String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

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String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby administrator on Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:36 am

A member of our Technical Service group (forum Username Erik) has written a string sizing applet for the MX60 and FM80. I've temporarily posted it at the following location: String Sizing Tool. Eventually it will be moved to under the Resources tab on our website.

If you have any comments or panels that you would like to add to the database, feel free to post them in this thread, or email them to support@outbackpower.com .

For Panel additions please include the following info:
  • Manufacturer Name and model number
  • Voc (Open Circuit Voltage)
  • Vmp (Maximum power voltage
  • Isc (Short circuit current)
  • Imp (Max. power current)
  • Vtoc (Voltage Temp Coeff)
  • Vtmp (Max. power Temp Coeff
  • Watts (Watts STC)

Scott
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby tjdadj on Fri Jul 18, 2008 4:44 pm

Scott,

When using the "custom" panel window, there was not a box to change Watts (which is preset to 1), and it wasn't calculated from the Vmp and Imp figures.

Am I doing something wrong??

Thanks

Terry
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby Scott Payne on Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:25 pm

Terry,

After entering the new value in the box, press enter. The default value will change and watts will be recalculated.


Scott
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby tjdadj on Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:27 am

Thanks Scott,

That took care of the problem..

Seems to work ok, with the exception of the zipcode/weather data piece, which does nothing.. (I use Firefox, if that helps?)

As far as recommendations:

The interface is usable, but not very intuitive for casual users.. Heck, I even got fooled, as I expected auto-recalculation when entering new data. ( I haven't had to hit the "Enter" key to re-calc in a long time)

You may want to split the lower panel and add a brief set of operating instructions in the left side, add a dividing line and move the visual display to the right..
I would also label the visual display as the "Panel Sizing Display", and change the squares to rectangles, so they look more like panel arrays. (this would give the user a visual clue as to it's purpose)

HTH
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby crow on Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:12 pm

hi, how do i scroll through the solar panel selector, i seem to be stuck on 'A's . looks good, the weather link works for me.
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby tallgirl on Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:56 am

I want to repeat the "I've not had to press enter after entering text in a while". There are ways to tell when a widget loses focus -- listen for those events and use that instead of "enter".

Also, couldn't get past the "A's" and the weather didn't work for me.
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby tjdadj on Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:25 am

To all reporting issues and recommendations:

To benefit the programmer and their troubleshooting efforts, let's try to be more specific when reporting problems..

ie: when reporting issues, please specify which browser and what version you are using.. Also, verify that your browser doesn't have popups blocked, or one of the secondary languages disabled. (ActiveX, JavaScript, etc.).

Hopefully, Julie, intellact, GreenerPower, jnh, and other programmers can add some other examples of info that would be beneficial when reporting issues.

It would also be good for the programmer to give us a list of requirements for the proper operation of the app. (Maybe include as part of the "Agreement" page?)

All in all, I think it is an excellent concept, but needs to be fine tuned for the novice group, which will be the predominate users of this program..
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby Erik on Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:29 am

I have heard that a programmer's work is never done. :smile:
I hope I can clear things up.

>Getting past the A's
There is a handle on the upper left of the list. I guess I need to make that bigger. :wink:
Also, if you have a scroll mouse, it should work.

>Weather Data
Popups need to be allowed, at least for that page. It uses the "_new" tag for those familiar

with HTML. Perhaps a frame on the same page would make this easier?

>Enter to calculate.
I will have that changed by the next update.

>Requirements
Java 1.4 is recommended, though older JRE's may work.
Has anyone had trouble loading the applet? Showing requirements at the agreement screen would

not help if it does not load.

>Interface
Would Tooltip style messages be preferred over a help guide?
Should the 'modules' (rectangles) would be laid out vertically?


Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby tjdadj on Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:30 pm

Erik

Would Tooltip style messages be preferred over a help guide?


Tooltips are ok, but please make a checkbox to disable them.

Should the 'modules' (rectangles) would be laid out vertically?


Not sure what you mean, but the overall layout is good, just make the individual cells twice as tall as they are wide..

BTW, nice job so far!!

HTH
Terry In Oregon
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(3) 220Ah battery banks, [(2) are stationary, (1) is in my 48V EZGO Golf Cart]

Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby tallgirl on Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:47 pm

Erik,

You should check out JavaMate. I keep finding really cool features to add and will likely never release it because there is always ONE MORE FEATURE!

I must say that I really the sizing tool, now that I know how to use it.
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Re: Photovoltaic panel sizing tool for complete systems

Postby Rodwell on Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:35 am

Hi Guys
My old but reliable Photovoltaic sizing program has crashed. Does anyone have a program that they can suggest or send me that also takes into account MPPT regulators, as my last program did not.
Reagrds Mark
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby PDP11 on Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:15 am

Warning... feature creep.

