According to the voltage of the battery, the controller will adjust the charging current and decide if necessary to supply power to the load, keeping the battery on full voltage condition. Also prevents the battery from over-charging or over-discharging and prevents re-flow of current back to panels at nighttime.
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Review from Amazon
I Bought Instapark® 10W High-Efficiency Mono-Crystalline Solar Panel solar panel as well as UPG D5779 UB1280-F2 Universal Lead Acid Battery 8Ah in addition to Cobra CPI 480 400-Watt 12-Volt DC to 120-Volt AC Power Inverter with 5-Volt USB Output
I put together this setup for 108 dollars with free shipping.
The solar charge controller I was worried might be cheap, as soon as I got it (which took a while, everything else arrived Monday and this arrived thursday) I noticed the size was much smaller then how big I thought it would be, it fits inside your palm. I opened it to see what kind of circuitry is inside of it and I have definately seen cheaper made components so decided to give a go and tested the mA before and after the controller, it did seem to cut into the amount of power produced by the solar panel by at least 50 mA if not more, but the peace of mind that this controller gives is DEFINATELY worth the 12 bucks I spent.
Alligator clips are excellent
Would buy it again if I was building a setup like this again