Morningstar Blog

Updated Morningstar Networking and Communications Document

April 5, 2017

Morningstar’s Networking and Communications Document has been updated to include information about our Ethernet MeterBus Converter (EMC-1) and USB Meter Bus Adapter (UMC-1).  This document indicates how to establish communications with Morningstar products to enable networking, logging, data transfer and custom setting capabilities.  Topics covered include: MODBUS communications protocol MeterBus networks Serial RS-232 and EIA-485 networks Ethernet, HTTP, web interfaces Related hardware and cables  

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Charging Valve Regulated AGM Batteries

March 30, 2017

Did you know that the new ProStar Gen3 solar charge controller is equipped with DIP Switches (switch #’s 4, 5 and 6) that enable seven preset charge configurations and a custom setting to best meet the charging requirements for valve regulated AGM lead acid batteries? Higher Voltage Equalization charging, commonly used with Flooded batteries, can be harmful to valve regulated AGM batteries.  To avoid this problem, auto-equalize options can be disabled for the ProStar Gen3 solar charge controller by switching DIP Switch #7 to the OFF position, regardless of your other DIP Switch settings. The 15 amp and 30 amp Prostar Gen3 models are the newest and smallest Morningstar controllers to include the seven preset and custom charging configurations, and the option to disable auto-equalization. Other larger Morningstar controllers which include similar preset configuration options are the Prostar MPPT, TriStar, and TriStar MPPT controllers.

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Charging NEC Energy Solution Batteries

March 15, 2017

In response to requests from system designers seeking to leverage NEC Energy Solution’s ALM 12V35 batteries with Morningstar charge controllers, an application note was developed through a collaborative effort between the two companies.  Systems incorporating both ALM 12V35 batteries and Morningstar charge controllers are well suited for a wide range of PV+Storage applications.  The information in the application note serves as a guide to help configure settings based on the particular Morningstar controller that is used.  Performance may vary depending on use conditions and application.  [Read more…]

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Remote Monitoring of Off-grid Systems

January 3, 2017

Being able to remotely monitor PV systems is important to reducing time and costs associated with site visits. This is obviously especially important for off-grid systems, which are often in even harder to reach or remote areas—geological monitoring, mines, telecom, industrial automation and agriculture applications. [Read more…]

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Comparing Four Versions of Morningstar 600V Charge Controllers

November 23, 2016

Morningstar’s TriStar MPPT™ 600V Solar Charge Controllers have proven to be a highly reliable solution to enable several application scenarios including: The use of smaller diameter wire to reduce costs and simplify installation. Long wire runs from the array to the controller. New and retrofit grid-tie systems with battery backup. Each of our 600V charge controller SKU’s are pictured and described below so you can make sure you use the version that is most appropriate to meet your needs. TS-MPPT-60-600V-48  Standard version: smallest version that does not have a PV disconnect or transfer switch. This version is most often used in high voltage off-grid residential and telecommunications applications with long wire runs from the array to the controller. TS-MPPT-60-600V-48-DB DB version: includes a disconnect box to disconnect power from the PV array and connection to batteries.  This version is most often used in off-grid residential and telecommunications applications by those who don’t want to be tasked with installing their own disconnect solution to meet safety requirements. TS-MPPT-60-600V-48-DB-TR TR version: includes a transfer switch which directs PV array power to a grid tied string inverter or to a battery bank. This version is used to retrofit grid-tied systems with battery backup for critical loads. TS-MPPT-60-600V-48-DB-TR-GFPD TR with GFPD version: includes a transfer switch and a pre-wired connection to a ground fault protection device. This version is used to retrofit grid-tied systems with battery backup and it meets US NEC requirements for ground fault protection.  

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5 Reasons Why Customers Prefer Morningstar’s EMC-1

November 7, 2016

Morningstar’s new Ethernet MeterBus Converter (EMC-1) enables IP-based network and internet connectivity to compatible Morningstar products for remote monitoring and configuration of system settings. Here are the top 5 advantages of the EMC-1 versus other serial converters on the market: 1. Wide operating temperature range from -40°C to +60°C and conformal coating designed for the harshest off-grid environments. 2. Wide operating voltage range allowing a single product to be compatible with 12, 24, and 48 volt battery systems. 3. Auto-detection and configuration when connected to compatible Morningstar products. 4. Low power consumption (2W maximum). 5. Simple connectivity via an RJ-11 port.

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15,000 New Modules Added To Morningstar’s String Calculator

October 31, 2016

Morningstar has recently updated its online String Calculator.  This powerful tool can assist you with proper sizing of the solar array for all of our MPPT and PWM solar controller models.  Our recent update adds over 15,000 new solar modules including many of the newer 300W+ models.  These 72 cell modules are perfect for use with any Morningstar MPPT controller or PWM solar controller that supports 24V batteries. The String Calculator provides a quick and easy way to determine the number of solar modules that can be configured in series and parallel based on battery, controller and temperature conditions associated with your system.  The underlying database of module specifications is professionally managed and updated by the manufacturers themselves, ensuring a complete and accurate listing for the global market.  In the off-chance that your particular module is not in our database, you can also choose to manually enter module specifications.  To view a short video that will help you learn about how to best use the string calculator, click here.

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String Configurations for TriStar MPPT and 48V Batteries

August 24, 2016

Question: Can you use two 72 cell modules in series with a TriStar MPPT to charge a 48V battery system, or do you need three modules? Answer: Yes, unless the system is located in an exceptionally hot desert climate, or you are worried about voltage drop from a long wire run from the array to the controller.  But as long as your voltage at max power (Vmp) is slightly higher than your target battery voltage, two 72 cell modules will serve you well.  For a 48 volt nominal battery, your target battery voltage will likely be close to 60 volts depending on the battery brand.  And two 72 cell modules should supply much more than 60 volts even in hot temperatures as long as you’re not in Death Valley or some similar extremely hot climate.  We have received a number of questions about this over the years, where people thought they might need 3 modules, when it fact 2 modules would suffice.

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Relay Driver Performs Functions Similar To Auxiliary Port

April 4, 2016

Morningstar offers a Relay Driver (model # RD-1) which can be used for many of the same functions as an auxiliary (IN or OUT). Each RD-1 has 4 channels that can be used as inputs or outputs for  Low Voltage Disconnect, Vent Fan, Alarm notifications, or Genstart. Output Channels can be turned on or off based on standalone relay driver values or information from other Morningstar devices on a MeterBus network such as: Thresholds (Voltage, Current, Temperature, % PWM Duty Cycle) Selected Alarms and/or Faults PC or MODBUS inputs over the RS-232 Serial data connection Advanced options allow users to use use the relay as a timer switch or to custom program delays.

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ProStar MPPT Dip Switch Settings

February 5, 2016

Dip switch settings to configure battery charging, system voltage, and load/lighting parameters are included in the ProStar MPPT Operator’s Manual.  But in the event that you don’t have a manual handy, you can also find these dip switch settings on the inside of the removable wire cover, and on the inside of the Wire Box accessory.

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