Now we’ll get to know our charge controller.
Today, we’ll be installing a TriStar Charge Controller. This is pretty much standard device.
It takes the power from the solar panels on the roof, and regulates it down to what our
batteries can safely accept. It keeps track of it, and will output through these connectors,
to computer controls, or monitoring systems. This is a fairly basic one, pulse wave modulated
type. They now make maximum power point tracking charge controllers, a much nicer upgrade,
and they are possibly $500, so you can make your choices when you’re starting your system.
Start small, and add nicer components as you need them, so once you get the cover off of
a standard charge controller, you see ports for your battery inputs, your solar inputs,
and this one even has some DIP Switches that can be used to reconfigure this device, for
different battery voltages. We can have a twelve, twenty four, or forty eight volt battery
on this. We also have some multiple colored charging lights, to tell you when we’ve got
power, when the batteries are needing charge, and when they’re fully charged, as well as
a switch, which will let us equalize these flooded batteries, about once a month.