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Solar Charge Controller – Why Do I Need It?

Here’s another guide on solar panel installation.

solarchargecontSolar Charge Controller – how important is this product to your solar power system.

A charge controller or solar charge regulator is basically a voltage and/or current regulator to keep batteries from overcharging. It regulates the voltage and the current coming from the solar panels going to the battery. Most “12 volt” solar panels give out about 16 to 20 volts, so if there is no regulation the batteries will be overcharged and that in turn will damage your battery. Most batteries need around 14 to 14.5 volts to get fully charged.

There are times that solar charge controller are not needed if you have a small maintenance solar power system or solar panels, example are the 1 watt to 5 watts solar panels.   A rough rule is that if the panel puts out about 2 watts or less for each 50 battery amp-hours, then you don’t need one.

For example, a standard flooded golf car battery is around 210 amp-hours. So to keep up a series pair of them (12 volts) just for maintenance or storage, you would want a panel that is around 4.2 watts. The popular 5 watt panels are close enough, and will not need a controller.

solar power philippines, solar charge controller

Charge controls varies in shapes, sizes, and features. They range from the small 4.5 amp control, up to the 60 to 80 amp MPPT programmable controllers with computer interface. Often, if currents over 60 amps are required, two or more 40 to 80 amp units are wired in parallel. The most common controls used for all battery based systems are in the 4 to 60 amp range, but some of the new MPPT controls such as the Outback Power FlexMaxgo up to 80 amps.

That’s a little something to learn about solar charge controller.  So before you start on buying your solar panels, think of how small or big you want your solar power system will be and from there include the solar charge controller in your computation and in the plan of your wiring system.

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