Renogy Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase – 12V Mono Panel Review

Renogy Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase - Featured Image

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There seem to be new solar panel manufacturers popping up every day. Every time I check out a certain online retail site there is yet another portable panel offering. Usually cheaper in price than the last. This is all well and good but how do you know if they are any good?.

Will they produce the efficiency, power output and durability they claim? If a brand new 100w 12V mono solar suitcase is being peddled on the cheap, I suspect not. It is a fact that you only get what you pay for.

Renogy is an established company with a fine reputation for quality and reliability. The 100 watt Eclipse fits right into that bracket. Yes it is a bit more expensive than some but it is also less expensive than others. 

Renogy Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase

Product: Renogy Eclipse 100 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Suitcase With Controller
Price: $349.99 (Without Controller $299.99)
Dimensions Folded: 21.1 x 21.5 x 3.1inch/53.59 x 54.61 x 7.87cm
Dimensions Unfolded: 21.1 x 43.01 x 1.57inch/53.59 x 109.25 x 3,99cm
Weight: 20.28lbs/9.19Kg (with controller)
Warranty:
Solar Panel: 25-year power output
5 Year 95% efficiency
10 year 90% efficiency
25 year 80% efficiency
5 year workmanship and materials
Accessories: 12 month material

What Is The Renogy Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase?

“The Eclipse 100w solar suitcase is so named because it supersedes Renogy’s previous 100 watt solar suitcase. It is smaller, lighter, more efficient and powerful than it’s predecessor. Hence the difference in price coming in at around $90 more with a built-in controller. It can be used for many portable applications where battery charging is required in off-grid situations”.

In this review I will be taking a look at how the 100w Eclipse with built-in solar charge controller works. What’s good and what’s not so good about the solar suitcase. Comparing with the Zamp Solar Legacy 90W Portable Solar Panel Kit With Controller. And mooching around other solar suitcases in the Renogy Range.

A Bit About Renogy

Renogy was started by students at Louisiana State University. Renogy LLC was organized in 2010 and in 2013 they launched their online store. By 2013 they incorporated as the RNG Group Inc. In 2016, Renogy won two bronze-level Golden Bridge Awards. One of them for best product of the year with the Lycan solar power station.

Renogy Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase -Renogy Factory

Today Renogy produces a wide range of solar products and solutions. These include the recreational vehicles, home, truck, marine and commercial sectors. Renogy products are well-made and respected. The company has a reputation for quality workmanship, reliability, durability and customer service

How Does The Eclipse 100W Solar Suitcase 12V Mono Panel With Controller Work?

Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase

There are two versions of the 100w Eclipse solar suitcase with or without a controller. But both panels are exactly the same in performance and specification. The suitcase with the controller can be used to charge batteries directly. 

The suitcase without the controller can be used to connect the portable solar panels together. This can be done in series or parallel or it can be used in conjunction with a portable power station. 

Specifications
Specs Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase With Controller
Solar CellMonocrystalline
Module Type2 x 50 Watt
Wattage100 watts
EfficiencyHighly Efficient (German-made solar cells)
Solar Charge Controller20A
Dimensions Folded21.1 x 21.5 x 3.1inch/53.59 x 54.61 x 7.87cm
Dimensions Unfolded21.1 x 43.01 x 1.57inch/53.59 x 109.25 x 3,99cm
Weight20.28lbs/9.19Kg
Maximum Operating Voltage (Vmp)17.6V
Maximum Operating Current (Imp): 5.68A
Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc): 21.6V
Short-Circuit Current (Isc): 6.10A
Maximum System Voltage: 600VDC(UL)
Construction
The 100w Eclipse is made from metal and glass. With the 2 x 50w solar panels wired together in series to make up the final 100 watt rating. They are encased in an aluminium frame which folds in the middle on hinges like a paste table. There are latches to keep the suitcase firmly closed during transportation.

