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Old 02-24-2019, 10:28 AM   #1
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HF Solar Panels

I'm thinking about finally pulling the trigger and mounting solar panels on my FW roof. Harbor Freight has a 100 Watt system made up of 4 25W panels for $160. The brand is Thunderbolt Magnum Solar. Does anyone have any experience with this brand? Is this a good deal or a waste of money. I want to go solar to keep batteries charged but I don't want to buy something that will fail in a year or two.

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Old 02-24-2019, 12:05 PM   #2
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Personally, I don’t think this is a good deal. One thing about solar, even if you know very little about it is that it works very well if installed properly.
Fastening this to your roof just to keep your battery charged just isn’t worth it.

There are far better systems available listed on this site. Renogy or Zamp systems for example.

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Old 02-24-2019, 12:47 PM   #3
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HF says this is a "portable" set up?
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:30 PM   #4
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I use the HF 4 panel as a suitcase set up for my TT. It came with a basic controller. I have a plug on my tongue but had to wire the plug up. I use 1 or 2 panels for storage. I estimate around 1.25 amp per panel on a very sunny day. No more than 5 ever. These are amorphous panels and not mono. I do not recommend this as a fixed system. Get a better quality with a better controller. You can get 1 panel for. 100 watts instead of 4 with plastic frame s.

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Old 02-24-2019, 01:40 PM   #5
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I have one renology 100 watt panel, works great, may add a second. The less panels you need to mount, the less holes you put in your roof.
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Old 02-24-2019, 01:43 PM   #6
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I’ll add I’ll probably have the second as a portable to move to where the sun is when I have sone trees around.
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Old 02-24-2019, 02:24 PM   #7
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As always, thank you for the valuable input. I see a renology 200W starter kit at Amazon with a controller that will expand up to 400W. It is twice the money but based on advice here it would be a much better system. It comes with the Z brackets for installation. This seems to have everything necessary to mount to the roof. My FW is prepped for solar. I don't dry camp very much except at sporting events and I still have portable generator for long stays to run A/C and residential fridge. I'm primarily looking for a solution that will keep the batteries charged without always having to run the generator. If I'm not running the A/C or trying to watch TV, I'm usually only running the genny to recharge the batteries. I have the solar plug-in in the basement. Am I over complicating this by looking for a roof top system, or should I just get a portable suitcase version that I can sit on the ground and run the cable to the plug-in in the basement?
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Old 02-24-2019, 02:33 PM   #8
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Renogy is a GREAT product, the SOLAR kit should have everything you need and you can eventually add an extra 200 watts. Roof mount is the way to go, install them and your done. Just check them occasionally monitor the batteries and your done. Eliminates the hassle of constantly setting them up and constantly changing the angle of the portable panels or worrying about them growing legs.

Click on the RVing with SOLAR and scroll through the posts to find ones on members installations.

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Old 08-25-2019, 11:32 PM   #9
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A lot of good info here. I was looking at the HF setup, but I’ve changed my mind and I’m no looking at the Renogy one now.
I know the voices in my head aren’t real, but man, do they ever come up with some great ideas.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:48 AM   #10
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Renogy gets my vote, over three years now and not a hiccup.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:53 AM   #11
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I'll third or forth Renology - I've loved the kit I got from them.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:19 AM   #12
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I have a home made solar panel that I built before solar panel prices went down so low. The one I have I made portable. I would never have more than one or two portable panels because of what Mustang65 said about setting them up and taking them down, and walking away. If/when I need a bigger system I would mount the rest on the TT roof. I would also look at the RVing with solar to make sure you have your install correct. I learned a lot by reading that part of this forum.

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Old 08-26-2019, 02:54 PM   #13
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I occasionally hook into my 100W Renogy portable suitcase when boondocking, which doesn't occur much because DW is a glamping person (gotta have those full hookups ) . I'm very pleased with the suitcase setup as it keeps my 2-6 volt batteries charged. If I was boondocking a lot, I'd go with the roof mount Renogy setup of at least 200W,

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