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bought a coleman 100 watt panel

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peppercorn
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bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby peppercorn » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:51 am

I know better.....I really do but I bought it any way. I bought it to see just how bad it is.....the thing lists out at over 500 dollars, and apparently (and sadly) they seem to have been selling at that price.
I was in a Canadian tire where the manager is having a in store special on these so the price was 220.00 dollars.
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Still a high price to pay for what I suspect is junk, but sometimes you just have to pay to play, and im in a mood to play

Lets start with something good.
It came well packaged,
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and it comes with a long cord on the panels, of a acceptable gauge, and it looks like a extra set of wires maybe 50 feet long that can be added if needed. (though I would like to have seen this extra wire of a greater gauge)
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More to come
Last edited by peppercorn on Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby peppercorn » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:02 am

After a nights sleep, I have to re evaluate my assessment about the packaging.I had to much unchallenged faith in my purchase, I wasn't thinking critically. Today I set the panel next to the box and the size difference was striking. The panel is at least a foot shorter in height than the box, why? and nearly half a foot narrower in width. My rough guess is 22% of the box was air.
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now when I looked at the box in the store, just going by the size of the box I had no doubt that by the size of the box it could very well contain a 100 watt (@12 volts) panel. With the panel out of the box, and seeing how much smaller it is I am wondering if that's so, I would guess 80 to 85 watts by looking at the now undressed panel, just a wag.Testing to come later
So what did they have in the 22% of the box, well air and cardboard! In the pic below I picked up a few of the empty cardboard boxes and set them on top of the panel for you to see...
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I know shipping is expensive, so I am wondering why? it could be for protection of the panel right? except I can tell you larger panels than these come without as much air and cardboard spacers....in fact panels are shipped all across the country strapped to a pallet with nothing more than a single layer of cardboard around them, sometimes a extra layer on the corners. So I am having two thoughts, first are they just being extra careful to protect your purchase..or was there a little deception in the marketing size wise? sort of like when I go to the drugest and loudly say "where is the extra extra jumbo large" inquiring minds want to know.
Now in the pic below you can see it says "100 watt" this is all over the box.In huge lettering!! and in a bright, inviting, eye catching, friendly blue colour with white lettering,
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But in one spot down at the bottom of the box in tiny black and white lettering....
More to follow
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby Denob » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:21 pm

Nothing so sinister I think.
Most packaging companies offer a selection of different sized boxes.
Ordering something "close" and paying a bit extra shipping is often more economical than ordering custom sized boxes.
For custom jobs, the client pays for all new tooling...for "in stock" items, you rent the tooling for a much smaller cost. They rent it to pay for maintenance on the tools such as knife blades in die cutting dies, etc.
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby peppercorn » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:58 pm

Your right, I Didn't think of that, that could be a 3rd reason for the over size packaging.

In one spot, Down at the bottom in small case lettering I spot two words...up to

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I think they know I wont be getting 100 watts out of this thing! and are giving themselves a legal "out" (WHAT THIS REALLY IS SAYING, IS THIS PANEL PUTS OUT 0 TO MAYBE 100 WATTS, THEY HAVE GIVEN THEMSELVES WIDE GOAL POSTS, AND YOU NO LEGAL RECOURSE NO MATTER HOW LITTLE IT PUTS OUT!!
also they say up to 5.8 amps under idea conditions, what are the odds I have idea conditions? what are the odds anyone has ideal conditions?
This a picture of the sticker on the back of the panel. Look at what it says 5.8 amps short circuit...that's their ideal conditions a "short Circuit" what BS a short circuit is useless!!! and you don't get to see that it says 5.8 amps short cct until after you have bought the panel and opened the box.deceptive! very deceptive!
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Note they spec the power point voltage at 17.1 but they do not give a current at that voltage!! you must know the current at the power point voltage before you can say what wattage the panel is. They state the short cct current of the panel at 5.8 but that's useless for rating your panel because a short cct is 0 volts you cant do work or charge a battery at 0 volts! No reputable manufacturer would leave out the power point amperage and in its place try to use this short cct amperage....that's just plain misleading at best, out right fraudulent at worst....but it looks like that's what they have done cause 5.8x17.1= 99.1 watts even by scamming the numbers they come up a watt short.
The power point amperage is always less than the short cct amperage, by how much depends on the quality of construction, but I will just throw out a guess of 5.1 amps. If my estimate proves right that's going to work out to a maximum possible of 87.2 watts. we are starting to move well away from a 100 watt panel. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat.how, how

Lets have a look under the hood
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The junction box is ok, nothing to complain about, wires are soldered to the ring terminals and everything was screwed down tight. Look at that big honking diode! you would think its supplying welding current by the size of it. I pulled it out to have a look and its just a general purpose diode. The numbers are on the case so I used the googler to see what came up.



more to come
Last edited by peppercorn on Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby peppercorn » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:15 am

Its a 10 amp 1000 volt Diode! The highest values you can get in this series of diodes, far right hand column. The previous Pink Floyd reference in the above post was just to see if anyone was paying attention or just looking at the pictures.