The monocrystalline solar cells are fronted by glass and the rear is made from a polymer based material. This makes the whole unit waterproof. Plastic protectors keep the corners from becoming chipped or damaged. And a handle is fitted to make the Eclypse easy to move around.

A metal kickstand set on rails completes the unit which allows for adjustment to find the perfect angle to the sun. A carry case is provided for extra protection when loading and unloading from a vehicle.

Eclipse 100w - Kickstand
Monocrystalline Solar Cells

Mono solar cells are at the time of writing the most efficient on the market. Out-stripping both Polycrystalline and Thin-Film. This is important because there are many inefficiencies in solar systems. So you want the solar panel to collect as much sunlight as efficiently as it can. This means it will convert more sunlight into usable electricity.

 I am unable to find out exactly how many solar cells are incorporated into the panel. But as a speculation based on the maximum operating voltage (VMP) 36 sounds about right. Renogy does not give a specific efficiency rating, they just say “highly efficient”.

Renogy does not say they are Sunpower™ solar cells which can reach 23%. So because they say German-made solar cells” which are reputed to be the best on the market. The Eclipse is a high quality solar suitcase. I assume the efficiency rating will be between 20 and 22%+. This is certainly born out in the online reviews.

Energysage say;

Most solar panels are between 15% and 20% efficient, with outliers on either side of the range. High-quality solar panels can exceed 22% efficiency in some cases (and almost reach 23%!). But the majority of photovoltaic panels available are not above 20% efficiency. (Source; Energysage.com)

Portability

The main benefit of owning a 100w 12v solar suitcase is its ability to be moved around and stored easily. This is because in most cases it will be used as a mobile application. Either to charge your recreational vehicle or boat house and starter batteries. Or to charge a portable solar power station which together are known as a solar generator.

Because of its compact size you shouldn’t have any problems finding space in your vehicle to transport it. Unless of course you have a small vehicle full of children and a tent. When you finally reach your destination you will find carrying the Eclipse for positioning easy too.

Usability

So what can I use the Renogy 100w Eclipse for? Well as you know it’s all about charging batteries to create electricity with no hook-up about. Great for use with a tent, RV, camper van, trailer/caravan or boat. Or any other application that requires a battery to be charged in an off-grid situation. 

12V Batteries

The Eclipse will keep your 12v batteries topped up or charge a portable power station. If using it with a vehicle or boat it really is a plug and play system. Deploy in the perfect spot to capture the most sunlight and hook it up to your house or starter battery.

Eclipse 100w Rear And Battery Types

You do this with the provided MC4 connector and clamp cable. Simply select the battery type on the charge controller and run the cable with the clamps to your battery. Connect the negative clamp to the negative terminal on your battery. Then the same with the positive clam to the positive battery terminal. 

And there you go your battery is charging. There is also an optional MC4 to SAE 12 AWG cable available to use to hook up. 

Amps a 100w 12v solar suitcase will produce in a day

Remember under full sunlight a 100 watt solar panel will produce around 4.5 amps per hour. If there is 5 hours of full sunlight that equates to 22.5Ah total. Then there are the other hours of sunlight so you can expect a total of around 30Ah of recharge. 

This figure is based around a full day of sun in the summer. if you have a battery that is more than 50Ah or a battery bank. It is best to use a single 100 watt solar suitcase to keep the batteries topped up.

If you want to know more about how many amps a 100w solar panel produces take a look at my article.

Related == >>>>>>>>>> How many amps does a 100w solar panel produce? 

Multiple Eclipse Suitcases Strung Together In Parallel

Yes, multiple Eclipse 100 watt suitcases can be connected in parallel. But it will be limited by the 20A solar charge controller. You will only be able to connect one more 100w suitcase with the controller. This would then give you 200 watts of solar power.

Eclipse 100w -Parallel or Series

If you want to connect more you will have to buy a larger separate controller. Or if you connect 2 suitcases in parallel one with the built-in charger to form an array. You can connect another similar array as long as the 2 arrays are connected to each other in parallel. This would then give you 400 watts of solar power.

