Solar Panel Open Discussion/Debate/Review

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!

Lanlubber

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

4,000
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
LMAO!!! I told you I was new to this forum stuff. I just realized these things appear in reverse chronological order. My post above was in response to an inquiry that displayed 8 pages ago from 10JUL19. Sorry for my blundering into an area that has nothing to do with my reply. I'm trying folks, just learning as I go.
Join the club. Membership did not come with instructions for the forum. I don't know how many post I replied to that were months old before I found out, your doing good partner..
 

Lanlubber

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

4,000
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
FIY POSTING.. IF YOU LIVE NEAR TUCSON AZ. , AND CAN DRIVE TO PICK THESE UP TO SAVE FREIGHT, THEY ARE A TERRICIC BUY. USED ONE'S EVEN BETTER.
LANLUBBER

SanTan Solar
SUMMER SALE!!
Check out these great deals on some of our best panels!​

Brand New SunPower P17 340W Panels $110!
MAJOR discount on these brand new panels!​


  • Multicrystalline Cell
  • Higher Performance due to row-to-row shading tech
  • Parallel circuitry limits shading loss to the shaded area only

Used SunPower 327W Panels $100!
With a smaller frame, these panels pack a punch!​

Brand New SunPower P17 335W Panels $105!
These are almost gone! Get them while they last!​


 

shoredreamer

Rank VI
Member

Advocate I

3,857
Santa Cruz
Member #

2117

I have a good amount of experience and knowledge in 12v electrical, but haven’t have a lot of experience with solar. Until recently. I installed a permanent flexible panel to my vehicle power setup and so far have had very good results! The setup on my Land Cruiser is:
-70AH AGM start batt in engine
-100AH AGM aux batt in engine
-Redarc BCDC1225d DC to DC charger with built in MPPT cc below aux battery
-stock 90amp alternator
-110watt Merlin milspec flexible solar mounted to iKamper

Start battery handles winch, compressor and driving lights
Aux battery handles fridge, camp lights, tent power, usb and 12v accessories, stereo, HAM
Solar >>> Redarc 30’ circuit I used 10awg wire and SB50 connectors
Redarc >>> aux, start, and ground I used 8 awg

I have seen a lot of friends and others on forums etc that have trouble with solar or their solar cant handle what they expected and I figured I lay out my setup since it has worked flawlessly for 6 months now.

My goal with the solar was to keep my batteries topped off full if I kept the truck parked for days. Also to maximize my camp power without turning on the truck, basically to allow me to basecamp for multiple days without worry of draining my batteries. I also wanted to run my fridge 24/7 just as a good baseline test. All of these things I’ve gotten out of my setup. I haven’t turned off my ARB fridge for 60-70 days now and my batteries are happier than ever.

The one thing that is hard to figure out is who to give the credit to for making this setup so great. The Merlin panel? Redarc? The batteries? Or a combination of all of it? Another final tip or suggestion I tell people is, to mount a voltmeter and ammeter in the dash. Or have a clampmeter to be able to measure volts and amps anywhere thru your electrical setup. You will learn a lot! 9BFCBBB3-35EC-4FDC-AA02-918759DA89CC.jpeg10000 points of connection, bulletproof and highly efficient designD1FF188F-13FC-4E3B-9B2B-9B01B0D62374.jpegi got to visit the facility, hence my stoke! Merlin specializes in portable military and semi fleet flexible solar. Made in CaliforniaB739CAC7-6CED-4C90-B9D5-61E72CCCF5D1.jpegcomes with adhesive backing so super easy to mount. 31A1DA52-9ADC-40F2-9F1F-C5937C8F4B90.jpegRedarc prioritizes solar charge and can charge any battery type with multistage (proper volts and amps) charge.7D3CB76E-A884-4FFE-A400-0AEBBBEB4286.jpegin cab monitor let’s me know how my batteries are doing with a glance.
 

Lanlubber

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

4,000
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
I have a good amount of experience and knowledge in 12v electrical, but haven’t have a lot of experience with solar. Until recently. I installed a permanent flexible panel to my vehicle power setup and so far have had very good results! The setup on my Land Cruiser is:
-70AH AGM start batt in engine
-100AH AGM aux batt in engine
-Redarc BCDC1225d DC to DC charger with built in MPPT cc below aux battery
-stock 90amp alternator
-110watt Merlin milspec flexible solar mounted to iKamper

Start battery handles winch, compressor and driving lights
Aux battery handles fridge, camp lights, tent power, usb and 12v accessories, stereo, HAM
Solar >>> Redarc 30’ circuit I used 10awg wire and SB50 connectors
Redarc >>> aux, start, and ground I used 8 awg

I have seen a lot of friends and others on forums etc that have trouble with solar or their solar cant handle what they expected and I figured I lay out my setup since it has worked flawlessly for 6 months now.

