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Old 04-09-2006, 08:11 PM   #1
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Cheap solar kit. Any good?

I was looking on the harbor freight website for the local store hours & I found this. A 45watt solar panal kit for only $200 ... mber=90599

What do you guys think?
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:33 AM   #2
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Looks like a bargain to me! If I had $200.00 extra bucks to throw right now, I'd be getting in on that!
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:28 AM   #3
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I'm not opposed to solar, but it's so expensive for the little amount of power you actualy get....lets do the math.

As an example, we'l ltry to use your 45 watt solar panel kit to run your dorm fridge.

45 watts @ 12 volts is 3.75 amps....@ 120 volts that 0.375 amps.

Assume you got full sun for 12 hours (unlikely here in michigan) then you would end up with:

45watts per hour x 12 hours = 540 watt/hours per day (in a nearly perfect world)

540 watts/12 volts = 45 amp/hours

factor in at least a 10% loss into your batteries

45-5 = 40 amp hours available

then run that through your inverter....loose another 10% or so

36 amp/hour of available 12 volt current to through your inverter would leave you with 3.6 amps (@ 120 volt) of draw for one hour.

What you end up with, is the ability to run your dorm fridge for about 1 hour per day off of the 45 watt solar panel kit.

After spending 200 bucks plus shipping for that........spending the $857 for the honda eu doesn't sound so bad, does it?
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Old 04-11-2006, 12:15 PM   #4
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Rated Cap: 19 seems like a good deal, and if it fits one's needs, watt-wise and $-wise, it is. But using it to power an inefficient energy hog like a standard household fridge, even a compact dorm fridge, won't do.

For example, the Nova Kool R4500 (a DC model) uses 2.2 amps at 12 volts DC, which is (roughly) .22 amps at 120 volts AC (not counting losses due to inverter, wire, etc.). Crunch the numbers for household fridges and the difference is amazing.

(Other 12vdc fridge manufacturers are Waeco, Norcold, SunDanzer, and Zero).

So spend the $800 on a generator...or an efficient DC fridge, or more/better solar array &batteries, or....
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Old 07-12-2006, 06:54 PM   #5
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That Harbor Freight setup looks pretty good. Solar panels are great trickle chargers for maximum battery charge. If you get a combiner, it'll keep both your house and start batteries topped up.
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