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Post Info TOPIC: Stay away from Outbax Camping Solar Panels


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Stay away from Outbax Camping Solar Panels


I have joined this site with a specific goal in mind - to warn all to stay away from Outbax camping - unless you want to buy a cheap import with a PWM controller that does not have a proper heat sink and might easily cause a fire (instead of the MPPT controller they are advertised as having.)  They are also substantially underpowered in terms of output claimed. If you go to the Maxray website

https://maxray.com.au/

you will see some beautiful panels for hundreds of dollars. If you try to buy one you will be re-directed straight to the Outbax site. The panels are not the same, they are much cheaper and are delivered with stickers removed and no paperwork. You will note that there is no ABN, phone number or address given on the Maxray site. It appears that the two entities are part of an elaborate scam. Smart channel, trading as Outbax, and Maxray were both de-registered on the same day when they were trading on the Virgin Islands in 2012.

I contacted Outbax who claim to sell the panels as described by their supplier (Maxray). They did offer a refund but, in my view, this matter goes way beyond that.

I have contacted Maxray (via webform) who said they would 'check their inventory'. I haven't heard back from them.

I have reported this matter to the ACCC.

no



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Hi
I`m sure there have been reported issues b4 with this companies. Was a gene from memory .

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I have a 160w set of solar panels from Outbax, have had them for at least 5 years with no issues at all.

I have a roof mounted solar panel, 250w including pwm 30 amp controller, again from Outbax Camping, and again without issue.

I am a techno by trade and support people with genuine grievances but I cannot support this blanket damning without any technical info to back it up!



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I clicked on "read this ripoff report about solar panel scams" and was served up a password protected "solar panel wattage output calculator". WTF?

 



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Shappy wrote:

I have a 160w set of solar panels from Outbax, have had them for at least 5 years with no issues at all.

I have a roof mounted solar panel, 250w including pwm 30 amp controller, again from Outbax Camping, and again without issue.

I am a techno by trade and support people with genuine grievances but I cannot support this blanket damning without any technical info to back it up!


 I am with you. To state that you have joined simply to bad mouth a supplier strikes me as suspect. I note the retailer met their obligations by offering a refund to the OP. 

It is clear from the Maxray site they have suppliers to buy from, including Outbax who do quote their ABN on their site.

I wonder what the FULL story is?



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The OP stated that the product was substantially different from that which was advertised. How many people would be able to tell if their regulator was PWM or MPPT? How much hassle did the OP undergo to get a refund?

After having witnessed several fake MPPT regulators, and PWM controllers with fake parts, I would want to know more about the regulators in the photos on the Outbax web site. Can anyone find a manual for these regulators on that site?

https://outbax.com.au/media/catalog/product/cache/8f16d07f7756272936f3670969789c7b/d/s/dsc_7505.png

 

I searched the Outbax site for "regulator", but found only these two:

https://outbax.com.au/maxray-20a-12v-24v-solar-panel-battery-regulator-charge-controller-with-usb

https://outbax.com.au/maxray-10a-12v-24v-solar-panel-battery-regulator-charge-controller-with-usb

Both are Maxray units, but the product "details" do not mention PWM or MPPT. However, both look similar in appearance to the cheap PWM units in one of our long "teardown" threads.

It seems strange, then, that every Maxray panel is advertised with an MPPT regulator, yet no individual MPPT regulator is available for sale separately.

 

This looks like the controller that is attached to the Maxray panels on the Outbax site:

https://www.mydeal.com.au/maxray-12v-24v-solar-panel-battery-regulator-charge-controller-30a-pwm-lcd-usb-1146563

However, it is described as "Maxray 12V 24V Solar Panel Battery Regulator Charge Controller 30A PWM LCD USB".

This would appear to vindicate the OP. 

BTW, mydeal.com.au is one of Maxray's "trusted retailers":

https://maxray.com.au/where-to-buy/

 

 

My suggestion to the OP is to monitor the Outbax web site to see whether they correct any errors in their advertising, now that they have been made aware of that possibility. I'd still like to see the insides of one of these units to be absolutely certain, though.

