FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. Fire, Wind & Rain Technologies' Power Advantage 30 is said to deliver up to 25 percent more dc power from photovoltaic (PV) panels to batteries than conventional chargers.
This increase in overall system efficiency is achieved by determining the panel's maximum power-output point (sweet spot) and readjusting output current for changes in sunlight, temperature and battery voltage to maintain that sweet spot. In sourcing 30 A to the deep-cycle lead-acid batteries typically used in solar systems, the processor-based unit monitors energy production, consumption, battery utilization, battery temperature and solar-cell illumination.
This data can be downloaded via modem to popular spreadsheet programs for monitoring and historical analysis. The voltage, current and power of the PV panels are monitored and displayed via the charger's Virtual Control Panel software. This software also shows the status of the charger and the battery's voltage, current and power as well as the available battery capacity and temperature. Graphs may also be called up to show performance for the prior day, week and month.
The Virtual Control Panel runs on any PC equipped with Windows 95/98 and a serial port. The charger also features two software-programmable relays. The Power Advantage 30 lists for $699.
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EETInfo No. 619