Portable solar panels from eBay

Hi. Does anyone have any good or bad tales regarding purchasing a portable solar panel kit on eBay? I was thinking of a 140 / 160 kw kit. There are a hell of a lot of alternatives available especially regarding regulators.
Cheers
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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 16:39

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 16:39
I got mine from Bits Deals on Ebay, very good to deal with.

Do NOT get any from a company based in Seven Hills Sydney as they 99% of the time supply incorrect sized panels.


Cheers Kev
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AnswerID: 518372

Reply By: cruiser 3 - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 16:44

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 16:44
Hi Old fellow
I brought a 120watt folding panel kit from bit deals. I mounted it to the roof rack of my Landcruiser for a "round Australia" trip. So it was exposed to the elements and would have felt all the vibrations and bumps encounted along the way.

It performed flawlessly. It cost $166 about 6 months ago. The whole unit was most probably cheaper than what some dealers ask for a regulator so of course I realise that the regulator is not top class, however it done what was ask of it.

Bit deals delivered within about 3 days and I am in a rural area. I am completely satisfied
AnswerID: 518373

Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 17:08

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 17:08
Third recommendation for Bitdeals on Ebay. Panels have been of excellent quality and have now done 18 months on top of the tucktruck. Only disappointment has been how fast the price has dropped since I bought mine :-(

Without getting into a debate, I'd recommend an MPPT type controller if at all possible. (I've actually got the panels running "open circuit" into a Redarc BCDC mounted in the vehicle. This has an inbuilt solar controller)

Cheers Mick
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry H (WA) - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 18:12

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 18:12
Hi Old fellow,


Fourth recommendation for Bitdeals, I bought a 160w folding panel over two years ago, have not missed a beat since (fingers crossed).

I would also recommend a MPPT type controller, has worked well for me.


Regards

Barry H
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FollowupID: 798192

Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 20:31

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 20:31
Another vote for Bit Deals, I've bought six 125w panels for our own use and another six in folding packs for computer challenged acquaintances and all have performed perfectly.
Like Mick though the cost has about halved over the intervening three years ;-)))
If buying the folding setups budget for a good controller as the ones supplied let the smoke out after a while, all three that I've bought have died after 12-18 months.
The controller should be fitted at the battery not at the panels.
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FollowupID: 798200

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 19:04

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 19:04
Bought my 120W folding set from Low Energy Developments in Victoria (via Ebay). Not the cheapest, but they had a quality, clearly identified waterproof regulator in the kit, they took my phone call and answered my questions (try that with some other vendors) and the technical information on their web page was consistently accurate and not full of spelling errors (again, compare). I was also able to look up the regulator manufacturer's website and peruse the full technical specs of the device (try that etc. etc.). In my view, I got a quality kit at a fair price. Other vendors may well do the same.......
AnswerID: 518383

Reply By: Danna - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 20:39

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 20:39
Hi The old fellow
I don’t know if you looking for real quality and want to spend bit more. After extremely bad experience with buying cheaper (not totally cheap) panel we splashed on this:

136 Watt Flexible Roll Out Solar Panel Charge Kit - MPPT Regulator & Accessories by RolaSolar for AU $795,~

https://www.rolasolar.com.au/solar-charge-kits.html/

We went for 2 months trip, most of it bush-bash on which panels were used very frequently as we slept only once in caravan park and they work like honey even in not so bright days. We usually hang them on heavy-duty suction hooks from our Troopy’s roof to the ground and they catch sunshine very effectively.
Yes, they are expensive, but than again “we are not a rich people, so we can’t afford to buy a cheap things”. It is good to know that we have after service & help only a phone call a way and also on Skype to Mr. David Gurman.

You can find about our bad experience and decision why we bought this pannels under this thread:
ThreadID: 100337 Date: 03 Feb 2013 10:43

Under heading:
“Bad experience buying 150W tri-fold panel from m2cptyltd.”

It is something to read about….

