Dec 5, 2020 > Solar
You can’t collect SOLAR without a CONTROLLER
Victron Truly Put The SMART in SmartSolar
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Product review Victron SmartSolar MPPT 150/70
Rating
REVIEWED BY Eric Dove 9 reviews, 1 follower
Hunter 46LE SailAway
So you have a rock solid mounting point for your solar panels (check out our review of the Atlantic Towers "Tower In A Box"). And you've squeezed as much solar onto it as you can (check out our review of the Panasonic HIT 320s). And of course you've put together a mighty battery bank to receive all of this "free" power (yep, we also review the Firefly Carbon Mat AGMs). What are we forgetting? That's right, the final piece of the solar puzzle - the solar controller. If you've been doing some research, then you know that the MPPT controllers are the best technology out there for this feat. MPPT stands for Maximum Power Point Tracking and essentially means that your controller is a DC to DC converter that optimally matches your solar array to your battery bank on a continuous basis. This is extremely important for the efficiency of your panels AND the life of your batteries. After substantial research and word of mouth, we landed on Victron, a giant in the solar industry that provides numerous models of controller for the marine environment. Based on our particular panels and their wattage, voltage, and amperage ratings - something very specific to each individual setup - we chose the 150/70 model, which offers just enough headroom for our output. A huge bonus of most of the Victron line and a big selling point for us is the VictronConnect app. This incredibly awesome techy tool is available for any smartphone or tablet and allows you to monitor your controller and hence your solar array, showing you real time output as well as historical data, which is just....freaking cool. And useful too I mean! Seriously, it's a fantastic tool to not only see how much power you're getting, but also gives you peace of mind in the event you need to troubleshoot an issue in your system. For instance, you could very easily see if a panel is down by the output alone. It also allows easy adjustment of parameters to perfectly match the needs of your battery bank. After over a year of constant use cruising and living on the boat at anchor 95% of the time, the controller has been flawless. And thanks to the handy dandy app, I can always know exactly how much "free" power I'm getting. Cheers!
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