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WestyDreamer
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:42 pm    Post subject: Flexible Solar Panels? Reply with quote

.
I have been searching for the right size Solar Panel for my Van and have been reluctant about drilling and filling holes in my Poptop..

Does anyone know if the Flexible Monocrystalline Type Solar Panels are Equal to the Stiff Alum Frame ones.

Example if both Panels were 100 Watts would they produce similar Output?

Also are they Durable enough to handle?

They seem to be built with the intention of hanging etc with the provided SS Eyelets. I just have no hands on experience with them.

Who's using one, what's you doing with it and how you doing it?
Or any info would be appreciated. Very Happy

I see more, and more of these showing up. Thinking of using one as a portable Panel when needed, and they appear that they are light weight and could store easily, even saw some advertised as being able to be stepped on without damaging them.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they are both rated at 100 watts, they will produce the same amount of power. That's what the rating is for. The difference will be in the size. The flexible panels are less efficient so they will be much larger. It will take more area of panel to produce the same 100 watts
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

x2...

How much for 100w(or whatever you have price for) and what dimensions? Just curious
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WestyDreamer
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
If they are both rated at 100 watts, they will produce the same amount of power. That's what the rating is for. The difference will be in the size. The flexible panels are less efficient so they will be much larger. It will take more area of panel to produce the same 100 watts



Examples attached of two 100 watt Renogy solar panels sold via Amazon.

Both are rated at 100 Watts but the hard glass alum frame ones are actually slightly larger then the Poly Semi Flexible one.

one is stated in Inches, the other in metric but these are the approx. sizes +or- half inch

Alum frame 47x21x1.5"

Flex Panel 41x 21x 1/4"

Here they are

Alum
http://www.amazon.com/RENOGY-Monocrystalline-Photo...olar+panel

Flex
http://www.amazon.com/Renogy%C2%AE-Monocrystalline...olar+panel

I've also seen these available with self stick backing used on RV's and water craft, etc

So if Both Panels are 100 watts but the Flex Panel is said to be less efficient what does that mean.. Isn't a 100 Watts a 100 Watts?

Also heard of newer developments in Flex Panels that even produce greater output..
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: solar Reply with quote

Blue Bay Bus I'll try to keep this simple. Solar is like engine HP, there is engine and rear wheel HP. Rear is always less. Solar at 100 watts at the panel is more like 50 to60 watts at end use. Also flexible costs more and will put out lower power then the solid panel, even it is rated the same. Nothing is free, you want the flexability you pay for it with higher price and less power. So the solid is more efficient in end use. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: solar Reply with quote

joseph928 wrote:
Blue Bay Bus I'll try to keep this simple. Solar is like engine HP, there is engine and rear wheel HP. Rear is always less. Solar at 100 watts at the panel is more like 50 to60 watts at end use. Also flexible costs more and will put out lower power then the solid panel, even it is rated the same. Nothing is free, you want the flexability you pay for it with higher price and less power. So the solid is more efficient in end use. Very Happy


Based on voltage? 100W will be 100W on either a flex or ridged panel, voltage will play a large roll in how many amps you are able to pull out of the panel, it's more efficient to run higher voltage into a MPPT controller and let the controller utilize the extra voltage. The efficiency of the newer flex panels are very high and should equal a ridged panel. I see no reason why a equally rated flex panel will produce any less than a ridged panel.


I just finished up installing a 330W system using 110W flex panels.

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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WestyDreamer - The panel you found us in fact a monocrystalline panel like the framed ones and will have the same efficiency and size as those. I thought you were talking about thin film panels, which are far less efficient. Look one of those up and a 100 watt panel will be about 15x220 inches and they come in a roll. The flexible panel you found looks like it would be great. I would get one and try it out if that's what you are looking for. And solar panels are not like engines. A 100 watt panel will produce that much power at rated conditions. There are factors such as temperature that will derate a panel but not as much as stated earlier.
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joseph928
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:57 pm    Post subject: solar Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
WestyDreamer - The panel you found us in fact a monocrystalline panel like the framed ones and will have the same efficiency and size as those. I thought you were talking about thin film panels, which are car less efficient. Look one of those up and a 100 watt panel will be about 15x220 inches and they come in a roll. The flexible panel you found looks like it would be great. I would get one and try it out if that's what you are looking for. And solar panels are not like engines. A 100 watt panel will produce that much power at rated conditions. There are factors such as temperature that will derate a panel but not as much as stated earlier.
You need to get a watt meter, like a kill a watt, put it after the charge controller mppt best 12 or 120 house or rv. Then read it, your will be lucky to get 50%. Of the output of the panel. I know have two on van and 20 on my house. I read my meters daily! Shocked
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Hodakaguy
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:06 pm    Post subject: Re: solar Reply with quote

joseph928 wrote:
PDXWesty wrote:
WestyDreamer - The panel you found us in fact a monocrystalline panel like the framed ones and will have the same efficiency and size as those. I thought you were talking about thin film panels, which are car less efficient. Look one of those up and a 100 watt panel will be about 15x220 inches and they come in a roll. The flexible panel you found looks like it would be great. I would get one and try it out if that's what you are looking for. And solar panels are not like engines. A 100 watt panel will produce that much power at rated conditions. There are factors such as temperature that will derate a panel but not as much as stated earlier.
You need to get a watt meter, like a kill a watt, put it after the charge controller mppt best 12 or 120 house or rv. Then read it, your will be lucky to get 50%. Of the output of the panel. I know have two on van and 20 on my house. I read my meters daily! Shocked


