Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chinese MPPT 15 Solar Charge Controller Set Up and Working

So I finally got my new eBay MPPT 15 solar charge controller going today and charging a battery. I did read some not very good reviews on these Chinese version of an MPPT controller and I am pretty sure those other reviews are right. I think my Chinese PWM controller works better than the MPPT 15 but I need to do some additional testing before I stick by that statement. It kept a close on the output voltage of the MPPt 15 controller today and saw that is slowly rose only up to 13.10 volts even though my panels were putting out 20 volts easily in direct sunlight. As I mentioned before I need to purchase some shunt resistors so I can accurately measure current outputs as well. Here are pictures of my simple MPPT 15 set-up. I have it attached to a small project box where I can connect fuses and an On-Off switch to the controller. I also am again using and IEC computer power input and my solar panel connector. Check it out:

MPPT 15 Solar Charge Controller

MPPT 15 Solar Charge Controller-Close Up

New 60 Watt Solar Panel

Hi All,

I just received my newest solar panel this weekend from an eBay seller in Texas. This was a 60 watt panel that I got for a good price with free shipping. It arrived in great condition and is so far working great. This now brings my total panel power output to 120 watts. I need to permanently mount it with my other two panels to my stand so I can leave them outside. Here are some of my latest pictures of my panels.

New 60 watt solar panel next to two 30 watt solar panels

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pictures of My eBay Chinese MPPT 15 Solar Charge Controller

So I finally got my Chinese MPPT 15 Solar Charge controller. It powers up and looks okay. I opened up the case to get a closer look inside and also took some high resolution pictures of the guts of it. I came across a few videos on YouTube that showed why these are not true MPPT controllers. One guy did say that it could function partially as an MPPT controller but I will do some testing against my Chinese PWM charge controller as well. There is a black box component with "Wellsee MPPT" on it but I think that is just a relay and not a true Wellsee component. Take a look:

MPPT 15 Front View

MPPT 15 Back View

MPPT 15 Board View

MPPT 15 Board View- Close

MPPT 15 Bord View - Top

MPPT 15 ISO View

MPPT 15 Side View

Thursday, November 22, 2012

60 Watt Solar Panel Power System Working

Hi All, I wanted to write today to show my 60 watt Solar Panel Power system working with a deep cycle battery and a solar charge controller. The below picture was taken at 10:00am today, November 22nd. Happy Thanksgiving!. I am in the Desert Southwest so we are getting good sun exposure for this time of year. From the pictures you can see that my battery starts off at around 12.4 volts and after connecting it to my solar panels that are in direct sunlight the reading jumps up to almost 13.5 volts. I really need to add an ammeter to my setup to know how much current I am producing. As mentioned in my other posts I am learning that my solar panels will make good voltage during the day 16 volts to 20 volts but the current varies greatly due to the amount of direct sunlight they get. My panels are rated for a total of 3.5 amps for both at nominal and a max current of 3.8 amps. I will be purchasing more panels and batteries in the near future with a goal of creating a small solar setup capable of running my chest freezer in the garage and also a little extra for when power goes out and lights are needed. My next system will be properly sized according to all the available solar power calculators that are available online. My favorite solar power site right now is Solar Panel Talk. You can find them at Here are pictures of my system:

60 Watt Solar Panels with Portable Battery, Charge Controller and Inverter

12.5 volts before Connecting Panels

Almost 14 volts after Solar Panels Connected

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

MPPT 15 Chinese Solar Charge Controller

I purchased a cheap Chinese MPPT Solar Charge Controller on eBay. I did some additional reading on other blog sites and they seem to be pretty unpredictable in quality and actual operation. I will be taking it apart and taking good pictures of the both sides of the circuit board to compare it to the Chinese PWM charge controller I already have. I will then test its operation and see how if performs against the PWM controller I have. I can then justify buying better charge controllers if the results of these two controllers are not good.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Harbor Freight 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit

Well I found an affordable Harbor Freight 45 Watt Solar panel kit on Craigslist and purchased it. I tested it and read more about them before I decided to keep them and build a larger system using the panels and controller. Here is what my setup looked like.

