Electrical Korr folding solar panels

Axl

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Dec 23, 2014
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Brisbane/Bayside
#1
Looking at adding a set of folding solar panels to my set up, I've been looking around the net and I am just curious if anyone owns or has used a set of these https://www.korrlighting.com.au/product/120w-folding-solar-mat/. The current price seems reasonable to me and the specs look good, not overly worried about the controller as I am going to bypass it and feed the panels into a ETracer MPPT 20amp controller. This will be set up in the van as close to the batteries as possible and my plan is to bypass the controller on my current 120w glass panels and feed them into it as well.
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
610
613
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
#2
Looking at adding a set of folding solar panels to my set up, I've been looking around the net and I am just curious if anyone owns or has used a set of these https://www.korrlighting.com.au/product/120w-folding-solar-mat/. The current price seems reasonable to me and the specs look good, not overly worried about the controller as I am going to bypass it and feed the panels into a ETracer MPPT 20amp controller. This will be set up in the van as close to the batteries as possible and my plan is to bypass the controller on my current 120w glass panels and feed them into it as well.
Hi @Axl , glad to see another member fitting a MPPT controller. The new folding panel looks good with the specs even if I think the cost is pricey. It is certainly light and able to be easily moved into position and output seems good. Just a bit concerned about the capacity of your MPPT controller to handle ALL the current from the panels you are feeding into it. Assuming that all your panels are producing approx 6A, then the total current input from panels (in parallel) will be approx 18A at around 18 or more volts. If battery voltage is sensed to be say 12.5v, then input current from controller to battery will be approx 1.44 times 18A which is way above Controller specs at nearly 26A (less 2%) for conversion losses. If you only have 2 X 120w panels operating to your MPPT controller, it would still be 12A X 1.44 which equals more than 17A (less 2%) which is getting close to max for 20A controller. Are you aware of this factor and how it is calculated in theory anyway?
 
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Crusty181

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Feb 7, 2010
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Mentone, VIC
#3
@Axl, for whats its worth I bought a 160w solar blanket from Super Cheap which are currently advertised at the same price. They regularly are on special for $399, and when the stars align Super Cheap have online 20% specials, which you order and pay online and then collect at your local store an hour later. Short story is I got it for $320
 
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Axl

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Dec 23, 2014
356
842
93
Brisbane/Bayside
#4
Hi @Axl , glad to see another member fitting a MPPT controller. The new folding panel looks good with the specs even if I think the cost is pricey. It is certainly light and able to be easily moved into position and output seems good. Just a bit concerned about the capacity of your MPPT controller to handle ALL the current from the panels you are feeding into it. Assuming that all your panels are producing approx 6A, then the total current input from panels (in parallel) will be approx 18A at around 18 or more volts. If battery voltage is sensed to be say 12.5v, then input current from controller to battery will be approx 1.44 times 18A which is way above Controller specs at nearly 26A (less 2%) for conversion losses. If you only have 2 X 120w panels operating to your MPPT controller, it would still be 12A X 1.44 which equals more than 17A (less 2%) which is getting close to max for 20A controller. Are you aware of this factor and how it is calculated in theory anyway?
Thanks for that info @Boots in Action, I sure hope I get the figures you have mentioned in your post. Even if I get close to them I will be very happy, as for the controller whilst reading some posts over on the solar panel thread the other day I decided that I would fit a 30amp unit. Old mate on flea bay has them for sale with a handy little Wi-Fi dongle which will allow me to see all sorts of info from the controller through an app on my phone.
 

Axl

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Dec 23, 2014
356
842
93
Brisbane/Bayside
#5
@Axl, I bought a 160w solar blanket from Super Cheap which are currently advertised at the same price. They regularly are on special for $399, and when the stars align Super Cheap have online 20% specials, which you order and pay online and then collect at your local store an hour later. Short story is I got it for $320
Cheers @Crusty181, Ill be sure to have a look at the specs the price is certainly right. The thing that lead me to the Korr panels is the specs I cant remember at the moment but they have a max output voltage of over 19V which is pretty good.
 
