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CLEAN ENERGY REVIEWS. Intelligent solar charge controller

CLEAN ENERGY REVIEWS. Intelligent solar charge controller

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    January 7, 2022 Jason Svarc

    Best mid-range MPPT solar charge controllers up to 40A

    In this article, we review six of the most popular, mid-level MPPT solar charge controllers commonly used for small scale solar power systems up to 2kW. These are more affordable, lower voltage (100-150V) units, which are generally designed for 12V or 24V battery systems, although several can be used on 48V batteries. A number of these charge controllers also feature inbuilt load control terminals for basic DC lighting and other loads.

    In this review, we don’t list simple PWM controllers used for DC lighting and basic systems since there are many sites already covering these entry-level PWM controllers. For high-performance MPPT solar charge controllers with higher input voltages up to 300V and current ratings from 60A to 100A, see our high-power MPPT solar charge controllers review.

    What is a solar charge controller?

    A solar charge controller, also known as a solar regulator, is a battery charge regulator connected between the solar array and battery. Its job is to regulate the solar output to ensure the battery is charged correctly and not overcharged. DC coupled solar charge controllers been around for decades and are used in most small scale off-grid solar power systems.

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    Top 6 Solar Charge Controllers

    Mid-level solar controllers up to 40A

    Smaller capacity MPPT solar charge controllers with a current rating from 20A to 40A are used for many different applications including off-grid cabins and homes, RV’s, boats, caravans, telecommunications and remote site backup. These mid-range MPPT solar charge controllers are available from many different manufacturers, but this review will FOCUS on the most popular and best quality charge controllers from the most reputable manufacturers which have been on the market for several years.

    No# image Model Current A Max Voc Batt Voltages Price range
    1 Victron SmartSolar MPPT 35 A 150V 12V 24V 36V 48V 350 to 480
    2 EPever TRIRON Series 40 A 150V 12V 24V 150 to 250
    3 Morningstar ProStar MPPT 40 A 120V 12V 24V 460 to 540
    4 EPever XTRA Series 40 A 150V 12V 24V 36V 48V 130 to 190
    5 Renogy Rover 40 A 100V 12V 24V 150 to 190
    6 EPever BN Series 40 A 150V 12V 24V 170 to 250

    Comparison Criteria

    In this review, we rank the various charge controllers according to a number of important criteria including build quality, MPPT tracking speed, battery voltage range, operating temperature range (heat dissipation), monitoring, real-world performance and price. In our reviews, we generally rank performance and quality over affordability, so in this case, we rate the unit price lower than other criteria. This may come across as bias towards the more expensive models, but based on real-world results, testing and performance monitoring, the higher-end controllers have proven to out-perform the cheaper models.

    Read more about selecting and correct sizing a solar charge controller in the MPPT solar charge controllers explained article.

    Victron SmartSolar

    Victron Energy is considered a world leader in power electronics and specialise in manufacturing equipment required for off-grid and stand-alone power systems including, inverters, batteries, chargers, monitors and of course, solar charge controllers. Based in the Netherlands, Victron manufacture many products in India and have become well known for producing quality, reliable off-grid battery inverter/chargers and a wide range of quality MPPT solar charge controllers.

    Victron offer a huge range of solar charge controllers, from small 10A PWM models, to high-performance 100A MPPT varieties with high voltage inputs up to 250V. The MPPT 150V models appear very simple in design, and may not have a display or load control terminals like many others, however, where Victron out performs the competition is in MPPT tracking performance, communications and monitoring.

    Victron have by far the most advanced system monitoring with inbuilt Bluetooth connection offering easy programming and configuration, plus remote firmware updates which add extra features and options. The display-less design may not please all users, but the fast, accurate MPPT tracking, high build quality, and V.E. Smart networking options are stand-out features.

    Smartsolar MPPT 150V 35A

    • Fast MPP Tracking
    • 150V max Voc
    • 12V, 24V or 48V batteries
    • Compatible with LiFePO4 Lithium batteries
    • Very advanced monitoring app
    • Wide operating temperature up to 60°C
    • Inbuilt temp sensor
    • Optional wireless battery sensor
    • Easy remote firmware updates
    • 5 Year warranty

    See the detailed Victron Energy Review

    EPever TRIRON Series

    EPever was founded in 2007 and has grown rapidly to become one of the largest Chinese manufacturers of cost-effective power products including a wide range of MPPT solar charge controllers. The Triron series is the next evolution to the well-known Tracer series of MPPT’s.