45 Watt Solar Panel Set

Harbor Freight Solar Charge Controller with Inverter & battery

I used this system to test out how the controller works and the how the panels make power. I ended up selling this system so that I could get larger panels that produced more power. I also read that these panels really lose power after a few years and I thought it was best to get what I could for them now while they were still new.

Closer Look at the CMP 12/24 Solar Charge Controller

So I have been using my portable solar power system since I first posted about it and I am learning a lot more about solar along with more about charge controllers and batteries. The CMP 12/24 is a Chinese imported solar charge controller that you can get cheaply off of eBay. They claim it is a PWM controller but I have read that others say it is just an on-off controller and not much more. I know for a fact it does limit voltage out from your solar panels. It does not let 20 volts go directly into your battery but I am still learning how to tell what else it does electronically. Here is a closer look at the circuit board and components of the PWM controller. I took a lot of close up pictures of both sides of the circuit board.

CMP 12 Charge Controller

Bottom View CMP 12/24

CMP 12/24 Circuit Board View

CMP 12/24 Cicuit Board View-Top

CMP 12/24 Circuit Board View - Bottom

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cleaned Up Version of my Portable 60 Watt Solar Set Up

My 60 watt solar energy system has been working great. I get great power from the Sunsolar 30 watt panels. My cheap PWM solar charge controller does a good job at regulating the power that comes out of my panels. Here are some specifications on my outputs and measurements:
  • 30 Watt Sunsolar panel puts out 20.5 volts in full sun.
  • The CMP 12/24 solar charge controller at full power regulates input voltage to battery to around 13.6 volts.
  • The Cobra 400/800 watt inverter #CPI 475 measures 110 volts with a 100 watt load. This may go up when battery is on full charge.
I recently made some upgrades to my solar set up to clean up the wiring and add a simple automotive voltmeter. I will stress again that it is very important to put a fast blowing fuse on the power line going to the 12VDC side of your inverter to help you form accidentally cooking it. Here are some high points of my upgrade:
  • Added $8.00 large battery box from Walmart to hold all the vitals inside.
  • Added $7.00 automotive voltmeter from Harbor Freight
  • Panels are now wired with a quick disconnect plug made from a computer power supply. I found a 16 gauge power supply wire and traced a positive and negative to the inputs on the charge controller.
  • This system is now totally portable and safe.
Here are some good pictures of how it looks now.
60 Watt Self Contained Portable Solar

Solar Battery Box Enclosure

Side View of Battery Box

Back View of Solar Battery Box

Top View with Cover Off

Top-Back View Isometric

Top-Front View Isometric

Monday, July 23, 2012

My 60 Watt $144 Dollar Solar Power System

As I described in my first post, I finally got started on building a little portable solar power system. So far I have spent $144 on a system that is made up of the follwing components:

  • (2) SunSolar 30 watt solar Panels - $116 total
  • (1) CMP 12/24 Solar Charge Controller - $12
  • (1) Cobra 400/800 Watt Inverter - $16
  • Old deep cycle battery - free
  • Odds and ends - free
I mounted both of my panels together using leftover 1/2" aluminum channel like the kind you get from Home Depot. I then build a platform for my battery to sit on that would hold the rest of the electrical items. The best thing I did for this little cheap system was to put a 15 amp fuse between my inverter and battery. This saved me from burning up my inverter when I plugged something in that was too big for it. Here are some pictures to enjoy.

60 watt Portable Solar Power with Inverter

SunSolar 30 Watt Panels

Solar Panel Parallel Connection

Solar Panel Connections Up Close

Battery, Inverter, Charge Controller Combo

Free Electricity from the Sun

That Little Fuse Saved my Inverter

Sunday, July 22, 2012

First Solar Hardware Purchase

I was on eBay last month looking up solar charge controllers and I finally pulled the trigger on purchasing my first piece of solar hardware. I sniped a little cheap charge controller from a guy in California. It is a CMP 12/24 PWM 10 amp charge controller. I next needed panels so I purchased two 30 watt Sunsolar panels form eBay as well and they look and work great.