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Compass Marine How To | all galleries >> Welcome To >> MPPT vs. PWM Controllers > The Test Bench
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The Test Bench

Data Capture:

For this test I set up the Bogart Engineering Pentametric with two shunts, one for the MPPT controller & panel and one for the PWM controller & panel. This data was fed into a laptop computer and captured via screen shots for this article. I captured; Battery voltage, panel 1 Amps, Panel 2 Amps, Panel 1 Ampere Hours and Panel 2 Ampere Hours.

Solar Panels & Wiring:

I used two identical Kyocera KD140SX panels. The wires from panel to controller were identical lengths & gauge and used MC-4 connectors at the panel end. All wiring was identical including all crimped terminals. Crimp terminals were made with AMP ratcheting crimp tools and were AMP brand terminals. The panels were placed flat on saw horses, as they would be on a boat, and placed in an unshaded area of my back yard. Each day the panels were swapped to the opposite controller in order to eliminate any panel manufacturing variances. This is why MC-4 connectors were chosen for the panel ends for quick connect nature of them.


In this test I used the inexpensive Genasun GV-10 MPPT controller and the Morningstar PS-15 PWM controller. They can be seen connected in front of the Rogue and MidNite KID controllers. Both controllers were set to GEL voltages but neither controller ever attained absorption voltage.

Other Monitoring:

A Fluke 179 DVM was used for at a glance voltage monitoring of panel voltage and battery terminal voltage. An infrared temp gun was used to periodically shoot the panels for temperature. A Victron BMV-602S was used to track overall SOC of the LiFePO4 battery bank.

From Left to Right:

400Ah LifePO4 battery, Victron BMV-602S (blue light on), NIST calibrated Fluke 179 DVM, Gray wires coming though window from panels, Morningstar PS-15, Genasun GV-10, Bogart Engineering Pentametric data dogger, USB interface & shunts.

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