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Old 26-08-2012, 07:54   #211
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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Originally Posted by 70AMX View Post
I purchased 4 panels from amazon when they were $140 each Delivered.
The panels I received were 1st quality and I am quite happy with them.
Are they the DMsolar panels?
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Old 26-08-2012, 09:50   #212
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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Are they the DMsolar panels?

Yes, I bought them from amazon when they were $120 each delivered. (I thought I paid $140 but my total was $480 for 580 watts of solar)
Fantastic Deal!
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Old 26-08-2012, 10:29   #213
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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Yes, I bought them from amazon when they were $120 each delivered. (I thought I paid $140 but my total was $480 for 580 watts of solar)
Fantastic Deal!
That is a fantastic deal!
How long ago was that?
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Old 26-08-2012, 11:16   #214
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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That is a fantastic deal!
How long ago was that?
According to Amazon: Shipped on Thursday May 31, 2012

I was originally correct with the $140 price delivered.
I had 4 orders just like this one
Price 1 of: DM 145w Polycrystalline Solar Panel
Condition: New
Sold by: DMSOLAR, LLC (seller profile)
$140.00

Item(s) Subtotal: $140.00 Shipping & Handling: $18.42 Super Saver Discount: -$18.42 ----- Total Before Tax: $140.00 Sales Tax: $0.00 -----
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Old 28-08-2012, 07:46   #215
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

I got mine for $140 to the house too. The next day after I ordered they had bumped the price up to $160 each to the house. Now they are a 2-pack for $320 to the house.
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Old 28-08-2012, 08:26   #216
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

I got my DM Solar 145 W panels in the mail and I am pleasantly surprised. The packaging was more than adequate and the mounting frame is very sturdy with a good selection of mounting holes predrilled. Temporarily I mounted them on two bimini arches with sturdy zip ties, they don't even need any mounting rails and made my bimini structure even more sturdy, but will flex a little if you try to mount them on a surface that is not level. These things are big- just fit in the back of a Mazda CX9 SUV, two of them shade the back half of my cockpit and I just took the sunbrella off that portion! Cosmetically they look pretty decent also. The MC4 connections are easy to use and I had everything up and running in about an hour.

The cheap HQRP charge controller is not ideal (again I plan to toss it in favor of a Morningstar Tristar 45 PWM soon.) The outputs to the batteries will only allow a 10AWG wire (one,) and the hardware ie screws to clamp down the wires are pretty cheap looking. So temporarily I have the battery output to one battery directly instead of the buss (which I haven't figured out yet in the mile of new wiring on the boat) and the Guest battery switch on ALL. I guess this will charge both batteries but not proportionately. It is very reassuring though as I am disconnecting from shore power in the AM for a five day ICW trip to see the little green light saying "your solar panels are charging the battery." And another one saying "your battery is full." Currently there is a cheap 5 amp Guest 2610 charger for shore power, panel with AC/12V breakers and a 50 amp alternator which I am not sure is working as I haven't figured out the multimeter either despite watching a short video of one that doesn't look anything like mine. Electricity is certainly confusing, I don't know how Ben Franklin figured it out without a guidebook. But he probably wasn't distracted changing the oil and filter, cleaning today's bird crap off the sailcover, buying provisions, filling the water tanks, topping off the diesel tank, jury rigging a mast light, finding a potion to remove stainless steel rust, and buying Azek boards to redo the rubrail all in the same day either.

Interestingly, I have a 1985 "12 Volt DC Bible" book on board that showed prices for solar panels. It was several hundred dollars for a 10W panel then.
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Old 29-08-2012, 07:17   #217
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Update on DM Solar panels: got a digital multimeter at AutoZone for $20 WITH an instruction booklet (the old analog one I had looked like my dad's slide rule and was just plain inscrutable, and was probably out of calibration anyway) which I found easy to use. I was a little worried about drilling holes to hide the wires from the bimini to the locker under the quarter berth where the two 12V deep cycle batteries are located, but looking around I found perfectly placed already drilled holes to run them through. There was even a convenient old cigarette lighter type plug right in front of the batteries in the woodwork which I removed and mounted the charge controller over, giving about an 18 inch run for the wires from the CC to the batteries. The 145W DM Solar panels measured 19.2 V in parallel in the afternoon with some shading on one panel by the radar stanchion, easy to measure on the HQRP CC with the multimeter just by putting the probes into the adjustment screw holes for +/-. The batteries (with the output leads from the CC going to only one battery) both read 14.20 V in absorption phase then 13.50 in float. Next I put the multimeter on the "special" 10 amp mode and put the probes into the solar panel inputs on the CC. Yikes, sparks instantly flew, scared the crap out of me, I guess the array is putting out more than 10 amps but I didn't try to check that again and apparently nothing was damaged.

