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What’s The Difference Between A P.W.M. Controller And An M.P.P.T. Controller?

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What’s The Difference Between A P.W.M. Controller And An M.P.P.T. Controller?

What’s The Difference Between A P.W.M. Controller And An M.P.P.T. Controller?

2021-10-04

What’s The Difference Between A P.W.M. Controller And An M.P.P.T. Controller?

Without going too much into detail, these are the basic fundamentals for each of the controllers:

Pulse Width Modulation (P.W.M.) Charge Controller

A P.W.M. controller is the more basic of the two controllers. They match the solar array voltage to the voltage required to charge the batteries.

  • The way a P.W.M. controller works is by simply turning on and off (hence called pulse rate modulation).

  • When the P.W.M. controller is on, it will send power to the batteries.

  • When the P.W.M. controller is off, it will monitor the capacity of the batteries making sure to properly charge the batteries throughout the full state of charge.

  • A P.W.M. controller is around 10% – 40% less efficient when compared to an M.P.P.T. controller.

  • A PVM controller can cause interference to the on-board radio equipment. This is due to the sharp pulses generated for the battery bank charging.

  • A P.W.M. controller generally tends to be around half price or less.

Maximum Power Point Tracking (M.P.P.T.) Charge Controller

  • The added functionality of an M.P.P.T. charge controller is that it can electronically track and deliver the most optimal amount of power coming from the solar array to the battery bank.

  • If the output voltage of the solar array (24V, 48V or more) is higher than the battery bank voltage (which is usually 12v), the controller will intelligently bring the power down to the optimal charge voltage. This is generally between 13.8v to 15v. The controller will also compensate for the ‘drop’ by increasing the current.

  • As with the P.W.M. controller, the M.P.P.T. charge controller can monitor the capacity of the batteries, and then match the necessary voltage required to charge those batteries.

  • Another benefit of an M.P.P.T. controller is a reduction of the wire size (gauge) needed when connecting a solar array that is connected in series. This is due to the higher voltage/lower current coming from the solar array.

  • An M.P.P.T. controller is around 10% – 40% more efficient when compared to a P.W.M. controller.

  • An M.P.P.T. controller generally tends to be around twice the price or more (depending on technology/make).


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