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Solar Charger Selection Guide

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This guide is prepared to help you choose a suitable Solar Charger amongst the various models we offer.  There are two main types of solar chargers on the market: MPPT vs PWM type.  Below is a summary of the MPPT type solar chargers which we offer and these are better in handling the wide variety of solar panel specifications.  The most important considerations in selecting a suitable solar charger are to check:

  • that the model selected is suitable to handle the power of PV array, based on a particular system voltage
  • proposed array does not produce a voltage or current that exceeds the INPUT limits of the solar charger

 

*Please note the information listed below may be subject to change without notice, as we continuously find way to improve our products. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us for more information.

PCM SERIES9242012, 30124048, 604860X5048, 804840CX, 80CX50CV
AlgorithmMPPTMPPTMPPTMPPTMPPTMPPTMPPT
Max Charging Current9A 20A, 25A40A or 1KW, 60A or 1.5KW Max60A 50, 80A 40A, 80A 50A
System Voltage12V, 24V12V12V, 24V, 36V, 48V12V, 24V, 48V12V, 24V, 36V, 48V12V, 24V, 36V, 48V48V, 72V, 96V, 120V
Max PV Power125W, 250W200W, 300W1KW, 1.5KW3KWUp to 3.4KW, 5.4KWUp to 2.7KW, 5.4KWUp to 8KW
Max PV Voc Input80V50V150V145V140V240V480V
Max PV Isc Input10.5A13A, 18A25A, 35A50A40A, 70A30A, 70A40A
MPPT Range18V/36V - 80V15V - 37V40V/50V/60V - 120V15V/30V/60V - 115V16V/32V/48V/64V - 112V16V/32V/48V/64V - 192V64V/96V/128V/160V - 384V
Programmable Charging?NoYes*NoYesYesYesYes
Bulk/Absorption Voltage @12V14.4V14.3V14.1V14.1V - 14.6V14.1V - 14.6V14.1V - 14.6V14.1V - 14.6V
Float Voltage @12V13.65V13.2V - 14.0V13.7V13.5V13.2V - 13.8V13.2V - 13.8V13.2V - 13.8V
Equalization ChargeNoNoNoYesYesYesYes
Battery
Temperature Compensation
NoNoYesYes (optional)YesYesYes
MonitoringNoNoYesYesNoNoNo
Safety CertificationCECECECECECECE


Common Terminology in Solar Charger Selection

Algorithm.  There are generally two main types of solar chargers based on their design algorithm: MPPT vs PWM.   PWM type is the traditional charger and will basically bypass input voltage from a solar panel directly to battery. As it does not have the capability to convert high voltage supplied by a panel, power will be lost.   MPPT type chargers, on the other hand, is a newer technology and can convert high voltage from a panel to increased output current; as a result, little power is lost.   The lower the voltage difference between panel voltage vs. battery voltage, the higher the conversion efficiency.

Maximum Charging Current.  This is the primary attribute of a solar charger.   Solar chargers are generally rated in current (Ampere) and reflect the maximum output or charging current it can provide to a battery bank.

System Voltage.  System voltage refers to the nominal voltage of a battery system to which the charger can support charging.  The most common system voltage in an off-grid system are: 12V, 24V and 48V.  Our 50EX can support charging of ultra high voltage systems from 48V, 72V, 96V, and up to 120V systems.

Max PV Power.  This refers to the maximum PV array power that the charger can support, based on its max charging current.

Max PV Voc Input.  Maximum input open circuit voltage from a panel or an array must not exceed this.  Note in winter times the voltage will increase slightly so it is advised to leave a buffer.

Max PV Isc Input.  Maximum input short circuit current from a panel or an array must not exceed this level.

MPPT Range.  The effective maximum input voltage of a panel or an array under load, usually represented by Vmp, should fall within this range so that the MPPT technology can be most efficient in converting voltage.

Programmable Charging.  Some models allow users to manually change the charging voltage settings, such as bulk/absorption and float voltage, in order to accommodate different types of battery requirement.

Bulk/Absorption Voltage.  Bulk/absorption voltage typically is the highest charging voltage in a standard 3-stage battery charging process, and this occurs at the initial stage of a charging process where battery is low.  In the bulk/absorption stage, charging voltage is kept high and charging current will also be relatively high.
*Please make sure this setting matches with the battery requirement recommendation from your battery supplier.

Float Voltage.  Once battery is charged full, a charger will enter float stage by applying the float charging voltage to the battery.  At this stage, voltage is kept constant equal to float setting, and only minimal current is applied to battery to keep it full.
*Please make sure this setting matches with the battery requirement recommendation from your battery supplier.

Equalization Charge.  CAUTION: this function should only apply to flooded type or wet batteries which may require equalization charge periodically to avoid sulfation.  In an equalization charge, a battery will be brought up to more than 60V and this may create problems with some inverters due to the high voltage.  Please verify if your inverter can safely accommodate this level before equalization, or else it should be disconnected from battery before equalization.
*Please make sure this setting matches with the battery requirement recommendation from your battery supplier.

Battery Temperature Compensation.  Battery compensation may be important in areas where battery experience an extreme fluctuation of ambient temperature, causing their charging chemistry to change.  Battery temperature compensation (BTS) will increase charging voltage when temperature gets low, and decrease charging voltage when it becomes warm.  The neutral reference point is generally 25 degree Celsius.   BTS function will enable by attaching a specific BTS wire to the outside of the battery.

Monitoring.  Only our PCM4048/6048 and 60X models come with bundled monitoring software.

Safety Certification.  All our solar chargers are certified and properly tested for CE standards in Europe, which is also a common safety standard used in many parts of the world.  This confirms our products’ suitability and safety to use on a daily basis within the stated specification.