Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-21-2012, 11:50 PM   #1
KMcB
 
2011 22' Sport
Steamboat Springs , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 5
Anyone have experience with unisolar flexible pv

I've been looking at these flexible panesl that seem like they might be an easy install. PowerBond « Uni-Solar Also my owners manual says I'm pre-wired. I thingk that means if i hook up the charge controller that is already in the unit will charge the battery, is that correct. Any help appreciated.
__________________

__________________
kmcbeeski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2012, 10:54 AM   #2
4 Rivet Member
 
ddruker's Avatar
 
2000 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 260
Images: 1


My thoughts -

One is that the manufacturer not only went bankrupt, but is now undergoing liquidation. So no warranty. There are lots of new stories that mention Unisolar, Solyndra and Obama - draw your own conclusions...

Two is that the panels are not very efficient, which means they take up a lot of room for how much power they make - the 144 watt sheet is 213 inches long (18 feet) by 15 inches wide. That's 6.5 watts per square foot, compare to more traditional flat panels that produce more than 14 watts per square foot.

Three - you would need to make sure you pair with an MPPT type charge controller to use on an Airstream as these run at 30+ volts.

Four - what an amazingly great idea for an easy install for an airstream - just unroll it, press it down, and plug it in. No penetrations at all into your roof, no brackets - just peel and stick. Awesome. I love love love this idea.

Net is that this looks to me like a very cool product and right now no doubt due to the bankruptcy you can buy them super cheap on-line - $130 for 144 watts. But do you have a clear strip on your roof 18 feet long to paste one down?

If you do have room, it's a really cheap way to get started, but it takes up so much room you may have trouble expanding in the future. But at this fire sale price - around $100 after federal tax incentives - it would be a painless experiment to play with...
__________________

__________________
ddruker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2012, 01:40 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
 
bluemoontwo's Avatar
 
1958 18' "Footer"
San Luis Obispo , California
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 43
We've also been researching this product for our 18' (obviously not the 144 watt mat but the smaller one) so we are interested in feedback as well. And the price seems to be better each day. Ddruker you found them online for $130?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddruker
you can buy them super cheap on-line - $130 for 144 watts. But do you have a clear strip on your roof 18 feet long to paste one down?
Can you tell us where? We haven't seen them that low!

Thanks!
__________________
Forum Thread: The Chronicles of the Shiny Tiny

Happy to finally be part of the (t)in crowd!
bluemoontwo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2012, 02:56 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Excella CM's Avatar
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Venice , California
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,061
I have a 75 watt self adhesive panel on the Excella. Works great and unobtrusive. Picture here

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f382...buy-80579.html
__________________
"Not all who are laundering are washed" say Bill & Heidi

'78 Excella 500,"The Silver Pullit". vacuum over hydraulic disc brakes, center bath, rear twin. '67 Travelall 1200 B 4X4 WBCCI 3737
Excella CM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2012, 08:10 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
purman's Avatar
 
1968 28' Ambassador
Cedaredge , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,542
Good prices on amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Uni-Solar-PVL-.../dp/B002MWFFWM

This is the best deal. http://www.amazon.com/Unisolar-Flexi...d_sim_sbs_lg_1 128 watt for $180. I'm going to pick one up. I was looking at a 90 watt suitcase style for $500. But worried about it being stolen and having to move it. This is on the roof and effected by shade, but it won't be seen and I'm just looking for something to keep the batteries charged over weekend trips in the Desert..
__________________
Jason

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

2008 5.7 L V8 Sequoia
AIR # 31243
WBCCI # 6987
FOUR CORNERS UNIT
purman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2012, 01:09 AM   #6
4 Rivet Member
 
ddruker's Avatar
 
2000 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 260
Images: 1
Google search is your friend - search for Unisolar 144 - or Unisolar PVL 144

https://www.google.com/search?q=unis...ient=firefox-a

Right away I find $138 in the very first set of seach results. Earlier today with a little more hunting I found $130 shipped and no tax on Ebay. Lots of places seem have them for around $160 including shipping and with no tax.

- Dan
__________________
ddruker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 03:07 PM   #7
2 Rivet Member
 
bgordon's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Austin, TX & , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 77
Images: 32
I've been looking at these quite a bit over the past year or two. It is a shame that the company went bankrupt and liquidated. It seems like a good product.

They recently came out with a newer panel (e-PVL) that was slightly more efficient. It raised my hopes as it is 14.5" wide rather than 15.5" wide meaning I could fit 4 - 68W panels on my 16ft Boles Aero. I am not sure how many of the newer panels were produced as the only place I've found to purchase sells them wholesale in a bundle of 50.

The pros are the install and that I prefer to park in shade. It's my understanding that they actually they are more shade tolerant than other panels. I'm interested in installing those on the roof and having a smaller traditional portable panel that I could mount in the sun or use for other applications.

But, if I can only fit two of the more commonly available PVL-68 panels on the roof - which would take up enough space so that I couldn't mount anymore panels - it doesn't make as much sense. eBay seems the best source for them right now.

Has anyone seen the e-PVL panels around?
__________________
bgordon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
ddruker's Avatar
 
2000 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 260
Images: 1
I bought 2 of the ePVL-144 panels on ebay last week - $160 each shipped. There are several sellers on ebay.

I'm planning to cut each panel into two pieces to fit on my roof - I don't have a single clear strip 18 feet long by 15 inches wide up there - but I can easily handle a 14 foot and a four foot section for example. I found a couple of forums on-line where people had success in cutting the panels into sections and then re-connecting them, and there is no warranty to worry about voiding anyway...

