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syncrodoka Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:03 pm

I have been looking at adding solar to my van and the idea of a panel mounted full time sounds like a invite for some dirtbag to mess with my van or for it to be damaged by the redwood tree it sits under.
The price seems good at $169 for a folding 100 watt solar panel with a charge controller. Do the specs sound any good?

http://www.solarblvd.com/Solar-Panels-&-System..._info.html

DAV!D Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:15 am

While those are pretty cool for a non permeant mounted solution, what you have to ask yourself, is how much power do you need?

100 watts isn't a lot but it will recharge a battery, but it does take some time. Just keep in mind that you aren't powering stuff by solar, but rather your battery and the solar is just recharging your battery. This means you need to figure out how much power you use in order to get a better idea if a panel will fit your needs.

Also keep in mind, that is just one more thing you will have to lug around and set up and will only charge if you set it up you will have to monitor it. Meanwhile a perm mount will always been making power, but will require a charge controller.

crazyvwvanman Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:22 am

It looks pretty good and I was thinking of getting one. 100 watt may be more than you need but it is a reasonable physical size. I question the weight spec though, that sounds light. Anyone get one yet?

Mark

syncrodoka wrote: I have been looking at adding solar to my van and the idea of a panel mounted full time sounds like a invite for some dirtbag to mess with my van or for it to be damaged by the redwood tree it sits under.
The price seems good at $169 for a folding 100 watt solar panel with a charge controller. Do the specs sound any good?

http://www.solarblvd.com/Solar-Panels-&-System..._info.html

madspaniard Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:31 am

Funny, I spent some time two nights ago online looking for 100w portable/foldable panels. This one looks very well priced. Thinking of buying it. I didn't find any info on the charge controller?

PDXWesty Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:34 am

I just bought the 120v folding panel. I got a notification email yesterday that they were back in stock and by today the 160watt panels were already sold out. Just 120 and 100 watt panels left. I don't plan on using the charge controller because I already have on on my van.

Act now cause they seem to go fast!

Thet were also discussed a while ago in this thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=564005

madspaniard Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:15 am

PDXWesty wrote: I just bought the 120v folding panel.

Does it fit in the luggage rack? folded?

PDXWesty Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:19 am

madspaniard wrote: PDXWesty wrote: I just bought the 120v folding panel.

Does it fit in the luggage rack? folded?

I don't think so. 33"x23" is the size it says. It should be delivered next week.

dobryan Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:11 pm

That's a good price. Go for it and let us know how it works. 100W can keep you powered for a lot of things.

madspaniard Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:32 pm

PDXWesty wrote: madspaniard wrote: PDXWesty wrote: I just bought the 120v folding panel.

Does it fit in the luggage rack? folded?

I don't think so. 33"x23" is the size it says. It should be delivered next week.

yeah, it looks like neither the 100W nor the 120W would fit up there folded but they could easily travel on top of the rear bed cushion over the engine.

joseph928 Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:43 pm

That is a good price, but also at that price it will have a low cost charge controller. Also 100 sounds good , but will only have about 80% of that at 12 noon. And early AM and late PM will only put out 20% of that. And on a overcast day you only will get 15% of that output. Keep that on your mind and figure out your power needs! If you want to up those numbers you will need a MPPT charge controller. But then more cost.:D

Vinzanto Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:50 pm

My 100 watt Bosch panel was putting out 1.5 amps on a semi-overcast day and seems to keep up very well especially on clear days. I have been on the road for over 4 months and 7,000 miles and have had no issues with a weak, undercharged or dead battery. I use my lap-top frequently along with having the interior of the van lit throughout the evenings for several hours while listening to music.

dobryan Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:14 pm

Yep, it all depends on what your power needs are.... :D

joseph928 Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:19 pm

Vinzanto wrote: My 100 watt Bosch panel was putting out 1.5 amps on a semi-overcast day and seems to keep up very well especially on clear days. I have been on the road for over 4 months and 7,000 miles and have had no issues with a weak, undercharged or dead battery. I use my lap-top frequently along with having the interior of the van lit throughout the evenings for several hours while listening to music. OK Bosch cost more and are some of the best out there. They will put out a little more then the cheap ones! Well 1.5 out of an output of 5.56 amps is only a little over 25% of there output. With an elec. fridg. If you have one, and all you run good luck. Hope you have lots of clear days. The OP panel is at 5.72 amps at full power so will compare well with the Bosch. :D

madspaniard Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:29 pm

I think the OP is more interested in whether this panel looks like will perform fine compared to others on the market. Lots of discussions already about calculating your personal power demand.

syncrodoka Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:50 am

madspaniard wrote: I think the OP is more interested in whether this panel looks like will perform fine compared to others on the market.
Yes, i am would like to know of any obvious hints that it is subpar for the cost or a deal for what it is.

DAV!D Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:06 am

syncrodoka wrote: madspaniard wrote: I think the OP is more interested in whether this panel looks like will perform fine compared to others on the market.
Yes, i am would like to know of any obvious hints that it is subpar for the cost or a deal for what it is.

I don't think you will find a folding unit like that any cheaper, but you will have to assume the charge controller isn't a high end one. It will most likely work fine for giving you a simple way to recharge your battery while camping.

I bought my 3x100 watt panels from solarblvd and they seemed pretty legit and are always one of the cheapest places to buy. Just keep in mind that many of the panels they sell are Chinese, but that isn't all bad.

Mine are Chinese panels and I've yet to really find any fault with them. They seem to be well made. I can't say for sure if these panels are Chinese but I'd just assume they are by the price.

madspaniard Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:29 am

DAV!D wrote:
I don't think you will find a folding unit like that any cheaper, but you will have to assume the charge controller isn't a high end one.

Yes, that was my thought too and why I mentioned there is no info on the charge controller. It will probably be OK.

In my case I already have a charge controller in place, like PDXWesty, so I'm not worried about it.

PDXWesty Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:23 am

The panels are Monocrystalline cells which are currently the most efficient cells so you will get more output for the size. I've been watching panel prices for years and these are pretty good considering the set up. You could buy two panel cheaper but you wouldn't get the hinges, latches, corner guards, stand and wiring. The little extra for all that makes it worth it to me.

llamaman Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:22 pm

I have a 100 w solid panel. I store it in the upper bunk. simply by unsnapping the upper mattress from the plywood base and sliding it back. The panel slips perfectly in the space as the mattress is pushed to the back. It is secure and out of sight. I also have a 20 foot feed wire on it to allow placement in the sun. I'm considering a Yakima rack mount also.

I also have a charge controller in the van, I'm replacing a 7 amp controller from a 'Chinese freight supply in the Harbor' after I smelled the thing heat up. I now have a 30 A Sunforce Solar charge controller. It is more than I need, but I figure the trade off is worth it and the quality options seemed limited. They are on sale at a Marine store in the West.

morymob Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:38 am

I have 2 of the same panels and same sunforce controller, nowi need to order the mc-4 connectors, also have 50 ft of wire 4 a ? length moveable panel, then the fun begins.Battery addo still looking, 200 $ 4 a 1yr TROJAN?? a batt by the way.



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