Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

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Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby raysun on Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:04 pm

My system consists of a Flexpower One (FX3048T, FM80, etc.) and 12 330W solar panels. The FM80 is at capacity with the maximum production of the solar array.

I want to add 6 350W panels plus FM60 charge controller.

The Flexpower One DC side has an 80A array cutoff breaker. I assume a 2nd 80A array cutoff breaker will need to be installed, correct?

Any other additions needed to add the 2nd charge controller to the system?
raysun
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My RE system: Flexpower One: FX3048T, MX80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
Outback 200NC batteries (8 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 4Sx3P)

Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby Kurt Lundquist on Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:04 am

Hi Ray,

Check this out http://outbackpower.force.com/articles/How_To/How-to-add-a-second-charge-controller-to-an-FP1

If you have a few extra bucks I'd go with the FM80 instead of the 60. When the fan dies you will thank me. FM80 fan replacement is like a 2-minute ordeal and you don't have to take the controller off the wall. The FM60 has to be completely dismantled.

-Kurt
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Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby raysun on Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:11 am

Hey Kurt,

Thanks for the article.

I have an FM60 laying around, but your advice about the FM80 servicibility is well taken. (No sense in provoking Murphy or my blood pressure.)

Anyone want a good deal on an FM60? New in the box.
raysun
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Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower One: FX3048T, MX80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
Outback 200NC batteries (8 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 4Sx3P)

Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby Kurt Lundquist on Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:30 am

One pole of the dual pole GFDI can slide down behind the blank if you are not using the FN-DC breaker. Or there are knockouts on the other side of the FP1 box that can be used. Wiring will be super tight. FN-DC breaker could be replaced with a 1 amp inline fuse. Auto-parts stores have inline fuses holders for cheap.

-Kurt
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Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby raysun on Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:33 am

Thanks again Kurt.

I have the 2nd combiner box.

PV input breaker and Dual GFDI on order. An FM80 as well.

The article mentions reprogramming the FNDC, but the link to that article appears dead.
raysun
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Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower One: FX3048T, MX80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
Outback 200NC batteries (8 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 4Sx3P)

Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby Soll1943 on Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:03 am

Hi,
I'm a newcomer in the forum.

Are there MPPT controllers with 2 solar panel inputs? Do you know about such controllers? On the other hand, It is always easier to install 2 separate charge controllers, especially if the voltage on different solar batteries is very different. Although I know that some of my neighborhood connect different segments of solar panels, oriented to different sides of the roof, in parallel. This is not entirely correct (see here wavesolartech.com ), but permissible.
Last edited by Soll1943 on Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:05 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby raysun on Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:28 pm

This project to add panels and a 2nd charge controller has morphed into more tasks (none absolutely necessary, but since I'm tearing into the system, might as well.) When I originally installed the system, I didn't have time to fully spec out each and every nut and bolt, and relied on a local vendor to put together a BOM. Going in, I knew a "plug-and-play" Outback solution would serve me well, and it has. A couple of "do-overs" are going to make me happier as the years progress:

1) Swap the original racking. My local supplier at the time sold Orion brand roof mount racking. It is a fine product line, and has withstood two hurricane events in the past two years without incident. However, the design if their mid-clamp causes me heartburn. The clamp "ears" extend too far over the edge of the PV panel bezel and curve down into the glass surface of the panel. During my initial installation, I had mounted two panels side-by-side that were 0.5mm different in frame thickness. It was just enough to tilt the mid-clamp head, touch the thinner panels tempered glass under slight pressure, and shatter the bloody thing. Live and learn. Every time I look at those clamps, after three years of service, I'm nervous that a small earthquake would be enough to cause more tempered glass to shatter.

My new panels are mounted using Snap N Rack series 100 hardware, and the mid clamps are simpler and safer, IMO.

2) Rewire the existing panels and secure the wiring. I did not have enough 15A DC disconnects for my 12 original 330W PV panels (ordered 6, got 4) so ended up wiring 3 panels in series creating 4 strings. It has not been a problem with exceeding the FM80 150V max input limit, but the step down from PV voltage to 48V battery is above the FM80's peak efficiency range. The 12 panels (as are the 6 new 355W panels) will be wired into strings of 2 in series.

My original 'tie-wrap' cable securing job failed after a couple of years, even though the cable ties were UV rated and protected from the weather. This time around Snap N Rack cable mounting clips will be used.

3) Upgrade Mate3 to Mate3s. I've had the 3s on the shelf for a while now, and never got over the inertia of dismantling, installing, and programming. Since I'm tearing into the whole FLEXpower setup to add the 2nd FM80, I figured it was high time to get the 3s in place too.

Scope creep. Every project managers bane. In this case I have nobody to blame but myself. :)
raysun
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Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower One: FX3048T, MX80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
Outback 200NC batteries (8 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 4Sx3P)

Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby JeffinthePeace on Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:11 pm

All too familiar. So many projects completed with the idea that I’ll go back and fix that little thing later...with said little thing still standing as originally installed, 10 years later.
Great that you got er done. Share some pics if you can.
Jeff
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My RE system: PSX-240 Auto Transformer.
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6 (total) Trina PV panels: 365W, 39.3Vmp, 48.0Voc, 9.3A Imp, 9.77A Isc
—> PV set up in 3 pairs. Each pair in series.
Midnight Sun Combiner Box.

Mate (Original) and Hub4.
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2 battery banks, each:
1065 Ah Yuasa 85T-21 FLA battery bank (10 yrs old).
—> Battery set up in 6 boxes x 4V cells each = 24V system.
—> Bank 1 = 1065 Ah
—> Bank 2 = 1065 Ah
—> Bank 1 & Bank 2 connected via Blue Sea 4-Position Battery Selector Switch.

10kW 120/240VAC Kubota/Stamford diesel generator.

No Utility Grid available.

Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby raysun on Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:36 pm

When I first installed my system, I had less than a week to source the system, install, and commission it. It's worked without a hitch since day one (knock on anodized aluminum), but I am a bit OCD about uniformity of parts and processes.

I'll be even happier with rev. 2, I'm sure.
raysun
Forum Guru
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower One: FX3048T, MX80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
Outback 200NC batteries (8 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 4Sx3P)

Re: Adding solar panels and a 2nd charge controller

Postby Mike Curran on Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:45 am

Soll1943 wrote:Are there MPPT controllers with 2 solar panel inputs? Do you know about such controllers?
Don't think so. One way to use a single charge controller for panels that are mounted in different solar exposures is to install optimizers on each panel, which is what I did, but for shading issues, not panels in different planes. Same diff, tho'.

However, you'll find the total cost (including install) of a second charge controller is about the same or maybe less than optimizers.
http://www.tigoenergy.com/site.php?95b2dca2-ca6c
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My RE system: Outback:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one MX60 (2007)
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80 (2017)
- 2 grid-tied GVFX3524's classic stacked for 120/240VAC (2007)
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah (2007)
- Hub10.3, Mate3, FNDC, RTS, OpticsRE. Tigo Energy ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar: (2012)
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied.


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