My goal with the solar was to keep my batteries topped off full if I kept the truck parked for days. Also to maximize my camp power without turning on the truck, basically to allow me to basecamp for multiple days without worry of draining my batteries. I also wanted to run my fridge 24/7 just as a good baseline test. All of these things I’ve gotten out of my setup. I haven’t turned off my ARB fridge for 60-70 days now and my batteries are happier than ever.

The one thing that is hard to figure out is who to give the credit to for making this setup so great. The Merlin panel? Redarc? The batteries? Or a combination of all of it? Another final tip or suggestion I tell people is, to mount a voltmeter and ammeter in the dash. Or have a clampmeter to be able to measure volts and amps anywhere thru your electrical setup. You will learn a lot! View attachment 10895510000 points of connection, bulletproof and highly efficient designView attachment 108956i got to visit the facility, hence my stoke! Merlin specializes in portable military and semi fleet flexible solar. Made in CaliforniaView attachment 108959comes with adhesive backing so super easy to mount. View attachment 108957Redarc prioritizes solar charge and can charge any battery type with multistage (proper volts and amps) charge.View attachment 108958in cab monitor let’s me know how my batteries are doing with a glance.
Very good, the kind of report that is what we all need. I had come to the same conclusions with the exception of tying the vehicle to the solar system. Mine will be for camping only and Not a backup for the vehicle or visa versa. A solar battery can always be used to jump start a dead battery on the car if needed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: shoredreamer

smritte

Rank VI
Member

Traveler I

3,857
Ontario California
Member #

8846

Ham Callsign
KO6BI
Just wanted to add in something I learned yesterday regarding wiring. I need to refill my 10 and 12 gauge wire supply and I normally buy no less than 50ft of each color. I found a great deal on 10 gauge wire an Amazon. The price was close to half what I normally pay. Then I noticed it said "CCA". Been doing this a long time and never seen that acronym.
CCA. Copper Clad Aluminum. Stay away from aluminum wire unless you want to go way thicker. I had to use it many years ago and the general rule was, you went 3x bigger aluminum vs copper.
I try to buy good quality, fine strand wire for my projects. It will be expensive. My feed line from my panel is 25ft, 10 gauge. I use Anderson connectors at my vehicle and the solar MC4 at the panel's (that's what they came with at the panels).
 

Road

Not into ranks, titles or points.
Member

Advocate III

4,149
On the road in North America
Member #

6589

Just wanted to add in something I learned yesterday regarding wiring. I need to refill my 10 and 12 gauge wire supply and I normally buy no less than 50ft of each color. I found a great deal on 10 gauge wire an Amazon. The price was close to half what I normally pay. Then I noticed it said "CCA". Been doing this a long time and never seen that acronym.
CCA. Copper Clad Aluminum. Stay away from aluminum wire unless you want to go way thicker. I had to use it many years ago and the general rule was, you went 3x bigger aluminum vs copper.
I try to buy good quality, fine strand wire for my projects. It will be expensive. My feed line from my panel is 25ft, 10 gauge. I use Anderson connectors at my vehicle and the solar MC4 at the panel's (that's what they came with at the panels).
.

I saw that on amzn, too, @smritte and almost left a 'review' to alert unknowing purchasers not to get aluminum. I've seen cases where it has caused house fires because Happy Homers thought they could get away with using 12/3 aluminum to wire their new addition.

I got a couple 10' lengths of some great silicone covered, super flexible, 1050 strand, tinned copper, 10AWG to play with, just delivered yesterday. Nice stuff. I want to test it with my Anderson connectors first, after seeing someone say they had to go up a size, then plan on getting two 50' spools of the same so I can make up a couple 25 footers.

I think I'll get both spools black and mark the ends of my positive wires with red vinyl tape, as having red wires run through camp bugs me. I'll also combine them every foot or so with some wide black gorilla tape so I have one double cable to coil instead of two separate runs. Cheaper to get separate, as far as I've seen.

I'll be interested to see what you end up with and how it works for you.

.
 

