solar setup at costco. Good buy - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-04-2006, 03:38 PM   #71
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Just as a heads-up - the price on the website above does not reflect it, but I got a Harbor Freight flyer in the mail with the same solar panel kit and they have dropped the price by $20 down to $180, for mail-order and internet sales only. There is also a $5 off plus a freebie gift coupon with the ad. If there is any interest, I can post the exact item number and coupon codes when I get home from work tonight in case anyone wants to place an order and does not have a flyer handy.

I hadn't ordered mine yet; I guess sometimes it does pay to procrastinate!

That's a pretty good price, only $4/watt with extras included. They also have just a single bare 50-watt panel for $350, or $7/watt. Seems like a no-brainer!
Lee, I'd love to have that info. We usually get all the Harbor Freight flyers but seems in the last few weeks we haven't recieved one. Maybe they removed us from the mailing list.
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Old 06-04-2006, 06:55 PM   #72
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OK, I have done some poking around and learning through trial and error how HF handles their part numbers... I found this site which lists some of the current discount codes:

http://www.billt.com/harborfreight.htm

I have been playing around with their numbering system and it seems that the suffix, particularly the letters after the hyphen, are the ones that determine the pricing of the basic item number before the hyphen. For example, if you go to place an order from the website for the solar panels, it comes up as $199. If you click the "order from catalog" button and enter the same part number as the website but the suffix from the catalog, you get the $179 pricing.

It works for other stuff, too - I was looking at a 5-watt fluorescent shed light with a remote-mounted solar panel and it was $39 on the website. It wasn't listed in the printed catalog that had the cheaper price on the solar panels, but if I used that catalog's suffix, the price popped up as only $29.

There's also a 20% off your whole order coupon linked there, but it's only good for in-store deals, not catalog or internet. I don't have any stores near me. I suspect that this would be the best deal of any.
There is a list of HF retail stores here: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/retail_stores.taf

So, to get the $179 price on the solar panels with an online order, find part #90599 on the website (which will come up as #90599-1VGA and be listed at $199) and add it to your basket. Then, click the trash can to remove it from your basket. You'll also be presented with an option to order from the catalog. Click that button, then enter part #90599-4RPH. Presto! Price is now $179. Don't forget to also get the free attache' bag plus $5 off your order by entering Special Gift Item #35233-0RPE or one of the others listed on the billt site I linked above.

It seems that the number in the suffix is not important, but the three letters are. If you wish to buy other items, try going through the same steps like I did with the shed light and you might get some decent pricing. It's too bad they aren't offering free shipping any longer - probably a casualty of the incresed prices for fuel and transportation.

Hope that helps - let me know if it doesn't work out.
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Old 06-04-2006, 07:50 PM   #73
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Thanks for the info Lee!
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Old 08-04-2006, 08:11 AM   #74
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The solar panel package has arrived at our local Costco here in Tucson. It's now a four-panel setup with each panel being 15 watts. Comes with a controller, inverter, PVC frame and assorted parts. $280.
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Old 08-04-2006, 05:28 PM   #75
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I like it, mines a 3x18w and I had to build the frame but they did send me proper connector wire. Worked like a charm at the Emily meet. Paddy M.
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Old 08-05-2006, 01:15 PM   #76
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I am very interested in the 50 Watt solar panel from Harbor Freight that someone posted above, to add to the solar panel (also 50 Watt) that I have now. There is a Harbor Freight Store in town where I live (Tucson). I have a couple of questions for the more knowledgable people here.

- the Panel and system that I have now is Solar Pro (panel and controller). If the fittings are compatible, can I just plug this into the panel that I have to increase the input? Do I need to worry about compatibility, or are all solar panels brands able to be mixed?

- I have never heard of Chicago Electric Power Systems. Is this a good company, i.e. are their products a good quality? I'd rather pay more if it means getting something that works better (or at all). (athough this is an extremely attractive price, especially if they accept the 20% off coupon posted above.)

Thanks for your help
Nancy
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:43 AM   #77
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I think I will be getting one of these and adding a battery
Costco will have these in
Danville,Ca. on Aug 31- Sept. 3
Foster City, Ca. Aug. 17-20
if anyone else is looking
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:30 PM   #78
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Quote:
http://www.billt.com/harborfreight.htm

There's also a 20% off your whole order coupon linked there, but it's only good for in-store deals, not catalog or internet. I don't have any stores near me. I suspect that this would be the best deal of any.
There is a list of HF retail stores here: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/retail_stores.taf

