Solar Panel Kits
What is a portable solar panel kit
Portable solar panel kits provide 12 volt power for charging 12 volt batteries. They are made up of two 12V solar panels that are hinged together so they can be folded together when not in use. They have hinged legs attached to the back of the solar panels as well as a small solar regulator with connected power cables and battery clamps. the complete portable solar panel kit is held in a carry bag.
Portable solar panels are a convenient source of power when outdoors
To use the portable solar panels just place them in the sun and connect the cable from the regulator to a 12 volt battery. The solar regulator will ensure the battery is not overcharged. All you need is the sun to produce clean and free solar energy.
Portable solar panels from 2 watts up to 120 watts
There are many sizes to choose from, you can enjoy the convenience of solar power when travelling and camping, so instead of attaching a solar panel to roof of your boat or caravan where it is vulnerable to damage and theft, choose from our range of portable folding solar panels.
They all use good quality solar modules and have an attached solar regulator including cables and battery clamps.
Whether you need a powerful 120W portable solar panel for the RV or a compact 20W solar kit complete with carry bag and regulator you will find the size to meet your needs.
How to choose the right size portable solar panel:
To choose the right size portable solar panel for your needs you need to know how much power your devices will consume. To work that out we use either the total power consumption in watts or the current draw in amps.
Using watts to estimate power requirements can be misleading
To select a solar panel to power a 15 watt light for six hours a day we first calculate that the 15W bulb will consume 6 x 15 = 90 watts each day so the solar panel will need to generate 90 watts each day. Lets assume five hours of sunlight so the solar panel needs to generate 18W per hour, so a 20 watt solar panel will do the job. That seems fairly straight forward but unfortunately it can be wrong. We will see why when we use the current drawn to calculate power requirements.
Using amps to estimate power requirements
You should use the current draw in amps to be more accurate. Let's calculate the amp-hours the solar kit will need to generate. Using the same example of the 15 watt light bulb we note that it consumes 1.25 amps so after six hours it will have drained 7.5 Amps from the battery that needs to be replaced every day. If you want a solar panel large enough to top up the battery in 5 hours of sun then it must generate 1.5 amps. Reading the electrical data for a 20 watt solar module shows the Maximum amps (Imp) is 1.2amps..not enough, so our previous calculation using watts gave incorrect data, Why? because the solar panel generates about 18 volts but we are only using about 14 volts to recharge the battery, the rest of the solar power is wasted. Using amps we see that we will need a larger solar panel, in this case a 30 watt BP solar panel with an Imp of 1.8 amps.
Choose a battery with enough amp-Hour capacity
You will need a 12 volt battery with enough capacity to store the power, so select a battery with double the required daily needs, for a couple of reasons: Firstly, batteries should never be drained too much as it shortens their life, and secondly, if you have enough battery power to last for a couple of days then you are not too reliant on having good sunshine every day.
Larger portable solar kits require solar regulators
To prevent overcharging the battery, connect a solar regulator (Charge controller) between the panels and battery, but if you are using a small solar panel just to trickle charge a large battery the it can be connected directly to your battery.
Small portable solar panels
If you need a smaller solar charger to trickle charge large batteries then choose one of the 10 watt portable solar panels, amorphous solar are usually cheaper than the more efficient crystalline folding solar panels, but they are all built from tough materials with good quality electronic components like solar regulator, battery clamps for 12 volt equipment.
Use a portable solar panel to charge your laptop and mobile phone
Many standard 12V power car adapters for laptops and mobile phones will plug in to the portable solar kits with 12 sockets to allow you to use and recharge all your personal electronics car chargers or you use compact inverters to power small 240 VAC appliances.
Questions about Portable Solar Panels
Q: I am looking for a solar powered 'trickle charger' for my boat battery ( 100Ah). I am considering a 10 watt 12 volt solar panel coupled with a solar regulator. Would you consider this to be a fair combination to meet my needs or would you recommend a larger solar panel? Also, I was wondering whether these come with the necessary leads/connectors to hook it all up?
A: The 10 amp solar panel will be ok if you jusr want to trickle charge the battery. It does not need a solar regulator when charging a 100Ah battery as it has a maximum output of about 0.6 amps so in a typical day of sunlight you can expect to put approximately 3 Ah into the battery and at that rate it would take about a month the fully recharge a flat 100Ah battery. It would not be able to overcharge the battery, which is the main reason for using a solar regulator. If you decided to use a bigger solar panel above 40 watts for this battery then I would recommend a suitable regulator able to regulte the maximum amps produced by the solar panel.
Q: I require a small portable solar panel that can strap to my backpack to recharge my mobile phone while cycling.
A: The Backpack solar panel ( Product Code: SC14 ) is a light portable solar panel with a tough canvas backing and clear plastic cover for protection. It can be used to directly charge Mobile Phones and any device that can be charged by 6VDC / 200mA It has an adjustable straps and clips to allow it to be securely attached to a backpack or anywhere else you may decide to attach it. The output socket on the SC14 is a USB socket like those found on computers so if you have a device that can be charged by a USB port then you just plug it into the solar panel and let the sun recharge it. But don't expect this small solar panel to do the job of a large solar panel as they only generate 200 milli-amps in peak sunlight and will never completely recharge a phone battery.
Q: Can the Topray 28 watt briefcase solar panel be used to recharge Jump Starters which are used as portable power supplies and are normally charged from a car 12v socket?
A: Yes it will work if you are talking about a standard jump starter which is really just a 12V battery in a box. Using the supplied leads with quick connectors fitted, connect the Solar panel to the regulator and connect that to the jump starter using the 12V socket supplied with the solar kit, you can also connect the solar panel directly to the jump starter or SLA without the regulator. A regulator will protect any battery from being overcharged but as the jump starter will not be permanently connected to the solar panel it is unlikely to be overcharged.
Q: I have a Topray 13 watt briefcase solar kit to charge the battery in my horse truck that controls the electric winch for the tailgate. Do you supply an extension cord for the unit so I could leave the panels in the cab of my truck for safety and still be connected to the battery in the back of the truck.
A: Topray do not supply a premade extension but you can use AC flex cable like the type used on common household appliances, any cable of average thickness will do, just solder on the clamp or lugs you need to make the connection. We do make up custom cables with CLA sockets and connectors made up to any length you require.
Q: I am looking for a solar powered battery charger to charge my 12 Volt battery on the back up generator for my solar power house supply. Can you give me some recommendations please?
A: I would recommend one of the folding solar panels. They are available in sizes 10, 20, 40, 80 and 120 watts. They have attached solar regulators (except the 10 and 20 watt Powertech kits) and come with battery cables with clamps. The Suntech kits are assembled here in Australia with Suntech solar panels and high quality components, the others are imported from China but are made to a high standard. The size you select would depend on your battery size and power usage. The 20 watt unit generates out about 1 amp at 14 volts (battery charging voltage) and the large 120 watt unit puts out about 6 amps. You can estimate a solar panel collects about 5 hours of peak sunlight per day, so the 20 watt unit would provide about 1amp x 5 hours = 5 Amp-hours a day, the 120 watt unit would provide about 5 x 6 = 30 Amp-hours a day, (enough to fully charge a 30 amp-hour battery ). Replace that calculation with you actual data to work out how large the solar panel needs to be. Once you decide on a particular size I will confirm availability as they are delivered directly from our distributor.