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  • PWM is more efficient, and it offers a wider and smoother range of dimming for LEDs. The way an LED works (or any diode for that matter) is that it always drops a certain level of voltage across the LED. When you use a pot, you're reducing the current and not lighting up all the LEDs. If you watch the video where I tested the pots, there's a point where it flickers over to full brightness instead of smoothly transitioning. This is because the resistance hits a low point to which the remainder of the LEDs flick on. A pot changes the voltage and current delivered to the LEDs by burning (wasting) energy through a variable resistor. PWM, on the other hand, provides full voltage (doesn't waste any power through a resistor) and controls the intensity of the light by adjusting the percentage of …

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    PWM is more efficient, and it offers a wider and smoother range of dimming for LEDs. The way an LED works (or any diode for that matter) is that it always drops a certain level of voltage across the LED. When you use a pot, you're reducing the current and not lighting up all the LEDs. If you watch the video where I tested the pots, there's a point where it flickers over to full brightness instead of smoothly transitioning. This is because the resistance hits a low point to which the remainder of the LEDs flick on. A pot changes the voltage and current delivered to the LEDs by burning (wasting) energy through a variable resistor. PWM, on the other hand, provides full voltage (doesn't waste any power through a resistor) and controls the intensity of the light by adjusting the percentage of time the power is on. In this case, all the LEDs are turning on, but they're flickering on and off. The greater percentage of time the light is on (wider pulse), the greater the intensity of the light.

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  • I could easily do that with my setup. I'd just need to get some extension cables for when I move it off the roof. I may do just that. You could always get a chain or cable to lock it to your trailer. That way theft would only be an issue if they just so happen to have bolt cutters.

    Thanks! I was originally looking for something with PWM, but everything I could find was too big to fit inside the wall. As long as I can find something that will fit in the wall, I'd much rather go with PWM.

    Honestly, I just purchased the cheapest solar panel kit I could find on Amazon. There is a purchase list (Excel file) with links for most of the components I purchased at the end of this Instructable. As far as deciding how many panels to get, that was also partially influenced by cost but also by how much energy I'll need. I calculated (overestimated) the total watt-hours (Wh) of energy I would use per day, then made the assumption that the panels would output full power (100W each) for 10 hours per day (in the summer). That came in to the range of 3000Wh/10h = 300W, so I bought 3 panels.For the charge controller, I was limited by cost, so I went with the cheapest. If you can afford it, I recommend purchasing a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) charge controller. They are much better q…

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    Honestly, I just purchased the cheapest solar panel kit I could find on Amazon. There is a purchase list (Excel file) with links for most of the components I purchased at the end of this Instructable. As far as deciding how many panels to get, that was also partially influenced by cost but also by how much energy I'll need. I calculated (overestimated) the total watt-hours (Wh) of energy I would use per day, then made the assumption that the panels would output full power (100W each) for 10 hours per day (in the summer). That came in to the range of 3000Wh/10h = 300W, so I bought 3 panels.For the charge controller, I was limited by cost, so I went with the cheapest. If you can afford it, I recommend purchasing a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) charge controller. They are much better quality than PWM, and also more expensive. However, for small installations, it may not make a huge difference.

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