All Blog Posts (107)

Going from Square wave to Pure wave inverter.

Hey guys and gals. It has been a while but I am glad to see most of the same crew. I have been away for a while tending to other matters, mostly work related.That isn't a problem anymore as the ungrateful ^$&^*% sort of laid me off on a permanent basis. Then they had the gall to replace me with the CFO's 21 year old nephew at half of what I was making. I had been doing that job since 1982. But oh well. Now I can start doing the things that I want to do like building cool stuff and…


Added by Kevin Egan on November 28, 2012 at 1:11pm — 1 Comment

How do I hook up 6 Harbor Freight 45 watt solar kits to one charger controller?

Hi, glad to be here,

I just recently purchased 6 Harbor Freight 45 watt kits and one of the 8 kit connection devices. Do I plug each three to one connectors into the 8 connection device and control it from there?

I also saw on eBay a Thunderbolt Magnum 500 watt charger controller for $35.00. Or is there a better way?

Anyone with a correct wiring diagram would be greatly appreciated.

Added by johnnybegood on October 16, 2012 at 12:00pm — 3 Comments

Another Solar Power Goal Achieved!

Refrigeration, no Ice at Camp! It took a quarter kilowatt to do it but I’m very pleased. Actually closer to 300 watts but that’s beside the point. I’m able to keep food, beer, and beverages cold & fresh now just using Solar Power my system generates. No more soggy foods. I don’t have to drain coolers or toss plastic ice bags into the trash. I use the thermoelectric chiller to transport to and from and a …


Added by John J. on September 6, 2012 at 7:00pm — No Comments

2000/4000 watt inverter

My inverter jumps to 197 volts when a heavy load is added, even though the total load is under 2000 watts.  Has anyone had a similar occurance?  Under a lighter load it is okay.  It will trip out when an even heavier load is added.

Added by Richard Illyes on July 31, 2012 at 10:10am — No Comments

Beginner with 45 watt solar panel kit from Harbor Freight tools for Camping

I have been reading posts all day and am still confused. Not to mention now becoming a little nervous about playing with power. In addition to the solar panel kit, I have 2  550 and 650 deep cycle batteries as well as a 2000/4000 modified sine wave inverter. The first problem I ran into was not being able to purchase the correct wiring for this project from the same retailer. Gotta love Harbor Freight. So I am looking for alternatives on purchasing the wiring. I am only interested in maybe…


Added by Marie on July 14, 2012 at 8:34am — 4 Comments

DMSolar Panels

My 2 145 watt DMSolar panels came today and I swapped my 2 sharp panels off my satellite dish mount with them. For now I have one panel going to my battery bank and the other going to a 300 watt GTI. I need to get some T branch mc4 connectors so I can have both panels charging the batteries.

Added by Mark S. on July 5, 2012 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Is it possible to charge an rv battery with the 45 watt panels?

Thanks Ray for this great site. I'm new to the solar power thing. I need to find a way to charge my rv battery so that I can use my cpap breathing machine and other small appliances. I just purchased a 45 watt Thunderbolt and need some advise. Any help would be appreciated.

Added by Colleen Kay Burdick on July 5, 2012 at 7:26pm — 2 Comments

145 Watt When Next Available?

I am new to this group and I have a question.  I just received a notice that the 145 Watt will probably go up for sale on Friday morning.  Does anyone have any idea of when they will be offered again after that?  I also heard that there is a $80 coupon available occasionally.  Will that be offered again?  How can I keep track of these things?  I know I can watch the posts, but we are trying…


Added by Cathy on June 28, 2012 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Are You Sure You Want The Economy to get Better?

I think if you ask the general public who the average "do it yourself solar energy enthusiast" is they would say he or she is someone who is trying to save some money. And sure, that's true for a lot of us. Including me! 

