Solar panel reliable purchase store

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 08:34
ThreadID: 100788 Views:8257 Replies:11 FollowUps:20
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Gooday : I'm about to purchase a solar panel ...120 w or similar "any advice ",on that . But my new years resolution is not to buy any more cheap rubbish ....

I have looked at Waeco for $ 649
jaycar for around $450 down from $ 650
Home of 12 volt ???... but I wasn't happy with the last buy there :-(
how do you know what's good , brand names , etc

I see here they advertise ....solar energy store .. but on a thread ...Bad feed back !!!!!

cheers nick south australia






Cheers Nick b
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Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 08:57

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 08:57
I've used a mob on ebay called bit-deals solar. They have free delivery. They were reccommended to me by Ozhumvee on the EO site. Panels have been very good to date and have dropped even further in price in the 12 months since I bought mine.

Much cheaper than you've been looking at.

Cheers Mick

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Follow Up By: Member - nick b - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 09:45

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 09:45
thanks mick O : I have seen them before / recommended to me too . but the question is , are they quality !! for around $ 200 . compared to weaco at $ 650 . I don't know what can go wrong with solar panels except for the regulator ?

weaco advertise 25 years warranty on the charging of the panel !!!

I hope we can get some true facts here .
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 09:59

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 09:59
I've had some from them for a few years too. They work as advertised for me.

I really think if you pay more than about $250 ish for that size these days you are paying for someone's huge margin. Solar panels have dropped about 60% in price over the last 3 or so years, but some retailers have not dropped their price much.

Re the warranty, you could buy 3 in that time at current prices, and probably 5 - 10 sets based on the decrease in silicon prices.

Buy 2 sets of a reasonably priced unit and if one breaks you are still ahead.

As an example I use a chinese MPPT controller which cost me $80. Great unit. I see that Projecta now sell it...... for $350. It is black instead of silver and does have a Projecta logo on it though. Otherwise they are identical. If I can buy one for $80, how much would Projecta get them for?
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Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:41

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:41
As for panel warranties Nick - 25 years seems the norm across most makers that I've seen recently..... a cheap and easy claim to make of course... would the manufacturer still be there in 24 years ? ..... the devil is in the fine print though - that is just the energy output of the panel - not the panel's ability to stay in one piece.... and as usual there are conditions on the duration of performance - there are often cut-off stages for 90% and 80% warranted output etc..
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Follow Up By: Member - Bill13 - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 19:13

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 19:13
Boobook,
Do you have any more information on that Chinese MPPT controller you bought. I am just going to buy one so your information will help me.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 19:35

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 19:35
I got it direct from China but there are many of the same on ebay and many solar retailers in Australia.

The model / brand is Tracer, it is a 20A MPPT unit with a monitor display.

Search ebay for tracer MPPT. They have 10A, 20A 30A and 40A.

It is very efficient, a true MPPT and nice monitor features.

It is a great unit. Better than my 60A Outback MX60 that was $800

I highly recommend it.
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Reply By: toffytrailertrash - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 09:06

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 09:06
I have just had a set delivered from Oz Ebay they have 120w folding panels for camping, as in all you need. New black GP Panels 2012 model complete camping kit for $179.00 delivered from NSW. I had them delivered within a week.

Cheers
Merv
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Follow Up By: norm w - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 09:51

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 09:51
I brought a 140w from ebay bit-deals great service works great norm walker hobart
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:31

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:31
It seems places like Bit Deals and Ozplaza et al have good customer support - they get mentioned favorably here and elsewhere and the prices are super low. Bit Deals use Rich Solar panels - Rich have their own website. I guess any of these purchases are 'on good faith' for the first time, but the prices reduce the risk dramatically in my view (and they all have return - replace - credit - warranty policies of course). Research suggests that the solar regulators are the weak point on the very cheap deals - could be true :-o).
Comment I've seen suggests that the panels are so cheap yet still reliable to the point where people buy the kits and then fling the budget regulator, using their own preferred more expensive model.
I just took delivery of a 120W folding solar kit - $285 delivered, from Low Energy Developments via Ebay. Haven't given it a run yet (overcast - light rain - it would still gather energy I'm sure but who wants to get wet ?). The hardware, bag, fittings and accessories in the kit all appear good quality and well made . I chose this kit at a higher price, because the regulator is an advanced model, waterproof and the specs can be studied on that manufacturer's website. Low E have their own solar panel brand, obviously made by a factory in China.
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Reply By: Member - Noldi (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 12:55

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 12:55
I agree with the BIT recommendation I bought an 80W and 120W both work welll, I seem to remember $139 and $179 but would not bet on it, they are flat panels (not folding) and did not come with a regulator (which I ended up bying a morning star for around $130 from memory.


