Solar Charging Kit

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Headache
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Solar Charging Kit

Post by Headache »

I was pouting while perusing computer parts when I ran into this:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... u=S70-1008

Even Amazon sells it.

Is that worth the price and what's the math on it? I have no concept so I guess I would have to ask how long it would take to charge up a regular car battery, a deep cycle and an 8D.

I think the hardest part about buying things like this(besides not knowing what I'm doing to begin with) is the vast price fluctuation between the sellers.
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Re: Solar Charging Kit

Post by Sharkey »

Headache wrote:Is that worth the price and what's the math on it?
Simple division: $299 / 60 watts = $4.98/watt.

For less than that price you should be able to go out and buy a name-brand module from a reputable distributor that comes with a 25 year (or more) warranty. If you dig a little, you can get modules for as low as $2 a watt or less, especially if you are willing to settle for made-in-china products (which I'm sure the one you listed is)
Headache wrote:how long it would take to charge up a regular car battery, a deep cycle and an 8D.
Forever is the short answer. 60 watts isn't a lot of power. It would be a "demonstration" system only, and you'd have to watch your power consumption carefully, even in the summer. These days, a "small" system is considered 500 watts or more, while systems that provide real residential-grade power are rated in the several kilowatts level. Ask Bob how many watts of PV he has on the roof of his RV for full-timing, and he still has to use shore power or the generator to make up a shortage on cloudy days.

If you wanted to order a small PV (and I think you should so you can begin to experience it), get something that's made to be integrated into a larger system, because once you try it and like it, you'll want to add to it. Getting a good price-per-watt isn't hard, but everybody and his cat is trying to get in on the renewable energy bandwagon, and there are lots of "cheap" throw-away systems being hawked as solutions to your energy needs.

I can't even begin to images how anyone could keep a straight face and tell you that that system was $599 list price. For $10/watt, you should get inverters, charge controllers, over current protection, batteries, utility intertie, racking, and code-approved installation. $10/watt is full, turn-key price for an electrician-installed residential system.

My advice: Run away very fast.
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Headache
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Post by Headache »

Thanks Sharkey and indeed that system is made in China. I'm not a fan but in consideration of the lack of budget I'm dealing with I'd rather buy good wiring over my personal convictions.

If you don't mind, would you please link some companies/components that you consider reputable and worth it? I'm going to save money to spend on the electrical by doing the plumbing myself.

I definitely want to get on the bandwagon, anything to reduce my footprint as well as reduce my energy cost. However, with so many companies out there selling this stuff, it's really hard for someone with my lack of knowledge to figure out who can be trusted.

Now that I see Dennis is back, Big D, if you wouldn't mind tossing in your 2 cents as well I'd appreciate it.
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Post by graydawg »

I looked at the Habor Freight kits also, when I am able to go solar, I want to get ones that I can slowly add on one at a time. I also want the large panels and have plenty of room on the GRAYDAWG's roof. I am looking at not only getting the shade benefit from the panels, but the DC power as well, I don't want to get junk panels, and would rather wait and get the good ones that will be with me for a long time.

James in da GRAYDAWG
I ONCE WAS A MIGHTY GREYHOUND
I THEN GOT OLD AND RETIRED
I LOST MY SEATS AND GOT A NEW GIG
I AM NOW A HAULIN SOME OLD DAWGS &
I BECAME THE GRAYDAWG
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Headache
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Post by Headache »

Psst! Hey Bob, Dennis and Sharkey....please tell me more....I wants to learn more stuff!

I am planning on hooking up to shore power(50w) as often as possible but I know after my Dad has passed and when the time comes to uproot I will be boondocking. Therefore I do want to have some kind of system where pieces can be added to it.

Mark gave me an idea for a great spot for a genset and I'd like to save up for one of those quiet ones that runs on diesel. I just haven't figured out exactly where the exhaust will be run.

I also want to have some sort of charger going at night when I'm sleeping to recharge the batteries.

I hope there's some kind of switch or switching system I can use to flop between the charger, genset and solar.

That little system that is in ezra's thread I'm going to use in my van when I figure out where exactly I'm putting that extra battery. I don't want it inside my living quarters especially while charging.
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Post by Sharkey »

Well, it's a lot to try and teach in forum posts. I'd recommend that you pick up some copies of Home Power magazine http://www.homepower.com and begin your education. The very early issues were nut-'n'-bolts build-it-yourself because there was not much in the way of a solar industry and if you wanted more than just panels and batteries, you had to DIY. The magazine is much more a consumer guide now, but it still has great value in that they continue to run informative articles that help newcomers learn the basics.

Perhaps your local library has a subscription. If not, it's not particularly expensive to subscribe, or consider purchasing their DVD that contains 20 years worth of issues. The web site has a few sample articles from the current issue.

The adverts in the mag are also a good source for learning what's available and for locating a hardware distributor, etc.

My short advice would be to purchase any solar power gear from someone who actually installs the stuff for a living, whether or not you actually have them do the installation. No one who has to warranty installed systems will sell you junk, as they will carry only reliable gear with solid backing from the manufacturer. Forget fleaBay, Amazon, Halbol Fleight, fly-by-night and solar panels & screen door popup businesses, etc. They just want your money.
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Headache
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Post by Headache »

Thanks Sharkey! I like that I can get it online but bummed the dvd is no longer available. At least today it's not available.

I most likely won't have enough time to learn enough about it to design my own system for the bus but it will be good to at least be better informed.

Someday I want to have an electric car and maybe even live off in the woods somewhere without having to be hooked up anywhere.

In addition to the above, do you know of something along the same lines that would also assist me with the other electrical going in to the bus? I guess that would be the 12 volt and 110(or is that 120)?
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Re: Solar Charging Kit

Post by stuartcnz »

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this topic has lost several of the most recent posts! :banghead:
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