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Foldable solar panels are very popular among campers thanks to a combination of power and portability. Right now, the Beaudens 100W solar panel often comes up during discussions of the top foldable panels, but does it live up to the hype?
We decided to take a look and this is what we found out. The long and short of it is this is an exceptional solar panel, with lots of features you’ll like. but it has some shortcomings that you should be aware of. Overall though the Beaudens solar panel is solid and worth it.
- Foldable solar panel
- User manual
- DC to Anderson cable
- DC to MC4 cable’
- 10x laptop connector
- Folded: 18.8 x 14.3 x 2.5 inches
- Unfolded: 59.8 x 18.8 x 2.1 inches
- Weight: 9.9 lbs. / 4.5 kg
Design & Features
The Beaudens looks like a suitcase when folded, but unfolded it turns into a solar panel. Let’s take a look at its features.
The is a monocrystalline solar panel, the best in terms of efficiency available. There are no moving parts so no chance of breaking something while you’re on the go. It’s a foldable panel and it’s really convenient for hiking and camping.
A quick overview of what the ports are for. These are just some (not all) of the devices that you can use on them:
- Type C port (60W PD): tailor made for devices like the DJI Mavic 2, MacBook Pro and the like.
- USB 2.0 and QC 3.0: digital cameras, GPS, iPhone, Android, iPad / Android tablets, MacBook
- 18V DC port: laptop, portable solar generator / power station, DC electrical devices
We also want to point out the USB and TYPE C ports have an integrated IC chip. It’s a safety mechanism that keeps your devices from overloading and overheating. The chip also does current identification for optimum charge performance.
Cables and Connectors
You receive 10 connectors and 3 cables. They’re designed to work with different types of solar generators and DC powered devices.
This is used to prop up the solar panel to get maximum sunlight. More on this in the performance section later.
- Compatible with popular portable solar generator brands
- Charges batteries fast
- Folds to a compact suitcase
- No built in AC outlet
Beaudens has gotten pretty good feedback for its solar panel, and after a thorough review we have to agree. Here’s what you can expect.
Solar Panel Efficiency
Thee are monocrystalline solar panels so you get higher conversion rates. Under the sun it takes the panel about 2 hours to charge a 50% filled battery. Under the winter sun the charge time is going to be double that. You notice we mentioned half empty battery, because you should never let lead acid batteries drop to 0%. Expect the charge time to take way longer if the battery is entirely depleted.
There’s a lot discussion about how much better mono panels are compared to poly. Beaudens says efficiency level is up to 25% higher. While that’s certainly possible, don’t expect it to happen every day. But if weather conditions are the same, mono panels will outperform poly regularly.
The speed time and reliability depends on the weather, as is the case with all solar panels. In ideal weather with lots of sun you’ll see better results. But even during the winter the panel can still charge, though it’s going to take more time. As long as there is sunlight and nothing is obstructing the cells, you’ll draw solar power from it.
Comparing the Beaudens with other 100W solar panels can give you an idea of how well it stacks up against the others. We plugged the Beaudens into a Rockpals power station for 30 minutes and got 65W. With other 100W panels it was 25W for half an hour. The weather wasn’t that good, but if it was the results would have been better for the Beaudens.
Kickstand Adjustability and Case Durability
The kickstand is easy to adjust and seems durable. Making the proper adjustments is essential for airflow and higher conversion. These little tweaks an make all the difference when charging a battery or device. You can place the panel on the ground or your camper, it operates fine.
The case material looks and feels solid. The rear panel design allows you to keep it at a set angle. This is a handy feature that can maximize its solar drawing power. With its sturdy built you shouldn’t have to worry about the panel overheating anytime soon. And its IPX4 waterproof too.
Compatibility with Solar Power Stations
No surprise, the solar panel is fully compatible with Beaudens solar power stations. But performance wise this panel runs just as well with other brands like Rockpals, Jackary, Suaoki and others. Connecting the panel to a power station is easy and you get efficient results.
This panel is perfect for fishing, hiking, RVs, camping and other outdoor activities. But it also serves as a power storage system. Connect to a solar generator or battery and you get power for off grid use, emergency or home backup reserve.
Ports and Connectors
The four ports – USB, QC 3.0, TYPE C and DC – run without a hitch. Just hook up the device to the panel and it should be ready to go. For laptops, smartphones, tablets and portable solar generators, the Beaudens 100W panel delivers.
With 10 DC jacks you can power practically any laptop out there. Combine these with the ports and you can pretty much charge any DC powered device you may want.
Folding the panel is easy, and folding it up to suitcase size is also convenient. At 9.9 lbs. it’s on par with other portable solar panels. The plastic handle is durable but comfortable to hold. Since it’s waterproof a bit of rain won’t cause damage. Just don’t get the junction box wet as it is not water resistant.
Actually you shouldn’t drench the case either. When a solar panel is advertised was waterproof, it means it can handle water. In the Beaudens case, lots of water. But don’t make it a habit. Remember this is a solar panel and is meant to be used during clear days.
No AC Outlet
As we pointed out, there is no AC outlet here. It does not come with an inverter either, though to be fair most solar chargers don’t. If you want to use AC devices (kitchen and most home appliances for example), the Beauens solar panel can’t help. This is the one shortcoming for the Beaudens that you should keep in mind.
The only recourse is to buy an inverter (make sure it’s the right size). As the panel draws solar power, the inverter will turn that into AC power. If you’re going to use the panel to store or charge batteries, get a charge controller to ensure everything runs smoothly. The panel works with most inverter and charge controller brands so no issues there.
There’s a reason why the Beaudens 100W solar panel has become a hit. It’s easy to use, it’s efficient and dependable. You can use it to power any mobile device and then some. Being waterproof and durable makes it ideal for the outdoors. The lack of an AC output is a bummer, but by and large campers will be happy with this.
I am an advocate of solar power. Through portablesolarexpert.com I want to share with all of you what I have learned and cotinue to learn about renewable energy.