Let's talk about Solar Blankets

vomhorizon

Active member
I recently installed a 100 W rigid solar panel on my roof rack and have been studying up on folding solar panels or solar blankets as some like to call them. I've heard great things about a few, in particular the products offered by Overland Solar and Red Arc (not sold in the USA). However, the cost is most certainly a drawback for both of these options. I've also run into some more affordable systems on Amazon and elsewhere but those have had mixed reviews. Since I couldn't find a thread specific to solar blankets, I wanted to see if the community had experience with these portable systems particularly in the 60 - 150 watt class as something like that could be of great use to those looking to build a hybrid system utilizing a fixed, rigid panel and a more compact, light, portable relocatable option that could be hung on the roof rack or pegged to the ground.

https://www.redarc.com.au/115w-solar-blanket-sunpower-cells

 

vomhorizon

Active member
All the portable foldable/flexible solar modules work ok.
Just not as efficient or durable as their rigid counterparts.
Their only advantage is a convienient portable thing at the cost of high pricetag, low lifespan and capture efficiency.
Btw,
Remember every manufacturer is trying to claim their thing is superior to the next guys.
First thing I saw as I clicked that link. A length of SPT cable with SAE connectors. Further reading its ’specs, ”Produces 7 Amps Per Hour”. Right there, screams ”We are **************** and con artists selling low ’spec electrical stuff to otherwise clueless people.”
Thanks. I stumbled on the Overland Solar based on a few folks I know who are very happy with theirs (and have extensive experience with different panel types) and via this forum where users have written good things about them. For me, personally, I wouldn't want to spend $500+ on a 130 W solar panel no matter how portable it is . This was one of the reasons I started this thread. I was wondering if users here have experience with similar products that may be more affordable but get the job done. I've seen a few decent folding panels but the solar blankets are either super expensive (like the two above) or appear to be very cheap ones you get on Amazon with mixed reviews. Was wondering if there are any middile of the road products that offer reasonable performance at more affordable price point.
 
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vomhorizon

Active member
Here are a few other more decent priced options that I've just stumbled upon. Don't know how good they are (beyond Amazon reviews) so it would be interesting to see if any of the users here have experience

 

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Steve_P

Member
I have a similar need. I have a fully integrated PV system on the camper but wanted a portable panel to maintain the aux battery on my truck, which powers a 12 volt fridge. Like you I can't justify the cost of the true PV blankets so I got a 100 watt Dokio from Amazon, because it was cheap. It works well but after less than 2 years started showing signs of UV damage, the edges started fraying and the tie down loops began pulling out. After a norther blew through our last camp I found it disconnected and upside down. I'm looking to replace it with a panel with grommets in the corners instead of sewn in loops. My other requirements are minimum 12 gauge leads terminated in either MC4 or Anderson connectors and it must lie flat on the windshield of the truck. So far the Allpowers 100 and the Renogy 100 fit those requirements but both have sewn in loops instead of grommets.
 

dstefan

Active member
I have this: https://smile.amazon.com/ECOWHO-HY-3x35W18V2-Solar-Charge-Controller/dp/B01M8LCDN2/ref=sr_1_4?crid=WTGG0TBGRFMC&dchild=1&keywords=acopower+solar+panel&qid=1605566976&sprefix=acopower,aps,227&sr=8-4

Works great! Had it two years. I don’t love that it’s a PWM controller or that it uses 14 gauge wiring, but both are easily upgraded if you need to. I don't, so far. I do love it works great and keeps my batteries topped, in the heat running an ARB 50 qt fridge when I’m not driving. I also like that it’s a company that’s been around for a while, they’re in LA, and it’s a very nice fold up compact system. Can also get 120 watt foldable panel or larger plus quite a few other connectors and other products from Acopower. Oh yeah, they also use Sunpower cells which are supposedly quite good. I personally know one other overlander using this panel and having good results over time as well
 
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