The Best Solar Charge Controllers for RVs: A Beginner’s Guide
Solar panels are the next big thing when it comes to a reliable source of power for RVs. Aside from being cost-efficient, solar panels are environment-friendly and sustainable compared to the commonly used gas-powered generators. Opting for a solar panel system will not give you a more efficient and reliable power source, but also save you a ton of money in the long run. With that being said, its time to know what is the best solar panel for RV available in the market so you can start making your own solar panel system.
Detailed Review of the Best Solar Charge Controller of RV
Renogy Wanderer PWM Solar Charge Controller
The Renogy Wanderer PWM Solar Charge Controller features a sleek and solid body, which makes it one of the most attractive models in the market. And despite its low price point, the Renogy Wanderer is packed with features such as a four-stage charging method, temperature compensation, LED indicators, as well as protective features against overcharging, overload, short-circuit and reverse polarity. While it lacks an LCD screen display, it offers several ways to determine the device’s power level.
Renogy is a long-trusted brand when it comes to hardware devices, and the Renogy Wanderer PWM Solar Charge Controller is a testament to what the brand is known for. It is a perfect entry-level solar charge controller that would effectively and efficiently do its job without breaking your bank account. It comes with a range of standard tech features and safety options to maintain your solar panel system at peak performance.
PWM Solar Charge Controllers feature old technology that, while it still works and is still widely used, it lacks new innovations that provide better performance. Aside from that, it doesn’t include an LCD display for easier use.
EPEVER MPPT Charge Controller
Widely considered as one of the best MPPT solar charge controllers in the market because of its top-notch performance and durability, the EPEVER MPPT charge controller is a relatively cheap model that is jam-packed with amazing bells and whistles. It’s a bang for your buck option for a charge controller that offers stellar high-tracking efficiency of 99.5%. Aside from that, this model features an automatic system voltage recognition, an auto-saving function, a multi-function LCD screen display, as well as numerous safety features for a longer system lifespan.
The EPEVER MPPT charge controller costs nearly half as much of most MPPT models available in the market carrying the same features. This means that you’re paying much less, yet you’d be getting the same output as those MPPT charge controllers that costs several hundred bucks. Aside from that, the EPEVER MPPT charge controller is a reliable model that is also known for its durability.
While the EPEVER MPPT charge controller is a powerful and reliable model, some may still find it a bit pricey. Furthermore, even though this model is often compared and likened to high-quality MPPT charge controllers because of its top-notch features and performance for a lower price, it is notable that the PEVER MPPT charge controller doesn’t have a maximum output as high as other MPPT models.
MidNite Solar Classic 150 Charge Controller
The MidNite Solar Classic 150 charge controller can easily be considered as the best solar charge controller for RV because of its amazing technology and superb performance. Aside from functions and options typically found in MPPT charge controllers, the MidNite Solar Classic’s unique arc fault detection feature is what sets it apart from other models. This feature allows the device to detect dangerous arcs that could possibly cause extremely hazardous system malfunction that could cause a fire. This, therefore, ensures the safety and protection for the unit and the user as well.
If you’re one to afford and buy the Midnite Solar Classic 150 charge controller easily, then it is safe to say that you have the best performing and safest solar charge controller in your hands. Its equipped with a safety automatic arc fault detection feature, built-in DC-GFP, solar, wind, and hydro MPPT modes, as well as an extension of the VOC limit.
Considering its outrageously high price, the number of people that can afford the MidNite Solar Classic 150 charge controller is a lot less. And even so, there are still customer complaints about experiencing inconsistent and erratic performance from the charge controller, as well as difficulties in accessing and using the dedicated monitoring computer program.
Victron Smart Solar MPPT Charge Controller
The Victron Smart Solar MPPT charge controller is another top-performing model known for its durability and ease of use. As an MPPT charge controller, this model provides an excellent output and protective features, but there are several more points to highlight. One of the Victron Smart Solar MPPT charge controller’s unique features includes a built-in Bluetooth connective function that allows the device to be monitored and checked on a portable electronic device.
The Victon Smart Solar MPPT charge controller is an ideal entry-level MPPT charge controller for beginners looking for a device that is easy to install and use. Also, the Victon Smart Solar’s Bluetooth connective function makes it super convenient to have.
While the Victron Smart Solar MPPT Charge Controller might just be another bang for your buck model to opt for, there are several points to consider in terms of the device’s build and performance. First off, this model is still relatively expensive as it features quality MPPT technology. Aside from that, there are several complaints coming from consumers with regards to the model’s notably low PV maximum voltage, faulty Bluetooth connection, as well as issues with the product’s durability and longevity.
Types of Solar Charge Controllers
PWM Solar Charge Controllers
Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) charge controllers are the earliest type of solar charge controller and are typically used in a plethora of solar panel systems. It is a very affordable device that offers a highly efficient way of maintaining a constant voltage battery charging by simply switching the power settings of the solar panel system.
While it may sound simple, PWM charge controllers notably increase your solar battery’s charge acceptance, help in maintaining a high average battery capacity, accurately and automatically adjust for better battery aging, as well as reduce the possibility of heating and gassing of your solar batteries. Notably, PWM Solar Charge Controllers are the most common, cost-efficient, and the easiest to use.
MPPT Solar Charge Controllers
The Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) type of solar charge controller is the latest technology and features several new features that developed the service of solar charge controllers. MPPTs are specifically made for solar panels and are ideal for models that produce module voltages greater than the battery voltages. The MPPT charge controller helps in assisting the solar module to produce the maximum power output that it can reach. It’s an automated device that looks at the power output of the solar panel and matches the incoming voltage with the level of the battery in order to produce the most efficient charging process.
Generally, there are three distinct differences between a PWM and MPPT solar charge controller. First off, the charging method of a PWM charge controller occurs in multiple stages, while an MPPT utilizes a more advanced system that technically elevates the charging performance by 30%. In terms of the charge voltage, MPPT controllers are more efficient than PWM controllers in situations where a high-voltage solar panel is charging a low-voltage solar battery. Lastly, PWM controllers are ideal for smaller-output solar panels, while MPPT charge controllers are better for more powerful solar panels. This is simply because MPPTs are more expensive than PWM charge controllers, and it would
Building an efficient and reliable solar panel system requires that all components be of quality as well. It would be counter-intuitive to invest in a premium and luxury solar panel but opt for a poor-performing solar charge controller and battery. Not only will it stop your system from performing at its best, but it will most likely cause damage to some parts of your system. Taking this into consideration, always remember to choose the most appropriate battery and solar panel, as well as the best solar charge challenger for RV to maintain your system’s peak performance.
Getting the best portable solar panels for RV battery charging is one of the most valuable investments you can make.