WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Kit: 4pcs 100 Watt Solar Panels + 30A P30L LCD PWM Charge Controller + Mounting Hardware + 40ft Cable + MC4 Connectors. RV's, Boats, Cabins, Camping Off-Grid
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- Please Note: The WindyNation 400W Solar Kit is shipped in one large box. You must completely remove the solar panels from the package to locate the accessories (charge controller, cable, connectors and mounting brackets).
- Complete kit includes: (4pcs) 100 Watt Polycrystalline WindyNation Solar Panels, Premium 30-Amp (user adjustable) LCD Display Solar Charge Controller with Battery Temperature Sensor, 40 feet of UL Listed 12 AWG Solar Cable, all necessary MC4 Connectors, all necessary mounting hardware and Installation Manual.
- PWM Solar Charge Controller has user adjustable settings! LCD Screen shows system amperage, voltage, amp-hours, temperature and DC load draw. See Image in photo gallery for all LCD Screen readouts.
- Kit will provide on average 1600 Watt Hours (Wh) or 135 Amp hours of charge per day (depends on sunlight availability)
- 5 year solar panel warranty. 25 year power output warranty. 1 year warranty on all other included components.
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The Windy Nation 400 Watt Complete Solar Charging Kit comes with everything you need to start producing free, clean power from the sun! Perfect for RV's, boats, cabins and back-up power! WindyNation's 400 Watt Solar Kit includes EVERYTHING you need to get started: (4 pcs) 100 Watt Solar Panels, User Adjustable LCD 30-Amp Solar Charge Controller with Battery Temperature Sensor, 40 ft of UL Listed 12 AWG Solar Cable, all necessary MC4 Connectors for wiring (1 Pair MC4 Connectors and 3 Pair MC4 Branch Connectors), and all the necessary mounting hardware (16 Solar Panel Mounting Bracket and Fastener Sets). Product photos above show individual pictures of all the included items and additional technical information. Add a 12 volt battery (or a 24 volt battery for 24 volt systems) and a DC-to-AC inverter and you are ready to harness the sun's free energy. The WindyNation 400 Watt Solar Charging Kit is the ideal solution for providing back-up power or off-grid power when you need it! This Kit includes our premium grade PWM solar charge controller with digital display. The digital display provides detailed system information including solar panel charging amperage, battery voltage, battery temperature, amperage of load draw (if a load is connected), solar generated amp-hours to battery, etc. See Image in Photo Gallery above for a image of all LCD readouts. System settings like voltage of solar disconnect, voltage of load disconnect, etc are user adjustable using the MODE and UP & DOWN buttons on the charge controller.
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I ordered the complete 400 watt system ($1470) through Amazon (WindyNation Is a 3rd party dealer). That 12/24 volt system included four 100W solar panels, charge controller, four 12v 100AH batteries, and included wire and connectors, etc. and shipping costs. This system did not include the inverter, but I ordered that separately to meet my needs.
My first worry, it was being shipped via UPS with only one package (tracking number) listed. UPS will not deliver any package over 100lbs, so I sent an email to WindyNation customer service. Within 20 minutes I got a reply that said the delivery is actually divided up into 5 packages. I was given the 5 tracking numbers and weight, 97lbs for the solar panel/controller package, and 66lbs for each of the 4 batteries.
Delivery was made 4 days later by UPS. All the boxes looked okay from the outside, so I signed for the delivery. The contents of the solar panel package were fine. I then opened the battery boxes. The first one I opened had the brass terminal connection broken off at the base making that battery unusable. The next one I opened had a corner broken and battery fluid had saturated the inside lid of the box (these are sealed, no maintenance batteries). I opened the other two and they, other than the ¾” Styrofoam packing material being nearly destroyed, seemed to be okay. FYI, it was a 2000 mile delivery and ¾” Styrofoam just isn’t adequate packing for a 66 pound package the size of a cinder block being tossed around a UPS truck!
The next day I emailed WindyNation and explained the situation. Laurie, the WindyNation customer service rep, asked if I could send pictures of the damage. I did that. She said she would send me two new batteries, and the following Monday she sent me tracking numbers. Very fast service, thanks Laurie - EXCELLENT customer service! A few days later I received the replacement batteries and they had much better packaging, no damage
INITIAL PRODUCT REVIEW:
I first checked the 4 batteries individually making sure they would hold a charge. They all seemed to be okay. Next, I checked out each of the solar panels, all provided similar adequate outputs. Next, I read the instructions to connect the charge controller and it plainly states (in red lettering) not to connect unless the proper fuses (40 A for the total system, 10A for a single panel) are installed from the controller to the solar panels. Another fuse is also necessary from the battery bank to the controller, and another from the controller to the load. Problem is, no fuses, no in-line fuse holders, and no battery cables (ring connectors for the threaded battery posts) are included to be connected from the controller to the battery bank.
