5 Best MPPT Charge Controllers. Sps solar charge controller

5 Best MPPT Charge Controllers. Sps solar charge controller

What is Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)

This section covers the theory and operation of Maximum Power Point Tracking as used in solar electric charge controllers.

An MPPT, or maximum power point tracker is an electronic DC to DC converter that optimizes the match between the solar array (PV panels), and the battery bank or utility grid. To put it simply, they convert a higher voltage DC output from solar panels (and a few wind generators) down to the lower voltage needed to charge batteries.

(These are sometimes called power point trackers for short. not to be confused with PANEL trackers, which are a solar panel mount that follows, or tracks, the sun).

So what do you mean by optimize?

Solar cells are neat things. Unfortunately, they are not very Smart. Neither are batteries. in fact, batteries are downright stupid. Most PV panels are built to put out a nominal 12 volts. The catch is nominal. In actual fact, almost all 12-volt solar panels are designed to put out from 16 to 18 volts. The problem is that a nominal 12-volt battery is pretty close to an actual 12 volts. 10.5 to 12.7 volts, depending on state of charge. Under charge, most batteries want from around 13.2 to 14.4 volts to fully charge. quite a bit different than what most panels are designed to put out.

OK, so now we have this neat 130-watt solar panel. Catch #1 is that it is rated at 130 watts at a particular voltage and current. The Kyocera KC-130 is rated at 7.39 amps at 17.6 volts. (7.39 amps times 17.6 volts = 130 watts).

Now the Catch 22

Why 130 Watts does NOT equal 130 watts

Where did my Watts go?

So what happens when you hook up this 130-watt panel to your battery through a regular charge controller?

Unfortunately, what happens is not 130 watts.

Your panel puts out 7.4 amps. Your battery is sitting at 12 volts under charge: 7.4 amps times 12 volts = 88.8 watts. You lost over 41 watts. but you paid for 130. That 41 watts are not going anywhere, it just is not being produced because there is a poor match between the panel and the battery. With a very low battery, say 10.5 volts, it’s even worse. you could be losing as much as 35% (11 volts x 7.4 amps = 81.4 watts. You lost about 48 watts. [technical note: that lost power is actually getting converted into heat. It’s not actually missing, it’s just not usable by the charge controller.]

One solution you might think of. why not just make panels so that they put out 14 volts or so to match the battery?

Catch #22a is that the panel is rated at 130 watts at full sunlight at a particular temperature (STC. or standard test conditions). If the temperature of the solar panel is high, you don’t get 17.4 volts. At the temperatures seen in many hot climate areas, you might get under 16 volts. If you started with a 15-volt panel (like some of the so-called self-regulating panels), you are in trouble, as you won’t have enough voltage to put a charge into the battery. Solar panels have to have enough leeway built in to perform under the worst of conditions. The panel will just sit there looking dumb, and your batteries will get even stupider than usual.

Nobody likes a stupid battery.

What is Maximum Power Point Tracking?

There is some confusion about the term tracking:

Panel tracking. this is where the panels are on a mount that follows the sun. The most common are the Zomeworks. These optimize output by following the sun across the sky for maximum sunlight. These typically give you about a 15% increase in winter and up to a 35% increase in summer.

This is just the opposite of the seasonal variation for MPPT controllers. Since panel temperatures are much lower in winter, they put out more power. And winter is usually when you need the most power from your solar panels due to shorter days.

Maximum Power Point Tracking is electronic tracking. usually digital. The charge controller looks at the output of the panels and compares it to the battery voltage. It then figures out what is the best power that the panel can put out to charge the battery. It takes this and converts it to best voltage to get maximum AMPS into the battery. (Remember, it is Amps into the battery that counts). Most modern MPPT’s are around 93-97% efficient in the conversion. You typically get a 20 to 45% power gain in winter and 10-15% in summer. Actual gain can vary widely depending weather, temperature, battery state of charge, and other factors.

Grid tie systems are becoming more popular as the price of solar drops and electric rates go up. There are several brands of grid-tie only (that is, no battery) inverters available. All of these have built in MPPT. Efficiency is around 94% to 97% for the MPPT conversion on those.

How Maximum Power Point Tracking works

Here is where the optimization or maximum power point tracking comes in. Assume your battery is low, at 12 volts. An MPPT takes that 17.6 volts at 7.4 amps and converts it down so that what the battery gets is now 10.8 amps at 12 volts. Now you still have almost 130 watts, and everyone is happy.

Ideally, for 100% power conversion you would get around 11.3 amps at 11.5 volts, but you have to feed the battery a higher voltage to force the amps in. And this is a simplified explanation. in actual fact, the output of the MPPT charge controller might vary continually to adjust for getting the maximum amps into the battery.

