Go Power Retreat Solar Charging Kit Review

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Review of the Go Power Retreat Solar Charging Kit

Randy: Hey guys, it's Randy here at etrailer. Today we're going to be taking a look at a couple of solar battery charging kits available from GoPower.Now these are designed to work with single or dual battery banks. So either one or two batteries. Basically that's going to mean things like this, either an in bed camper like we're working in today, pop-up campers, little travel trailers, even mid-size campers can sometimes have two batteries. And small cottages or log cabins out in the woods.Now both of the solar kits are going to be absolutely identical with the exception of the solar panel itself. And regardless of which one of those you choose, they're going to run through the same solar controller which we have mounted right here.Now this solar controller is a 30 amp pulse width modulation, so with that pulse width modulation, it's going to give us really nice, clean power coming in and going to our batteries to charge them.

They can handle up to 30 amp hours per hour, so this is going to be more than enough for the power we're going to be sending through it with either the Retreat or the Outlander kit.We have a button here, so we can switch to AC power, that's if we've plugged into a shore. Then we're going to have our max boost button. Now this will come on automatically in the morning for about half hour, that's going to ensure that we're getting our batteries right back, freshened up really quickly.And then if need be, maybe we're going to be storing it overnight, or if we're not going to be using it for a while before we put it up, we can get it back into max boost mode. That's going to be sure that we get enough power to our batteries and fully charge them. It actually ups the voltage coming to our batteries.

I think it goes up to about 14.4, so we can really get a good, solid charge in there.On the display, you can see we've got this hooked up to a single battery, so we've got a single battery right here, and that's indicating it's about 40% charged, we've had it inside for a few days, so the power hasn't been able to get to it.The second battery would appear right beside it if you do decide to run it on two batteries. We can select through the input we get. Right now, it's saying 12 and a half volts. It's getting 0.1 charge, so there's no charge coming in with it being inside. 73%, and that's basically the state of charge of our battery.We can hold down A, that'll switch that into an automatic mode, if you just want that to scroll, it'll switch that screen every eight seconds, so you can just take a look at it and wouldn't have to worry about hitting the button there.

We're also going to have a USB right here, we can plug in and charge items. It's going to give us a five amp charge.Now the solar controller will work with AGM, flooded lead acid, or your gel type batteries. For the flooded lead acid batteries, it'll actually do a maintenance charge about every month, kicks on, gives it a little bit of power.And then for all of the batteries, we've got that boost mode we talked about. Now that's selectable down here, but it'll automatically do it in the morning, like we had discussed. And then if our voltage falls below a certain point, it's going to kick on for two hours, to help boost those back up, get them back up and ready to charge.Also if we happen to cross the wires on our solar panel as it comes down and in, it's not going to allow that power to come in.

So we don't have to worry about that causing any issues.It has a high current, and a high temp meter as well. So if the battery is getting overcharged, it's going to stop sending the power. Or if it's getting too hot, it's going to stop sending that power.Now as we talked about, the Retreat kit's going to come with the solar panel that we have here. It's the 100 watt panel. Now this one's going to measure from the end to the end here, about 47 and a sixteenth of an inch. From outside to outside, about 21 and seven-sixteenths, and then about an inch and three-eighths in thickness.Now this delivers 5.43 amp hours of power. That means every hour, 5.3 amp hours are going into our battery. Generally that's going to be over like a six hour period on any normal day. So this Retreat, 32 and a half amp hours or so, going back into our battery.Now with the Overlander kit, it's the 190 watt panel. It's going to be bigger than this one. That one is 59 and one-eighth of an inch from end to end. It's going to be 26 and five-sixteenths of an inch wide, and a little bit thicker than inch and a half.Now that delivers 8.8 amp hours per hour, so basically if we multiply that by six, we're getting about 53 amp hours. There are expansion kits available for these as well.Now as far as how many amp hours different things are going to take, we've researched a few of them that we have available on our website. The 21 inch TV/DVD player, it takes about 2.34 amp hours. So over a six hour period, we're looking at about 14 amp hours being taken from our batteries.We offer a 10 cubic foot, 12 volt refrigerator. It only draws about .9 amp hours, so over a six hour period, only about 5.4. For a large 12 volt exhaust fan, it's about .41 amp hours, so a total of a six hour day, about 2.46. Now that gives us a total of about 21.9 amp hours that we've used on those three items. At that point, any of our kits would be fine to operate that.Now those are just a couple of examples of some pretty common items people typically use in their campers. They're different set ups. Now if you need to figure out your amp hour usage, you can simply take the wattage of the item you want to use, generally that's going to be labeled on it, divide that by your voltage. In this case it's 12. So a 120 watt something, divide that by 12, it uses 10 amp hours, just to kind of give you that equation.With using the expansion kits on these, if these don't give you the amp hour replacement you're looking for, which I think is pretty good for nominal use of stuff, by adding the expansion kit, you're going to double that amp hour coming in. So our larger kit, it'll give you back a 106 amp hours on a good six hour day.Now coming out of the back of our panel, we've got our MX4 cables. You can see in this particular application they've plugged it into one of the cable entry plates, which we have several of these available if you want to go that route. But you can also make the connection here, and you're going to have 25 foot of the MX4 cable, to get ran into your controller, then from your controller over to your batteries.Now these panels are constructed using the monocrystalline technology versus the poly. Essentially that means these are slightly higher quality, and slightly more efficient than what we get out of the poly style. These are also going to be better in the heat. Of course, these are going to be in the sun. As these heat up, they all lose their efficiency, but the monocrystalline, we're going to have to worry about that less than what we do with the polycrystalline.Now the panels are also very, very durable. These have a tempered glass on them, so general weather elements, things like that, really not going to have to worry about any damage. Pretty lightweight, and then we've got the aluminum that's going to go around the outside edge here. All in all, we shouldn't have to worry about corrosion or issues such as that.Now just to increase the effectiveness of your solar panel, of course you can see . see this little bit of dust that's kind of settled on here from the rain We want that cleaned off. If we have issues like that, it's not going to allow that solar energy to get in there properly.Also, if we don't put this in direct sunlight, if we have it parked in the shade under a tree or something like that, it's not going to be as effective as what it would be in the full sun.And that's going to complete our look at the GoPower Retreat and Overlander solar charging kit with digital controller.

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