    The TRIRON series from EPever is a much more advanced and user-friendly version of the original AN series of charge controllers. The TRIRON controllers have a unique swappable display module as well as a swappable interface module with an RS485 communication option that can be used for a number of different applications. Note, maximum PV voltage is either 100V or 150V depending on the model. The 5 button display module is very easy to use and provide all the important information you need about the PV, battery and load. Wireless access is available via the eBox-BLE Bluetooth adapter or the Wi-Fi adapter is available for remote monitoring.

    TRIRON Series MPPT 150V 40A

    • Fast MPP Tracking
    • 150V max Voltage Voc (TRIRON 3215N 4215N)
    • Easy to use with a large clear display
    • Compatible with Lead-acid and Lithium batteries
    • 40A Load control
    • Swappable display and interface modules
    • RS485 Interface for communications and remote control
    • USB Port and relay control options
    • Optional Temp sensor

    Morningstar Prostar MPPT

    Morningstar are a well-established company based in the US with 25 years of experience in engineering and manufacturing high-performance solar charge controllers. Morningstar is widely recognized as developing some of the best quality products on the market with high levels of protection against extreme environments, lightning surges and high operating temperatures.

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    The Prostar range of MPPT charge controllers are available in 25A and 40A versions with a 120V input voltage limit. The extremely fast MPP tracking can perform a full voltage sweep in less than 1 second using the Trakstar technology. The device features good size terminals protected under a front cover, including load control output terminals rated up to 30A, plus a clear backlit LCD display and can easily programmed using the 4 large buttons. However, the very high price tag means the Prostar MPPT series is out of reach for many users.

    Prostar MPPT 120V 40A

    • Very fast MPP Tracking
    • 120V max Voc
    • Compatible with LiFePO4 Lithium batteries
    • Wide operating temp up to 60°C
    • 30A Load control
    • High surge protection
    • Optional Battery sensor
    • 5 Year warranty

    EPever XTRA Series

    EPever, also known as EPsolar, was founded in 2007 in Beijing, China and has grown rapidly to become one of the largest manufacturers of cost-effective solar power products including a wide range of MPPT charge controllers. The XTRA series of MPPT’s released in early 2018, have only recently become more popular due to the low cost, easy setup, and lithium battery compatibility.

    The XTRA series is available in 10 different options with 3 display types, current ratings from 10 to 40A, battery voltages from 12V to 48V, and input voltage limit up to 150V. In comparison to the older AN series which had a 100V input limit, the XTRA series features lithium battery compatibility and a higher input 150V voltage (Voc) on the 30 and 40A models, plus a modern look and concealed screw terminals. Note, the two-button version with LCD is basically the older AN series controller in a modern package.

    XTRA Series MPPT 40A

    • Good MPP Tracking
    • Three display options with a clear simple LCD
    • Compatible with most Lithium LiFePO4 batteries
    • 40A Load control
    • Optional MT50 display
    • Optional Temp sensor
    • Optional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module
    • Low cost

    5. Renogy Rover

    Renogy, founded in the US in 2014, recently became a very popular choice for solar enthusiasts across the world due to the low-cost, easy setup and good MPPT tracking. Renogy manufacture a wide range of affordable inverters, DC converters and solar charge controllers in China.

    The Rover series from Renogy is a feature packed MPPT controller with a clear inbuilt display, plus a low-cost (optional) Bluetooth adapter which provides a great, easy to use interface with many configuration options. Load control terminals are built-in, although the output is limited to 20A. The overall build quality is quite good, however there are some area’s which could be improved, most notably the cable terminals which are far too small for a 40A controller.

    Rover MPPT 100V 40A

    • Good MPP Tracking
    • Clear Simple display
    • Compatible with Lithium (12.8V LiFePO4)
    • 20A Load control
    • Advanced Bluetooth app and user settings
    • Temp sensor included
    • Low cost

    6. Outback BN series by EPever

    The Outback Power Flexmax40 is made by EPever and is commonly known as the Tracer BN series which is a well known affordable MPPT controller.

