Harbor freight solar panels

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by fortunateson, Feb 18, 2010.

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  1. fortunateson
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    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

  2. Brokor
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    Brokor OPSEC ENABLED Site Supporter

  3. fortunateson
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    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Here ya go.

    http://tinyurl.com/yzd67h7

    Expires 2/21 though

    BTW, you need a separate battery regulator to make sure you don't overcharge. They sell that for 10 or $20 I think.
    And of course, it doesn't come with an inverter.
  4. Brokor
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    Brokor OPSEC ENABLED Site Supporter

    Ah In-store only. I need to get a HF in my area.
  5. dragonfly
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    dragonfly Monkey+++

    WARNING!
    Do NOT buy these solar devices!
    I own 2, I have a friend that has bought 3.
    They are NOT what they appear to be...
    They are in fact NOT the silicon type, but the el-cheapo version "amorphous" types. They LOSE 20% and more, of their initial output within 3-4 months of exposure to UV sunlight.
    They decompse rapidly!
    They are cheap, and they are pretty much a waste of your time and money!
    They have no real power output, and it only gets worse in a short period of time. Now they may be listed as 45 watts, (3-15 watt panels), But they have so little output, as to make them junk! (try 4.3 milliwatts!)
    I have a set still wrapped and in the carton from H/F, next to me, even as I write this!
    They will not even maintain a charge on a dual set of deep cycle marine batteries!
    You have to remove the wiring, when it gets dark or the "so-called" "box" they come with will kill your batteries!
    They do NOT have a charge controller.
    Buy ONLY a real set of the blue silicon types and get real charge controllers. The wiring on these is so cheap they are ludicrous to be carrying any voltage whatsoever!
    Whether you pay $149.00 to $249.00 these are junk and a waste of your time and money!
    I know, I was fooled into the same scam!
  6. Brokor
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    Brokor OPSEC ENABLED Site Supporter

    Good to know. You are quite useful, Arizona Man. :smile:
  7. toddintacoma
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    toddintacoma Monkey

    That's good to know .I was lookinat them awhile ago.
  8. dragonfly
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    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Better to let others know about all the mistakes I made, so you don't waste your time and money!
    Now, those decent "blue-silicon" ones are about $600.00 depending on what manufacturer you get them from, BUT, they are good! They put out 100 watts ( average) and well into the 3.0+ amperage range!
    Also, don't buy even the best so-called marine grade deep cycle batteries ( another serious mistake I made!) Buy the 6 volt, hi amperage, deep cycle batteries used for golf carts! You wire them so you'll still get your 12 volts output, but more than quadruple your amp hours!
    A word about invertors, buy one twice the size you plan on for needs, and you'll be 100% ahead of the game! No sense in burning out one that is rated for 2,000-4,000 watts, and discovering that the 4,000 watt "surge" is not going to save you but maybe once. Then they fry!
    Check everything you plan on using (wattage-wise) and then double it!
    Better safe than sorry!
    Buy ONLY the best, not what you can afford now, as I did!
    It cost me dearly!
    Watch out for cheap imitations and low priced items for your solar array...
    Those charge controllers can really create a disaster for you, when they blow out!
    My caretaker bought 3 in 6 months, all from Northern Tool, which is JUST a higher priced Harbor Freight!
    Now, we have to replace 4 batteries and a lot of burnt wiring!
    Buy the best!
    We didn't, and we are now in a world of hurt!
    Good luck!
  9. fireplaceguy
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    fireplaceguy Monkey+

    Good stuff, Dragonfly. I have no direct experience with the Harbor Freight setup, but when I saw the thread title I came here to post a general warning about the amorphous solar kits. You're spot on with your warnings, and I'm sorry you had to learn firsthand.

    Preparedness doesn't come cheap anyway, but it always costs more to do it wrong the first time. A quality solar setup will provide reliable electricity for decades, and is worth doing right.

    I always counsel people to take a minimalist approach - instead of trying to power everything in the house look at a system sufficient to maintain refrigeration, a couple of CF or LED lights and communications. If there's money for more that's great but you'd be surprised how civilized life is if you have a working fridge, a fire in the wood stove and a light to read by!
    radpug likes this.
  10. SLugomist
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    SLugomist Monkey+

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