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How to Size a Charge Controller


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8 years 10 months ago Levent Bas

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Off-Grid charge controller
Charge controller charge conroller sizing
Battery charge controller string sizing

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Array size and load are the most important aspects of selecting the right charge controller.
The charge controller is a regulator which limits the rate of current that goes to and from the battery pack.
Charge controllers are essential to prevent overcharging or completely draining a battery. Such action can reduce
battery performance and the lifespan of a battery dramatically.

There are various types of charge controllers. They differ according to their sizes, displays, features and the way
in which they regulate voltages. This short article focuses on the mathematical selection criteria of a charge
controller based on the production capacity of solar panel and the total DC load on the system.

To select an appropriate charge controller, we need to calculate the Controller Input Current and Controller Load
Current data.

Let’s assume that we are using twelve Schuco MPE220PS09 solar panels (please not this module is just to
illustrate the example and is no longer in production) to power our off-grid cabin. The solar panels are connected
in two sets in parallels and six in series.

Calculating Controller Array Current:


The Schuco 220 W solar panel has a short circuit current of 8.12 Amp.

Module Short Circuit Current x Modules in parallel x Safety Factor = Array Short Circuit Current

8.12 Amp x 2 x 1.25 = 20.3 Amp (minimum Controller input current)

This is the input current that comes from the solar array. The number of parallel strings in the array increases the
current. To be on the safe side, it is advised to multiply the result by a safety factor of 1.25.

Calculating Controller Load Current:


Total DC Connected Watts / DC System Voltage = Max. DC Load Current

780 W / 12 V = 65 Amp (minimum Controller output current)

This is the output current that is pulled from the batteries through the controller. It is calculated via dividing the
total connected DC power by the DC system voltage. The total connected DC power is the total power that all
equipment that would run on simultaneously.

Related Products:
Outback FLEXmax 60A MidNite Solar CLASSIC 150 Schneider XW 60A 150VDC
150VDC MPPT Charge MPPT Charge Controller MPPT Charge Controller
Mfr. Part #: FM60-150Vdc Mfr. Part #: CLASSIC 150 Mfr. Part #: RNW86510301
CS Part #: cs-823 CS Part #: cs-10269 CS Part #: cs-822

MIN QTY: 1 MIN QTY: 1 MIN QTY: 1


BUNDLE SIZE: 1 BUNDLE SIZE: 1 BUNDLE SIZE: 1
UNIT PRICE: $555.10 UNIT PRICE: $779.64 UNIT PRICE: $640.13
EXT PRICE: $555.10 EXT PRICE: $779.64 EXT PRICE: $640.13

QUANTITY : 1 + QUANTITY : 1 + QUANTITY : 1 +

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Comments
Missing Missing Commented 8 years 3 months ago #1

Quick question on charge controller selection pertaining to GEL vs. AGM batteries. I see that charging
requirements are different for sealed and wet batteries; however are there also differing charging requirements
between the two sealed types (GEL and AGM) that you know of? Can the same type of charge controller be used
for GEL and AGM? thanks.

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Levent Bas Commented 8 years 3 months ago #2

Thank you for the great question!

Most of the charge controllers can support the two types of sealed batteries. The Gel battery is fully charged
at 13.8-14.1 V voltage range, whereas an AGM battery is charged at 14.4- 14.6V voltage range. The voltage
range could be configured is most of the charge controllers, you might have to have a look at the User's
Manual.
What type of charge controller do you use?

For further information on batteries, please have a look at the following article:
http://www.civicsolar.com/resource/battery-life-and-performance-factors

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Missing Missing Commented 6 years 8 months ago #3

Hello,
Where did the figure "780" for total DC connected watts come from? These are 12x220W=2640W.
Thanks.

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amirhossein nikzad Commented 9 months 1 week ago #4

hello
I have a 1kw Array: 5 series * 2 parallel (10 module,100 w) and 7 battery 12volt & 225AH

Isc module: 5.72A

Impp: 5.35A

optimization charge controller sizing?

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