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Old 05-29-2015, 11:08 AM   #1
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ZAMP brand solar power panels - experience? opinion?

Hi all,

Husband and I just purchased a 2015 Grey Wolf 19rr with the "limited edition" option package that includes the pre-wire for the Zamp solar power system (this is the side of trailer connection port, not the roof type). Has anyone actually purchased the Zamp solar panels for this and what is your experience with them? Are they quality for the money? Do they work as advertised? If you had a do-over, would you buy them again or skip it? Do you have to use Zamp brand with this pre-wired port or can other RV type solar panels be plugged into it?

We like the concept of having the batteries topped off via solar vs. running a generator all the time but want to know if the cost vs. benefit is worth it. It's unlikely we would have considered solar if the pre-wire wasn't already there but since it is, we want to know if getting the rest of the system makes sense.

Opinions please

Thanks very much!
Raji
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:42 PM   #2
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we have a Vengence 39b12 with this option, I would like to know the answers to these questions as well.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:28 PM   #3
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Pre-wired Zamp systems open a lot of doors for those that are not necessarily that 'solar savvy' to take advantage of some of the benefits that solar has to offer. That being said, it's a VERY expensive way to enter into the "solar club". IMO, components are marginally capable and prices are borderline outrageous for what you're actually getting.

However, you are not limited to only Zamp products to take advantage of the existing wiring. Any panel or component can be connected using a matching SAE connector you can pick up at just about any automotive store.

If you are interested in taking advantage of the pre-wiring, it would probably be in your best interest to get a quote from a reputable solar installer to compare against the dealer installed Zamp systems.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:02 PM   #4
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They are way over priced for what you get.
Price a couple solar panels on eBay and a charge controller. Even 1 100 watt panel will only give you 4.5 to 5 amp of charging capabilities and with an average of 5 hours good sun per day you will want at least 200 watts of solar to give you 9 to 10 amps of charging capabilities. You can also find solar kits on eBay and Renogy panels are nice and efficient. Always use fusing and a charge controller so you don't over charge your batteries.
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:53 AM   #5
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we don't do much dry camping, and when we do I have a gen set on board. So the only real purpose for our solar use would be to keep the battery fully charged when it sits in storage for a few weeks at a time. I looked up the Zamp systems and the least expensive system is around $500 on Amazon. I'm not sure that makes much sense for our use. If the battery does go down while in storage, all I need to do is plug the camper into our truck and it will charge the battery. I had no idea just how expensive this add on was until I read this post. Thanks.
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:58 AM   #6
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Has anyone used the roll out panels that have an adhesive backing? My concern would be that It would come off during transport. I guess you would still need some type of controller to keep from over charging your batter. As said above this could be done for a fraction of the price I would think. Thanks again.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRUCEANDCYNDI View Post
So the only real purpose for our solar use would be to keep the battery fully charged when it sits in storage for a few weeks at a time.
If that's all you need, you might look at something like the battery tender solar maintainer. You can go 5, 10, or 15 watt depending on the size of your battery bank. It'll run $60 - $100.
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:26 AM   #8
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I bought and installed a renogy 100 amp system from amazon for 189.00 for the complete package (panel, brackets,cables,controller) wiring and fuse from controller to batt not included. Love it. It keeps my battery's topped off while sitting. Notice I said battery's. 2 group 34 wired parallel. I have a residential fridge which doesn't run off gas. Once it's cold it will use 4 to 6 amps running. With spikes as high as 18 amps on start up. I have a 3000 watt pure sine wave invertor and with this system on a mostly sunny day will maintain battery's at 90℅. It is roof mounted so it is not getting it's full potential. But I'm usually not at campsite anyway so without one that automatically follows sun it doesn't matter. I have about 600 bucks and 16 hr install time in this whole system but was my only option for boon docking. But I can run everything in my camp except microwave and A/C with a 3 dpdt switch's and my invertor. Including 120 volt led tvs and wall switch's. I found all the info on this site and took a little of this and a little of that and with my skills came up with a redundant system that was fail proof as nothing can backfeed to any other system. I use generator for micro and A/C as needed and it charges battery's will still using invertor. Not bragging just letting everyone know what the potential of solar power is. I will probably add another 100 watt panel later on which will just require mounting and running in series with 1st one as the renogy controller can handle 300 watts of panels out of the box. Sorry for the long post.
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