Portable Solar panels on Ebay from Deals Direct, Outbax Camping

Submitted: Friday, Feb 06, 2015 at 21:12
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How many people research a product before buying on ebay.
Despite postings on the non suitability of 14 Volt ebay panels people still are buying them in their dozens.
Deals direct, Outbax Camping and others are still selling them in there dozens and yet basic research with google etc. will reveal how unsuitable they are for 12 Volt charging.
Makes you wonder when they claimed to have sold thousands of the Maxray 14Vmp panels as to how many people really know how their panels are performing or should I say not performing.
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Reply By: Member - Andrew W14 - Friday, Feb 06, 2015 at 21:25

Friday, Feb 06, 2015 at 21:25
It all originates from the typical Aussie attitude of 'why should I pay more - I can buy it cheaper'!
Its also exaggerated by the constant drivel on forums where people claim they have one 120 watt solar that feeds a fridge, TV DVD, lights pumps etc and yet is miraculously fully charged by 9.00 am the following morning!
Note that very little is said about how these underpowered panels destroy batteries which should last 6-8 years but are stuffed in 2-3 years. Where is the money saving there?
Unfortunately admitting one has made a mistake and bought a furphy is not know as one of our strong points!.
AnswerID: 545514

Reply By: Member - Barry H (WA) - Friday, Feb 06, 2015 at 23:15

Friday, Feb 06, 2015 at 23:15
Hi Peter,

I have to disagree with you and Andrew here, I bought my panels from Bit Deals on e-bay around 6 yrs ago (160w panels) they power my freezer (Waeco CDF35) and the LED lighting for the camp.

They have done a top job for all that time, never had to replace the battery in those six years (fingers crossed), yes I researched my solar needs fairly well, Bit Deals were great to deal with and the product has stood up so far, I am happy that my panels are performing very well, and yes they were fairly cheap.


Regards

Barry H
AnswerID: 545520

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Friday, Feb 06, 2015 at 23:52

Friday, Feb 06, 2015 at 23:52
Hi
There is no doubt that many many Ebay sellers are selling panels TOTALLY unsuited for 12V battery charging

I do not know if that is because they simply do not understand what is needed or if they are just shonks,

But Anyone buying panels from EBAY should get, in writing ,the panel specs

For 12V battery charging those specs should show that the panels have :
[a]an open circuit voltage of 21<22V
[b]The wattage should be based on the voltage @ 17<18V
Normally referred to as PPP [peak power point]

If the panels are not warranted to those figures GO SOMEWHERE ELSE !

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 00:28

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 00:28
totally agree with Barry, I bought a 120W one off Bitdeals 2 years ago to mount on my boat roof.
It has been great, cant quite keep my 40L Waeco going permanently unless I tilt it to follow sun.
In full overhead sun it will get to about 7 amps, but probably average more like 4 over the whole sunny day.
Would I buy another holy sh+t yeah, $179 delivered.
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Follow Up By: Peter G1 - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 07:01

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 07:01
Bit deals and others are selling 18V panels and are fine. It is the 14V MaxRay panels sold by Deals Direct and Outbax Camping to name a couple of sellers that is the problem. Totally unsuited for purpose
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 16:15

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 16:15
Hi Peter

To be very honest, I know little about solar panels, and perhaps you might be able to give us a little more information.

I have done a Goole search for your mentioned Maxray Solar panel, and I have copied the information so you can explain please.

This is the information that I have copied:




I have been looking at Kickass panel, that are well over double the price, and are they any better?

