We live in a world where solar energy is fast becoming the order of the day. Households and corporate buildings are going off-grid to attain independence over their source of electrical energy by acquiring solar energy systems. These systems are controlled by regulatory mechanisms called Solar Charge Controllers.
Solar Charge controllers are gadgets used to regulate and prevent batteries from getting damaged as a result of excessive supply of current flow or overcharging. Apart from that, they protect other gadgets wired to the solar energy system.
When buying a solar charge controller, battery voltage and type, budget-friendliness, and types of solar panels are considered. The following are the top ten best solar charge controllers to satisfy these factors.
Qualities to Look Out for Before Buying a Solar Charge Controller
There is a wide range of solar charge controllers available in the market. This increases your chances of ending up with the wrong device. Lack of adequate knowledge of the qualities to look out for before buying a solar charge controller is the major factor contributing to this wrong choice.
When you want to get a solar charge controller for your home or office, below are some of the qualities you should look out for.
The battery remains a significant component you should look out for in every solar charge controller. It contributes greatly to the rate at which the device works. Without a highly efficient battery, you will likely not get the best out of your solar charge controller.
When the device’s batteries are adequately charged, the solar charge controller should stop the charging process automatically. This way, it reduces the time and energy you spend while ensuring that the device is fully charged. You should be aware that overcharging the batteries can limit their effectiveness greatly.
While the primary function of a solar charge controller is charge and discharge control, some alternative designs come with extra functions to give you the best experience. There’s a wide range of functions some of these models can do.
For instance, some solar charge controllers come with readily attached memory to save alarms and events alongside specific times and dates. Perhaps you intend to do quick troubleshooting; this alarms and events history can be pretty useful.
The terminals of the solar charge controller are another feature to consider with utmost care. Not only the terminals but also the buttons should be checked properly. This is in order to ensure that both terminals and buttons are in good shape. To complement this, you can shake the device (you should, however, do this with care).
To know whether the solar charge controller is firmly assembled or not, you should take note of a dropping sound. The sound indicates that it is not well assembled.
The quality of a device, especially concerning such technological tools as solar charge controllers, is essential and shouldn’t be taken lightly. When checking out your solar charge controller before making a purchase, consider the shell product.
There are three types of these materials, including ABS+ aluminum alloy, aluminum alloy, and ABS. Due to the relatively expensive cost of the all-aluminum alloy, many people opt for the ABS+ aluminum and ABS shell. Whichever one you choose, you can rest assured you are getting the best value for your money.
You might not consider this as important. However, user reviews can determine the efficiency and quality of a product. The installation and proper wiring of the solar charge controller should come in handy, and users have the best reviews to help you make the best choice of device.
Top Ten Solar Charge Controllers Worth Buying
Possibly, you may not know the correct solar charge controller that will suit your appliances or gadgets. Below is information that will help you make the right choices when purchasing.
This is one of the cheapest and most popular solar charge controllers you will find in the market at any given time. It comes with a Bluetooth module that lets you keep an eye on the solar panel configuration. It comes with a current rating of 10A. Although this isn’t quite impressive, it is a reliable product.
Notwithstanding the product’s output, this cost-friendly product can still be an excellent alternative for many. This reason is not far-fetched as it supports 24V and 12V solar systems (panels and batteries). A fascinating feature of this product is that it comes with readily attached USB ports that enable you to charge mobile devices conveniently. Given its budget size, it does not come with a warranty.
- Works perfectly well with 24V and 12V solar panels.
- Has a current output rating of 10A
- It comes with readily attached USB ports
- It has an in-built Bluetooth module to monitor the solar configurations.
- It comes with dual USB ports to ensure timely charge.
- Available at a cost-effective price
- Lacks enough energy to function as a solar charge regulator.
The Victron Solar Charge Controller is one of the most reliable products available in the market. It has a Bluetooth feature that enables easy charging of mobile devices. Its current output rating is as Hugh as 30A.
You stand the chance of using this product with any solar panel at your disposal because of its extensive voltage rating, ranging from 12V to 24V. Interestingly, this product is made of high-quality materials and comes with a 3-year warranty.
- It has a 3-year warranty
- It works with both 12V and 24V solar panels
- It provides a maximum current rating of 30A.
- Its current output rating is pretty high
- It comes with a readily attached Bluetooth module
- It is a long-lasting and reliable solar charge controller
- It is a costly solar charge controller.
Perhaps you are on the lookout for an affordable solar charge controller with optimum qualities and features; you don’t have to search any longer. All you ever want in a solar charge controller comes in handy with the Allpowers Solar Charge Controller. It is one of the cheapest products, and a great thing about it is that its affordable price does not reflect its built. It has an inbuilt display that shows information about the solar panel it controls. Also, it offers a decent maximum current rating of 20A.
For compatibility with any solar panel, this product is designed to support both 12V and 24V systems. It also comes with a reasonable warranty period of 1.5 years.
