If you’re just curious I’m going to put it layman’s terms. There are complex and scientific sounding answers abounding on the internet. This is not one. First let’s talk about the two types of basic charge controllers, so you understand the benefit of MPPT over a cheap PWM controller.

If you’re just curious I’m going to put it layman’s terms. There are complex and scientific sounding answers abounding on the internet. This is not one.

First let’s talk about the two types of basic charge controllers, so you understand the benefit of MPPT over a cheap PWM controller.

PWM – Pulse width Modulation, which is a “switch” that turns on and off at set parameters to prevent overcharging your battery.

The Solar Panel needs to be the same voltage as the battery, because you’re connecting the Panel directly to the battery with a “switch” between the two. The battery dictates the output of the panel so there’s a considerable loss factor. Usually around 30% loss of output. It’s simple, but not smart… they are cheaper, a lot cheaper than…

MPPT – Maximum Power Point Tracking charge controllers. A lot of folks say that you gain up to 30% output with MPPT but it is the 30% that you loose with PWM.

Simply put there is a transformer between the battery and the solar panel, much like a referee so the battery can’t bully the solar panel output, and all this is controlled by a processor which adds features. In the end the solar panel can produce all it can output at any given time thus utilizing its maximum potential.

Most MPPT controllers will allow you to come in at substantially higher voltage thus giving you the option of going further with smaller wire from the panels to the controller.