Here are the details on their 150W panel





Cheers


Stephen
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AnswerID: 545553

Follow Up By: Peter G1 - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 16:43

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 16:43
The 140W panel is Vmp of 16Volts which means it is made up of 32 cells as each cell is around 0.5v. This is still below the generally accepted requirement of >17 Vmp but not as bad as the MaxRay 120W panel which has 28 cells so Vmp of14V.
The kickass panels seem to fit the bill but are expensive.
A lot of people recommend bit deal panels but I have no experience with them.
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry H (WA) - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 16:59

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 16:59
Hi Stephen,

I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination, and I am sure there are more knowledegable folk out there than me, but based on those figures I think the Maxray panels would deliver closer to 7ah than the 8.75ah quoted, if you were running a fridge, say 50 ltr Waeco for eg, then the current draw for this would be around 32 - 40ah per day given ideal conditions, that would mean the panels would need 6 - 7 hours of PHS (peak sunshine hours) each day to achieve parity.

Because we don't live in an ideal world sometimes 6-7 hrs of PHS per day is difficult to achieve, i think these panels would be right on the border of delivering the power you need to run the fridge in this example.

The Kick ass panels would deliver about 7.5ah as opposed to the 8.3 quoted, not that much different to the Maxray, but as you said they are much more expensive.

The kick ass don't quote a maximum hail load spec, this is usually steel ball at either 2 or 3 m, which gives you an indication of how tough the actual panel is, if it should happen to blow over, the higher the spec the better.

As I said I am no expert, but I used this reasoning when I bought my panels, and I achieve parity running a freezer and LED lighting whenever we go camping, I went for the 160w panels just to give me that little bit of extra charge.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Barry H
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Follow Up By: Member - graeme W (WA) - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 18:21

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 18:21
Hi Stephen. Often the hardest part is finding a panel with an open circuit voltage of 21.5 that fits the area you have. I have two on my truck a 140watt and a 160watt with a cheap mppt regulator. Use good quality cable, i have 6mm from both panels fused to 8b@s going to the regulator. Use 8 b@s to run your fridges , i run two with one as a freezer and as long as its sunny can go for weeks with voltage dropping to 12.6 overnight. My panels came from bit deals and marsol and i replaced the cables that were on these panels as it is not thick enough. Voltage drop can be a problem and bigger cable helps as does shortening the cables on the fridges or repacing them. I have just replaced my full river agms that are 8 years old and still working fine ( i put them in our van) because my local battery supplier had them at a good price. The other thing that helps is good quality fridges , i have a waeco 80L and a trailblazer 60L. The trailblazer is dearer by about $500 but the insulation and build quality are outstanding and it is quite and runs less.
Cheers Graeme.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 18:29

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 18:29
Hi Peter and Barry

Thanks for that great information but a couple more questions if you do not mind.

The Ka panels look very strong when compared to other cheaper units, according to their video. The guy jumps on the glass panels, which do not break, as compared to an ebay brand that breaks. Also they appear to use very strong fittings, extra heavey duty cabling and what looks like a very good regulator.

Is the extra price they are asking realy warranted, or are there just as good other units out there cheaper. One thing that both Maxray and Kickass both state is that the regulator should not be mounted directly on the back of the solar, which the Bit Deals panel seems to do?


Thanks for your help.


Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Peter G1 - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 18:49

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 18:49
To me the kickass panels are too expensive. The cabling is 6mm which is just ok. How many people have broken the glass in their panels?
To me I would look at these panels (no affiliation or personal usage).http://www.antenergy.com.au/index.php/products/12v-solar-panels-agm-battery-charing-caravan-camping/antenergy-solar-bosch-cells-monocrystalline-12v-170w-folding-solar-portable-panel-kit.html
They also use 6mm cabling, regulator mounted on leg of panel and higher efficiency Bosch panels so should be smaller and lighter.
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry H (WA) - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 18:54

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 18:54
Hi Stephen,

I must admit I didn't watch the video, but if he jumps on them and they stand up, then they are probably constructed well.

My regulator is mounted inside the toolbox which is mounted on the CT drawbar. The 100ah AGM battery is also mounted in the toolbox.

Not sure why Bit Deals state that the regulator should be mounted on the panels, conventional wisdom has it that the regulator needs to be nearer the battery.

