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Showing 1-10 of 123 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 141 reviews
on November 18, 2011
I am extremely pleased with the performance of this solar panel. We have one installed in a small cabin style 12-volt system intended only to charge personal electronics at a remote location. Just add a deep cycle battery and a DC to AC 120 power inverter, such as the Cobra CPI 480 400-Watt 12-Volt DC to 120-Volt AC Power Inverter with 5-Volt USB Output. It is great!

One WARNING for those new to such systems like we were. The charge controller that comes with this kit is just fine, but it is only for *MAINTAINING* a 12 volt battery. If that is your purpose, buy *this* kit.

But, if you want to add an inverter so that you can have AC, USB (and we even added a 12 volt car socket which is the most efficient), then buy the same panel *without* the charge controller and wiring kit. What you need is a charge controller like the Kintrex SPC0601 7 Amp 100 Watt 12 Volt Solar Power Charge Controller, and various connectors of course. The Sunforce controller only has connections for the solar panel and the battery. The Kintrex adds a load connector for power output which isolates the charge controller and gives you usable power output to your inverter. If you try to parallel the battery connection to your devices like I naively did, you risk overcharging your battery. (I vented a little hydrogen and oxygen, but did not do it long enough to ruin my battery.)

I will definitely be buying more of these panels for other projects. Once you understand the fairly simple wiring you can easily create a great low power system for a cabin. (Next, we will build a 60 or 90 watt system...)
22 comments| 144 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 2, 2012
When contemplating this solar panel I was surprised that the product info did not list any dimensions and no reviewers reported them, so here are the dimensions:

Overall length is 38-1/4 inches, 13-1/2 inches wide and about 1/2 inch thick.
Mounting hole dimensions (center to center) are 37 inches by 8-1/8 inches.
Collector (glass) dimensions are 35-1/4 inches by 11-3/8 inches (398 square inches)

Current output varies significantly (as with most solar panels), and not any better (as stated in description) than other types of panels which I will address next.

This panel puts out about 1.04 amps in full direct sun but drops off to less than half with light clouds (.3-.4 amps output), and only .1 to .05 amps with overcast lighting.

Another comparison for output: I also have a 60 watt mono-crystaline solar panel that has a collection area 33-1/2 inches by 20 inches (670 square inches)

If you consider the wattage output per square inch collector are, the 60 watt mono panel gives .089 watts per sq. inch compared to the Sunforce output of .038 watts per sq. inch. Therefore the Sunforce panel is much less efficient (less than half) compared to a mono-crystaline panel.

Although the output is very poor, I still give this panel a four star rating for the following reasons.

- The moulded framework is MUCH more user friendly for adapting this panel to be mounted or carried along to location sites.
- The panel is very thin compared to other units.
- The 15 foot wire coming off the panel is nicely fused into the framework and the output end is terminated with a 12v connector. It also came with 3 adapter cables with terminated connectors (12 volt connector on one end and the following 3 styles on the other end): Clamp style connectors, a cigarette lighter connector and bare wire leads.

With it's low output, this panel should is best used for battery "maintenance" and not for planning on re-charging a heavily used camper battery for extended lengths of time (running lights/radio/heater fans, etc).
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on January 7, 2013
Very Incorrect Specs. Will not allow the charging of a Yuasa 7A-Hr 12Volt battery when only 0.25 amps are drawn on the battery during full sunshine. This product Does Not provide 1 Amp capability at all as advertised. I placed a 12.5 Ohm resistor across the output of the panel and the maximum current was only 0.344 Amps, not 1 Amp, roughly 4.3 Volts instead of the expected 12 Volts. Do not buy this panel.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 28, 2013
It worked great at first, plenty of power from dawn to dusk and after. I was getting around an amp out of it, which worked good to trickle charge a deep-cycle battery for my amateur radio setup in my house. The panel didn't make enough power to power the radios (I knew this going in), but it did keep the battery up for moderate use.

But, the unit just couldn't handle the weather. I live in the high desert, so snow is only something we see a few times a year. The panel was laying flat on a rooftop and snow collected on it, then remelted the following day. Pooled water got into the panel and then refroze the following night and busted a solder joint.

