Review: Flexopower Atacama 79W

4Runner, Overland, Overlanding, Expedition Portal, Overland Journal, Overland Expo

We rarely spend more than two nights in the same location while we travel and have not installed a dual-battery system in our 4Runner. Instead, we have installed a Deka Intimidator AGM Group 31 battery and supplement the battery charge with solar panels. Krista and I have been using solar panels on our extended trips since early 2012 and the system has worked rather well.

Last year we met up with the Flexopower team at Overland Expo West, where they introduced us to their new Atacama 79W solar panel kit. The first thing I noticed was how their 79-watt panel's deployed footprint was significantly smaller than that of the 60-watt Powerfilm panel we had been running. In fact, it produces 32% more power in an 18% smaller footprint.

Specifications

  • Rated Output, STC: 79 Watt
  • Max Operating Voltage: 19.2 V
  • Operating Current: 4.1 A
  • Dimension Folded: 11 x 16 x 1.6 in
  • Dimension Deployed: 65 x 31 x 0.04 in
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs
  • Kit Contents: 1 X 79 Watt Solar Panel Foldable, 33 ft Extension Cable, Solar Regulator, Carry Bag, Anderson Grey Connectors
  • Price: $559

Our Thoughts

Like our old 60-watt panel, the Atacama 79W utilizes amorphous silicon (a-Si) construction, also known as thin-film silicon, as opposed to the crystalline silicon (c-Si) found in rigid solar panels like the GoalZero Boulder line. Although c-Si panels are less expensive to make, they tend to produce 10-15% less electricity when compared to a-Si panels. This increase in efficiency means you can reposition your a-Si panels less often when trying to track the sun.

amorphous silicon, solar panel, overland, Overland Journal, Expedition PortalFlexopower is able to generate more electricity out of a smaller footprint by increasing the number of targeted a-Si layers. Where the Atacama 79W can produce electricity from the red, green, and blue light spectrums, typical a-Si panels only produce in the red and green. This directly correlates to the panel's ability to generate (approximately) 30% more electricity over in a smaller footprint than our old 60-watt panel.



Included in the kit was a Phocos CA battery controller, which we installed in the rear cargo area, adjacent to our 12-volt Dometic CFX-65DZ fridge. The great thing about this controller is that it prioritizes the demand from the fridge and sends excess power to the battery. This reduces electrical system loss and improves the overall charging efficiency. New (2017) kits are including an updated Phocos controller that is reported to have a remote display!

Conclusion

We have been using the Atacama 79W solar panel kit for nearly a year now and I must say it has worked beautifully. We are increasingly pleased with performance and durability. The panel has been dropped, jumped on, and (accidentally) run over without any issue. I would, without hesitation, recommend the Flexopower Atacama 79W for anyone looking for a reliable solar panel for their backcountry adventures. Ours stays in the back of our 4Runner and is deployed every time we are parked for a few days and need to run our fridge.





Disclosure of Material Connection: I was given the equipment used in this review in consideration for review publication.


___________________________

Author
Beau Johnston is an engineer, writer, and photographer who is dedicated to proving you can find a balance between work and life. He is the Co-Founder and Publisher of Living Overland, and when he isn't working, you can find him exploring National Parks, fly fishing, and camping with his wife (Krista) and their two dogs.


___________________________


If you found this review helpful, please consider using one of the affiliate links below. The price is the same for you, but a small percentage of the purchase price goes to us, which helps keep this site going. Thank you!



Sierra Trading Post

Comments

  1. Where can you buy the Atacama 70w? I'm getting warnings about flexopowerusa.com as an unsafe site. Google searches are turning up ebay and chinese sellers on Amazon--neither of which are appealing to me. Many Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nationwide Solar Power is a pioneer in the creation and operation of utility-scale solar assets. What distinguishes us as a leading solar company? Our trained and seasoned team of engineers pioneers superior solar energy technologies for both residential and industrial applications. We ensure the successful, dependable, and timely installation and implementation of solar solutions in all districts and towns. Nationwide Solar Power assesses the energy needs, identifies the integrated system equipment your project requires and installs, and integrates it into proper frameworks to achieve total solar production. Click nationwide solar company
    We take pride in our presence in residential segments, on-grid and off-grid industrial solar ventures, and catering to all energy needs while powering transition. Innovative designs, streamlined executions, and engineered exceptional quality solar assets are what distinguishes us as a top solar business that guarantees you 24x7 service and maintenance from professional experts, as well as a wide variety of utility goods at the most competitive prices.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. FlexoPower sun-oriented packs are made for genuine open-air applications. Flexopower Atacama-79W are used by African Military. This has very amazing flexible solar panel with eyelets on each side for proper securing. Mepco bills offers the Flexible Solar Panel which used in FlexoPower.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Trending Posts on Living Overland