How to Choose a Solar Charge Controller

ByDonna Vanpelt

How to Choose a Solar Charge Controller

Being able to handle erratic voltages flowing out of solar panels is very important for the goal of harnessing the energy output of this abundant source. As light changes, so does the energy flowing from your solar panel. The problem is, however, electrical current around the world has little variable range, of 3-5% depending on the current. To help mediate this issue, a solar charge controller steps up to the plate.

What is a Solar Charge Controller?

The perfect equipment to store solar energy is called a solar charge controller. A solar charge controller is basically a regulator that transfers power from the PV array to the battery bank and system loads.

Also, Solar Charge Controllers regulates the voltage when the battery is fully charged to protect them from undercharging or overcharging. This is a crucial role since solar charge controller batteries can be expensive.

Solar charge controllers come in handy during a power outage, during winter, or when you want to store power for night use. However, not all solar charge controllers are the same. That is why we compiled a list of tips on how you can choose the perfect solar energy controller for your equipment.

What to Look for in a Solar Charge Controller

Selecting the perfect solar charge controller is crucial to match your needs. If you want to control a system wherever you are, you will need to check the performance and reliability of your controller. Even when you are on a budget, it is important to make sure that the solar charge controllers meet important charging requirements.

When you settle with cheap and ill-performing controllers, your risk running into future problems like high expenses, loss of operating time, and you might need to make a lot of site visitations.

Read on to know what to look for in Solar Charge Controllers.

Design of the Solar Charge Controller

The design is an important consideration to keep in mind when selecting a solar charge controller is the design. The design of solar charge controllers is highly important since they are always exposed to high temperatures.

With this in mind, it is recommendable for smaller charge controllers to have no fans since they benefit from simple passive cooling. Some of the advantages of a fanless solar charge controller include:

  • High Dependability– Since fans are designed with moving parts; they are likely to cause problems for the solar charge controller. For this reason, fanless controllers work better.
  • Longer Lifespan- Fans are more likely to trap insects, dust, and dirt. When this happens, the controllers will get clogged and this will inevitably shorten their lifespan.
  • Higher Efficiency- Since fans use electricity from the solar panels, it acts as a parasite to the charge controller. They divert and consume solar power that could have been used in more important things.

There are larger charge controllers that make use of passive cooling technology without the aid of fans. These controllers have highly advanced thermal-mechanical software and design. They are also best suited for remote systems and you won’t need to worry about maintenance.

Compatibility

Another tip is to ensure that the settings of the controller are compatible with your system’s needs. Preset charge settings are often present in smaller solar charge controllers. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose a controller with a lot of settings options.

There are also charge controllers that allow you to customize the settings to adjust to a certain set of voltage points. If your system does not cycle as required, you can set it up with less time in daily absorptions. This is the same length of time before the battery is used.

Examine the Lighting Options

If you don’t want to be bothered by setting up the lights in your solar charge controllers, you may want to choose ones that you can freely customize the daily lighting control settings. With this kind of control, you can easily adjust the lighting on/off setting according to your needs.

You don’t have to worry about manually turning on the lights when it gets dark or turning it off in the morning. Make sure that the device can do this automatically to make your work easy.

Conclusion

When choosing the right solar charge controller, it is highly crucial to think about what it is for, how big or small you want it be, how much you are willing to spend, and where you want to install it.

All these things must coincide to avoid facing any possible problems in the future. The quality and reliability of the solar charge controller should not be overlooked since it serves as the energy storage once your solar equipment runs out of energy.

About the author

Donna Vanpelt editor

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