On the left is a screenshot from the Maui Solar Software PV-Design Pro computer program (click on the picture for full-size image). If you look at the green line, you will see that it has a sharp peak at the upper right. that represents the maximum power point. What an MPPT controller does is look for that exact point, then does the voltage/current conversion to change it to exactly what the battery needs. In real life, that peak moves around continuously with changes in light conditions and weather.

An MPPT tracks the maximum power point, which is going to be different from the STC (Standard Test Conditions) rating under almost all situations. Under very cold conditions a 120-watt panel is actually capable of putting over 130 watts because the power output goes up as panel temperature goes down. but if you don’t have some way of tracking that power point, you are going to lose it. On the other hand under very hot conditions, the power drops. you lose power as the temperature goes up. That is why you get less gain in summer.

MPPT’s are most effective under these conditions:

Winter, and/or cloudy or hazy days. when the extra power is needed the most.

• Cold weather. solar panels work better at cold temperatures, but without an MPPT you are losing most of that. Cold weather is most likely in winter. the time when sun hours are low and you need the power to recharge batteries the most.
• Low battery charge. the lower the state of charge in your battery, the more current an MPPT puts into them. another time when the extra power is needed the most. You can have both of these conditions at the same time.
• Long wire runs. If you are charging a 12-volt battery, and your panels are 100 feet away, the voltage drop and power loss can be considerable unless you use very large wire. That can be very expensive. But if you have four 12 volt panels wired in series for 48 volts, the power loss is much less, and the controller will convert that high voltage to 12 volts at the battery. That also means that if you have a high voltage panel setup feeding the controller, you can use much smaller wire.

Ok, so now back to the original question. What is an MPPT?

How a Maximum Power Point Tracker Works:

The Power Point Tracker is a high-frequency DC to DC converter. They take the DC input from the solar panels, change it to high-frequency AC, and convert it back down to a different DC voltage and current to exactly match the panels to the batteries. MPPT’s operate at very high audio frequencies, usually in the 20-80 kHz range. The advantage of high-frequency circuits is that they can be designed with very high-efficiency transformers and small components. The design of high-frequency circuits can be very tricky because of the problems with portions of the circuit broadcasting just like a radio transmitter causing radio and TV interference. Noise isolation and suppression becomes very important.

There are a few non-digital (that is, linear) MPPT’s charge controls around. These are much easier and cheaper to build and design than the digital ones. They do improve efficiency somewhat, but overall the efficiency can vary a lot. and we have seen a few lose their tracking point and actually get worse. That can happen occasionally if a Cloud passed over the panel. the linear circuit searches for the next best point but then gets too far out on the deep end to find it again when the sun comes out. Thankfully, not many of these around anymore.

The power point tracker (and all DC to DC converters) operates by taking the DC input current, changing it to AC, running through a transformer (usually a toroid, a doughnut looking transformer), and then rectifying it back to DC, followed by the output regulator. In most DC to DC converters, this is strictly an electronic process. no real smarts are involved except for some regulation of the output voltage. Charge controllers for solar panels need a lot more smarts as light and temperature conditions vary continuously all day long, and battery voltage changes.

Smart power trackers

All recent models of digital MPPT controllers available are microprocessor controlled. They know when to adjust the output that it is being sent to the battery, and they actually shut down for a few microseconds and look at the solar panel and battery and make any needed adjustments. Although not really new (the Australian company AERL had some as early as 1985), it has been only recently that electronic microprocessors have become cheap enough to be cost-effective in smaller systems (less than 1 KW of the panel). MPPT charge controls are now manufactured by several companies, such as Outback Power, Xantrex XW-SCC, Blue Sky Energy, Apollo Solar, Midnite Solar, Morningstar and a few others.

Best MPPT Charge Controllers

Just so you know, this page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one, at no extra cost to you I may earn a small commission.

I spent weeks testing 5 of the best MPPT solar charge controllers on the market.

I built a custom testing setup and tested their ease of use, build quality, and power output. I also researched their specs and spent time using their mobile apps to monitor my system and create custom charging profiles.

Based on all that, here are my reviews and recommendations.

Quick Recommendations: Best MPPT Solar Charge Controllers

Here’s the TLDR version of my rankings:

• Top Pick:Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30
• Budget Pick:Renogy Rover 40A
• Honorable Mention:EPEver Tracer 4215BN
• Renogy Rover Elite 40A
• EPEver Tracer 4210AN

Or keep reading for my full MPPT charge controller reviews.

Note: Most of the charge controllers I tested offer models with different charge current ratings, max PV voltages, and/or compatible battery voltages. So if you see one on this list you like, but it isn’t compatible with your system, just search for the other available models and you’ll probably find one that is.