For those of you screaming, what about a 24V system? Apparently this version of the 20A Voyager built-into the Eclipse is compatible with 12V systems only.

Portable Solar Power Station

The Eclipse with a built-in solar charge controller can be used with a solar power station. Even though the power station has one built in they will not interfere with each other. However you may want to use the Eclipse without the controller because it’s a bit cheaper.

20A Voyager Solar Charge Controller
Voyager 20A Solar Charge Controller

The Eclipse comes with a built in 20A solar charge controller the specifications of which are;

Specifications
Specs 20A Voyager Solar Charge Controller
Controller TypePulse Wave Modulation (PWM)
Rating20A
Normal Battery Voltage12V
WaterproofYes
Max. PV Input Voltage26V
Rated Charge Current20A
Battery Start Charging Voltage3V
Self-consumption≤8mA
Dimensions6.38 x 3.82 x 1.34 inches
Weight0.88 lbs
ProtectionSpark-free protection.
Reverse polarity solar and battery connectionReverse current from battery to solar panel protection at night.
Over temperature protection with derating charging current.
Transient overvoltage protection. At the solar input and battery output protects against surge voltage.
Warranty12 month material

The Voyager Solar Charge Controller and Eclipse Solar Suitcase are both completely waterproof. This means the Eclipse is suitable for use on a boat and can be safely left out in the rain.

Display and Operation

The unit has a back lit LCD display. It shows everything from the type of battery currently being charged to current battery charge state. It also shows how many amps and volts are being produced by the Eclipse. And the voltage state of the battery being charged.

The controller is operated by pressing various buttons to select functions like displaying amps and volts. Not forgetting selecting the type of battery you want to charge. The controller will charge a wide variety of batteries including;

  • AGM
  • Flooded
  • Gel
  • Calcium
  • Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)
  • Lithium Ion
  • NMC
  • Lithium Titanate
Renogy Smart LiFePO4 Battery

It’s surprising for a PWM controller to be able to charge such a wide variety of batteries. With 5 Stage charging: Soft-charge, Bulk, Absorption. Float, and Equalization. This will ensure your batteries will be safe and charged correctly at all times.

What’s In The box 
  • 1 x Renogy Eclipse 100 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Suitcase With 20A Controller
  • Solar Connectors to Alligator Clips With Fuse
Whats In The Box

What’s Good About The Eclipse 12V Mono 100w Solar Suitcase?

There are loads of good things to say about the Eclipse backed up by the customer reviews on Renogy’s website. I do not use reviews from a certain online retailer. This is because they are often unrelated to the actual product. 

Complete Plug And Play System

The Eclipse 100 watt solar suitcase is indeed a complete plug and play system. Take it out of its protective case, unfold it, point it at the sun, hook it up to a battery and you’re done !!!

German Solar Cells
German Solar Cells

The German Solar cells will ensure the best possible efficiency. There are YouTube videos showing the Eclipse pumping out 6A. I know I said earlier to work on 4.5A. But for reliability’s sake it is always best to be cautious. Best not to overestimate when it comes to solar.

Waterproof

The Eclipse is truly completely waterproof. Again there are videos showing it being completely soaked with a hose. Even directly onto the solar controller with no ill effects. Great for boats, no need to worry about the sea water.

What’s Not So Good About The Eclipse 12V Mono 100w Solar Suitcase?

I am struggling to find things that are not so good about the product and its performance. But here goes.

Solar Controller Not MPPT

The solar controller is PWM it would be nice for it to be MPPT. Mainly because it would help with overall efficiency within the system.

Alligator Clip Cable Could Be Longer
Alligator Clip Cable Could Be Longer

The supplied alligator clip cable is a little short and could be longer so an extension lead may be required

Is 100 Watts Enough?

It is only a 100 watt panel. Keeping 2 or more batteries charged under heavy use may prove a problem. But it all depends on your off-grid electrical requirements. The 200 watt Eclipse would be a good solution for heavier use.

