Solar Panels Best Brands

I have been told that the regulator on a solar panel is very important and should have MPPT(?????) Can anyone help with this. I have again been given all kinds of advice from salespeople who seem hell bent on a sale!!! thanks john
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 07:33

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 07:33

There's a lot more to solar for camping !

First - the regulator should be near the battery, not attached to the panel.

Suggest you'd find Electricity for Camping a useful read.

MPPT?? It's a bit of a long story, explained in the above, but the fundamental is that an MPPT controller can deliver about 20% more to your battery than a non-MPPT controller.


J and V
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Follow Up By: johno59 - Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 07:38

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 07:38
Thanks John. The more I research solar power, the more questions I have and more confusing it gets!!!
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Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 13:48

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 13:48
hi john and val
yes your imfo is correct to the positioning of the regulator
but the people who are putting folding panels together are still selling them with the regulator mounted on the back of the panel
because if they tried to sell the panel wth a loose regulator the average jo/bloggs buyers would baulk at buying them
through the lack of knowing how to set the sytem up or having to pay someone to do it for them
so the ready to go package with controller attached is still a winner from a sales point of view
as we see so often at the camping shows across the nation
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Reply By: rooster350 - Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 10:28

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 10:28
I use the" KISS" system....the normal regulator is as near to the battery as I can get it without going to a lot of trouble...about 10ft away...and in the shade with the van , the folding 80w panel is 30ft away from that and in the keeps the 160ah of 2 batteries charged...end of story...cheers
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Follow Up By: johno59 - Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 12:13

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 12:13
rooster, I think you are right. KISS way to go! thanks johno
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Reply By: Member - Ed C (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 13:24

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 13:24
I kinda like this description of MPPT >>

What the heck is an MPPT??

(while you're on that site, check out the forum;-))

As for controller brands/models, opinions will be many and varied.. I've been using one of these > Morningstar Sunsaver MPPT for a few years now, and have been more than satisfied with it....

When I bought mine, it cost substantially less to buy from the US than anything I could find locally... I haven't checked for a while, so I don't know if this situation has changed much (if at all)

There are a couple of (US based) ebay sellers who ship internationally, offering them at pretty keen prices....


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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 19:02

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 19:02
Hi Johno,

The regulator supplied fitted to most panels you buy as a going outfit, unless otherwise requested, are PWM or Pulse Width Modulation and are usually only very cheap ones at that.. OK as far as they go but a bigger better unit is advised.

Better still buy a MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) unit of 15 or 20 amps and you will be in a better position to maximise the power generated by the sun through the panels. MPPT is about 20% more efficient than PWM.

Likewise Mono panels are better than Poly panels in low light situations although there is not a lot of difference otherwise.

So the best system will be a mono panel system of as large as you can afford up to 200 watts folding or fixed and have an MPPT regulator of around 15 to 20 amps capacity in my experience.

MPPT regs of the size i suggested can be had off ebay for around $100

This will cover most peoples needs and maybe then some.

Hope this helps.
Cheers, Bruce.
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Reply By: Member - Davo - Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 23:32

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012 at 23:32
Can someone please tell me the difference between one of these $139 80watt mono crystalline panels vs a branded $400 80w mono crystalline panel?


AnswerID: 482919

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