Looking for a durable solid solar panel.

Mayne

Explorer
Any name or other brand recomendations for 80/85 watt panels that seem to hold up well to travel. I want to spend the money here for a power generation for my batteries, and possible buy another simalar panel later.

Mayne
 

DontPanic42

Adventurer
I have been using a 100 W unit from AMSolar for the past several years. The controller they supplied with it will handle up to 4 units. They use polycrystalline cells from BP.
 

JIMBO

Expedition Leader
:victory: Going into my third summer with SUNFORCE 60 WATT

Still puts out 23 volts(before controller)

No moving parts !!!

:Wow1::wings::safari-rig::safari-rig: JIMBO
 

dzzz

I'm looking too. I would like a thin, strong panel. These things must be durable. People seldom complain.
An area that makes more power difference for people who don't sit still is the alternator. Specifically the regulator for the alternator. Automotive regulators are designed to charge starting batteries. These regulators can be replaced, but it gets complicated. The simple manual way to properly charge a house battery from an auto regulator is to let it charge up to about 90% of capacity, and let the solar slowly do the remaining 10%. The solar, and plug in chargers (if one exists) should be three stage and specifically mention the battery type. "Smart" chargers aren't as good.
Xantrec is the easy higher end choice for all these chargers, although others like Outback are in the same class. In my build I'm installing Three Xantrec products: XAR on one of two alternators, C40 for solar, and RV3000 for inverter and plug-in charger.
Don't mean to redirect the thread. Buying the right solar panels is my primary to-do electrical item.
Oh, as far as panels, if the solar charger can handle higher voltage input (better ones can handle up to 48v), higher voltages can be sent from the roof and lowered to 12v by the charger. This allow smaller wire and more efficient transfer - more bang for the buck. But only if the solar charger can do multiple voltages.. For a single panel install I wouldn't worry about it.
 

Martyn

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0018
When we looked into solid solar panels what we found was a lot of good panels but not very many companies making stout frames. We ended up going with Carmanah panels because they offered both well made panels and well made frames.

That said solid panels can be damaged relatively easily, especially in the environment we travel in, which is why we recently started to move toward the flexible folding panels.

Our choice here was to go with Powerfilm, due to their high quality and military grade components. These panels pack away into a very small package, they are durable, and they are easily transferred from one application to another. This could be from one vehicle to an other, a trailer to a vehicle, for back up power in a house or cabin, or power when backpacking.
 

Mayne

Explorer
When we looked into solid solar panels what we found was a lot of good panels but not very many companies making stout frames. We ended up going with Carmanah panels because they offered both well made panels and well made frames.

That said solid panels can be damaged relatively easily, especially in the environment we travel in, which is why we recently started to move toward the flexible folding panels.

Our choice here was to go with Powerfilm, due to their high quality and military grade components. These panels pack away into a very small package, they are durable, and they are easily transferred from one application to another. This could be from one vehicle to an other, a trailer to a vehicle, for back up power in a house or cabin, or power when backpacking.

I would love to go with power film, but for me the cost is prohibitive. It's almost double the cost of some of the ridged panels in the same watt range that I've seen. I will check out the Carmana though, I don't know what they are going for in price.

Are the frames on the other non carmana panels some thing that can be made more sturdy, like seting them in a welded frame? I know it would add weight.

Mayne
 

jesusgatos

Explorer
I've been doing a lot of solar research lately, and I'm leaning towards AMsolar. Their products are unique and they have been able to answer all of my questions. A lot of places that sell solar equipment don't seem to know anything about it, or don't want to take the time to educate potential customers. Something to consider when buying anything with a 20-25yr warranty...
 
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