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Thread: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

  1. #1

    Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    Howd'y all,

    As the thread topic indicates, I am after opinions on the above.

    Let me start with my system.... iTeachworld 120a/h Lithium, dcdc20 charger, 1000w inverter, BMS as well as a 240v charger.

    I have the start battery charging and the solar, which is a 160w fixed panel on the roof of the RTT. Well, it was, until it became airborne at 100kph on the A2 near Charters Towers the other day. Long story, moving on.....

    I am tossing up the options:-

    If I put a fixed panel back on, probably a 250w, it will again set my height at 2.450... but at least it is a set and forget, plus the cost is reasonable.

    As I don't do that much off-grid stuff ( apart from my very recent 2 weeks at Cape Melville, story on it's way ), I was thinking a 250w blanket, which also leaves me the option of removing the panel brackets on the RTT and lowering my height to about 2.350.

    Once the panel departed the rack, I did notice a slightly better fuel economy rate.... ????

    If anyone has had both fixed and blanket, I'd like to hear your experiences. I don't think I'd go a portable panel, although I do have one for the camper, a 250w XTM which handles the 2 x 120a/h AGM's in there.

    cheers LP
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  2. #2
    Ausfish Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Seaforth QLD & Cairns

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    When we first set up our ute back camper we went for fixed panels on top. Great cause I didn't have to set it up each time, but pain as you had to park in the sun to get maximum out of it. We now use the fold up type, yep, I've got to put it out when I want to use it, and I mucked around a bit at the start with a clamp meter to work out how long the cable can be before it loses ooomph, but now I can park the camper in the shade and run a lead out to the panels in the sun. It also stays clean better, opposed to me having to clean the old one when it was on the roof, and at 2.5m, it was a pain reaching it.
    It's not like the fixed panel was doing much when we were driving as it is all connected to the car and charges off the car when under way. And, as a bonus, I also drape it over the bimini on the tinny when doing big days on the electric with the fridge in the boat flicking for Barra.
    Cheers
    Corry

  3. #3

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    Corry, I think from memory there was some discussion here about leaving space below a panel as they generated heat. How does that go on the bimini, I notice a few new boats coming out with a SS offset frame to accept sokar panels.
    One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce and canonized those who complain.
    Thomas Sowell

  4. #4

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Dignity View Post
    Corry, I think from memory there was some discussion here about leaving space below a panel as they generated heat. How does that go on the bimini, I notice a few new boats coming out with a SS offset frame to accept sokar panels.
    Yeah I have heard various " rumours " about burning grass, cooking bonnets etc, but to date no one has had it happen to them. While i was away, the boat I was fishing out of had a small blanket on the Bimini, permanently zip tied to it, done a great job of topping the batteries up and no issues at all.

    I am leaning towards a solar blanket and the two downsides are initial expense... $500 for good one and the chance of having it pilfered while away from camp site, as ferrets know how expensive they are.

    There are some really cool blankets on the market now, especially Aussie made stuff, really are market leaders....

    cheers LP
    Kingfisher Painting Solutions:- Domestic and Commercial.

    For further information, contact details, quotes or advice - Click Here





  5. #5

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    I think Ranmar has quiet a bit of experience with solar on his vessels, reach out to him. Often I suspect he is out of range but he will comment or get back to you. He as you are, a stalwart of this site and wirth listening to.
    One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce and canonized those who complain.
    Thomas Sowell

  6. #6

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    I went fixed. Have 2x200watt panels on the roof and plan to add a Y junction so I can add a blanket while camping and the truck is in the shade. I wanted fixed so that I didnít have to worry too much about the fridge in the back if it was parked for a bit.
    Democracy: Simply a system that allows the 51% to steal from the other 49%.