Lanlubber

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

4,000
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
Just wanted to add in something I learned yesterday regarding wiring. I need to refill my 10 and 12 gauge wire supply and I normally buy no less than 50ft of each color. I found a great deal on 10 gauge wire an Amazon. The price was close to half what I normally pay. Then I noticed it said "CCA". Been doing this a long time and never seen that acronym.
CCA. Copper Clad Aluminum. Stay away from aluminum wire unless you want to go way thicker. I had to use it many years ago and the general rule was, you went 3x bigger aluminum vs copper.
I try to buy good quality, fine strand wire for my projects. It will be expensive. My feed line from my panel is 25ft, 10 gauge. I use Anderson connectors at my vehicle and the solar MC4 at the panel's (that's what they came with at the panels).
Being in the home building business I know from experience that aluminum is not a quality material in an electrical system. As a home building inspector I have always alerted buyers and advised against buying any home with aluminum electrical systems.
My 100w solar does not have 10ga wiring from the panels to the battery. I don't know what size it is since I have not opened it yet. From the pictures of the contents it looks to be a double 6ga positive and negative wire in an enclosed rubber like sleeve. As long as I only have a 10a charger I am not concerned with less than 10 ga. If I increase the charger to 30a I will go for the 10 ga wire.
 

Viking1204

Rank V
Member

Enthusiast III

1,721
Fort Walton Beach, FL
First Name
Scott
Last Name
S
Member #

17968

Being in the home building business I know from experience that aluminum is not a quality material in an electrical system. As a home building inspector I have always alerted buyers and advised against buying any home with aluminum electrical systems.
My 100w solar does not have 10ga wiring from the panels to the battery. I don't know what size it is since I have not opened it yet. From the pictures of the contents it looks to be a double 6ga positive and negative wire in an enclosed rubber like sleeve. As long as I only have a 10a charger I am not concerned with less than 10 ga. If I increase the charger to 30a I will go for the 10 ga wire.
If you have 6 ga already why would you switch to 10 ga? If I'm not mistaking the smaller the gauge number the larger/better the wire.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Aaron Niemi

Lanlubber

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

4,000
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
If you have 6 ga already why would you switch to 10 ga? If I'm not mistaking the smaller the gauge number the larger/better the wire.
Ops sorry you are correct. The wire is less than 10, looks very much like Maybe 12 ga. or less. The wire charts for 6-7a say if its shorter than 25 feet it can be as little as 18 ga, longer should be 16ga. Whatever it is, it's good enough for my 10a charge controller or the mfg would have put on a larger ga. wire. I will jump to 10 ga. when I enlarge the charge controller to 30a and a 300w solar set up which is my ultimate goal for my storage buildings. My portable 100w system will stay as is for now. Thanks for the error check..
 
  • Like
Reactions: Viking1204

Lanlubber

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

4,000
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
I tend to over kill my electrical. Quite often I find myself adding into my systems later with things I didn't anticipate.
I tend to over kill my electrical. Quite often I find myself adding into my systems later with things I didn't anticipate.
LOL, your still young and have 30 years ahead of you. I am ancient and wont be hear too much longer so our needs are different. I have to keep telling myself "now what do you want that for " I wont live long enough to use it up. I want a puppy too but I don't want to leave behind any orphans that someone else may not love the way I do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Viking1204

Lanlubber

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

4,000
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
I tend to over kill my electrical. Quite often I find myself adding into my systems later with things I didn't anticipate.
Yeah, overkill can be a cost saver in the long run. I made the mistake of buying a harbor Freight solar kit panels, the next time I go over to Tucson AZ. I will buy a 250w solar panel for $60. It is about the same size as all 4 -25w harbor Freight panels, give me another 150w, and made from better material. Live and learn .
 

Lanlubber

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

4,000
Mimbres, NM, USA
Member #

16986

Ham Callsign
none - BREAKER BREAKER HAND HELD CB AND WALKIE TALKIE
This is what I used to start my garage system.
If your wanting to have an off grid system, This guy's info is great and the system can grow. I will be doing something similar for my shop building that doesn't have electricity, it's cheaper than hiring an electrician and getting permits for a hard wire system.
 

KF7DGY

Rank II
Member

Traveler I

301
Carson Valley, Nevada
Member #

5848

Ham Callsign
kf7dgy
If your wanting to have an off grid system, This guy's info is great and the system can grow. I will be doing something similar for my shop building that doesn't have electricity, it's cheaper than hiring an electrician and getting permits for a hard wire system.

Why I followed his instruction.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lanlubber