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Old 05-02-2015, 01:10 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, 01:37 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, 03:05 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, 03:14 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, 03:30 PM   #5
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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.
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, 03:35 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, 03:47 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, 03:57 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, 04:04 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, 04:08 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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Old 05-02-2015, 04:14 PM   #11
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I don't really have any first hand experience with Zamp setups. I would start here.. find the model number and then shop around.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danstone12 View Post
Hi,
New to this forum, first camper and first solar panels (eventually).

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!
We also have an A frame trailer and do mostly non-hook-ups.
Add a new plug so both end match, that all you need.
We have 2 group 27 battery, and find that we easily get 2 day with using the propane heater set at 55 at night and off during the day on one battery. We have a 60 watt panel that we set up the second day if staying longer then 2 days and will charge the battery for another night run. it is rare we use the second battery.
The heated mattress is 120 Volts so we do not use it. The heat pump is also 120V. We get about a week on one tank of Propane ( depends on how cold it is and if we run the propane heater during the day).
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:25 PM   #13
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What do you mean by "add a new plug"?
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:33 PM   #14
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danstone, I know you would like to utilize the zamp route but as mentioned closer you are to battery the better. Simplest easiest best, as its portable , just connect directly to battery. IMO
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:36 PM   #15
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Ok, whats easiest and best when batteries are in the weatherproof boxes? Would like to just plug and play not have to access batteries every
time.

Thanks
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Old 05-02-2015, 05:08 PM   #16
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When I bought my panel it came with I think, anderson quick connector when not in use I just shoved up into box vent hole...provided you have that type of box. Although I invested in what I think is a much better panel. German Bosch cells built in controller
150 watt panel nice protective case. Bought it thru Overlandsolar.com pricey but worth the better quality verses Chineese stuff. JMO
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Old 05-02-2015, 07:41 PM   #17
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What do you mean by "add a new plug"?
I mean that either change the plug on the solar panel to match the trailer or change the plug on the trailer so plug match matches solar cell. or change both.
The cells do not put out enough current to get any great voltage drops in the wires, so it does not matter how close you wire to the battery. use what is there. I use 2 pin trailer lights plugs to connect to battery to cells.

http://www.amazon.com/GAUGE-PIN-QUIC...-pin+connector

I have found at wal mart and auto stores.
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Old 05-03-2015, 02:26 PM   #18
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Jumping in with additional questions. You all are terrific sources of information.

So...if I go with Donnie's 6 golf cart batteries, do I simply daisy chain them to the original 12v battery? Or do I need to wire in a switch for when we go off the grid and then switch to the solar bank?

Thanks,
Polly

Quote:
Originally Posted by donniedu View Post
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 05-03-2015, 07:05 PM   #19
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Newbie Solar Questions

Folks, I've been curious about these "Zamp" connectors for some time so I finally went out with a connector I already own and have plenty of - from Allelectronics.com - the same connector as my motorcycle battery Tender has on its lead. Yes! I plugged it into the Zamp connector socket on the RV and checked with a voltmeter and voila! The battery voltage is there. I would be unsure as to how much current one of these plugs would carry but we use them on bikes to carry heavy currents to charge batteries, to heat clothing, and for lights.
The are dirt cheap at all electronics and maybe even Radio Shack or a car parts store. Just remember when you are playing with it that it has the battery voltage on it so don't short it out or hurt yourself as the batteries, though 12 V, have lots of oomph behind them.
Hope that is useful.


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Old 05-03-2015, 07:08 PM   #20
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