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  Renewable Energy & Technology - Control Equipment

In order to regulate the batteries I am using 2 Morningstar controllers, although only 1 is currently wired up. Each controller can handle up to 60 amps, which will mean that with my 12 volt system I need 2 controllers to handle the 1400 watts of solar panels I am using.

The controllers are known as MPPT controllers (mean power point tracking) which maximise the output from your panels by running them at the voltage they prefer. The controllers then adjust this voltage and charge the battery.

Each controller is programmable so you put in the exact charging perameters recomended by your battery manufacturer. I have uploaded a custom charge program that suits the Rolls battery.

As well as the web interface the controllers can communicate using MODBus over TCP/IP, and my computer systems speak this protocol so we have all operational perameters available in the iCatcher software. This enables me to trigger actions based on the state and level of charge. The first "trigger based action" will be to turn a fan to blow air on to the heat sinks of the controllers. I am going to explain this in more detail when I have implemented it.

The iCatcher system will also switch devices on and off in the house when there is surplus power available, these will mainly be heaters, I am in Ireland after all ! It will sense when we are producing more power than the batteries can take and if the house temperature is low it will turn on the heaters.

iCatcher is also configured to alert me to any abnormal conditions encountered. It will email if the batteries get too low or indeed too high. This will enable me to adjust the loads remotly if required or switch on the emergency battery charger if they are in need of an urgent top up.

All this functionailty is available via my iPhone as well as making for a truly intergrated home power and automation system.


Heavy duty wires for power, ethernet cable and temp sensor

   
Huw Edwards 2012 All images on this site remain the copyright of Huw Edwards or the photographers, and may not be reproduced without prior agreements