A lot of that will also depend on the current charge state/capacity of your batts and the load currently being drawn. If the batts are close to full and your not running a large load you won't see much current from the controller. Run the batts down some then turn on everything electrical (headlights, fridge, etc etc) and you will see the amp readings from the panels shoot right up. I can easily get the calculated amp readings from my panel setup under high load conditions.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have two mono crystalline 90 watt panels on the top of my van. They have performed great for the last 4 months on the road. I am running a tf49 truckfridge, stereo, house led lights, fan when hot at night, charging computer, accessories. When there is good sun, I don't need the alternator at all. The max watts I have seen is about 150, with a curved installation matching the curve of the roof.

All around very happy, but haven't had any crazy hail or falling coconuts to test out durability.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got the Renogy 100W thin panel. I did a write-up here:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5...p;start=40

Three months down the road, I can safely say that this panel was a good choice for me. No drilling, no messing with brackets, and much lower weight. The industrial strength velcro is holding perfectly. I wouldn't be too worried about damaging the panels. They're made to be mounted on a boat and walked on.
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WestyDreamer
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ryecatcher.
Cool, nice to hear that the Flexible Panel is working for you..

Hodakaguy
Dang... What are you doing with all of that Solar, powering Seattle Idea

I called Renogy today and spoke with there Tech-e-dude..

I asked about the differences in the two panels, and if I had one of each how would they perform in a side by side comparison.

Tech-e replied the same.. I asked him for the electrical specs, and was surprised that the Flexible Panel actually produced slightly higher amperages then the hard panel. Not a spectacular difference but the Flexible one was slightly more output..

Now all I need to do is find a few extra hundred bucks to buy a Flex Panel..

BTW saw that same Panel sold on Fleabay by Renogy $15.00 cheaper then Amazon girl with free shipping.. Laughing

http://www.ebay.com/itm/301163158004?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

I'm not looking to do a Fixed install. But to be used only as needed and when needed more as a portable Panel where and when needed. It looks like it would stow easily under the upper bunk Pad.. I also asked Renogy about if it was true that the panel could be stepped on. There reply was lightly but not intended to be walked on with hard sole shoes, or pointed objects. This also makes sense for safe hail protection since it would be stored more then exposed.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the portable renogy 100w folding panel and it has been great. (fits behind westy bunk with top down) The company is nice to work with as well. It puts out 5.9A (verified) in the sun with a discharged battery. I want to add another one of their thin panels on the roof as shown in the link above for when my van is stored (outside). I had an issue with my charge controller off the bat and they sent me a new one 2 day priority after talking with the tech guys. Its actually a decent controller as it can be adjusted to put out up to 15 volts and my Trojans need 14.8 to get charged....not many affordable controllers will do that.. The C series Zantrex and Morningstar Tristars are the only affordable ones I know of that have voltage parameter adjustments. I'm not sold on the MPPT controllers for the additional costs for smaller set ups. Hodakaguys set up is downright awesome BTW.

This is a decent controller for up to three 100w panels if you end up getting the Renogy panel. I took the controller off the panel to get rid of the voltage drop in my custom 30ft cord and mounted the controller next to the battery as it has a built in temp sensor. (also adjustable)

https://www.renogy-store.com/ViewStar-20-amp-charge-controller-LCD-display-p/ctrl-pwm20-lcd-vs.htm
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In low light conditions, my Unisolar pvl 68 watt panel, puts out similar current to what my framed Kyocera 130 watt panel does.

At High noon in full sun the pvl68 increases total current by close to 50% compared to the framed panel alone, but at 9 AM the total current is double what the Framed Kyocera could do alone, as the PVL68 is better in low light/cloudy conditions.

The Unisolar increases overall solar harvest, compared to if I had a framed 68 watt panel in parallel with my 130 watt panel.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that controller but confused by the unit's grounding requirements

"
Please Note:These are Positive Ground Controllers. If grounding is necessary, it must be completed on the positive line. If the controller is to be used on a vehicle which has battery negative on the chassis, loads connected to the controller must not have an electrical connection to the vehicle body. "

What's the scoop?

