HF 25 Watt Solar Panel Unbox & Review – Jeep Cherokee XJ Overland Mods

Hi everyone Dan here with dnj adventures
and I want to talk a little bit about a project I've been working on. I have a
2001 Jeep Cherokee and I want to get auxiliary power. I don't want to give up
the air intake on the front of the Jeep so looking at a way of putting the
battery in the back end and I would like to have it solar charged if you have a
Jeep Cherokee XJ you know that space is limited so what I'm looking for is a
compact 12-volt deep cycle battery and charge controller power inverter and
solar panel all that fits comfortably inside the 2001 Jeep Cherokee.

So I've
been exploring some options and today I want to unbox a Thunderbolt 25 watt
solar panel and see if it makes any improvements on the solution that I've
been working on testing. Please subscribe to this channel and click like below and
share this video keep coming back for more updates as this project goes
forward and I get this installed in the Cherokee. The current set up I've got
this 20 amp I'm sorry 20 watt a solar panel that I
picked up at Harbor Freight several years ago a yeah 30 amp hour deep cycle
battery and this charge controller that I picked up on Amazon which is actually
a pretty decent charge controller and I'll give some detailed instructions
later on how to operate this thing.

The problem is as you can see right now
pretty decent sunlight it is a bit cloudy so you'll see some fluctuation
but right now I'm only pulling out 0.4 amps from this panel and if you look at
the back of the panel the panel is rated at one point to a 1.3 amps up to 20
watts of solar power and I should be getting 1.3 amps out of this one so
unfortunately the that what I'm doing is way below the
specs on this so now what I'd like to do is take a look at this this is I just
picked this up at Harbor Freight this is a 25 watt 12 volt solar panel so that
means I should be getting just over 2 amps of solar power coming out of this
and it's a fairly compact unit it's got a plastic frame around it as opposed to
the aluminum frame on this older unit that I've been using now I think it may
be a better solution especially if I can get the current out of the thing I've
had this battery on here just my goal is to never have to plug a charger into the
battery and just let it charge by itself all the time using solar power so I this
battery had been pretty much depleted and it's now in fact it was zero bars on
the yes on the strength of the battery and now after several days it is at on
the third three bars and as you can see it's at twelve point three volts so it's
moving up it was somewhere in the neighborhood of ten point eight when I
started charging it but I'm getting a zero point four amps which is not good
I started at zero amp hours available charge to use and now I'm currently at
19 amp hours this is the 35 amp hour battery so I would expect that that
number should be creeping up when this thing is fully charged close to the 30
30 amp power range somewhere in that neighborhood so now we're gonna move on
and take a look at this 25 watt solar panel that I picked up at Harbor Freight
that's the Thunderbolt Magnum and we'll see what happens as I take it out and
swap it and we'll see if we have any improvement in the current that's being
generated so I'm gonna switch over back to the input amperage see what we've got that's
so it shows the solar panel is online and I'm getting charged but let's take a
look and see what what the story is if I switch this out if we get more current
so without further ado let me get this box over here you one interesting feature I noticed
immediately off the bat is that it has a an LED indicator showing that it's
receiving power which is kind of a nice feature and as you see the connector is
pretty much identical to the connector that I've been using on the other panel
now the question is whether or not simply swapping out this panel real time
will yield an increase in the current that I'm receiving from the solar panel
so I'm just gonna set these guys up question is whether unplugging this old
panel and off the bat here correct okay this this panel has a crack in it so
this one I'm not gonna keep this one that is a major concern because this
this panel although it's it's failing in terms of the current that rugged
aluminum frame is is very very robust so I I'm concerned about this because this
is a cheap material and so that that number one would be a major problem
right out of the box it's cracked in two places so this panel is going back for
sure and I'm looking around the rest of the panel I don't see any other cracks
or anything so the objective here is to see what happens when I switch arrays I
switch these panels let's see what happens so I'm gonna unplug this the old
panel now you'll see the voltage has gone down to zero and now I'm going to
plug in the new panel and see what happens
well the voltage has gone up to 0.7 for few minutes few seconds and then Z went
down to 0.5 very disappointing now I'm going to step out of the way I was
standing in front of it so now we also have a little bit of cloud cover here
but I would be I would expect close to 2 amps coming out of this thing so for for
the money I'm taking it back I'll find another solution in a few
minutes with us these I get some clear these clouds pass over I'm gonna film a
little bit more here and take a look but frankly I'm not impressed not impressed
should be getting now got up to zero point eight amps 0.7 we'll give it a few
minutes I'll come back here and you guys can see what happens when I bring it up
to when the clouds totally open I doubt that I'll even get one amp out of it
one nice feature about this panel is it does have a fold-out stand at the back
so you'd be able to stand it and you could adjust your angle depending on the
position of the Sun and so forth so I'm now going to turn it to optimal position
facing the Sun the angle is now pretty much optimal and let's take a look and
see what I'm getting well I'm getting 1.1 amps out of this panel now down to
one and that's pretty much full sunlight there's a little bit of a haze I think it for you use your 20% off
coupon you're gonna get this panel for about 50 bucks I'll weld a frame around
this and then bolt it to the the panel so that if that thing falls off nothing
is gonna bust so that's I'm gonna be using a lot of angle iron anyway on the
Jeep because I have to deal with the mounting situation so there it is you
have it that's the Thunderbolt Magnum 25 watt 66% more power
well comparison to what that's true in the case of the old panel because I was
getting 0.4 amps out of that one and I went up to one amp but right now
I'm sitting at point seven point eight I'll be doing another video to show you
guys more about this charge controller that's a pretty nice one this one's
going to go in the Jeep along with the the deep-cycle battery 35 amp hours I'm
expecting this solution to work standalone so I want to be able to
charge it at any time I'm outside out with the Jeep and be able to use it
anytime I'm actually really starting to like this panel if you look at the
currently this batteries charged at twelve point eight but here's the
interesting point one point one amp one point that's
because we got a cloud overhead on a sunny day cloud overhead one point one
amp weather one point three and a few minutes ago 24 amp hours currently this
is I'm starting to feel pretty confident in this panel working with the
deep-cycle battery I'm gonna switch back over here now we've got really bright
sunlight so let's go over here and see what our current is now see we're at one
point three amps so when you've got a really good sunny day you're gonna get
really decent current one point four that's the highest I've seen so all in
all I would say this is a keeper I'm gonna take this one's better I've got a
crack in it so I'm going to take it back but I am very pleased now a couple of
other things that this pal comes with each of these cables has the connector
for the panel so you've got the it's like an ip65 rated the type of connector
waterproof or at least water resistant connector I haven't looked at the specs
on that but you can run this panel directly into the cigarette lighter to
charge the battery or you can as I'm doing I'm going directly to the charge
controller or you can hook it up to the terminals on your battery I personally
feel that having a charge controller is is the best way to go I'm gonna do a
review on this as I mentioned some of the capabilities and so forth but if you
look at this battery now we are sitting at twelve point nine volts so it's
starting to feel pretty good about this the the charge time is significantly
improved after putting this new panel on so there you have it that's your
Thunderbolt 25 watt 12 volt solar panel pretty decent for the money thanks for
watching and please subscribe to this channel like this video share it come
back for updates as I continue forward this with this project I'll give you all
the details drawings whatever is needed so you can do your own integration and
as I mentioned I'm not doing a front-end exhilarating in the Cherokee XJ I am
doing a back-end auxilary battery and when we get over to the Jeep later next
video probably as I start looking at mounting solutions I will show you what
I've done in the in the cargo area and then we'll go from there so thanks
everyone thanks for joining in on this video and come back

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