'Coast to Coast RV' solar panels - anyone used them?

Submitted: Monday, Jul 16, 2012 at 23:35
ThreadID: 96923 Views:3964 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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We're looking at installing solar panels on our motorhome conversion. I was planning on going with the ones they sell at Jaycar, but the motorhome guy we got to install our awning mentioned he uses these from Coast to Coast RV.

Does anyone have any experience with them? IF so how good are they? I was planning on getting the Jaycar ones because they're known to do the job, are easy enough to acquire and replace should something happen. But if the Coast ones are better we might go with those.
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 06:45

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 06:45
Hi. My Jayco came with one 90watt panel from Coast to Coast RV. I found it was not enough so went to add another one. C to C wanted $460 at the time (about 2 years ago) so I searched this forum and was recommended ozplaza.living on eBay. The panel was exactly the same as C to C and was $260. They are even cheaper now and there is another seller called bit-deals. Both good quality and in Melbourne.Looks like bit deals have upgraded the 80w output to 95w. Bob

ozplaza

bit_deals

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 17:19

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 17:19
I can also vouch for Bit Deals. Good bloke to deal with and his panels are good quality as well.

Oz plaza have been around a while and from all I have seen they are on a par with Bit Deals also.

Both are a safe bet.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Mad Habits - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 09:25

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 09:25
G'day

You have not said how much they are, but I will stick my neck out and say I bet these are at least half the price you are going to pay Jaycar

1st is a folding system 200w mono crystalline for $399 delivered
You can pull it apart to get the 2 panels and install them on your MH. Make sure you throw away their regulator and get a good one (a good one costs around $150 in Dick Smiths probably Jaycar or on-line) Don't rely on the rubbish one they install in the factory.

2nd is a single panel 145w Mono Crystalline panel for $254 delivered - get 2 of those and buy a good regulator and install them.

When I got mine it was a 3 panel 180w (3 x 60w mono crystalline) I split it up threw out the frame and installed them on the roof of my 5th wheeler. The rubbish regulator was put in the battery box and lasted a few months before it packed it in. I went to Dick Smiths and bought a good programmable one and have not had any issues since. I would not have less than 180w as we are travelling full time now. Personally I would prefer it to be a bigger system out of the 2 above I would be going the 2 x 145w to give 290w total.
I run 2 x 120ah Full River AGM batteries I also carry a geni 3400kva and have not had to use it since we left in October.

Just about everything we have is 12 volt even the food processor! I don't run any 240v inverters.
If you haven't yet change all your bulbs to LED's as they hardly use any power just put 12v led in ebay search and you will find heaps that are 10 - 25% of the cost in stores, I did my entire 5th wheeler for about $30 and have plenty of spares too!

Good luck
Nigel
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Follow Up By: lameboyadvance - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 16:14

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 16:14
The Jaycar ones were a bit pricey compared to others, but I have been using Jaycar for years and trust them more than some fly-by-night solar provider.

We were hoping to fit 3 x 120W on the roof eventually (one at a time as funds allow), but size constraints mean we can only fit90W panels which are $325 each. The motorhome guy mentioned 90W were only $150-200 each (IIRC, can't seem to find a current price online) from coastrv. They also sell a 140w mono panel which because of its different size ratio might also fit. Still need to double check on that though.

For the inverter the Redarc BMS-1240 we are planning on buying has a MPPT one builtin. We just need the actual panels.

As for 'eBay solar panels' I've heard bad things about them (such as poor inverters, panels rated higher than they really are). This was why I was going with Jaycar as they have a physical presence and I can walk up to them if I have a problem.
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Follow Up By: Flighty ( WA ) - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 16:59

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 16:59
Nigel
At 3400kva that,s a pretty big geni for a 5th wheeler don't ya think? lol !
Cheers "n" enjoy
Paul

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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 17:15

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 17:15
Hi Lameboy,

I have seen the Jaycar units and they are no better, in my opinion, than most.
Unfortunately for Jaycar they are also twice the price of most others.

Here is the cheapest 200 watt panel from ebay. 200 watt solar panel It is a single panel and is best fitted to the roof of the vehicle if you want to go that way.

Here is a very good regulator.30 amp solar Reg

The reg I have and am very pleased with it but I have not tried the panel. If I was buying at this moment I would buy it.

Remember to keep the cable from the reg to the battery short and large. Minimum 6mm cable from the panel to the reg.

I have had no problems with any of the purchases I have made from ebay and there are many. Just pick your supplier and check their feedback score. The more good feedback the safer you are, also check their returns policy.

Hope this helps.
Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: lameboyadvance - Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 23:02

Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012 at 23:02
Looking at those ebay sellers their '90W' and '100W' panels are the same dimensions as the Jaycar 80W ones, leading me to believe they are the same panels, just cheaper & fudging the watts a bit.

All of those sellers are selling about 100 different things besides the panels, basically your typical ebay dropshipper, just with solar thrown in.

That said, if they are in fact the same panels as Jaycar are selling only cheaper it might be worth looking into.

I just made a mockup of the coastrv 140W panel, and doing a quick eyeball it looks like I may be able to fit 3 of those instead of the 90W we were planning on (1 behind & 2 in front of our aircon). At 800mm wide the 120w are simply too wide to fit where we need them, however the 670mm of the 140w may fit, and the 550mm of the 90w definitely will.
420W (although I'd say we'd be lucky to reach 60% of that unless its a bright sunny day) would go a long way to offsetting our DC fridge when off grid.

Everything else (apart from the microwave and aircon) is already 12V. We have LED lights throughout, and the fridge & TV are 12V (our stove is butane).

Looking at the ebay seller Mad Habits mentioned they apparently sell a 145W panel which closely matches the coastrv sizes and are only about $270 each.
Also, that seller has 100% rating, has been around for many years, and only deals in electronics/solar. Much more willing to go with someone like that than a seller who sells everything including the sink and with 99% rating (when your seller rating is in the tens of thousands 1% quickly adds up to a lot of unhappy customers).
AnswerID: 491175

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