Harbor Freight Solar Kit
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Assembling My Harbor Freight 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit
I originally wanted to design my own solar panel controller then buy the best deal in solar panels out there I could find. While doing my research I kept coming back to the Harbor Freight 45 Watt solar panel kit because it looked like for less than $200 the kit would do everything I wanted to do with solar power.
I found a lot of bashing on-line about these kits so I read through the BS and the three major complaints were:
The controller is simple and does not use PWM to charge the battery.
But its a 45 watt system for less than $200. What do you expect for less than $200????
Its only 45 watts.
This is OK for me, Im planning to just run a couple of lights and maybe a fan and none of these will be on for very long.
The controller that comes with this kit does not include a low voltage cut-off needed to protect the battery.
This is absolutely not true and I found the schematic on-line to prove its not true. Then I took the cover off the controller to analyze the circuit myself to verify the schematic is correct. This controller does include a low voltage cut-off to protect your battery from over discharge.
The positive points were the kit seemed to have everything I need except for a battery and maybe a power inverter! Also, everything appeared simple to hook-up.
Why Should You Buy A Harbor Freight Solar Panel
The entry-level solar system I purchased worked great. Though it was a bit more affordable than other options, the quality of components isnt as high, and there are fewer bells and whistles.
If you want an efficient product at a low price point, then check out what marketplaces have to offer. It does what you need to save money on electricity without compromising too much quality or value.
Solar system setup is user-friendly and intuitive. Even on the first install, I found this solar system to be easy. The panels were plugged in where they should have been, and I could wire them up without too much difficulty.
The kick-out stand on the back of these panels isnt very sturdy. If I were using them in a permanent setup, Id change this.
They pack away into a manageable space and can be set up within minutes, making it great for mobile usage! And Id change this if it were a permanent setup.
The panels pack away easily into manageable space for mobile usage and can be set up in just a few minutes, though.
The system passed my test by powering lights and appliances for an entire day. I used the battery at night because it had been fully charged during the day, which gave me a reasonable amount of power despite its limitations as a 12 V battery.
I want Harbor Freight solar system because when Im camping or out in the country, there are times where all you dont get electricity like usual but now, thanks to technology, your problem is solved!!
How Long Does It Take To Charge A Battery With A 100 Watt Solar Panel
A typical size 12v 50Ah auto battery at 20% discharge will take 2 hours to fully recharge with a 100 watt solar panel. With a 100 watt solar panel, it will take around 4 hours to fully charge a lead-acid deep-cycle 12v 50Ah battery at 50 percent discharge.
This really depends on the size of the battery youre trying to charge. If youre trying to charge a small 12 volt battery, it will take longer than if youre trying to charge a larger 24 volt battery.
It also depends on how much sunlight the panel is getting. If youre in an area with lots of sun, it will take less time to charge the battery than if youre in an area with less sun.
How Much Are Harbor Freight Solar Panels
On average, a 100 watt solar panel from Harbor Freight will cost between $120 and $180 dollars. Other wattage outputs and size of the panel can vary the cost a bit.
Harbor Freight also offers solar panel kits that include multiple panels, an inverter, and a charge controller. Their 100 Watt kit runs $190 and a battery will set you back an additional $75.
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The Solar Panels That Could
When it came time to add solar to my rig I begin researching and pricing out what I felt would be affordable and most of all effective. My solar was going on my truck camper and I really didnt want the panels to just sit there when not in use and get piled up with snow.
I then begin to look at many of the suitcase styles but really didnt find anything I felt would last and after reading reviews I found many had issues. So where could I find a quality panel and yet portable. In my research I stumbled across the Harbor Freight 100 Watts Solar Kit.
At the time I was looking to purchase this kit was on sale for $149.00 and so I thought to myself if it fails I dont have much into it and it was a lost I was willing to take. The 100 watt solar kit, Harbor Freight item #63585. was just the ticket to fit my need. Please Note: The manual, posted online as a PDF, fails to describe a few useful details which well cover here.
