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SeaDawg

Which brand controller for higher powered solar?

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So, we have loved our support from Blue Sky energy,  now owned by genasun.  But, for the boat, we bought Victron, because of the much  bigger panel installation (600 watts), expandability, and the higher water resistance of the Victron. 

On the Oliver, we're planning to upgrade our 200 watt rooftop solar to 380 or 400 watts, and portable solar to 200. And, maybe someday, expand. As solar improves,  we can now almost double our 2008 productivity  in just a slightly larger footprint than our original install,  with a bit of fiddling with the brackets.

 The newer Blue Sky 3024i could probably do what we want, and we could keep the same pro remote monitor.  Obviously,  we have to upgrade our current Blue Sky controller,  which has a max of 340 watts solar.

Or, we could install the bigger Victron, and have the same, or similar, system in boat and trailer. For the boat, we have the 100/50 controller, bluetooth monitor, and the color control. Not quite yet installed, but waiting in the garage for the final hardtop bimini install . Hopefully, we'll  be able to finish that soon. We're working on it .

Both controllers seem to be compatible with a LifePo battery upgrade at some day in the future. 

For those of you who have Victron controllers,  what's your feeling? I'm personally  torn, because of the excellent support and service we've received from Blue Sky.

 


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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I couldn’t say if the individual Victron components are any better or worse than any other equipment.  It certainly seems top notch and of course it’s highly regarded in the marine world. 
To me, the Victron advantage is in the networking among the different components. Victron seems to be the only company that concentrates on the electrical system as a whole. So their solar charge controllers and chargers are much more powerful together than independently, and the more components you add, the more powerful they become. 
To see a real benefit from Victron gear, should you go that route, I’d say that in addition to the charge controller you should go ahead and get their battery monitor and color control display, like you have on your boat. Fortunately, neither of those are too expensive, nor difficult to install, especially for you guys.  As you know, those components together will give you all of the monitoring and remote capabilities of their network. After you’ve installed that, then I can talk you into getting a MultiPlus. 😛

The other thing I’d add is that ultimately I’d like to have a separate charge controller dedicated to portable panels. I’d wire the portables as 24 volts so that I could use longer and smaller cables. So that might be something to consider yourself. 

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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We have the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50 and the BMV-712 battery monitor.  As Overland said, we really like how they work together and you can access many Victron products from one App.  Went with the 100/50 to help future proof it, incase we decided to expand our solar.  Using two 100ah Battle Born batteries and the 340 watts of solar seems to be well matched.

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Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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AndrewK, looks like you have quite a bit of upgrade room. Good for you. Adding extra capability at the onset isn't nearly as costly as replacement,  later, as weve found.

Overland,  we'd love, now, to have the Victron multi. But only a few years ago, we installed a new Xantrex charger/ inverter (which is a really nice piece of gear, and too expensive to abandon after only a few years.) to replace the old Heart that could no longer be repaired.  I don't think we can find a way to allow it to communicate with the Victron. That would be easy, neat and tidy with the multi. 🙃

We were a couple years too early with upgrading the chart plotter/ helm display, also. New version would communicate through the backbone with the Victron equipment. Sigh.

I do think the comm capabilities with Victron have great potential for us . Still on the fence on what to do with the trailer upgrades. We'd like to get the gear ordered by the end of the year.

On a really positive note, a friend came over from the east coast to help pull wires and complete the install of the prewired bimini and its solar. We will still have to finish the controller, battery, and monitor wiring. But, we're on the easy side, now. At least, physically.

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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It's not easy, reworking a 40+ year old boat to bring it into the 2019 electronic world. But, it's really satisfying.  

Like our Oliver,  the sailboat has a great hull and bones. It's worth the efforts.

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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