– Set up here, I've got two of Hard Korr's 200-watt solar mats or solar panels. The performance is about the same, but there's a big difference in price and some differences in quality. I'm gonna run through that with you now. ♪ Hit it ♪ (upbeat music) Hey folks, Ben from Snowys here today where a question that's
interested me for a little bit and I'm sure it will you too, so I'm gonna try and answer it. And that's, what is the difference between these two Hard Korr solar
panel products here? This is the 200 watt solar pill flex, portable solar panel is
kind of a flexible panel with a Crocskin armour.
And this is one of the newer offerings, which is a 200 watt solar blanket. And now this one comes at
a really appealing price. So I guess the question
is, do you need to upgrade to the higher end one and
what are the benefits of both, and I'm here today to try
and answer that for you. So, point out some of the differences, firstly, obviously a
difference is size and weight.
This guy's about nine kilos, this guy's about seven kilos. Now this weighs a bit more because there's a little
bit more to the solar panel, which we'll go on to shortly. Those are the pack sizes differently, the larger one here, which
is the the more expensive one is about 71 centimetres long, 53 in height and probably about five to six centimetres in depth, depending on where you measure it if you add the wires
and things at the front it's a bit thicker. This guy has about 35
centimetres by 37 centimetres and probably about five or six centimetres in thickness plus the
wires at the front as well. But it's obviously a much
more compact unit to pack. I've got one of these guys and I find it slides
easier next to my fridge, but it is a much bigger unit to pack. Next thing I'm gonna just pull
everything out of the bag, show you what comes with the bag and we'll look at some of the materials. Now one, first noticeable
difference is that this, the Crocskin solar panel
comes in its own bag here.
So all of this fits within this bag. Whereas the Lifestyle panel
on the other side here, the actual packaging
is the actual material on the outside here. And just on the material, this is a lightweight
set of polycotton canvas on the outside here but back over to the Crocskin panel here, this is a 1680D nylon, so it's a much tougher exterior fabric on this guy here. So get a bit more
durability out of this one. Before we go into the
details of the solar panels, look at the, what actually
comes with the kit. Now, they both come with a cable. The Lifestyle one comes
with a six metre cable, that's gonna go between your battery and your solar controller. Whereas the Crocskin solar panel is only a five metre cable, so you get one metre less of cable with this guy here, but they're both gonna do the same thing. The battery clamps, the Lifestyle one just comes
with a short battery clamp and Anderson connector. Whereas the Crocskin one comes with a one and a half metre, alligator clips with an Anderson connector
on there as well.
So the metre that you
lose out of this cord, you gain with these guys here. And one of the big differences
with the solar controllers that come with the two,
now the Lifestyle one comes with a 15 amp, just a digital, PWM controller. This is going to cover AGM,
calcium wet and gel batteries. It's got two of the USB outlets there, which are kind of handy, but if you have a lithium battery that guy's not gonna work. you're gonna need to get yourself
another solar controller. Whereas the Crocskin
solar panels come with this latest 15 amp digital controller, that Hard Korr have. Now this is a five stage controller. That's also gonna cover lithium batteries, so it follows a really
healthy charge patent for your battery.
So it's gonna get… It's gonna charge your
batteries more efficiently. You also got a lot more
information on the front of the panel here, including battery charge state indicators, a digital display that
we'll show you shortly. So, an upgraded solar
controller that you get with your Hard Korr Crocskin solar panel, now with either of these, you can remove these
and attach them directly to a DC to DC charger or something else. But for those who are new to solar, you need to have one of
these in your system. You can't connect your solar
panel directly to your battery. You need this in there 'cause the solar panel
puts out a lot of voltage. This kind of settles that
down and keeps a nice, steady charge going into your battery. Okay, next thing were gonna do is lay the solar panels
out and we'll talk about the panels themselves and how
it looks when it's rolled out. Okay, so I've got them laid out here. Now there's some obvious differences here. The Lifestyle panel here on my right, has got lots of different solar panels, it rolls up more like a blanket, so you can either lay it flat or hang it, put it over a bonnet.