 

 



-- Edited by dorian on Thursday 9th of January 2020 11:56:43 AM

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I have noted that many forums have a policy or rule of No Naming or Shaming products or manufacturers.
They obviously have their reasons for this.
When I saw this post I googled Outbax Solar Panel Faults and nothing came up.
I have noticed that generally any complaints do appear on a google search if the product has a real problem.
I think that with any purchase which may involve the risk of the unknown the then a little research is important.



-- Edited by Iva Biggen on Thursday 9th of January 2020 07:28:58 AM

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Ivan



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Iva Biggen wrote:

When I saw this post I googled Outbax Solar Panel Faults and nothing came up.


 Most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between MPPT and PWM. As long as the product works, ignorance is bliss.



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About this time last year I got a 250W Maxray solar blanket. No it doesn't produce 250W, it's closer to 200 usually. The construction of the blanket is pretty good and it has been used heaps with no evidence of it falling apart. The regulator that came with the blanket isn't used as I already had a Victron MPPT regulator in the camper and with the blanket I can get the batteries back to "float" before lunch given a decent amount of direct sun and sensible positioning. The price was keen and the delivery was prompt.

The blanket was cheap and I got good value for money. No complaints from me.



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Check out this "300W, 12V" folding panel:

https://outbax.com.au/maxray-320w-12v-portable-mono-folding-solar-panel-foldable-camping-power-source-2

 

If you expand the "product details" tab, you see this panel described variously as ...

    280W 12V

    Max power wattage of 250W

 

Under "technical specs" we have ...

    Max power 300W

    20A MPPT controller

    Max current 17.7A

    Open circuit voltage 18V

 

There is no mention of short circuit current, or max current at peak power, or panel voltage at peak output.

The pictured controller is an MPPT Platinum Series 20A Intelligent Solar Controller, 12 - 24V Auto Switching / Auto Charging. This promises to be the real thing. However, because of the 3 different power ratings, which of the specs can we really believe?

Also, since the controller is purported to be an MPPT type, then it would seem appropriate that the vendor should quote the panel's MPP voltage and current.

 



-- Edited by dorian on Thursday 9th of January 2020 04:12:56 PM

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I thought to myself, what are the specs of a real 300W panel, so my first Google result landed me here:

https://solarknowhow.com/best-300-watt-solar-panel/

 

Renogy Eclipse Solar Premium Kit

    300 W Solar panel specs

    Peak power: 300W

    Maximum voltage: 18.12V

    Maximum current: 8.28A

    Open circuit voltage: 22V

    Short circuit current: 8.72A

 

If we do the arithmetic, 18.12V x 8.28A = 150W. Could there be two 150W panels in the set? Nope.

The Renogy 300Watt 12 V eclipse solar premium kit is a 300W solar panel capacity kit that comes in a set of 3 100Watt eclipse solar panels.

 

 



-- Edited by dorian on Thursday 9th of January 2020 04:07:07 PM

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When you buy a panel put a clamp meter on it & actually check how much power you are getting. 

The more testing we do the more suppliers stop using rubbery figures.



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I looked for some concrete warranty figures, but I couldn't find any on either the Outbax or Maxray web sites. The only statement was to the effect that an applicable statutory warranty would be honoured. Very vague ...

We believe in great service, so if you ever have an issue with the item within or outside of warranty, simply contact our team and we will be glad to help.
All our items come with full Australian warranties that comply with the Australian Consumer Law and Consumer Guarantees.

The post by @markf is perhaps indicative of the state of consumer ignorance, no offence intended. People seem to be prepared to accept that some panels do not produce their advertised output, perhaps because they see it as the norm. However, a "250W" panel that produces no more than 200W is clearly not what it claims to be. The expected reaction should be outrage, not acceptance, and certainly not with a smile.

Let's examine Outbax's "Maxray 12V 250W Folding Solar Panel Blanket Solar Mat Kit Mono Camping Power USB":

https://outbax.com.au/maxray-12v-250w-folding-solar-panel-blanket-solar-mat-kit-mono-camping-power-usb

The pictured "15 Amp MPPT Controller" is this one:

https://outbax.com.au/media/catalog/product/cache/e763c12cc3f14cf43cb54210f4e7c1c7/s/p/spw-mat-250_wgd_mqhysyjnrjjtar30.jpg

It looks like the PWM controller alluded to earlier.

