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Old 06-12-2016, 10:17 AM   #1
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Solar Zamp plug question.

Hi everyone.

I have a Clipper 17BH and it came with a Zamp solar plug on the side.

I'm a hunter and often go hunting on weekends during fall and as you know it, we use a lot of power for heating, ad so we often got a low battery during the last night of our stays.

Since we are in a woodsy area, solar is not an answer to our problem.

Last year, i hooked up a booster pack on the main battery and that solved our problem, after a weekend, we still had 2/3 of battery power. Great, but... with the location of the battery, it's a pain to connect the booster pack and i risk damaging the popane line as it is near the battery.

My question is. Since my booster pack has a cig. lighter connector, could i make myself a cable to connect the booster pack from the cig. lighter connector to the zamp solar system on the side of the RV?

Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:59 AM   #2
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From what I've read, the Zamp plug is pretty much just wired to the battery without a controller. However, I've also read that the Zamp plug is wired reverse polarity, which is why they say to use only Zamp products in that plug. So, I guess you could build a cable to connect your device as long as you first verify the polarity of the Zamp plug and make your connections accordingly. As far as I can tell it should be the same as connecting alligator clips to the battery.
I myself am a recently new owner of a 17 FQ Clipper with the same Zamp plug. On mine, the male side of the plug is Pos., verified with a multimeter. Interestingly enough, I pulled the plug from the TT and found that it's also connected to a red wire which makes me wonder about the whole reverse polarity thing I mentioned earlier. I have yet to plug anything into it but I intend to use my Renogy solar panels there as well as a connector similar to what you are considering to run another device.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:08 AM   #3
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The Zamp plug and wiring are for low current solar charging. The booster pack is capable of providing very high curent (Typically used for jump starting) that could fry the Zamp wiring if something were to be a heavy current load. I would continue to connect the booster pack directly to the battery.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swampweasel View Post
The Zamp plug and wiring are for low current solar charging. The booster pack is capable of providing very high curent (Typically used for jump starting) that could fry the Zamp wiring if something were to be a heavy current load. I would continue to connect the booster pack directly to the battery.
Good point. I'm glad you posted that. I'd hate for someone to fry his wiring because I gave bad advice.
I should have stated that I'm no electrician, so take my comments accordingly.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swampweasel View Post
The Zamp plug and wiring are for low current solar charging. The booster pack is capable of providing very high curent (Typically used for jump starting) that could fry the Zamp wiring if something were to be a heavy current load. I would continue to connect the booster pack directly to the battery.
^^X2^^
My Zamp wiring is barely 14 ga. Maybe even 16 ga.
Not nearly heavy enough to sustain the load capable from a booster/jumper pack.
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Old 06-13-2016, 01:50 PM   #6
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What huge load are we talking about here? What in the trailer consumes so much power for so long that the wiring to the ZAMP will fry? Certainly it will handle 3-8 amps for as long as you want and that, I think is plenty.


I think the bigger issue is the long-term paralleling of the larger trailer battery (Group 24 or 27) by the much smaller 18 to 20 AH booster battery. A few minutes, an hour to run the furnace, run the lights, no worries. But which ever battery has the higher state of charge (and higher voltage) will attempt to charge the less-charged battery. You end up with two batteries with an equally, lower change.


Thinking more about it, In the short term (3-7 campout week-ends/ year) probably no huge issue. May weaken the booster battery and result is less ability to do it's job, just not best practice, but perhaps good enough.


Cheers
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:58 PM   #7
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You are correct Chateau, the the Zamp wiring will certainly handle 6-8 amps, but consider the possibility of a short circuit anywhere downstream of the booster pack. Those things are capable of supplying cranking current to start an engine. I wouldn't take the chance of destroying the Zamp wiring/connector and possibly starting a fire when you could just connect it directly to the battery.
Just my opinion as a retired electrical engineer.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:35 PM   #8
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Solar Zamp

Short Answer - Yes!
Only two minor issues:
Make sure the polarity is correct.
Don't exceed about 20 amps - the wires on the Zamp plug are only 12 to 14 gauge.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fun Box View Post
Hi everyone.

I have a Clipper 17BH and it came with a Zamp solar plug on the side.

... i hooked up a booster pack on the main battery and that solved our problem, after a weekend, we still had 2/3 of battery power. Great, but... with the location of the battery, it's a pain to connect the booster pack and i risk damaging the popane line as it is near the battery.

My question is. Since my booster pack has a cig. lighter connector, could i make myself a cable to connect the booster pack from the cig. lighter connector to the zamp solar system on the side of the RV?

Thanks.
As already pointed out, the Zamp connector is wired directly to the battery using fairly light weight wire. Building an adapter cable is quite feasible and since you are building the cable you can and should follow good electrical design practice and include a fuse close to the supply. The Zamp wiring is probably only good for 15A or so and a booster box could supply much more than that in some cases. So build an inline fuse into your adapter cable with a 15A fuse and you should be good to go.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChateauV10 View Post
What huge load are we talking about here? What in the trailer consumes so much power for so long that the wiring to the ZAMP will fry? Certainly it will handle 3-8 amps for as long as you want and that, I think is plenty.


I think the bigger issue is the long-term paralleling of the larger trailer battery (Group 24 or 27) by the much smaller 18 to 20 AH booster battery. A few minutes, an hour to run the furnace, run the lights, no worries. But which ever battery has the higher state of charge (and higher voltage) will attempt to charge the less-charged battery. You end up with two batteries with an equally, lower change.


Thinking more about it, In the short term (3-7 campout week-ends/ year) probably no huge issue. May weaken the booster battery and result is less ability to do it's job, just not best practice, but perhaps good enough.


Cheers
The OP said he uses the unit in the fall when he needs to run the furnace.
Most furnaces draw 10-12 amps.
Open a faucet while the furnace is running and the water pump adds another 4-5 amps.
Refrigerator on?... another 2 amps.

Pretty easy to exceed the Zamp wiring capabilities.
Certainly more than I'd want to run through my Zamp wiring.
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