Harbor Freight Thunderbolt 100 Watt ( four 25 Watt panels) Solar Panels

Rich73

New Member
I am new to solar power. I bought a Harbor Fright Thunderbolt 100 watt ( four panels 25 watts each). My plan is to operate my 100 watt ham transceiver from my house
off grid. Is that possible or would I have to lower my power? My controller will be 50 feet from solar panels. I have several questions I hope you can answer for me.
Are Harbor Freight panels connected in parallel? Cables provided are quick disconnect- what gauge (AWG) are they and where can I buy 50 feet of that quick disconnect cable? What size fuses do I need and where should they go? What size 12 volt battery do I need?( Amp Hours AGM) or marine deep cell? What is the total current of
all four panels? Is that enough to run 100 watts? If not what is max power I can run . Would appreciate any info you have. THANKS
 

time2roll

Photon Sorcerer
What connectors? SAE? MC4? Something else? #10 wire should be fine. 50 to 200 amp/hour battery will be fine with 100w solar.

You virtually never get 100 watts from the panels. Charge the battery and run the radio until the battery is low on charge (50% for lead-acid).
 

Rich73

New Member
What connectors? SAE? MC4? Something else? #10 wire should be fine. 50 to 200 amp/hour battery will be fine with 100w solar.

You virtually never get 100 watts from the panels. Charge the battery and run the radio until the battery is low on charge (50% for lead-acid).
Thanks for reply
 

Supervstech

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
Well, how long will you be operating the 100w radio? 24 hours would be 2400Wh, and the absolute best you will get out of those panels at solar maximum in Hawaii would be around 650Wh… the panels do not produce 100W under the best circumstances, figure a peak of around 60, then figure losses in the wire if run more than the 10’ of included cable around 10% not to mention, the 5a charge controller given with the kit is very lossy, shunting the 17ish volts the vmp of the panel is capable of down to 12ish volts, losing another 10-20%

HF has a nice 100w panel that uses the same wiring, that actually is capable of 100W, but it’s not a bargain either, since again, parallel use only, and still using the cheapo controller. But it with your 100W set could get you over the 1600Wh on a decent sunny day.
 

Rich73

New Member
Well, how long will you be operating the 100w radio? 24 hours would be 2400Wh, and the absolute best you will get out of those panels at solar maximum in Hawaii would be around 650Wh… the panels do not produce 100W under the best circumstances, figure a peak of around 60, then figure losses in the wire if run more than the 10’ of included cable around 10% not to mention, the 5a charge controller given with the kit is very lossy, shunting the 17ish volts the vmp of the panel is capable of down to 12ish volts, losing another 10-20%

HF has a nice 100w panel that uses the same wiring, that actually is capable of 100W, but it’s not a bargain either, since again, parallel use only, and still using the cheapo controller. But it with your 100W set could get you over the 1600Wh on a decent sunny day.
Won't be transmitting very much at all. Mostly receiving which doesn't take much amps and will be only operating few times per week for a couple hours. Would a 35 AH agm battery work OK?
 

Supervstech

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
35Ah is 460Wh and for lead acid, you should only use about 40% to keep from damaging the battery, and it needs to recharge to full each day. Figure the panels you have can’t output over 300Wh a day, and keep the load below 150Wh and it might survive.
if you use LFP battery, it is more forgiving, and uses solar more efficiently.
 

time2roll

Photon Sorcerer
Need 50 feet of SAE cable with connectors. Anyone know who sells that?
SAE is frankly a poor connector. Amazon has some SAE extension cables but they seem overpriced and you would need at least two so it adds another connection.

