The charge controller is one of the most important elements of the solar power system. It is designed for efficient charging of batteries, deep discharge or overcharge protection. The right controller can boost the efficiency of your local power station by 25-30%, which is comparable to the use of additional solar modules or a wind turbine. The controller can be built into the inverter unit or installed separately.
The controller is a small metallic box with indicators on it, very easy to install and adjust. There are three main types of controllers:
Application of these controllers is limited to solar panels as the battery is switched off by short-circuit when fully charged (short-circuit cannot damage solar panels). When battery voltage reaches 14.4V (rated battery voltage is 12V), the controller stops the battery charging. And vice versa, charging resumes when battery voltage drops to 12.5-13V. At the same time, when the maximum battery charge is below 60-70%, it will have an adverse effect on the lifespan of the battery, since their number and capacity should be 40-50% higher.
Actually, this type of controller is no longer in use in modern power systems, though some suppliers still offer it because of its low price. Most global manufacturers have switched to PWM and MPPT controllers because of their much higher efficiency.
In contrast to ON/OFF controllers, PWM controllers use pulse width modulation of charge current allowing 100% battery charging. It is illustrated in the picture below:
Overall battery charging is split into 4 stages:
It is the most advanced and efficient type of controller. It can boost system efficiency by 25-30% in comparison with other controllers. Its operation is based on calculation of peak power point.
If you look at current-voltage characteristic of a solar panel, you can see that the number of voltage and amperage combinations is huge, but this correlation can give maximum capacity only at one point. Since current and voltage ratio is defined by circuit parameters, the controller can influence it and provide maximum capacity.
Most of NEOSUN Energy controllers are based on MPPT technology. It allows:
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