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Crusty181

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Feb 7, 2010
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Mentone, VIC
#6
Cheers @Crusty181, Ill be sure to have a look at the specs the price is certainly right. The thing that lead me to the Korr panels is the specs I cant remember at the moment but they have a max output voltage of over 19V which is pretty good.
Im not sure of the specs, and I certainly cant vouch for them although they seem to work ok. More just food for fodder. I'd hate for you to commit to something where Im aware there may be another option. I plan on getting a small bluetooth Victron MPPT controller for my 2 x folding panels ... actually Ill grab that today
 
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Axl

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Dec 23, 2014
356
842
93
Brisbane/Bayside
#8
I think the Korr stuff is well presented and reliable but you are paying for the name badge ..............specs seem the same as many others, sounds expensive to me.
@Drover I'm yet to come across a set of flexible panels that have a max output voltage anywhere near the 19.06V that these claim have, if you see some please let me know.

Jumped in and brought a EPEVER 30A MPPT this morning, I will put in the van as close to the batteries as I can. Going to spend a couple of days of the grid next month so ill see how it goes with my current 120w panel, its only two days then we are onto a powered site so I don't need to flexible panels yet but if the funds allow it I might grab them anyway.
 
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Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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Cooloola Coast, QLD
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#9
Yep your right, I should take more notice, ones I was once interested in were about 18 or 17 something, took more notice of the claimed amp output but decided solid ones were more economical and easier to set up when off grid.............I always wonder how close the specs are on this stuff in the real world.
 

Boots in Action

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Mar 13, 2017
610
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
#10
@Drover I'm yet to come across a set of flexible panels that have a max output voltage anywhere near the 19.06V that these claim have, if you see some please let me know.

Jumped in and brought a EPEVER 30A MPPT this morning, I will put in the van as close to the batteries as I can. Going to spend a couple of days of the grid next month so ill see how it goes with my current 120w panels, its only two days then we are onto a powered site so I don't need to flexible panels yet but if the funds allow it I might grab them anyway.
Hi @Axl , I will be keen to hear how you go with the upgraded (MPPT) controller and how it performs in different conditions. I assume you have fixed panels (2 X 120A ) on roof of van, so that will be a real test as you are not able to "chase the sun" as with portable panels. Don't forget that with your remote display panel, you will be able to set voltage charge setting to the optimum max setting for AGM of 14.7 volts. You may not need to purchase more solar panels if your MPPT can increase your charging performance. Cheers
 
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Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
610
613
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
#11
Yep your right, I should take more notice, ones I was once interested in were about 18 or 17 something, took more notice of the claimed amp output but decided solid ones were more economical and easier to set up when off grid.............I always wonder how close the specs are on this stuff in the real world.
Hi @Drover , I agree with you on the specs set out in advertising propaganda. And then it is how you read them. There is Voc which is output voltage whist short circuited, and then there is MAX working voltage when under load. Note the word is MAX and this is under STC in lab , and could be different in the field!! The other one is Isc which is output current whilst short circuited. No doubt the results for output under load are the MAX under STC too. As you have said before, the real test is in the field with your own multimeter to measure these for yourself. Having said that, i have found that generally they are reasonably close when I too can get very favourable conditions under the sun at 25C.
 
