Solar Charge Controller Complete Guideline 2019

Solar Charge Controller Intro

The solar charge controller is also known as the solar charge and discharge controller. It is used in the solar power system to control the multi-channel solar cell array to charge the battery, and also control the battery to supply power to the solar inverter load. It regulates the charging and discharging conditions of the battery.

the solar charge controller controls the power output of the PV solar cell module and the battery to the load according to the electric demand of the load, which is the core control part of the entire photovoltaic power supply system.

The Basics of Solar Charge Controllers

Solar charge controllers are mainly designed for two essential things within the solar power system: stop the electricity from the batteries to go through the solar panels when there’s no sun and optimize the charging of the battery cycles by the solar panels.

There are many different solar charge controllers available in the market today. Most have a variety of additional features, which include the capacity to turn DC powered loads on or off automatically, deliver monitoring of the voltage and amp-hours left of the batteries and connect to a data network at home for efficient remote monitoring.

Ways to Size a Charge Controller

Solar charge controllers are specified by voltage and amperage. You will need the right solar controller that can support your solar panel array’s voltage, and then output to the voltage of the battery bank. You will also need to ensure that your solar charge controller has sufficient capacity to handle the current from the solar panel array. You have to take your solar panels’ wattage and then divide it by the voltage of the battery bank to obtain a rough estimate of how many amperes the controller requires.

Another way of sizing a charge controller is by taking the array’s short circuit current and multiply it by 1.56. Just ensure that the solar controller you choose can handle at least that many amperes.

The Main Features of Solar Charge Controllers

Solar charge controllers provide battery bank’s multistage charging, which means that it changes the power amount set to the batteries according to its level for more valuable and healthier batteries. They also stop the solar panels from draining when there is no sun or no power that comes from the solar panels. They also turn off any attached load when the battery is low and then turns it back when it is charged back up.

There are also a variety of solar charge controllers on the market today. There are 40A solar charge controllers and 30A solar charge controllers that safely control your source of energy and protect your batteries from being overcharged. They also provide essential protection from reverse connection of battery.

In addition, some solar charge controllers provide low voltage disconnect, modifiable control voltage set points and overload metering and protection. They also significantly enhance battery charging, making them a vital component of any solar power system. 

What are the Types of Solar Charge Controllers?

The different types of solar controllers include the following:

MPPT Solar Charge Controllers. The Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) solar charge controller is the latest innovation of solar systems today. This controller can determine the solar panel array’s optimum amperage and operating voltage and match it with the battery bank. This results in an additional fifteen to thirty percent more power out of your solar array. 

PWM Solar Charge Controllers. Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) solar charge controllers are the traditional style of controllers. They are common, widely used in many solar panel applications and very affordable. It is a passive controller technology that utilizes solid state gates and switches to generate a constant DC output from a varying DC input. 

Let’s know the mppt charge controller and pwm charge controller one by one:

MPPT Solar Charge Controller

MPPT solar charge controller is a technology that is specifically made to work with virtually all the photovoltaic. Certainly, it’s for the solar unit wherein module voltages are higher than the battery voltages. It’s an electronic system that assists the solar module produces all the power which they are able to. On the other hand, it’s not the mechanical tracking technology which physically moves the modules towards the direction of the sun to convert more sun energy to electrical energy. At MPPT solar charge controller is a smart electronic device which looks at the power output of the solar array which is feeding power into the charge controller and looks at the battery collection which is needing charging and matched the voltage and current to utilize the utmost output of the solar array.

The Importance of MPPT Solar Charge Controller

  • When you look at the many solar panels out there and begin to see their results, you’ll see that the range of voltages from low to high and have the variation of the voltage in normal operating parameters. A usual solar panel is made to work in excess of 18 volts. Storage batteries are made to a range of predefined voltage that is based on the structure of the battery. A lot is made to work at 12 volts.
  • Check out the works or functions of a standard PV regulator. It tracks the battery charging and at the same time provides them the security from getting undercharged or overcharged. You connect the regulator straight to the battery and then to the solar module. A high-quality MPPT solar charge controller works out and analyzes the voltage at which the module could generate utmost power as for its capability. Effectiveness and efficiency of most of the MPPT solar charge controller are between 93% and 96%. This kind of solar charge controller is valuable in cold weather and on cloudy days when there’s almost no sunshine. This is the time when more power is needed to charge the battery in order to keep the SOC level.
  • An MPPT solar charge controller could be a remarkable combination with a grid-tied solar module. Another remarkable benefit of the MPPT solar charge controller is that you save lots of time in the cable and wiring expenses that means which a smaller gauge cabling or wiring could be utilized.
  • While selecting an MPPT solar charge controller, you have to ensure that these essential features are on hand:
  • Voltage and Current Regulation, Pulse with Modulation or PWM control, current compensation load disconnection, temperature compensation as well as automatic load reconnection.

