I have used both controllers extensively below are my observations.
I would skip the obvious similarities between both controllers mainly rated Amp and input voltage limits. And talk mostly about areas they diverge.
- Manufacturer Both are made in China by Chinese companies. The Tracer is an original product made by the company Epsolar while the other is a clone of the popular victron energy blues solar . Both companies seem to have good support and respect their warranties without much hassle. At least from my experience.
- Heat management: Both are fanless and rely on heats sink for cooling. The Fangpusun has the better thermal management because it is made from one sheet of cast iron. The tracer has a cast iron dedicated heat sink but the whole body is made of plastic.
- MPPT Tracking Both have very good mppt tracking capabilities however the tracer can be unstable sometimes it restart more than once in day to day use. The Fangpusun from my experience has better tracking algorithm especially in cloudy situations. It is also very stable and I have never noticed it restart.
- Battery charging: Both controllers use the 3 stage battery charging formula. The difference is the absorption end stage. While the Tracer series uses a time based absorption end settings which is user adjusted. (default is 2 hours) the Fangpusun uses a combination of end Amps, Battery voltage and length of bulk time to determine when to end absorption stage for battery. Both methods have their plus and minus. The tracer series can be frustrating especially when the battery just got to float and temporarily dropped back to bulk due to a passing cloud. This would cause the controller to do another round of 2 hours mandatory absorption. Even if the drop to bulk happened for just 5 minutes. This arrangement is not idea for the longevity of a battery bank. Fangpusun fixes this issue by using a mix of time, Battery resistance determined by how much amps the battery can still take, length of time to bulk and initial battery voltage during the charge cycle. This ensures that absorption time varies depending on the battery state if charge. The downside is sometimes the charge algorithm can be so short the battery spend less time in absorption than is not good for its wellbeing.
- Equalization: Both controllers have settings for periodic equalization. Tracer allows users to set numbers of hours an equalization takes. Fangpusun equalization time is determined by algorithm.
- Accessories and addons: Tracer has support for External temperature sensors for temperature adjusted battery charging. Wireless and RJ45 connectors for interfacing with computer and mobile devices. Fangpusun supports victron energy’s smart Bluetooth dongle and VE direct USB cable.
- Support software: Victron energy can be configured using the victron connect software which runs on Android devices, Windows iPhone and Mac. The victron connect supports firmware of the device firmware (although recent updates from victron has started to disable the Fangpusun Chinese clones). Tracer has the power station for the PC which compared the the victron connect is very basic and can be a pain to install. They also have wireless dongle which allows an Android device to interface with the controller
- Log and Stats. Fangpusun has way better stats and logging capabilities. It takes 30 days log of events with each day having stats on Total kwh harvested, Pick Watt, max and minimum Pv and battery voltage, length of time spent in bulk, absorption and float and ability to export history log to csv format for viewing from spreadsheets. Tracer is pretty basic and only keeps log of total harvest for the day and total controller harvest.
- Form factor : The Fangpusun has a smaller form factor than the tracer.
- Display: Fangpusun comes with no built in display but allows connections using an external display. Tracers has display built in but the display is very limited and had no back light.
- External display: Both devices support external displays. The Fangpusun support the mppt control while the Tracer support the MT50. The later is more user friendly and provide more screen estate.
- Over all. The superior tracking capabilities, stability and better history support of the Fangpusun wins it for me.