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Axl

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Dec 23, 2014
356
842
93
Brisbane/Bayside
#13
Hi @Axl , I will be keen to hear how you go with the upgraded (MPPT) controller and how it performs in different conditions. I assume you have fixed panels (2 X 120A ) on roof of van, so that will be a real test as you are not able to "chase the sun" as with portable panels. Don't forget that with your remote display panel, you will be able to set voltage charge setting to the optimum max setting for AGM of 14.7 volts. You may not need to purchase more solar panels if your MPPT can increase your charging performance. Cheers
@Boots in Action I will certainly let you know what happens once I get the controller installed. I don't have fixed panels on the van I currently have a set of 120w portable glass folding panels and a 120amp AGM battery. With hit and miss sun conditions this set up keeps me going around 4 days until I need the generator or mains power.
I don't have the time or the crimping tools needed to do the upgrades I want so I had a quote done last week for a 160w panel to be installed on the roof and a 20amp Victron MPPT controller which came in at $1200. I have no issues with paying that as I said I don't have the time or tools but then I thought once I get a panel stuck on the roof if I sell the van this goes with it, so with a $1200 dollar budget in mind I started looking around at portable.
I don't want another set of glass panels they take up too much room so flexible is the way I will be going. Ill have the EPever 30A MPPT installed before our next trip away on the in March so Ill be able to see how it performs then and at the price they are at now I reckon I will buy a set of the Korr flexible panels.
I don't really need the flexible panels at the moment but when my current AGM dies (its 5 year old) I will be putting two 120amp batteries in the Expanda. Ill then will have 240amp's of battery and 240amp's of solar with a 30amp MPPT feeding the batteries and as long as the sun shines this set up will well and truly keep me out of trouble, all of this will all be removable if I ever decided to sell the van.
One of the batteries will be in a Projecta type box that has cig and Anderson sockets/plugs so I can take it out of the van and take this with me to run the Engel and lights if we do any weekend tenting and both of the panels will still have their own controllers.

Oh yeah, and once I'm finished I will have plenty of change left from my original budget for beer.....

At least they roll up when not in use, my solid set could be a pain if space is short, will you swing it off side of van like an awning???? Have been told laying over vehicle ends up being not that great in the long run.
@Drover, yes mate space saving and light weight is the reason I'm going flexible. I could get a cheap pair of 120w glass panels on flea bay and bypass the regulator for under half the price of them but I don't want that.
I'm thinking that if they perform as I hope they will Ill end up with another set a few years down the track and my glass panels will become dust collectors in the shed.
Don't know how ill use them just yet but I cant wait to get into a position where I can experiment. In a couple of weeks time I will be back at Somerset chasing yabbies, we are there for 9 nights so ill get plenty of time test different scenarios with the two sets of panels drinking beer watching the amps flow.
 
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Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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Cooloola Coast, QLD
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#14
The idea of being able to disconnect a battery to use as a portable is a good idea, though with your dual batteries in parallel it will require some fancy Anderson plug and play so you keep your van on power and you go from parallel to single by swapping a socket/lead combo around.......



Nice to see someone who see's the problem in spending up big on something that may be sold before full use is achieved.
 

Axl

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Dec 23, 2014
356
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Brisbane/Bayside
#15
The idea of being able to disconnect a battery to use as a portable is a good idea, though with your dual batteries in parallel it will require some fancy Anderson plug and play so you keep your van on power and you go from parallel to single by swapping a socket/lead combo around.......



Nice to see someone who see's the problem in spending up big on something that may be sold before full use is achieved.
@Drover you used to own a 14 footer what do you think of this idea? My plan is to install the EPEVER on the wall of the tall cupboard above the dinette seat(see pic).
My battery is currently in the bottom of the tall cupboard but I am going to relocate it to under the seat in the pic (eventually there will be two), this way the run from the regulator to the batteries will only be about 5ft.
All wiring is to be 8mm2 and I plan to have two piggy baked Anderson plugs installed under the van probably just in front of the door the step, these will be facing backwards to keep the muck out. I will then simply plug my two panels into here, the panels will have their regulators bypassed of course.
As you have said a bit of plug and play but this will work wont it?

E.JPG
 

Drover

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Nov 7, 2013
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#16
Yep, moved my battery to under the seat far better position for access. Controller position is good, you will also find the original cables will reach the new battery position once you drill a hole in the cupboard and tidy up the wiring. I ran my Anderson from the front cross member near the AC vent so cables out of way.

I've worked out an uncomplicated way for you to set up 2 batteries in parallel so you can unplug one and hook the other up as a single without having wiring nightmare.
 
