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Old 07-29-2016, 11:59 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 35
Solar and USB Charger Mod

I've read many posts and would like to thank all those to have been so kind enough to share. I feel like it's kind of my duty to share my mods, to maybe inspire or help those looking to do something similar. Special thanks to Handbuilder...I borrowed your tongue jack mounting idea and it works so well!

I've read and learned more about solar than any one person should! I decided that a 100W panel would be fine for our charging needs. My first mod was to upgrade to 2 6V golf cart batteries and they work awesome. They hold their charge longer than I expected. The addition of solar keeps me at a higher charge (hopefully) and puts me at ease, rather than staring at the voltage constantly.

I went with a 100W Renogy Eclipse panel. Renogy was so helpful, I called and spoke with them a number of times, my first panel was damaged during shipping and then sent a replacement overnight. Awesome company, and that's why I went with them. If I have any issues I really feel comfortable that they are going to help me out.

The controller was a different deal...I needed or wanted a water proof controller. There are not many to choose from, the folks at Zamp were great. I spoke with them and settled on a ZS-10AW. So far my driveway testing is looking good!

After I felt comfortable that we will have charged batteries, I decided to add a USB charger. I swapped the cable outlet for a new switch plate that I modified to include a push button on and off and a charger. The USB charger has an LED that it always on when it's hot, so I elected to go with an on and off button to help conserve unnecessary battery drainage.

All in all I'd say the project went well...I did learn that the Dish Network bracket is 1 5/8 inches (standard fence post) the Direct TV is 2 inches...does not work! I found them on craigslist for free so I'm only out gas. I added a couple of lawn mower handle knobs for quick loosening to change the direction of the panel to follow the sun as much as possible. I connected the panel to the battery with 10 gauge wire with SAE quick connects...this allows me to swap between solar and battery tender when I pull the batteries for the winter. I did fuse both the + side from the panel to the controller and the + from the controller to the batteries, as suggested in the manual.

I'm really pretty happy with it, time will tell how it works, but so far my driveway testing is going well!
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:40 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Washington state
Posts: 1,243
Way to go! Looks awesome! I keep the bracket clamps, bolts & oversized knobs in a small clear sectioned tackle box. Makes it easy to locate them and keeps things organized.

Good improv on your panel mount! Yes, the one we had was a previous Dish bracket, which fit a standard fence post (my solar pole made from fencing left-overs)

Glad the tongue mount worked out for you! Your really gonna enjoy the way that portable panel is out of the way and easy to follow the Sun! Thanks for sharing what you did and how you modified it to work for you!


2012 FR Flagstaff T12SDTH
1996 Shadowcruiser Pop Up Truck Camper
1967 Newell Motorcoach
2003 Ford F150 5.4 V8 Triton Super Cab
2004 Nissan Titan LE 5.6 V8 4x4 Crew Cab
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:48 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 35
Thank you Handbuilder! Your modifications are great, I'm actually digging into your screen door posts right now!

I mounted my solar to move on the top of the post and be more fixed at the base, I'm not sure if that's the way to go yet or not. My thought was that I might try to do a post quick release type setup. Using a mountain bike wheel quick release to go through the post, leaving the clamps and the lower portion of the post in place and just removing the top part of the post freeing up the jack assembly to crank up and down. I'll play around with it and see what I can come up with.

I really appreciate your contributions, great ideas you have!!
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:21 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 1,743
Looks nice. And pretty easy to set up and use.

2012 Rockwood A122S
2008 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4X4

Former owner of a 2002 Coleman Niagara GTE
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:03 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 35
Thank you...I have some adjustments to make, but so far so good. It's been fun learning all that there is out there in the world of camper modifications!
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