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Old 02-12-2019, 11:39 AM   #1
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Solar Question re Zamp Port

Hi All,

Sorry if this has been covered previously but tried searching and cannot find any relevant threads. I am being asked by ETI whether I want the port wired via the controller or not. Can you help me decide please.

My understanding is that the ETI solar panel will use 9amps of the controller's 30A capacity so I am assuming that if we decide we want to add another say 100w then I just go buy a suitable panel. and plug it in. This seems on the face of it to be the easiest option. However, is there more benefit to be gained by having the Zamp wired to the batteries direct and using a remote panel with it's own controller??

Thanks
John
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:49 PM   #2
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Either way works, John, but it’s simpler to just have it all wired through the onboard controller. Done this way you don’t also need to purchase a second controller if you direct wire to the batteries.
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Old 02-12-2019, 05:43 PM   #3
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Copied from my build sheet:

"INSTALL - Customer Supplied Zamp Solar Port ($100/each) Passenger side rear of trailer by Marker Light ALL SOLAR PANELS REQUIRE A REGULATOR PRIOR TO HOOK-UP"


Note that the $100 is the installation cost and not the cost of the Zamp Solar Port.

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As just suggested above, ETI wired it directly to the solar controller that came with the factory installed panel.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:27 PM   #4
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I had ETI install a Zamp port. They did a great job! My only regret is that I ended up with a Zamp port that has 12 ga wire. My portable panel runs a 10 ga extension to the port. Is there a Zamp port with 10 ga wire?
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:29 PM   #5
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I had ETI install a Zamp port. They did a great job! My only regret is that I ended up with a Zamp port that has 12 ga wire. My portable panel runs a 10 ga extension to the port. Is there a Zamp port with 10 ga wire?


My understanding is that Zamp stopped making the ports with 12 ga some time ago and now only make them with 10 ga. Should be easy to swap out.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:56 PM   #6
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Either way works, John, but it’s simpler to just have it all wired through the onboard controller. Done this way you don’t also need to purchase a second controller if you direct wire to the batteries.

Since you don't already have an extra solar panel, I agree with Scott's advice to wire it to the factory controller then get a plain solar panel.

In my case, I already own a 90W suitcase solar panel with its own controller but in. Therefore I requested ETI wire my ZAMP port directly to the battery.

Bottom line: one should not wire two controllers inline on the same circuit.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:14 PM   #7
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"Bottom line: one should not wire two controllers inline on the same circuit."

Just curious, but why is that.

I have a Renogy Suitcase and ETI wired my Zamp port to the in-house solar controller that was part of the basic solar package. Will I damage something if I simply plug the Renogy with its controller into the Zamp port with its controller?
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:42 PM   #8
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"Bottom line: one should not wire two controllers inline on the same circuit."

Just curious, but why is that.

I have a Renogy Suitcase and ETI wired my Zamp port to the in-house solar controller that was part of the basic solar package. Will I damage something if I simply plug the Renogy with its controller into the Zamp port with its controller?
Quite possibly. You might even risk a fire.

The primary job of the controller is to regulate the voltage coming from the solar panels to the battery. Solar panel voltage output varies according to how much sun is on the panel. To preserve battery life and to make sure a battery is not overcharged risking fire or worse, most controllers also monitor the battery charge and adjusts the voltage accordingly. Full on charge when the batteries are depleted to trickle charge to maintain the batteries near full charge.

If you have two controllers inline, the upstream controller will conflict with the downstream controller because the downstream controller is expecting solar panel voltage not the output of the upstream controller. Conversely the upstream controller would think the downstream controller is the batteries. Neither controller would get the correct information to do its job.

Also there are 3 basic kind of controllers that work differently: Simple, PWM & MPPT. You would not want to mix types on the same system. Here is a link that explains the basics better than I can.

https://www.solar-electric.com/learn...er-basics.html

Note: I am not an expert but I do have some experience. There are others on the forum more knowledgeable than I. Tom, Scott, please way in if anything I have stated here is not correct.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:01 PM   #9
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Quite possibly. You might even risk a fire.

The primary job of the controller is to regulate the voltage coming from the solar panels to the battery. Solar panel voltage output varies according to how much sun is on the panel. To preserve battery life and to make sure a battery is not overcharged risking fire or worse, most controllers also monitor the battery charge and adjusts the voltage accordingly. Full on charge when the batteries are depleted to trickle charge to maintain the batteries near full charge.

If you have two controllers inline, the upstream controller will conflict with the downstream controller because the downstream controller is expecting solar panel voltage not the output of the upstream controller. Conversely the upstream controller would think the downstream controller is the batteries. Neither controller would get the correct information to do its job.