Top Pick: Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30

 Rated charge current: 30A Max. PV open circuit voltage (Voc): 100V Battery voltage: 12/24V Battery types: LiFePO4, sealed (AGM), gel, flooded, custom Max. PV input power: 440W @ 12V, 880W @ 24V Max. wire size: 6 AWG (16 mm2) Bluetooth monitoring: Yes (built-in) Temperature sensor: Yes (built-in)

Pros: Easy to use, built-in Bluetooth, robust mobile app, custom charging profiles

Cons: Expensive, mediocre wire terminals, no screen

Best for: Those looking for the best MPPT charge controller who don’t mind paying top dollar; advanced users who want the most features and customizability

Review

For the sake of everyone’s wallets, I almost hoped the Victron wouldn’t be my favorite. But it was.

Out of the box, I found the Victron to have the most features and be the easiest to use. It’s about as “plug and play” as it gets.

Bluetooth is built in to all the models in the Victron SmartSolar MPPT product line. Once the Victron is installed, you can use the free VictronConnect mobile app to monitor and customize your system.

The Victron was the only MPPT I tested with Bluetooth built in. All the other charge controllers in this review make you buy a 30-40 Bluetooth module for that feature. That helps justify the Victron’s price a bit.

The VictronConnect app has a lot of features. It can be a little overwhelming at first. But, once you learn your way around it, it can be quite powerful. You can use one of the many battery presets or, for advanced users, easily create and save custom charging profiles.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Victron makes all sorts of accessories — sensors and shunts and the like — that can pair with the app as well and communicate with your controller to customize and optimize your system. It’s a solar nerd’s playground.

I also performed a power output test and the Victron placed first — by a hair. I wouldn’t put too much stock in these results because of the variables I couldn’t control (e.g. panel temperature, fluctuations in solar irradiance), but it was nice to see a first place finish from a top-of-the-line MPPT.

The Victron’s wire terminals are passable, but nothing to write home about. The screws felt high quality, but the terminals themselves were shallow and a little too close together for my taste.

Otherwise, the build quality of the Victron felt solid. The case and heat sink seem durable. It was also the smallest and lightest controller I tested, if that’s an important factor in your system.

I tested the bestselling Victron SmartSolar MPPT model on Amazon at the time of my research, which happened to be the 100/30 model (100V PV voltage limit, 30A charge current rating).

But Victron has a huge product lineup and sells SmartSolar controllers with a wide range of PV voltages (75-250V) and current ratings (10-100A). So if the model I’ve tested is too much or too little for your purposes, you can upgrade or downgrade accordingly.

Budget Pick: Renogy Rover 40A

 Rated charge current: 40A Max. PV open circuit voltage (Voc): 100V Battery voltage: 12/24V Battery types: LiFePO4, sealed (AGM), gel, flooded, custom Max. PV input power: 520W @ 12V, 1040W @ 24V Max. wire size: 8 AWG (10 mm2) Bluetooth monitoring: Yes (requires additional purchase) Temperature sensor: Yes (included)

Pros: Great value, easy to use, good mobile app (must buy Renogy BT-1 Bluetooth Module to use), custom charging profiles

Cons: Not compatible with Renogy Battery Voltage Sensor

Best for: Those looking for the best bang for their buck

Review

I’ve had the Renogy Rover 40A for over 6 months, and I’ve become quite familiar with it during that time.

It’s well-priced and easy to use. It’s compatible with all the most common types of solar batteries, plus has the option to create custom charging profiles.

Renogy has a mobile app called Renogy DC Home. To use it with the Rover 40A, you’ll have to buy the Renogy BT-1 Bluetooth Module.

The Renogy app is good, but I found it a little less feature-rich than Victron’s. For many users it will have everything you need. I suspect advanced users may want a little more customization, though.

The Rover’s wire terminals were good but not great. The terminals felt roomier than the listed max wire size, but the screws were a little loose and hard to tighten at times.

The screen on the Rover 40A displays nearly every system spec I could hope for. It’s also easy to use it to select your battery type, edit load settings, and create custom charging profiles.

In my power output test, the Rover tied for last with the EPEver Tracer 4210AN. They both output a max of 142 watts compared to the 146 watts of the Victron which placed first. I think the difference of 4 watts is negligible.

The Rover 40A doesn’t have a port for connecting a battery voltage sensor, which I don’t love. You have to upgrade to the Rover 60A or Rover 100A for that feature. Battery voltage sensors help charge controllers adjust their charging voltage to account for voltage drop, which is helpful in certain systems.

Overall, the Rover 40A is a good MPPT charge controller for the money. It has all the features and battery presets you need to set up your system quickly and easily. And for more advanced users, you can create custom charging profiles and buy the BT-1 Bluetooth Module for remote monitoring.