Whereas the Crocskin, portable panel here, they're more like four larger panels. Now on top of this, in terms of mounting options, this also has a little
kickstand on the back here. So when this is standing upright, it sits at a 35 degree angle. So you can get maximum
efficiency to the sun. You don't have that
feature with this guy here. What you do have though
is that it'll hook points on the top of this mat here, just, nylon hooks that you can use to hang that on the side of a car. Whereas this guy actually
has brass or metal islets in the corners here, either for pegging it down
or for tying something it to hang it, either vertically
or horizontally on a side of a car or whatever as well, so you've got different mounting options. Jumping into the actual
solar panels themselves. Now they're the same A-grade
monocrystalline cell. So they both have the same performance. The output of both of these mats, they're both 200 watt mats. This puts out, I say about 10.68 amps, this about 11.1 amps. So in the scheme of things, there's not a lot of
difference in the two, but it's mainly down to the durability of the solar panels themselves.
This has got a copper
cell backing with lots of points of contact behind it. There's a lot more that's gone into how this solar panel is
put together in here. And it has this Crocskin
armour over the top, which you can feel, is quite durable, makes some more impact resistance. They say it's even good in hail So It's quite a durable solar panel, that's on this system here, so
you're paying for durability. Whereas these are just the solar panel, they're still tough, they're
not fragile by any means.
You need to treat them with care, but I probably wouldn't leave this out say in hail or anything. They're not as impact
proof as this guy here. So far the differences
between the two really are you get the same output, the performance is
probably gonna be the same. We're gonna check that shortly, but you get more durability
out of this mat here, plus that better solar controller.
What I wanna do next to
set both of these up. I've got the same battery over there. I'm gonna put them both in the sun. They're side by side. It's a clear day today. There's no clouds going over. So I wanna plug one in. We check the output from one, then I'll immediately unplug
it, plug the other one in, check the output from that and see if they compare pretty much, so, they should compare,
comparably side by side. Now, I've got the solar mat set up in this little patch of sun here, better be quick before
the shade comes across. I've got the cable coming
from the solar panel to, what I'm gonna use the same
solar controller here for both so that we get the same ratings
or same comparable ratings. I'm gonna start by plugging the
Crocskin armour one in first and we'll just plug that in.
Let it have a sync, I'm gonna… It's at 12.3 volts and zero amp hours, 2.3 volts coming in at seven amps. Now it's mid to late afternoon here on about a 20 degree day. So that's seven amps
laying flat on the ground. If we were to angle that out, we get an even better, feedback from that or even better output from that. I'm gonna quickly unplug it and plug the other solar panel in here now so that we can get a
rating on that one as well. So we'll just give that
a second, amperes, volts. That's now up to 6.8 amps. So, just under that seven amps there's probably 30 seconds difference between the first and the second, so output's pretty much
the same for both of them.
What I just want to do quickly now is I've plugged the Crocskin one in again. And I just wanna stand this up. I wanna use the kickstand so
it's sitting a little more up towards the sun and we'll
see how much difference that makes to the output. So these are the benefits of having this little kickstand in behind here. Now let's say this 35 degree
angle is optimal for the sun. So we should say, I don't think there is any
shade on that at the moment, so that has now jumped up to nine amps and the sun is about to disappear behind a tree to my left here that is getting to late
afternoon here today.
It's about a 20 degree day
and the shade is actually fast creeping over this mat here now, I can see that's dropping
down to about four amps. There are bypass diodes in
both of these mats here, so if there's shade on one end, you still get output from the other. If there's shade across part of it, you still get part of the panel working. And that features in both mats. So, now look in terms of
buying which one look, if your budget stretched, then you get really good
output from the Lifestyle mat that I've got down behind me here. You just gonna have to treat
it with a little bit of care, but the benefit is it
does pack up smaller. So it's easier to fit in the vehicle. But I remember, the Hard
Korr rep telling me once, he said, "Buy once, buy right." So if you can't afford it
and you've got the space, grab yourself this 200 watt mat, this is what I use and I can set it up a little bit of time
at the end of the day, to get heaps of charge back in my battery after a day exploring.
If solar is a little confusing to you, you're new to the world of solar. it's probably worth
having a bit of a read, there is a fair bit to
sort of ingest around it. You do have to have a
battery in your system. You have to have the solar
controller in the system and there's a lot of variables.
We've got a really good article. Check the comments below. We'll put a link to that article there so you can have a read
to try and understand how you can calculate
your solar requirements in your campsite. Now these are both great
mats, both great quality. I'd say a few dollars can
afford it, get this guy, but if not, you're
getting a really good mat with a Lifestyle panel here and it's gonna charge your
battery just as quick. This guy also with a better quality make, comes with a better warranty too. So that might be consideration for you but if you want more information, check them out online at snowys.com.au where you'll find them at
our lowest prices every day.
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