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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you with solar; would these be worth having for $250-$300. I know the inverters and charge controllers aren't really worth much but would this be a reasonable way for someone to break into the solar field?

solar power generator kits
 

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edirPsmaP
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I was just looking at it earlier today on Amazon and it is going for $270 on there: Solar Panel
If they are willing to negotiate you could get two for the price of one!
 

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Still waiting for the zombies.
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According to the specs it's a 200 watt power inverter.

From the Amazon description (of "what's included") there is also no battery... which if there was then you could pull the 200 watts. So, instead, you're limited to the 60 watts that the panels are putting out. Basically you could run one incandescent light bulb from this system during daylight hours when the sun is shining. Or add a battery, charge it up with this setup and then you'd have 200 watts of power which is not much. It's using a modified sine wave inverter which may cause issues with more delicate electronic equipment (a true sine wave inverter is much more costly).

Consider that a low end desktop computer power supply is usally 350 watts with "decent" systems being 500+ watts...and that is not including the display or printer or.... You'd probably be able to run a modest laptop off a charged battery with the included inverter although it would have to be one of the netbook style machines to have a chance at running it direct off this system without a battery.

Many motorized appliances have an initial "surge" when they start up and then level off on their power draw. If you can find an appliance to run on this system (i.e. low enough power draw) it still may not be able to get enough power to get running even though the system would supply enough once it was running.

If you want to play and learn this is probably a great turn key option to get started. If this is to rely on post SHTF, then look for something else.
 

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My feelings on those and others just like them is that they are pure junk. For the dollar spent, you get just about nothing really. To add solar panels to them, you would need to upgrade the charge controller, and to use the power you would need batteries to go along with it. The inverter is the garden varity truck stop type, and would not run anything of any value. So, you would also need to step up on a real inverter. Also, the panel (s) are most likely made in China in some sweat shop where there is no pride in workmanship at all. Still interested in it ? PS. I live on solar totally.
 

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I invented the internet. :rofl:
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I know of a couple of them in use. They worked okay but are limited. If a person just wants to try a little solar power they're okay as long as you realize their limitations. You have the potential of 60 watts of generating capacity in full sun on arelatively cool day. If you have five hours of direct sunlight you will produce 300 watts of total power. That will run a 100 watt bulb for three hours or a laptop computer drawing 50 watts for six hours.

That's the simplified explanation. You'll need a batttery in addition to the package. We know somene who uses a set-up like that with a 12 volt pump to pump water to their garden.

Like Nadja said, they aren't going to be something you can easily add to later. They can give you some entry-level experience with solar power though. The $150.00 price is fair for what you're getting.

A 200 watt inverter won't power much. These inverters have a very low continuous run rating and will overheat and shut-down quickly if you put much of a load on them.

P.S. We live totally on solar too! :rolleyes:
 

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The wanderer
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Those of us totally on solar know that if the panels aren't facing right at the sun, and/or a cloud goes over the sun, the volts of charge drop dramatically. So your small systems like this one won't even do that 60 watts of potential charging power unless it's clear and the panels are facing the sun. The sun moves. You'd have to turn the little frame repeatedly throughout the day.

We don't have an automatic tracker on our tower of 'real' panels and we step out in the yard several times a day to turn it, like a periscope, basically. It greatly adds to our charge for the day.

I think I'd spend a little more and go to a website like Go Green Solar and order a panel or two (135-wattt panels for around $400) and a small charge controller, get a Wal-mart or Costco (or other) cheap inverter, and go from there. At least you can easily add to that system.

We started with one panel about 6 years ago and finished our system two years ago with a total of 9 panels. Love it!
 

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Mosiquitomountainman and Gypsysue, glad you are both off the grid and on solar. Should take a poll and see how many others are lurking around. When people talk about the grid going down for one reason or another, I always kinda chuckle as I don't even know it until I drive into town (26) miles and find out everything is closed because there is no power for the computer cash registars , lights and ac. LOL
 

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The wanderer
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Mosiquitomountainman and Gypsysue, glad you are both off the grid and on solar. Should take a poll and see how many others are lurking around. When people talk about the grid going down for one reason or another, I always kinda chuckle as I don't even know it until I drive into town (26) miles and find out everything is closed because there is no power for the computer cash registars , lights and ac. LOL
lol Same here! Nice, huh? :D

There are at least a handful of us totally off-grid people on the forum. They're kind of laced all through pertinent threads.
 

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lol Same here! Nice, huh? :D

There are at least a handful of us totally off-grid people on the forum. They're kind of laced all through pertinent threads.
Not only is it nice, but should the grid really go down as several people including me think will happen, we will still be able to run our refers and freezers etc. I stock extra diodes for the panels, 3 ex. charge controllers, and even a spare 2500 watt mod sine wave inverter with a large battery charger built in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the replies. The idea was to just start learning how solar work. Wouldn't be looking at it as a SHTF power supply. I knew the inverter was lame. I have a 350w I keep in my truck. Not being able to easily add on clinches it though. If I'm going to start, I want to be able to grow. Thanks everyone. :)
 

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Yep, they're pretty useless

Most people exploring solar spend a lot of money learning the hard way that there are companies that want your money, but don't want to give you anything for it. There is nothing you can do with a 200 watt system that matters, especially in an emergency. In an emergency, you need your fridge or freezer working, not a light bulb so you can save candles. When the food gets hot, you have two days, max, to eat it. We've all been through outages longer than that.

