Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Installing and Upgrading Solar Panels to 50 Watt panels sold on eBay

 A few years back I bought some solar panels at a Hamfest.  I was disappointed to find out that they are only 10 watts each. By todays standards that is very little power per square foot.  I also bought a solar battery charged on eBay to connect the solar panels up to a battery.

Here is what my very basic setup looks like.  I do not have any "Load" connected yet but I do have an inverter to convert 12 volts to 120 VAC.  The charger has two USB jacks to charge your cell phone.

This year I decided to update the solar panels to some higher power versions.  I bought two 50 Watt panels on eBay for under $60.  This picture is of the ad that appeared on eBay.

This is a bottom view of one of the new panels.  Note the box with a cord coming out of it.

This is a top view of one of the new panels.  The new panels are 1/2 the size of the old panels.

This is the accessories bag that came with the panels. There is a device to plug into a cigarette lighter to charge a car battery and clips to clip directly onto a battery.  Then there are four suction cups that I suppose is how you are supposed to mount the panels.

So there is no easy way to mount these panels like the old panels were mounted, and there is no easy way to hook up these panels to the battery charger controller.  They do have a "Barrel" type of power connector like what is found on many AC Adapters.

This next picture shows what happens when you try to mount the new panels to the old 3 foot by 1 foot solar panels.  The box on the back of the new panels creates a big curve that tends to pop the suction cups off.  This is not going to work!

This picture shows how two of the new 50 watt panels can fit on one of the old 10 watt panels.  That should take me from 10 Watts to 100 Watts per three square feet.  However, I would not recommend this type of mounting as the suction cups repeatedly failed when trying to take this picture.

I am thinking I will need to make a frame out of wood or metal and then mount the new panels on the frame.  Then the frame could be mounted to the roof.

I installed the new panels and after the first snow storm they stopped working!  I have yet to find out the problem as they are under the snow.  I mounted them on an angle so the snow would slide off them but it stays on top of them.  The old panels worked even when under the snow.


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