Honorable Mention: EPEver Tracer 4215BN

 Rated charge current: 40A Max. PV open circuit voltage (Voc): 150V Battery voltage: 12/24V Battery types: Sealed (AGM), gel, flooded, custom Max. PV input power: 520W @ 12V, 1040W @ 24V Max. wire size: 4 AWG (25 mm2) Bluetooth monitoring: Yes (requires additional purchase) Temperature sensor: Yes (included)

Pros: Excellent build quality, my favorite wire terminals, 150V PV voltage limit

Cons: Must make custom charging profile if using with lithium batteries, Bluetooth monitoring is harder to set up

Best for: Those looking for a charge controller with great build quality; users with lead acid batteries; users with lithium batteries who don’t mind creating custom charging profiles

Review

From a hardware perspective, the Tracer 4215BN — sometimes called the Tracer BN or Tracer BN Series — was my favorite charge controller.

It’s big and heavy and virtually one entire heat sink. The wire terminals were easily my favorite. They felt like tanks. And they’re the biggest in this review – capable of handling up to 4 AWG wire. If you like to overgauge your wires, this is one to consider.

However, the hardware in a charge controller isn’t the full story. Charge controllers also have a software component. When that’s lacking, it makes the controller harder to use.

I didn’t test the EPEver app, but from reviews I’ve read it’s a little clunky. The included MT50 screen is great, though. It’s easy to view all your system specs and select your battery type. If you’re using lead acid batteries, the Tracer BN is about as plug and play as any other MPPT.

But it has no preset for LiFePO4 batteries. You’ll have to create your own custom charging profile if using lithium. It isn’t that hard to do, but it’s certainly not as easy as selecting your battery type from a menu.

These usability hurdles are small, but more noticeable than on the other controllers in this review. If you’re comfortable with technical product manuals, they shouldn’t be difficult to overcome. And, once you do, you’ll have a great controller that feels like it could last a lifetime.

As a final heads up, the Tracer BN’s days might be numbered. While doing research for this article, I tried to find this controller on EPEver’s website, but couldn’t.

From years of product testing, I’ve come to see these removals as the first sign of a product’s discontinuation. For now it’s still available on Amazon, but time will tell.

Renogy Rover Elite 40A

 Rated charge current: 40A Max. PV open circuit voltage (Voc): 100V Battery voltage: 12/24V Battery types: LiFePO4, sealed (AGM), gel, flooded Max. PV input power: 520W @ 12V, 1040W @ 24V Max. wire size: 6 AWG (16 mm2) Bluetooth monitoring: Yes (requires additional purchase) Temperature sensor: Yes (included)

Pros: Cheapest MPPT tested, good mobile app (must buy Renogy BT-2 Bluetooth Module to use)

Cons: No custom charging profiles

Best for: Those who want a cheap MPPT and only plan to use preset battery charging profiles

Review

Based on its name, I wouldn’t fault you for assuming the Renogy Rover Elite is a more advanced version of the Renogy Rover. I know I certainly did.

But you’d be wrong. It’s actually a cheaper version. (Whose idea was that?)

The Rover Elite was close to being one of my recommended picks. It has a lot going for it: It’s the cheapest MPPT I tested. It’s compatible with all the main types of solar batteries. And, if you buy the Renogy BT-2 Bluetooth Module, you can connect the Rover Elite to the Renogy app to monitor your system from your phone.

Based on that, I think it’s a good budget option for DIY solar beginners, or users who just plan on using the battery presets.

But if you want to create custom charging profiles, know that the Rover Elite doesn’t have that option. I know from plenty of reader emails and Комментарии и мнения владельцев that advanced users like to customize their charging setpoints.

Unlike it’s more expensive cousin, the Rover Elite does have a battery voltage sensor port. You can buy a Renogy Battery Voltage Sensor and connect it to the Rover Elite to improve the controller’s battery voltage reading.

I’ve tested a handful of Renogy products over the years, and I always seem to come to the same conclusion: they’re good quality for the price. The Rover Elite is the same. Overall, it’s a good cheap MPPT.

EPEver Tracer 4210AN

 Rated charge current: 40A Max. PV open circuit voltage (Voc): 100V Battery voltage: 12/24V Battery types: LiFePO4, sealed (AGM), gel, flooded, LiNiCoMnO2, custom Max. PV input power: 520W @ 12V, 1040W @ 24V Max. wire size: 6 AWG (16 mm2) Bluetooth monitoring: Yes (requires additional purchase) Temperature sensor: Yes (included)

Pros: Fast power point tracking, custom charging profiles

Cons: Not the easiest to use, mediocre wire terminals

Review

The Tracer 4210AN — sometimes called the Tracer AN or Tracer AN Series — is a solid controller.