Electronic Security

Overcharging security, deep discharging security, reverse polarity protection from the module side as well as from the side of the battery. Reverse polarity security from the internal fuse, short circuit security as well as overvoltage security at module input. Also, you need to ensure that there’s open circuit security without battery, over temperature as well as overload security and even battery overvoltage shutdown.

PWM Solar Charge Controller

What is PWM Solar Charge Controller and Its Incredible Benefits?

Pulse Width Modulation is the most effective way to attain constant voltage battery charging by switching the power devices of the solar system controller. This new and innovative method of solar battery charging provides some of the impressive benefits of pulse width modulation pulsing, which include:

  • Increase the battery’s charge acceptance dramatically
  • Ability to maintain high average battery capacity compared to the on-off regulated state-of-charge levels, which are typically fifty-five to sixty percent.
  • Adjust automatically for battery aging
  • Reduce heating and gassing of battery

In addition to these benefits, the use of innovative PWM Solar Charge Controller over the old technology means reducing the solar system’s cost and the battery disposal issues. It also increases the solar system’s reliability and reduces load disconnects. It also provides the opportunity to reduce the size of the battery in order to lower the cost of the system.

If you need more power whenever you want it for less money, this product is the right one to consider. It will help you obtain twenty to thirty percent more energy from the solar panels for charging. Stop wasting the energy from your solar system when the battery is only fifty percent changed with the use of PWM Solar Charge Controller.

PWM Solar Charge Controller is also the most common, cost-efficient and the easiest to deploy technology of solar charge controller. Commonly mistakenly referred to as DC to DC converters, this controller is actually a switch similar to a switching power supply that matches the source voltage to the load voltage.

Pulse Width Modulation is quite simple, and it has been around for many decades. One of its incredible advantages is that under most conditions, PWM Solar Charge Controllers won’t take advantage of the panels’ full capacity.

According to Ohm’s law, the current is inversely proportional to voltage, but PWM solar controllers won’t do anything with the current. Once the high voltage from the solar panel is converted down to a useable form of 12 volts, the current out will be the same or lesser than the current in.

PWM Solar Charge Controllers are very cost efficient and, they are by far the most common choice for many amateur radio operators. Their price and simplicity make the energy tradeoff a very acceptable compromise.

The Technology of PWM Solar Charge Controller

With the growing number of residential, commercial and even industrial industries going solar these days, solar systems have become even more popular than ever before. With this, the technology for solar photovoltaic battery charge controllers has continued to evolve over the years. The most innovative technology is PWM charging, which has become highly popular.

Charging a solar system’s battery is a daunting and unique challenge. Before, there were on-off regulations used in order to limit battery outgassing once a solar panel generated excess energy. However, as solar systems developed, it became even clearer how much such devices interfered with the process of charging. With this challenge, PWM solar charge controller has become the solution.

Types of Solar Charger Controller and Where to Buy

It is very much essential to know the right use of solar charge controllers when you’re relying greatly on solar energy in your daily life. Solar charge controllers come in all sizes, shapes, and types. You will find MPPT solar charge controller, PWM solar charge controller, 40A solar charge controller as well as 30A solar charge controller out there. Easy to set up, a solar charge controller is required in virtually every solar power panels which use batteries. A lot of solar panels controlled out there comes with either digital displays or simple Led. At this point in time, you will also find a solar charger controller that comes with a computer interface for better tracking, monitoring as well as control.

How a Solar Panel Charges Controller Works?

The main job of a solar panel charge controller is to regulate the energy passing from the solar panel to the battery. They help in properly keeping batteries of your solar power unit by means of preventing them from being under or overcharged, as a result, providing long life batteries. The current passing in the solar charge controllers charge the batteries utilized in diverse household items. Also, this current could be passed to the investors for changing direct current or DC to alternate current or AC. At night or if the solar modules are not producing any power or energy, energy could really flow backward from the batteries to the solar modules, which drain the batteries. A solar charger controller will give you an assurance that this will not happen. Once solar energy isn’t really passing from the solar panels to the circuit, it cuts off the solar panels from the batteries and stops the reverse stream of current.