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Reply By: Maxine C - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 13:23

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 13:23
My experience is sourcing two from a firm in sydney of 120 watts each, they were at that time $388 each and included freight to Mt. Gambier, the other article I purchased was a regulator--it was rated at 20 amps. regulation, costing $90.--both panels were rated at 6.6amps each. They are of the fixed type and not fold up,judging from the pic.you would need the folding type and most come pre-wired with possibly a regulator, obviously any shopping has to take into account if the panel is wired and with a regulator.The firm in Sydney also handles the fold up type. I found them competitive compared to anything else in the market at the time (2010) unfortunately we cannot locate the supplier --they may not even exist today. However there is a supplier talking $449 for the 120 watt foldup that seems like it is somewhere in the ballpark for price. They are called Solar Camping Australia. Cannot be of much more help regards Tony C.
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 13:57

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 13:57
As Mick O said lots of folk have bought the Bit Deals panels, we've now purchased over a dozen panels, 4x125W for ourselves over two years ago, they're still going strong stuck to the roof of the Oka as well as a few folding sets of different sizes for computer illiterate friends that are still working well.
A couple of the regs supplied with the folding setups have died but cheaply replaced with a better quality unit from either China or HK.
You are better to fit a MPPT reg at the battery with folding panel setups to avoid losses in cabling anyway.
As has been said in earlier posts some retailers are having a lend of local consumers as they would be buying in bulk and would pay far less initially so markups are over the top.
Bit Deals prices have consistently fallen over the two years since we bought the first four to be at approximately half what we paid now. Currently prices are under $2 a watt and with higher voltage panels are around $1 a watt including delivery to give you an idea of prices.
Peter
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 14:03

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 14:03
Hi Nick,

here is another recommendation for Bit Deals on Ebay.

I got a 160 folding outfir from him and due to a problem with his supplier, not him, a part was missing which caused me to fry the small regulator that was supplied.

I contacted the fellow from Bit Deals and he replaced the fried regulator even though he knew I did it albeit because of missing parts.

As I said, he replaced the fried regulator and the missing parts no problem and no argument.

I would not hesitate to purchase from him again. My cousin bought a folding panel off him also and neither of us have a negative word to say about him. His prices are as competative as you can get. Have no fear using that guy.

The only other advice I can give is go as big a panel as you can given your size limitations, if you have any, and your budget, the bigger the better.
Dont forget to get a good regulator, about 20 amps will give you a bit in reserve. MPPT is best.

I find Jaycar too dear on many things.

Usual disclaimer, just another satisfied customer of Bit Deals.

Cheers, Bruce.

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Follow Up By: Member - Bill13 - Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 07:42

Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 07:42
I also am in the market for a folding solar panel to power my Engel when camping for long periods.
I found this one at Bit Deals.http://www.lowenergydevelopments.com.au/index.php?route=product/product&path=59_66&product_id=102
The controller on this unit is stated to be a MPPT controller. Has anyone bought one of these units as I am a bit skeptical that they are the real thing.
Anyone got an opinion of this?
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 09:36

Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 09:36
Hi Bill,
You say you "found this one at Bit Deals" then gave a link to Low Energy Solar developements.

I have had no experience with the Low Energy mob so cannot comment on them either way.

As far as I know there is no connection between those two different suppliers.

This one is BIT DEALS.

Note that for the same money you get a good deal.

I paid $400 for a 160 watt folding outfit just around 18 or more months ago and it had a cheap PWM regulator. Reg supplied with the above unit is a much better regulator.

Many of the members here have purchased panels from Bit Deals and therefore know what his products are like and trust him. Otherwise we would not be in a position to recommend him.

