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DonDon

Has anyone used the solar kits from Harbor Freight?

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I have a coupon in the back of a outdoor magazine that is $145 for a 45 watt solar system from Harbor Freight I have seen these advertised before but that is quite a bit Cheaper ...reads from their website as follows..

 

Solar panel kits are a great way to generate plenty of clean, quiet energy, using solar energy from the sun to run TVs, lights, computers, even recharge 12 volt DC batteries. Setting up Chicago Electric solar panel kits is easy. The solar panel kit comes with three 15 watt solar panels - simply connect the solar panels to your own 12 volt DC storage battery, and then use at least a 300 watt power inverter (sold separately) to power your 120 volt AC appliances anywhere.

Weatherproof solar panel power center works under all light conditions

Includes 3, 6, 9 and 12 volt DC adapter outlets

Easy-to-read LED charge indicator

Includes panel mounting hardware, lights, 12 volt DC socket and battery clamps

Requires 12 volt storage battery and 300 watt power inverter (sold separately).

Requires 12 volt storage battery and 300 watt power inverter (sold separately)

Maximum current: 3000 mA15 watts max per panel

Peak voltage: 23.57 volts open current

Solar panel dimensions: 12.40" x 36.42" x 0.75" each

Shipping Weight: 49.65 lbs.

 

If anyone has used these I would love to know what you think of them at that price a few marine batteries and splurge a little on a clean sine inverter and you have a cheap backup power plan. Heck coupon say good thru July maybe I should buy two, set one up at the bug in and leave one in the box for a bug out. With the compact fluorescent bulbs or even better LED bulbs you could light a house at night and keep a radio and several rechargeables ( cell phone, AA,AAA batteries etc) going 24/7 if you just do a little sun tracking

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I'm no expert on solar, but I think that voltage is a limiting factor. A 12 volt system may work for a camper or RV, but I think you need a higher voltage system to carry the current for a longer distances, such as from your panel farm to the house. I'd be happy for someone to explain it plain English.

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I have done a few solar system that my company paid a lot more for I beleive the last was about $350 for a 30 watts system, panels , controller with charger and POE injector for a wireless IP bridge but I would love to get more knowledge about broader uses, and I am thinking about getting a HAM license, I guess I need to sit down and figure out the real load and consumption that I would need and do the math.

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I have done a few solar system that my company paid a lot more for I beleive the last was about $350 for a 30 watts system, panels , controller with charger and POE injector for a wireless IP bridge but I would love to get more knowledge about broader uses, and I am thinking about getting a HAM license, I guess I need to sit down and figure out the real load and consumption that I would need and do the math.

 

A lot of the cb and ham guys around me use similar setups. I don't know what exact brands they use, but I wouldn't hesitate to trythe Harbor Freight one. Hook it to a couple of deep cycle batteries and you'd be pretty much set.

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My parents have lived without electricity for over a year and just a month or so ago bought that exact set up so that they could watch tv and have a little light at night without worrying about burning the place down. They liked the first 45 watt set they went back and got a second set of panels. The are just using two car batteries at the moment. Now that it's gotten a little warmer, they wanted to plug in their fridge, and it is using all the power.

 

I haven't seen the set up with my own eyes, but they had no problem setting it up and it works well enough. They plan to just slowly expand their system until it does all they want it to do.

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Over a year that's awesome that is one of my real questions is how long that the system will continue to work, I know that all solar systems do degrade at a theorical rate but the real world rAte is what I'm interested in!

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