But, when pitted side by side against the others, it didn’t stand out to me in any way. I’m not sure what type of user I’d recommend it for.

I think it’s a good value for the money, but not as good as the Renogy Rover. The build quality is solid but not outstanding. I think the wire terminals are subpar.

On startup, it did track the maximum power point the fastest of any controller tested (in about 9 seconds on average, compared to the 57 seconds of its sibling, the Tracer 4215BN, which placed last). That’s something, I suppose.

It has a good screen and, on Amazon at least, the 40 amp model comes with the MT50 display included.

But I do want to underscore that this is a well-made unit. It works well, is solidly built, and even has the lowest power consumption of those tested. EPEver claims ≤12mA (it doesn’t say at what voltage), which is less than the 30mA (at 12V) of the Victron, the next closest.

If this controller is on sale, or you just prefer the EPEver brand, I’d say go for it. If it was the only MPPT I owned, I expect I’d end up being perfectly happy with it.

How to Choose the Best MPPT Charge Controller for Your Needs

Rated Charge Current

Also called: rated battery current, battery charge current or rated output current

The rated charge current is the maximum amount of current (in amps) that the charge controller can charge the battery at. It’s such an important number that it’s often included in the product name (e.g. Renogy Rover 40A — “40A” is the rated charge current).

30A-40A: Many popular MPPTs (including all the ones I tested) fall in this range. They can usually handle between 400-500 watts of solar at 12 volts and 800-1000 watts of solar at 24 volts. They’re best used with lithium batteries of 80Ah or greater and lead acid batteries of 130Ah or greater.

40A: MPPTs with charge current ratings greater than 40 amps are designed for large solar systems. They can usually handle greater than or equal to 600 watts of solar at 12 volts and 1200 watts at 24 volts. Some may also be compatible with 36V and 48V batteries and capable of handling even greater PV power inputs at these voltages.

Note: Charge controllers with load terminals may also list a rated discharge current (aka rated load current). This is how much current the controller can output through its load terminals.

Maximum PV Voltage

Also called: maximum PV open circuit voltage, maximum input voltage

Use our solar panel voltage calculator to calculate the maximum open circuit voltage of your solar array. Then, pick a charge controller with a maximum PV voltage greater than this number.

100V-150V: This is the most popular PV voltage range for MPPT charge controllers. Models in this range can usually handle 3-6 12V solar panels wired in series.

150V: MPPTs in this range are designed for large solar arrays. They can usually handle 7 or more 12V solar panels wired in series.

Note: Estimating the max voltage of your solar array is not as simple as multiplying open circuit voltage by the number of solar panels wired in series. This is because solar panel voltage increases as temperature drops. To get an accurate estimate, you’ll have to correct for temperature.

Battery Voltage

Also called: system voltage, nominal battery voltage

This number refers to the nominal battery voltage the controller is compatible with. You may see the word “auto” next to the battery voltage — e.g. “12/24V Auto.” This means the charge controller automatically detects whether you’re using a 12V or 24V battery bank.

12/24V: Many popular MPPT models are compatible with 12 and 24 volt batteries. Indeed, these are the compatible battery voltages of all the models I tested for this review.

12/24/48V: There are higher-end MPPTs compatible with 12, 24 and 48 volt batteries. These are usually MPPTs with higher charge current ratings.

12/24/36/48V: Some brands sell models that are also compatible with 36 volt batteries.

Note: Some charge controllers also list a max battery voltage in their spec sheet. As you’d expect, you don’t want your battery voltage to exceed this number.

Compatible Battery Types

Make sure the charge controller you’re getting is compatible with your type of battery.

Here are the most common types of solar batteries:

• LiFePO4 (Also referred to as lithium iron phosphate, LFP, or simply “lithium”)
• Gel

If a controller is compatible with a type of battery, it essentially means it has a preset charging profile for that battery chemistry that you can select when you set up the controller.

Custom charging profiles: Many MPPT controllers also offer the ability for you to create custom or “user” charging profiles. These let you select all the voltage setpoints — such as absorption voltage and float voltage — so you can tailor it for your specific battery.

In essence, custom profiles make the controller compatible with all main types of solar batteries. Many advanced users also like to adjust these numbers to try to maximize their battery lifespan.

Maximum PV Input Power

“PV” refers to solar panels, so this number is the max solar array wattage you can connect to the controller.

You’ll notice that the controller has different max PV input power ratings for different voltages. This is because watts is based on both volts and amps (W = V A).

If you’re having trouble figuring out what charge current rating you need, you can also refer to this number for guidance.

Bluetooth Monitoring

Being able to monitor and control your solar system from an app on your phone is great convenience. Don’t underestimate how nice it can be! MPPT controllers fall into three different buckets here:

Built-in: Some controllers have Bluetooth built in, meaning you don’t need to buy anything in order to start monitoring your system from your phone. Of the controllers I tested, only the Victron SmartSolar came with Bluetooth built in.

