You may be asking yourself at this point, “Do I really need one?” While there is not a definitive answer, it does depend on two factors — the size of the panels you’re drawing from, and the size of the battery you intend to send charge to.
Conditions for not requiring a charge regulator:
- Only 32-cell, self-regulating panels are appropriate for this application.
- The battery capacity in Ah must be at least 2.5 times the capacity of the panel in Watts. For instance, a 60W panel will require at least a 150Ah battery to send charge to.
- The electrolyte of the battery must be checked very regularly, 2-3 week intervals are highly recommended.
- The battery should have regular usage, ideally daily to drop power at roughly a similar rate to it being replaced.
Because of their design, self-regulating panels (which will put out around a claimed 15V or so by design) have fairly limited applications in caravanning scenarios, and most applications will benefit from an externally-regulated solution.
Installing a charge regulator in conjunction with the larger 36-cell type panels has several advantages: firstly, it will provide faster charging of batteries; secondly it will require much less maintenance and yield much longer battery lifetimes; thirdly, it will collect far more Ah every single day. When it comes to choosing a solar regulator for your application, there are several features which will definitely benefit you in application. These include:
- A three-step charging cycle. This is broken down into the cycles, “Boost” (which provides the maximum possible current), “Absorption” (which provides a constant voltage), and “Float” (which will provide the required maintenance voltage) phases, ideally with a periodic Equalisation phase.
- Ability to charge different types of batteries, for example, AGM, Calcium, and Gel cells.
- Ability for the regulator to detect voltage approaching minimum charge and cut load coming from it automatically.
- A visual display of what phase the regulator is in operation, either LED lights or an LCD display arrangement.
- An ability to handle a full 20A of charge and provide a 20A load disconnect.
Don’t hesitate to call AllBrand for any of those questions you may have about harnessing the Sun’s rays or to make a booking with us.