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Wagan Solar e Power Cube 1500 : Target

A member of my church group, the one we were helping get prepared and wanted so badly to go solar but decided on a generator we found on Craiglist for $250 (4000 watts) emailed me the link above and thought about putting it on his credit card. DON'T I yelled.

Yes its nice, yes its convenient to have it all built for you, and yes it looks cool and has all the right components (well except one to me - panels that matter). This unit, a $1000 plus, has 5-16 watt panels. My gosh I showed him the links where panels in the 200-280 watt range are under a dollar a watt now. Look I said get two of those 240 watt panels for $450 delivered and you still have $550 to go and 480 watts of charging power instead of 80. (480 vs 80)!

Yes you need an inverter - they are about $125 for under 500 watts.
Yes you need batteries - you can get a decent one for $175 I believed and possibly better if you go talk to the golf guy about those on the golf carts.

That is $750 and you are missing the wheels and handle. And you are getting 6x the charging power from the sun.
 

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Darn good advice you gave imo.

The rated wattage of solar panels is in full direct sun light. Given a few cloudy days, rain, or MOST of winter, your actual output from the panels will be but a small fraction of that rated. So while he might think he doesn't need 500 watts... MANY days he may only be getting 50. It's also nice having a surplus of panels because what if a wind storm comes along and tosses a tree limb, icicle, or a lawn chair into one or two?
 

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You might want to check, as those larger wattage solar panels are 24VDC which means an entire different setup then with 12VDC panels. But can still get 80-120watt 12VDC panels reasonable. And with the 230watt 24VDC panels or those in that range you give up a lot of amperage for the 24VDC.

Reason for using 24VDC is it takes smaller wire for the same amperage as 12VDC. Just run the solar panels as close as possible to the controller & batteries as close as possible to the controller. Then inverter as close as possible to the batteries & you will be fine with 12VDC panels.

Even the cheap import panels have reasonable outputs after 20 years.

The smaller your solar system the more critical it is that the panel angles are adjustable. Not as critical east-west threw the day but more critical north-south (longitude) for the month of the year.

Depending on the size system, deep cycle batteries (marine) from Walmart work fine.
 

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It depends on what you are trying to do, if you want a system to charge a few 1.5v batteries and run a few rudimentary lights then this person is not far off.

If you want to do more, then the system you are describing is far from cost efficient, the point is what is this person trying to accomplish/
 

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You could also look at Goal Zero's stuff. Goal Zero makes some nice portable arrays and battery modules ranging from backpack size on up.

Goal Zero

The guide 10 is an interesting little system, though not nearly large enough for your needs.
 

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You might want to check, as those larger wattage solar panels are 24VDC which means an entire different setup then with 12VDC panels. But can still get 80-120watt 12VDC panels reasonable. And with the 230watt 24VDC panels or those in that range you give up a lot of amperage for the 24VDC.

Reason for using 24VDC is it takes smaller wire for the same amperage as 12VDC. Just run the solar panels as close as possible to the controller & batteries as close as possible to the controller. Then inverter as close as possible to the batteries & you will be fine with 12VDC panels.

Even the cheap import panels have reasonable outputs after 20 years.

The smaller your solar system the more critical it is that the panel angles are adjustable. Not as critical east-west threw the day but more critical north-south (longitude) for the month of the year.

Depending on the size system, deep cycle batteries (marine) from Walmart work fine.
Be careful about those "marine" batteries. Most if not all are designed with mid range thickness plates. All plates shed as the are used. Thin plates can give a high amperage burst to start an engine but don't last long with a stead drain. Deep cycle batteries (golf cart) have very thick plates and a large area under the plates to accumulate the sloughed lead from the plates so it doesn't short out the plates. Deep cycle are designed to give a long slow power curve and be recharged over and over again. The 2 - 6 volt golf cart batteries in my motorhome are pushing 12 or 13 years old and still give me over 50% capacity. Marine batteries are in between. Read the battery literature, if it talks about starting the boats engine, it's not a true deep cycle battery.
 
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