MidNite Solar Classic Charge Controller

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Update
December 15, 2010

After much testing and development, the Classic is not shipping. Need I say more?

Update
December 6, 2010

After testing the Classic GEN4 ( PRODUCTION UNIT ) for over a week, I think we are almost ready to ship! No really!!! Energy Production has been on par with the GEN2 unit we first installed over the summer.

First Photo: The inside of the Classic GEN4 is pretty much the same as it is on the earlier models. Now the AUX ports are buried under the RTS port! Not sure why.
Center Photo:
The 4" wire duct is getting full of the all the shunt wires, but the Classics look nice in our system. The Mini-DC to the right is for all the shunts and bus bars that allow me to pick which array goes to a particular Charge Controller for testing.
Right Photo: Early morning production shows both controllers waking up on time and fully functional. I did find one string was bad on the my west array since the Classic GEN4 did not match at first with the Classic GEN2 output. The Classic GEN4 is the first controller to have ARC Fault detection. Next, we will test that function.

Update
July 29, 2010

Classics are now scheduled to ship at the end of September 2010. Learn More About Pre-orders.

Update
June 21, 2010

More Data collected as we have a few more mostly sunny days (well almost).


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First Photo: The clouds kept coming! The Classic was holding its own against the FM60. As it should be, since they were the brain-child of the same person - boB Gudgel.
Center Photo:
Almost all sun after Noon.
Right Photo: Not sure what happened, the Classic Gen2 beat the FM60 by 0.5 KWH today. I checked all the breakers in the combiner box and checked the shunt box. All looks normal. The rapid cloud cover / sun burst are really messing with the MPPT Tracking code.

 

Update
June 18, 2010

More Data collected during especially cloudy days. Great for testing the responsiveness of the MPPT Tracking code.


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First Photo: The Baseline Comparison of MX60 to FM60. It was a rather clear / sunny day.
Other Photo:
Various Days of comparison between the Classis GEN2 that is using the array from the MX60.
 

Update!
June 6, 2010

We have several days of data collected so far. The Classic GEN2 MPPT Tracking code is relatively solid. There are some days with lower production and some with higher production. New software is coming out soon...

The schematic shows how the the Charge Controllers are connected to the System. The Outback FN-DC is using 3 shunts, one for the inverter, and one for each of the two Charge Controllers that are on deck for testing. We are in the processing of adding two more charge controllers and may feed those to the Inverter shunt to help isolate the charge controllers that are being monitored. (The reason for adding two more charge controllers is more comparison and to simply add more Production Capacity)


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Left Photo: The Charge Controller System Schematic for our System.
Center Photo:
The Classic GEN2 is producing power! Yea!! Beta is underway.
Right Photo:
Data Collection Image.

Update! May 2010

I moved our beta Classic GEN2 from the Display Board to our Development and Testing System. First, we added a FLEXnet DC and new MATE.

The Wiring Duct makes adding, removing and changing Charge Controllers and other devices quite easy...


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Left Photo: Open up all the charge controllers to move certain Negative wires to the new shunts for monitoring.
Center Photo:
Wire the Classic to it's own shunt and input & output breakers. Move Array 2 from MX60#2 to Classic Input.
Right Photo: Two arrays are connected to two charge controllers at a time. One MX60 can rest for a while.

The Classic

April 2010 Update

We received our first Classic 150 Beta!!!! It is a Generation 2 revision and will show some of the features coming in the Production units

I wired the Classic GEN2 into a display board for the required dog & pony show. The display board is our 3D Backplate and allows the wiring to run behind the stuff for a very clean look.


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Things I noticed right away:
  Built in Ethernet Port (data logging and software/firmware updates)
  Built in USB Port (data logging and and software/firmware updates)
  Terminal Bus Bar for # 6 AWG (or maybe # 4 AWG) wire
  Ground Terminal is UP facing
  Master Upstream / Slave Downstream Communication / Sync Ports
  The faceplate and buttons are actually a MATE Style REMOVABLE REMOTE (Just add CAT5/RJ45 cable)
  9 FETS for Power Output, two transformers for MPPT (looks like a third for measurement, still need to dig deeper)
  3 (yes three) ball-bearing fans for cooling, two down below for the internal electronics and one at the top for the external heat sink fins 

The Classic

March 2010 Update

MidNite fine-tuned (clarified) the model numbers for production Classic Charge Controllers.

Classic 150 ( 150Voc Input )
Classic 200 ( 200Voc Input )
Classic 250 ( 250Voc Input )

The Number after the name indicates the highest input voltage threshold for the controller.

For the Classic 150, it looks like preliminary data shows 80 or 90 Amp Output! (You'll want to use or convert over to Panel Mount Breakers!) The Graph to the right is an earlier version, who knows what the final specification will be. It could be lower for longevity or higher if the thermal management software holds out.

For the higher voltage controllers, like the 200 Voc and 250 Voc unit, the maximum output current will likely be lower than 70 or 80 Amps.

You can see this in the data, especially at higher voltage battery banks.


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The Classic

February 2010 Update

MidNite Solar made it to another milestone for the Classic and it is now in its second wave of testing. The Classic will be the first to have voice prompts built in, among several other ground-breaking features.

Take a listen to Milli, the new voice in RE:  MidNite-Robins-Milli.mp3

Also, model numbers are guessed to be:
MNCLS90-150
MNCLS80-200
MNCLS70-250

That's right, higher current controller is on its way and higher voltages will also be available soon!

Another feature that has a few of my customers ready, the Classic is also a MPPT Wind Controller. Advanced software will give the Classic the ability to Track Wind Turbine output, squeezing the power out of them...

All I can say is: WAY COOL!!

Read the February 2010 news from MidNite


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The Classic

MidNite Solar is hard at work developing their next product, the Classic Charge controller. I had a chance recently to meet Robin Gudgel founder of MidNite Solar at my favorite Starbucks in Austin, Texas. He brought the current prototype of the Classic and we spent time looking the features, talked about the latest software in the works and discussed other solar related items.

All I can say is: Cool!


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Update: The Classic in now in beta testing. We should expect our beta test unit any day!!!

Read the latest news from MidNite

The Classic Features:

Robin's brother boB (yes, the father of the MX60) posted the following wish list for the Classic:
1. Remote Mountable Control / Meter.
2. Ability to Stack Multiple Classics.
3. Use of external shunt in the metering system.
4. Smart algorithms for Sun, Wind and other power sources...
5. Plus much, much more yet to be revealed!

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The Testing Continues

Development and Testing are well underway as Robin and boB continue to work on their next little Baby. More updates to come...


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Update! Fall 2007

Development and Testing are getting closer! During SOLwest 2007, boB and Robin demo'd the Classic. Notice the super high Input Voltage to Classics. No more 150 VDC ceiling for the HV version of the Classic...


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Update! Fall 2008

boB has been working his slide rule overtime this fall and the Classic is even closer to being completed! A few Classic controllers have make it out to the world. We are impatiently waiting on our test unit and hope to put it through its paces soon!

boB modified the current measurement circuit to be temperature compensated! I think the Classic will be the first MPPT controller to have a temperature compensated current measurement system! You can see the prototype of the daughter board version installed. Production Classics will have this circuit integrated.

The first few Classics are installed now and the data has been rolling into MidNite Solar. So far it looks great! Can't say much more than that until we get our own ;-)

 

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Updated: July 02, 2010