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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Costco 100W 18V solar blanket: which controller to use?

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profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 06/20/22 01:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Costco has a hundred watt foldable solar panel that supposedly puts out 18V. On a dollars per watt basis, it is not a great deal, but it is very easy to store and deploy, so I am willing to put up with the cost. (I already have a 120 W suitcase panel -- this new panel is for emergency use at home, as well as extra juice while camping.)

My question, of course, is that I want to use this panel to charge a 12V battery. There has to be an after-market controller that will do the job. Given the specs of the panel (see link below), which controller do you recommend? Thanks in advance for your wisdom.



Costco panel


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Microlite Mike

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Posted: 06/20/22 08:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

profdant139 wrote:

Costco has a hundred watt foldable solar panel that supposedly puts out 18V. On a dollars per watt basis, it is not a great deal, but it is very easy to store and deploy, so I am willing to put up with the cost. (I already have a 120 W suitcase panel -- this new panel is for emergency use at home, as well as extra juice while camping.)

My question, of course, is that I want to use this panel to charge a 12V battery. There has to be an after-market controller that will do the job. Given the specs of the panel (see link below), which controller do you recommend? Thanks in advance for your wisdom.



Costco panel


Any PWM controller will work. Pick one for a simple setup like this, probably the least expensive one will work. Amazon has them as low as $10. A controller from a well known Mfr (Renogy) can be had for less than $20.

* This post was edited 06/20/22 08:39am by Microlite Mike *


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BFL13

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Posted: 06/20/22 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not clear what the 18v DC connects to--does it have battery clamps? How would it connect to a controller's input?
Says it has 3 AC outlets. So it has an inverter? It has all those adapters for your devices to go direct.

You would need a 7.5 amp eg, as a controller if this were a normal 100w 12v panel (has 6.3a ISC some of them) since in time it could get the battery up over 15v.

Suggest hands on view of this to see what connections it has --see the owner's manual--in the box (if it is not on-line somewhere) before buying.


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Posted: 06/20/22 10:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WindyNation has a weatherproof PWM for $23.00. I used one to keep my wet batteries charged during storage for two years plus. Ten amp max.

https://www.windynation.com/Charge-Controllers/Windy-Nation-Inc/WindyNation-Waterproof-10A-12V-Solar-Charge-Controller-w-LED-Charging-and-Load-Indicators/-/1981?p=YzE9MTc=


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Gdetrailer

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Posted: 06/20/22 01:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BFL13 wrote:

Not clear what the 18v DC connects to--does it have battery clamps? How would it connect to a controller's input?
Says it has 3 AC outlets. So it has an inverter? It has all those adapters for your devices to go direct.

You would need a 7.5 amp eg, as a controller if this were a normal 100w 12v panel (has 6.3a ISC some of them) since in time it could get the battery up over 15v.

Suggest hands on view of this to see what connections it has --see the owner's manual--in the box (if it is not on-line somewhere) before buying.


I suspect that it already has some sort of charge "controller" built in since it mentions..

"The Massimo Solar Panel is your newest commodity to camping and hiking. Constructed from high-efficiency monocrystal silicon solar cells with efficiencies up to 23%, convert more solar power into usable energy. 5V USB and 18V DC dual outputs keep your USB/DC devices fully charged. This solar panel is environmentally friendly, practical, and convenient for emergency power supply situations. The Massimo Solar Panel comes with 10 adapters to charge phones, cameras, laptops, Massimo power stations and much more. Make sure you're prepared for the next adventure with the 100W Massimo Foldable Solar Panel. "

The ten adapters look suspiciously like the same kind of adapters used on universal generic laptop power supplies which set the voltage and amperage output for the laptop you have.. 18V is pretty typical for most laptop chargers..

Adding an external charge controller to this panel without bypassing or rewiring to get around the built in 5V/18V device may result in pretty lack luster results.

profdant139

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Posted: 06/20/22 01:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gde, my main concern isn't lackluster performance, although that is certainly relevant. The big issue is that I don't want to cook my 12V battery with an 18V panel!

Boon Docker

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Posted: 06/20/22 01:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If it had a charge controller it would say two 12 volt outputs not 18 volt outputs.

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 06/20/22 01:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You would have to have a seriously tiny battery to get "cooked" by that panel, 18V at 100 watts is 5.5A. Any substantially RV usable 12V battery would laugh at getting 5.5A charge for the absolute max of 4-5 peak charging hrs you would get per day.

But to get that 18V you must use the "port" on that panel which looks like a small "barrel" connector (take a good look at the cable and universal connectors in the pictures).. That "port' most likely accounts for one of the three "outlets" and most likely has two 5V USB outlets..

That advertiser mentions plugging in laptops to it, I personally would not trust plugging any laptop into a unregulated solar panel unless you really want to take a chance that it won't go up in smoke in full sunlight..

It must have some sort of voltage regulation in order to allow one to plug a laptop into it.. Not all laptops accept 18V, some are 17V, some are 18V, some are 18.5V, some are 19.5V.. That is the reason for all of those little adapter plugs, those plugs tell the regulator what to set the voltage to..

But for your purpose, even if that panel offers 18V (standard for most "12V" panels) it is going to be 5A or less which unless you have it hooked to a small motorcycle battery, most likely won't harm your RV battery unless you leave it hooked up for months at a time.. Battery of 200 Ahr or greater, 5A for a few hrs per day is a bit above trickle charging..

But personally, that is one horribly expensive panel for the small amount of wattage..

Boon Docker

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Posted: 06/20/22 01:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you checked DOKIO solar on Amazon. Reasonable in price and good reviews.

vermilye

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Posted: 06/20/22 03:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I used a DOKIO 300 watt folding panel over the winter in Quartzsite. Made a 3/4"PVC frame to keep it tiled in the correct angle. It came with a controller, although I didn't use it - tied it in with the rooftop solar panels.[image]


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