Could the tool de-rate the controller for elevated temperatures and then calculate appropriate string configurations? In an RV during summer the controller ambient temperature can become a significant problem.

Is it possible to calculate controller conversion efficiency for the different string configurations.

Was not surprised when weather data lookup didn't work for me as I was feeding it an Australian Postcode.

Regards,
Garry
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby Malasombra on Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:58 am

Hi all

I am too outside USA and weather data comes quite lost at this point.
Moving manually the temp bars have no effect in the "green envelope" and i am specially interested in winter top Voc, is that a normal behavior?

Thanks
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby yankee10 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:53 pm

I am assuming we are talking about the sizing tool that is now posted on:

http://www.outbackpower.com/resources/s ... zing_tool/

Once I figured out the tool I really like it. However, the colors reminded me of early programming of the first color computer monitors--garish and non-harmonious. (They were programmed that way to show off the color capability.) The colors do turn out to be useful, though--especially the color-coding of the array to indicate the issues with topology.

The text was difficult to read--too thin and poor resolution--although later accesses don't seem to have that problem, so maybe it's my computer. Discovering the method of scrolling through the PV module types took me awhile to see.

Suggestions:

Label 'number of strings' across the bottom and 'number in series' down the side of the array. I am constantly having to remind myself of which axis is which.

X's in boxes or radio buttons would work better than different colors to indicate which item you have selected (like charge controller type). If you only have two selections, it's hard to tell which is the selection (I have the same problem on my DVD player selecting icons--let's see, is it the faint icon or the bright icon?).

Make the scroll bar black and white--a la a Windows scroll bar--to avoid the color issue I mentioned before. It did take me awhile to even notice the scroll bar.

**
Thanks for to sizing tool. It really helped me get a handle on the PV module design space.
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby yankee10 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:53 pm

I am assuming we are talking about the sizing tool that is now posted on:

http://www.outbackpower.com/resources/s ... zing_tool/

Once I figured out the tool I really like it. However, the colors reminded me of early programming of the first color computer monitors--garish and non-harmonious. (They were programmed that way to show off the color capability.) The colors do turn out to be useful, though--especially the color-coding of the array to indicate the issues with topology.

The text was difficult to read--too thin and poor resolution--although later accesses don't seem to have that problem, so maybe it's my computer. Discovering the method of scrolling through the PV module types took me awhile to see.

Suggestions:

Label 'number of strings' across the bottom and 'number in series' down the side of the array. I am constantly having to remind myself of which axis is which.

X's in boxes or radio buttons would work better than different colors to indicate which item you have selected (like charge controller type). If you only have two selections, it's hard to tell which is the selection (I have the same problem on my DVD player selecting icons--let's see, is it the faint icon or the bright icon?).

Make the scroll bar black and white--a la a Windows scroll bar--to avoid the color issue I mentioned before. It did take me awhile to even notice the scroll bar.

**
Thanks for to sizing tool. It really helped me get a handle on the PV module design space.
yankee10
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Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:24 pm
My RE system: Fronius 3000, 18 Isofoton IS-150/24 modules

Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby yankee10 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:53 pm

I am assuming we are talking about the sizing tool that is now posted on:

http://www.outbackpower.com/resources/s ... zing_tool/

Once I figured out the tool I really like it. However, the colors reminded me of early programming of the first color computer monitors--garish and non-harmonious. (They were programmed that way to show off the color capability.) The colors do turn out to be useful, though--especially the color-coding of the array to indicate the issues with topology.

The text was difficult to read--too thin and poor resolution--although later accesses don't seem to have that problem, so maybe it's my computer. Discovering the method of scrolling through the PV module types took me awhile to see.

Suggestions:

Label 'number of strings' across the bottom and 'number in series' down the side of the array. I am constantly having to remind myself of which axis is which.

X's in boxes or radio buttons would work better than different colors to indicate which item you have selected (like charge controller type). If you only have two selections, it's hard to tell which is the selection (I have the same problem on my DVD player selecting icons--let's see, is it the faint icon or the bright icon?).

Make the scroll bar black and white--a la a Windows scroll bar--to avoid the color issue I mentioned before. It did take me awhile to even notice the scroll bar.

**
Thanks for to sizing tool. It really helped me get a handle on the PV module design space.
yankee10
Member
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:24 pm
My RE system: Fronius 3000, 18 Isofoton IS-150/24 modules

Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby yankee10 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:53 pm

I am assuming we are talking about the sizing tool that is now posted on:

http://www.outbackpower.com/resources/s ... zing_tool/

Once I figured out the tool I really like it. However, the colors reminded me of early programming of the first color computer monitors--garish and non-harmonious. (They were programmed that way to show off the color capability.) The colors do turn out to be useful, though--especially the color-coding of the array to indicate the issues with topology.

