Portable Solar Powered Lifestyle Solutions

MPPT Charge Controller vs. PWM Charge Controller

Gain some knowledge regarding the differences between MPPT Solar Charge Controllers and PWM Solar Charge Controllers!

First of all, what is a Solar Charge Controller?  A Charge Controller prevents the over charge and over discharge of the battery or batteries within a given system.  It basically is a regulator, regulating the flow of current into and out of a battery.

Say you have a bright sunny day and your solar panel is capturing that sun energy like it is its job(which of course it is!).  Once your battery is at full charge the Charge Controller will stop the flow of incoming current to prevent the battery from blowing up or worse, exploding.

Now in the reverse, during times of no sun and working primarily with power from the battery the Charge Controller prevents the battery from discharging fully which is severely detrimental to the life and overall health of your battery.

A Charge Controller is an extra layer of protection, safety, and security for all of your off-grid equipment.  

So, now that we know what a Charge Controller is and its function, which type do we choose?  MPPT or PWM.

MPPT - Maximum Power Point Tracking

PWM - Pulse Width Modulation

When using a PWM Charge Controller, all of your voltages should be the same.  The solar panel, charge controller, and battery should all be the same voltage to produce the best results and avoid damage.  Smaller systems such as an RV do well with the PWM Charge Controller.  The PWM is less expensive than the MPPT, however it is also less efficient.

The MPPT Charge Controller is used for larger systems, such as a solar powered off-grid cabin.  It is the most efficient type of Charge Controller.  This is the type of charge controller that should be used if the voltages of the solar panels are greater than the batteries being used.  

 In short, you can get away with a PWM if you are just weekend warrioring(yes we made that up) with your solar system.  Just make sure the voltages match across the board.  If you are planning to be epic with your system and do some serious off-gridding(yep, we did it again) the MPPT should be the route you take for the most efficient and protected use of your sun harnessing equipment.

Check out our selection of both PWM and MPPT Charge Controllers here.

Got more questions? Drop us a line at sales@solarpowerlifestyle.com or a ring at 585-484-9644 and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.


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