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Old 06-06-2007, 10:18 AM   #1
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Morningstar - Prostar charge controller, outside installation

Can this solar charge controller be installed outside in the weather? Basically I am looking for a 3 stage solar charger with equalization mode that can be installed outside in the elements.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:06 AM   #2
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First - why would you want to hide the sexy digital readouts? I have the Morningstar 4 Amp and 6A controllers that are waterproof and lack displays.

Letsee - under Prostar 'Important Safety Information' #2 reads as follows:
• Do not allow water to enter the controller.

Under "General Installation Instructions' #1 one reads:
• The ProStar uses stainless steel fasteners, an anodized heat sink, and conformal coating to protect from harsh conditions. However, for acceptable service life extreme temperatures and marine environments should be avoided.

Installation guidelines say:
• Install in an area protected from direct rain and direct sun.

So - if you make a rain & sun guard for it then yes it can be mounted externally, provide adequate cable for drip loops to keep mist & condensation from tracking down wires onto the terminals, and mount in a location to easily keep an eye on terminal board & crimp wire terminators then go for it. But for $150 gadget the Prostar should be somewhere providing "Ooooo" factor
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:09 AM   #3
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Most if not all controllers need to be protected from the weather. I beleive you will find in the instructions that they need to be install in a NMEA enclosure.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabbiteer
First - why would you want to hide the sexy digital readouts? I have the Morningstar 4 Amp and 6A controllers that are waterproof and lack displays.

Letsee - under Prostar 'Important Safety Information' #2 reads as follows:
Do not allow water to enter the controller.

Under "General Installation Instructions' #1 one reads:
The ProStar uses stainless steel fasteners, an anodized heat sink, and conformal coating to protect from harsh conditions. However, for acceptable service life extreme temperatures and marine environments should be avoided.

Installation guidelines say:
Install in an area protected from direct rain and direct sun.

So - if you make a rain & sun guard for it then yes it can be mounted externally, provide adequate cable for drip loops to keep mist & condensation from tracking down wires onto the terminals, and mount in a location to easily keep an eye on terminal board & crimp wire terminators then go for it. But for $150 gadget the Prostar should be somewhere providing "Ooooo" factor
No need for digital display. Do the 4 and 6A models have an equalization mode?
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:50 PM   #5
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Ah yes - the blurring of technology keywords; Yes and no is the answer to that. Equalization is a periodic arbitrary rise in charge voltage above the usual high limit to keep sulphation levels even across all the battery cells; with pulse-style chargers there are claims that high-frequency pulses accomplish the same thing without needing the EQ or 4th charge stage. Having a timing circuit built in to command equalization for just two hours every month raises the complexity and cost.

More information about the panels bought or planned would be good.

Morningstar makes pulse-width modulated (PWM) chargers... From what I see on reviewing 4A module specifics they've included a temperature compensation device so it should be located at the battery compartment - for $26 lowest price its a good deal for single panel maintainer circuit.

The 6A is a different style; Look at Morningstar 'Sunkeeper' PV mountable controllers - internal, remote or disable temperature compensation, pulse 3-stage charging (no equalization) and $56, $74 for a 12 Amp model are best prices I found on net. Even has winky LED status indicator to trigger that 'steal me' urge in honest and law abiding hooligans.

Now to introduce yet more options: MPPT vs PWM chargers. MPPT will scrounge 10-30% more energy from same light and panels over the course of a day but costs twice or more as much...
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Old 06-07-2007, 03:53 PM   #6
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Ok, I'll settle for an epoxy sealed 3 stage solar controller. I'll do the equalization manually with a battery charger if need be. Any suggestions?
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