How do solar charge controllers work?

Written by: Jon Duffy



Time to read 1 min

The charge controller sits between your solar panel and battery. Although it seems deceptively simple, it actually serves a crucial function in the performance of solar power setups. Want to learn more? Read on to understand more about the benefits of using a solar charge controller.

What is a solar charge controller?

A charge controller is an essential part of battery-based solar energy systems. It regulates the current and/or voltage, protecting batteries from overcharging to keep them safe and efficient. Without a charge controller, a solar panel could continue to deliver power to a battery even if it’s fully charged. The result? Damage to the battery and the dangerous risk of overheating.

How do solar charge controllers work?

On a basic level, charge controllers block reverse current and prevent batteries from overcharging. Some models also prevent battery over-discharge, protect from electrical overload and can even display battery status and power flow.

What are the benefits of a charge controller?

Blocking reverse current

At night, solar panels can cause a slight discharge from the battery by passing current in the reverse direction. The charge controller helps to prevent this, making sure the current only passes through in one direction.

Preventing overcharge

If you continue to feed energy to a fully charged battery, this can cause it to degrade rapidly and even overheat. The charge controller helps to reduce the flow of energy once your battery reaches a specific voltage. If the voltage drops for any reason, the controller allows the maximum possible charge again to keep everything powered up.

Check out our charge controllers now to take full control of your solar power system, or explore our full solar range for more great renewable green energy ideas!

About the author

Jon Duffy is a Digital Merchandiser at Maplin.

An avid gamer from a young age, Jon has dabbled in gaming journalism and dedicates much of his spare time to this hobby. He also has an interest in music, playing bass guitar in a rock covers band.

Having previously worked as a copywriter with another electronics retailer, he was eager to join Maplin with their new online venture. In addition to writing blogs, Jon also works on many of the website's landing pages and adding new tech to the range.