Dec 3, 2017
18
31
13
49
Canberra
#17
Hi Axl, I purchased the 150 Korr panels at caravan show recently, paid 549 'show price special' and was happy because they were the ones I wanted after researching on the net. I also got a Victron 100/30 MPPT with Bluetooth and did exactly what you described, I bypassed the existing controller in the van by simply wiring the input and output of the existing rooftop panel together after disconnecting from the existing regulator and then connecting to the new regulator . I placed the new regulator inside a floor level cupboard as close to the battery compartment as I could but not in there as I am short of room after fitting second battery. Have only had fitted since the weekend and van is in shade so have not got a handle on combined panel output yet - I rely on regulator info via bluetooth. The Victron unit seems really well made, the panels are a little too flexible when hot but I have attached 'coreflute' to the back with HD Velcro so they don't bend when propped up, works well and doesn't compromise weight or storage. I have connected both panels to controller in parallel via Anderson plug set up, 2 into one but will also connect in series to compare which works best as my single existing roof panel is only 120w. Will make up a series connector with Anderson plugs and connect up. Will take some photos at weekend and post here to show how I have it set up.
Crossy
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
610
613
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#18
Hi Axl, I purchased the 150 Korr panels at caravan show recently, paid 549 'show price special' and was happy because they were the ones I wanted after researching on the net. I also got a Victron 100/30 MPPT with Bluetooth and did exactly what you described, I bypassed the existing controller in the van by simply wiring the input and output of the existing rooftop panel together after disconnecting from the existing regulator and then connecting to the new regulator . I placed the new regulator inside a floor level cupboard as close to the battery compartment as I could but not in there as I am short of room after fitting second battery. Have only had fitted since the weekend and van is in shade so have not got a handle on combined panel output yet - I rely on regulator info via bluetooth. The Victron unit seems really well made, the panels are a little too flexible when hot but I have attached 'coreflute' to the back with HD Velcro so they don't bend when propped up, works well and doesn't compromise weight or storage. I have connected both panels to controller in parallel via Anderson plug set up, 2 into one but will also connect in series to compare which works best as my single existing roof panel is only 120w. Will make up a series connector with Anderson plugs and connect up. Will take some photos at weekend and post here to show how I have it set up.
Crossy
Hi @Crossy , great to hear from you on this solar topic. Not familiar with the Victron MPPT controller, but should make for some interesting experiments. I have found that when connecting two non - identical panels (brands or outputs), parallel is sometimes better for output as output current is combined whilst voltage is averaged between both panels - both panels in similar sunlight. Series did not seem as good in sunny conditions as current is limited to the weakest (lowest) panel output and voltage is added. Where series IS better, is when conditions are not optimum - cloudy or rather dim - when both methods are struggling to generate current. However, even in these less than perfect conditions, whilst current output may be down, series VOLTAGE does not drop off very much at all, so at least with the MPPT controller and higher input voltage to controller, there is some possibility of generating amps from the extra voltage available. I too have made up leads so I can have just one panel or two panels connected in parallel or series as I wish. Usually set up in series though, as still able to get some charge later in the day before dark. I have two folding solar portable panels - 1 X 180w (22.5 Voc) and the other 1 x 200w (21.0 Voc) Both operate around 18.5 to 19.5v in the sun (hot) and whilst generating electrical current and battery under load..
 