The Renogy Eclipse 100w V’s The Zamp Solar Legacy 90w Solar Suitcase

Specs Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase With Controller Zamp Legacy 90w Solar Suitcase
Solar CellMonocrystallineMonocrystalline
Module Type2 x 50 Watt2 x 45 Watt
Wattage100 Watts90 Watts
EfficiencyHighly Efficient (German-made solar cells)Grade A
Solar Charge Controller20A10A
WaterproofYesWeather Resistant
Dimensions Folded21.1 x 21.5 x 3.1inch/53.59 x 54.61 x 7.87cm21.6 x 21.5  x 3.1inch
Dimensions Unfolded21.1 x 43.01 x 1.57inch/53.59 x 109.25 x 3,99cmN/A
Weight20.28lbs/9.19Kg27lbs
Maximum Operating Voltage (Vmp)17.6V18V
Maximum Operating Current (Imp): 5.68A5A
Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc): 21.6VN/A
Short-Circuit Current (Isc): 6.10AN/A
Maximum System Voltage: 600VDC(UL)N/A
WarrantySolar Panel: 25-year power output
5 Year 95% efficiency
10 year 90% efficiency
25 year 80% efficiency
5 year workmanship and materials
Accessories: 12 month material
Solar Panel: 25-year power output

 

Accessories: 5 Year

Price $349.99$529.99

Yes I know the Zamp Is 90w not 100w. But I wanted to show the differences between an American made suitcase and a foriegn made suitcase.

Construction

Both the Eclipse and the Legacy are constructed from metal and glass. Both incorporate monocrystalline solar cells. There is a difference in the kickstands with the Eclipse having 2 supports set on rails. The Zamp has 4 supports 2 for each side of the folding panels this will make the Zamp sturdier.

The Legacy is described as water resistant while the Eclipse is waterproof. If you are thinking about using a 100w suitcase on a boat I would consider this difference carefully.

Efficiency

Neither provide an efficiency rating but both say that the cells are of the highest quality. So the suitcase’s efficiency will be about the same.

Solar Charge Controller

The Legacy has a smaller charge controller which they say is 5 stage and can charge most 12V batteries. This includes lithium and it has a digital output and display the same as the Eclipse. 

Dimensions And Weight

Both units are about the same size and come with a protective carry case. But there is a difference in weight with the Legacy being nearly 7lbs heavier. While this may suggest the Zamp is of superior construction the extra weight may prove a problem. Especially if you have a back problem or a disability.

Price and Warranty

The warranty for both solar panel output is 25 years. But the solar charge controller warranty on the Zamp is superior at 5 years compared to the 1 year for the Eclipse. The biggest difference between the 2 suitcases apart from the 10w output is the price. The Renogy comes in $180 cheaper than the Zamp.

Like me everybody wants to be patriotic and buy products produced in their own country. But if you have a limited budget that is a big price difference for what is essentially the same product. Anyway it’s something to think about.

What Other 100w Renogy 12V Mono Suitcase Solar Panels Are There In The Range?

Renogy 100W Suitcase Range

Rather than go into a lengthy description of each available Renogy 100w 12v Mono solar suitcase. I have produced a table below for easy reading.

Specs Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase Without Controller Renogy 100w Solar Suitcase without Controller Renogy 100w Solar Suitcase with Controller
Solar CellMonocrystallineMonocrystallineMonocrystalline
Module Type2 x 50 Watt2 x 50 Watt2 x 50 Watt
Wattage100 Watt100 Watt100 Watt
EfficiencyHighly Efficient (German-made solar cells)Excellent performance in low-light environmentsExcellent performance in low-light environments
Solar Charge ControllerNoNo20A
Dimensions Folded21.1 x 21.5 x 3.1inch/53.59 x 54.61 x 7.87cm19.9 x 27.2 x 2.8 inch19.9 x 27.2 x 2.8 inch
Dimensions Unfolded21.1 x 43.01 x 1.57inch/53.59 x 109.25 x 3,99cm40.0 x 27.2 x 2.8 inch40.0 x 27.2 x 2.8 inch
Weight19.4lbs27.05lbs27.48lbs
Maximum Operating Voltage (Vmp)17.6V18.0V18.0V
Maximum Operating Current (Imp): 5.68A5.56A5.56A
Open-Circuit Voltage (Voc): 21.6V21.6V21.6A
Short-Circuit Current (Isc): 6.10A6.16V6.0A
Maximum System Voltage: 600VDC(UL)N/AN/A
WarrantySolar Panel: 25-year power output

