Solar Charge Controller (s)
The next important component(s) for your RV Solar System are the Solar Charge Controllers. Charge controllers regulate how much power from your panels actually gets to your battery plant. In order to ensure the batteries aren’t getting overcharged, a charge controller is placed in between the solar panels and the battery plant. Some charge controllers can also perform temperature compensation and equalization, which enhance the ability of a charge controller to maintain the health, maximize capacity, and prolong the life of the batteries.
There are two basic types of charge controller. PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) and MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking). MPPT type charge controllers automatically find the voltage at which panels produce power most efficiently. Of course, they are more expensive than PWM controllers, but they are much more efficient as well.
When would you want to use a PWM controller? One instance would be when you’re using multiple solar panels of different voltages (e.g. 32 cell panels mixed with 36 cell or 40 cell panels). In a situation like that, PWM charge controllers are preferable to MPPT controllers because their operation algorithms are less and more straight forward. Beyond that example though, if you’re planning out your first system, you’ll most likely be installing panels that all match up, and in that situation the MPPT charge controller makes more sense.
There are instances where more than one charge controller will be needed. If you’re building a large solar installation for your RV, there will come a point where you’ll want to break your panels into groups. Each controller can only regulate so much power coming into your battery plant. If the solar system you’re wanting has a charging current that exceeds the current rating of your preferred charge controller, you can use multiple charge controllers! The charge controllers would be connected in parallel to each other across the battery bank. Precision RV is very experienced with these situations, and we’ve done many multi-controller systems. For an example, take a look at Wheeling It’s recent install.
Need More Than 1 Controller?
When planning your RV Solar Power system are you going to need more than one charge controller? You might. And if you’re not certain, there’s an easy solution. Contact Precision RV today to discuss your RV Solar needs. Or drop us a note on our website. We’ll discuss your total power needs, and we’ll plan your system from start to finish. Given our time installing solar, and using solar every day in our own RV, we’ll be able to design a system that exceeds your expectations, and we’ll take the guess work out of building your system.