Hope that helps - let me know if it doesn't work out.
Harbor Freight now has the $249.00 regular price marked down to $199.00, good until March 26 in the store I go to. I cannot find a 20% coupon in the link referenced. Am I doing something wrong, or has it expired?
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:06 PM   #79
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Am I doing something wrong, or has it expired?
Probably expired...Lee posted the coupon was available on June 4 two thousand SIX. You're only about 9 1/2 months late Frederick!
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:13 PM   #80
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I got an ad from Harbor Freight and they have the 45 watt panel kit for 199.99 good till March 26, 2007. The same ad has an extra 15% discount for any one item with coupon.
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:03 PM   #81
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Talking about solar. I know that this is not in your mega amp league but thought you might find it amusing, or at least worth a smirk. I don,t use the tow very often during the winter so I picked up one of those dash mount solar units to trickle charge the battery.
Wouldn't work worth a #$%.
OK I finally got it right. Realized that the cigarette lighter is swiched with the ignition and only on when the key is ON. wired direct to the battery it works OK. Now we're juiced and ready to go.
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Old 04-05-2007, 03:49 PM   #82
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Over the last year there seems to have been lots of interest in solar panels sold by Costco and also some confusion as to what they consist of. I thought I would describe my set that arrived this week so the current configuration was clear. Many Costco warehouse stores do not carry these panels and they must be ordered through Costco.com, whose online catalog description leaves out many details.

Costco sells two basic solar kits that would be of interest to small fiberglass rv owners. They offer a 60 watt kit that consists of 4 solar panels made by Sunforce and comes with associated hardware ($299 PLUS shipping). I bought the 54 watt kit that is marketed under the Coleman brand name and which comes with 3 - 18 watt panels made by ICP Solar. Mine cost $329, WITH shipping included.

My Coleman kit consisted of 3 - 18 watt panels, each 14" x 39", a 5 amp Phocos charge regulator (described as 4 A on the kit box), and the associated wiring to hook the system up. The Costco site and the shipping box describes the kit has having a "durable, heavy duty aluminum frame." This is NOT the A frame support structure shown in the photo but rather seems to describe the integrated border of each panel. As the shipping box says, no support frame is included. The Costco site might lead you to believe the support frame is part of the kit.

The panels and wiring were complete and easily put together, with no cutting or splicing required -- though I suspect a love of modifications will have many forum readers making changes. Each panel has a 10' cord with a two pin flat connector. These connect to another 10' unit that has 3 two pin flat connectors on one end for the panels to plug in and a single two pin connector at the other in. A short 20" unit connects to this 2-pin connector and has two bare wires at the other that connect to the charge regulator. A similar 20" cable is used to leave the regulator and this also ends in a simple 2 pin flat connector. All that is left is one 14" cable that has battery clamps at one end and another cable that has a male "cigarette lighter" plug that can be used in a TV.

The manual that comes with the kit is just a two page sheet that describes a single panel and is not terribly useful, but the wiring was very self explanatory once looked at and should cause no one problems when hooking up. Adding additional wire length to get the charge regulator inside the trailer should be simple. Some might want to reduce the length of the 10' tails coming off of each panel if they are going to be located in a single frame.

The units come with a 2 year guarantee.

I was pleased with the Coleman kit and am confident that anyone could hook this up without much of a problem and that they could throw a single panel at an attacking grizzly bear and survive the attack. The shipping weight for the kit was 42 pounds.

John C.
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:33 PM   #83
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I did not get mine thru Costco, but it is a Coleman kit.

I seem to be the only one here that got a frame. It's a PVC pipe arrangement. One could easily make one from stuff from the plumbing store for just a few bucks.

It also had the two pin connectors, and short line from each panel that parallel together.

I added 10 gauge and speakon connectors to the thing for ease of use.. plug and play, takes, oh.. 5 seconds for the connection if you are carrying your beer.

Last weekend, I bought on oversixed battery box and permanently mounted the controller in it with bolts and nuts running thru holes I drilled in the sides.

That said, I am looking for and easier stand for them. They do weigh quite a bit, but are manageable for weight, but the big array is cumbersome for me to lift into the newer higher trailer.

My solution is a molded Bass Guitar Case. I will mount the panels and the wiring on each flap of the case, and add a 3rd fold out so it does a tri fold, sort of like fred has done, only the Bass Case will carry the panels weight instead of the hinge.

A little reinforcement will be required for the handles and hinges, but that is done easily with many of the scrap aluminum blocks we have lying around at work.. and willing metal shop boys

Just have to figure out HOW to make it NOT look like a guitar.. it would last about 2 minutes if it did.
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Old 04-07-2007, 09:33 AM   #84
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Just have to figure out HOW to make it NOT look like a guitar.. it would last about 2 minutes if it did.

Just mark it "Personal property of Antonio Banderas"

Matt.

OTOH, that would change your problem from guitar thieves to gun thieves...
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