Whether the power source is solar panels, wind, hydro, gasoline, or the utility grid, a charge controller is an integral feature of practically all power systems that charge batteries. Its function is to ensure that your deep cycle batteries are adequately fed and safe over time.
A controller’s basic functions are straightforward. Charge controllers prevent battery overcharging by blocking reverse current. Some charge controllers additionally protect against battery overcharging, defend against electrical overload, and/or show battery status and power flow.
How Do Charge Controllers Function?
It’s important to understand that electricity flows from high to low voltage. Solar panels, for example, produce the greatest energy during the middle of the day, thus their voltage is high while the voltage of the battery bank is low. The excess electricity is subsequently supplied to the battery to be stored.
The battery, however, has a higher voltage than the solar panels at night because they have all been charged during the day. The solar charge controller intervenes to keep the electricity flowing to the solar panels by preventing the excessive voltage from reaching them.
When the battery charger is empty or nearly empty, the charge controller sends a large amount of power to the battery, swiftly charging it. The charge controller distributes a smaller amount of power to the battery via a trickle charge once the battery is close to being full or is in use to maintain the battery constantly ready to give power.
Furthermore, when the voltage falls below a specific level, charge controllers automatically disconnect non-critical loads from the battery bank. This is known as Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD) because it avoids the battery’s energy from being over-discharged.
Solar charge controllers are one of the most significant components of a solar power system, as they aid in maintaining the solar battery’s efficiency, performance, and reliability.
The following are seven reasons why charge controllers are an important aspect of your solar panel system:
- Improve The Management Of A Solar Energy System’s Efficiency
The solar charge controller functions similarly to a regulator. Its main functions are to deliver power from the PV tray to system loads and then to the battery, to monitor the battery (to see if it is fully charged or not). Furthermore, to protect the system from overcharging and undercharging, and to regulate the voltage and current flowing from the solar panels to the battery. It can also aid in improved battery charging process management.
- Protection From Overvoltage Under-Voltage Condition
When the batteries have lost 80% of their charge, they are said to be under voltage. When not in use, a charge controller keeps the battery disconnected from the circuit and only reconnects it when it has to be recharged. By this method, an under-voltage condition is prevented by lowering the battery’s voltage level, which is proportionate to the charging rate.
- Prevention of Overcharging of the Battery
Overcharging batteries can dramatically diminish their lifespan and is hence not recommended under any condition. Charge controllers automatically shut off the charging when a battery is at the ideal charge level preventing the overcharging of the battery.
- Manage Control Set Points Configuration
The charge controllers can also be used to alter and re-program various set points. To maximize battery life and performance, you can fine-tune your charging and discharging cycles with the help of the right charge controller.
- Metering and Displays
Multiple parameters can be observed on the display screens of charge controllers. As it is necessary to verify voltage level, charged percent, current discharge time at fill load, and other metrics on a regular basis.
- Aids in Troubleshooting with a History of Events
It’s possible to save events and alerts with a date and time stamp in some charge controllers. Troubleshooting is made easier and more efficient with this log of all events and alerts.
Purchasing a high-quality charge controller is an intelligent move. Without a question, a good charge controller will safeguard and extend the life of your solar system’s batteries, as well as aid in monitoring and troubleshooting. You can extend the life of your battery bank by several months by using the right charge controller. And because a charge controller is such a small part of the entire cost of a solar system, it’s highly suggested to invest in a good one along with an efficient inverter like the Luminous ICON 1100.
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