Buying Solar Panel-Advice please

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Frank
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:46 am

Is there anyone out there that recently bought a foldable/collapsable solar panel and all the required attachments to run fridge/charge battery that would be willing to share some advice/experience? I would appreciate info on supplier, model/type recommend etc. Ideally I would like to know of any reputable supplier in Western Cape/Cape Town area, however am prepared to buy from elsewhere and arrange for shipment. The main purpose of the solar panel is to run the Engel during the day & charge batteries since we will be doing some extended camping and thus need to ensure we have cold sundowners!! (I did browse through older posts but it seems they all date back to 2008 and I assume technoloyg has improved since with wider choices available nowadays!)

Thanks
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Frank
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truckin
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:03 am

hi frank,

i dont know alot about solar panels but, i had 1 a couple of years ago and it worked fine for adding power 2 the battery system while i was parked for a day or two, i know a guy in strand that might be able to help u out with the more technical stuff, give him a call Gerhart Schollz 0834008855 :shh:
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OOOOMS
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:52 am

Hi Frank, what seize / make fridge do you have?
How many batteries run your fridge or seize?
Do you know how many Amps, your fridge pulls and at what Amps?

All these questions will help determine the seize of your solar panal. Not your BUDGET :wink:

ps foldable panels the matt type are hectic in price. Fixed panel are more affordable. (fixed panels price R21 per watt) edited

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Scooter
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:12 am

Frank, give Renzo @ bushpower a call. http://www.bushpower.co.za/rentals.asp
Renzo is very clued up on solar and is always willing to give advice.
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:50 am

I'm considering adding a solar panel to my trailer.
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Know what you don't know.

OOOOMS
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Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:08 am

Try these guys in Kaya Sands
http://www.rectifier.co.za/

I have not seen cheaper...

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Frank
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Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:03 am

Guys, thanks for sharing the info! Since I am specifically looking for the foldable type (and indeed they are prioey!) I have approached Bushpower already and will follow-up with the other two leads as well.

Thanks Again!
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Frank
2.2 D/C 4x4, SFA

Hopper
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Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:34 pm

Check out Abré J Steyn's article in the Field Sports section of the May 6, 2011 issue of Farmer's Weekly magazine for some input on foldable solar panels: http://www.thinfilmsolar.co.za/docs/Far ... rticle.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; .

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Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:48 pm

I bought 2 x 80W solar panels and a 10Amp regulator from Current Automation (the same company OOOOMS referred to) in Kaya Sands recently; my intention is to deploy it semi-permanently at a bush camp
The price on the panels was R19.00/W
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Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:42 pm

Frank - I bought the 120W panel at Cape Agri (old WPK) in your dorp some time ago. Regulator and other electronic stuff attatched at the back. It neatly folds double (hinged) with space for longish cord (about 5 metres I think) inside, clips to close and sturdy carry handle. Fits into a protective outer cover. On a recent trip it ran our 72 liter National Luna, with freezer on -18 and fridge on +1, and two neon lights, for 4 nights (5 days) of bush camping in the Northern Cape. We mainly camped, maybe about 1 hour per day scenic driving on average. One whole day was cloudy, but it still charged. We used the fridge/freezer like at home - open at will - don't tell Eskom. Followed the sun, if and when I remembered. Our deep cycle battery (98 Amp/hour) never went below the magical 50 %. Bought it for around R3,500.00 if I remember correctly.
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Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:58 pm

Hi Frank
I recently bought a 90W panel with a Steca 10.10 regulator. It really works well at charging and maintaining a 105Ahr deep cycle battery. I also made a mounting rack that is bolted to the roofrack into which I fit the solar panel so that it can charge the battery and run my engel 40 whilst I am driving.
Make sure you get the German made solar panels.

Hopper
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Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:01 am

Steca is a good product but easily cooked if you make a mistake. The Phocos regulators cost a little more than the Stecas but they are way more resilient and do a better job of managing the current coming from the solar panel. Morningstar and Blue Sky are excellent brands but if you're only packing anything from 60 to 150W you probably don't need a R1000 regulator. When it comes to thin film vs glass it all comes down to space, weight and durability. If you have space issues you don't get more portable than foldable thin film solar panels. Its a solar panel in a bag a little longer than a laptop bag but as narrow. They're so tough you can squeeze them into any available space. One guy said you pack your 4x4 full and then you fit the panels into any available gaps. But if space and weight aren't a problem glass is great. Glass will obviously be cheaper than foldable panels. Its simple economy of scale. I know a guy in the Northern Cape, David, who bought a 60W masango panel after reading Abre Steyn's article in Farmer's Weekly. His mate has an 80W glass panel. They went on holiday together three months back and David compared the output of the two panels. It turns out they got very similar results. David was impressed but both guys were happy because both panels got the job done.

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Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:44 pm

In Wegry van November 2011 is 'n baie goeie artikel oor sonpanele.

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