Additional purchase required: A lot of controllers require an additional purchase before you can use Bluetooth monitoring. You have to buy a Bluetooth module that connects to the controller. These typically cost 30-40. The remaining 4 controllers I tested fall into this bucket.

No Bluetooth: Some MPPT charge controllers come with no Bluetooth capabilities at all. The only way to monitor your system with these is through the screen or LED lights on the controller.

Wire Terminals

Look for good wire terminals with quality screws. Cheap charge controllers skimp on their wire terminals and you’ll notice right away. They’re easier to strip and you can’t tighten the screws down as much. They may be quicker to loosen over time.

Some people also like to over-gauge their wires. Thicker wires help minimize voltage drop and make it easy to expand your system later on. If that’s you, you’ll want to pay attention to max wire size.

Power Consumption

Charge controllers consume a modest amount of power, which will be listed on the specs sheet. In most DIY solar systems, the power consumption isn’t enough to make a material difference.

However, power consumption can come into consideration if your solar panels will go for long stretches without receiving sunlight. For instance, one reader from Scandinavia wrote to me about how charge controller power consumption factored into his buying decision because the solar panels on his off-grid cabin were covered in snow for most of the winter. He didn’t want the charge controller to consume so much power that it fully drained his batteries.

In these situations, look for a controller with low power consumption. Most charge controllers have lower power consumption at lower system voltages, so you may want to keep your battery bank at 12 volts. PWM charge controllers tend to consume less power than MPPTs, so you may want to also consider a PWM model.

Temperature Compensation

If you’re using lead acid batteries and they’ll be experiencing wide temperature swings, you should look for a charge controller that adjusts its voltage setpoints based on temperature — a featured called temperature compensation. Lithium batteries don’t need temperature compensation.

To have this feature, the controller needs to have a temperature sensor. The sensor will either be a built-in internal sensor, or an external sensor included in the box or available as an additional purchase.

If it’s an external sensor, You plug it into the temperature sensor port on the controller and then tape the probe to the battery.

Operating Temperature Range

Pay attention to operating temperature range if your charge controller will be experiencing wide temperature swings — such as if it’s located in a boat, RV, or campervan without AC. The higher-end models are typically able to handle wider temperature ranges.

MPPT vs PWM Charge Controllers

MPPT charge controllers are more expensive, but more efficient. Most are around 95% efficient.

PWM charge controllers are cheaper, but less efficient. They are around 75-80% efficient.

What’s more, MPPT controllers often have higher charge current ratings, such as 30 amps or more. This means you can connect more solar panels to them. (The MPPT models included in this test, for instance, can handle solar arrays of 400-1000 watts depending on system voltage.) They also have higher PV voltage limits, so you can connect more panels in series which can save you money on wiring.

PWM charge controllers usually have lower charge current ratings, such as 10-30 amps, making them best suited for solar arrays of 400 watts or less. They often only have high enough PV voltage limits for 1-2 12V solar panels in series. If you’re using lots of solar panels with a PWM, you’ll probably have to wire them in parallel which can increase wiring costs.

The Bottom Line

I liked all of the MPPT charge controllers I tested for this review. I’d be happy to have any of them in my system. Alas, the job of a reviewer is to rank the options from best for worst.

After testing 5 MPPTs side by side and comparing their spec sheets, I think the Victron SmartSolar MPPT is the best MPPT charge controller on the market. I thought it had the best build quality and was the easiest to set up and use.

The Renogy Rover 40A has the best bang for your buck. It’s a well-made model that can be paired with Renogy’s mobile app if you also buy the BT-1 Bluetooth Module.

Lastly, the EPEver Tracer 4215BN is built like a tank and has the best wire terminals of any charge controller I’ve ever used. It’s not compatible with lithium batteries out of the box, but you can use the included MT50 screen to create a custom charging profile.

As a reminder, all the charge controllers I tested offer models with different charge current and PV voltage limits. If you like the Victron, for instance, but need a higher current rating, consider the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50. It has a 50 amp current rating, compared to the 30 amp rating of the model I tested.

A small ask: If you found my MPPT charge controller reviews helpful and are planning to buy one, please consider buying through one of my affiliate links below. I’ll get a small commission (at no extra cost to you) which will help fund more reviews like this one. Thank you!

SMA Sunny Boy SB 3.0-1SP-US-41 3.0kW String Inverter W/ SPS 2 MPPT

SMA Inverter System is a all-in-one system that includes an inverter, charger controller, a display with remote monitoring. The SMA is simple to install to a Grid-tied, Off-Grid, or Battery Backup Inverter, while being able to manages power to and from Solar, Battery, Grid, Loads, and Generator.

