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Old 10-29-2015, 11:59 AM   #81
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Retraction, I take it back

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The eBay seller, Discountsolar has stiffed me on replacements or a refund. He strung me along saying he was getting replacements and then he stopped responding to my communications. That's the down side of going cheap on eBay.
The ebay seller has come through!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The two new replacement panels are on the way, free of charge!! Will have to wait until we hit the Gulf Coast of Florida to change the panels out. It will require sewing new Velcro to the new panels.
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:22 PM   #82
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That's great to hear! Are the 2 modified panels still producing juice?
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:40 PM   #83
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I never modified any of the panels. The diode type was different than what I ordered. The panels have flat square diodes set into a small circuit board and I ordered the round can type. To attempt a repair I would have to disassemble everything and rewire the connection box. I wish I would have taken pictures. One panel is dead and the other is intermittent. I essentially have one good panel. Its going to be a happy ending but I wont get it reconfigured until we are in Long Boat Key in January.
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:34 PM   #84
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I never modified any of the panels.
My bad....I recalled post 79 incorrectly.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:44 PM   #85
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Update

I finally got around to replacing one of the failed solar panels. The supplier said he was sending two panels but he only sent one. I will continue to bug the crap out of him hoping I get another panel. I have been running on 1 1/2 panels. One has always worked at 100%, one was <50% and the other was zero. I installed the new panel today, replacing the zero output panel. During the install I discovered that the panel was burnt. I had thought it was bird crap but the back of the panel was rippled and deformed. The other panel look like new. Once everything was hooked up I got 225-240 watts with clear skies. Its a little warm here in Marathon so I am loosing due to warm panels. With the degraded panel I got about 85 amp-hrs a day while cruising here, but that was a poor test due to cruising every day. I think I will be happy with 150 amp-hrs a day. That is 50% of our usage.


I did a destructive test on the failed panel. It was very brittle. A new one will bend end to end fairly easily. This one only got half way there and snapped. Not sure if its heat or just what the sun does to the plastic layer they put on the cells.
Still learnin and sharin
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Old 03-06-2016, 05:24 PM   #86
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Dave, Your experience makes me think the design and development of this type of panel has further to go, I would be wary of fitting them.
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:33 PM   #87
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You may be right, or it could just be that I bought cheap China eBay panels.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:00 PM   #88
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I appreciate the update, Dave...the good, the bad and the ugly. It's all part of the learning curve. You're helping many of us sideliners.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:12 PM   #89
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Hmmm. Sure wish I'd have taken a look at those when you were here, Dave. Sun exposure and plastics aren't exactly friends, but I sure figured the materials to be more tested-durable than that. You've been here in So. Florida for a while now. What are you getting out of them?
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:57 PM   #90
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I appreciate the update, Dave...the good, the bad and the ugly. It's all part of the learning curve. You're helping many of us sideliners.
I think it's still an option for solar. The wafers/cells in these panels are the same as they use in the rigid units. I am still skeptical of the heat argument. The conditions on a hot roof in Arizona have to be much worse. Unfortunately I can't take the panel apart to see what went wrong. I suspect bad tabbing between cells caused a hot shot. I wil keep the experiment going and continue to share what I learn.
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:04 PM   #91
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Hmmm. Sure wish I'd have taken a look at those when you were here, Dave. Sun exposure and plastics aren't exactly friends, but I sure figured the materials to be more tested-durable than that. You've been here in So. Florida for a while now. What are you getting out of them?
Hi Larry, the brittleness may be a none issue. I torqued the panel beyond the 30 degree spec that it has to get it to crack. My only point was that they were much less flexible. The good thing is that the poly layer on the cells is not yellowing or changing color as you can see in the pics. I got 225 watts at 1300 today. That probably 180 watts out of the good panels and 45 out of the degraded one. Hope everyone is breathing better in Longboat.
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Old 03-06-2016, 11:06 PM   #92
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Dave, my conventional panels are 5 years old, still ok, Chinese made, from Ebay. They have over an 1" of airspace under. There has to be a reduced heat dissipation when they are mounted flat on another surface, even if it is canvas.
The solar panel not made in China is probably increasingly rare.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:53 AM   #93
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Here is a link to Solbian Solar. They are an Italian company. Lots on info, videos, installation manual etc. These are the semi-flexible panels I have seen at boat shows. They look like the panels I installed. At the bottom of the install page there are links to blogs with install documented.
INSTALLATION EXAMPLES
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:23 PM   #94
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Cell cracks and heat buildup

Here is an article from Coastal Climate Control the may explain my burnt cell. The picture in the article looks like the burn spot on mine.
Cracked solar cells and heat damage
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:03 PM   #95
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Great thread, my three cheap 120 watt flexible solar panels mounted on a rigid fly bridge roof are not producing any amps. Electrician due Monday to try and isolate the problem. I went with flex panels to keep the weight down but if they need replacing I think glass will be the answer.
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Old 03-18-2016, 06:42 PM   #96
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My neighbour just went with a pretty expensive install: 300 watts of flexible panels, with a Morningstar MPPT controller. It was a full service marine electrical outfit that did the install. He mentioned he was only getting an output of 40 watts (yes, he said watts) yesterday, which was fully sunny here although it's Spring. He seemed pretty disappointed. Something's wrong, I think.


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Old 03-18-2016, 07:29 PM   #97
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You guys are doing a great service for the rest of us by pioneering use of these flex panels. I only wish you were having more success.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:42 PM   #98
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You guys are doing a great service for the rest of us by pioneering use of these flex panels. I only wish you were having more success.
We will keep hammering away at this until we either get a good reliable result or figure out that the product isn't suitable for the application. I am a patient man. :-)
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:51 PM   #99
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If we keep going like this, the only successful solar effort will end up Janice, who has collected some older, lower power panels to throw up on her Pilothouse roof. She's happy.
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:05 PM   #100
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You guys are doing a great service for the rest of us by pioneering use of these flex panels. I only wish you were having more success.

I believe neighbour's panels were hugely expensive. I'm gonna say $600-800 Cdn/100 watt panel? Something like that. He seemed quite disappointed. I'd a been some kinda pissed.


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