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Axl

Well-Known Member
Dec 23, 2014
356
842
93
Brisbane/Bayside
#19
Hi Axl, I purchased the 150 Korr panels at caravan show recently, paid 549 'show price special' and was happy because they were the ones I wanted after researching on the net. I also got a Victron 100/30 MPPT with Bluetooth and did exactly what you described, I bypassed the existing controller in the van by simply wiring the input and output of the existing rooftop panel together after disconnecting from the existing regulator and then connecting to the new regulator . I placed the new regulator inside a floor level cupboard as close to the battery compartment as I could but not in there as I am short of room after fitting second battery. Have only had fitted since the weekend and van is in shade so have not got a handle on combined panel output yet - I rely on regulator info via bluetooth. The Victron unit seems really well made, the panels are a little too flexible when hot but I have attached 'coreflute' to the back with HD Velcro so they don't bend when propped up, works well and doesn't compromise weight or storage. I have connected both panels to controller in parallel via Anderson plug set up, 2 into one but will also connect in series to compare which works best as my single existing roof panel is only 120w. Will make up a series connector with Anderson plugs and connect up. Will take some photos at weekend and post here to show how I have it set up.
Crossy
Hi @Crossy , great to hear from you on this solar topic. Not familiar with the Victron MPPT controller, but should make for some interesting experiments. I have found that when connecting two non - identical panels (brands or outputs), parallel is sometimes better for output as output current is combined whilst voltage is averaged between both panels - both panels in similar sunlight. Series did not seem as good in sunny conditions as current is limited to the weakest (lowest) panel output and voltage is added. Where series IS better, is when conditions are not optimum - cloudy or rather dim - when both methods are struggling to generate current. However, even in these less than perfect conditions, whilst current output may be down, series VOLTAGE does not drop off very much at all, so at least with the MPPT controller and higher input voltage to controller, there is some possibility of generating amps from the extra voltage available. I too have made up leads so I can have just one panel or two panels connected in parallel or series as I wish. Usually set up in series though, as still able to get some charge later in the day before dark. I have two folding solar portable panels - 1 X 180w (22.5 Voc) and the other 1 x 200w (21.0 Voc) Both operate around 18.5 to 19.5v in the sun (hot) and whilst generating electrical current and battery under load..
Hi @Crossy and @Boots in Action, could you guys show me how to hook up two panels in Series please. I've tried to understand this form the solar panel thread but I got lost after page 22. I would also like to be able to do this, whilst I plan on simply going two into one I've no doubt it would be good to be able to do both.
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
610
613
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Ferny Grove, Queensland
#20
Hi @Crossy and @Boots in Action, could you guys show me how to hook up two panels in Series please. I've tried to understand this form the solar panel thread but I got lost after page 22. I would also like to be able to do this, whilst I plan on simply going two into one I've no doubt it would be good to be able to do both.
Hi @Axl , you still up late?? No problem at all so it is well you asked as a "dead short" at 20 odd volts and 10 or so amps is going to make smoke and flame!! But don't be too alarmed - it only happens if panels are in the sun!! lol.
Seriously, on the back of each solar panel there are two OUTPUT leads from a controller - one marked POS and the other marked NEG. You have two leads going to solar MPPT controller also. These are also marked Pos (red) and Neg (black). You join the positive from the MPPT controller to the POS on the first panel. The other lead on that same panel is the NEG. You use a separate wire from the neg of that panel to the POS on the second panel. The remaining lead on the second panel is NEG and is joined to the NEG on solar controller input alongside the Positive. As I always use Anderson plugs for all connections, there is a standard pos and Neg connection (same double wire 6 or 8mm) on the one Anderson plug. This wire splits and the single POS wire goes to the First panel Pos. Here it gets a bit different. If using an Anderson plug, you already have the pos wire from controller on one connector. A separate SINGLE wire goes into the Same anderson plug but on the NEG side, which in turn is connected to the neg of first panel. Are you still with me?? Hang in there!! This SINGLE wire (connected to NEG terminal of output on first panel goes to the POS terminal of second panel and is connected to POS output of panel two. That only leaves one terminal on the Anderson plug which is connected to the NEG on back of panel two. The other end of this SINGLE wire goes to the neg coming from the Controller input where we started.
Too late tonight , but will send pictures tomorrow when light. Don't get put off, I had to think of how to make the connections on the same Anderson plug/s myself at first. I trust you are happy with the way to bypass controllers on back of panels so you can get panel output to MPPT controller direct??
 
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