Charge Controllers

Charge Controllers

If you have an alternative energy source, you may have heard of a solar charge controller. This controller is known to regulate the voltage or current that is coming from the solar panels and going to the batteries. It keeps the batteries from becoming overcharged, which could shorten their life span and cause damage.

These controllers come in various shapes, sizes, features and price ranges. You can find controllers as small as 4.5 amps, and all the way up to 80 amps. Sometimes, when an application requires more than 60 amps, two or more 40 to 80 amp units will be wired in a parallel position. These controllers are most commonly used for battery systems that require 4 to 60 amps.

Types of Charger Controllers

mapped Controller Simple 1 or 2 stage controls - Relies on relays or shunt transistors in order to maintain voltage in one or two steps. These are an older system, but there are some still available on the market. They are most known for reliability, as they do not have many components that can malfunction.

3-stage and/or PWM -These controllers are an industry standard. The PWM solar charge controller is dependable and affordable.

Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) - These are the highest class charge controllers on the market. You will find manufactures such as EP Solar, Morningstar Corp and Samlex offering these controllers. An MPPT Controller offerers 94 to 98 percent efficiency, but are also pricier than a standard PV charge controller.

You will find that most chargers have an indicator light, which is either a simple LED or a series of LED, and sometimes a digital meter. New models may contain built in computer interfaces for monitoring and controlling your system. For controllers that are simple, you can only expect a few LED lights to show that the device is powered on and a charge is occurring.

Contact us today to find out more about charge controllers. If you have a system in mind, but need help designing it, we have solar specialists on hand that can help you complete any project.

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