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Anyone have experience with the H.F. 45w Solar Kit?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Bolster, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    1,149
    0
    Jul 23, 2011
    State of Stupidity
    I mostly avoid anything Harbor Freight. I am curious if this solar kit is as cheap and unreliable as many other things they sell? I've also read that there's not a lot of difference in quality of solar cells, so maybe it's decent? $149 for 45 w is pretty darned inexpensive.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/45-watt-solar-panel-kit-90599.html

    Anybody purchased one of these kits?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  2. Carry16

    Carry16

    579
    1
    Sep 7, 2004
    SW Missouri
    I do not have one - but trust me, you don't want to have one either.
     


  3. Read bad things about them. Also if you look around on Amazon, you can find higher output panels with brand names for about the same money.

    I've looked at the HF kit several times when it was on sale and the interface box it comes with just doesn't seem to be worth much to me. I'd rather get a seperate panel charge controller and battery (which you need with the HF unit anyway)
     
  4. BORNGEARHEAD

    BORNGEARHEAD

    1,344
    162
    Mar 3, 2010
    Well...they are cheap and they do work. I know a few people who have been using them for years. With that being said, I chose to start out with a single 110 watt panel off of Ebay for $255 and then bought a $90 digital 30amp charge controller. I am now running 3 110 watt panels powering 4 6volt batteries and we have all the electricity that we ever need when we are camping. Camper is all l.e.d. lighting and the fridge uses 5amps. It's also very comforting knowing we have a backup power supply if the S ever HTF.
     
  5. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    19,885
    2
    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    Lots of people complain about them, most of which have no experience with them. Then again, most complain about all things HF to begin with. Now I've had things not work from Harbor Freight but most of my experience has been positive.

    I just started a thread on this tonight after talking to my neighbor...a guy who has been using one for years and LOVES it. Are there MUCH better option out there, yup. Try building as complete a kit for the same PRICE or cheaper... please... I'd actually be curious to see it. Usually the solar experts chime in with a kit that will end up being $500+. Again, better quality and more capability. But for a starter kit, I haven't seen any others that have the controller, panels, mounting hardware and lights included for $150 +/- OTD.

    I plan on buying one tomorrow. I don't plan to run my fridge, A/C, water heater and washing machine off of it.... just a few lights/outlets.

    -Emt1581
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  6. BORNGEARHEAD

    BORNGEARHEAD

    1,344
    162
    Mar 3, 2010
    Right now Harbor Freight has their 20%off a single item coupon in our local Shopper Stopper ad. Grab a coupon and save even more loot on the kit.
     
  7. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    19,885
    2
    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    I don't think you can use the coupon on a sale item. Can anyone else comment?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  8. thekobk

    thekobk 'OP'

    54
    0
    Mar 11, 2008
    Madison Wi
    the panel's are OK but the cheap ass shunt controller in the kit will ruin your battery! best deals are on the net or if you have a Menard's near you they have a kit that has poly cells that are much better.
     
  9. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    19,885
    2
    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    Ruin the battery...how?

    Thanks for the info on the coopin.

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  10. thekobk

    thekobk 'OP'

    54
    0
    Mar 11, 2008
    Madison Wi
    constant over charge. A good charge controller should charge until it hits about 14.2 then trickle 13.8 this one sends out 14.8 forever.
     
  11. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    19,885
    2
    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    As long as you use some power each day it should be ok no?

    Is there another controller on the cheaper side that would work nicely?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
  12. thekobk

    thekobk 'OP'

    54
    0
    Mar 11, 2008
    Madison Wi
    just keep your deep cycle/marine battery's under 14.2 and you will be fine.
     
  13. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    19,885
    2
    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    Maybe putting a device on a timer to use energy every day would make sure they do not get too full. Just an idea. Again, any other more economical controllers??

    To the OP, not trying to Hi-jack here, just add information based on the HF kit is all.

    -Emt1581
     
  14. thekobk

    thekobk 'OP'

    54
    0
    Mar 11, 2008
    Madison Wi
    if you get the kit or something similar you can also find 13w compact florescent bulbs at menards. I light up my living room at night with converted lamps and I recharge all of my power tools i use for work. I also bought a large pure wave inverter.
     
  15. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    19,885
    2
    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    Take a look at the other thread I started and the links in it...THAT guy did something pretty impressive with the HF kit!!

    -Emt1581
     
  16. thekobk

    thekobk 'OP'

    54
    0
    Mar 11, 2008
    Madison Wi
    the cheapest i would recommend is the Sunforce 60032 30 Amp Digital Charge Controller but that is $83 at amazon. sorry solar gets expensive fast!
     
  17. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    19,885
    2
    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    30 Amp....I guess that makes sense given the breakers I currently have.

    As for the coupons for 20% off and such...I get their emails and can not find a one. Any links?

    EDIT: After looking at the prices and what all would be involved in using the Sunforce vs. the controller that comes with the kit I'm thinking a light hooked up to an outlet set on a timer that uses power each day would be a more economical way to keep the batteries below level every day...no?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012