Product Review: Hard Korr 200W Portable Solar Panels
Author: Cathy Anderson Date Posted: 18 January 2019
The delights of free camping are many - no caravan park fees, fewer neighbours and a true feeling of getting away from it all. But ensuring you have enough juice in your batteries to power your devices and necessities (I’m thinking beer fridge and mobile phone here) is essential to a great experience.
The Hard Korr 200W Heavy Duty Portable Solar Panels with Crockin Cell Armour are an excellent choice for campers and RVers of all shapes and sizes. They can help boost battery power for your motorhome as well as portable batteries which you might use to charge up your mobile, power lights and even your TV.
CAPTURING THE SUN
We used the mats to top up a Projecta Power-Hub. It was fully charged before we left, and we experimented with the mats to capture as much light as we could. It worked a treat.
Obviously you need the sun to play its part, too. But the advantage of these panels is they can be manoeuvred to any position you like depending on the angle of the sun - flat out during midday, angled up on its inbuilt folds for mid-morning rays or perpendicular on their side for late afternoon light.
This folding solar mat produces 200W of power and 11.1A of current. To find out what panel you might need for your setup, Kard Korr recommends working out the total current draw that you will need for all your equipment, then multiply that figure by the number of hours they generally used to get the total amp hours consumed. Eight hours a day is the norm for solar output (weather depending) so you then multiply the stated output by eight to find out how many amp hours your solar mat can provide.
WHAT SIZE PANEL DO I NEED?
Here’s a worked example from Hard Korr’s website:
You use a Hard Korr 5-bar camp kit for 4 hours per day (3A x 4h = 12Ah)
You use a fridge for 24 hours per day that draws 1.5A per hour (1.5A x 24h = 36Ah)
You use a TV for 3 hours per day that draws 5A per hour (5A x 3h = 15Ah)
Total consumption = 63Ah
Add 25% buffer = 63 x 1.25 = 78.75Ah
Solar panel output required = 78.75Ah / 8 = 9.84A
Hard Korr says its 200W portable solar panel produces up to 11.1A per hour on a clear day and will be sufficient for the above.
SOLAR PANEL FEATURES
When folded, it is a neat, easily transportable package that lies flat and weighs only 9kg so you don’t need to be the Hulk to carry it in and out of the rig.
The solar cells are the A-grade monocrystalline type with solid copper cell backing with 20 points of contact which Kard Korr says offers optimum efficiency and lifespan. Because these panels will live outdoors and, even though they should be brought inside when not in use, most likely cop some inclement weather throughout their lifetime.
As such, Hard Korr uses extra-tough 1680D canvas for the exterior cover as well as its exclusive (and appropriately-named) Crocskin armour coating for durability. Don’t worry - no crocs were harmed in the making of this product! The product is designed to be flexible, impact-resistant and to protect the mat from the intense heat and UV exposure it will ultimately be exposed to.
WARRANTY AND PRICE
The mats have a three-year warranty, which is pretty great for a product designed to bake in the hot sun and live off-grid. In fact Kard Korr reckons the Crocskin showed no sign of deterioration after an accelerated weathering test that simulated 30 years’ sun exposure.
The mat comes with its own detachable five-stage solar controller which is really easy to use. We plugged the panels straight into our Projecta Hub and it started pumping right away. If you want to plug in to your RV’s battery, an Anderson plug and all necessary cables are provided.
For more information call 03 8398 8848