I agree with Graeme use thick cabling to avoid voltage drop off, I used 6BS, seems to work well.

Stephen I get the feeling that there are better value panels out there with better specs than both of these, maybe a bit more research is warranted.

Regards

Barry H
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 19:19

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 19:19
Thanks again both Peter and Barry.


Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 23:59

Saturday, Feb 07, 2015 at 23:59
Hi Stephen
In order
panels 1
PP P@16V will be slow charging & hard put to ever fully charge a 12V battery

Maxray ,
hopeless do not even think about them

Kickass
Typical specs of the RIGHT TYPE of panel, Will fully charge a 12V battery


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 07:45

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 07:45
Hi Peter

Thanks for that and it is great to hear of people's experiences with panels. So what I have learnt from this is that when it comes to solar panels, it comes down to one thing.....it seems more like comparing apples with lemons, rather than apples with apples.

What brand of panel would you advise to go for, as it sounds like the cheaper units are a waste of money, yet others fell the kickass are over priced.



Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 15:33

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 15:33
HI Stephen
Provide they meet the CORRECT specs ,as the KickAss do ,there is really not much difference
Most come from China & are similar in quality .
So look for what appears the best offer, but make sure the specs are right.
Before buying I suggest you get THAT in writing.


PeterQ
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 15:51

Sunday, Feb 08, 2015 at 15:51
Hi Peter

Thanks for that, but nearly all the other ones that I have looked at all seem to the same as, or similar to the Maxray.

So at this stage, I would rather pay more and get something that is going to work properly. I am now leaning towards their (Kichass) 200w panel, to make sure that it will supply me with more power than I hopefully will need.

Thanks again for all your great help.



Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 01:25

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 01:25
Don't believe a single thing the Chinese state, as far as specifications go - on anything.

They are the biggest liars out, and will quote any figure to increase sales.

If that means falsifying output & voltage figures, strength, and any other important feature - they will do so, without batting an eyelid.

It's the Chinese way - over-rate your product with lies about performance, to gain sales - because no-one will check those quoted figures - and if they do, there's little comeback on the Chinese by way of penalties or losses.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Boobook2 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 07:20

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 07:20
I know a lot of Chinese People, and lived in China for 7 years selling products and now I buy tons of stuff from the middle of China on ebay.

Yep there are cheats in China, and there are cheats in Australia. However I have found that most Chinese are far more caring and generous than most Australians. And of the hundreds of ebay things I have bought, I have had 3 bad dealings. All 3 were from Australia sellers. Not one problem from Chinese sellers.

I think you generalisation is way overstated due to your ignorance Ron.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 08:47

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 08:47
My opinion is nothing to do with ignorance, Boobook2 - but it's based on plenty of experience in trying to get satisfactory performance from Chinese-built products.
Everything they make is over-rated, and under-performs.

Even Caterpillar were taken to the cleaners with their first engine manufacturing operation in China, with Tianjin Engine Works.
Cat went into JV with this large Chinese company, and that group of Chinese promptly went on to illegally redirect shares to themselves and associates - went on to produce "genuine" Caterpillar/Perkins engine products with substandard components (that rapidly failed), produced via corrupt deals with other Chinese - sold Cat/Perkins engines that were over-rated in output, above Cat engineers authorisation - and when Cat closed the JV down, these Chinese blithely continued to produce ersatz Cat/Perkins engines, using Cat trademarks and registered designs, without authorisation.

It took Cat 7 yrs to shut the Tianjin Engine Works JV down, using the Chinese courts.
As a result, we now have no idea if a Chinese Cat/Perkins engine being sold, is a genuine Cat product or not, unless we specifically check with Caterpillar and provide the engine ID details.

On top of that nasty experience, Cat has just been ripped off again, this time with the Chinese ERA Mining JV - where Cat uncovered "deliberate, multi year co-ordinated misconduct" - i.e., financial fraud - that cost Cat US$564M.

