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Old 03-10-2016, 07:28 PM   #1
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Flexible solar panels

18 months ago we fitted 3 flexible 120 watt solar panels purchased on line from campsalesau, a NSW based business. The panels were cheap at $250 each but as is often the case you get what you pay for and the panels are producing about 3 amps between them. Campsalesau have demonstrated no interest in helping resolve this given that the 12 month warranty had expired.

Please bear this in mind if you are thinking of buying flexible panels, I thought they all were the same! Obviously not.

So another project for our visit to Gold Coast City Marina next week!
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:42 PM   #2
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Bummer! I think Solbian is the flexible panel of choice, but they are expensive. Are you going to stick with flexible ones?

I was thinking about using them to expand capacity, but my plan now is to use domestic ones the same as I already have. I am going to mount two pairs of them on SS drawer slides so that when in use they won't be shaded at all. I will start the project this weekend. The first step is to relocate 2 GPS mushrooms, a motorised searchlight, my fog horns and a KVH M5. This will clear the path for the slide runners, but will take me a while to get done.
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:03 PM   #3
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Hi Brian, yes we are going to stay with flexible as I don't want the 30kg of weight on the flybridge roof, I think I will try solar4rvs who use sun power cells and offer a three year warranty, they are also the distributors of Soliban panels but that's $2000 v $1000. Now I just need an electrician !

We run a freezer and three fridges however the total 520 watts of (working) solar means we use no power from the house bank during the day.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:03 PM   #4
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I`d be interested in any positive flexible panel experiences. So far we have 2 reports, from frydaze and Hickers experiences,both negative.
For now I would say stay with conventional panels, which from memory come with more than a 1 year warranty, though finding your friendly Ebay seller years later might be a tad difficult.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:37 AM   #5
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I have 2 x 85 watt Al framed panels and 4 x 85 watt flex panels (chinese cheap version).
Will check output when we have some sunny weather and report back. Flex panels have been on for about 3 years.
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Old 03-20-2016, 10:50 PM   #6
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Electrician has been, of my 3 rooftop panels 2 are dead meaning no output to the mppt controller. Replacing them with single 345 watt glass sunpower panel and fitting a separate controller for the 2 80 watt boat deck panels. At the same time the cable size from the controller to the batteries is being doubled in size and the battery temp sensor fitted. ( it was coiled up in the base of the controller). So not only were the campsales.com.au panels poor quality but the installation was not much good either. I guess this is why good flex panels cost about a $1000 each! Why do so many marine tradespeople do such poor work? It's not as if I wouldn't have paid for the extra 15 minutes to run the battery temperature sensor!
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Old 03-21-2016, 02:47 AM   #7
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I suggest you take a look at the links on my post over on the other thread on this subject, here... Semi-flexible solar panel install

