Chapter 8

Keeping Current and Voltage in Check: Charge Controllers

IN THIS CHAPTER

Bullet Looking at basic charge controller functions

Bullet Scoping out the two main controller types: MPPT and PWM

Bullet Selecting the option that meets your client’s needs

The process of naming equipment in the PV world (and the electrical world in general) can be classified as unimaginative at best. This is unfortunate in the sense that the components don’t sound like some space-age, whiz-bang item. But it’s actually fortunate in that the names are generally very descriptive, allowing you to determine an item’s function quickly.

Charge controllers are a prime example. When introducing charge controllers in my classes, I always give my students one guess to name their primary function. Needless to say they always guess “to control charging.” Even though you may not know exactly what charge is being controlled from the name of the item, you immediately get a sense that charge controllers are somehow manipulating the current coming from a power source.

The charge controllers that are commercially available come in a variety of sizes and have an assortment of features. Small charge controllers can be used in very small ...

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