Morningstar is an American Company) so eliminated are any communication problems.

Some of the other plastic controllers of Morningstar's competitors (like the midnight solar charger) offer more configurability, but honestly I just don't have time to learn a new profession. There are only something like 8 dip-switches on my Morningstar Chargers and for me only 3 are important. Once set, that's it. Job done.

whereas other makers, although definitely serving a purpose in the world, sometimes seem to go overboard with the options. The competitor I almost purchased from offered a l.e.d. light show feature but in a charge controller? I can live without that feature thanks.

Using the competitor 'Midnight Solar' as an example, have so many switches and tiny dials and all I kept thinking about is how many things can go awry. I actually heard a conversation in my head with their tech support before I even bought one of their units. It went something like this:

ME: "The controller is on fire"

Customer Support Agent: "Can you tell me what efforts you may have made to remedy the problem"

ME: "Yes I watched one of your lengthy videos and turned one of the tiny dials with the tiny screwdriver and an arc of electricity came out and started a fire here

Customer Support Agent: "Oh wow, yeah that feature was actually not supposed to be used with the other features and conflicted with feature 123.b1, I'm sorry but your warranty doesn't cover that type of damage.

The big deal is that these controllers are almost $1,000.00 by the time all is said-and-done and a loss like that could just really trip me into oblivion actually.

So in summation, I stay with Morningstar because they work.

Until one breaks down I can't have any good reason to go risking hugely over-priced batteries because of a controller failure. In fact a controller failure could cause loss of life.

Located: 2803 Troy Road in Springfield Ohio.

Tel: (937) 718-3586