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    EPever one of the leading manufacturers of cost-effective power products including a wide range of solar charge controllers. The well-known Tracer and TRIRON series of MPPT’s are a very popular choice for solar enthusiasts across the world due to the easy setup, good MPPT tracking, and low cost.

    The first generation AN series is the best-known MPPT in the range, being a low-cost 100V unit with an inbuilt display. However, the BN series is the more expensive higher-performance version with many extra features including a 150V input voltage limit, heavy-duty robust design, large heatsink, and huge input terminals which can accept a cable size up to 50mm2 (1 AWG).

    The obvious feature lacking from the BN series is the display. However, monitoring and configuration is available via the additional remote MT50 display which features a good clear LCD screen showing all the basic information required. Wireless access is also available via the eBox-BLE Bluetooth adapter.

    Tracer BN Series MPPT 150V 40A

    • Very large screw terminals
    • Large heatsink and wide operating temperature range
    • 12V, 24V batteries
    • 150V max Voc
    • Wide MPP voltage range
    • 20A Load control
    • Remote MT50 display with settings and load control
    • Optional Temp sensor

    zappi

    You don’t need solar panels or a wind power system to use the zappi. But purchasing it today, means you’re future fit for tomorrow.

    zappi is an EV charger with a difference. zappi can operate as a standard home car charger, using power from the grid. It also has optional charging modes which use 100% green energy generated from your own home Solar PV system or wind generation.

    Using your own power generation increases the Return On Investment (ROI) for your panels and electric car. And means that you can charge your EV at home for free! zappi is easy to install and user friendly. But don’t worry, if you don’t have solar panels installed, the zappi will still operate as a standard car charger harnessing power from the grid.

    EV charger designed in the UK

    Being the first-ever solar EV charger of its kind, our innovative team has carefully designed features and functions to give you complete control of your electric car charging experience. Paired with the myenergi app, you can set timers to utilise economy tariffs with our electricity provider. You can also use the boost function, monitor your devices, and so much more! A future proof, intelligent electric car charger conceived and evolved in the UK.

    #1 solar charger

    Be future ready with the zappi home car charger.

    Three EV charging modes

    zappi provides you with tailor made charging to suit your lifestyle and demands. Whether you need a “fast” charge to get you going in a hurry, or are happy to wait for your charge to take place using 100% renewable energy. zappi gives you the flexibility to charge on your terms.

    The eco charge mode is a mixture of both green energy and energy imported from the grid. eco mode minimises the use of grid power, generally taking advantage of cheaper rates overnight, but can also charge using 100% green energy. Essentially giving you the ability to charge up your car for free! The charging power is continuously adjusted in response to changes in generation or power being used elsewhere in the home.

    If the surplus generation drops below 1.4kWh some power will be drawn from the grid to top it back up.

    eco charging is very similar to eco charging in that it can utilise power from the grid or your own power source. However the charge power is continuously adjusted in response to changes in generation or power consumption elsewhere in the home. Your electric car charging will pause if there is too much-imported power, continuing only when there is surplus free power available.

    In fast mode, your vehicle will be charged at maximum power. This power can come from a renewable energy source or simply from the grid. The cost of charging an electric car also depends on numerous factors including mode and the car itself.

    If you don’t have solar panels or wind generation, zappi will charge just like an ordinary Mode 3 charging point.

    Set timers

    At certain hours ‘time of use energy tariffs’ are significantly cheaper. With zappi, you can use the ‘boost timer’ option to start charging at times with the lowest rates. It’s a cost-saving charging alarm clock for your EV!

    No earth rod

    zappi is the only EV charger with built-in PEN fault technology. It’s the safest choice for an electric car charger, eliminating the need to install additional earth rods means no extra costs an easy install.

    PV charging

    zappi works in harmony with your Solar PV or wind generation, meaning you can charge your car using green energy for free. If you haven’t got a renewable energy source at home, zappi works just like any other charger in ‘fast mode’.

    Remote access

    The myenergi app allows you to access and control your devices from anywhere in the world! Visual graphs allow you to monitor your import/export information all in one place.

    Pincode protected

    A 5 digit pin code is a security feature integrated into this Smart electric car charging point, should you wish to use it. It prevents people from changing your settings or using your solar EV charger without permission or tampering.

