Shopping solar

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by BillyMc, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

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    I came across these solar panels. They have really good reviews and are very affordable. Anyone have experience with them?
     
  2. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    I have never heard of them, maybe someone on here is familiar. I used to build and install solar powered school flashers. If these are good it would seem to be a good deal.
     
  3. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    Never heard of them. Seems about $100 over priced. Must be that nice case. I had gotten an 80 watt kit from this company 2+ years ago. solar They have worked well. I dont think they have my kit any longer
     
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  4. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    The kit does seem over priced. The PWM controller is a low end controler
     
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  5. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

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    Back to shopping, what would be a good 20amp controller? I don't need fancy displays and features, just a solid dependable controller. I want to charge the PUP battery and a portable power pack at the same time. A 100 watt setup is fine to start out, but I want a 20amp controller to have room to expand should the need arise.
     
  6. Overland

    Overland Active Member

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    Subscribed..
     
  7. lostboy

    lostboy Active Member

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    When looking at prices on amazon, use the site camelcamelcamel to see where the prices have been and the lowest it was offered.

    Solar prices are probably on the rise due to tariffs so the price it was a few months ago might not be out there now.

    I am kind of looking for a suitcase panel and hope there are some black Friday deals later this month.
     
  8. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Whatever panel you endup buying, I would try to get a MPPT controller. You can fine good 20amp controllers for $100
     
  9. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    I disagree with going with MPPT with small systems, I'd rather have an additional panel! (unless roof space is VERY limited and you use it in the COLD often).
    The most honest comparison I've seen can be had at bogart engineering, makers of the trimetric, see "C", question C1 http://www.bogartengineering.com/support/faq.html
     
  10. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

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    Not a suitcase, but it cost a lot less. Now leaning toward this system.
     
  11. Blackripley

    Blackripley Member

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  12. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

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    I doubt a 15 watt charger will keep up with my family of five. It's going to have to replace the current used over night while suppling the demand during the day.
     
  13. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    +2
     
  14. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    The MPPT is the more efficient controller with temperature compensation. I had a PWM and switched

    A 15 watt panel would make for a good battery tender.
     
  15. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    not always, especially when sunny! There are crappy mppt and fake mppt. PWM should have temp comp, might be programmable, could also have better set pts and timing for better battery charging.

    mppt is only mppt during bulk charging the rest of the time it is pwm.
     
  16. David Blackwell

    David Blackwell Member

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    I agree with Rabird. I would also suggest getting the TriMetric before your next trip. Having a TriMetric allows me to know exactly how much I have used and how much power needs to go back.

    I have used both Bogart and Morningstar products. Both are rock solid in quality. Generally, all quality charge controllers have battery temperature sensors. See www.wind-sun.com for pricing. Note their resources sections has recently been updated and the support staff is super knowledgeable.

    I am currently using Bogart's Solar Charge Controller connected to their Trimetric battery monitor. My system at moment consists of three 140 Watt Kryocera panels connected to 310 Ah AGM at 12v. The importance of accurately monitoring how much power I used, and properly charging them, cannot be overstated. The proper care of batteries is the best (and perhaps only) way to get the longest service life. (Buying quality batteries is another topic...)

    For certain applications, PWM can deliver as many (and occasionally more) amps as a MPPT system. The details of the exact installation matter. If you have 12v or 24v panels, that can be mounted reasonably close to the batteries, the cost-benefit of a PWM is really hard to beat. (12v panels will be around Vmp: 17.1 Volts and Voc: 21.4 Volts; two 12v panels in series or a single 24v panel will be around twice those values).

    If you have larger panels, maybe 30+ volts (Vmp/Voc), you will almost always have to use a MPPT controller to adjust the voltage and current for your system. Another reason to choose MPPT will be a design that raises the charging system voltage to compensate for a long wiring run. If solar panels are connected in series, the voltage is added, while amps stay the same, the result is lower voltage losses due to the wire run - see voltage loss calculators.

    I would also add that most (if not all) of the off-brand/generic solar stuff on Amazon is almost always very cheaply made. Perhaps the original poster will be happy for awhile but I suggest that a longer term solution will be found with higher quality equipment.

    P.S. I was watching a video tonight on 4xOverland. One of the presenters, Paul Marsh, made an excellent point that's applicable here, allow me to paraphrase: Buying equipment (panels) is like buying all of the materials to build a house before designing the house. Think about your needs, try to measure how much power you actually use, and then design a system to meet your needs. If you just want to learn about solar, jump in...if you actually want the system to work the way you want it - you'll need to do your homework. (Hint - see Northern Arizona Wind & Sun forum. Very welcoming to newbies.)

    Resources on the MPPT vs. PWN:

    - Read everything on both Bogart Engineering and "Handy Bob". AM Solar is also a very high quality source of info as well.

    - Victron
    https://www.victronenergy.com/uploa...Which-solar-charge-controller-PWM-or-MPPT.pdf

    - Morningstar - If you read the following link closely, they make a subtle shift in the argument to reach the conclusion that MPPT is always better. (Aside from the fact I think highly of the company, I think it's somewhat disingenuous of them.)

    https://2n1s7w3qw84d2ysnx3ia2bct-wp...WM-vs-TrakStar-MPPT-Whitepaper-March-2015.pdf
     
  17. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    You might try this Dokio. I've been using one for a couple of years to run my 12 volt fridge while in camp.

    I don't use the controller that came with it but they seem to have upgraded the controller since I bought.
     
  18. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure mppts have come down in price since the last time I did any serious shopping, but I looked at it on a cost/watt basis. If the same or a little more money as the difference in cost would buy you a 100% increase, a larger or additional panel, why settle for 10%. Which it would at the time.
     
  19. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

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    Choices, choices, and more choices! PWM vs. MPPT, Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline, and negative ground vs. positive ground, the solar world seems to need some standardization. The best I can tell the first two are basically decided by your available space vs. your bank account. Negative vs. positive ground, really, didn't the automotive industry decide on negative ground as a standard in the 1950s? I'm glad I did some research before buying. I can't find a boxed kit that I like that isn't rather pricey, so I've been looking at components. I've found a negative ground PWM controller with temperature sensor capabilities that I like. I have more roof space than bank funds to play with so I'm leaning toward Polycrystalline. I can get a poly kit with wiring, brackets, and a cheap controller for slightly more than a mono panel.

    I'm also considering flexible panels, even though they are more expensive. I still need to do some reading on them first. My thought was affixing a couple 100 watt flexible panels directly to the roof with an adhesive eliminating brackets and holes in my roof. Unsure if this is acceptable and what type adhesive should be used if it is.
     
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