Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MPPT Solar Controller Double Plus Good Good!

This MPPT solar controller is totally amazing. I love this thing. Between this controller, and my new low-power EEE netbook, I just don't worry about electricity anymore.

Tonight I parked underneath a couple streetlamps. And as I sat down to do some computer work, I saw my MPPT controller's charge light blinking. WTF? It's 11PM. No... no way... it can't be... it is! The thing is actually trickle-charging my batteries overnight, using the energy of a City of San Francisco halogen streetlamp!

Probably not a huge amount of electricity there, but it's non-zero. I still have to hack up a USB-to-MODBUS interface to plug my computer into the thing and get more detailed data from it. But, no matter what, the old PWM controller wasn't capable of boosting the tiny voltages from a streetlamp up to a level where it could actually charge the battery. MPPT controllers can.

I'm putting the MPPT controller on the (very short) list of things I'm very, very glad to have bought.

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