Where to Find the Best and Right Solar Charge Controller?

Choosing a high-quality solar charger controller will make the most of the life of these batteries in your solar system. Buying a cheap unit will lead to shorter battery life and a greater long term expense as you will have to replace your battery sooner than you should. Then, unless you like the same thing to take place, also you will need to replace the solar charge controller. You will find many solar charge controllers online.  On the other hand, looking for a high-quality solar charger regulator really matters. Avoid buying or reasonable charger controller because of the fact that they might hamper the life of your battery and at the same time enhance overall costs in due course. For your peace of mind do not ever compromise on superiority and quality as well. Zhcsolar.com is the leading provider of the high-quality solar charge controller. They have wide selections of solar charge controller such as MPPT solar charge controller, PWM solar charge controller, 40A solar charge controller as well as 30A solar charge controller. All these can be obtained for a fraction of cost most especially today wherein the company is offering a huge discount on all their solar charger products.

Solar charge controller Grounding

If you gonna hook up the solar charge controller with your RV then you need a negative ground controller

In Simple Word, all vehicles have a NEGATIVE ground system. so when you choosing the MPPT Solar Charge Controller for RV and Autos, Remeber to Choose the Negative Grounding Charge Controller. Here I will explain Why.

All vehicles use the battery as the storage of electric energy. All the input and output of electric energy must pass through the battery. Since the battery is direct current (DC), the positive and negative poles become equally important. This is the basic principle of the negative ground.

When the Vehicles Exworks, the Body of Vehicles is designed to use as the circuit of the negative pole. This means that the vehicle’s steel frame or chassis is directly connected to the negative side of the battery via the negative battery cable.

solar charge controller connection

1. Most solar controllers are 6 wires Terminal. This is easy to judge which wire to connect, There are 3 groups, each has 2 mounting holes for positive and negative poles. Usually, the solar panel cord is the first group of wires, then the battery, and finally the load, connect the positive pole at the first, then the negative pole at last.

2. Some solar controllers are 5 wires terminal. in this case, The solar panel and the battery share the positive pole, the negative pole is separated. The load uses a separate terminal. When wiring, just connect the positive pole of the panels and the battery together, and the left wiring as usual.

3. 4 wires terminal, usually solar panels, batteries, and the load share the positive pole, when you wiring, just connect the three positive poles together, the negative poles are wired as usual.

4. connect sequences, connect the battery first, then the solar panel, and finally the load. This wiring method is to prevent the controller from misjudging the voltage of the battery.

what is the best solar charge controller

the best solar controller is the one which most suitable for your solar project, it requires fit your batteries. and you need to know all the details of your PV system, such as the input and output power, maximum battery current, nominal system voltage (12V, 24V,36V,48V,60V,100V,150V Even 200V). When considering which mppt controller to choice, referring to the mppt controller calculation guide above.

How to select a solar charge controller

what size solar charge controller do I need?

There are many types of solar controllers on the market. what size solar charge controller do I need is always the question confused the solar users. when sizing the solar charge controller, it can be considered from the following aspects:

1. the voltage of the solar panel

Generally, 18V solar panels typically use a 12V controller, 36V solar panels use a 24V controller, and 72V solar panels use a 48V controller.

2. solar panel current

the solar panel current calculation method is to divide the power of the solar panels by the highest charging voltage of the solar panel.

for example. a 12V/200W solar panel. The maximum charging voltage is 18V, and the current of the solar panel is 12A. When we sizing the solar charge controller, Usually give 30% to 50% margin, then the best choice for us to choose is a 15A controller, 20A controller is the best.

3. the type of battery

nowadays, there are many types of batteries on the market, such as the maintenance-free lead-acid battery, colloid battery, ternary lithium battery, lithium iron phosphate battery, etc. The highest charging voltage and working voltage of various batteries are different. so when we select the solar charge controller, we need to check the parameter of the battery first, usually, those parameters are printed with the battery body and user guides.

High-quality solar controllers are equipped with lightning protection, high voltage, low voltage, overload protection and temperature compensation to ensure the normal operation of the entire system. At the same time, you can also know the electricity that generated and the amount of electricity used every day according to the controller statistics function.

The service life of a solar charge controller is generally 5 to 8 years. Therefore, it is not recommended to use solar panels to charge the battery directly, which will affect the battery life, and even scrapped batteries, solar controllers are not expensive, but it is worth the money.