You could adapt to power poles if you don't want to cut the terminals off. https://powerwerx.com/bullet-sae-to-powerpole-connector

Or buy some duplex wire and make your own extension. https://www.amazon.com/Duplex-Tinned-Marine-Wire-Black/dp/B00MI5I98K

What are you inclined to do?
 

pterrydactyl

New Member
I am new to solar power. I bought a Harbor Fright Thunderbolt 100 watt ( four panels 25 watts each). My plan is to operate my 100 watt ham transceiver from my house
off grid. Is that possible or would I have to lower my power? My controller will be 50 feet from solar panels. I have several questions I hope you can answer for me.
Are Harbor Freight panels connected in parallel? Cables provided are quick disconnect- what gauge (AWG) are they and where can I buy 50 feet of that quick disconnect cable? What size fuses do I need and where should they go? What size 12 volt battery do I need?( Amp Hours AGM) or marine deep cell? What is the total current of
all four panels? Is that enough to run 100 watts? If not what is max power I can run . Would appreciate any info you have. THANKS
Are you putting this on a Z-AMP solar ready rv? If so, the zamp connector has reversed polarity and if you connect without a “reverse polarity adapter” you may damage your setup.
Here’s what you’ll need from wherever you want to get it. I’m not affiliated with anyone.

SAE Polarity Reverse Adapter Connector 2 Pin SAE Polarity Switching Adapter SAE Quick Disconnect Plug For SAE To SAE Extension Cable Solar Panel Automotive Battery Maintainer Power Charger (2 pack) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B09B77C4YX/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_WC2MQN273MX410306MSP
 

Rich73

New Member
Are you putting this on a Z-AMP solar ready rv? If so, the zamp connector has reversed polarity and if you connect without a “reverse polarity adapter” you may damage your setup.
Here’s what you’ll need from wherever you want to get it. I’m not affiliated with anyone.

SAE Polarity Reverse Adapter Connector 2 Pin SAE Polarity Switching Adapter SAE Quick Disconnect Plug For SAE To SAE Extension Cable Solar Panel Automotive Battery Maintainer Power Charger (2 pack) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B09B77C4YX/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_WC2MQN273MX410306MSP
Thanks for the information. I will order from Amazon.
 

pterrydactyl

New Member
Was a reverse polarity adapter included in the Thunderbolt kit? Be sure to use a multimeter to check the polarity and voltage along each step of the way.
 

Jebiv

New Member
I am new to solar power. I bought a Harbor Fright Thunderbolt 100 watt ( four panels 25 watts each). My plan is to operate my 100 watt ham transceiver from my house
off grid. Is that possible or would I have to lower my power? My controller will be 50 feet from solar panels. I have several questions I hope you can answer for me.
Are Harbor Freight panels connected in parallel? Cables provided are quick disconnect- what gauge (AWG) are they and where can I buy 50 feet of that quick disconnect cable? What size fuses do I need and where should they go? What size 12 volt battery do I need?( Amp Hours AGM) or marine deep cell? What is the total current of
all four panels? Is that enough to run 100 watts? If not what is max power I can run . Would appreciate any info you have. THANKS
I have the same system with Harbor Freight 100 watt solar system with charge controller. My connectors are SAE. These connectors are not ideal, but you can get a SAE to 8mm connector and others on Amazon. I have a Bluetti AC200P solar generator (sogen) and these panels will not change the Bluetti. Could be user error on my part but I do not see any power coming into the Bluetti when hooked up.
 

Jebiv

New Member
I have the same system with Harbor Freight 100 watt solar system with charge controller. My connectors are SAE. These connectors are not ideal, but you can get a SAE to 8mm connector and others on Amazon. I have a Bluetti AC200P solar generator (sogen) and these panels will not change the Bluetti. Could be user error on my part but I do not see any power coming into the Bluetti when hooked up.
 

Supervstech

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
I have the same system with Harbor Freight 100 watt solar system with charge controller. My connectors are SAE. These connectors are not ideal, but you can get a SAE to 8mm connector and others on Amazon. I have a Bluetti AC200P solar generator (sogen) and these panels will not change the Bluetti. Could be user error on my part but I do not see any power coming into the Bluetti when hooked up.
Remember, with sae, panel in, is hot on male… panel out is hot on female… so, if you have a sae to 8mm adapter, the polarity could be reversed.
 

Rednecktek

Solar Addict
As someone who has used a couple of those All-In-One kits, let me say... Just don't. Please don't. Spend the little more to get a Rich Solar 100w and a Renology SCC because as much as those are krap, they're STILL much better than the HF kits.
 

Supervstech

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
I use 3 windy nation 100 watt thin frame panels and a generic mppt charge controller… $300 total… and it charged everything I throw at it, sitting on my suburban…
 
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