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Somebody went for overkill and nothing wrong with that but this diode isnt really the one to use...Now I am looking at the manufacurers data sheet, specifically the forward voltage drop at 5 amps (not that I really believe this panel will put out 5 amps battery charging) but since they claim 5.8 amp I will pretend its so
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Note that that the forward voltage drop starts at about .65 volts and hits .8 volts at about 5 amps, and here is why I say this was the wrong diode to select. This means the diode is consuming 4 watts of power ( 5 amps x .8 volts= 4 WATTS!). Consuming 4 watts because its wired in for blocking not bypass as the picture shows. My down stairs bathroom is fully lit with a 4 watt Philips brand LED! That's not a tiny amount as a percentage of a small panel. So Lets take that previous number I estimated as the maximium possible output of 87.2 watts, now subtract 4 watts due to the junction box heater (jk) and we get a theoretical maximum of 83.2 watts. I am telling you there is no way in hell you can get 84 watts out of this panel unless its constructed of unobtainium. I havnt even gotten to testing this panel yet, just looking it over and using their own data, and manufactures data. If anyone does own this model pm me and I can give you 2 or 3 ways around this diode loss.
Well lets move on and see what else we can learn about this panel

PS for those thinking they maybe already included the diode loss in their 100 watt rating, I don't believe they did, and they indicate so in the manual that came with this panel but I will get back to this later.

More to come
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby peppercorn » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:11 pm

When I opened the box I seen something I never observed on a solar panel before...what looks like corner protectors, more protection cant hurt right?
You can see them in one of the above pictures.
Looking at the back side of the panel you can see the aluminium frame, looks thick doesn't it..on the edge..looks to be 8 gauge ...but its not. Only the very edge is thick, looks like it was extruded that way, I would guess its real thickness at 16 gauge or so.

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Note the liberal application of sillycone to the aluminium rails and back side glass. It sure is a sloppy job but I wont consider it a short coming as I would rather see lots of it than missed spots.


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The rails themselves look smooth and have no flaws that I can see, though I do wonder if they have a anodised finish, I suspect not as just from handling it over a couple days I can just make out very slight shading (you would have to be looking for it) that I think might be from oils on my hands.(or maybe my glasses are dirty)
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby helicopilot » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:01 am

cliffhangers on every posts!!! ;)

Can't wait for the real test: plug and give the numbers! :) I'm known to be impatient.
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby peppercorn » Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:13 am

helicopilot wrote:cliffhangers on every posts!!! ;)


not intentional, the weather is crap, must have had 4 inches of snow today, and I don't always think of everything to look at at once, and then life interferes with my time .I think there will be a sunny day next week. I will test it on a battery, but more importantly on a 4 ohm variable resistor so I can dail it in to the 17.1 volt spec and see the number they don't want to print.That should be interesting.
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby peppercorn » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:03 pm

So I took a closer look at this panel, here is just a over view picture.

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This panel is made up of rather small cells, in the picture below a single cell is roughly the width of two of my fingers.
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the length is from my pinky to pointing finger

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So in counting down from the top, I get 18 cells, and four rows of 18 ... So I think we can figure out how they might be wired together. a cell should produce a unloaded voltage of .6 volts and they say on the back of the panel that the open cct voltage is 21 volts (the manual says 16 to 24vdc :lol:)

So the only way that I can think to hook up a total of 72 individual cells at .6 per cell would be too wire (internally) two vertical rows (36 cells ) in series, then the same is done with the other 36 cells so we wind up with two groups of 36 series connected cells each producing 36 x .6 = 21.6 volts, bingo! we have hit our ocv... these two series connected groups are then hooked in parallel so the current from each can add together. A lot of wiring going on but all we see is the two wires coming out of the junction box, likely all we care about anyway.
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Re: bought a coleman 100 watt panel

Postby peppercorn » Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:26 am

At the macro level this looks like a ok panel

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I zoomed down to have a closer look, and up close, irregularities start to show..(you will not see these with the naked eye, unless you have better eyes than mine, or younger ones maybe)

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Note what looks like a burn or semi circular "bloom " of some type coming in from the edge of the cells in a couple spots. in looking at the cells closer roughly 50 % of the cells have this in one spot or more. I don't know what it is but suspect its not a positive feature to have....I went and looked at some quality brand name panels after seeing this just to see if they had any cells with this characteristic and not one did...anyone know what this is? The bloom in the lower right hand side cell looks to have discoloured the trace.

also note that you can see distortion in the glass now, I cant feel any roughness in the glass with my finger nail, maybe its on the inside? I looked at other panels when I seen this, and I looked up close, they to show distortion when magnified but not as much as this IMO


just parking data here...mathmaticaly I estimate a power point amperage of 4.72 amps at 17.1 for a panel wattage of 80.7 though do too that diode loss, if its as I suspect that they have not accounted for it then the maximum wattage I should get is 77 watts. this panel should be ratted as a 80 watt max...now this is all just my estimating testing on a resistive load. I may be proven out to lunch when I test it. I am thinking under battery charging condition assuming a battery voltage of 12 .6 the panel should be putting out a minimum of 4.9 amps so it would be charging at 61 watts.
( arrived at the above figures using 21volts 17.1 volts and 0 volts at 5.8 amp to get a value of .276 amps per volt...I have know idea if that will get me close or not but it seems semi rational, if I squint a bit)

testing will see if im close or out to lunch.
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