Overview of the product
The Outback Power MPPT 80 is undoubtedly one of the best solar charge controllers out there. Its design is simple but carries some interesting digital touches that improve its performance. It is the number one choice of people who expect durability, superior performance, and efficiency from charge controllers. Thus, it can be the perfect choice for your advanced power system.
With this impressive device, you can adjust your system's voltage, track its current status, and revisit and read about 128 days worth of data. It is equipped with Outback’s Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) software algorithm, which is continuous and active. MPPT controllers effectively increase photovoltaic array power yield by 30%. With the aid of MPPT, the unit can determine the best voltage and current magnitude to optimize the power it sends to the batteries.
If you are new to solar charge controllers and have no idea about them, see our guide to solar charge controllers.
The Outback Flexmax FM80 is an incredibly well-designed unit, but what about it sets it apart from the plethora of charge controllers in the market? Well, there are certain unique features this device carries that sets it apart from others and have earned it a good reputation in the market. These include:
It is surely one of the most interesting features of this controller. With this feature, the device can keep up to 128 days' worth of operational data in its memory and allow you to read it.
One of the most liked features of this device is the convenient user interface and simple design. The device is designed to deliver the essentials of a charge controller while having a user-friendly interface.
Outback Flexmax FM80 is one of the most well-made and durable units out there. It comes with an impressive 5-year warranty, which you can upgrade to a 10-year warranty if you want.
Overheating is a common problem most solar charge controllers face. To counter that, this unit has a thermal management feature. The built-in fan actively cools the system and keeps temperature regulated.
Pros and Cons of the Outback Flexmax FM80 Solar Charge Controller
Still on the fence about whether or not the Outback Flexmax FM80 is the right one for? Perhaps, looking at the pros and cons will help you decide if it is the one for you.
The Display Panel
The Outback FM80 has backlit 80-character (4 lines) built-in display that shows the system's operational status. The display has a 3.1-inch or 8 cm wide LCD screen.
It is easy to view even in low-lighting conditions due to being backlit. Plus, the display has data logging features that store data for the last 128 days so you can revisit and read the amps, amp-hours, peak watts, solar array voltage, watt-hours, and time in float. You can also see the maximum and minimum battery voltage, absorb time, kWh of production, and accumulated amp-hours.
The menu is available in two languages, Spanish and English. Navigating through the menu is pretty easy due to the intuitive user interface. The display provides available information clearly, so you can easily track the system's performance without doing any guesswork.
How it compares with the FLEXmax 60 Controller
The FLEXmax 60 is an incredibly well-designed controller; however, when compared to the FM80, it may be too basic or primitive. The FM60 lacks some exciting features that are present in the FM80. Here is a breakdown of how the two units compare:
Data logging: The FM80 allows you to keep track of 128-days of operational data. This feature is absent in the FM60.
Voltage step-down capability: The FM60 cannot down-convert from any acceptable array voltage, whereas FM80 can. For example, FM80 can convert from a 72 VDC array to a 24 VDC battery.
Programmable Auxiliary Control Output: FM80 comes with a feature that allows programming a 12 VDC output signal for different control applications, whereas FM60 doesn’t.
They have several similar, basic features such as the same maximum output current, nominal battery voltages, warranty, certifications, status display, etc.