Engel - Power Film Solar Foldable 90 Watt

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 11:06
ThreadID: 101425 Views:6833 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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Hello

Now I realise these are not the most economical/efficient solution to solar power but like the small size and low weight so am considering its overall suitability.

Power Film Panels

Specs state that the 90W version produces 15.V/5.4Amps under ideal conditions.

My main concern is its ability, as purchased, to charge a car battery. It seems to be promoted as able to “Power to charge the widest range of electronic devices”. My limited research to date suggests it comes with a female cigarette lighter plug into which you attached whatever you wish to power which is fine…but how do you go about connecting it to a car battery?

I assume some additional connectors and possibly a regulator/controller would be required or is it ready to go as is? It comes with a regulator/controller (I am lead to believe) but I am unsure if the configuration is suited for direct charging of a car battery or if its just for direct power/charging of other "electronic equipment".

So, anyone out there been using one of these to charge a battery? Any other comments?

Cheers
Greg
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 14:07

Tuesday, Apr 02, 2013 at 14:07
Awfully expensive for the power delivered - these things are made to satisfy applications where flexibility is a must - where rigid panels will do, you can get ten times that output for that money. In most applications a regulator will be required and it seems there isn't even one included ! As for those particular performance claims - in my view, that's just promo-babble - the product's technical specs are the real story. There is an extensive solar article on this site (Articles tab) by the solar guru Collyn Rivers (in particular, see his Standard Operating Conditions section). As Collyn points out, manufacturers can legally rate their panels with nominal wattages, knowing that most users will virtually never get within cooee of those output figures (basic physics rears it's ugly head yet again :-o).
AnswerID: 508023

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 10:33

Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 10:33
Thanks Darian

I shall have a read of the article and get up to speed on the basics.

Cheers
Greg
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 07:54

Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 07:54
Hi Greg

They may be dear,but they have many more features over standard solar panels.

First is weight, 1 kg compared to around 10 kg for a standard 80w foldable solar panel.

Peak performance is up to 44 degrees C, compared to peak performance of around 26 degrees C for the standard solar panel.

Will still continue to produce power even in shade.

They come supplied with a regulator to connect straight to a car battery, or you are able to connect the power film direct to your engel fridge, without using the regulator.

While on the move, you can store it in a very small area, eg under a seat compared to a large flat area with the standard panel.

If the unit is damaged, eg you stick a hole through the panel, it will still work with very little difference of power output, and silicone can be used to make the repair.Damage your standard standard panel with a fall etc and in most cases it will be a throw away job.

If you use an awning, place the power film on top of that, out of the way around your camp.


These are just some features Greg and when you see them in use, you will be sold.

One of our customers used the smaller 60 w panel over Christmas down the Yorke Peninsula. His mates camper batter died, so his 60w panel ran his 40 litre Engel and his mates 60 litre Engel for 6 1/2 days before his back up battery went flat, and he was over the moon with its performance.


Cheers



Stephen
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AnswerID: 508071

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 10:30

Wednesday, Apr 03, 2013 at 10:30
Hello Stephen,

Thanks for the first hand info. I am surprised the various websites don't provide more detail on what is included as it made me baulk a bit (after I got over the price :), though of course I could have just rang up the dealer. But as we all know advice from actual users is worth its weight in flexible solar panel. Sounds like it will be ideal for what I want.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: CampingTechAust - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 10:07

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 10:07
G'Day Greg,
This is a difficult question to answer as there are many variables.

What is the capacity of the battery to be charged?
How flat will it be when you start to recharge (State of Charge)?
Where are you when recharging?
What time of year will is be?
How many days do you want to wait to get the battery recharged to 100% SOC?

Assume the proposed panel operates at its ideal conditions of 5.4 A for a typical day with 5.5 Sunlight Hours (Sydney in June). It will only generate 29.7 Ah for the day (5.5 x 5.4). If you have a 100Ah battery in your car and it is half flat (50% SOC) you need to push around 50Ah back in to it to get it back to 100% SOC. Its going to take you 2 days to get the battery back under ideal conditions, which may or may not happen for you.

I have launched a web site to help people with these sorts of questions. Its not a business, just my passion! Have a look at https://sites.google.com/site/campingtechnologiesaustralia/ or enter Camping Technologies Australia into Google.

Hope this helps!
Jason

AnswerID: 509371

Reply By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 22:08

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 22:08
HI
IF 15V is the panel output voltage@ 5.4A it will hardly be suitable for battery charging

Is it supplied with a regulator ??
Unfortunately I cannot read the posted specs sheet [not clear]

PeterQ
AnswerID: 509497

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 22:59

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 22:59
Hi
Ok, I just went to Engel's site
It seems they have problems with their data !!
The site is for a 90W but the attached PDF download is for a 60W!!
It give the ouput for the 60W as 15.4V @ 3.6A =55.44 W, what happened to the rest[ 5.6A.] 9.5% missing"??
If they cannot give the correct specs in the recognised form. I would be a little suspicious
Then looking at the OP's figures for the 90W unit we have
15.V x 5.4A=81W
(9A/10% gone missing]
IF 15V/15.4V is the panels' MPP point ,they will take ages to charge a battery
I do not see a regulator is mentioned as an integral part!
Does it have one?
IF so what type?


PeterQ
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FollowupID: 787405

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Apr 22, 2013 at 06:18

Monday, Apr 22, 2013 at 06:18
There is an alternative which may or may not be suitable. search for flexible solar panel on ebay, and Mandrake - solarsteve has them.

They are also very light, about 1mm thick and about the soze of a normal solar panel. they won't roll up though. They are about 1/3 of the price of the roll up ones.

AnswerID: 509508

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