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Old 11-21-2012, 12:09 AM   #1
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235-watt solar panels for $165 -- Black Friday only !!!

I got an E-mail today from Solar Blvd about a Black Friday Sale on solar panels, as follows:

"Check out our black friday sale below. These prices will go into effect on Friday Nov. 23th at 12:00 AM and end at 11:59 PM on the same day.

We will send out another reminder on Wednesday Nov. 21st!

Have Fun!

Solar Cynergy 60 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel: $75 (Ships Out Nov 30th)
Solar Cynergy 80 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel: $100 (Ships Out Nov 30th)
Solar Cynergy 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel: $125 (Ships Out Nov 29th)
Solar Cynergy 120 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel: $150 (Ships Out Nov 29th)
Solar Cynergy 140 Watt 12 Volt Solar Panel: $175 (Ships Out Nov 29th)

MX Solar 235 Watt 24 Volt Solar Panel: $165
Jinko Solar 235 Watt 24 Volt Solar Panel: $160"

Although these prices are not listed on-line (E-mail only) the link to the MX panel is:

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Solar PV, Solar Products, Charge Controllers, Solar Trackers

I bought two of these MX 235-watt panels two weeks ago and paid $25 more than this price. I thought I got a good deal, but this price is the lowest I have seen anywhere for US-made, 24-volt panels.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:38 AM   #2
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How does the 24 volt panel work with a 12 volt system? Do you have to use a special controler for 24v to 12v batteries?
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:08 AM   #3
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Their panel prices are really good but they appear to make it up on the shipping charges. $70 for shipping one panel or $670 for 10 panels. Did you pay these high shipping charges?
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:01 AM   #4
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Obviously, the entire cost needs to be figured in when buying on line.
Still a pretty good deal even with shipping when figured as dollars per watt.

My friend had a large panel shipped to Key West when we were there and it arrived VERY well packed with 2x3 framing and plenty of packing to make sure it was in perfect condition on arrival.

Sometimes high shipping costs are worth the money.
Shipping glass panels by truck is not for wimpy packaging and fuel costs are not going down.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1l243 View Post
How does the 24 volt panel work with a 12 volt system? Do you have to use a special controler for 24v to 12v batteries?
Yes, you have to use an MPPT controller with 24-volt panels connected to a 12-volt battery. You can read about them on this forum or go to the Solar Blvd. website using the previous link. Just type in "MPPT" on those sites to find more info.


Make sure the controller is designed for the total amperage and voltage of the number of the panels you need. Remember, when you wire panels in parallel, you add the amperage ratings, not voltage. When you wire in series, you add the voltage ratings, not the amperage. And, since "amp-hours" are the output you are most interested in for quick recharge of deep-cycle batteries, parallel solar panel wiring is what most RVers use.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:21 AM   #6
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fanrgs - I have a 2012 2109S also with 2 batteries. I have been considering a solar panel as we dry camp at state parks, longest stay was 5 days and batteries lasted. I did replace all the lighting with LED bulbs and we are frugal with power (water pump, lights, radio).

How do you camp and plan to use the panels? Why not a generator?
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by flymhi View Post
Their panel prices are really good but they appear to make it up on the shipping charges. $70 for shipping one panel or $670 for 10 panels. Did you pay these high shipping charges?
I paid $138 for S&H for two panels, a wiring harness, some circuit breakers, and other odds and ends. And it took only 4 days for my order to be shipped from LA to Denver via FedEx Ground and delivered to my front porch (some solar companies want to deliver via truck freight to a loading dock and you have to pick it up or pay considerably more for home delivery). Remember that two 235-watt panels weigh over 100 lbs. when properly packaged (glass is very heavy!), so compare that cost to what the post office would charge for mailing a 100-lb. package. For example, I paid $13 for a USPS package that weighed two pounds. At that rate, a 100-lb. package would cost $650 for S&H!
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:59 AM   #8
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fanrgs - I have a 2012 2109S also with 2 batteries. I have been considering a solar panel as we dry camp at state parks, longest stay was 5 days and batteries lasted. I did replace all the lighting with LED bulbs and we are frugal with power (water pump, lights, radio).