 Model SMA SB 3.0-1SP-US-41 Series SUNNY BOY Manufacturer SMA

GENERAL SPECIFICATION

 Max PV Power 3100 W Max. DC Voltage 600 V Rated MPP Voltage Range 220 – 480 V MPPT Operating Voltage Range 100 – 550 V Min. DC Voltage / Start Voltage 100 V / 125 V Max. Operating Input Current Per MPPT 10 A Max. Short Circuit Current Per MPPT 18 A AC Nominal Power 3000 W Max. AC Apparent Power 3000 VA Nominal Voltage / Adjustable 208 V / 240 V AC Voltage Range 211 – 264 V AC Grid Frequency 60 Hz / 50 Hz Max. Output Current 12.5 A

Refer to warranty document for terms and conditionsDocumentation

Detailed Information

Sunny Boy 3.0-US/3.8- US/5.0-US/6.0-US/7.0-US/7.7-US join the SMA lineup of field-proven solar technology backed by the world’s #1 service team, along with a wealth of improvements. Simple design, improved stocking and ordering, value-driven sales support and streamlined installation are just some of the ways that SMA helps your business operate more efficiently

High reliability

Cell interconnections and diode placement use well-established industry practice and are field-proven to provide excellent reliability.

Equipped with SMA Smart Connected, a proactive service solution that is integrated into Sunny Portal

Quality and certifications

UL 1741, UL 1741 SA incl. CA Rule 21 RSD, UL 1998, UL 1699B Ed. 1, IEEE1547, FCC Part 15 (Class A B), CAN/CSA V22.2 107.1-1, HECO Rule 14H, PV Rapid Shutdown System Equipment

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Terms Conditions

US Solar Supplier Shipping Policy At USSolarSupplier, we recognize the importance of receiving your solar products promptly and efficiently. Our goal is to provide a seamless, customer-friendly experience throughout the entire shipping process. To help you better understand our shipping practices, please review our comprehensive shipping policy below.

Shipping Costs and Carriers Shipping costs are calculated based on the weight and dimensions of the product(s) in your order. We utilize FedEx or UPS for ground shipments, and trusted freight carriers for larger shipments. All of our shipments are insured for your protection. For logistical reasons, all shipments are made using our company’s shipping account.

Estimated Delivery Time For standard delivery, most orders will arrive at their destination within 7 to 10 business days. Please note that these estimates are subject to change depending on carrier’s operational capabilities and other factors beyond our control.

Expedited Shipments We strive to ship expedited orders on the same day we receive them. However, orders placed after 1:00 PM Eastern Time (10:00 AM Pacific Standard Time) may not ship the same day. Expedited orders placed over the weekend or on major holidays will be processed and shipped on the following business day. Please note that carriers do not deliver on weekends or major holidays, with the exception of Saturday delivery. If you require Saturday delivery, please contact our sales department at 1 (800) 230-7004 for assistance.

Out of Stock and Backordered Items Occasionally, an item may have a lead time or be backordered after your order is received. If there is a lead time associated with your order, we will contact you to confirm whether this lead time aligns with your project deadline.

Please include this information in the order notes when placing your order, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. For other special requirements, please call our sales department at 1 (800) 230-7004 before placing your order.

Multiple Shipments

International Shipments

Currently, USSolarSupplier only ships within the United States and does not offer international shipping.

Shipping on Your FedEx or UPS Account

USSolarSupplier’s policy requires regular parcel orders (ground, air/express shipments, non-freight) to be shipped on our UPS account. We appreciate your understanding.

Freight Shipments

Certain products on USSolarSupplier must be shipped freight due to their weight, dimensions, or classification as hazardous materials. For more information, please refer to our Claims Returns Policy and Refund Policy.

Freight Shipment Products include, but are not limited to:

• Large solar panels (over 90 watts in most cases)
• Large Inverters (over 1kW)
• Rails longer than 9 feet (108)
• Deep cycle batteries
• Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries (LiFeP04)

Freight Options

When placing an order that requires freight shipping, you will need the following information:

Residential freight shipments are more expensive than commercial zone shipments due to accessibility and established routes. If your freight shipment weighs over 100 pounds and you lack access to a forklift or loading dock, you will need a lift gate to unload your pallet from the truck.

Freight can be complex; if you require assistance in selecting the appropriate shipping option, please contact our sales department at 1 (800) 230-7004 for support. The freight quotes provided on our website are approximate, and our team may be able to offer a better rate.

Please note that the shipping cost displayed at checkout is an estimate and may be adjusted at the time of shipment. Freight rates may increase while the product is in production. You can help by providing a commercial shipping address that can accommodate a semi-trailer and/or acknowledging the outlined terms and conditions.