Once again, the "technical specs" look dodgy:

    Max Power : 250W

    Regulator : 15 Amp MPPT Controller

    Max Current : 13.8A

    Open-Circuit Voltage : 18V

 

There is no mention of voltage and current at the max power point.

If we multiply the "max current" by the "open circuit voltage" (which is a nonsensical thing to do), we get ...

    18V x 13.8A = 248.4W

Clearly the power spec is bogus. In fact, the real max power is more likely to be 200W, unless the O/C voltage spec is itself an error.

  

One other thing which would dissuade me from buying this blanket is the relatively low margin between the claimed max current of the blanket (13.8A) and the rating of the regulator (15A). I would think that a 20A regulator would be a more appropriate choice.



-- Edited by dorian on Friday 10th of January 2020 08:04:26 AM

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dorian wrote:

[deletia]

The post by @markf is perhaps indicative of the state of consumer ignorance, no offence intended. People seem to be prepared to accept that some panels do not produce their advertised output, perhaps because they see it as the norm. However, a "250W" panel that produces no more than 200W is clearly not what it claims to be. The expected reaction should be outrage, not acceptance, and certainly not with a smile.

 

[deletia]

-- Edited by dorian on Friday 10th of January 2020 08:04:26 AM


 No offence taken. I should, however, clarify my "200W" figure.

When I got the blanket, after waiting for a clear sunny day, I just put the panels flat on the ground I was getting around 210 to 220W. Once the blanket got hot it dropped to about 200W.

After I messed about almost endlessly getting the blanket at a good angle the best I managed was 252W but, again, once they got hot the output degenerated to about 230W.

I would surmise that their 250W figure is pretty accurate under controlled and ideal test conditions and for them to advertise the blanket as 250W is fair. I think you'll find that most solar panel makers advertise the panel output as what can be attained under controlled and ideal test conditions. There is a standardised set of test conditions that they mostly use.

My folding panels were advertised as 100W and are flat out making 75W under real world conditions and they came from a source that has a very good reputation and they cost a heap. Under clear, cool and sunny conditions with the panels pointed at the sun they can make a bit more than the claimed 100W.

In the real world when the blanket is just spread on the ground or propped up on the car windscreen at a less than ideal angle I get around 200 to 210W which I reckon is reasonable.

And when they were spread out in the back yard on the grass they got hot enought to kill the grass under them. And yes, I DID get into a bit of strife for that...

Here is how they are generally laid out when we're away. The folding panels are charging the second battery in the car which is our emergency stash of electricity.



-- Edited by markf on Friday 10th of January 2020 11:47:31 AM

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@markf, thanks for the clarification. I have no problem with a panel that produces less than its rated output under non-ideal real world conditions, provided that it is correctly rated under industry standard test conditions. However, the panels on the Outbax site do not appear to be correctly described by the vendor. In fact they consistently quote "max current" and "open-circuit voltage" in their specs to the exclusion of the MPP voltage and current. This means that one cannot verify the actual power output.

Do you still have the regulator that came with the blanket? Was it described as MPPT? If so, and if you are not using it, would you be able to show us the internals?

BTW, I did eventually see the warranty period (12 months) under the "Add to cart" floating tab. I don't normally look there until I'm ready to buy. In fact, if you scroll the page, the tab obscures the warranty info.



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The more I read, the more errors and inconsistencies I find:

https://www.redarc.com.au/Content/Images/uploaded/Manuals/Monocrystalline%20Folding%20Solar%20Panel%20Kits%20Instruction%20Manual-2.pdf

Can anyone tell me whether I get a 5 year or 25 year warranty on Redarc's folding solar panels?



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dorian wrote:

[deletia]

Do you still have the regulator that came with the blanket? Was it described as MPPT? If so, and if you are not using it, would you be able to show us the internals?

[deletia]


 Yep - I've still got it and I use it only as an emergency spare in case the Victron goes belly up. It's in the shed "somewhere". It's a simple PWM thing with no settable parameters and which generates considerable RF interference - no AM radio while it's going. I reckon it's only advantage is the "cheap" aspect.

It's worth noting that a relative got a similar regulator with a set of folding panels. In with the panels there was a hand scrawled note saying the regulator is useless and to get something decent, which of course they sold. I've had a past association with Victron so I got him a MPPT regulator for a keen price.



