Rated 4.1 out of 5 by 16
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by SailorTed Sunforce 7 Amp Solar Charge Controller
Delivered promptly, and at a lower price than anywhere else I could find. The unit works fine with my Sunforce Solar Panel. Appears a bit flimsy, but does what it is supposed to - just not meant for hard use / abuse.
November 14, 2013
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Frenchie Works Great and inexpensive
This is what I need for my energy class so the batteries would not over charge. It was easy to hook up and did not cost very much. I build a power in a bucket for my class that was waterproof and able to make portable power.
December 17, 2014
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by LeoTaylor Shortens battery life
I bought one of these and used it to charge the two deep cycle batteries in my truck camper before I knew any better. Solar charging was new to me and this was cheap so I figured I would give it a go. It appeared to work fine - it showed it was charging. But my batteries never seemed to last long. I set out to find out why, and in the process learned a lot about solar charging. Along with that education came a realization of the pitfalls of charge controllers like this one.
This is an "on/off" controller. When your batteries reach 14.2 volts, it simply turns off. Your batteries will then discharge, either from something running off of them or simply by the passage of time (self discharge). Once they reach 13 volts, this controller turns on again and takes them back up to 14.2 volts, and the cycle repeats itself.
The problem is your batteries are not fully charged when they reach 14.2 volts. Deep cycle batteries, especially, need more than that. Many are rated to be charged at 14.4v, some as high as 14.8v (many 6v pairs, wired in series, fall into this latter category). And when they reach that voltage they should continue to be charged at a gradually reduced current until they are truly full. When that doesn't happen they are chronically undercharged, which shortens battery life. Sulfation of the plates occurs, as well as stratification of the electrolyte fluid. Individual battery cell charges drift apart, and eventually cell failure occurs. It only takes one cell to fail and your battery becomes nothing more than a toxic lead weight.
Look for charge controllers that employ PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) technology or MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking). MPPT is expensive and not financially feasible for many small solar systems (often buying another panel is cheaper), but there are many PWM controllers on the market these days that are nearly as inexpensive as this cheap Sunforce on/off model, and MUCH better.
PWM controllers charge your batteries in three stages - bulk, absorption and float. Bulk allows everything your solar panels can produce to be thrown at the batteries until they reach a set point, (14.4v for example), and at that point absorption stage takes over where the voltage is held there while the amps allowed into your batteries are gradually diminished over several hours. This really gets your batteries charged fully. At the end of absorption stage float stage takes over, which trickle charges batteries to keep them fully charged.
If you are using this to keep a battery topped off between charging by other means, such as a car alternator, then it might be ok since the car's alternator will give the battery a full charge periodically. But if this is to be used as the sole charging source, stay away.
November 19, 2013
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by djsolar basic solar project protection.
I have this controller between 90 amps of solar cells and 3 125AH deep cycle batteries all mounted on a trailer. The charge controller thus far has done a fine job charging my batteries without any over-charge problems. On another project similar in size I would use this charge controller again.
November 22, 2011
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Pembo Does what it says
Hooked up two homemade solar panels. 7amps in, keeps my lead acid batts at a good level. 2months no problems.
August 24, 2011
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by hnfbwesatvmreb 7 Amp Solar Charge Controller
does not work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!***************************************
April 11, 2015
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by DNelson Smart Choice
One of the least expensive units for using the Sun to maintain battery powered systems.
August 11, 2015
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Einstein13th It does what I need it to do
I bought this to complete my little 100 watt solar panel display: I use it to run my laptop while I demonstrate the solar panel system for my business. I get a lot of inquiries about the little black box, referring to the charge controller. I had referred several people to this item and other larger charge controllers.
It supplies power to my laptop for over 6 hours a day.
November 20, 2012