Otherwise good luck with purchase.
HooRoo Dana
AnswerID: 518387

Reply By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 22:32

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 22:32
Ditto Bit_Deals on Ebay.
I bought a 120W about 6 months ago which has an MPPT controller for $170 delivered.
100% satisfied
AnswerID: 518396

Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 23:02

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 23:02
There was a thread a while ago on another forum, where a fairly reliable poster purchased a cheap & cheerfull folding solar pannel kit.

It all seemed as expected.

He fired it up and got out the test instruments...it performed nowhere near spec.

He then replaced all the cables with significanly heavier, relocated the regulator toward the battery end of the cable and fitted so decent terminals.

He measured nearly twice the output from the panels after the mods and they met the published specs.

Others on the same thread reported, various cheap hinges and catches, and how easy it was to replace them with much better off the shelf items.

The consensus was they there are some great value kits out there...especially if you are prepared to do ......a little tuning.

cheers
AnswerID: 518399

Reply By: Ausfalc - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 23:19

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 at 23:19
I've just purchased a 140 w kit from this seller on ebay:http://stores.ebay.com.au/ozplaza-living?_trksid=p2047675.l2563 The item was $185 delivered to Townsville and comes with its own 10 A Solar Controller/Regulator - I'll tell you next week if it can charge my 185 AH deep cycle battery..
AnswerID: 518402

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 11:33

Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 11:33
If you have panels that will produce a little over 10 amps in full unobstructed sun, when set up optimum. Expect it to take more than a day to charge a 185Ah battery from half capacity.

10 amps time 9 hours equals 90Ah.....pluss charging losses....
This does not account for charge tapering that is a fact of life with all lead acid batteries regardless of charge source.

Remember in NQ in summer you will get around 6 to 8 hours of full output from your panels tops.

That assumes that you panel is in full unobstructed sun, it is correctly aligned and there are no losses in the cables.

SO...from half charged....give it 2 days.

cheers
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FollowupID: 798244

Follow Up By: Ausfalc - Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 22:50

Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 22:50
Thanks Bantam! - From full charge, I know I can get at least 3 days out of the battery running a 65 l waco, plus LED lighting. The panels are just to top it up each day - I'm hoping that, given fair weather, I can keep going as long as needed.
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FollowupID: 798321

Reply By: Member - The old fellow - Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 07:14

Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 07:14
Thanks to all for taking the time to reply to my post, the information was just what I was after, much appreciated
The Old Fellow
AnswerID: 518405

Reply By: chisel - Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 12:09

Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 12:09
Just don't expect to get 120W from a 120W panel (or 160W from 160W panel etc).
Unless you have a very good mppt controller (the ones on the cheaper panels off ebay are not in that class) you won't get close. Probably 80-90W when feeding a 12V battery.
AnswerID: 518423

Follow Up By: Krooznalong - Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 13:18

Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 13:18
Hey Chisel - care to name some good brands of MPPT controllers (for use on a folding 140w panel). My ebay panels have a cheapie attached. Have considered upgrading it but there are so many options that I have NBI which one to get.
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FollowupID: 798255

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 19:06

Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 19:06
The #1 thing is to upgrade your cables.

No matter what panel or controller you have removing the cable losses will improve effciency.

Don't get bent out of shape about the controller till you have the output measured.

cheers
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FollowupID: 798374

Reply By: Mary J2 - Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 23:54

Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 23:54
We're camping up in Alice for 6 mths in our camper trailer & have been relying on solar for our power needs. We bought a set of 255W panels off an ebay seller called Bestbuy-au...would not recommend him...poor communicator, panels arrived without instructions or warranty card, mppt reg was a cheap Chinese one. The regulator lasted 2 mths before we had to replace it then we had to rewire it & all up have cost us over $750. The seller wouldn't reply when we contacted him. He deserved the neg feedback he got. Ebay doesn't protect buyers enough & lets fraudulent sellers get away with blue murder. We regret not putting the money into something better quality as they're still not powering up enough for us...Collyn Rivers article makes a lot of sense & now realise we're going to need 500W to power up our fridge, fan, water pump & lights.

We bought a 120W Redarc panel for our Ark Pack recently & have to say Redarc were fantastic when we had to contact them over a couple of setting up issues. It pays to have a contact ph number if you need support.
AnswerID: 519620

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