Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

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Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby ninja.turtle007 » 16 May 2018, 17:48

We know how many of you have solar on your buses. We have been using solar for 8 years now.

We have been living full time in our Westy since July 2017.

One thing we did recently was to change our £30 MPPT to a £130 MPPT controller. You can watch our review here. https://youtu.be/IUBQ6ShPsC8
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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby bobby-gg » 17 May 2018, 20:22

I'll 2nd the Victron gear - I recently installed a Victron 3kw easysolar for my off grid installation, handles 2kw of solar power, and outputs 3kw of mains voltage. Even connects to the Internet to monitor the system 24/7

Fantastic piece of equipment that I've absolutely no regrets upgrading my system to.
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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby kevtherev » 20 May 2018, 07:36

Would you say a £30 controller like the photonic universe controller is enough for occasional use?
Or would you recommend that this Victron would be advantageous for that too.
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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby ninja.turtle007 » 20 May 2018, 21:49

kevtherev wrote:Would you say a £30 controller like the photonic universe controller is enough for occasional use?
Or would you recommend that this Victron would be advantageous for that too.


I can only go on personal experience. When we were mostly doing weekend trips the soler was mainly for keeping the batteries topped up whilst it was parked and not in use.

For that, the fake MPPT did the job. - it was basically a glorified voltage regulator.

Considering how much we all like to treat our campers, I wouldn't use anything else again. The difference has been massive.

Have you watch our video?
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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby kevtherev » 21 May 2018, 06:17

Yes I saw your video and listened to your comments.
In honesty I have not been concerned with the operation of my current controller.
It just works for me and keeps the battery charged.
I have recently fitted a larger wattage panel (100 to 150) to help in the winter months as the lower light levels were not helping.
As I run a heater all night.
This bigger panel has been much better. Again in honesty unless I get 4 hrs of sun during the week the capacity dwindles toward the end of it (I work away)

When I plug in a largish load on the battery like an electric coolbox in the summer the controller seems to handle the demand (according to the readout) and puts in the amps.

Would this Victron do it differently?
I'm open to suggestion. But the cost must be beneficial
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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby ninja.turtle007 » 21 May 2018, 08:45

kevtherev wrote:Yes I saw your video and listened to your comments.
In honesty I have not been concerned with the operation of my current controller.
It just works for me and keeps the battery charged.
I have recently fitted a larger wattage panel (100 to 150) to help in the winter months as the lower light levels were not helping.
As I run a heater all night.
This bigger panel has been much better. Again in honesty unless I get 4 hrs of sun during the week the capacity dwindles toward the end of it (I work away)

When I plug in a largish load on the battery like an electric coolbox in the summer the controller seems to handle the demand (according to the readout) and puts in the amps.

Would this Victron do it differently?
I'm open to suggestion. But the cost must be beneficial


Without seeing what's inside your controller (easiest way), we can't be sure if it's just a voltage regulator or actually an MPPT.

The thing is, we all love to have solar, it's great when the van is laid up. We buy the panel/s, the wiring, spend ages making it all look nice and we fit what we think is an MPPT (some are) and it's not as good as we expected.

So we change the panel for a larger one or we fit another panel. Me too!!! Maybe for no other reason other than the controller isn't doing the job it's supposed too.

Some of the really basic controllers LVD is 10.8V! Your batteries AGM,GEL, LEAD ACID won't last long if they get to this state of discharge a few times. 11.7V at the lowest, although with the VE controller we have it has a 2 min buffer.

This is similar to my previous controller. I loved the fact it had a display and I could set the parameters
myself.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/T8-30A-MPPT-Solar-Panel-Regulator-Charge-Controller-12-24V-380-760W-With-LCD-N/302611920506?epid=2148910688&hash=item467513767a:g:0zAAAOSwFnxaZh9R

When were started living full-time in our westy, it soon became apparent that our battery bank was failing. In Turkey we managed to find a distributor for Trojan, we fitted 3x 27TMX. - But still something didn't seem right.

I went through all of the wiring, checked loads etc. By mistake, I shorted the load side of the controller. I opened it up the repair it and realised it wasn't an MPPT.

The difference for us has been huge, I no longer need to keep looking at the controller and because of the buffer of the LVD I get more from my batteries. - If I do want to check charge rate, battery state etc I can do it on my phone whilst sat outside, drinking a beer!!

You can get VE controllers without the built in BT for less money.

I can't answer your question without having first hand experience of your setup. I'm sure someone on here could make a rough calculation from your panel (150W?) voltage into your controller and output of Volts and Amps to see whats watt - see what I did there!! :lol:

I'm heading back to Greece in a couple of weeks. Once I reinstall the controller I will post up the data to show how everything is performing. This will give you more insight into how the VE performs against what you have. I have 100w panel (Baird) same as your previous one, I think? And a 150w one too. But that is kept under a kayak and we only slide it out if we need to.

I hope this helps. :ok
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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby ninja.turtle007 » 21 May 2018, 08:46

bobby-gg wrote:I'll 2nd the Victron gear - I recently installed a Victron 3kw easysolar for my off grid installation, handles 2kw of solar power, and outputs 3kw of mains voltage. Even connects to the Internet to monitor the system 24/7

Fantastic piece of equipment that I've absolutely no regrets upgrading my system to.


Sounds awesome!! :ok
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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby bobby-gg » 23 May 2018, 19:10

This is my victron easysolar

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Charging these

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And for my tintop, I've just bought this, a 250w panel


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To fit here

Image

So I'm now looking at the victron smart solar 20a too

The best price I've found so far is around £147, where did you find them for £130?

E D I T - missed the bit on YouTube where you mentioned battery megastore!

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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby CovKid » 25 May 2018, 10:47

A well made MPPT controller beats the lesser ones. However, it takes considerably longer to get your money back, if ever. This point is often made by those comparing cheaper and more expensive controllers.

In terms of figures, the gain can be between 18-25% in terms of power recouped using MPPT but if the lesser controller keeps up with demand anyway, theres little point in upgrading - for most. Solar power tends to follow the same trail as stereos. There are those that actually like to listen to music and those that faff around with different tweeters trying to achieve what they perceive as perfection - to the annoyance of those around them.

Personally, I think the most important starting point is a decent sized battery. Most settle for lesser ones squeezed into a wholly unsuitable space and that gives the rest of the solar gubbings far more to do than need be. Secondly, choosing items that are as efficient as possible to reduce drain. After that you can go camping and enjoy life (like you did before you got solar) :D
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Re: Victron Energy Smart Solar MPPT -Real life review

Postby ninja.turtle007 » 12 Aug 2018, 13:28

This now concludes our experience with Victron Energy!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOXB9SDK9ks
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