Charge Controllers

Charge Controllers

The main function of a charge controller (also know as a charge regulator or battery regulator) is to safely charge a solar deep cycle battery at the correct charge rates and protect the battery from overcharge. Charge controllers are available in a variety of types and have several different applications. We offer a wide selection of solar charge controllers, solar lighting controllers, AC chargers and much more—click below to learn more!

Do you have questions about what is the best charge controller for you? Give an altE solar expert a call today at 877-878-4060.

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More Info on Charge Controllers

Solar Charge Controller | What is it and How it works in a Solar Power System

Types of Charge Controllers

  • Solar Charge Controllers are used to regulate and optimize the charge from solar panels and protect batteries in solar power systems.
  • Solar Lighting Controllers offer both a solar charge controller and a programmable lighting controller in one unit. DC lights or other DC loads can be run directly off of the solar lighting controller at scheduled times, thus potentially eliminating the need for a separate timer or load controller.
  • AC Battery Chargers use an alternating current (AC) source, like a wall outlet, to charge a direct current DC battery bank. Various models are available that allow for faster charging, or different voltage inputs and outputs.
  • Constant Voltage Regulator either take a variable input DC voltage and maintain a stable output voltage that, depending on the converter, can be higher or lower than the input DC voltage.
  • Diversion (Dump) Load Controllers: have the capability of being either a solar charge controller, a DC load controller, or a diversion load controller.
  • Temperature Sensors: Battery temperature sensors allow a charging source, such as a solar charge controller or AC charger, to know the battery temperature. This prompts the charging source to adjust the charge settings in order to provide appropriate charging as well as to protect the battery.

OutBack FLEXmax 100

Check out our video from Solar Power International 2017 where we check in with OutBack Power and get introduced to their new higher voltage FLEXmax 100 MPPT controller. This is a highly flexible and configurable piece of solar componentry—it can set up to string 6 or 7 solar panels in series for a high voltage, low current run to the solar battery bank. This allows the use of smaller wire runs for less voltage drop. The FLEXmax 100 is NEMA3 rated which allows for installing outside near the solar array.

The FLEXmax 100 comes with integrated ground fault protection and is compatible with both 24 volt and 48 volt battery banks. It allows for 100 amp output and can accommodate up to 5kW of charging to the battery bank. Click to watch and learn more!

How do Charge Controllers Work?

People often ask us how charge controllers actually work and what do they do in a solar power system? Or, why do I even need one in my solar system—can't I just connect my solar panels up directly to my batteries?

In fact, they are necessary to will protect your batteries from being overcharged by your solar panels and it will block any reverse current from the batteries at night, as well. Additionally, they will actually protect every aspect of your solar power system from your batteries to your solar panels. Temperature sensors are an inexpensive addition that help the charge controller more accurately regulate the charge of the battery bank.

The Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD) feature allows you to connect a DC load that is the same voltage as your battery bank and have the controller turn it off when the battery bank is low. This protects the batteries by preventing completely draining the batteries, also known as "deep discharging."

Learn more about solar charge controllers, including MPPT vs. PWM controllers, over on our blog: "Solar Charge Controllers."

Midnite Solar's The Kid Solar Charge Controller

Want to learn more about an MPPT charge controller that is perfect for an off-grid solar system or marine application? Check out our video on "The Kid" from Midnite Solar. This controller is extremely versatile and can manage power from solar panels to a variety of deep cycle batteries—including AGM, gel, flooded lead acid, lithium, calcium and even custom batteries. Continuing with the theme of versatility, The Kid can be used in 12 volt, 24 volt and 48 volt systems.

The Kid also offers the option of stacking multiple kids together depending on the needs and type of solar system you are using. The Kid is simple to install and offers powerful customization abilities, so you can set it up to your specifications. Watch now to learn about The Kid!!

Troubleshooting a Solar Charge Controller

Check out our video on how to troubleshoot a controller. In this video we show you how to be sure your solar power system is properly charging the battery through the charge controller. Getting to know the equipment that makes up your solar energy system is a worthwhile endeavor—especially if your system is set up in a remote off-grid location.

We'll show you how to measure the current going from the unit to the battery bank, using a multimeter set to read amps, to make sure your system is up and running. Multimeters are an important piece of equipment to have on hand to help diagnose problems with off-grid solar systems. Most multimeters are able to read both DC volts and DC amps, which will allow you to look beyond just measuring volts. Watch and learn more!

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