Sun120 vs. HF45

RussellJRussellJ Registered Users Posts: 15 ✭✭
Just thought I'd post a couple pics of my panels. The Harbor Freight 45watt panel, which never really put more than 1.5 amps into the battery, is about the same size as the Sun 120 that puts about 6 amps in there. I was amazed at the difference in power generation for the same physical size of panels.


  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,994 admin
    Re: Sun120 vs. HF45

    Thank you RussellJ!

    We gently try to talk people out of trying/installing the Harbor Freight panels on any sort of cabin/off grid power system--even if they already have the panels.

    Their performance is rather poor and usually does almost nothing but cause frustration for the new solar tinkerer.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Sun120 vs. HF45

    Guess I must be the odd man in this bunch then. Started with a set of the HF panels to charge a 55AH battery for my night lights. A year and $ XXXX later got 960 watts of panels plus the rest of the stuff for it.

    I got about 1 amp out of each panel.
  • KamalaKamala Solar Expert Posts: 452 ✭✭
    Re: Sun120 vs. HF45

    Ken, how long ago was it that you bought your HF panels? You seem to have passed the "tinkerer" phase.

    Everyone has to start someplace. Many people come to this NAWS forum in frustration after they have committed the ready, fire, aim behavior. I did.

    I have two Brunton panels rated at 15W in parallel. The $25 charge controller alway indicates charging, regardless of insolation. And never indicates fully charged. I have never observed more than one amp going into the batteries. They consist of a pair of 12V 105AH AGMs in parallel. This setup is far from optimum.

    I have learned from this forum that 30W of PV, insolated for 4 to 5 hours per day, will not be able to replace the energy that I draw from a 210AH bank.

    Still, RussellJ, you have started. Which is good. You can, and I emphatically encourage you to, use the items that you have purchased to learn, on a smaller scale, how to implement a PV system.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Sun120 vs. HF45

    My HF set has never done more than about 1.5A total either. Absolute best was the day I opened the box and carefully aimed them at the July noontime sun, hit 30W! :roll:

    But the main reason I never went back was just as the OP mentioned - my Kyocera 135W panels are only slightly larger than the HF set and provide WAAAAY more power!

    I do still use the HF panels. They are on the roof near the Kyoceras, and feed down to the garage where I keep my collection of AGM batteries charged, or more commonly keep my truck battery maintained. Now a year later, I still very consistently get 18-20W peak from them. Haven't seen any further degradation.

    Edit: Funny aside - when I first got my Outback FM-80, it was midweek and I didn't have time to install the new panels. So I wired the FM-80 up to the HF panels, wired in series. It worked! And I actually did see a boost in performance thanks to MPPT - got close to 28W! :p
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Sun120 vs. HF45
    Kamala wrote: »
    Ken, how long ago was it that you bought your HF panels? You seem to have passed the "tinkerer" phase.

    I got them about 2 years ago. Had them for 6-8 months and then sold them. No, I am not pass the "tinkerer" phase. My toys are just more expansive now.:D:D
  • RussellJRussellJ Registered Users Posts: 15 ✭✭
    Re: Sun120 vs. HF45

    I got the HF kit for a weekend project to get my mind off of my crashed airplane. Turned out that it would recharge a 25 ah battery and run a cfl in the living room all evening. Once I started reading stuff from you guys I upgraded a bit. I added 2 Sun 120's, a real PWM charge controller and 2 100ah trolling motor batteries. This setup powers the 26" tv, cable modem, wireless router, my laptop AND the cfl in the living room. I keep my cell phone charged up with it too but it doesn't really use much power. My weekend project has turned into quite a hobby. It's a lot of fun and I like knowing that the power I'm using is already paid for.
    I posted the pics 'cause I was amazed at the difference in power generation from the same sized panels. And as it turns out the Sun panels were way cheaper per watt than the HF ones too.
Sign In or Register to comment.