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#286236 - 09/14/17 10:54 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6075
Loc: southern Cal
Does anyone have recommendations for a good primer on solar power basics? (Solar power for Dummies??) I would like a more robust system, but also would like to keep costs in line, and retain the advantages of portability, at least for emergency use...
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#286240 - 09/15/17 01:11 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
Ratch Offline
Stranger

Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 10
An excellent forum to consult is solarpaneltalk.com, go to the 12v rv and camping forum.

Lot of knowledgable people, number of engineers, but they can be grumpy when dealing with survivalists or environmentalists. Read the sticky posts on the various forums for a good education.

Myself, I have several small panels, 60 and 100 watt, some 40 or 50 Ah batteries, and charge controllers, plus D.C. Powered aa battery chargers etc. I standardized all my battery stuff on aa and have a supply of eneloop aa batteries.

Also a goal zero unit with some led lights. GZ tends to be expensive, so check out anker small solar panels.

Another source for,info might be modernoutpost.com, which sells stuff but has some educational articles. Also, thewirecutter.com has some ratings on some solar stuff.

Tim

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#286247 - 09/15/17 03:18 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
wileycoyote Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 269
Loc: eastern oregon
my buddy has a small solar system to recharge his portable CPAP machine. uses it when camping and blackouts.

i'm off-the-grid so solar runs this entire place, thus we don't have "black-outs" :-)

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#286248 - 09/15/17 04:48 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4620
Loc: SOCAL
I started with a Goal Zero Nomad 7 plus the Guide 10 charger. That's a nice, very portable system, great for charging AA batteries directly and other small devices through its USB output. I keep four Eneloop AA batteries in it to act as a power reserve when using the USB out.

The Nomad 7/Guide 10 is a small system though, only good for limited small items. So I recently upped the size to a 100 watt panel and a Goal Zero Yeti 400, truck portable but not something you can backpack. Quite a bit more energy storage and the ability to charge bigger items -- the Yeti 400 outputs 12 VDC, 2xUSB, 2x120VAC. But it won't run a refrigerator.

Eventually, I want a system big enough to run a refrigerator while charging a power pack large enough to run the 'fridge after the sun goes down. That's a goal, I'm not there yet.

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#286251 - 09/15/17 08:11 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: Russ]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1705
Originally Posted By: Russ
I started with a Goal Zero Nomad 7 plus the Guide 10 charger. That's a nice, very portable system, great for charging AA batteries directly and other small devices through its USB output. I keep four Eneloop AA batteries in it to act as a power reserve when using the USB out.

The Nomad 7/Guide 10 is a small system though, only good for limited small items. So I recently upped the size to a 100 watt panel and a Goal Zero Yeti 400, truck portable but not something you can backpack. Quite a bit more energy storage and the ability to charge bigger items -- the Yeti 400 outputs 12 VDC, 2xUSB, 2x120VAC. But it won't run a refrigerator.

Eventually, I want a system big enough to run a refrigerator while charging a power pack large enough to run the 'fridge after the sun goes down. That's a goal, I'm not there yet.


i used to have a Nomad 7 and Guide 10+ combo, but it won't charge mine phone. the max 1 amp output can't be sustained for long, so rather poor performance for anything that want more than 0.5 amp's from the USB.
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#286252 - 09/16/17 01:14 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
CJK Offline
Addict

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 497
Loc: FL, USA
Any thoughts on the Harbor Freight solar panel set? Any hands on experience? Was thinking of them with a deep discharge battery (ie boat) or someone said a golf cart battery. Thoughts?

I also heard that the Harbor Freight 'whisper quiet' generators are actually made by Honda. Can anyone confirm this? Would be very interested in knowing?

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#286257 - 09/16/17 05:33 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2803
Loc: La-USA
There are a few positive reviews on the Harbor Freight 100 watt solar chargers on YouTube.
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QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#286264 - 09/16/17 07:42 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
CJK Offline
Addict

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 497
Loc: FL, USA
Thanks Wildman. Good to know. I'll check on it.

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#286265 - 09/16/17 08:07 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: CJK]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1325
Originally Posted By: CJK
Any thoughts on the Harbor Freight solar panel set? Any hands on experience? Was thinking of them with a deep discharge battery (ie boat) or someone said a golf cart battery. Thoughts?

I also heard that the Harbor Freight 'whisper quiet' generators are actually made by Honda. Can anyone confirm this? Would be very interested in knowing?


You are better off with with a Renogy Panel Kit. This is what I purchased (need to purchase MC4 cable separately) then purchased another 100 watt Renogy panel. Both easily charge 2 x Group 27, 12 volt deep cycle batteries (from Costco) from which a 1000 watt pure sine waver inverter feeds 120v electrical.

At home testing has found that during long summer days, this solar system will keep a 15 cubic fridge and a 5 cubic foot freezer running on alternate times with timers. At our property up north which has no power, this system easily powers a 4 cubic fridge and all other electrical needs.

In the event of cloudy or rainy days and at night, also have a 2000 watt invertor generator (mine is a slightly different model) to help top up the batteries. Plenty of good reviews on YT of this generator.

I went with both the Renogy and Champion brands as both are US companies and offer North American support. When I first purchased my generator, it had a slight miss at idle. I called Champion Support and they sent a new carburetor which arrived in 4 days to Canada - which is impressive.

As for the golf cart battery, they certainly have their advantages but you will need 2 of them wired in series to get 12 volts to power an inverter or power 12 volt devices.

Much more info here:

https://www.solar-electric.com/learning-center/batteries-and-charging/deep-cycle-battery-faq.html

https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/articles/battery-articles/

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
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Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#286278 - 09/17/17 09:36 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2827
Loc: USA
My generator is a Champion and it's been great. The CERT I volunteer with owns a Honda EU2000i and its legendary reputation is not exaggerated.

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