I have also purchased 2 X 200 watt panels from Marsol Industries and they are good as well. But due to Bit Deals backup service, he is a stand out supplier in my experience.

Cheers, Bruce.
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Reply By: Grizzle - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 15:00

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 15:00
I have bought a few things from Bit_Deals. i have a 95watt panel fixed to my roof rack and it has done a few thousand kilometres no problem. It keeps a 40 litre Engel and an 11 litre waeco running no problems. The covering is polycarbonate so they are light and not too rigid. Hopefully the picture gives you a good indication. No problems so far with stones thrown up.

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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 18:03

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 18:03
Hi Grizzle. Can you provide a bit more info about your setup please? Cheers
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Follow Up By: Grizzle - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 19:01

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 19:01
Pretty basic setup bazooka,

95 watt solar panel wired to a basic 10 amp controller. Probably would have gone for MPPT if I had the choice again.

The trick seems to be to wire the controller as close as possible to the batteries thus avoiding voltage drop. The panel can put up around 22v uncontrolled so if you do happen to lose some volts in the wiring you still have plenty to step down through the controller. I have an Anderson plug close to the panel so I can remove it whenever I want. The wire runs down the inside of the snorkel and into the engine bay via the air box.

The controller is hard wired in my dash. It has a voltage readout as well as LEDs so I can actually see the voltage.

As I said before a very basic setup but all I can tell you is that it works in the real world. I am SURE there are much better set-ups out there and also you must remember people do different things and have different power requirements.

I hope that explains my setup and good luck with yours1

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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:33

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:33
Thanks muchly Grizzle. Some more food for thought.
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Follow Up By: Grizzle - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 17:02

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 17:02
Happy to take a couple more pics if necessary

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Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 15:19

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 15:19
Nick, I don't know if anyone had put the link up yet. here it is.

Bit deals solar


Cheers Mick
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Reply By: Member - nick b - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 15:40

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 15:40
Thanks for all your reply's , It looks like most are very happy with there purchases .

But how do you know with solar panels what's good or not ?

any feed back on ....solar energy store !!!!

cheers
Cheers Nick b
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Follow Up By: Grizzle - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 16:06

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 16:06
I use a clamp meter to test current and I suppose also the proof is in the pudding!

A couple of guys on here who replied to your email are pretty savvy (not necessarily me!) so I suppose at some point you have to give something a shot.

Good luck

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Follow Up By: Member - Ed C (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 16:33

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 16:33
Solar Energy Store


:)

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Follow Up By: Member - daz (SA) - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 18:12

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 18:12
Well Ed
I hope Nick follows that link to save him getting burnt,
Well done
Daz
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Follow Up By: Member - nick b - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 20:39

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 20:39
Very good ED , thanks for that link ... interesting that its still being advertising here !!!! , just shows you need to be careful ...
there is a thread here regarding this too .

cheers
Cheers Nick b
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Follow Up By: Member - Ed C (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 21:15

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 21:15
There are several users (including myself) of this, and other forums,
who have first-hand experience with the 'shady' practices engaged in by this seller via ebay, particularly in relation to fraudulently labelled panels..

e.g., 80W panels labelled as 100W or 120W panels, or in my case, I purchased a 80W folding kit and received a 40W kit labelled as 80W..
Fortunately, at least some of us can tell the difference!

There can be no doubt that there would be many, many others who have no idea that they've been 'dudded', merely trusting what is printed on the sticker...

I'll leave it at that.................


:)

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Reply By: mountainman - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 20:45

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 20:45
mandrake solar has a good name.
mostly found on the my swag website
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Follow Up By: slave - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 12:34

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 12:34
Mandrake


Have found him to be very helpful.

He tests him panels before selling them and I believe that he has dropped his prices recently.

Mrs S
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Follow Up By: Member - peter w2 (VIC) - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 17:35

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 17:35
check out the one i just bought branded bosch 170w $299
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Follow Up By: Member - nick b - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 12:52

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 12:52
thanks peter ,I Have been watching your post , have you given it a run yet ?

I got a new model 140w from bit-deal ... bit over $ 200 delivered & are very happy with so far , looks to be well made ...thanks Mick O & others for your help !!!

cheers



Cheers Nick b
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