Battery Charge Controllers
Solar charge controller, also known as a battery charge controller, charge regulator, or battery regulator is a device that provides safe charging and operation of the solar battery.
The solar charge controller is an important component of the solar power system. It protects solar deep cycle batteries against overcharging and overvoltage and extends battery’s service life by preventing its complete draining. Whenever you are using an energy storage in your solar panel system, lead-acid or lithium battery, you should add a solar charge controller.
What does a solar charge controller do?
The primary function of a charge controller is to keep your battery safe from high voltage of your solar array. There are two types of charge controllers for solar panels: PWM (pulse width modulation) and MPPT (maximum power point tracking) controllers, and they handle this primary task differently.
PWM-controllers simply bring the voltage of a solar panel down to the level of a battery. This type of controllers is cheap and usually has a longer lifespan than MPPT-controllers – more than 15 years on average. However, it’s quite inefficient and doesn’t fit every solar panel system.
MPPT-controllers, on the other hand, convert high voltage panels into electric charge for a battery, maximizing the efficiency of a system. They are more expensive and last for 10-15 years. In short, MPPT solar panel charge controllers allow you to use your array at full electric power.
Besides handling panels’ high voltage, solar panel controllers
- prevent overcharging of a battery, much like a “smart” battery charger;
- don’t allow the usage of a battery in the state of a deep discharge;
- block reverse currents, which flow from battery back to panels at night and can potentially start a fire.
Choosing the right solar charge controller
Every solar charge controller has two main parameters that you should look out for: maximum amps size and maximum voltage. To calculate the minimum amps of a solar panel controller, divide the combined power of your array by a voltage of your battery and add 20% on top just to be safe. To calculate the voltage of your solar panel system, combine VOCs (open circuit voltage) of all panels. When it’s cold and sunny, panels can reach their peak voltage (Vpp), so add 5V on top of VOCs for every panel for safety. This way you'll get the required minimum voltage of your solar panel charge controller.
Don’t forget that the current and voltage of your system depend on the type of connection that you choose. Connection in series gives you combined voltage of all panels, while an amperage stays the same. The connection in parallel allows you to keep the voltage low, but raises the current. Parallel-series type of connection gives you an option to adjust the voltage and current to the properties of your charge controller — just don’t mess up the electric wiring.
Solar charge controllers come in a variety of types and many offer additional features and options:
- Networking and communications capabilities.
- Metering and data logging.
- Battery system monitoring.
- Availability of automatic settings.
- Programming options.
Why buy from us
- Our distribution centers are located on both east and west coasts of the USA: California, Washington, Colorado, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Missouri.
- We guarantee the authenticity of all the products we sell.
- We process all orders within 24 hours and ship them within 48 hours.
- Delivery normally takes between 4-7 business days.
- All of our suppliers are trusted, top solar panel manufacturers.
We have a wide selection of solar charge controllers in stock. Call us, and our A1 SolarStore experts will answer all of your inquiries, help you choose the right product, and complete your order.