Solar Charge Controller Types

In Controls & Electronics by Kayla Jlassi

Introduction

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Solar charge controllers are essential in off-grid solar systems. This page will provide an overview of different charge controller types and their uses. Knowing what type of charge controller you have and how it operates can help you to troubleshoot and understand if your controller is functioning correctly. To learn more about general information on Solar Charge Controllers themselves, visit our page, Solar Charge Controllers – General Overview.

  • Primary Function

    The primary function of a solar charge controller is to prevent the battery from being over/under charged by the solar array. Most charge controllers have various setpoint points for regulation based on battery voltages; these setpoints can be fixed or variable. Variable setpoints can be adjusted by potentiometers, dipswitches, jumpers, displays, computers, and other means. The charge setpoints should be adjusted for temperature with either a local or remote temperature probe.

Most charge controllers are a variation of one these four basic types:

  • Shunt Regulator
  • Series Regulator
  • PWM Regulator
  • MPPT Charge Controller

 

Charge controllers are arguably the most important components of off-grid solar systems. Without them, batteries would be overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the dynamic changes in energy that come from solar panels. When choosing the correct charge controller, it is important to keep in mind the specifics of the project at hand; each controller is applicable for various scenarios and like most things in life require trade-offs. Buy a Solar Charge Controller Here