Skip to content

MPPT Vs PWM Solar Chargers: Which Has More Power Under The Same Conditions?

Many of us have heard that MPPT is “better” than PWM, but does that hold true when using a small 100w panel?

Check the prices of the Renogy Voyager or the Victron 100/20 MPPT on amazon.

PWM means Pulse Width Modulation, is a slightly older tech when it comes to solar charge controllers. They work by slowly lowering the amount of power applied to the batteries as they get closer to a fully charge. The beneifts of a PWM solar charge controller is that while the technology used for them is older, it has had more time to be tested and perfected, and pricing is usually cheaper.

MPPT, or Maximum Power Point Tracking, still charges your batteries, but the controller is able to convert excess voltage into amperage, charging your batteries quicker. Since solar panels can frequently supply more than enough voltage to charge a 12v battery, that excess voltage is normally wasted.

This has a huge potential for increased energy production-ensuring you receive all the power you are collecting from the sun! The only real downside of MPPT is the price, and they are usually larger units.

renogy 100w folding suitcase solar panel mppt vs pwm test continue crushing overland
Renogy 100W Folding Solar Suitcase is perfect for Overlanding

As for our Victron SmartSolar 100/20, we even have bluetooth! This allows us to not only see battery voltage, charge amperage, and current, but it provides us history as well. This will be a very welcome feature when I want to know just how much power my panels have generated during a weekend or trip.

victron smartsolar 100 20 solar charge controller screenshot continue crushing overland
The bluetooth capability of the Victron MPPT charge controller provides tons of information.

When I was using my Renogy Voyager, I had to rely on writing down how much power the display showed in the evenings and trying to remember how much the panel was out in the sun.

victron smartsolar 100-20 solar charge controller test osha continue crushing overland
OSHA approved testing

Normally MPPT is suggested for larger panel arrays, but I was curious if the jump to using MPPT on a smaller setup like my 100W Renogy folding suitcase would be worth it.

The end result? Watch the video and find out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: