Solar Panels....

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KB4MNG, Jun 23, 2019.

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  1. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Could you suggest some good solar panels. I see a bunch on ebay reasonably priced. I would like to have a set up like that is on the road side. Just not sure which ones could survive the elements 24/7. Just getting into it so would like something to be able to power a 1oo watt radio.

    thanks kb4mng
  2. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have used Grape and Renogy. Both did very well, even in hail storms.
    K7WFM likes this.
  3. N6PAT

    N6PAT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is interesting because someone in another thread is complaining that his neighbors solar panels are ruining his HF experience.
  4. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    On a small scale I bought a cheapo chinese "10w" kit panel for powering a small fan. With a 7AH UPS Battery. It really didn't keep up. Bought another commercial grade 10w panel made for gate openers, etc and its more than sufficient for that purpose. You get what you pay for.
    Regular residential panels run $150-250 and typically have 250-350w capacity. They are all from China and are all pretty good. I'd put them up against a typical hailstorm.
    In between those two extremes there is a lot of cheapo camping-grade stuff but $150 for a REAL residential panel usually whoops them.
    But, the panel cost isn't the major concern. You gotta think about controllers and batteries which cost much more than a panel(s).
    War story...I inherited a GoalZero 1250 watt unit with 250 watts worth of small panels after we got power restored here. Nice self-contained setup but boutique priced for wealthy campers. The unit only carries a 100AH battery. It was good for a few hours of FT8 operation at 50 watts after sundown.
    Here's the questions that you need to address. You say "power a 100 watt radio".. My first reaction to that is to turn it down to 50 watts! Next, are you talking about daytime or nighttime operation? A good panel will keep up during the day but are you also wanting to charge a battery for nighttime? BIG difference there.
    You gotta run all the numbers to see what you actually need. A simple solar panel isn't a plug-and-play solution.
    KI3U and KD2ACO like this.
  5. KF5LJW

    KF5LJW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Really not needed as a good pair of 6-volt golf cart batteries will last for a few days and much better charged at home with a decent 20 amp charger. If you just insist on wasting your money be prepared to waste more money on a good solar charge controller because there is only one manufacture that makes a charge controler that will not noise up the radio so bad it becomes useless made by Genasun.

    Having said that buy a 140 to 160 watt Grape Solar panerl and match it up with a Genesun GV-10 Controller. Be careful which GV-10 model you buy because they make them for FLA, AGM, Gel, NMC, and LFP.Genasun is a Marin eGrade controller, MPPT, and has noise reduction for marine nav/rad. Buy anything else and you will be sorry and double down sorry if you buy cheap POS Chi-Com PWM controller.
  6. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is this for fixed or portable use?

    (road side use vs. surviving 24/7 mentioned in the same paragraph.)
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  7. KM6CND

    KM6CND Ham Member QRZ Page

    About 15 years ago, I learned one very good lesson...

    Black panels, as you see them at Harbor Freight are affordable. I had 35 of those 15 watt panels on the roof. They all failed in less than 10 years. Avoid Black solar panels, no matter how affordable they might be.

    Also on the roof was two of those blue-like color panels that might lead you to a flashback, to the days you were flying high on LSD:p... those multi color, blue-black panels are still part of my solar array. Those panels have been in service for 20+ years.
  8. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Roadside panels that survive the elements, armored tank traffic and even bullet holes 24/7

    panel and wire.jpg global solar 42w.jpg

    IMAG0738.jpg solar card.jpg

    folding panel.jpg IMAG0814.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
    K9ASE, KF5KWO and N0TZU like this.
  9. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was thinking setting up one like the tower type setup you see on the road side. It would be permanent install. I heard I missed a setup that was at a state auction. Not sure what came with it but it did have the panel and tower.

    I almost pulled the trigger and bought a set up from harbor freight sidewalk sale but the panels did not look up to continual outdoor exposure.

    Sounds like I need to look in it some more.

    Our area is full of these government back solar farms. Farmers have stopped growing crops and leasing the land and getting good money for a 20 year lease. The problem is they are responsible for clean up once the lease expires. The panels contain chemicals that I'm sure will be an issue.

    They claim the panels never need to be cleaned, dont understand that one...
  10. AD5MB

    AD5MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Solar Panel tl;dr:

    black panels are monocrystaline. expensive, difficult to make, about 10% more efficient per square area than

    blue panels are polycrystaline.

    solar panels do not make noise. solar panels make DC. solar panel controllers and inverters make noise.

    one solar panel > one PWM charge controller > one battery > DC load

    many solar panels in series > MPPT controller > battery bank > inverter > AC load

    single worst cause of solar system fires: failure to properly torque bolts in the distribution system
    K7WFM likes this.

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