I did a self-repair on it to make it limp along for now, but I wouldn't buy another one.
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on April 17, 2012
This product is effective and is an upgrade to my Sunforce 5W panel. While the low output of the 5W panel did a reasonable job maintaining my seldomly driven car, the 5W panel fell behind after a few overcast days and unable to make up lost time. In winter, combined with lower sun in the northeast US and shorter days, and some loss inside the car due slight factory window tinting, the 5W panel was not quite enough. The 15W panel at 3 times the output of the 15W panel handily charged the battery, and must be used with a controller. The 15W solar panel kit (with controller) does the job nicely. Even in overcast conditions, the 15W panel has output comparable to the 5W panel in the sun. Only down side is the controller offered as part of a kit. The input/output cables are not terminated with the familiar quick-disconnectors, but rather pre-stripped wires.

My solution was to take advantage of the cigarette plug accessory. By checking polarity and doing some wiring work (soldering, protective shrink tubing, etc), both ends of the cut cigarette plug accessory were used in the approach. The quick disconnector half of the cut cigarette plug cable got soldered to the input of the controller to accept the 15W panel, while the other half of the cut cigarette plug cable (with the cigarette plug) got soldered to the output cable of the controller to plug into my car.

The controller is a simple on-off controller, but yet is sufficient. Not having a float mode is not a big deal as the battery is not a backup system battery maintained by AC full time. Any critical pursuing of close to 100% charge via float is academic in the car because when the sun goes down, there is no charging, and it is time to make up ground next day. At just .90A output, repeated on-off charging between approx 13V and 14V cut-in and cutout respectively, allows surface charge to dissipate and allow better charge absorbtion with each cut in. The effect is perhaps like 13.5V float on average while sun is up when battery is "fully" charged.

Bottom line, at about $90 price, this product will surely prolong your battery life. I can't see how the battery could sulfate with this accessory or cause any gassing/water loss issue even for sealed maintenance free batteries. The panel even replaces what I take out of the battery when using 12V impact wrench and such. Using car's alternator to replace charge used, is a high current charge condition totally dependent on car battery to respond and push back as current control in response to high current input. Best to put back in as much charge as possible before starting the car as happens with this adequate solar panel. Highly recommended product. Find someone to properly do soldering work if you can't and you should be all set. The solar panel is secured on rear deck of car using light duty chains and using the child seat lugs back there.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 10, 2013
I bought two of these, and these where not permanently installed anywhere. They where moved around quite a bit so this may
be part of the issue. Their construction is very poor, I am comparing this to a 15 watt Instapark panel. Today the one I have that still works as one of them failed I compared in identical light conditions to the Instapark , the Instapark was putting out 200 ma and the Sunforce was doing 45ma. The charge controller is one of the battery abusive types, ok for charging a battery, but maybe not the best for maintaining. In some scenarios these controllers will go on and off a lot, batteries don't like that. In hindsight I wish I never bought these. Your money will be better spent buying a battery minder 15 watt solar charger and the Instapark 15 watt panel and mounting hardware. And the final nail in the coffin is the Sunforce panel is almost 3 times the size of the Instark.
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on June 4, 2013
I bought this kit in Jan. 2012. It worked great for what I wanted to do - use the panel to charge a 12 volt battery, just to run a light or radio in my workshop once in a while. But then in May 2013, I discovered that the panel is no longer producing electricity. I plan to buy another panel, but it won't be one made by Sunforce.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 6, 2012
This combination does not charge a 12volt car battery and in fact..DRAINS IT. It will put out up to 15 volts, however it's less than a 1/2 Amp. Absolutely useless. Amperage drives the voltage and this panel sucks! I spent another $45.00 on a high quality Morningstar solar panel controller and the panel simply will not charge a battery. It won't even light a simple 12volt auotmobile lightbulb! Do not buy this piece of useless crap!
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 13, 2015
This is my third panel I've had over the years.I've had one smaller by half of this panel and one full size that was mounted on my roof. I just wanted something to keep my batteries charged. I don't run anything extra, not even TV or Stereo. I don't have a power converter. Sunforce's ads show and list all the things you can run. The controller never turned off showing a full charge. So I bought another from them thru Amazon. New panel is 20 watts, 5 more than month old panel, more is better. Still won't charge batteries fully! This is a 2014 Aspen Trail, Nineteen foot, very basic trailer. Have to spend all my time turning and aiming panels from sun up to sun down. How many of these panels do I have to have to get a full charge?
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on January 18, 2015
The charge controller failed after 6 months, after purchasing a new controller from a different company the panel worked for another year. The panel now only outputs 1 volt with full sun exposure. Does not hold up to weather, I noticed water damage, I applied silicon to the edges, but the damage was already done. I visited Sunforce website for any hint of warranty, but could find none. I recommend avoiding their products.
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