Why do I need a solar Panel charge controller

To save costs, some users believe that solar controller is an unnecessary component, can a solar panel charge the battery without a solar controller? the answer is yes, but here is the problem, without the solar controller’s regulation, overcharge can resulting in a scrapped battery.

When a solar panel charges a battery, we usually add a key component called a solar controller. What does the solar controller do? It is to protect the battery from charging and discharging. If there is no such controller. The battery is easy to bumps even explode.

how to wire up a solar charge controller

Following the guide Solar Panel Charge Controller Wiring Diagram to Wiring and set up the solar charge controller, battery bank and solar panels in the solar power system. simple sequence: first connect the battery, set the working mode of the load via solar charge controller, connect the solar panel, connect the load in the last, when disconnecting the solar power system, disconnect in the reverse order

Solar Panel Charge Controller Wiring Diagram
Solar Panel Charge Controller Wiring Diagram

how many solar panels can you hook to one charge controller

when you buy a solar charge controller, you will find this information in the user manual. usually, the maximum power of PV indicates maximum panels you can hook to the charge controller.

Types of Solar Charge Controller and applications

There are many types of solar controllers on the market, such as solar street light controllers, solar panel charge controllers,RV solar charge controllers, marine solar charge controllers, etc.

Each of these controllers has its own function and Features. In practice, as application are different, so we must be clear about what the controller is applied to the application. here are 3 mainstream types of solar charge controller:

1. off-grid solar panel charge controller

the solar panel charge controller is mainly used in the off-grid solar power system, Generally installed indoors. Main applications: solar battery charging, DC load output, LCD display, manual switch. Mainly used for household power generation, outposts, base stations, and other power supply systems.

main types are normal type, economic type, 12V/24V self-type, MPPT type, App Control type, high power type, and 48V type.

2. solar street light controller

Mainly used for solar street lights, installed in the pole or lamp holder. this kind street light controller usually are Fully potted metal casing. The ON/OFF and lighting time can be automatically controlled by the solar street light controller according to the actual requirements.

the solar street light controller usually has the following types: normal output (battery voltage), boost type, buck type, timer type, dual timer period, and multiple time type.

3. RV solar Charge Controller

RV solar charge controller also can be divided by MPPT type and PWM type. and dual battery solar charger also can be found on the market when you want to charge 2 battery simultaneously on the RV.

Dual battery solar charger can charge 2 batteries at the same time, generally used in the RV solar power system, to charge the RV start battery and the RV main battery. usually does not have a load output function.

How to Choose the good solar charge controller

4 factors to be aware of when buying the solar charge controller

1. Function: the function of the solar charge controller, we all know that the main function of the solar charge controller is charge and discharge regulation, but usually, besides the charge regulation, the charge controller also has extra functions based on the manufacturer and design.

2. Quality: first look at the shell material, there are 3 types of shell material: ABS, aluminum alloy and ABS + aluminum alloy, Solar controllers shell use ABS and ABS+ aluminum alloy are more common because the cost of the all-aluminum alloy is expensive, then the price of the solar controller is expensive accordingly.

3. Terminals: Check the terminal and buttons, shake the solar controller, if sound like something dropped, then the controller is not firmly assembled.

4. After-sales: some customer buy the solar controller without research the product in advance, after buying the controller, it lacks the experience to install and wiring the controller. thus, Guaranteed after-sales service and support is also very important.

Solar Charge Controller working Parameters

There are two kinds of operating parameters showed by the solar controller, one is displayed by LED light, that is, several LED lights flash to indicate the current state of the controller.

The second type is the LCD display. The LCD display is more user-friendly, and all the working parameters are digitized and graphically displayed. it can be easily read. If you want to know the operating parameters of your controller more clearly and accurately, it is recommended to use the LCD display type controller.

The LCD display mainly shows the operating parameters:

1, the charging voltage of the solar panel

2, solar panel charging current

3, the amount power of solar panels (aka how much electricity is outputted)

4, the capacity of the battery

5, the battery voltage

6, battery temperature

7, the load current

8, the amount of power used

There are many manufacturers of solar controllers on the market, and the models are different. The technical parameters displayed will be different. It is recommended to read the manual carefully and follow the instruction to set the controller parameters.

The values displayed on the LCD display help the user understand the working status of the entire solar system. LCD display Features easy to understand, clear and intuitive, which is also the scientific basis for users to judge whether the solar system works normally or not.

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