Yesterday afternoon I pulled the shore power plug and was able to turn on lights, a radio, a hot plate and an angle grinder and could not make the batteries come off float. During the evening the batteries ran down to 12.62V before I quit checking them frequently out of curiosity (that multimeter gets addicting.) I can highly recommend these "best bang for the buck" panels and this simple setup to anyone that is intimidated by doing their own solar installation.
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Old 29-08-2012, 10:11   #218
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Azul-
The ammeter fuse in most multimeters will blow instantly if overloaded, so you might want to open it up and check that. They are usually some not-quite-common type that you have to orer replacements for. Don't replace it with a more common "slow blow" type.
While you've still got the manual around, look for the section on specs. Make a mental note, or use a sharpie on the back of the meter, and note the DC accuracy of the meter, which may be something like "1% plus or minus 3LSD" meaning, it is accurate to 1% of the reading, except the rightmost digit may be off by 3 digits beyon that. Typical for inexpensive meters.
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Old 29-08-2012, 12:13   #219
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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... Next I put the multimeter on the "special" 10 amp mode and put the probes into the solar panel inputs on the CC. Yikes, sparks instantly flew, scared the crap out of me, I guess the array is putting out more than 10 amps but I didn't try to check that again and apparently nothing was damaged.
Azul, did you put the meter in series or in parallel to check the current? Hope you don't think this is an insulting questions, but you did say it was new to you.

Voltage drops are checked in parallel The meter is very high resistance in that mode, so all the current goes through the circuit you're checking.

Current measurements are done in series (you have to undo wires and insert the meter like it's part of the circuit) so the current goes through the meter. The meter is in a very low resistance mode in this configuration, so if you put the meter in parallel to the circuit while you're in current mode, you'll be changing the circuit. If you do this on the battery side of your cc, you'll short your batteries to ground and get huge current (enough to blow fuses or do damage if there is no fuse).

Sorry if that was obvious stuff. If you're just trying to check the short circuit current on the panels, I'd disconnect them from the cc before testing, and the sticker on the bottom of the panel should tell you what the expected short circuit current is for comparison.
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Old 29-08-2012, 20:15   #220
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

I had a "feel good" moment yesterday while I worked cleaning up an installation problem with a fuel pump. It was around 12:30-1:00PM when I noticed that my two panels were outputing over 13 amperes!!! THAT WAS FANTASTIC! the panels are just laying flat on my rear hardtop, no aiming.

I have two more in shipping, should be here tomorrow but I will miss getting them installed before this upcoming holiday.

So far, things look great. With the additional purchase, it appears that I can expect to see charging current in excess of 20 amperes. Now the sun's angle is rapidly falling, time to look ahead to getting the maximum from the panels next season. There may be better panels out there, I though am well pleased with my purchase.

Foggy
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Old 20-03-2013, 10:53   #221
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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I have been looking at generators. Now I'd like to consider solar panels which offer huge advantages such as no moving parts, quiet, reliable and non-flammable. I'd like to satisfy on average 120 Ah/day (in Florida) as an initial starting point. From what I've read so far that may require three 120 Watt panels or two 180 Watt panels. It seems that the $/watt would be considerably less in the latter case. I would very much appreciate recommendations for types of panels and charge controllers that are reliable and cost effective. Thanks
Pete
I am really interesting in installing solar panels and I have been researching for this, so I hope this will help your generator problem and I would appreciate if you guys give me some information about how to install and what is best to buy for a small house. I have found this: Tips for Installation of Solar Panels | Regen Electronics
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Old 21-03-2013, 06:43   #222
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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I am really interesting in installing solar panels and I have been researching for this, so I hope this will help your generator problem and I would appreciate if you guys give me some information about how to install and what is best to buy for a small house. I have found this: Tips for Installation of Solar Panels | Regen Electronics
Here is a good place to go for home base stuff. A lot of these people live off grid so speak from experience.

Solar Electric Power Discussion Forum by Northern Arizona Wind & Sun
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Old 24-03-2013, 02:23   #223
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Re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Got these from china very light and very flexible (30%) but most off all weight wise 100w 2.5kg.... 300w 9kg. You just have to order a lot...
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