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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Getting solar panels shipped to me isn't easy, as often they will not ship to a "PO Box", in spite of no size restrictions (let's leave that for another thread).

I'm traveling for a week or two and thought I might take advantage of the fact I'm traveling to a family member's fixed address where I can have some panels delivered. I HAVE NOT done any sort of extensive research on panels, and I hesitate to purchase some of the ubiquitous "cheap" panels, but I've also not heard many complaints about them.

So, quick question: Am I making a horrible mistake purchasing 2x of these? (for a total of 4 panels, 12V/400W)


I haven't given much thought to the mounting, but I already have aluminum T-slot rails on my roof, so can probably rig up something simple with a bit of aluminum angle or tube. Even if it takes me a while to get them mounted, there are some opportunities here and there where I'd be able to manually set out the panels on the ground.

So, bad idea to rush this? Or best to take advantage of the situation ahead?
 

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That's as good a solution as any. I'd consider higher voltage panels, though. Depending on your controller of choice, you might run those in series-parallel to get 24V-ish but if you get 24V panels, you run parallel and less possible shading issues. (or go 48V depending on controller - you get the idea)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's as good a solution as any. I'd consider higher voltage panels, though. Depending on your controller of choice, you might run those in series-parallel to get 24V-ish but if you get 24V panels, you run parallel and less possible shading issues. (or go 48V depending on controller - you get the idea)
Thanks for the quick feedback. I essentially have a DCC50S already (slightly different model number), with a max solar input voltage of 25V. The panels state their open circuit voltage at 22.3V and the "optimum" operating voltage at 18.6V. So, given these parameters I don't think I'd want any of them in series. I'm under the max 660W that the controller can handle with the 4x100W configuration.

I can always change the wiring configuration in the future if I discover there's good reason to do so.
 
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Us or Canada ?
You can pick up packages from the UPS Store for $5 in the US.
If Canada I think Home Depot sales solar panels where you could pick up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Us or Canada ?
You can pick up packages from the UPS Store for $5 in the US.
If Canada I think Home Depot sales solar panels where you could pick up.
We Canadians don't get access to the same variety of stuff that you guys south of the border do. If the border was open to vehicle traffic, I may even consider a physical shopping trip.

I've had input from a few sources, and it doesn't look like a really horrible decision from here. I'll be sure to let everyone know if it ends up going bad!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This might be worth a watch for you:
Top 4 Amazon.com 100w Solar Panels Tested! Renogy vs. HQST vs. Rich Solar vs. NewPowa - YouTube
Spoiler - he found that the renogy and HQST are almost identical with the HQST having a couple extra mounting holes - so they 'won' the competition.

You could save a few bucks and get the same panel from HQST though - I believe it's this one 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel | HQST Solar (hqsolarpower.com)
Could be an option for someone, but shipping to Canada might be a problem. They mention free shipping to the lower 48, and surcharges elsewhere. No mention of Canada or international destinations.

 

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Suggest one panel to eliminate the roof rack and make cabling simpler. Lower install without wind noise.

Solar System | Orton Travel Transit (ortontransit.info)

Electrical suppliers sell panels that can be picked up from the supplier's store. That saves expensive truck shipping. Do not know where you live but Platt Electric in our area has many panel choices. I have a 300 watt panel but today would buy a 375 watt panel.

Recommend a single high voltage panel used on houses combined with a MPPT solar controller. The MPPT controller converts panel high voltage/low amperage to charging voltage/ higher amperage.
 

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DIYVan has some good options for mounting to 80/20. I got the 2 hole and 3 hole plates and it's working well. Some flat aluminum can do the same.

The 200w renogy panels fit width wise, might consider 2 of those to save on attachments, wiring and size.

The single panel from solaria looks good too if it's sold in Canada. A couple of the custom electric kit companies here recommend that panel.
 

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Getting solar panels shipped to me isn't easy, as often they will not ship to a "PO Box", in spite of no size restrictions (let's leave that for another thread).

I'm traveling for a week or two and thought I might take advantage of the fact I'm traveling to a family member's fixed address where I can have some panels delivered. I HAVE NOT done any sort of extensive research on panels, and I hesitate to purchase some of the ubiquitous "cheap" panels, but I've also not heard many complaints about them.

So, quick question: Am I making a horrible mistake purchasing 2x of these? (for a total of 4 panels, 12V/400W)


I haven't given much thought to the mounting, but I already have aluminum T-slot rails on my roof, so can probably rig up something simple with a bit of aluminum angle or tube. Even if it takes me a while to get them mounted, there are some opportunities here and there where I'd be able to manually set out the panels on the ground.

