Outside of the things mentioned above, some controllers have extra features that can be utilized. If you just want something simple without all these extra features choose the Wanderer. PWM type controllers can be used with all battery types, however the controlled manner in which power is applied to the battery makes them preferential for use with sealed VRLA type batteries over on-off type controls. Most importantly, the controller algorithm defines the way in which PV array power is applied to the battery in the system. You can also purchase several classic controllers and wire them in a parallel series for use with large systems. We will also look at sizing different kinds of controllers. For those looking to power smaller loads, like lights and small appliances, a LOAD or LVD output is a good option. This is a great option for those looking to place their panels in varied environments with strong weather patterns. Although the technology isn’t as advanced, this model is still a great option for those looking to power small systems. PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation, which stands for the method they use to regulate charge. For example, 5 100 Watt panels in parallel would be 5.29 x 5 = 26.45 Amps. This greatly increases the power capacity of the system, effectively creating a giant, singular hub for regulating your solar panels. However, those seeking to install solar panels on their roofs, or power large systems, should go with the MPPT charge controllers. MPPT charge controllers use this method of charging, which essentially finds out at any given condition, what is the maximum operating point for the panels current and voltage. While higher does not necessarily better, it’s a key factor to consider when determining what model you’d like to purchase. With such a large voltage capacity, the Outback controller is great for grid tie solar panel systems. The large LCD screen can display important information on the specifications of the unit, and it also support lighting controls. In order to figure out how many amps you need, you’ll need to do a bit of math. The low voltage reconnect is the battery voltage level where the load turns back on. It has a price point that’s close to half that of other high-quality models. We will look at the benefits of each controller and why one is better in a certain situation that another. It will then take this (up to) 100 Volts and step it down to your 12V or 24V battery. One of the key selling points for this device is its capacity for streamlined management and programming. This would require an even higher max input voltage for the controller in order to compensate for the extra power. The unit also comes equipped with a multi-function LCD display system to display information and can also be connected to PC software or an MT50 tracker for constant monitoring. You have 4 x 100 Watt panels, each with an open-circuit voltage of 22.5V. One buyer was not happy that it did not come with a data cable. This is important when purchasing wiring for your system. They can help to keep the amperage low and wire size small. However, the most important part is the capacity of the controller to handle the current from your solar panel array. They claim that it’s easy to install and use because of the remote display. Most reviewers are very happy with the large power range of the Midnite Solar Classic. In this case of the controllers in Model 2.5.3, the equalized voltage will vary based on the battery type you are using. Along with its high max input voltage and current output, the Midnite Solar Classic is perfect for large solar systems that power things such as warehouses and bunkers. That is, if they want to centralize their data logging and system management. In this case, an MPPT is the best choice compared to a PMW charge controller. The designer must make sure that the dual regulation set points are properly adjusted for the battery type used. As you can see in model, a green light indicates the controller recognizes that the panel is hooked up and the system is functioning normally. This page has been accessed 45,094 times. The brand has other models with current outputs from 20A to 40A. With free system design and technical support from the company, Epever makes it super simple to harvest energy efficient and eco-friendly solar power. In the simpler series interrupting design, the controller reconnects the array to the battery once the battery falls to the array reconnect voltage set point. Not only that, but the controller comes packed full of safety protections, including battery overvoltage, load overload, PV short circuit or reverse polarity and more. We can ignore this result as 12V is a voltage you will probably never see. A boost charge is a majority of what you will see when your battery is being charged. The device is a PWM type, rather than an MPPT, which significantly limits the capabilities of the unit. The ZEALLIFE solar charge controller is compatible only with AGM, gel, and flooded batteries. And at very high temperatures, the voltage input may drop to below the point that’s needed to fully charge the battery. This helps with the battery cell health and allows them to last longer. With her knack for research and eye for unsightly syntax, she's on a mission to revitalize informational resources for online readers. Here are the best solar