PWM vs MPPT charge controllers: their strengths and weaknesses

Charge Controller

A PWM and MPPT solar charge controllers are the two most popular and effective charge controllers for solar panels, each having its own strengths and weaknesses. It is good to be familiar with their strengths and flaws before deciding on which one to go for. In this blog post, I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of PWM and MPPT solar charge controllers and how you can choose the best one your solar panels.


Strengths of PWM Solar Charge Controllers

The PWM charge controllers operates on a pulse width modulation system and continuously cycles the inverter on and off as necessary to keep the batteries charged. It also monitors the current, voltage, temperature and state of charge to determine how much power to send to the battery bank.

The strengths of PWM solar charge controller are that it does not demand expensive parts and it is not as expensive as other types of solar controllers, but still has many benefits in performance and efficiency over other controllers. Another strength of PWM solar charge controller is that it is easy to install and offers a wider range of solar charging options for different applications. Again, PWM solar charge controller tend to last longer than other types of controllers because of their simple design, and are much easier to replace if something goes wrong.

Weaknesses Of PWM Solar Charge Controller

The weaknesses of a Pulse Modulated Solar charge controller includes higher costs of installation and difficulties in providing backup power from an inverter when there is insufficient sunlight available for charging purposes. Again, a PWM solar charge controller requires tweaking for it to work properly at all times.


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Strengths of MPPT Solar Charge Controllers

MPPT solar charge controllers are smarter than PWM controllers because they can adjust voltage and current output to meet the demands of specific solar panels. They offer more protection over time as they are able to provide more accurate control over charging. Their auto-ranging feature allows them to keep up with changes in voltage from the grid or an inverter that is running off batteries. Finally, since MPPT solar charge controllers uses less energy, they are better for the environment.

Weaknesses of MPPT Solar Charge Controllers

The biggest weakness of the MPPT solar charge controller is the need for a control system to be installed that will integrates th controller with the batteries and photovoltaic system to avoid overcharging and provide a cost-effective means of recharging them when needed. This requires some knowledge of electronics as well as an investment in programming which may be beyond many consumers’ ability or inclination to do on their own. Finally, MPPT solar charge controllers are more expensive to maintain.

How To Choose The Best Solar Charge Controller

How and where your solar panel will be mounted can determine what kind of charge controller you need to buy. Both PWM and MPPT controllers are made to keep solar panels at a consistent voltage, and both work very well. A controller with an MPPT conversion ratio will typically produce more power than one with a PWM conversion ratio because it has an increased range of operation.

MPPT controllers are better suited for use in low light or high altitude conditions than PWM controllers because they are able to generate more power under these conditions. They also work best when powering high wattage items like electric vehicles. However, if you are not using a lot of power from your system and want to save money on just electricity bill, then a PWM controller may be the way to go.


I have to conclude that the best solar charge controller for your system will vary depending on your specific needs. Different solar charge controllers are made for different types of systems, each with its unique strengths and weaknesses. PWM charge controllers do not handle as many strings of panels as MPPT controllers can, so if you are going to be stringing together multiple panels, it is a good idea to choose an MPPT controller.


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