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Cheap(est?) PWM Solar Charge Controller – 12v Solar Shed

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I bought this solar charge controller on a whim – it was cheap. Could it really be microcontrolled and PWM for £3.20 / $5?

In this video I test out it’s claims.

This item was purchased from Ebay:

See an update to this video:
See the Lithium Ion Version in action:

Thanks for watching – It’d be great to hear your comments.

Please like, share and subscribe!

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18 Comments on "Cheap(est?) PWM Solar Charge Controller – 12v Solar Shed"

  1. Lasty says:

    That's a nice little controller. I wonder what those DIP switches do…

  2. Julian Ilett says:

    Great video Adam. That controller looks brilliant for the money. I was also wondering about the switches. If you could get more of those misfits, you could put them in parallel (stacked vertically). I'll be buying a couple.

  3. JamstaUK says:

    Nice vid! I've got one of those. When simulating the solar panel with a DC-DC converter like you did, I found it got very hot at 2A when charging a battery. It's not great that it has no sinking at all compared to the other cheapo charge controllers on the market.

  4. Colin Hickey says:

    Cracking vid, think i might have to purchase one or two 🙂 Although saying that i've just bought a load of components for making some charge controllers using your design with the ATTiny.

  5. Great video as always Adam! How a product can be designed, assembled and sold for just 3.20 is just a wonder of chinese economics.

  6. Martin Doyle says:

    Thanks Adam for a great video and insight into this charge controller. I've just bought one on Ebay but almost bought one rated at 11.1V and noticed there were others for various types of battery. Anyway, we'll see how it fairs and it might be put into use in the shed with the 40 watt panel, leaving the trusty PWM5 for the 70 watt panel… Unbelievable how they can make a proper PWM charge controller for this money…

  7. xanataph says:

    Well, you can never have too many charge controllers! They are to the solar enthusiast what distortion pedals are to guitarists…! lol Yep, that 14.8V boost is definitely too high to regularly slam into an AGM, but those voltages would work wonders on flooded batteries which typically get charged a little low by most controllers.

  8. Hi Adam…..Great Video.
    Ordered 2 last week based on your review. Hoping to marry up one of them with my daisy-chained 10watt Powerfilm folding panels. They put out 15.4 Volts / 1.2 amps and I've never been comfortable directly connecting them to a battery. This controller looks like a solution……Thanks

  9. siemon pryns says:

    What happens if I hook it up to an amatek 30v? I am trying to build a wind powered battery charger for the (small) beachhouse.
    Nice video, I'll have a look at your other video's. Thanks

  10. siemon pryns says:

    maybe a 2nd question because I can't find it anyware. What is the maximum voltage that the controller can take? I dit the math on 3a, witch leaves around 16v at 36watt. is this correct ore can it do 20v?

  11. John Douglas says:

    if your battery goes to 10.8v? wtf? that's going to kill them in no time ouch.
    11.2 is considered dead flat and will seriously shorten battery life.
    bah, why the hell can't they make the discharge cut off user set? I won't take mine under 12.2
    I want the bastards to last as close to their 10 year rating as possible.
    (thought, the Australia summer temps will probably never let that happen anyway)

    no, 10.8 is insane.

  12. Denis Yasniy says:

    Adam, can this controller handle 50 watt solar panel? Logically it should (since 50 watt panel's max operating amp is 2.8) but the manual tells to use 30 watt panel max….I'd like to know your opinion about mentioned above….

  13. I put one on 165w panel and a car battery for 5 days now and its working great

  14. Eric Price says:

    Great review, thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I had already purchased this unit from eBay without being sure of what to expect.

  15. Hi Adam,
    Thank you for all tour Work.
    I just finished two lithium battery packs. As you, I connected them to different solar controllers. My question
    Why do we need à controller? . I connected a 12V 100W solar panel directly to a BMS and a got 1 amp more than with the controller. So more than 10W what is significant.

  16. I have one of those in upper right, it was my first one ever. It works very well for what it is.

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