For real education on Solar before you spend money, see Sound-Wisdom.com, and call them up for free education; they don't skimp. Their system is turnkey, plug and play, and you can expand it indefinitely, adding panels and batteries, even from other companies, to the point that it will take your whole house off the grid.

Seriously. Don't waste your money. Use Sound Wisdom, and you'll be glad you did.
 

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performing monkey
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Most people exploring solar spend a lot of money learning the hard way that there are companies that want your money, but don't want to give you anything for it. There is nothing you can do with a 200 watt system that matters, especially in an emergency. In an emergency, you need your fridge or freezer working, not a light bulb so you can save candles. When the food gets hot, you have two days, max, to eat it. We've all been through outages longer than that.

For real education on Solar before you spend money, see Sound-Wisdom.com, and call them up for free education; they don't skimp. Their system is turnkey, plug and play, and you can expand it indefinitely, adding panels and batteries, even from other companies, to the point that it will take your whole house off the grid.

Seriously. Don't waste your money. Use Sound Wisdom, and you'll be glad you did.
are you going to SPAM every single solar thread pushing your product(s)?
 

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Seeking The Truth
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I have been busy reading up on this solar subject.In this catalog they have Xantrex,Samlex,Morningstar power inverters.

Prostar,TriStar,SunSaver,Xantrex,Phocos,Outback Controllers.Also KACObut high dollar,too much for me.

Sharp,Kyocra,Canadian Solar,Evergreen,CDT solar5 panels.

Which one should I consider?Last years catlog,so don't know if price has changed. Thanks.
 

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Jack of all trades?
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SoundWisdom, I personally think you need to pay for your adds rather then to keep inserting them on these sites for free. Does'nt say much for your business practices to me
No kidding.... and it's so obvious!

Not subtle at all.....
 

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I have been busy reading up on this solar subject.In this catalog they have Xantrex,Samlex,Morningstar power inverters.

Prostar,TriStar,SunSaver,Xantrex,Phocos,Outback Controllers.Also KACObut high dollar,too much for me.

Sharp,Kyocra,Canadian Solar,Evergreen,CDT solar5 panels.

Which one should I consider?Last years catlog,so don't know if price has changed. Thanks.
Choices, choices, choices. What's a person to do ? Well, I started with a small but fairly good system. I was framing a large house for a man who was starting up a solar business here locally. in the time I was out there, I started learning a lot about what brands do what and price also. Yes, it is very confusing at first. In fact , after 16 years , there is still so much new stuff which only adds to initial confusion.

Sometimes the different brands do different things, or in different ways. Lets take inverters. First of all , an inverter "inverts" 12v dc battery current to ac house type current. In can do this in 2 basic ways, which are modified or square wave current or pure sinewave ac current , which is much better and also much more expensive. Then they come in different sizes which is to say what their output current will be at max. Then they come in a couple of different styles such as grid tie or stand alone configurations. Now there are a couple of more different types which a few will offer built in battery chargers. My inverter is an older Trace 2512 which is mostly built for pure sine wave, 2500 watts, with a built in battery charger which will put out around 150 amps from either elec (grid) and or a back up gennie.
That is a lot more power then your standard battery charger can do.

There are only two different brands of inverter's that I will ever recommend. One is the Trace, which was taken over by Xantrax and the other is the Outback. By the way, all three of these brands are all designed by the same guys. Trace and Xantrax are virtually the same, the only real difference that I am aware of is that the older trace units have a clock built inside of them and the newer version xantrax does not.

Yes, it can be and often is very confusing.

Here is what I would suggest for you. Decide what you will need to run on solar. For instance my refer/freezer runs only about 14 hours a day, which is to say of that time actual running time is about 6 -7 hours as it cycles. I have it and my chest freezer on timers. After all, if they are not opened in the middle of the night , they will stay cold, especially the chest freezer. I run my 27" crt tv about 3 hours in the morning and from about 3:30 pm in the after noon to about 9:30 at night. During the day, both my wife and I both have our desk top computers on say 1/2 -3/4 of the entire day. Water pump for water, which we take our showers in late afternoon to conserve power, and of course intermitent lighting. So, by living as we do, we get by (barely) on a small system which is about 1500 - 1700 watts. With modern pricing, you can generally get panels about $3.00 per watt. When I started, you were getting a deal to get them around $4.00 per watt. My inverter was around $3,000.00 , and my charge controlers with led covers were about 275.00 ea. I have 4 on line with spares for backups. I soon learned about wiring and found that I had to upgrade all my battery cables, which after seeing the price in the stores, made my own for about 1/3 of the costs. I am in the process of re-racking all my solar, in order to make more room for future purchases, and will soon be re-wiring them in order to make them more efficient. Just finishing a complete re-wiring of my wind gennie system yesterday, which is now using two Xantrax C-60's along with my resistance dump load , rectifier etc to get the max use of it also.

Read my blogs if you wish:

Basic Getting into Solar / Wind - Survival Monkey Forums
 
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