I understand when putting a system together from scratch you have to provide this miscellaneous stuff, but for a complete kit the fuses, in-line fuse holders, battery connections, to and from the controller, I think should be provided (the reason I knocked off 1/2 star). If more wire is needed for a particular installation, that’s understandable for the customer to provide. But basic fuses and connections to enable at least testing the system should be provided.
Also be aware that you must strip wire (tough outer cover all weather insulation) and put together your own MC4 connectors from kit parts with either a special crimper or soldering equipment. Not a big deal but if you don’t have that stuff it’s just more delay and expense. I did just now notice that WindyNation has a different picture of of the included wiring (from the system that I ordered) that has the MC4 connectors attached to the wires, so maybe they have improved the system? Don't know.
Okay, so after building the controller cables required I tested the system. I used a 3000W (6000W surge) pure sine wave inverter with a large twin door refrigerator for its load. It was a perfect day for testing. At first I had full sun (late May) and that provided 13.7 volts charging. I was testing with just one solar panel and one battery connected to the controller. An hour later a high overcast of clouds came, but the charging voltage was still at a decent 13.2 volts with the filtered sunlight. The fridge ran just like it was connected to the grid.
Bottom line, although I don’t have any long term experience, I would recommend this system just for the excellent customer service. But, it would be far better, and less frustrating, if it included the following necessary items (I would have been glad to pay an extra $100 to not have the trouble!):
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THIS PACKAGE – BUT ISN’T (at least with my package)!
1) Instead of the 40’ hank of 12G wire, a 50 foot twin lead 10G flexible stranded cable with MC4 connectors attached at one end (to connect to the solar panels) and solder tinned ends at the other end (to connect to the charge controller). This should also include an inline fuse holder on the positive side of the cable. This cable would allow a quick test of the panels and batteries without the frustration of discovering you don’t have the proper tools, fuses, fuse holders, skill, or patience for do it yourself cable construction.
2) A short (8 - 10 foot) 10G twin lead cable with inline fuse holder and ring connectors to fit the battery posts and tinned ends at the other side to connect the battery bank to the charge controller.
3) At least two 40A fuses that fits the inline fuse holder (required for the 4 panel 400W system) and one 10 A fuse for testing single solar panel purposes. The load from the controller is optional (12v for a work light, etc.) is fine left like it is.
4) Pack the batteries with the additional padding that came with the replacement batteries. That really worked Laurie!
Now, I realize that all systems are customized installations for the particular customer, and that’s probably why WindyNation leaves the actual installation parts to the customer. However, in my opinion, anyone new to solar power should be able to connect a “complete” system without having to have special tools or knowledge at least for testing purposes. Especially when all WindyNation needs to do is have a couple of ready-made cables and fuses included. But, of course, this is just my opinion.
On faith I decided to move forward with the kit because as long as it charged my batteries with 400 watts of enthusiasm, I wasn't going to complain. I finished the install last night, took my time to do a good job and was happy with how it went. I fused the line to and from the charge controller and connected the lines. The charge controller fired up and I looked forward to today to see how the day-long performance was. I just got home and after a FULL DAY of bright sun, it says it produced only 5 amp hours of charge. I flipped out, but turns out this doesn't represent the juice produced by the panels but instead the consumption of the batteries. In other words my batteries only NEEDED 5 amps that day to stay topped off. Phew.
The charge controller shows 12.5V for my batteries but my multimeter shows 12.7 at the controller terminals.
When I asked about the 5 amps, WindyNation was very fast to respond.
Unfortunately I need to downgrade my review from 4 stars to 2. These panels are EXTREMELY sensitive to clouds or tree shade And I mean EXTREMELY. To put it in perspective, when I installed my Renogy panels in overcast conditions (you couldn't see the sun), I was getting 21 volts from the panels. A small whisp of a cloud (not even enough to fully cover the sun; I still had a distinct shadow) crossed the sun and these panels dropped to 13 volts. The whisp was so slight I didn't even notice it was there at first and when it moved on the WN panels went up to about 16-17 volts. Functional but not great.
I emailed WN about the low voltage because I felt that a drop to 13 volts was too much (and I thought this was in full sun at first). They responded quickly but asked that I test each panel individually (reasonable) but then wanted me to open up the junction boxes, cut or de-solder diodes, and then continue to test. I'm no electrician, just a hobbyist, and I think this is too much to ask of your average customer to perform what a tech should be doing.
All told I do regret getting this system and not sticking with my previous choice in the Renogy products. At 16-17 volts it will limp along and I'm inclined to just live with it instead of tearing the whole thing off my trailer, shipping it back, buying and installing an entirely new system (provided performance doesn't decrease even further. Pick your battle sort of thing.
Based solely on my personal experience with both, I would not buy these again and would recommend the Renogy system or another brand/product/seller.
My batteries were down to 40% at sun-up when the panels began charging (4 panels). By noon,the batteries were fully charged.. This was WAY faster than I expected. Our camp is in the shade, but there is one part of the roof that gets full sun for 70% of the day, if it's not cloudy. We will be adding more panels and batteries as we add more appliances. Right now it powers house lights, toaster, coffee maker and some power tools during the day. VERY happy.