Post 112 page 6.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:37 PM   #8
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Panels coming off today, even the one that was producing 17 volts is delivering only 400 milliamperes. As well as blisters in the panel surface the junction boxes have leaked and look burnt. Flex solar panels from camp sales.com.au , just don't. At the same time the wooden floor in my tender are being replaced because they were made with form wood not marine ply, some people in the marine business need to have a long hard look themselves. Rant over!!!
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:08 PM   #9
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It is not a rant. Nothing is more aggravating than having to pay to redo what you have already paid to have done. This is not an unusual occurrence.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:18 PM   #10
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Panels coming off today, even the one that was producing 17 volts is delivering only 400 milliamperes. As well as blisters in the panel surface the junction boxes have leaked and look burnt. Flex solar panels from camp sales.com.au , just don't...
The only positive I can find is they`ll roll up nicely for the dumpster. Or try sending them back, freight unpaid, to the unrepentant seller.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:11 AM   #11
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Lots of problems with flexible panels. I had one start smoking a few years back, they get ungodly hot with no air circulation underneath. In the RV arena I play in ,lots of folks are reporting issues. The company that supplied my glass panels just recalled all flexible panels due to fire danger.
RNG Recalls 100-Watt Bendable Solar Panels Due to Fire Hazard (Recall Alert) | CPSC.gov
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Old 04-22-2016, 07:42 AM   #12
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Great solar day today, loving the new setup, 2.62 kW today which is around 200 amps!
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:10 PM   #13
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Great solar day today, loving the new setup, 2.62 kW today which is around 200 amps!
How many panels do you have, and what wattage? I'm assuming you mean you got 200 amp hours over the course of the day? 2.6kw would be at least 30 100W panels. Clearly, you live where the sun shines Here in Alaska, we rarely see the sun.
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Old 04-22-2016, 03:24 PM   #14
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Looks like my flexible solar panels are still working pretty well.
My electrician checked them out the other day and I was getting 5 amps from each bank.
24 volt system consisting of 8 x 90 watt panels 4 of which are flexible , lay flats, each couple were producing 5 amps at 24 volts.
I won't be changing them out , well not at this stage.
These panels have been going for about 2 years now, a lot depends on the installation.
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:11 PM   #15
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Hi, 2 X 345 watt sunpower panels through victron 50/100 mppt regulator. Attached is a photo of the power inputs with yesterday showing 2.62 kWh, my understanding is a kWh is approx 83 amps.
We lose a lot of sun because of our sat and radar dome.

Benn, good to see your flex panels are still good!

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Old 04-22-2016, 08:07 PM   #16
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Hi, 2 X 345 watt sunpower panels through victron 50/100 mppt regulator. Attached is a photo of the power inputs with yesterday showing 2.62 kWh, my understanding is a kWh is approx 83 amps.
We lose a lot of sun because of our sat and radar dome.

Benn, good to see your flex panels are still good!

Attachment 51010
Shading makes a really big difference. Your results are quite good if you were getting some shading.

The amp-hours (Ah) will be a bit less than 83, which assumes a constant 12v. With voltage of your bank increasing to, probably, 13.4 V at full charge and perhaps float charging at 14.4 V then conversion from kWh to Ah is not that simple, but 75 might be a reasonable average.

I'm about to install at least 3 and maybe 6 of these 345 W Sunpower panels. My remaining obstacle is finding a new place for the Sat dome that wont cause shading, or be in the radar beam or be otherwise compromised. I also want to plan ahead for Sat broadband whilst I'm relocating things. I think I'm going to raise my mast by about 900mm, but will get some opinions from the yard when I arrive as well.
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:57 PM   #17
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Average consumption during awake hours is about 18/20 amps per hour and sleeping 10/15 so we get thru 400/440 amps a day. If we get 150/180 from the solar it brings genset time back to around 2.5 hours per day which which we need for hot water and water making anyway. Pretty pleased with the setup now.
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Brian, with that many panels you will be able to sell power to the rest of us!!
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:51 PM   #18
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Hi, 2 X 345 watt sunpower panels through victron 50/100 mppt regulator. Attached is a photo of the power inputs with yesterday showing 2.62 kWh, my understanding is a kWh is approx 83 amps.
We lose a lot of sun because of our sat and radar dome.

Benn, good to see your flex panels are still good!

Attachment 51010
2.62kwhr at 12.6 volts is a little over 200 amp-hrs
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Old 04-23-2016, 05:54 PM   #19
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Average consumption during awake hours is about 18/20 amps per hour and sleeping 10/15 so we get thru 400/440 amps a day. If we get 150/180 from the solar it brings genset time back to around 2.5 hours per day which which we need for hot water and water making anyway. Pretty pleased with the setup now.
Attachment 51068

Brian, with that many panels you will be able to sell power to the rest of us!!

Hickers, why are the panels all cracked and twisted? Were they glued down?
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:24 PM   #20
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Yes, glued down with tons of sika, needed a hammer and chisel to lift them! Just as well they were all useless! Took about 3 hours to get them off the roof then the parts not covered by the new panels needed to be cleaned up 😕
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