The text was difficult to read--too thin and poor resolution--although later accesses don't seem to have that problem, so maybe it's my computer. Discovering the method of scrolling through the PV module types took me awhile to see.

Suggestions:

Label 'number of strings' across the bottom and 'number in series' down the side of the array. I am constantly having to remind myself of which axis is which.

X's in boxes or radio buttons would work better than different colors to indicate which item you have selected (like charge controller type). If you only have two selections, it's hard to tell which is the selection (I have the same problem on my DVD player selecting icons--let's see, is it the faint icon or the bright icon?).

Make the scroll bar black and white--a la a Windows scroll bar--to avoid the color issue I mentioned before. It did take me awhile to even notice the scroll bar.

**
Thanks for to sizing tool. It really helped me get a handle on the PV module design space.
yankee10
Member
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:24 pm
My RE system: Fronius 3000, 18 Isofoton IS-150/24 modules

Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby yankee10 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:53 pm

I am assuming we are talking about the sizing tool that is now posted on:

http://www.outbackpower.com/resources/s ... zing_tool/

Once I figured out the tool I really like it. However, the colors reminded me of early programming of the first color computer monitors--garish and non-harmonious. (They were programmed that way to show off the color capability.) The colors do turn out to be useful, though--especially the color-coding of the array to indicate the issues with topology.

The text was difficult to read--too thin and poor resolution--although later accesses don't seem to have that problem, so maybe it's my computer. Discovering the method of scrolling through the PV module types took me awhile to see.

Suggestions:

Label 'number of strings' across the bottom and 'number in series' down the side of the array. I am constantly having to remind myself of which axis is which.

X's in boxes or radio buttons would work better than different colors to indicate which item you have selected (like charge controller type). If you only have two selections, it's hard to tell which is the selection (I have the same problem on my DVD player selecting icons--let's see, is it the faint icon or the bright icon?).

Make the scroll bar black and white--a la a Windows scroll bar--to avoid the color issue I mentioned before. It did take me awhile to even notice the scroll bar.

**
Thanks for to sizing tool. It really helped me get a handle on the PV module design space.
yankee10
Member
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:24 pm
My RE system: Fronius 3000, 18 Isofoton IS-150/24 modules

Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby yankee10 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:55 pm

Sorry about the 5 posts. When I hit the 'submit' button, it clicked a bunch of times--and apparently multiply submitted.
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby nall on Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:52 pm

Scott,

The string sizing tool is easy and fun to use but I'm confused about the units for some of the parameters, Vtoc and Vtmp. Data sheets for solar panels give these as percent/degree or as volts/degree. What units does the string sizing tool require? I assume volts/degree Centigrade, and also assume that the sign should always be negative since panel voltage goes down as the temperature goes up. Is this right? Any help (with my confusion) is appreciated.

Barry
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby Kent Osterberg on Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:06 pm

It is confusing that the string sizing tool doesn't display measurement units. However, by looking at the PV modules that are in the database, you can deduce that Vtoc and Vtmp have units of Volts/°C. And by looking at the string sizing tool output, you can also tell that while the values that it displays for temperature coefficient are positive, the calculations are done correctly, e.g. with a negative temperature coefficients.
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby nall on Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:13 am

Kent,

Thanks very much for clarifying that the units of Vtoc are V/degree C.

I'm still unclear about the sign of the Vtoc parameter. If I understand your answer correctly a positive value for Vtoc must be entered to get the correct output from the sizing tool. This is despite the fact that Vtoc is (in reality, and on most panel spec sheets) a negative quantity.

Thanks,

Barry
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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:41 pm
Location: Comfort, TX (50 miles NW of San Antonio)
My RE system: SW4024 power panel, 1,360 Watts of solar modules (10 Siemans SM55 modules, 2 kyocera KC50T modules, 4 Suntech STP 175s modules) wired as a 48 volt Array, Outback MX60 charge controller, 12 trojan 6v "golf cart" batteries, 6KW backup generator converted to propane.

Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby Kent Osterberg on Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:29 am

If I understand your answer correctly a positive value for Vtoc must be entered to get the correct output from the sizing tool. This is despite the fact that Vtoc is (in reality, and on most panel spec sheets) a negative quantity.


That's correct. Try entering a negative value for Vtoc and watch what happens when you move the low temperature slider; it'll be backwards - telling you that you can have more series modules when the temperature is lowered.
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby shelgenortiz on Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:05 am

crow wrote:hi, how do i scroll through the solar panel selector, i seem to be stuck on 'A's . looks good, the weather link works for me.


I Agree with this... I already tried once, solar power selector really works. you can check Πάνελ ηλιακής Ενέργειας, I think this can help too...
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Re: String Sizing Tool for MX and FM Charge Controllers

Postby glortiz_99 on Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:40 pm

Can get the link to work wend I click the link it cancel the web browser I'm using FireFox on windows xp what I need to do?
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