Morningstar Solar Charge Controller Review

In regards to the Morningstar MPPT Charge Controllers...

Morningstar Corporation

Morningstar the finest product-makers

Morningstar is Quality

The oldest 150v 60a MPPT Charge Controller here is over 10 years and still operates flawlessly.

Morningstar the finest makers

There are, as of June 29, 2020, 5 of Morningstar MPPT charge controllers here. All 5 controllers are 150v 60a, however there is another 150v 60a unit that is not MPPT here also. The latter controller being a PWM which has some interesting versatility in that the PWM Controllers can handle other functions that the MPPT cannot. One of the abilities of the PWM controller is to be utilized as a diversion control unit by the mere flick of a dip-switch.

Each of the Morningstar Charge Controllers arrived with real English User Manuals (and not a cheesy capitalist out-sourced half-English pamphlet).

The MPPT Charge Controllers by Morningstar are guaranteed for FIVE YEARS from the date of purchase.

Obviously Morningstar stands behind the quality of thier products, as I see these controllers as indestructable.

Every now and then I run across a company that simply stands out. A product that time-and-again catches me becoming aware of how perfect the product has been, how many years the item has endured.

Morningstar is just such a company, it stands out as one of the most reliable products that come to my mind.

Actual Event

Just to give you an idea of what the oldest Morningstar controller has survived, a roof and ceiling fell in at one of my past buildings. When we dug out the debris there was the MPPT Tristar Charge Controller still working despite the storm.

The fact is, about all I've ever needed to refer to that manual for, was to glance at some of the pictorials and graphs and maybe a caption here or there when I first set up the controller.

The manuals collect dust now.

After F.E.M.A. declared our place a disaster (awesome response by FEMA to help out by the way!), I had to move.

So I mounted the batteries and Morningstar Charge Controller on a 40-foot bus. 8-100watt and 4-200w solar panels were mounted on top of the bus, along with 8-90watt solar panels in the adjustable window awnings. Lastly, there was a 55watt solar panel mounted on the hood of the bus that acts as an alternator and keeps the bus running batteries charged.

And off I went.

There are 8-100watt and 4-200w solar panels on top of the bus, along with 8-90watt solar panels in the adjustable window awnings. Lastly, there is a 55watt solar panel on the hood of the bus that acts as an alternator and keeps the bus running batteries charged.

That bus pounded the pavements from Florida to Ohio, back down to Louisiana, then all the way up to Omaha Nebraska and for three months I wandered the States looking for a home.

The thing about the Morningstar Charger was how durable it is. My Bus didn't take bumps very well but there it was working every minute of every day just as fine as can be.

Recently I was in the market for yet another charger because I was getting too many solar panels. The charger was going into fault which is no big deal for Morningstar's Charger. For two days one of the Morningstar Chargers was blinking over-current warning but not once did it flaw.

Over-current protections are built-into the Morningstar Controllers. Photo shows that the solar panels were producing more than the allowable 60amps per controller, Morningstar handled the over-current just fine for days.

Morningstar Charge

Now let me tell you something about these Morningstar chargers compared to the one I almost bought (midnight solar 2000).

Firstly, one is plastic and one is comprised of 100% freaking steel (I like that).

The heat-sinks of the Morningstar Tristar series enable it to remain cool without the need of a noisy fan. As anyone that has ever owned an electronic device knows, internal fans are always getting clogged-up, seized-up, or just become defective over time, sometimes creating un-Godly whirring sounds.

Even during the period where I was seeing over-current into the Morningstar Charger, the heatsinks were only warm to the touch.

Not only are Morningstar's all-steel Controllers durable, but unlike the Midnight Solar Charger, the Morningstar Tristar's are able to be set-up almost plug-and-play (a no-brainer).

Whether you call or write to the Morningstar Support Agents, the responses are in fluent English. In fact the entire manual is in proper English (because Morningstar is an American Company) so eliminated are any communication problems dealing with the foreigners.

Some of the plastic controllers of Morningstar's competitors (like the midnight solar charger) offer more configurability, but honestly I just don't have time to learn a new profession.

8 dip-switches on my Morningstar Chargers are able to perform all I can ever need.

Once set, that's it.

Job done.

Whereas other makers, although definitely serving a purpose in the world, sometimes seem to go overboard with the options. The competitor I almost purchased from offered a l.e.d. light show feature (but in a charge controller?).

I can live without that feature thanks.

Using the competitor 'Midnight Solar' as an example, have so many switches and tiny dials and all I kept thinking about is how many things can go awry.

I actually heard a conversation in my head with their tech support.

The mental conversation went something like this:

ME: "The controller is on fire"

Customer Support Agent: "Can you tell me what efforts you may have made to remedy the problem"

ME: "Yes I watched one of your lengthy videos and turned one of the tiny dials with the tiny screwdriver and an arc of electricity came out and started a fire."

Customer Support Agent: "Oh wow, yeah that feature was actually not supposed to be used with the other features and conflicted with feature 123.b1, I'm sorry but your warranty doesn't cover that type of damage."


The big deal is that these controllers are almost $1,000.00 by the time all is said-and-done and a loss like that could just really trip me into oblivion.

So in summation, I stay with Morningstar because they work.

Until one breaks down I can't have any good reason to go risking hugely over-priced batteries because of a controller failure. In fact a controller failure could cause loss of life.

However, If I could offer some constructive criticism for Morningstar, it would be that they specify more clearly under the "ADJUSTING SETTINGS SWITCHES" section, that "system voltage" be clarified to state "Battery System Voltage"

It became confusing when doing a cursory walk across the work-wall that holds the bulk of the controllers, when I saw the one chargers was set as 12v, I became concerned and was about to make a critical change to 48v, remembering at the last minute that one of the chargers converts a 12v solar array to a 12v battery bank.

The manual could be a tad more specific for the new people (and for us slightly in-the-grave people), that's all.

The term "system voltage" leaves one guessing whether it is solar array system, battery system, or something spectral?

I obtained the true data from the Morningstar Controller which is able to be connected online to host the data necessary to remotely monitor the system. Of course you might also choose to obtain the faceplate shown in the photo above which can also inform you of all sorts of data.

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