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Zamp solar alternative

richy2
Explorer
Explorer
I have a small motorhome equipped with 2 agm group 27 batteries, Zamp external port and 1000 watt inverter. looking for alternatives to Zamp suitcase type solar panels. I have minimal power needs, two or three hours of tv and some led lighting. I do not want to void warranty, so compatibility is important. Thanks for suggestions.
Based on the questions, I'll try to be more clear. I want something portable as in suitcase type not roof mount. The port is sae. Compatibility means working with equipment I have mentioned. Will need controller.
Based on some of the responses, I guess I'm still not clear. All that I need is a portable solar panel to work with a motorhome that is Zamp solar ready, meaning it has a SAE port mounted on side of motorhome. What manufacturers other than Zamp can provide what I'm looking for, hopefully at less cost.
23 REPLIES 23

red31
Explorer
Explorer
very little! the current sidewall port is inspected for where it may connect, some go directly to the batt and others to the power center.

That is simply disconnected and wired to the controller input and the controller is wired to the battery. Now the panel(s) plug into the sidewall port via whatever adapter is needed, there is no threat of a short since one can short a panel just to measure it Isc (shorted).

Almot
Explorer III
Explorer III
My preference would be mounting controller permanently inside the trailer, rather than attached under the panel like in Renogy suitcase.

But this involves some DIY.

red31
Explorer
Explorer
the renogy mc4 to sae has already been linked in this thread, no rewiring involved. simply substitute for a zamp. Others have been suggest and crocs are not involved when ya permanently mount a controller and then plug panels into a sidewall plug, no need to make it difficult.

suggesting a battery pigtail should have the neg protected and the pos available to touch the metal frame is not so smart. Standard? doubtful!

Almot
Explorer III
Explorer III
If OP wants a turn-key solution, and there is no controller there yet, he needs a solar suitcase like Renogy. Might still have to re-wire the trailer 2-pin socket. Or skip the socket, clip the output controller crocs to battery.

If he wants DIY, better price and/or more watts, he needs to buy 12V panel(s) and separate controller and any connectors, depending on whether he uses the trailer 2-pole socket or clips crocs to battery.

red31
Explorer
Explorer
or it could be a 2 prong connector (not compatible with zamp's polarity)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LShSQeddlgk

maintainer may terminate in 2 prong with various adapters for charging
Includes three ways to connect: battery clamps, rings and 12-volt DC plug, put the rings on a motorcycle batt with the plug accessible, plug in and store.

Almot
Explorer III
Explorer III
Bobbo wrote:
When plugging in a portable solar panel, the SOLAR PANEL'S POSITIVE is wired to the covered connector.

This is the practice, yes.

Let's not forget that when you buy a "portable" kit, the connector on the panel doesn't matter because it only goes as far as the controller (that is included in the kit). This controller will have it's own connector on the output that you plug into trailer - could be crocodiles or no connector at all. If there is no pre-existing inline "zamp" controller in the OP rig, he will use the controller that comes with the kit.

110V battery chargers and tenders is an interesting question - but I think they mostly use crocodiles or come with bare wires. Still something to keep in mind.

mike-s
Explorer
Explorer
Bobbo wrote:
When wiring this type of connector, you always wire the positive wire to the connector that is covered, and the ground to the connector that is exposed.
Doing so would only result in a connection which wouldn't do anything useful/good, as any connection would have crossed polarity.

Bobbo wrote:
When plugging in a portable solar panel, the SOLAR PANEL'S POSITIVE is wired to the covered connector. This follows the standard.
Which only means the trailer side connector has its exposed contact connected straight to the battery +.

Tell us about "the standard" you refer to, and where it can be found.

red31
Explorer
Explorer


vs

Bobbo
Explorer II
Explorer II
With all of this talk about "switched polarities," I thought I would throw in my $0.02.

When wiring this type of connector, you always wire the positive wire to the connector that is covered, and the ground to the connector that is exposed. When plugging in a portable solar panel, the SOLAR PANEL'S POSITIVE is wired to the covered connector. This follows the standard. Of course, from the battery's perspective, the wiring is reversed, but this is not a "battery" cable, it is a "solar" cable, so it is wired correctly.

That being said, I use that connector to power some small 12v stuff using a 20' long cable I made. I reversed the polarity on that cable so the 12v devices will see a "battery" connection.

But, in summation, the wiring is not reversed. It is solar wiring.
Bobbo and Lin
2017 F-150 XLT 4x4 SuperCab w/Max Tow Package 3.5l EcoBoost V6
2017 Airstream Flying Cloud 23FB

red31
Explorer
Explorer
rbp111 , which pin do ya protect, the + or -, if ya protect the + from the battery and the + from solar ya get reversed polarity and things like battery tenders won't work without an adapter. If ya want to use some kind of connector ya need to make sure polarity is correct across the connector, easy enough to do.

rewire the zamp connector, rewire the panel, use adapters, replace the zamp and wire a different connector, there are options that are cheaper than a pricey zamp suitcase. Then add a new sticker that says Not for use with Zamp!

rbp111
Explorer
Explorer
Red,
I don't know. I saw the topic addressed on a you tube session and then I asked a salesman about it and he did not know that Zamp had switched polarities. I have seen some trailers come equipped with the Zamp connections. So I asked the question on the forum.

Almot
Explorer III
Explorer III
rbp111 wrote:
I you connect a "regular" solar panel to a Zamp wire connector which has reverse polarity, what happens? Does the unit not work, or does it do any harm?

This is why people invented a multimeter. I don't want to find through experiment whether my controller will 100% protect itself from a user's (my) error, as supposed to, according to the manual. Always check the polarity and continuity before connecting new items, period.

Needless to remind that the controller should be connected to battery first, and then - to solar.

red31
Explorer
Explorer
rbp111 , does the inline controller have any reverse hook up protection?

rbp111
Explorer
Explorer
I you connect a "regular" solar panel to a Zamp wire connector which has reverse polarity, what happens? Does the unit not work, or does it do any harm?