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RANK

#1

Image of Victron SmartSolar MPPT...: Bestviewsreviews
Overall BVR Rating Based on 77 reviews
Reliability

10.0

Reverse current monitor

5.0

Over charging protection

5.1

Low voltage disconnect (LVD)

4.3


Pros

  • Affordable
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Charges efficiently

Cons

  • Battery current limit is split between the battery and load
RANK

#2

Image of Renogy Rover 40 Amp 12V/24V...: Bestviewsreviews
Overall BVR Rating Based on 69 reviews
Reliability

8.4

Reverse current monitor

5.3

Over charging protection

5.0

Low voltage disconnect (LVD)

5.0


Pros

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Good build quality
  • Easy controls
RANK

#3

Image of Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp...: Bestviewsreviews
Overall BVR Rating Based on 1300+ reviews
Reliability

6.5

Reverse current monitor

5.2

Over charging protection

5.3

Low voltage disconnect (LVD)

4.9


Pros

  • Controls low voltage lighting
  • LCD display
  • Easy controls

Cons

  • Poor user manual

Feature wise top Solar controller

Solar controller : Owner satisfaction

Owner satisfaction

Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp 12V/24V PWM Negative Ground Solar Charge Controller Regulator Compatible with Bluetooth Module
Solar controller : Reverse current monitor

Reverse current monitor

Renogy Rover 40 Amp 12V/24V MPPT Common Positive Solar Charge Controller Battery Regulator Compatible with Lithium Sealed, Gel, Flooded Batteries and Bluetooth Module

Solar Controllers Buying guide

Natural resources like solar energy have been increasingly in demand since the last few decades with more and more companies investing in such energies. If studies are to be believed, then natural reserves like solar energy will become a mainstream source of our energy soon. This is where solar controllers come into play.

Solar Controllers or solar charger controllers allows easy conversion of electricity from a Solar Photovoltaic panel or array to a DC battery system efficiently and effectively. In simpler words, a solar controller acts as a sub-conductor that allows electricity flow from a solar panel to a battery. Such controllers intend to avoid inversion of electricity flow from DC to AC in case there is no electricity supply from panel to the batteries and focuses on keeping the battery in optimal condition without making it over or undercharged.

Now, Solar PVs comes with certain features and to buy the best one for yourself, being acquainted with these features are essential.

Features

Minimal Voltage Disconnect Feature

This feature of a solar controller is helpful in cases of low electricity or voltage failure. In such cases, a solar controller automatically disconnects the battery from the panel restricting the load on the battery. This allows the battery to have a longer life.

Flexible Set Points

A controller is designed in a way that it can adjust itself according to the capacity of the battery up to a designated maximum limit. The feature of a solar controller to adapt according to the setting of a battery is quite helpful while accommodating high voltage setup systems.

Display Controls

Many solar controllers nowadays come with displays to indicate the status of voltage, current, night dim technology and other crucial information which is essential during power cuts for a longer duration of time. Some even come with load control technology that allows you to monitor the amount of voltage load that is being passed through from a panel to a battery.

Logging of Data

This is another feature of a solar controller that allows you to record the data of voltages, current flow, etc. So that you can keep a track of the amount of energy that is being used up or is being transferred. This data logging can be customized as per your requirements and can be set from daily minimum to daily maximum to even logging an average of all.

Remote Control

Many of the solar controllers nowadays come with the option of remote monitoring through an internet connection and local server. This is very convenient for people who are not available throughout to monitor the functions of a controller. This also allows you to create emergency phone calls or text messages in case of a fault without physically being present there.

Real-time Clock Facility

This is quite a convenient feature and works in synchronization with the data logging time to keep a check on the load control by giving out records based on a real-time clock.

Facility to Charge a Second Battery

This facility is used on a more commercial level like in the marines where a solar controller can not only charge the house battery but also the source or starter battery. This comes handy during two kinds of situations; first when the primary battery is malfunctioning, and the second while cutting off overloading from the primary battery.

Now that we know the basics, let’s take a look at the types of solar controllers available in the market.

Types

PWM Controller

This is perhaps, one of the most advanced controllers in the market. This controller is created using the convenience of the users in mind and is in the form of an on/off switch principle. The biggest advantage of such controllers is that they can stop or change the current flow as per the needs and conditions of the battery.

The Series Controller

The series solar regulator works on a similar principle as the shunt regulator. The only difference being, rather than diverting the current to a 'shunt', it stopes the current flow completely to prohibit the battery from overloading.

MPPT Charge Controller

This again is one of the most preferred forms of the controller and maintains the same levels of current like that of a solar array. An MPPT controller takes the current from the array and converts it into more suitable voltage levels to charge the battery. Such controllers ensure a good life for your solar batteries.

The Shunt Controller

Such solar controllers have a simple ‘On’ and ‘Off’ mechanism that allows the current to flow from a solar array to the battery until the level of voltage disconnect level. Once the battery reaches that level the flow stops diverting the current flow to an auxiliary unit.

Things to Consider while Buying Solar Controllers

Current Capacity

This indicates choosing a solar controller that can handle the maximum output of a solar array to direct it towards the battery. If you choose one which is not compatible you will end up with some major damages to both battery and the solar array.

Voltage Capacity

Go for a solar controller that is compatible with the voltage capacity of the set-up. The available configuration standards are 12 volts, 24 volts and 48 volts. Therefore, the voltage capacity of the battery should be equivalent to the voltage of the controller.

Store Temperature

Before investing in a solar controller understand the atmosphere where the setting is being created. An environment’s atmosphere affects the efficiency of a solar controller to a large extent. A PWM is best suited for a warmer environment as they can function at the level of the voltage of the battery. Whereas, an MPPT suits best during cold environments as it can function above the voltage set for the battery.

Budget

Even though the technology has advanced by leaps and bounds as far as such equipment are concerned, in the end, everything comes down to your budget. With an array of products available in the market, choosing the one that suits your pocket as well as the need shouldn't be very hard.

Warranty

A solar controller requires you to have a good financial reserve for its purchase, installation as well as maintenance. Therefore, before putting your money on any controller, understand the warranty period of the product. Any controller comes with an average warranty between 3-5 years.

Conclusion

With exhaustible resources on the brink of disappearing, mankind is turning towards nature to seek alternate forms of survival and energy requirements. Solar energy solutions have taken the world by storm with its inexhaustible nature and the power to fulfil one of our basic requirements- ‘the electricity’. At such, it only makes sense to invest in good parts of such a system, which comes with a complete guarantee to provide us with maximum efficiency. Take a look at some of our recommended products in the featured section above for more information. 

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