A 200 dollar solar setup advise

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by Raycfe, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Suggestions for a 200 dollar solar set up. 1 panel. Surface mount controller with readout to charge 2 deep cell batteries.
    I am not a fan of harbor freight junk
     
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  2. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    Fixed or portable? Hard panel or soft folder? Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline? At that price point you'll probably be limited to about 100 watts. Amazon is a good place to start shopping as they have a wide variety of choices. Renogy is currently a popular brand for kits, I think HQST and Sunpower have been around a little longer. Dokio is a surprising late entry. Several others are available. Compare and contrast. Go to the manufacturers website and check out weights and dimensions. Compare warranties. Read the whole warranty document as different products may have different warranty terms.

    Expect that you'll be adding additional wire and quality connectors. The wire will probably be your biggest expense after the kit itself.
     
  3. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I got a 100 watt solar panel on Amazon for about a $130 and it came with a cheap controller. The only thing I needed to buy additional was battery cable. Eventually I plan to upgrade the controller to a better one later, but what I got was pretty close to plug and play. In my case because I camp under tree cover I wanted my panel to be able to move around to where I have the best sun. You will have to do your research to determine what you may be wanting/needing for your situation. Do you want to permanently install the panel or keep it mobile. If you want to be able to move it around you may want to buy a suitcase panel. Lots of different types out there.
     
  5. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    I went with the HQST, got 2 100 watt panels off Amazon a few years back. Started out with a cheap PWM controller and switched this year to a MPPT. With the MPPT controller I have close to $325
     
  6. Dave Brick

    Dave Brick El Cheapo Family Camper

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    I'm in a similar spot. My biggest confusion is regarding a negative-ground controller or positive. negative ground seems more intuitive and less apt to make a rookie mistake.

    I'd like a folding 100W panel. Renogy looks great but is more expensive.

    Feedback would be appreciated.
     
  7. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    There is no need to ground solar. What neg or pos ground means is that is the wire that is common to the batt, controller and load terminals, the REGULATION is done on the other wire. If you do not use the load terminals with the common chassis there is no issue, ie if you use the load terminals you need home runs all the way back to the controller load terminals.

    Raycfe, 100w or ~5A is relatively small for 200ah of batteries, ~20ah/day charge and perfect maintainer.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  8. Dave Brick

    Dave Brick El Cheapo Family Camper

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    Thanks for your response, Rabird, but I think I might be more confused now than before. I don't know what "load terminals with the common chassis", and "home runs all the way back", even means. Sounds like baseball, (which I DO know exceedingly well).

    I thought that "negative ground" means that I connect the wires from the charger to the battery intuitively, i.e. negative to negative, and that a "positive ground" needs to be connected from the charger positive to negative, or else you blow a fuse or worse.

    Renogy and few others seem to make a point about saying "negative ground", whereas some of the less expensive brands either say "positive ground" or nothing at all. Reading through the questions and reviews on amazon is what has led to what I thought was true regarding all of this. Some reviews write that virtually no instructions are included with the panel kit. My reading of the reviews makes it sound like negative ground is simplest, plug and play.

    Thanks Rabird, Raycfe, and others for any further input.
     
  9. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    That works for either. You will be fine.
     
  10. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Still confused ......
     
  11. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    If you overthink this you can go into "analysis paralysis" and nothing gets done. Connect the panels directly to the controller and the controller directly to the battery per the markings on the controller. Do not use the frame for ground and positive/negative ground is not an issue.
     
  12. Dave Brick

    Dave Brick El Cheapo Family Camper

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    Well thanks. That's easy.
     

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