charge controller features to keep an eye out for: In the simplest of terms, a solar charge controller regulates the power that is transferring from a solar panel to a battery. However, its limited power capacity means that you can’t use it for anything above 20A. Purchasing a high-quality solar charge controller is an investment, especially for a top-of-the-line MPPT models. Some two-stage controls increase array current immediately as battery voltage is pulled down by a load. There are a couple of variations of the shunt controller design. In these cases, an MPPT controller is the best option because it regulates temperature and compensates for the change in voltage. A case study will then showcase SPWS examples from around the world. They claim that they are easy to install and use. This page will provide an overview of different charge controller types and their uses. Those that are only compatible with 20-30A have a smaller capacity than those rated at 80A or higher. With a 48-72 volt capacity, it’s one of the most powerful on the market. This particular MPPT Controller can accept 100 Volts input. It also displays numerical values for the voltage and amperage that your system is producing. As the cheapest option on our list, the MOHOO PWM charge controller is a great no-fuss option for those with small solar systems. As important as it is, comparing different charge controllers can be a little confusing. The charge controller is an essential component to every off-grid system. This section will go over charge controller types and their purpose. The primary difference between the two is that the MPPT controller allows for up to 30% more power than the PWM controller and can be used for higher voltages. This add-on will monitor the battery bank. Based on our established criteria of controller type, battery bank voltage (V), max input voltage (V), max current output (A) and extra features, we’ve selected the best 6 solar charge controllers for you to choose from. However, shunt-interrupting controllers are simple, low cost and perform well in most small stand-alone PV systems. Limitations . The PWM design allows greater control over exactly how a battery approaches full charge and generates less heat. Some users have had failed controllers. Regardless, this model can provide bulk charging of up to 80% of capacity. This cycling between the regulation voltage and array reconnect voltage is why these controllers are often called ‘on-off’ or ‘pulsing’ controllers. Reviewers also appreciate the plethora of functions. This will be very expensive, although the actual controller itself is the cheapest option on the market. Manufacturer's data generally provides the limits of controller application such as PV and load currents, operating temperatures, losses, set points, and set point hysteresis values. There are two main types of solar charge controllers: Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) and Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). Based in the Netherlands, Victron has been producing battery inverters and chargers since 1975, primarily for the auto and boat market. In a series-linear, constant-voltage controller design, the controller maintains the battery voltage at the voltage regulation set point. In general, constant-voltage, PWM or linear controller designs are recommended by manufacturers of gelled and AGM lead-acid batteries. The first is a simple interrupting, or on-off type controller design. One buyer also claims that this controller damaged his batteries after it flooding it with power and overcharging. Proper operation of a charge controller should prevent overcharge or over discharge of a battery regardless of the system sizing/design and seasonal changes in the load profile and operating temperatures. But this charge controller puts in a lot of bang for your buck. Charge Controller Types. MPPT controllers have two special features about them that will be mentioned in the MPPT Charge Controller Sizing section. As these on-off charge cycles continue, the ‘on’ time becoming shorter and shorter as the battery becomes fully charged. The standard configurations are 12, 24, and 48 volts. This unit is a great addition to any solar panel system design for advanced and beginner solar aficionados. With the ability to connect to sealed, gel and flooded batteries, the PWM controller is pretty versatile. Only those looking to power small devices and appliances should opt for the PWM charge controllers. The charge controller is an essential component to every off-grid system. Ironically, solar panel kits work best under cold and cloudy conditions with full sun. With a clean and sleek black design, the Renogy Wander is an attractive choice for a home-based solar system. The MPPT charge controller also comes with an extended warranty that allows purchasers to send their device back to the manufacturer for a general tune-up for a fee. Lack of a controller may result in shortened battery lifetime and decreased load availability. The LED Indicators are used to give the user a basic idea of how their system is working. It also provides float charging of the final 20% of capacity and an equalization charge. The controller directly reads the battery level, and once the battery is full, it knows to slow down the rate of solar charge to a float, keeping is from charging the batteries past 100%.