  7. #7
    Ausfish Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Seaforth QLD & Cairns

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Dignity View Post
    Corry, I think from memory there was some discussion here about leaving space below a panel as they generated heat. How does that go on the bimini, I notice a few new boats coming out with a SS offset frame to accept sokar panels.
    As Phil said, there is a lot of talk about it, but I've never seen anything first hand. I had a 200w blanket laid over the standard Quintrex Bimini for 6 weeks straight on one of our NT Trips, no problems with it at all, even with the NT heat. It was a 'cheaper' ebay blanket too.
    Cheers
    Corry

  8. #8

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Corry View Post
    As Phil said, there is a lot of talk about it, but I've never seen anything first hand. I had a 200w blanket laid over the standard Quintrex Bimini for 6 weeks straight on one of our NT Trips, no problems with it at all, even with the NT heat. It was a 'cheaper' ebay blanket too.
    I suspect that a cloth bimini wouldn't have any problems but a hardtop might be a different matter.
    One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce and canonized those who complain.
    Thomas Sowell

  9. #9

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    Read this link below for info. It clearly states pros and cons of solar blankets. they are good in mixed light conditions and perform better in heat but produce less power per unit of area than hard panels.

    https://topwiretraveller.com/redarc-...solar-blanket/

  10. #10

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    I bit the bullet and have now received my 200w Raptor coated blanket and a new DCDC40...

    cheers all
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  11. #11

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    Now you can camp in the shade and put the blanket in the sun and move it around for peak charging you just need 10to15mts of nice heavy cable to run from the blanket to the ute.

  12. #12

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    I have re-calibrated the BM500, so there should be no more false readings.

    I installed the new DCDC40.... with a minor hic-up. Had I read the instructions " fully " I would have noted that I am required to disconnect the power source.. car battery.. prior to pluggin in the ando plugs.

    Not doing this resulted in a blown 50A fuse ( maxi-blade ) and now here's something interesting. Supercheap sell these at $9.49 each, but I did not go there, I called my local Battery Traders ( who I buy marine batteries and stuff from ) and asked if they stock these.

    Yes, so I pop down and they have a packet of 2... for $6.30 or a ten pack for $18.00. Bought the 2 pack, chatted and they explained why I blew the fuse.

    Going back and disconnecting battery, insert new fuse, go to DCDC40 and " set it " .. for Lithium and it's all working great.

    Although the blanket comes with a 6mtr lead as well as a Controller, and alligator clip / ando plug leads for house battery, they are not needed.

    I have my DCDC20 up for sale now at a good price which will further help on the pricing of the new charger and blanket.

    I don't think I have to be a 12v / solar tech-head to understand the ins and outs of solar etc, but it helps to understand the basics.

    I can't thank iTechworld enough for their patience, assistance, pricing and super quick delivery of their products. Considering they are in WA.

    LP
    Kingfisher Painting Solutions:- Domestic and Commercial.

    For further information, contact details, quotes or advice - Click Here





  13. #13

    Re: Solar Blanket vs Solar Panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky_Phill View Post
    I have re-calibrated the BM500, so there should be no more false readings.

    I installed the new DCDC40.... with a minor hic-up. Had I read the instructions " fully " I would have noted that I am required to disconnect the power source.. car battery.. prior to pluggin in the ando plugs.

    Not doing this resulted in a blown 50A fuse ( maxi-blade ) and now here's something interesting. Supercheap sell these at $9.49 each, but I did not go there, I called my local Battery Traders ( who I buy marine batteries and stuff from ) and asked if they stock these.

    Yes, so I pop down and they have a packet of 2... for $6.30 or a ten pack for $18.00. Bought the 2 pack, chatted and they explained why I blew the fuse.

    Going back and disconnecting battery, insert new fuse, go to DCDC40 and " set it " .. for Lithium and it's all working great.

    Although the blanket comes with a 6mtr lead as well as a Controller, and alligator clip / ando plug leads for house battery, they are not needed.

    I have my DCDC20 up for sale now at a good price which will further help on the pricing of the new charger and blanket.

    I don't think I have to be a 12v / solar tech-head to understand the ins and outs of solar etc, but it helps to understand the basics.

    I can't thank iTechworld enough for their patience, assistance, pricing and super quick delivery of their products. Considering they are in WA.

    LP

    Forgot to add this :- https://itechworld.com.au/
    Kingfisher Painting Solutions:- Domestic and Commercial.

    For further information, contact details, quotes or advice - Click Here





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