But that is just part of what motivates most of us, I think most of our members are motivated by what I call "fear of being plunged into darkness". And no matter how small your system is you will avoid that when Mr. Big Grid decides it's your "brown out day"…


Added by Renewable Ray on June 19, 2012 at 2:21pm — 6 Comments

Electricity usage trend - 4 years

I have been working on reducing my consumption for about 2 years now and in the last year have added solar to the mix. Below you will see the usage trends for my PG&E electric bill. Starting with the most recent and I highlight the highest month of that year.

From a high in Jun-July2009 of 1252kwh to a high in Jun-July2011 of 855 kwh. That's a reduction of 397 kwh. (Update) New lowest usage was the last bill May-June…


Added by Raymond Dias on June 12, 2012 at 3:37pm — 1 Comment

Tucson Az Crew meet

I would like to propose a meeting of those in Tucson Az on this group any takers?

Added by Ken Bolin on May 29, 2012 at 12:59pm — 2 Comments

Solar n00b - my experience with solar - PG&E bill Update

How it Started:

I started down the solar road looking for a way to have power while camping. I didn't want to use a generator due to noise so I began looking at various portable solar projects out there. There where lots of already packaged systems some small others more ambitious but they all had a high cost. I also didn't know a lot about solar itself other than the obvious 'sun shines on us during the day". I began reading blogs, doing searches and collecting links that held my…


Added by Raymond Dias on May 17, 2012 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

To Ban or Not to Ban, that is the question!

Renewable Ray here, site administrator for the Harbor Freight 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit Community.

I have been getting a lot of private messages from members about a few things and I thought I would create a blog post to touch on a few of those.

Probably the biggest complaint I have been getting is that myself or another administrator [oh yes, they are lurking out there] has edited a members post. Well, sorry but that won't change for so many reasons. One of them…


Added by Renewable Ray on May 15, 2012 at 11:57am — No Comments

Charge Controller Fuse

I have had a hard time finding a replacement 4 amp fuse for my charge controller. I have looked at many auto/hardware stores. Most have 3 or 5 amp but not 4 amp.  Has anyone used a 5 amp with out anyproblems or damage?

Added by Bob Walls on April 21, 2012 at 5:28pm — 2 Comments

Charging an 24 sla battery

would  like to charger a 24v sla currie e-bike battery by solar panels. I tried doing it with an  ( inverter contected to 12 v battery) inverter connected to elecrtic charger that came with the battery but I failed and damage the electric charger. The SLA battery take a 1.8 amperes for 6 to 8 hrs charge. If I could I would like to go from solar charger to battery having the panels providing the charge.

Added by Alonzo Slade on April 14, 2012 at 5:03pm — 1 Comment


Well I may have used my last HF coupon for a kit today. Took advantage of an inside track coupon and bought one final metal frame kit. I've become friends with one of the cashiers, when the kits would go out the door she would say something like 'the guys love `em.' Well after a breif conversation about the changes she wasn't so sure anymore.

This gives me 10 15w panels in total. And the truth is where I use them amorphous makes more sence. So I should have the amps I need now. The…


Added by John J. on March 4, 2012 at 5:57pm — No Comments


Hi, this is what happens when you get in a hurry.  The blog doesn't make sense.  Let me try again.  I bought a 45w solar kit from HF.  It was a return & was $140.  When I opened it, it did not have a regulator.

On "E-How" they tell you how to hook up solar panels to keep batteries charged, since I dry camp this sounded great.  Since my solar kit has no regulator and the directions on "E-How" don't mention a regulator, do I need one?  Thank You for helping.    Jean

Added by Jean McIlvanie on February 18, 2012 at 2:16pm — 1 Comment

Plugin inverters

     Does anybody know about the plugin grid tie inverters ? You know the ones the plug into a light socket ? Are they safe and are they legal ?

Added by Bob Davis on February 18, 2012 at 12:10pm — 5 Comments

Is there a way to heat an above ground pool with a 45 watt solar unit?

I know next to nothing about solar.  have been reading this blog for knowledge.  It does look pretty complicated, should I just call someone that does it for a living?  I like to try to do things like this to learn though.

Added by Marcia Behnke on January 26, 2012 at 3:27pm — 5 Comments

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