Every product picture showed the four panels lined up in a row. But in fact the four panels are capable of standing separately as each panel is in their own frame and has their own folding stand. Bolting them together is optional. If the panels are to be deployed and stowed frequently, leaving them separate might make sense as the panels are much easier to handle individually.
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I Bought And Unpacked The Harbor Freight Kit
I finally had about $200 to spare and I bought the Harbor Freight kit. My first surprise was how heavy this kit was its almost 60 lbs!
Next I unpacked the solar panels each solar panel was protected by a pair of styrofoam panels. I also discovered why the box weights so much. The solar panels are very heavy for their size.
The next surprise came when I unpacked the tubes that assemble into a frame. I expected some cheap thin PVC tubing. What was in the box was still plastic but the plastic was very heavy. Also, everything was clearly labeled.
The other major parts the controller and light were packed in a box inside the main box and the interconnect wiring was in with the plastic frame parts.
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Are Harbor Freight Solar Panels Water Proof
Harbor Freight solar panels are not classified as waterproof but are considered weather resistant and can withstand rain, snow, and sleet. This means the panels can withstand exposure to water, but water should not be allowed to pool and they should not be submerged.
It is important to note that the solar panels should not be installed in an area where they will be constantly exposed to water, such as under a gutter or on a flat roof, as this can cause the panels to degrade over time.
This also means that they should not be permanently mounted on a roof like standard photovoltaic solar panels. Those have a much more durable construction and are designed to be exposed to the elements for years.
If you live in an area where it snows, it is important to clean the snow off of the panels so that they can absorb sunlight and generate power.
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Harbor Freight 100 Watt Solar Panel Kit
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What Makes Harbor Freight Solar Panels So Good
For starters, theyre incredibly affordable. You can find a 100-watt panel kit for about $120, which is an incredible price for a quality solar panel. Users have also mentioned that they are easy and straightforward to install. Additionally, the panels are also very durable and long-lasting, as shown in this video:
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Portable and easy to set up, this reliable, durable solar energy kit delivers 100 watts of free, clean and quiet energy. The amorphous solar cells offer efficient output in both bright and cloudy conditions.
- Amorphous silicon solar cells for maximum output in both bright and cloudy conditions
- Lightweight, weather resistant construction – easy to set up and maintain
- Blocking diode prevents panels from discharging your battery at night
- Charge controller protects your battery from overcharge or discharge
- Comes with mounting hardware, 12v Light Kit, battery terminal clamps and universal DC power adapter
- USB port for charging smartphones and tablets
Replacement Parts in Stock
- Requires 12 volt storage battery and 300 watt power inverter .
Amorphous Panels Work Well in Low Sunlight by Peaceful Prepper
Amorphous Panels Work Well in Low Sunlight by hn Daniel
No Problem Running Power in Small Cabin by BASS n BEER !!
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Harbor Freight Solar Panel Specifications:
Most of the solar panels that Harbor Freight sells are 100 Watt models. Here are the specs for the 100 Watt Harbor Freight Solar Panel:
- Peak Power Output: 100 Watts
- Open Circuit Voltage: 21.60 Volts
- Short Circuit Current: Amps
- Operating Temperature Range: -40° to 185° F
- Dimensions: 26.77 x 19.88 x 0.98
- Weight: 12 lbs.
Harbor Freight 100w Solar Kit Review
I had been shopping around for a solar kit to power my shed, and this was the cheapest I could find. It only cost $149 when it normally retailed at $299! If it didnt work out, then I wasnt going to be too bummed about losing that much money on such an inexpensive item.
The frames that hold the four panels can be used independently, but bolting them together is not mandatory. They are easier to handle individually than as a single unit deploying, and stowing frequently might make sense if separated.
The package lists wires but doesnt specify their length. Each solar panel has a 3-meter wire attached that terminates in an automotive connector known as SAE. This connector type is not compatible with rooftop solar installations because it isnt covered by either specification: J928 or J1239.
The 4-to-1 module has a 3-meter wire and a small barrel connector that fits into the controller. The solar panels four panels connect to form one 1 square foot unit, with half of it consisting of long wires on both sides which attach to two separate 12-inch cables coming from each other .
