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Solar Charge Controllers
A key part of your RV charging system

Solar Charge Controllers

Solar Charge Controllers are needed in most solar panel (PV) systems to protect the batteries from overcharge and excessive discharge.

Solar Charge Controllers main and most basic function is to automatically keep and assure the battery is fully charged without harming the battery.

What does a charge controller do?
The solar charge controller is the heart of any solar power installation on an RV. It is the gatekeeper between the solar panels and the batteries, and it determines how much of the sun’s energy that is available to the solar panels will actually be converted into electrical current to charge the batteries.

There are two types of charge controllers:
1. Pulse width modulation (PWM)
2. Maximum power point tracking (MPPT)

The difference between these two types of controllers is that the PWM is not as efficient the MPPT. The MPPT is the most common these days and can gain you up to 30% more power than the PWM controllers.
How to choose the right controller?
If you need to make some quick calculations, the following information can help you to manually figure out the amperage of the controller needed:

The wattage of the solar array
The battery-bank voltage (12, 24, or 48). Typical bank voltage because inverters are offered in these voltages.
Now Ohm’s Law comes into play:
Amps x Volts = Watts

Example: 3,000watt array/48volt battery bank = 62.5 amps, so you would need a controller capable of 62.5 amps. Most controllers out there are either 60, 80 or 96 amps so you would pick the controller with the next higher rating. In this case, it would be the 80 amp controller.