Also there are 3 basic kind of controllers that work differently: Simple, PWM & MPPT. You would not want to mix types on the same system. Here is a link that explains the basics better than I can.

https://www.solar-electric.com/learn...er-basics.html

Note: I am not an expert but I do have some experience. There are others on the forum more knowledgeable than I. Tom, Scott, please way in if anything I have stated here is not correct.

Thank you.

I’ll simply bypass the controller on the Renogy suitcase. An easy fix.

Ed
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:01 PM   #10
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Thank you.



I’ll simply bypass the controller on the Renogy suitcase. An easy fix.



Ed


Exactly. And if you should ever reconfigure your panel for other use, you have a controller there, ready to go. Although it is preferable to have the controller at the battery end of the connection, rather than the panel end.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:27 AM   #11
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Thanks once again to you all for your input. I will have wired via the ETI controller.

John
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:20 AM   #12
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Exactly. And if you should ever reconfigure your panel for other use, you have a controller there, ready to go. Although it is preferable to have the controller at the battery end of the connection, rather than the panel end.
One final question, please.
The Zamp port has reversed polarity I believe.

The Renogy panel does not.

How is this differences best dealt with when I connect the Renogy to the Zamp port?

Ed
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:23 AM   #13
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One final question, please.

The Zamp port has reversed polarity I believe.



The Renogy panel does not.



How is this differences best dealt with when I connect the Renogy to the Zamp port?



Ed

This is a simple, one-time fix. Before the first time connecting your external panel, disconnect the wires leading from the zamp port at the controller. Then plug the panel in. Now use a multimeter to see which wire is actually which polarity, then reconnect the wires appropriately. I would do this to make sure it’s wired right even if zamp was not known for doing their own, backwards, thing, just to be sure.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
This is a simple, one-time fix. Before the first time connecting your external panel, disconnect the wires leading from the zamp port at the controller. Then plug the panel in. Now use a multimeter to see which wire is actually which polarity, then reconnect the wires appropriately. I would do this to make sure it’s wired right even if zamp was not known for doing their own, backwards, thing, just to be sure.
Thank you once again.
That’s what I shall do.
Removed the Renogy controller. That was easy.
I have a multimeter.

Our 21 is supposed to be finished today and delivered to us on, or about, the 23rd.

Then I will get on the solar panel connection.

Ed*

* always in the learning mode.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by noblets View Post
I had ETI install a Zamp port. They did a great job! My only regret is that I ended up with a Zamp port that has 12 ga wire. My portable panel runs a 10 ga extension to the port. Is there a Zamp port with 10 ga wire?
If the length of 12 ga wire between your Zamp port and the destination (controller or battery) is only a few feet, then there is not much to be gained by swapping for a heavier wire. (The total voltage drop is proportional to the amperage flowing, the wire gauge and the length. Short length = small voltage loss. And the amps from a suitcase panel is around 4 to 8, which is also relatively small.)

You can easily verify the above with a miltimeter. On a sunny day with the suitcase panel plugged in, put one lead at the Zamp port and the second lead at the destination (other end of the same 12 ga wire). You will be hard pressed to measure any voltage - the loss, in this case.)

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Old 02-13-2019, 10:42 AM   #16
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If the length of 12 ga wire between your Zamp port and the destination (controller or battery) is only a few feet, then there is not much to be gained by swapping for a heavier wire. (The total voltage drop is proportional to the amperage flowing, the wire gauge and the length. Short length = small voltage loss. And the amps from a suitcase panel is around 4 to 8, which is also relatively small.)

You can easily verify the above with a miltimeter. On a sunny day with the suitcase panel plugged in, put one lead at the Zamp port and the second lead at the destination (other end of the same 12 ga wire). You will be hard pressed to measure any voltage - the loss, in this case.)

--
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2X. I doubt with a 100 watt panel you would be able to measure the difference between 2' of #10 vs #12, although I'll admit to being too lazy to do the math...
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:36 PM   #17
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My 19' is just starting to be built. I asked them to wire my Zamp directly to the battery but they informed me that they will not do that anymore. I already had a Renogy with it's own controller. So I will just clip that on to the battery when I use it I suppose.
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:55 PM   #18
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You can do that but I'd bypass the panels controller.
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Old 02-22-2019, 07:01 PM   #19
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The Renogy portable has a built in controller. Are you saying to bypass that? If so why and how?
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Old 02-22-2019, 07:23 PM   #20
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Yes I am getting the roof top panel. I have the Renogy portable with built in controller and Renogy cables. I also have a 10" adaptor with Mc4 connectors on one end and the Zamp connectors on the other to fit my Zamp port. I also have Renogy cables with alligator clips for the battery terminals.
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