Ground/Freight Cost Logistics Unforeseen Expenses

Any fees incurred by a shipping carrier due to a lack of delivery information (address or location) will automatically be billed to the customer. Please ensure you check your order confirmation for accurate information.

When placing an order by phone, inform the sales representative of any shipping irregularities (inaccessible areas for shipping carriers, such as narrow driveways, rural locations, steep hills, dirt/gravel roads, or missing address information and signage).

By placing an order with USSolarSupplier, you agree to our shipping policy. If you have any questions or concerns about shipping, please feel free to contact our friendly and knowledgeable customer support team. We are always here to help and ensure that your experience with USSolarSupplier is a positive one.

Restocking Fee

Please note that a 40% restocking fee will be applied to panels, inverters, and batteries once the order has been processed and delivery has been attempted. This fee is in place to cover the costs associated with processing, handling, and restocking returned items.

If you need to cancel an order, please contact our customer support team as soon as possible. If the order has not yet been shipped, we will make every effort to cancel it without incurring additional costs. However, if the order has already been shipped, you will be responsible for the return shipping costs and the 40% restocking fee mentioned above.

Claims Returns Policy

If you receive damaged, defective, or incorrect products, please contact our customer support team within 5 business days of receiving the shipment. We will work with you to find a suitable solution, which may include issuing a refund, replacing the product, or providing technical support to resolve the issue.

To initiate a return, you must first obtain a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number from our customer support team. Please note that returns without an RMA number will not be accepted. When returning products, they must be in their original packaging, with all accessories and documentation included. The customer is responsible for return shipping costs, and the 40% restocking fee will apply.

Refund Policy

Refunds will be issued to the original payment method within 14 business days of receiving the returned product(s). The refund amount will be the purchase price minus the 40% restocking fee and any shipping charges incurred during the initial shipment and return process.

Lost or Stolen Packages

USSolarSupplier is not responsible for lost or stolen packages confirmed to be delivered to the address entered for an order. Upon inquiry, we will confirm the delivery to the address provided, date of delivery, tracking information, and shipping carrier information for the customer to investigate.

By placing an order with USSolarSupplier, you agree to our shipping policy. If you have any questions or concerns about shipping, please feel free to contact our friendly and knowledgeable customer support team. We are always here to help and ensure that your experience with USSolarSupplier is a positive one.

SPS with Lithium Battery Series 1KW~5KW

The off-grid solar power system consist of high efficiency solar panels, brackets and an integrated cabinet that contains lithium battery, controller and inverter. The system equipped multiple output ports to meet various power needs. The whole system was installed and tested before delivery and ensure the reliable performance. It’s absolutely an economical and secure energy solution.

Advantage of SUNWORTH Solar Power System with Lithium Battery Series 1KW~5KW

• Clear working status indication
• Reliable performance, simple operation and maintenance.
• Integrated power machine, easy to carry and install, reducing field installation cost and avoid potential risks caused by on-site installation errors.
• Comprehensive protection function: surge, short circuit,over temperature, overload etc.

Specification

 Technical Data Model No. SW- SPS1KW-Li SW- SPS2KW-Li SW- SPS3KW-Li SW- SPS4KW-Li SW- SPS5KW-Li Solar Panel Power 2x320Wp 4x320Wp 6x320Wp 8x320Wp 10x320Wp Lithium Battery 1.92KWh 3.6KWh 4.8KWh 7.2KWh 8.64KWh Rated Power 1KVA/1KW 2KVA/2KW 3KVA/3KW 4KVA/4KW 5KVA/5KW Surge Rating 2KVA 4KVA 6KVA 8KVA 10KVA Max. Solar Charge MPPT 40A MPPT 60A MPPT 60A MPPT 80A MPPT 80A Max.AC Charge 20A 30A 30A 60A 60A Input Voltage AC 220V/230V 50Hz Output Voltage AC 220V/230V 50Hz ，1x Flash Charge USB ,2x5V USB(2.1A) Protection Surge, Reverse polarity, Overload, Short circuit ,etc. Operating Temperature Discharge:.20℃ ~50℃，Charge: 0℃~50℃ IP Rating IP22 Power Box Size 40x60x72cm 40x70x72cm 506087cm 507087cm 507087cm

QA

Q1: What devices can the system power? A: It is recommended that the load power not exceed 75% of the rated power of the machine, please refer to the specifications for details.

Q2: Do you make customized products? A: We warmly welcome OEM/ODM orders.

Q3: What is the minimum number of order for this product? A: Normally MOQ 50 pcs.

Q4: Can I get a sample before order A: After price confirmation, you can require for samples to check our product’s quality.

Q5: What is your term of delivery? A: We accept FOB Shenzhen or CIF. It’s up to you.