A solar charge regulator or controller is a device that controls an electrical appliance’s voltage and halts the charging when the battery voltage ascends to a peak level. Solar charge controllers are an integral part of every solar charging kit. In the olden days, when solar power was still a newly discovered source of energy, solar charge controllers made use of a mechanical relay for opening and shutting the circuit, or for halting as well as generating power foraying into the electric storage devices. In contemporary times, the process of regurgitating electricity from direct sunlight has accumulated quite a following and stolen a march over other alternative sources. Eco-friendliness is another quality that can be attributed to photovoltaic panels since they also don’t require high maintenance.
Down below is a pithy and concise low-down on some of the glaring benefits of solar charge controllers.
- Reducing the Voltage of Solar Panel
In the sheer absence of a solar charge controller between a solar panel and a battery, the solar panel would inadvertently overcharge the battery by generating excess voltage inflicting some serious damage to the battery. Moreover, constantly overcharging a battery could possibly lead to fissures in the battery paving the way for a bombardment!
- Monitoring the Voltage of a Battery
The controller automatically detects when a solar battery’s voltage is low. In the aftermath of a low battery warning, the controller disconnects load from the battery to prevent it from draining out. Bear in mind, low voltage can still damage the battery if the load is connected.
- Stopping Reverse Current at Night
At night, when solar energy isn’t at its formidable might, a solar charge controller blocks current from flowing back into the solar panel, thus, preventing it from doing any damage to the solar charging kit. Furthermore, a charge controller is even capable of regulating current when the load is connected to the controller.
Going ahead, down below are some common types of charge controllers that provide an array of utilities to consumers. Have a read-:
#1. PWM controllers
PWM controller or Pulse Width Modulation regulator is a device that boasts of compatibility and a wholesome understanding of solar panels, batteries, and loads. Since these chargers harness PWM technology, there is zilch loss of the amount of current and voltage between the panel and the battery. Currently, they are the best solar charge controller available in the market and are known for enhancing battery life as well as averting common problems such as overcharging, short circuiting, and overheating.
#2. Dual battery controllers
These controllers are capable of monitoring and regulating two electrically isolated batteries at the same time. They act as essential utilities for people who seek to charge both their leisure battery and their engine battery simultaneously.
#3. Waterproof controllers
Suggestive of their name, waterproof controllers specifically cater to wet environments. On the functionality front, they are somewhat identical to a standard PWM controller. Boasting of multiple settings for timer-controlled load work, they are ideal for street lighting and also come in handy for anyone who wants to set up a solar charging kit on their boat.
#4. Controllers with LCD displays
LCD displays allow charge controllers with a hands-on approach by adding programmable features rendering the user to use customized settings on different battery types, to choose charging voltages at each stage, as well as changing parameters, and switching the load on and off with a timer.
It is safe to say these controllers put the onus in the owner’s hands, making a solar circuit more nuanced and controllable. The LCD display provides information about the solar panel’s voltage, the battery’s voltage, the battery state of charge and the temperature.
#5. MPPT controllers
MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) controllers are another equally menacing type of efficient solar charge regulators along with PWM controllers. MPPT controllers are known to surge the amount of current going to the battery, which varies upon constraints such as weather, temperature, state of charge of the battery, etc. Moreover, you can rest assured about any negative repercussions arising from usage of an MPPT controller on solar panels especially when its voltage is closer to the battery voltage.
Solar charge controllers have come a long way from being in the shadows of other solar powered devices to carve out a niche of their own. But, even today, buying them can turn out be an uphill trek. To get optimal results and branded products, you are best advised to buy solar charge controllers online and choose from a plethora of portals right away.