- It has a 1½-year warranty
- It is compatible with both 12V and 24V solar panels
- It provides a maximum current rating of 20A.
- Its warranty is quite extensive
- Its display is in-built
- It is an affordable option.
- It is of an average quality build.
The SolarEpic Epever Solar Charge Controller is another powerful controller. You can connect your computer to this controller using an included cable to monitor parameter configurations easily. It provides a high maximum current rating of 40A.
Like every other solar charge controller, this product also supports 24V and 12V solar panels. It is a high-performance product with a 2-year warranty.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty
- It is compatible with both 12V and 24V solar panels
- Its current output rating is as high as 40A
- Computer connection cables are attached to it.
- It has optimum performance
- It is a durable and reliable product.
- It is quite pricey
The Power Solar Charge Controller is a powerful controller with a maximum power current of 100A. It is suitable for 12V and 24V solar panels. It can protect against lightning strikes, rain, and sand. An exciting feature is that it supports PC software and mobile phone apps, allowing you to set and know the controller’s activity through PC or your mobile device even when you are away from home.
- Offers a maximum current of 100A.
- It works well with 12V and 24V solar panels.
- It can be controlled and monitored remotely using a PC or mobile device.
- It protects against lightning strikes, rain, and sand.
- Long-lasting solar charge controller.
- It can be controlled and monitored when away from home.
- It is pretty expensive.
Thisis another budget-oriented product with an inbuilt display that shows the system’s configurations. The great thing about it is that its current output rating is relatively high, ranging to about 30A. Regardless, you do not have to empty your bank account to purchase it.
This controller also supports both 12V and 24V systems and inbuilt USB ports that can charge mobile devices.
- It has an in-built display
- Compatible with both 12V and 24V solar panels
- It offers a maximum current output rating of 30A.
- It is available at an affordable rate
- It has readily attached USB ports to charge mobile devices
- It supplies a relatively high current output rating.
- Average build quality.
- No warranty.
This is often regarded as one of the most efficient controllers available in the market. This product comes with an excellent maximum current rating of 40A. As expected, it also supports both 12V and 24V panel systems. Its warranty period is about two years.
- It supports 12V and 24V solar panels
- It has a warranty of 2 years
- Its current output rating is about 40A
- It is suitable for most solar panel voltage ratings.
- It is a durable and reliable product
- It has cutting-edge performance as well as a high current output rating.
- It lacks PC connectivity and Bluetooth
The WindyNation P30L is a solar charge controller built to show a comprehensive digital display of the system’s important information. It supports 12V and 24V solar panels and has a current rating of 30A.
The controller is enclosed in durable plastic, which features graphic information about the system’s performance.
- Its maximum current rating is 30A
- It supports both 12V and 24V solar panels
- It has electronic protection against reverse polarity, short-circuits, and current overload.
- Solar Charge Controller prevents overcharging.
- Protects against short circuit and reverse polarity.
- LCD digital display that provides system information.
- Average quality built.
This is an intelligent and all-inclusive product with a charge current rating of 30A. It comes with a dual USB port that suits the demands of modern electronics.
The controller’s microprocessor supports both 12 and 24 voltage systems, and its parameter modifications can be regulated automatically. It is built with electrical protection that safeguards it against installation errors. Its most exciting feature is its Bluetooth feature that works perfectly well with a mobile phone app or computer monitoring system.
- Its current output rating is as high as 30A
- It comes with remote control and monitoring
- It has a light control feature for lighting devices.
- It supports 12V and 24V solar panels.
- It ensures compatibility with any negative ground system.
- Smart charging.
- Bluetooth function.
- Backlit LCD that displays system data.
- It is not easy to install.
This high-performance product is programmed to use the maximum power available in a solar panel to recharge the batteries.
This controller works optimally due to the intelligent cooling system. As a result, it is able to function at 80 amps at a temperature of 40⁰C (104⁰F). It fully supports 12V, 24V, 36V, and 48V systems.
The Flexmax controller is built with an LCD screen. The character display that comes with the product is quite extensive. Coupled with effective communication components, this display regulates manual and grants access to the last four months of operational data for observation.
Maintenance tips for Solar Charge Controllers
Solar controllers must be well taken care of to achieve optimum efficiency. Below are tips that come in handy when maintaining them. Adherence to these tips will ensure that you get the best out of these gadgets.
1. Use a dry cloth to remove dirt and dust accumulated over time.
2. Perform visual inspection to ensure all the indicators are working. LED lights should be switched on. Usually, when the sun is up, the charge controller indicates that the system is charging. If it does not charge when it should, seek the advice of a qualified technician.
3. Ensure that the wiring components leading the charge controller to the solar panel and battery bank are intact.
Having control over the electrical energy that flows in one’s home or industry can be self-fulfilling. This article aims to provide you with information on getting a reliable solar controller that suits your reliability and efficiency standards. Maintenance tips for your controllers are also highlighted for your use.