Is it any wonder Xi Jinping is going on a country-wide rampage to root out corruption? It's long overdue.
Maybe you need to read the book, "Poorly Made in China".

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Boobook2 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 09:06

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 09:06
Yes Ron I am sure every person in China was involved in that deal. Shoot em all.

I am not saying ripoffs etc don't happen and can pick a success stories for every one of your failure stories.

There is corruption here too you know?

Victoria's Myki system was awarded at 4 times the budget to a US company who had never done any work like that before. Above cheaper bids from companies that had successfully built multiple systems. One Melbourne based company had even developed the HK Octopus system 15 years earlier that had greater capacity, was totally successful and has become the second form of currency in shops like Mcdonalds, 7 11 etc. But according to the Auditor General the bidding process was corrupt and they didn't even get a look in.

Oh the the head of Miki, Gary Thwaits just happened to be married to a director of the company that won the bid. Also Public transport boss Vivian Miners had shares that were given to her.

But does that make very Australian corrupt? Of course not.

How about Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Buick, Alcatel. All success stories in China with or without local partners.

I have read at least 30 books or so on China business. I was responsible for over $400USD a year in sales there. I had mostly great experiences, albeit a very tough business environment.





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FollowupID: 833278

Follow Up By: Garry S3 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 14:45

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 14:45
I don't know how good my knowledge with solar panel is. However, as far as I understand, your 18v from PV get turn down to 11 , 12 ,13 and highest 14v by the reegulator anyhow. So why is it bad to have this lower voltage panel but higher amps ?

I mean people use to complain 120w panel supposedly put out 10A because its 12v. now that there is a brand that lower the voltage and push up the amps and maintaining 120w, there we go, another gang complaining about too little volts now.

I don't think 14v will harm any battery base on the fact that most of the power from 14-18v gone wasted when they go through a pwm charger anyway.

Speaking of regulator, if you use a MPPT charger on a traditional 18v 6.65Amps 120w solar panel, what you get coming out of regulator is 14v ~8Amps. How many cells made up what to get what PV don't really bother me. but if the product we are getting is doing our job fine. guess, i won't complaint. unless if we really have evidence that this panel is hurting battery which I can't wrap my head around how it could be the case.
well
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Follow Up By: Peter G1 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 15:29

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 15:29
Have a look at this post from Jaahn http://thegreynomads.activeboard.com/t59560231/portable-solar-panel-voltage/
It explains why 14Vmp is no good for battery charging. I had the same opinion that a PWM charger would work better with a 14Vmp panel until I did a lot of internet research.
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FollowupID: 833341

Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 09:11

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 09:11
My experience on solar panels…

I use 2x120 Redarc panels and the company warrant that panels conform to CE standards and the panel output is exactly as described in its specifications. Noting, the panels are made in China as are a lot of products these days.

The panels charge a slim 150AMP AGM battery via a Redarc BMS1215 management system giving me my electrical solution and it runs a variety of equipment, including a 60-litre Engel.

When I set the vehicle up I supported local companies if they had a quality solution that suited my needs. And whilst the Redarc panels are more expensive versus some of the alternatives on EBay, I have found the performance to be at expectations.

Mind you, that was my choice and I acknowledge in some instances there may have been a better balance between quality and price, but I lean towards quality. Buy right the first time, even if it is more expensive and avoid disappointment and the potential for additional cost later.

I did have a software problem with the BMS, the company sent a new unit without hesitation and prior to receiving the original unit back. This reinforced my view of dealing with local companies that have a good track record and “skin in the game”.


Specs follows




Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 545657

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Thursday, Feb 12, 2015 at 00:25

Thursday, Feb 12, 2015 at 00:25
HI Landy
Those specs are GOOD!
Any panel with a voltage @ PP in the range of 17<18V will work well charging a 12V battery
16V is starting to be near useless
Below 16V no hope .

PeterQ
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