Solar panels

Hi guys I would like to get a good cheap 250 watt panel and kit if possible
I would like to fit to my 17 ft pop top caravan I have a Anderson plug on the van
Has any one had experience with the panels on ebay

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Reply By: Member - Ross N (NSW) - Friday, Dec 02, 2016 at 11:02

Friday, Dec 02, 2016 at 11:02
Hi Chris,
You generally get what you pay for with solar panels, like most things.
Quality varies mostly in the fittings, frames, legs etc, not to mention the controller.
If possible I would track down somebody with panels you can inspect before committing your hard earned
AnswerID: 606367

Reply By: 2517. - Friday, Dec 02, 2016 at 12:08

Friday, Dec 02, 2016 at 12:08
Make sure you buy a 12 volt panel,they are all made in China,Plenty of information on this site do a search. I have 8 panels from various suppliers never had a problem .
AnswerID: 606370

Reply By: swampy - Friday, Dec 02, 2016 at 14:44

Friday, Dec 02, 2016 at 14:44
Always do a sq meterage check length x width comparison to a quality panel Sharp, Kyocera etc etc . Many panel makers overstate there output .

AnswerID: 606373

Reply By: blue one - Friday, Dec 02, 2016 at 17:58

Friday, Dec 02, 2016 at 17:58
Hey Chris,
I bought some cheap Chinese panels. Didn't have much luck with them until I replaced the regulator with a decent brand unit.

Once that was done away they went.

AnswerID: 606376

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 14:54

Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 14:54
The best way to acquire portable panels is to purchase the controller separately. That way you don't get a rubbish controller. You will pay more but you will win every time.
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Follow Up By: oz doc - Sunday, Dec 04, 2016 at 13:43

Sunday, Dec 04, 2016 at 13:43
Same here. Panel was good , controller was crap. Got controller replaced on warranty - still crap. Bought well known brand controller - all good. Doc
FollowupID: 876148

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 18:57

Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 18:57
Hi Chris,
I have used seven different branded panels from ebay and have only had a problem with one, which I have now fixed.

A good regulator is at the heart of any reliable system and therefore I usually use one of the PWM type which I purchase from Sidewinder, a member of this forum. Cost is usually around the $90 mark.

Here is a link to a panel from a good supplier who usually supplies a reasonable product at a good price. It is only a 200 watt panel granted but the supplier is a popular trader on ebay and lots of people recommend them on this forum.
200 watt solar panel

Cheers, Bruce.
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AnswerID: 606397

Reply By: Echucan Bob - Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 22:08

Saturday, Dec 03, 2016 at 22:08
I bought a 250W house panel which had been unused. I then bought a Victron 75/15 controller with a blue tooth dongle. The app lets me monitor the system on my phone. Dongle $74, app is free. Controller about $130.
AnswerID: 606399

Follow Up By: chris a - Monday, Dec 05, 2016 at 18:15

Monday, Dec 05, 2016 at 18:15
Its getting a bit confusing It will cost about $500
to run a wire from the crank battery to 80 amp deep cell aux battery in the van with all the bit and pices
I was thinking may be a 200 w panel on top of the pop top And run it into the Anderson plug It may cheaper
I have 90 lt frige 2 lights and a small tv
would appreciate your thoughts
thanks Chris
FollowupID: 876166

Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Dec 05, 2016 at 18:38

Monday, Dec 05, 2016 at 18:38

Just be careful of the weight on the pop-top. My 240 watts of conventional glass panels weigh about 22kg all up. Based on that 200 watts would come in at about 18 to 20kg unless you go for thin aluminium or plastic backed lightweight panels. They are expensive.

A mate of mine with a wind-up Goldstream camper had to add gas strut assistance because of the solar he put on the roof.

Just saying so you can think about it if it's relevant to your camper.


You can't run 200 watts of solar to the trailer Anderson that normally plugs into the car. You must have a solar regulator of some sort.

Prices for 200 watts of solar on eBay average about $200. You can pay less or more. A decent MPPT regulator such as this one will cost about $170. Oh, you can get cheaper, but beware the crap.

And then you need some cabling and bits and pieces to run from your rooftop solar to the regulator and from the reg to the battery. Maybe another $50.

So for solar you're looking at maybe $420, probably a bit less if you do more research than I just did.



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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Tuesday, Dec 06, 2016 at 23:16

Tuesday, Dec 06, 2016 at 23:16
Chris, you need the controller as the panel puts out a higher voltage than your battery can tolerate. A cheap controller clips the voltage but you lose energy. The MPPT controllers mentioned above are more efficient. I was advised by the low energy developments people who sell VictronConnect controllers that a 75/15 would be adequate for a 250W panel.
So minimum outlay is
Panel $150 Controller $130 Cable $35

FollowupID: 876196

Reply By: Batt's - Tuesday, Dec 06, 2016 at 00:29

Tuesday, Dec 06, 2016 at 00:29
Chris I have a 170w solar panel from Bit deals solar panels which is working fine on my canopy only cost $170 wired through my redarc bc dc charger. Now here's the thing while being cheap and less likely to get hail where I live it may not survive a decent hail storm like they get down south so if you live in a more active area I would look at getting something with good impact resistance so you don't have to replace it after it's first storm.
AnswerID: 606438

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