CBE has recently added an innovative charge controller to the traditional range of solar panel modules, test panels, kits and accessories. The device based on MPPT technology can boost system efficiency by up to 20% compared to a conventional solution.
CBE, the Italian quality leader in Europe in the field of electrical and electronic systems applied to caravanning, with extensive experience in the solar energy sector, is part of the AL-KO Vehicle Technology Group and member of Dexko Global Inc. The company’s product catalogue features photovoltaic modules, charge controllers, test panels, mounting systems and accessories. CBE specialises in supplying electronic components and wiring to OEMs in the RV sector making it a valuable partner also in the renewable energy field.
The new PRM330 charge controller is the latest product to join the line-up and is the result of intense R&D work in the Italian company. Launched in 2020, the device is based on MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) technology that continuously records voltage and current values, drawing the maximum power available from the photovoltaic module in every situation. With this technology, system efficiency can be increased by up to 20% compared to traditional solutions with PWM technology.
Although the PRM330 was already a highly innovative and high-performance product, CBE continued the technological development to hone its capabilities even more. The 2021 version of the PRM330 has been improved in terms of performance by adding a forced ventilation system allowing optimal use in all situations. The appearance has also been changed with the use of a different casing with a vent. Capable of managing total powers of up to 330 Watts, the PRM330 regulator can be connected to the PT642 test panel to control battery voltage and the current supplied by the photovoltaic modules.
The PRM330 can automatically charge 12V lead batteries (liquid, gel and AGM) and lithium batteries by controlling and limiting the energy supplied by the connected photovoltaic modules. It has an MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) system for drawing the peak power that can be delivered by the photovoltaic module in every situation.
Charging takes place automatically in three steps:
• Step 1: Bulk – The battery is charged with maximum current until the end-of-charge voltage is reached. Note: The end of charge is reached only if the battery is efficient.
• Step 2: Absorption – The battery charging is completed with constant end-of-charge voltage for the time defined by the charge line with progressive current reduction.
• Step 3: Float – Charge is held at a constant voltage. High battery absorption will restart the Bulk step. PRM330 implements CL-BUS (CBE LIN BUS) technology, a specific protocol developed by the Italian company.
The new charge controller, like the other devices in the CL-BUS range, is designed to be expandable with other protocols, such as the existing ones, including the CI-BUS, and others that may be introduced in the future, meaning that the camper van manufacturer will not need to change the product codes. The project is based on the goal of providing a flexible system for connecting to any onboard equipment but the decision of which systems or devices to interface with each other is left to the manufacturer who has the highest level of freedom. It is also possible to connect a battery temperature sensor (mod. “CTCB” L=3m) that adapts the charging voltage values according to the detected temperature to PRM330.
CBE solar panel modules
The solar panels made by CBE are high performing, thanks to a special anti-reflection treatment of the cells. The specially developed glass is tempered, has a high transmittance, is shock-resistant and weatherproof. The back of the modules is protected by a sheet of white Tedlar that prevents oxidation and insulates the electrical contacts avoiding any infiltration of air and moisture. The frame is made of anodised aluminium.
CBE currently offers three variants of photovoltaic modules, with powers ranging from 100 to 165 watts. The catalogue also features a Solar Booster kit, including the MFB90 90 Watt module with 21 cells and a dedicated PBS90 charge controller. Over the course of the day, this system provides the same output as a more cumbersome conventional 120-watt module. Owners of small vehicles or struggling with a limited roof area will find the right solution here.
With practicality for end-users in mind, CBE offers standard photovoltaic modules in kits that include everything needed to build a complete system including:
• An anodised aluminium fixing support with an aerodynamic design, that is easy to install because no drilling is required. It can be mounted in a few minutes using glue and applied even on surfaces that are not perfectly flat.
• The PRS300 charge controller is suitable for connecting 12 Volt solar panel modules up to a maximum total power of 300 Watts. This regulator can charge lead-gel, lead-acid, AGM and lithium batteries with integrated electronics using the appropriate charge line (selectable with the switch inside the device). It implements a desulphation function that is automatically activated when the battery needs it.
• A PT642 test panel with a digital display and touchscreen for controlling system operation.
• A CSB2 electronic device for recharging the engine battery.
CBE also offers a wide range of accessory products for completing the photovoltaic system including roof ducts, sheaths and wiring kits for the electrical connection. CBE solar panels come with a 25-year warranty on the declared power output, while accessories are covered for three years