Harbor Freight solar panel kit

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Harbor Freight solar panel kit

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:10 pm

Thought this was pretty cool, and on sale right now:

http://www.harborfreight.com/45-watt-so ... 90599.html


Seems decent enough in price, and at only 12 x 36 a panel, that is totally car transportable. Thought I would pass along the link in case it can help anyone.

Has anyone ever tried one of these?
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Postby mthyer » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:21 pm

The charge controller that comes with it is likely to ruin your battery. You’ll never see the rated out-put from that collection either. And make sure you carry a multi-meter with you so you can troubleshoot any issues you might experience along the way.

It’s cheap and there’s a reason.
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Postby Token » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:22 pm

That's a pretty good deal. If the quality is good enough, and with HF you never know, it might be a steal of a deal.

Anyone get this? What's the verdict.

I'm tempted.
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Postby Token » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:24 pm

Groovy Mthyer, thanks for the heads up. I figured with HF. You get what you pay for.
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Postby junglesmacks » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:26 pm

mthyer wrote:The charge controller that comes with it is likely to ruin your battery. You’ll never see the rated out-put from that collection either. And make sure you carry a multi-meter with you so you can troubleshoot any issues you might experience along the way.



What is your experience with this though? Direct or is this assumed info?

Check out the direct customer reviews and comments. They all seem to be very satisfied with it. I'd say it's a good buy..

In fact, check out these guys.. they did a whole blog on it:
http://www.quitecurious.com/boris-gets- ... ar-panels/
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Postby Just_Joe » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:42 pm

junglesmacks wrote:What is your experience with this though? Direct or is this assumed info?


I bought one of the harbor freight kits this Spring..... The controller failed after a couple days. They replaced it and the replacement has worked fine. One nice thing abut the controller is that it's got a bunch of outputs of various voltages- even a USB output. In full sun, the 3 panels provide 2.4 amps of current. 8? hours x 2.4 amps = ~20 amps.


This unit is now my backup, but I'll be setting it up on playa for anyone that needs a bump.
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Postby Packoderm » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:48 pm

I bought this same setup about a week and a half ago. I hooked it up, and it seems to work fine. It comes with two cool 12 volt fluorescent lamps and bulbs. I'll have to come up with some kine of wind resistant frame for the panels. If you print out the ad in your link, the retail store is likely to honor the online sale price.
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Postby mthyer » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:35 pm

junglesmacks wrote:What is your experience with this though? Direct or is this assumed info?


My experience with the product was direct and since I periodically live out of my Vanagon I may have used it much harder than it was ever intended to be used. I also had an older version of the product; my charge controller didn’t have all the nifty output options.

I just replaced everything with a 50W set-up from Mr. Solar . Their RV kits are pretty nice, reasonably priced, and come with a reliable charge controller. Plus, since I installed it I’ve tested it every day and it always tests out near its rated maximums. Even when the HF kit I had was working it never came close to its rated output, usually producing about half of what I expected regardless of conditions. Don’t get me wrong, for the money it’s a deal, but not something you’d want to rely on for any extended amount of time.
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Postby AntiM » Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:28 pm

We have had one for years. Haul it to the playa annually, don't use it, haul it back. Works just fine that way. We have a suitcase one, about 13 w which has more than handled our modest battery needs.
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Love This Kit

Postby digirati.agent » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:48 pm

For the money it is a steal. There is a huge online community of people who have done great things with it. I have built on to it myself and will have my setup out on the playa this year.
As for making it playa durable...

I drilled out some places for machine screws to hold the flimsy frame together. I then took some aluminum and make a simple plate attached to the bottom of it that I set my battery on. The weight of a heavy duty deep cycle marine battery (which is what you should use with this) will keep it anchored down in any amount of wind. But you can add some rebar stakes around it if you want as well. The panels I am attaching with bungee to the frame.
Once you get it set up... you can add a simple AC inverter if you have appliances that require it instead of DC.
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