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Old 11-29-2017, 11:22 PM   #1
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Zamp Port Installation

ETI just sent an email asking me how I want my customer provided Zamp port installed:

A. You have purchased a solar panel without a charge controller and the solar port will be connected to the regulator which comes with the 160W solar panel.
B. You have purchased a solar panel with a charge controller and want the solar port connected to the battery.

When ordered I anticipated option A, but now see that most portable panels come with a charge controller.

Suggestions?
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:36 PM   #2
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I ordered the Lensun Solar folding, light weight 100 watt panel and I was able to buy it without a charge controller. Oh and it will easily fit in the storage of the 5.0ta! I will be putting in a port and using the ETI installed controller which can handle the added input. https://www.amazon.com/Lensun-Ultral...lar+panel+100w
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Old 11-30-2017, 05:01 AM   #3
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If you do B the 2 controllers will not play well together, best way is to do like Coolcampingkid, option A.
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Old 11-30-2017, 05:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruocco View Post
ETI just sent an email asking me how I want my customer provided Zamp port installed:

A. You have purchased a solar panel without a charge controller and the solar port will be connected to the regulator which comes with the 160W solar panel.
B. You have purchased a solar panel with a charge controller and want the solar port connected to the battery.

When ordered I anticipated option A, but now see that most portable panels come with a charge controller.

Suggestions?
I was told last week as my wife and I work on our build sheet that ETI will only install the Zamp port and only prewire it.

I asked Tina what prewire meant and she said that the port will be wired to the battery area but NOT attacked to the batteries. My understanding was that the prewire was not going thought the a controller and or regulator. She said that people had been incorrectly attaching their portable solars panels (one person?) and that ETI does not want the liability.

We are ordering the ETI roof solar with an additional solar port ... now a Zamp port.

I am very confused at this point.

What is the best way to to go here?

Please any help?
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:36 AM   #5
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Folks going with a portable panel should be either comfortable with their own skills understanding and connecting the portable to ETI's controller, or be willing to hire someone to do so.

Obviously, all ETI is willing to do is install the port in the side of the trailer and leave the cables roughed in. It's up to you to either connect them to the batteries or the controller. Any screw ups are on you.

Cruocco's post above MAY well just mean ETI is asking where to leave the unconnected wires, near the batteries, or near the controller.
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:59 AM   #6
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I am not using a Zamp port, but this is what I did. My 80W GoPower portable came with a controller wired in. I rewired it using MC4 connectors so I could bypass this controller and tie into the one installed in my trailer for the fixed panels. I wired it in a way that I could easily reconnect the portable controller should I wish to use the panel away from the trailer, which I already have done once to help charge a friends battery.

Best of both worlds.

If I only had one choice, I would go with no charge controller on the panel, and just wire in to the onboard one.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:14 AM   #7
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Most solar panels that come with controller will have those controllers attached to the back of the panel. This is not the correct location for proper location, the controller should be within 3 feet of the battery. Secondly, the included solar controller is usually of low quality and is probably better replaced.

I would recommend purchasing a quality controller from the likes of Blue Sky, Trimetric and just a few others. If you are going with dual six volt batteries you should seek a controller that has adjustable charge rates in absorption mode that will reach 15.3 volts. The recommended level for Interstate six volt batteries.

A second consideration would be a controller that allows for an optional monitor. It is nice to be able to mount an easy to read monitor at eye level. An alternative would be to add a Trimetric Battery Monitor or the Victron model.

Finally, watch your wire gauges so you use the heaviest gauge wire and still fit into the controller. For example, my Blue Sky 30 will only accept 8 gauge at the controller.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
If you do B the 2 controllers will not play well together ....
How so? Wouldn't each controller just sense whether or not it needs to send a charge on down the line to the battery(ies)? If one panel/controller is keeping the battery(ies) charged up okay, then the other panel/controller would just stay at rest. But if the one panel/control is not keeping up with what's being drained from the battery(ies), then the other panel/controller would sense that and simply join in to bump up total charge going to the battery(ies). Is that too simplistic a view? What am I missing? Also, those who use a 7-pin pigtail adaptor (Go Power?) for attaching their remote panel/controller directly to their battery(ies) seem to be having success even though the controller is with the panel and at a considerable distance away from their battery(ies). I'm sure the efficiency of charge varies because of the distance, but if it meets their needs, so be it. I don't use a remote panel (yet, anyway), so I'm also just trying to learn what I can and make sense of it all.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:54 AM   #9
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The simplest method for a portable panel is to clip it directly to the battery terminals and leave the portable panels on board controller in place. Works fine this way and no mods required. The problem arises from the two trailer models that don’t have external batteries. Then you would need to add the external port and have to choose whether you want the port directly wired to the battery terminals leaving the controller on the panel in place, or wiring the port to the fixed controller and going with no controller on the panel. If I were needing to add a port I would probably wire it to the fixed controller for enhanced monitoring.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I am not using a Zamp port, but this is what I did. My 80W GoPower portable came with a controller wired in. I rewired it using MC4 connectors so I could bypass this controller and tie into the one installed in my trailer for the fixed panels. I wired it in a way that I could easily reconnect the portable controller should I wish to use the panel away from the trailer, which I already have done once to help charge a friends battery.

Best of both worlds.


If I only had one choice, I would go with no charge controller on the panel, and just wire in to the onboard one.
This is pretty much what I did, except all the connectors are SAE (Zamp style) that came with the panel. When I lend the panel to someone without a built in controller or want to use it to charge the tow vehicle battery, all I do is plug the output of the panel into the input of the controller, then use the output cable to connect directly to the battery.

While multiple controllers sometimes "argue" with each other, the result is almost alway undercharging, not overcharging, so it won't do any damage. My reason for everything going through the trailer's built in controller is I have a Trimetric battery monitor & want all input & output current going through the shunt. Otherwise, it won't give you accurate info.

As to a specific situation where multiple controllers can cause a problem, when I had the original GoPower 20 amp controller & 95 watt roof top panel on my 17, along with a 160 watt portable, no name panel mounted controller wired directly to the batteries, during some conditions (usually partly cloudy), the GoPower controller put out enough voltage that the portable panel controller "thinks" the batteries were full, and even though the larger portable panel was directly aimed at the sun, there was very little output from either. When I disconnected the 95 watt roof top panel, the charging current to the batteries went UP.

For what ever reason, I never had this problem after switching to a Blue Skies PWM controller.
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