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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
needing to buy my 2 solar panels (150w each minimum) and prefer USA made. after searching the forum I don't see any discussions this year on the subject. I have looked at the "AM Solar", LG (can't find anything online about their "rv" panels) and "Continuous Resources" panels. Any recommendations considering the 150w each requirement?
 

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Check at Home Depot for solar panels. I purchased a 100W panel to add to my other 100W panel. Not sure where the panel is made but price was great.
 

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2021 3500 Extended
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I second Renogy as a good value for the $. I installed hard panels on a motorhome and a single 160 watt flexible panel on the RPod....no issues at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate the feedback, good to see the good reports on the Renogy panels as I had seen some reviews considering them too flexible and not as well mfg as others. they have a panel at 170w I may get. everyone have a great day, with the time change I am already behind on the "to-dos" today.
 

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‘20 159 HT window van NH Seacoast
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I’ve had my Renogy (2/150 w) for 6 years, 130k miles with absolutely no problems.
 

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2014 Ram Promaster 2500 159" diesel
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HQST are made in the Renogy factory, even the connection box says "Renogy". Often are cheaper, seem to be the same build quality. Here are mine HQST 150W.
61661
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you KilWerBzz, I think you have linked me to the panels I seek....will call them tomorrow and check on efficiency of the 180w panels. LG is around 20% while the grape is between 14 and 18% but there there is the price point. where did you get the cables?
 

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I had a set of Grape Semi-flex on my sailboat, didn't last two years and no help for them on replacement. I'm sure the solid are ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
while the "Grape" panels are looking promising, is anyone familiar with the 210w 36 cell panels from "Continuous Resources" only $194? I was wanting 400 watts total but would settle for a little less for quality....need to order within the next 2 weeks as my roof rack is being installed next Saturday.
 

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while the "Grape" panels are looking promising, is anyone familiar with the 210w 36 cell panels from "Continuous Resources" only $194? I was wanting 400 watts total but would settle for a little less for quality....need to order within the next 2 weeks as my roof rack is being installed next Saturday.
Thanks for the info and suggestion for a US made panel. (at least according to their web site)

200 watts is going to leave you very short of power if you have a refrigerator.

Two of those should be a good combo for your goal.

Sometimes you just have to buy a product to know if they are any good.
 

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Odd- I have 200 watts of Renogy panels, a Norcold 3 cf. wall refrigerator, vent fan, Espar diesel heater, lights, lots of computer, phone, iPad chargers, water pump, coffee hot pot, 215A-H 12 volt batteries etc. and I have plenty of power, in fact my solar refills my batteries by 10:30 am nearly every day! I might buy some more electrical stuff? Experience is a great teacher and living with 200 watts for 5 years in this van has been great.
 

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my solar refills my batteries by 10:30 am nearly every day!
Depends on what "refilll" means.

It's tough to get deep-cycled Pb fully charged that early; it's a time problem even after the early-morning power requirements have been met. Lead batteries take 2-3 hours to finish Absorption after a night of deep cycling so absorption voltage (Vabs, typically in the mid-to-high-14v range) would have to be hit and held by 7:30am-8:30am. That's a heavy lift.

For interested onlookers, I flesh it out the issues a bit more here.
 

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Remember my SOC when the solar kicks in is about 80% or so, according to my Watt Hour meter. My solar controller goes on float about 10:30. I am probably down 30-35 A-H and the solar is putting out something like 15 + Amps. Those observations are for late spring to late summer so 10:30 has given us quite a lot of solar by ~10:30
What am I mislead about? I may be reading the signals wrong?
 

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Agreed, starting from 80% DoD makes a huge difference, and the bank should last 1000s of cycles in that usage.
 

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There is another issue. I don’t want to be running and monitoring an electric company or a heating utility or a grocery or any other endeavor for my van. I have done that plenty in my life, living off grid, wood heat only, growing my own food both flora and fauna, hunting, gathering, and generally taking care of myself. Instead I want to travel and camp and get to places almost no one else sees or experiences. My use of solar, batteries, heat, light and most food are simple, they have to take care of themselves, and leave me free from care or want. I don’t really monitor the electrical except to look at my solar controller to see if it has gone on float. I have a watt hour meter, volt meter, etc but I have chosen to turn them off unless something odd happens and in 5 years of use that has not happened. I check and add distilled water to my two batteries once a year. That is it. If it rains for 3 days or more I switch on the solenoid interconnect and drive. In 5 years I have pllugged in to a shore power once I can remember but perhaps twice? CRS on that. Having camped for 50+ years in about everything smaller than a Class A I have decided that benign neglect is my path concerning van infrastructure. My suggestion to anyone traveling is to adopt the same attitude. Simple systems, travel light, get out of the van at every oppotunity and see the part of the World it can get you close enough to hike to.
frater secessus I have not looked at your blog enough to more than see you were interested enough to use my thoughts to build your point of view. IMHO my thoughts above are much more important than whether the batteries fill at 10:30 or 2 PM.
It really is not about the solar, batteries, the refrigerator, the coffee, the food, or the heat.
 
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