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I bought a good portable folding 80 watt panel from Jaycar, was expensive at the time at 279 dollars, but they have been consistant at 4.5 amps per hour every time I put them out in good light. I use only 8-9 amps over night, so roughly 2 hours in the morning to be back at full power. If I were to go and buy new panels, I would buy at Jaycar or some other similar well known supplier, they may be dearer, but you get quality and a reliable warranty, not that you will likely ever need it. Buy properly in the first place and you won't get ripped off.

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Ric


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& buy a couple of panel meters while at it, amps & volts, you will know what's going on all the time!

normal__MG_2513.jpg



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I thought, I'll give Outbax another go. Surely they must get it right at least once?


Maxray 280W 12V Mono Solar Panel Single Caravan Camping:

https://outbax.com.au/maxray-280w-12v-mono-solar-panel-single-caravan-camping

 

This time, under the "technical specs" tab ...

    Max Power Voltage: 18V

    Max Power Current: 16.6A

 

Yay! It's starting to look better, but then ...

    18V x 16.6A = 298.8 watts

 

So, be quick, and get a 300W panel for the price of a 280W.

 



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I found one 160W panel i ordered by mistake was 18V open circuit. When in use & gets hot the voltage drops to 15V open circuit, not mutch leeway. I now look for 20 to 22V opencircuit panels.

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AIUI, a typical solar cell has an O/C voltage of 0.60V and a max power voltage of 0.50V. Therefore a typical panel constructed with strings of 36 cells has an O/C voltage of 22V and a max power voltage of 18V.

ISTM that one should be able to estimate the voltage specs by counting the number of cells.

 



-- Edited by dorian on Sunday 12th of January 2020 07:51:07 AM

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dorian wrote:

AIUI, a typical solar cell has an O/C voltage of 0.60V and a max power voltage of 0.50V. Therefore a typical panel constructed with strings of 36 cells has an O/C voltage of 22V and a max power voltage of 18V.

ISTM that one should be able to estimate the voltage specs by counting the number of cells.

 


 Hi Dorian smile

That is correct. The old standard is 36 cells for charging 12V batteries. The max power voltage is 17-18V and open circuit around 22V +. wink

I have ordered 30 cell panels by mistake, cheap, and they only give about 15V in good direct sun and struggle to charge fully in lesser conditions. But they can  look well rated for Watts as the amps are higher even though the Voltage is lower. I never made that mistake again and always count the cells. I have also seen 32 cell panels. Note 24V panels just have twice as many cells.  

Actually I used those 30 cell panels 2 in series, in two strings, total x4 and into a MPPT regulator.  Worked well then in all conditions.  A person on here uses low cell panels controlled by PWM regulators and gets good results due to the low losses in the PWM controller and a special controller. I am not sure what panels he uses.

If you choose to reuse "house" panels which you can get cheap now, you must be aware of the cell numbers or look at the specs to see how best to use them. I have seen people using them for 12V charging and the Voltages are too high and the current low for the wattage. But they still work OK if you do not need all the power. Or just use a MPPT reg that will give the full power at suitable voltages for a 12V battery.biggrin 

NOTE. Not all regulators/controllers called MPPT are actually MPPT. If the price is cheap and the unit looks like a PWM that is sold by others it is probably a fake. Even from retailers in Australia.    

Jaahn      



-- Edited by Jaahn on Sunday 12th of January 2020 03:59:50 PM

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This discussion is off track! The complaint was about an overheating pwm controller.

The argument between pwm and mppt controllers is irrelevant in this case.

Unless peopLe understand the difference between peak and rms voltages, this discussion is being wasted.

The real question here seems to be whether the controller is being used as the centre of the universe or is simply being used as a charger controller?

If the Solar pwm charger being used to provide all of the output requirements then I can understand that the controller is getting hot.

simply put, use the charger as an input device and the battery to supply all output requirements!



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Shappy wrote:

This discussion is off track! The complaint was about an overheating pwm controller.


The OP complained that the goods which were shipped did not match those which were advertised. This includes the panels and the regulator.

My subsequent examination of several solar products on the Outbax web site found numerous errors and inconsistencies relating to their specifications. My conclusion is that none of the information on the web site can be accepted without independent corroboration.



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I see that outbax is advertising on the tv

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