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Old 05-02-2015, 02:10 PM   #1
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Newbie Solar Questions

Hi,
New to this forum, first camper and first solar panels (eventually).

Picking up my Rockwood A122SXR on Monday and have begun researching solar panels for it. I'm having dealer add a battery so it will have 2 from the start.

My question is can I use the Renogy 100w Foldable solar suitcase ($279.) instead of the Zamp 80 watt portable ($500.) simply by adding the Zamp connectors? Seems too easy and too much of a no brainer to be right. Any input would be appreciated.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...02L3XUQ70M87BV

vs.

http://www.solardealz.com/Portable-S...-p/zs-80-p.htm

Our camper will be used for ski trips, bike trips and any other adventure we can think of. It has a heated mattress and heat exchanger so trying to make sure we stay warm in winter.

Thanks!
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Old 05-02-2015, 02:37 PM   #2
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Two batteries, I am going to assume GP24 dual purpose, are not going to give you as much power as you might think. Say for a single 100 watt panel, 100A@12VDC only equals about 8 amps in full sinlight. And then it is going to be rated that IF the panel is tilted toward the sun. Get the picture? To use ANY power hungery appliances, and that includes furnace, tank heaters, mattress pads etc will require you to have a whole lot of available power. Meaning at least 4 and possibly 6 golf cart batteries. Then to charge that much your going to need at least 300 watts of solar.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:05 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what you mean by "zamp connectors". It looks like both use a standard post clamp.. either would seem to be workable for you so it's always nice to save a little "bank".

Kit's like that generally run quite a bit more expensive than is really necessary, but I can understand where the ease of use and "no brainer" can be beneficial.

If I were looking at just those two systems, I would definitely go with the Renogy.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:14 PM   #4
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To clarify, my question is whether or not it"s possible to use Renogy panel kit with the Zamp solar ready wiring that comes in my camper? Thought I saw the Zamp wire you could buy separately so wondering if I can just splice that on the Renogy panels and save some cash. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by danstone12 View Post
To clarify, my question is whether or not it"s possible to use Renogy panel kit with the Zamp solar ready wiring that comes in my camper? Thought I saw the Zamp wire you could buy separately so wondering if I can just splice that on the Renogy panels and save some cash. Thanks for all the help.
Gotcha. I took a closer look at your rig. Yes... it should be a non issue just splicing the Zamp wiring onto the Renogy panel. On both systems the charge controller is "upstream" of your rigs connection.

Personally, I would probably by-pass the built in connectors and wire the panel directly to the battery/ies, but if you are more comfortable using the built in connectors you shouldn't have any issue. Save your pennies.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:35 PM   #6
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Thanks! What are the benefits of not using the Zamp wiring and how would it work if I went that route? So the Renogy is plug and pplay just like the Zamp, right? Sorry I'm really not stupid just don"t want to mess around ordering the wrong stuff. Trying to keep it simple and cheaper is better for sure.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:47 PM   #7
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Also, just found this:

Solar Panel 100W Watt 12V PV Off Grid Kit for RV Boat Battery Charger | eBay

Other than obvious flexibility of setup location any advantage to mounting on the camper?
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:57 PM   #8
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Thanks! What are the benefits of not using the Zamp wiring and how would it work if I went that route? So the Renogy is plug and pplay just like the Zamp, right? Sorry I'm really not stupid just don"t want to mess around ordering the wrong stuff. Trying to keep it simple and cheaper is better for sure.
Yes. The Renogy and Zamp are both "plug and play". The possible advantage to by-passing the built in connector is in shortening the 12v path to your battery/ies. Without getting technical.. 12v power does not like to travel very far. Any connection/splice/plug in between your power supply (your panel) and your battery/ies will create some amount of resistance. In other words.. not being able to take advantage of the total amount of energy being produced by your panel/s.

Not knowing the path, gauge of wire, and length of the run to your batteries, "I" would elect to by-pass the built in connector, but it's certainly not a show stopper. You're still going to be getting juice to your batteries.

Without making a whole "thing" of it, I think you're on the right track. Save some bucks on the Renogy.. splice into the Zamp connector and go have some fun.
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Old 05-02-2015, 05:04 PM   #9
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Also, just found this:

Solar Panel 100W Watt 12V PV Off Grid Kit for RV Boat Battery Charger | eBay

Other than obvious flexibility of setup location any advantage to mounting on the camper?
With that small of a system, I would prefer to keep it a "remote" setup vs mounted. There is no reason whatsoever that you couldn't save yourself $100 with that ebay deal and not keep your panel remote. It doesn't have the fancy bag, but serves the same purpose.

Of course.. now your bordering on the line of a full blown solar setup vs a simple battery maintainer.
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Old 05-02-2015, 05:08 PM   #10
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OK, over thinking as usual. Going with the Renogy portable set up. Any idea on the cord I'll need to splice for the Zamp port?
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