Cheers

Alistair

outwesty wrote:
I have the portable renogy 100w folding panel and it has been great. (fits behind westy bunk with top down) The company is nice to work with as well. It puts out 5.9A (verified) in the sun with a discharged battery. I want to add another one of their thin panels on the roof as shown in the link above for when my van is stored (outside). I had an issue with my charge controller off the bat and they sent me a new one 2 day priority after talking with the tech guys. Its actually a decent controller as it can be adjusted to put out up to 15 volts and my Trojans need 14.8 to get charged....not many affordable controllers will do that.. The C series Zantrex and Morningstar Tristars are the only affordable ones I know of that have voltage parameter adjustments. I'm not sold on the MPPT controllers for the additional costs for smaller set ups. Hodakaguys set up is downright awesome BTW.

This is a decent controller for up to three 100w panels if you end up getting the Renogy panel. I took the controller off the panel to get rid of the voltage drop in my custom 30ft cord and mounted the controller next to the battery as it has a built in temp sensor. (also adjustable)

https://www.renogy-store.com/ViewStar-20-amp-charge-controller-LCD-display-p/ctrl-pwm20-lcd-vs.htm

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ragnarhairybreeks wrote:
I like that controller but confused by the unit's grounding requirements


I did not understand that either. It grounds just like anything else in an automobile. I have mine grounded behind the kitchen. They really need to change the wording on that.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, if it is working for you and not letting any smoke out then I'm convinced Smile

I really like the adjustability of this unit. So many I look at have a lower than battery spec charging voltage.

Thanks for posting is,

Alistair


outwesty wrote:
ragnarhairybreeks wrote:
I like that controller but confused by the unit's grounding requirements


I did not understand that either. It grounds just like anything else in an automobile. I have mine grounded behind the kitchen. They really need to change the wording on that.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As you may know Trojan batteries need to be equalized at 15.5v once in a great while. I found that if I put an 11 inch long 1.5 inch wide piece of tape over the panel without the controller it puts out 15.5 with a few small additions of tape. I just monitor it with a good voltmeter while doing the equalization. The panel puts out 19+v with no controller. Sorry if I derailed the thread a little bit but I think its important that you charge the battery to its specs if you ever want it completely full. I just went through this headache and figured out my battery was getting close to full but not quite until I did this.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Westy Dreamer:

My experience with the Renogy 100W folding panel has been the same as that of Outwesty - - very positive. I also removed the charge controller from the panel and hard-mounted it in my Westy next to the battery.

I thought about using the flexible panels too, but ended up with the folding unit. My decision was not due to performance, but rather a combination of preventing over-height of my van and easy storage and set-up of the panel. The flexible panel will store nicely in the upper bed area and be protected there too. In use, however, you have to get the unit into the sun and I park in the shade whenever possible. The flexible panel, I presume, won't like me clumsily (AKA drunkenly) setting up at a rough-terrain campsite. Mind you, I already dropped my folding panel once, but it suffered no damage - - very nice semi-hard suitcase from Renogy.

The Velcro attachment one poster above uses for the flexible panel sounds like a great idea. But it still means parking in the sun.

The only power performance concern I would have regarding the flexible panel versus a standard panel is that mounted flush to a Westy roof, it might not get sufficient cooling for maximum output.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ragnarhairybreeks wrote:
I like that controller but confused by the unit's grounding requirements

"
Please Note:These are Positive Ground Controllers. If grounding is necessary, it must be completed on the positive line. If the controller is to be used on a vehicle which has battery negative on the chassis, loads connected to the controller must not have an electrical connection to the vehicle body. "

What's the scoop?

Cheers

Alistair



outwesty wrote:
I have the portable renogy 100w folding panel and it has been great. (fits behind westy bunk with top down) The company is nice to work with as well. It puts out 5.9A (verified) in the sun with a discharged battery. I want to add another one of their thin panels on the roof as shown in the link above for when my van is stored (outside). I had an issue with my charge controller off the bat and they sent me a new one 2 day priority after talking with the tech guys. Its actually a decent controller as it can be adjusted to put out up to 15 volts and my Trojans need 14.8 to get charged....not many affordable controllers will do that.. The C series Zantrex and Morningstar Tristars are the only affordable ones I know of that have voltage parameter adjustments. I'm not sold on the MPPT controllers for the additional costs for smaller set ups. Hodakaguys set up is downright awesome BTW.

This is a decent controller for up to three 100w panels if you end up getting the Renogy panel. I took the controller off the panel to get rid of the voltage drop in my custom 30ft cord and mounted the controller next to the battery as it has a built in temp sensor. (also adjustable)

https://www.renogy-store.com/ViewStar-20-amp-charge-controller-LCD-display-p/ctrl-pwm20-lcd-vs.htm


I've have seen several charge controllers for sale where it is listed in the Specs that the Aux power port. (the one that can power items via excess charge current) Should be wired Positive Ground. Note this is only the device that is to be powered directly from the charge controller aux power port.. Why? Question
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