So, bad idea to rush this? Or best to take advantage of the situation ahead?
I have 4 Renogy 100 watt panels (same ones you show) that have been in service for 6 months, so far so good. I have them hooked up in series/parallel (2/2) going to a Victron MPPT 100/50 charging 4-100amp Battle Born's. So far I am happy with it.
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I wouldn't buy anything but the Eclipses from Renogy. Their other panels don't do well when they start to heat up. In general, I try to stick to panels with the Maxeon cells. Besides having better efficiency, their NOCT ratings are pretty accurate.
 

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I wouldn't buy anything but the Eclipses from Renogy. Their other panels don't do well when they start to heat up. In general, I try to stick to panels with the Maxeon cells. Besides having better efficiency, their NOCT ratings are pretty accurate.
Boy that's a lot of solar real estate! Very cool, high tech set-up. What are you powering with that? Have been taking readings on mine during this hot summer (in the 90's almost every day) and the output is still what I will need. I wanted the compact panels so i could fit the two Maxxairs on the roof and didn't want the panels being mounted beyond the roof gutter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have 4 Renogy 100 watt panels (same ones you show) that have been in service for 6 months, so far so good. I have them hooked up in series/parallel (2/2) going to a Victron MPPT 100/50 charging 4-100amp Battle Born's. So far I am happy with it.
How do you like the telescopic ladder I see in the picture? I'm looking at getting something similar.
 

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I'm in a similar quandry. I'm close to done with the first stage of electric. Getting the batteries, charge controller and inverter in. After the 12V is stuff added I'm going to circle back for the solar.

Been up on the Renogy site a few times. Was debating the cheaper 100w panels vs the larger 150, 175 and 200w panels. Sure would be nice to have 2 big panels instead of 4 small ones.
Met a fella in town a couple days ago with the flexible panels. He used double sided tape to attach his to the roof of his Transit 250. Looks like he did the whole roof that way. Says it's working great. But I've heard the flexible panels are less durable and heat up more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm in a similar quandry. I'm close to done with the first stage of electric. Getting the batteries, charge controller and inverter in. After the 12V is stuff added I'm going to circle back for the solar.

Been up on the Renogy site a few times. Was debating the cheaper 100w panels vs the larger 150, 175 and 200w panels. Sure would be nice to have 2 big panels instead of 4 small ones.
Met a fella in town a couple days ago with the flexible panels. He used double sided tape to attach his to the roof of his Transit 250. Looks like he did the whole roof that way. Says it's working great. But I've heard the flexible panels are less durable and heat up more.
Yup, all valid questions/musings. I often suffer from overthinking things, so I'm trying my best to keep it simple this time around. I did end up getting the panels first mentioned and they're in my hands. I'm just now working on the mounting and wiring details. I was debating between screw-mounted angle, adhesive corner mounts, and rack mounting. I'm going down the rack mount road because I already have aluminum C-channel roof rails (similar to Unistrut), plus rack mounting will give me the maximum amount of flexibility for future changes. It does put them a little higher up than I'd prefer, but I'm going to mount them as close to the vehicle centreline as possible to minimize visibility from the ground.

Other than that, the only thing I've checked is that they give me an open circuit voltage around 20V on a very cloudy day in the shadow of a mountain, lower mainland, BC.
 
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How do you like the telescopic ladder I see in the picture? I'm looking at getting something similar.
It's pretty good. Just under 20 pounds. The only problem there has been is that it sometimes seems to get some condensate in it. I think this happens when the air compresses when it is collapsing and on occasion this has made one of the sections hard to collapse and you have to pull it down to get it past that. Otherwise it is great. Here's the amazon link: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LF9LPT1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Obviously supporting the long side of the panels would give the best support. Does anyone want to defend the claim that I'll have problems only supporting the panels from the short ends?

I could do exactly the same thing as shown below with them turned 90 degrees, but I'd need two more crossbars. Worth the extra cost/work to do it that way?

Rectangle Slope Parallel Font Diagram
 

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Personal guess is they'd be fine both ways. That said, I'd probably run the other way and use lightweight T-rails to mount if possible - as you say, a bit better support - and can be done with very little weight addition. We did them WAY heavier mounted than necessary (planning to tilt) and would not have done so if not tilting them.
 
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