A Charge Controller device is needed as part of the equipment pieces to complete a Solar Energy producing system for free electricity. The extra ability to have a Solar and Wind Charge Controller is that batteries can be charged with Twice the nature power. Usually, when the sun is out we have plenty of energy flooding the battery; However, at night or on cloudy days, the wind is usually present adding more juice to those batteries when the sun is not. This is a win, win situation. Batteries are less likely to discharge down with a more constant force of Electrical Energy flooding the Batteries. At the same time, the Charge controller then Controls the amount of energy into the battery if it becomes Too much.
Here is The Best way to remember the term Charge Controller. A battery needs to be “Charged” up to function well, correct ? Well, this little unit is called a “Charge” Controller. It Controls or better word (Limits) the Charge or Current that flows into the battery. The battery becomes Fully Charged and the sun just keeps going So we need a sort of Plug or Limiter to stop this excess flow.
This saves the battery from having a stroke or heart attack ‘so to speak’ from charge Overload. Hence the title or term “Charge Controller.”
The Main function of the Charge Controller is to prevent Overcharging of the batteries. When the sun becomes too intense and the batteries are completely charged, there is a setting in the Charge Controller. This setting will stop charging a battery when it exceeds the maximum level. Thus saving on the battery life and battery overcharge !
The key to the efficiency and longevity of your entire battery system is a properly selected charge controller.
The “Amp” word is usually used to describe power of the Charge Controller. It is important for allowing heavier surges of sunlight to flow as the sun hits the Solar Panels down the wires to the batteries.
These charge controllers range from as low as 1-2 amps to as high as 100 amps. A higher number of ‘amps’ say a 60 Amp right up to a 100 Amp charge controller allows more energy to enter the battery at a faster rate. Quite alright to go with a larger charge controller for expansion into a larger system with more solar panels for more power. But higher Amp charge controllers may cost a bit more.
At the same time the Charge Controller does as it says. It Controls the Charge to the batteries so as to not damage the battery with too much sun energy power flow to the battery.
Two types exist. The PWM and the MPPT(Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controllers. The newer MPPT charge controllers are slightly superior. MPPT charge controllers match the output of the solar panel to the battery voltage ensuring maximum charge (Amps).
I’ve seen from 4 Amps (trickle charge) to as high as 100 Amps. The PWM charge controllers are cheaper as opposed to the superior MPPT charge controllers.. Some good brands of Mppt charge Controllers are Midnite Solar, Xantrex, Outback Power, Morningstar and others.
How many Amp Charge Controller to how many Watts Solar Panel ?
If you are using 4 solar panels at 80 Watts per panel or 320 watts then a 40 Amp charge controller is best. If you double this to 8 solar panels at 80 Watts per panel to 640 Watt Solar Panels then get either two 40 Amp charge Controllers or close to an 80 Amp Charge Controller. Again, the Charge Controller allows more power and energy from the sun to the batteries.
PT 100 MPPT Charge Controller by Magnum | Unboxing & Features
My Thoughts and Research
I have a 4 amp Charge Controller from a solar kit at the Harbor Freight store. This is very low and can be used quite well but only in sunny areas. In the solar kit comes 3 panels totalling 45 watts. This is just a kit but will work well in sunny areas.
Compared to say a recommended 60 Amp that is widely used for larger capacity solar panels with a few hundred watts and up. I am in a cloudy part of the United States so I am going with as high as 80- 100 Amp charge controller. This way, I will be sure to “open the flood gates” and allow more energy to enter the batteries from the panels.
Safety Precautions for Batteries and Charge Controller
- Be sure not to build too many solar panels to a smaller say 10-20 amp charge controller. You may ruin the charger controller. A good one is about 60 amps or higher. Bigger means you can build up better with higher watt solar panels and charge controller.
- YES !, you do need a charge controller to protect the batteries from over-charging.
- I do not use lead acid batteries out of safety. Some use them when they are placed in a container and sealed properly. Conversely or contrary, they produce hydrogen and oxygen gases (highly flammable) during charging.
- DO Not use Car Batteries for charge efficiency is very poor. They have sudden, heavy, short discharges and much shorter life spans. Whereas deep cycle batteries such as golf cart batteries are extremely ideal and long lasting.
- Also, batteries should not go below 11.9 volts or you could hurt the battery
Also, a Power Inverter is a good possibility to Invert the Suns or WInds Dc Current to AC Current. Although some devices AUtomatically Generate AC current with no need for the Inverter. Check the Device beforehand. Wind especially may not need an Inverter.