 

5 Year 95% efficiency
10 year 90% 

25 year 80% 

5 year workmanship and materials
Accessories: 12 month material

Solar Panel: 25-year power output

 

5 Year 95% efficiency
10 year 90% 

25 year 80% 

5 year workmanship and materials
Accessories: 12 month material

Solar Panel: 25-year power output

 

5 Year 95% efficiency
10 year 90% 

25 year 80% 

5 year workmanship and materials
Accessories: 12 month material

Price$299.99$219.99$259.99

>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Take A Look At The Renogy Suitcase Range <<<<<<<<<<<<<<

My Closing Thoughts

Renogy is well known for providing reliable, well made, durable solar products. Their range of 100 watt solar panels are their best selling range. Overall the 100w Eclipse 12V Mono is a high end Solar Suitcase that is great value for money. It does what it says on the tin. 

The Eclipse is a little more expensive than Renogy’s standard 100w suitcase range. But the addition of the German made solar cells which will be grade A. Is worth the extra dollars to gain the increased performance.

I hope you enjoyed this review and have found it helpful. If you have any questions about the Renogy 12V 100w Eclipse Mono Solar Suitcase . Or want to leave your own personal review, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Renogy Eclipse 100 Watt 12V Monocrystalline Solar Suitcase With Controller

$349.99
9.3

Is It Worth Buying

9.4/10

Value For Money

9.2/10

Overall Quality

9.6/10

Support

9.0/10

Pros

  • Complete Plug And Play System
  • German Solar Cells
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Solar Controller Not MPPT
  • Alligator Clip Cable Could Be Longer
Spread The Solar Love

4 Comments on “Renogy Eclipse 100w Solar Suitcase – 12V Mono Panel Review”

  1. I think this is a great product and I like that it comes in a case and that I can connect more panels to it to charge my batteries. It seems very robust and you explained about the company history and it is very reputable, which is so important for knowing that you are paying for a quality product.

    Does it come with a guarantee?

    1. Hi Lily 

      Yes Renogy are well known and respected in the portable solar panel world. The Guarantee/Warranty looks like this;

      Solar Panel: 25-year power output
      5 Year 95% efficiency
      10 year 90% efficiency
      25 year 80% efficiency
      5 year workmanship and materials
      Accessories: 12 month material

      Which I think you will agree is pretty extensive

      Regards

      Steve

  2. This portable solar panel from Renogy looks very robust and I do like the fact that it is using German cell in the panels. And with the extensive warranty, it seems worth investing in these. Having it in a case to carry, does make transportation a lot easier. But how heavy is one panel? 

    Do you think it is better to have it without the controller, or is it easier to have the controller? Would these panels be available in Australia?

    1. As far as is it best to have the suitcase with or without a controller is concerned that is down to what you are using it to charge. 

      If you are using it to charge a 12v battery directly like in an recreational vehicle for instance. The suitcase with the charge controller is required.

      If you want to connect a couple of suitcases together the with built-in charge controller version and the non controller version are required.

      If you want to use the suitcase to charge a portable solar power station. The no charge controller  version is best because the power station will already have a charge controller built-in. 

      And yes the panel is available in Australia. If you follow the buy link in the post it will take you to the Suitcases page on the Renogy website. In the top right hand side of the header there is an American flag. You can click that and it will bring up a list of countries including Australia

      If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask 

      Regards

      Steve

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