How do you camp and plan to use the panels? Why not a generator?
We have dry camped about half the time since we got our 2109S. We also have two 12v batteries (only 75 amps each) and they have lasted for 3 nights using very careful battery management (I also replaced most of my 12v bulbs with LEDs). We are going to Alaska next summer and I am planning to replace the 12v's with two 6-volt, 220-amp golf cart batteries before we leave.

Because we live in Colorado, we plan to do a lot of dry camping in Southwestern national parks and monuments in the future (my wife is retiring in 16 days!). For example, Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, and Bryce Canyon have no hookups. So, an extended trip to just those four sequential locations requires either solar or a generator. But, if you stay around camp each morning long enough to recharge your batteries with a generator, you have missed the prime early morning hours for photography in those beautiful locations, which is the point of being there. Solar recharges the batts automatically--no need to wait around 3 or 4 hours for a generator to do the job.

Additionally, the panels will be on the roof of the trailer (and the 2109S has no ladder). A generator would be on the ground outside. So, the generator is much more of a temptation to thieves, especially if unattended, than are securely screwed down solar panels.

Finally, I am an engineer who has wanted to "play" with solar power for years. Now I have a great excuse!
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:31 PM   #9
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fanrgs - Thanks for the explaination! We would also like to do some camping out in those campgrounds. Not yet retired so will be vacation time used. I would be interested in seeing the installation pics and details when you install the panels. I did see a install of panels with adjustable brackets here in this forum. I believe the person was a fireman from New York that posted it.
I am also an engineer (electrical) and understand the play part.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:55 PM   #10
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fanrgs - I've thought about the roof mount path but worry about the hail storms we have here in the spring. Do you store your RV inside?

thx
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I did see a install of panels with adjustable brackets here in this forum. I believe the person was a fireman from New York that posted it.
I saw that one too--great installation. If you want to get the full range of RV solar installations, this link is invaluable:

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Tech Issues: Forum Members Solar Installations With Pics

From this link, you can get a wide range of ideas on 12v vs. 24v solar panels, number of panels needed, types of solar controllers, sizing battery banks, series vs. parallel panel wiring, inverter sizing and wiring, panel mounts and tilt mechanisms, and even some wiring diagrams. Planning and designing is more than half the fun for me and I spent hours looking at all those installations!

Enjoy!
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:08 PM   #12
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fanrgs - I've thought about the roof mount path but worry about the hail storms we have here in the spring. Do you store your RV inside?
No, I store it outside. I worry about that too since insurance replaced my entire house roof after the hail storm a couple of years ago (along with everyone else on my street) and my truck had $1500 in hail damage from the same storm. However, a number of people in my neighborhood have roof-mounted solar panels that weathered that storm without any noticeable damage--probably because the panels face south and are tilted to a 50-degree angle and the storm came from the north.

During the winter, I will likely cover my panels with padded tarps or take them off the trailer and store them in my garage as I do my batteries. That is still one of many "TBD" items on my punch list.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanrgs View Post
We are going to Alaska next summer and I am planning to replace the 12v's with two 6-volt, 220-amp golf cart batteries before we leave.
fanrgs - You should pick up a MilePost if you don't have one for your AK trip. I lived in Anchorage for 7 years and made the Alcan trip several times. The road is much improved in the last 10 years but there are lots of great hidden spots worth stopping for. Laird Hot Springs is definetly worth a visit!

Congrats on the wife's retirement as well!
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:06 PM   #14
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Shane,

I got a MilePost over a year ago to start our planning.

I started working in Alaska in 1972, but have never lived there full-time or driven the highway. I worked in places as isolated as Devil's Canyon on the Susitna and Shemya Island, but the only time I have been in the Yukon was when the train turned around on White Pass. And, although we have been to Alberta and BC, we have never been further north than Jasper and Edmonton. So, driving through northern Alberta, western BC on the Cassier Hwy., and the Yukon is almost as important in our planning as seeing Alaska again. It is our once-in-a-lifetime retirement gift to ourselves, so we are both really looking forward to it!

Hope you get back to Alaska on a frequent basis. It really is one of my favorite places in the world. Everyone should go there at least once and really get out in the bush--not just on one of those canned luxury cruise ship-private rail car tours (no names mentioned to protect the guilty)!

Steve
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:02 PM   #15
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The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner

Has lots of info for you
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