The battery hub can be 3.5 meters away from the controller, and each panel is up to 3.5 meters apart on its line of sight with the said central 4-to-1 hub a 1-meter cable connects them in one package .
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Harbor Freight Solar Panel Kit
Harbor Freight Tools, maker of the Harbor Freight Solar Panel Kit, has been selling all kinds of hand, automotive and engine tools for over 30 years.
Family owned and providing over 25 million customers with a variety of items from simple hammers and wrenches to tow motor tires, Harbor Freight specializes in offering solar panel kits for people who want to use solar energy as a way of reducing their energy bills or as a method of promoting non-reliance on traditional energy sources.
Harbor Freight 100 Watt Solar Kit
- Amorphous silicon solar cells for maximum output in both bright and cloudy conditions.
- Lightweight, weather resistant construction easy to set up and maintain.
- Blocking diode prevents panels from discharging your battery at night.
- Charge controller protects your battery from overcharge or discharge.
- USB port for charging smartphones and tablets.
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Are Harbor Freight Solar Panels Monocrystalline
I saw this on a random YouTube video that I came across. It was about Harbor Freight releasing their new 100w Monocrystalline panel, unlike the 25w kit they had before.
A new 100w Monocrystalline panel from Harbor Freight is now available. Its a single panel, not like their quad kit that was released months ago.
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How Long Do Harbor Freight Solar Panels Last
The lifespan of a solar panel is typically 20-25 years, but this can vary depending on the quality of the panel and how well it is maintained. Harbor Freight solar panels are made with high-quality materials and are designed to withstand exposure to the elements, so they should last for many years.
However, it is important to note that the panels should be cleaned regularly to ensure they are able to absorb sunlight and generate power efficiently.
Additionally, the panels should be inspected periodically for damage, such as cracked glass or loose connections, and repaired as necessary.
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The Basics Of Solar Power
Two types of solar power are currently usedphotovoltaic and solar thermal. The solar thermal method utilized heat from the sun to directly generate energy while the photovoltaic process employs silicon-based cells that absorb sunlight to energize electrons present in these solar cells.
A simple example of solar thermal power is the solar oven, a device constructed in a way so that heat is captured and retained internally in order to cook food. However the Harbor Freight Solar Panel Kit uses the photovoltaic process to provide energy via a direct current which is then transformed into an alternating current as it passes through an inverter. A negligible amount of solar energy is lost during the conversion process but not enough to significantly affect the power of the 120-volt current provided by the majority of solar panels.
For Recharging A Bug Out Vehicle Battery
The 1.5-Watt Thunderbolt Magnum Solar Battery Charger manufactured by Harbor Freight is perfect to recharge any vehicle battery and mounts quickly to the dash for convenience. It comes with an amorphous crystal solar cell, battery terminal clamps and a cigarette lighter adaptor. If a disaster happens that causes you to take to the road to escape a dangerous urban setting or large-scale weather disaster, having one of these solar battery chargers ensures you are never stranded due to a dead battery.
A Harbor Freight Solar Panel Kit can give you enough power to reduce energy bills and operate lights and appliances in your home. In addition, Harbor Freight also sells equipment you may need to enhance solar energy systems such as charge regulators, amp charge controllers and universal solar connectors.
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What Can You Power With Harbor Freight Solar Panels
Generally, the solar panels that Harbor Freight sells are 100 Watt models and are designed to run small appliances, such as camping fridges or portable AC units, or charge devices like your phone or laptop.
Some people have used them to supplement power for a shed or garage, while others use them as an off-grid solution for powering things like lighting at a cabin or while camping.
Here are some examples of what you can run with a 100 Watt Harbor Freight solar panel:
- 15 Amp 12 Volt DC to 110 Volt AC Power Inverter
- 100 Watt Portable Solar Panel
- LED light bulbs
- Refrigerator or freezer
Of course, the bigger the solar panel, the more wattage it produces and the more youll be able to power.
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