Shopping solar

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by BillyMc, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. TinyCamperPro

    TinyCamperPro Member

    Dec 27, 2018
    I actually use one of the flexible panels in our very small popup to charge a small U1 style battery. The only thing I dislike about the flexible ones is that they surface seems to be more prone to scratching...which will reduce efficiency. If I had the space to go for a full size regular glass panel, I probably would have. Even with a 50W panel and this battery, its more than enough to charge phones, power lights, water pump, and any other USB charging that we need for our 2-3 night stays.

    As said, if you can afford the more expensive panels and controllers, they will certainly give you more efficiency per cubic foot than the cheaper systems. The return on expense for more panels, I think..., is higher than getting more efficient gear.
  2. David Blackwell

    David Blackwell Member

    May 10, 2017
    San Diego, CA
    Please consider doing a little more research as opposed to slapping some flexible panels on your camper. I would like to suggest "RV with Tito" see ONE YEAR After My DIY FLEXIBLE SOLAR PANEL Installation. See also AM Solar:

    Both sites have excellent videos that may be of interest as well. I have also been looking at Sunpower's 170 watt flexible panels which, according to the them, will be available some time early this year. The goal with using flexible panels is to keep them from getting too hot i.e. heat kills flexible panels. I was going to try using a Polycarbonate Clear Twinwall Sheet (Home Depot) with VBH tape but my design changed towards a ground mounted installation.
  3. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    DFW, TX
    I have only just begun to delve into the solar world. Right now I am mainly looking at recharging battery packs while tent camping - winter and summer camp type stuff. I have found that the more I attend these things the more power I consume, and others are often mooching off my battery packs. I don't mind too much, but it does put a drain on my power reserves. I often am able to attend camp and work, thus saving a valuable vacation day or two or more, as long as I have a good cell signal to hotspot off of. Thus my power needs can be a little high. Granted, most scout camps have access to power in the HQ, dining halls, etc. but sometimes I just want to set up a chair or hammock in a quiet area and get some reports done. This year I finally made the jump and picked up some panels. In my case over the last year I got some crazy good deals on some clearance Goal Zero Sherpa 100 packs. No way would I have paid anything close to full price for these, but for less than $100 they were a great deal for my needs. I get 12V, 19V, USB and an inverter if I need it. Best of all they will charge a device while being charged, which is not something a lot of other lipo packs will do. For Xmas this year I managed to score some Nomad 20 panels on super clearance since they came out with a newer version. I looked at other panels, but for my specific needs (charging Sherpas) it made more sense to just go with a GZ panel when the price was now low enough rather than mod another one to provide the 12V output. So far my experience has been limited, but I was able to recharge/top off my packs in sun during winter camp this year with no issue, and the inverter came in handy to provide some emergency power for my camp projector when it hit 10% battery during the last 10-15 min of the movie & I had not accounted for the projector being so much higher on the tripod from the table, so the short charging cord would not reach and I was forced to rely on the power brick instead.

    This is probably about as far as I plan to get into solar though. Most of my pup camping is state parks with power (I like my A/C way too much!) so I have no need to mess with solar on the pup

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