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Old 09-20-2015, 12:03 AM   #1
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Solar question....

Just bought the 2016 2604ws, it is solar ready with the panel plugin on the front side of the trailer.
Can somebody tell me how I would find the wire to add in a controller?

Thanks!!
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Old 09-20-2015, 12:29 AM   #2
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The Z AMP wiring is light duty, and basically designed for a small "suitcase" style panel system that has the controller built into it. If you are going above 40 watts, you will be better off connecting your solar system with larger wires directly to your batteries.

Do some research on solar before spending any money. Remember that it only works in direct sunlight during the day. Very little output during periods of clouds, within 2 hours of dusk and dawn, and obviously zero at night.
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Old 09-20-2015, 12:39 AM   #3
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I already have had solar on my previous camper so I know how it works. What I want to do on this new trailer is put 240 watts on the roof. So are you saying I can't use the installed wire then? I will pretty much have to start all new?

I need solar because I only boondock, no campgrounds.

Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2015, 04:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by roaddiva View Post
Just bought the 2016 2604ws, it is solar ready with the panel plugin on the front side of the trailer.
Can somebody tell me how I would find the wire to add in a controller?

Thanks!!
I took a look at the ZAMP Solar website and it seems that those of us with the prewired port on the side of our trailers are limited to using the ZAMP portable systems only. Maybe the size of the wiring used in the trailer(???). I'd call ZAMP before going outside their recommendations.

They do show a portable system at 200W, but it certainly isn't as convenient as mounting the panels on the roof.

Bob
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Old 09-20-2015, 05:20 PM   #5
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200W at 12 VDC is 16.66 amps.

You'd need at least 12 gauge wiring (14 gauge for 15 amps, 12 gauge for 20 amps). See here: http://www.wecoconnectors.com/data_s...ifications.pdf

I haven't investigated my plug's wiring, but I highly doubt it's 14 gauge, let alone 12 gauge.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:25 AM   #6
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I checked out the solar place I have used before for my truck camper.....I can buy a 200W kit which includes 2 100W panels, 40' of wire and a controller.
So I will probably go that route once I can figure out how and where to run the wire and mount the controller. Any ideas?
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Old 09-26-2015, 02:41 PM   #7
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Hi Roaddiva,
We have one 24 volt 260 watt panel which is a little easier to mount. We had to use a cable patch to enter the roof because of our windjammer floor layout. Here is the link acouple pics from our mod

We have used the refrigerator chimney to bring the solar wires inside on previous trailers . Looks like that would work depending on how far away your converter is from Fridge. You may want to look at how we yanked the second stairs to make a spot for two 6V batteries. t made for a short cable run back to the inverter/converter area. The best mod was proline transfer switch which lets the inverter use the existing ac wiring to distribute power automatically to RV without extension cords. Good luck
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Old 10-24-2015, 10:31 AM   #8
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I just ordered the 200W solar kit, sent pictures of the Zamp plug/wires on the side of the trailer to the guys there and they think it will work fine. The wires from the plug just go to the battery so I will just add the controller between the plug and battery. I will extend the wire and actually install the controller in the bedroom which is directly above where the wires are. Should be an easy install :-)
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Old 10-24-2015, 07:17 PM   #9
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I just ordered the 200W solar kit, sent pictures of the Zamp plug/wires on the side of the trailer to the guys there and they think it will work fine. The wires from the plug just go to the battery so I will just add the controller between the plug and battery. I will extend the wire and actually install the controller in the bedroom which is directly above where the wires are. Should be an easy install :-)
Let us all know the gauge of the wires between the plug and the battery when you do this. Pics would be nice, too!
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:34 PM   #10
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UPDATE!!! Solar installed!!

I installed 200w of solar.....did not use the Zamp plugin...went with 12g wire. Ran wire direct from batteries to controller, panels to controller. See pix below.....Turned out great and works perfectly :-)







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Old 11-11-2015, 05:44 PM   #11
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Looks good. Thanks for the pics!
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Old 11-11-2015, 09:12 PM   #12
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roaddiva,
Looks great! I just saw in the other discussion you used extra strength double sided sticky tape. Looks like a clean and easy way to mount the solar panels.
Thanks,
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:43 PM   #13
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How did you attach the panels to the roof? Did I see something about double stick tape? Has anyone gone through a camping season with a tape type mounting? Do the panels bend with the roof? So many questions in my mind..... Had a factory mounted panel on our previous TT and liked it a lot. Considering panels for our new TT.


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Old 11-12-2015, 02:41 PM   #14
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Yes I used double sided extra strength tape....did the same on my Lance camper, panel has been up there for years, no problem!
My panels are almost laying flat, it seemed closer to the edge the better. I taped the edges that are flat on the roof, most of both ends and the side away from the edge. This way water will not go inside/under the panel.
The side that is not flat on roof has maybe a 1/4" gap. I may just stick some weather striping in there.
With the sun not even directly over the panel I am pulling 1.3A, panels are total 200W so is that like 14V?
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:26 PM   #15
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With the sun not even directly over the panel I am pulling 1.3A, panels are total 200W so is that like 14V?
You can't use the amps to figure the voltage using the watts UNLESS you know the panels are putting out 200 watts, which you don't. (W = I x V; you need to know 2 of these values in order to calcuate the 3rd. The problem is that the 200 W value assumes full sun dead on, AT BEST; you already know you don't have this).

So you need to measure the voltage AND the current to know what kind of power your panels are putting out. If you measure it and it's, say, 14V, then 14Vx 1.3A = 18.2 watts. So either your voltage is VERY HIGH(doubtful), or you're not really getting a lot out of your panel under the conditions you have.
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Old 11-20-2015, 04:12 PM   #16
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One more update!! My controller shows amps coming in from the panels so I added a little volt meter to the panel side. Picture shows 19.2v coming in. I am hooked up to shore power and my batteries are full. But love this little meter!!

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Old 11-20-2015, 06:00 PM   #17
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One more update!! My controller shows amps coming in from the panels so I added a little volt meter to the panel side. Picture shows 19.2v coming in. I am hooked up to shore power and my batteries are full. But love this little meter!!

So you're getting about 1.1 amps x 19.2 vdc = 21.12 watts, or about 1/10th of what the panels are supposedly rated for. With the voltmeter added, you can now really monitor what you're getting from the panels.

I don't understand why the manufacturers don't add the voltmeters, or better yet, a wattmeter. (On the other hand, I do understand: It's my opinion that there's a lot of hype related to these solar panels, and that they don't really put out what they're rated for, or at least not for long; the average bloke hooks them up and is happy just seeing amps, but if they knew the true wattage, and that it didn't match what they thought they were buying, they might not be so happy.)

I also wonder what putting 19 vdc on the batteries is doing to them.
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:04 PM   #18
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I don't totally agree.....I think you can get close to what they say if you are in direct sunlight and your panels are clean.
The reading in the picture is not in direct sunlight. So I think it's not too bad.
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:08 PM   #19
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Only time will tell.

Some folks won't really be critical of their investment, as they've spent a lot of $$$ and don't want to admit in public that it didn't work out as well as they'd expected.

So let us know how it goes!
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:12 PM   #20
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Mine didn't cost that much and this is not my first solar experience. My last camper had 120W and it did fine. Now I have 200w and I can see already I am getting a lot more "juice" then the 120w.
The true test will be a boondocking trip, then I can tell you more.
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