    EV charger that comes with a 3 year warranty

    As well as having our excellent technical support team on hand to answer any of your questions and queries, zappi also comes with a 3-year warranty. Once your myenergi zappi has been installed, please register your individual products to take full advance of the 3-year warranty support.

    zappi utilises your self generated power for EV charging

    A solar EV charger works by allowing you to use excess solar to power up your car. Generating solar energy requires solar panels (PV) to be fitted to your home or place of work, but the energy generated through the solar panels is totally free, essentially giving you free miles! Light energy produced by the sun is called a photon. It is the most basic, fundamental particle of all light. It is these photons in natural daylight that are converted by solar panel cells to produce electricity. This small bundle of electromagnetic energy is constantly in motion. Simply put, a solar panel works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to bounce into electrons, setting them free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity.

    Our eco technology makes intelligent decisions based on your self generated power and the energy tariff you are signed up to. This allows your myenergi devices to optimise for drawing energy from the grid at the lowest possible rate per kWh.

    Charging your vehicle safely

    Exceeding all safety standards

    Safety is of paramount importance. Every myenergi product is engineered to the highest standards possible in terms of energy efficiency, but we place equal importance on safety.

    Whilst we adhere to all industry safety standards, we are always looking to provide the safest experience possible for our installers and users. That’s why we were the first to introduce the PEN fault testing ahead of every other manufacturer.

    Manage monitor your energy usage

    Every myenergi device is designed to be connected. This means you can monitor everything in one place from the myenergi app as well as adjust settings, timers and boost functions as required. Control your myenergi devices 24/7 from anywhere with the myenergi app

    Join the energy revolution

    In a single hour, the sun generates enough energy to power the lives of every human on earth for an entire year. Imagine if all that power was in your hands.

    The Enphase Energy System brings solar, batteries, and software together in one complete package so now you can make, use, save, and sell your own power—all through a Smart mobile app.

    With an Enphase system, not only can you lower your utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint, but you can also keep your power flowing even when the weather takes an unexpected turn or the grid has a bad day.

    This is the clean energy future we’ve been waiting for.

    Enphase App

    See how much power you’re making, using, and saving in real time, or view reports from a period of time. Change your system settings and get important service messages. Add the IQ Load Controller to manage power to your appliances during an outage—all from one mobile app.

    Enphase IQ Microinverters

    Our new IQ8 Series Microinverter offers microgrid-forming technology that provides Sunlight Backup during grid outages, and the proprietary, intelligent chip makes switching between on or off grid virtually seamless.

    Enphase IQ Battery

    Store solar power to use anytime—at night or during peak hours to reduce energy bills or when there’s an outage and utility power is unavailable.

    Enphase App

    The power of the sun, at your fingertips

    Control your Enphase system from virtually anywhere with the most powerful mobile app ever created for solar.

    See where your power is flowing in real time and view reports of your energy trends so far this year. Choose the essential appliances that absolutely need to stay on during an outage—or let our software decide for you. Stay prepared for outages with automatic weather monitoring and a full charge ahead of severe storms. In many communities, when you’re not saving surplus electricity for your own use, you’ll be selling it back to your utility provider for cash or credit on your bill.

    That’s a lot of power packed into one little app.

    Enphase IQ Microinverters

    The brains of the system, now even brainier

    Our pioneering IQ Microinverter performs a seemingly impossible feat with brilliant simplicity.

    It transforms photons, quantum particles of light, into safe AC power you can use to power your home. With an Enphase Energy System, every solar panel is equipped with its own microinverter, so if one panel slips into the shade or experiences a rare glitch, the other panels keep generating power.

    That’s in stark contrast to traditional string inverter systems, where if one panel goes down, the whole system can go down with it.

    Now, with the introduction of our revolutionary IQ8 Series Microinverter with Sunlight Backup, for the first time, your lights, fans, and phones can stay powered even during a daytime grid outage, with or without a battery.

    Enphase IQ Microinverters are compatible with virtually all solar panel makes and models, so choose the panels you like best knowing our microinverters will work with them seamlessly.

    SR-HC2430 Smart Solar Charger Controller PWM LEAD GEL Lithium

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    SR-HC2430 Smart Solar Charger Controller PWM LEAD GEL Lithium

    SR-HC2430 PWM 30A series Smart Solar Charger Controller, 12V/ 24 V system voltages are automatically recognized.

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