This is an exhaustive review of the PCM-3012 MPPT charge controller manufactured by MPPsolar in Taiwan. It retails for around $120-130 on eBay.
First off after testing the unit, this is a genuine MPPT charge controller and sucessfully converted the extra voltage of my 200 watt solar panel to extra charging amps.
The multi-function display is a nice added feature, and it’s readings are on average about 3-5% +/- accuracy. It will not read load watts below 10 watts, but is very accurate above 10 watts. It will not read charging amps below 0.6amps. Both of these are trivial as the display is still very useful and gives you an overview of the system in operation.
The RJ-45 connector on the unit serves two functions, neither of which are generally usable at this point to the end user. First is for software programming of the 5th “custom” charging profile through windows software. They are still developing the software and may or may not actually release it. The second use is for firmware updates which also is used at the factory for programming the microcontroller and not generally available for the end user.
The unit pulls 1 watt (80ma) of power when powered up, and there is a small bug in the firmware of the unit that won’t allow it to go into sleep mode (1ma) once a load has been put on the load side of the unit. This is also trivial as you would most likely have 100-200AH battery bank connected to this and the drain is minimal.
This unit is best suited for 200-300 watts of solar power and 100-200AH of battery capacity.
The only true negative I have about this unit is the lack of a more robust mounting system, but I’m sure I and everyone else can improvise and find a secure way to mount the unit.
Overall I will have fun playing with this unit as it will be used in a few weeks of making this video to make “Solar Camping Battery Box v3.0″.
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Post time: Dec-25-2017