The install is so much easier that regular rigid panels I decided to go this route. I will report back here on my progress once they arrive.
__________________
ddruker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 04:45 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
purman's Avatar
 
1968 28' Ambassador
Cedaredge , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,542
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddruker View Post
I bought 2 of the ePVL-144 panels on ebay last week - $160 each shipped. There are several sellers on ebay.

I'm planning to cut each panel into two pieces to fit on my roof - I don't have a single clear strip 18 feet long by 15 inches wide up there - but I can easily handle a 14 foot and a four foot section for example. I found a couple of forums on-line where people had success in cutting the panels into sections and then re-connecting them, and there is no warranty to worry about voiding anyway...

The install is so much easier that regular rigid panels I decided to go this route. I will report back here on my progress once they arrive.
You can cut them??? Do you just join the wires where you cut?
__________________
Jason

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

2008 5.7 L V8 Sequoia
AIR # 31243
WBCCI # 6987
FOUR CORNERS UNIT
purman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 05:09 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
ddruker's Avatar
 
2000 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 260
Images: 1
I'll know in a few days...

I do know for sure that you can cut across the strip, and the main portion that you retain will continue to work. Given I have 14 feet to work with, I should get about 112 watts from each 14 foot section.

According to several posts on the internet, you can also hook the cut pieces back up together again, which is what I am going to try to do - to hook back up the two left over 4 foot sections.

Here's an excerpt from one such post...

I have dissected a PVL-68 to create a foldable solar panel to use while in the back country. Reassembling it as a 2 X 2 array of 3, 3, 3, and 2 panels.

Doing so is not especially technically difficult, but is a bit involved mechanically. The biggest challenge is dealing with the three electrical busses that run down each side of the array, and the bypass diodes.


The PVL-68 is arrayed as 11 panels wired in series. More accurately, each panel is actually 2 cells. Each of the cells is wired independently on either side of the panel. The two series strings of cells are wired in parallel at the connector end of the array. Each cell has a bypass diode for a total of 22 cells and 22 diodes in the array.


I cut a PVL-68 into for segments of 3, 3, 3 and 2 panels. The 2 panel segment included the junction box and external connector cables.


Looking closely at a PVL array, it is easy to see the physical edges separating each panel, so slicing between the panels at the junction line is straight-forward - until you get to the edges, where the bypass diode and conductive busses transect the panel separator line.


The PVL series arrays are very well made. From the back is the cold-bonding mastic which allows these panels to 'peel and stick' to metal (and other) surfaces. The mastic is sticky (surprise!) but easy to scrape away. Above the mastic layer is a very tough plastic membrane which is the bottom mechanical substrate and covers the bus strips, diodes, and photo diode grids. The plastic membrane is harder to remove - it's tough, and well bonded to the layer above - but can be cut away with a razor knife and patience. You will need to cut away this membrane in the areas where the busses need to be exposed for disconnection of the bypass diodes, and eventual rewiring.


You must decide on an approach to disconnecting the diodes, and severing the conductive busses. Looking closely at the array from the top, you will notice 'bumps' in the top membrane on either side of the array right at the dividing line between adjacent panels. These 'bumps' are the bypass diodes. For the purposes of cutting the array into sections, the diodes are very inconveniently located.


If you choose to preserve the diodes for use in rewiring the array segments, then you will need to dig into the back of the panel, 'excavating' through the membrane around the perimeter of the diode to expose it's axial leads, and the solder pads where the diode connects to the busses. Once you have the diode exposed, you can carefully cut one end at its solder pad and gently pry the lead up from its embed. After completing this (one for each side of the line where the panels are to be severed) you can cut through the conductive busses to separate the array into segments. Be careful cutting through the busses so that you sever them exactly centered on the line between the panels. This will make it easier to prepare the busses for rewiring.


In my case, I chose not to reuse the bypass diodes at the panel sever points, but to replace them with new bypass devices when rewiring the array, so simply cut through them as well - eliminating the 'excavation' step.
__________________
ddruker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 06:03 PM   #11
4 Rivet Member
 
ddruker's Avatar
 
2000 27' Safari
Palo Alto , California
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 260
Images: 1
PS - I'm also somewhat concerned the panels available on eBay are "seconds" that were made available through the bankruptcy liquidation. I made sure to charge on my Amex so I have some extra protection if they do not fully work as advertised. I'm planning to do thorough testing before I make any modifications.

There is another US made brand of flexible panel - from a company called Global Solar, the panel is called PowerFlex 2 - and they have an RV-specific 6 foot product as well as standard strips in 6, 4, and 2 meter lengths. It's a lot more expensive than the current fire-sale liquidation pricing on the Unisolar strips. Global Solar Energy - POWER the Possibilities
__________________
ddruker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 03:33 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
purman's Avatar
 
1968 28' Ambassador
Cedaredge , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,542
What would be the difference between the 12v and 24v solar panels? could you use the 24v on your 12v system or will it blow it out??
__________________
Jason

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

2008 5.7 L V8 Sequoia
AIR # 31243
WBCCI # 6987
FOUR CORNERS UNIT
purman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 03:49 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
AWCHIEF's Avatar
 
2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8,138
Images: 33
The Uni-Solar panels are available thru Amazon:
Amazon.com: Uni-Solar PVL-68 PowerBond PVL 68 Watt 12 Volt 112-Inch x 15.5-Inch Flexible Solar Panel: Patio, Lawn & Garden
__________________
MICHAEL

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
AWCHIEF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 04:15 PM   #14
2 Rivet Member
 
bgordon's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Austin, TX & , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 77
Images: 32
Good info. Keep us posted.

I came across minimal info on severing and reconfiguring the panel. I would be interested in going this route if it works out.
__________________

__________________
bgordon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.