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Reviews Categories | Emergency/Portable Power: generators, solar, wind, thermal, etc | DIY Solar for U Apollo MPPT Solar Charge Controller Help

Reviews Summary for DIY Solar for U Apollo MPPT Solar Charge Controller
DIY Solar for U  Apollo MPPT Solar Charge Controller Reviews: 3 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $124.95
Description: The DIY Solar for U model 'Apollo' is a Low RFI 230W 16Amp MPPT solar charge controller with LCD data display of all operating parameters. Designed by American Electrical Engineer ( and amateur radio operator too) and built in the USA, this products features high efficiency, small size, and reasonable price, as well as having very low RFI potential.
Product is in production.
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K8DC Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2017 09:14 Send this review to a friend
Solved my RF noise problem  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was using a typical Chinese MPPT charge controller but it put out so much RF noise that it was nearly impossible to operate the radio while charging with solar panels. That was a total PITA on Field Day, as I had to alternate between charging and operating or just put up with all the interference from the charge controller.

When I got the Apollo I set it up so I could quickly switch between the two charge controllers to compare them, using the waterfall display on my IC-7300 to visualize the RF noise on the HF bands with or without each controller charging. This is a subjective measurement but I find that what I can see on the waterfall corresponds pretty well with what I can hear. I used an OCF dipole antenna about 50 feet from the solar array.

The Apollo was vastly quieter than my old controller, with essentially no noticeable noise on 40M and below. My receiver did detect some broadband noise from the Apollo on 20M and quite a bit on 15M and above until I added ferrites on both the PV and battery leads. I used #43 material torroids because that's what I had on hand, with 6 turns through each. With those in place my receiver still detects a little broadband noise from the Apollo on 20M and above but it's very subtle and WAY better than the nasty harmonic spikes I was getting from the old controller. I found that it was necessary to have the ferrites on both sides, PV and battery, in order to get good suppression of the broadband noise. I tried using similar RF chokes with my old charge controller and it helped but not enough to make it usable.

Overall I'm extremely happy with the Apollo. I have only started using it so I can't speak to reliability but it appears to be well constructed. My one complaint, and it's very minor, is that the hole for the PV wires didn't line up very well with the screw terminals inside so it was not easy to get 12 AWG zip cord routed into the terminals. It's no big deal but something that could be improved.
VE3DVY Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2017 16:00 Send this review to a friend
This is a great efficient controller  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I was looking for a small charge controller that was efficient and low noise and definitely got what I wanted.

I had purchased two 100W panels and wanted to squeeze every drop of power out of them to power the lights and tools in my new small work shed. After some self education I discovered 2 common types of charge controllers simple not so expensive PWM controllers and some much more expensive MPPT controllers. MPPT controllers do some wonderful magic with searching for the maximum power point that the panel can put out in respect to current and voltage. Then it uses DC-DC converter to bring the output to the ideal charge voltage for the batteries to again transfer the most power.
I was very fortunate to find out about DIY Solar for U on a discussion group from another customer, so I emailed Rob and asked a few questions detailing what I was doing. Within a few hours I got a detailed response that suggested some ideas and that the Apollo MPPT controller would work, so I ordered one to start my system with later expansion in mind. System was two 18V 100W panels and two 6V 430ah flooded lead acid batteries in series and a big inverter. At Robs suggestion I wired the panels in series for 36V output to minimize line loss. The controller which comes as a ready to go board that you need to mount in your own enclosure, performed well converting the 30-36V panel output (depending on light levels) to the required charge voltage. measuring the in and out currents and doing the math the losses were very low, The digital display would scroll through the current, volts in, volts out and what the maximum power point was, and total AH into the batteries for the day.

I had read that One of the down falls of MPPT controllers is that they can generate significant electrical noise. This would be a problem as the panels where pretty much directly below my antennas so now for the noise test. I put a few incandescent lights on to load the batteries. Turned off all the TVs and other electronics in the house, then turned on my HF stations and went through the bands. I did notice a very faint noise pattern on 160 40m only just above the noise level that I could barely hear but was evident on the band scope confirming it was the controller by disconnecting it from the panels. So now I thought lets go real world and turned the house back on (TVs and stuff) which produced much more noise than the controller and panels , which BTW was much closer to the antenna. Not bad I thought but Im sure I could do better. Fired off another email to Rob to get another quick response and he simply suggested a few turns on some ferrite torroids on the wires to the panels. Noise gone!!

This is I guess what happens when a ham designs such things as they tend to have RFI and good product in mind.

In conclusion this controller is good, very good. I would strongly recommend it for remote and portable operations like Field Day or for solar power for repeaters or camps and cottages. But what is also impressive is the support from the company. I would put the product quality and customer support right up with another fantastic North American manufacture, Elecraft.

Cheers Dave Moes VE3SD
K7AAT Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2016 15:30 Send this review to a friend
Low Noise MPPT Solar Charge Controller  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
At Last! A Low RFI Solar Charge Controller.

I have now installed two of these devices.... one for home and one in our Club's new Emergency communications trailer. Our first attempt at solar power for our Comm trailer was a disaster having installed an Amazon purchased Renogy system. It radiated strongly not only in the HF spectrum, but also up through VHF as well. ARES Communications were nearly useless with that system if we left the solar charging system on.
After days of searching the Web I stumbled across DIYSolarforU and contacted the owner.... an individual who himself had been so concerned witht RFI from Solar Charge Controllers that he designed his own system. I ordered one Apollo MPPT charge controller to evaluate and was flabberghasted by the drop in RFI..... it was practically undetectable unless we put our antenna a few feet from the controller. It was quickly installed in place of the errant Renogy charge controller and our new Comm Trailer has now become very useful.... anywhere in the spectrum. We are using it with 200W of Solar Panels.

The product supplied comes as a bare circuit board -- no housing, but at this price it was well worth it. We simply mounted it on the trailer wall and covered the unit with a home thermostat plastic guard to prevent any damage to the unit . The clear plastic housing allows easy view of the solar charge parameters which scroll slowly on the LCD on board display while allowing reasonable ventilation ... not that this unit gets very warm to any extent. Given the small size of the circuit board, one should easily find numerous housing possibilities for this unit if you need to protect the board.
The only thing I could fault on this product is the terminal connectors, built for #12 wire max and seemingly in my opinion a bit delicate for this application. After notifying DIYSolarforU about this concern I was quickly advised that newer and more substantive terminal blocks were found and would be in place for subsequent production run of this product. The proprietor of this company is extremely responsive to customers!

I am very pleased with the two units I have set up, and anticipate ordering more in the future.

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