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electrical:solar:tracer

Chinese MPPT charge controllers

Prior to the introduction of Chinese controllers, MPPT was an expensive feature found only on controllers costing hundreds of dollars. Chinese controllers cost about half the price of premium controllers.

Tracer

Current production models are below; older models have been moved.

quirks

Some voltage setpoints are constrained in relationship to each other. Because of this it may be easiest to configure them in a particular order.

img.mousetrap.net_boondocking_mt-50_displayevil.jpg Tracer (and the Renogy rebrands) refer to the Absorption stage as “boost”. This is an unforced error; the nonstandard term confuses newcomers and conflicts with the already-existing “MPPT boost” term.

The battery icon found on many Tracer controllers is unnecessary and misleading. The manual claims it is a State of Charge meter but there is no guide to reading it. Since the same voltage can result in different display during charging and non-charging scenarios, it may actually be useful to think of as a charging indicator rather than state of charge indicator. Secessus' unscientific observation reveals these weak correlations:

Charging Not charging
5 bars / 100% Float
4 bars / 80% late Absorption
3 bars / 60% early Absorption ⇐ Vfloat
2 bars / 40% late Bulk, >=Vfloat
1 bar / 20%: early bulk early Bulk, <Vfloat ⇐ Vreconnect
0 bar / 0%: not charging ⇐ Vlvd

A series

images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com_images_i_51ea6qpt0zl._ac_ul160_sr160_160_.jpg The A series has a front LCD display and rear-facing heat fins. It can handle up to 100v of solar input.

The A series (and BN below) use the MT-50 display. Communications are via RJ-485 adapter and the LS-B protocol (pdf). Open source software is available.

BN series

images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com_images_i_51qoyhrxkrl._ac_us160_.jpg The BN series has no display. It has massive front-mounted heat fins. It is the first Tracer with so-called negative ground.

The BN controllers use the same comms setup as the A series above. Some users have reported sluggish PPT under changing conditions.

eTracer BND series

This 150v, “negative ground” controller looks like a BN with an inset display module.

Comms are by RS232, CAN BUS and Ethernet.

The eTracer is also sold as the Renogy Commander.

manual (pdf)

Triron series

www.epsolarpv.com_en_uploads_news_201708_1503388440391804.jpg

The Triron is also sold as the Renogy Rover, which can be programmed using the free software.

SPP programmers

i.ebayimg.com_00_s_oduwwdg1ma_z_3eiaaosw9ezzi_dl_58.jpg The SPP-01 and -02 appear to be devices that can be used to backup or configure Tracers in the field. They are largely undocumented.

MT-50 display

us.v-cdn.net_6024911_uploads_editor_l6_v53xktbye01p.jpg The MT-50 display is not a meter per se. It is a display for controller information and an interface by which configuration changes can be made.

The default screen shows input from panel (volts and amps), output to battery (volts and amps), and output to LOAD (volts and amps).

The LOAD icon (light bulb) has rays around it when the load circuit is on; this does not mean there is a load present.

Eco-worthy

images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com_images_i_51nrvp7ovwl._ac_us218_.jpg The Eco-worth was one of the first low-priced true MPPT controllers on the market.

Eco-worthy refers to three stage charging as “impulse, bulk, and float”.

Youtube review: eBay MPPT Solar Charge Controller Review - 12v Solar Shed.


MPPT boosting controllers

images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com_images_i_51n1algrmwl._ac_us160_.jpgThese little 10A controllers are indeed MPPT, but of limited use for RVers. They are strictly “boosting” (upconverting) controllers instead of the usual downconverting controllers. This means they could be used to charge a 24v bank from 12v panels.

[This company needs to make a normal MPPT at this price point! – secessus]


fake MPPT units

The following units are “fake” in the sense that they do not do MPPT. Some are PWM, some are shunt. This doesn't mean they won't work but it does mean they are marketed incorrectly. Adjust your willingness to pay based on actual function.

CPT/CPY

CPT-LA10

images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com_images_i_51t1rrf7rjl._ac_us218_.jpgThe CPT is a non-adjustable 10A controller with claimed 100v input.

Adam Welch tested to 40+ voltage. Vabs appeared to be 14.7v and Vfloat appeared to be 13.5v, although it could be a charge-and-stop unit that happened to rest at 13.5v.

CPT manual

Youtube review: Another Cheap MPPT Charge Controller - CPT-LA10 - 12v Solar Shed

CPY-2410

images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com_images_i_51tvjtt53sl._ac_us160_.jpg Note: while early versions (1.6) were reported to do actual MPPT, later versions (2.3) are reported to be dumbed down. The later versions still do DC-DC conversion but do not track powerpoints; they run the panels about 2v higher than battery voltage. See the comments on this test video and these blog posts.

Youtube review: UEIUA Cheap MPPT Solar Charge Controller - 12v Solar Shed

CPS-2410

i.ebayimg.com_thumbs_images_m_mpzetvhxbeg1692y3lhzu0g_s-l225.jpgThe CPS appears to be the new/dumb CPY in a different case with a much bigger heatsink.


M10 / T10

i.ebayimg.com_thumbs_images_m_m-rs8akwzdfagsa6u4vuzja_s-l225.jpgThe M and T series are adjustable shunt controllers.


CMT

i.ebayimg.com_thumbs_images_m_mxy3693tlp_jph7ac-swmvq_s-l225.jpgCMT controllers are non-adjustable PWM of decent quality, sometimes sold by unscrupulous or uninformed sellers as MPPT.


waterproof

i.ebayimg.com_thumbs_images_m_msn0fmxrtlt1eegurjfs-eg_s-l225.jpgThe waterproof controllers are pwm at best. Confirmed by Adam Welch.

electrical/solar/tracer.txt · Last modified: 2018/06/16 19:41 by frater_secessus