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Old 01-20-2021, 04:52 PM   #1
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Secondary solar panel configuration?

We will have the roof top 190w solar panel and Gopower controller for our E19 but trying to decide if we should get the zamp port for secondary portable solar panel or get a portable panel with its own controller and alligator clip to battery in front box. Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2021, 06:22 PM   #2
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You'll probably find that the 190 watt panel is enough to keep your battery topped up. If it isn't, it's probably because you're parked in shade and will need an portal panel.

If you want to keep your options open though, ask that Escape install the Zamp port and use it for the panel they install. (This should be the normal approach - they're saving a few dollars by skipping it.) The cost should be less than the normal solar-prep, since the same wires are being run either way.

This makes the roof solar expandable. Just use one of these to tee in another panel in parallel. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 01-23-2021, 05:39 AM   #3
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A Zamp port clarification question

If you have roof solar and the Zamp port, is the Zamp port panel connected in parallel to the roof panel to the charge controller? Thx
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:22 AM   #4
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I would get the zamp port. Then everything is going the one controller. Plus A portable panel would be cheaper with out A controller Attached . Either would work.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:36 AM   #5
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I just went with two panels on top. They sit at slightly different angles and so far they have easily kept the trailer charged up.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:51 AM   #6
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We added the zamp plug to our 17b delivered in November for $104usd and have not used it yet. The 190v panels have been doing a great job recharging each morning in full sun. Our power consumption I'd guess is pretty low, just lights, laptops and an occasional instapot.


Our thinking is to seek shade in the summer since we didn't get A/C and don't have a generator, but have the option of easy plug-able portable panels.



The 17b's Gopower unit is located under the passenger side dinette bench and the zamp port is also located on the rear, passenger side between the bumper and wheel well. We didn't think to specify a different location (or ask if we could) so I assume the default is somewhere close to the Gopower. We had an additional external USB/12V outlet installed at the same location.


DougO, not sure about the wiring. I understood it was connected directly to the Gopower. The trailer is in offsite storage right now.
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougO View Post
If you have roof solar and the Zamp port, is the Zamp port panel connected in parallel to the roof panel to the charge controller? Thx
Yes. This means you can purchase a portable panel without a controller. If the portable panel already has a controller, you must bypass it to use the Escape installed ZAMP connector (assuming you have a built in panel & controller).

Also, be sure to check the polarity of the ZAMP connector & your portable panel. Different manufacturers have different ideas of which pin should be hot...
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:41 AM   #8
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We will have the roof top 190w solar panel and Gopower controller for our E19 but trying to decide if we should get the zamp port for secondary portable solar panel or get a portable panel with its own controller and alligator clip to battery in front box. Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks!
The answer depends on how you plan to use your trailer and style of camping. How much power are you going to use for coffee makers, tv, electronics, etc is going to be a big variable.

Do you plan to dry camp a lot? Then more solar helps.

Only stay at places with hookups? More solar doesn't help.

Adding the Zamp port is a relatively inexpensive option to give you more solar capacity should you want to add it later. The controller installed in the escape has plenty of extra capacity to handle more panels. If you're handy, adding the port afterward isn't that hard either.

We had the roof solar and zamp port connected to the controller for our 21C. Dry camping is our preference and we stay in a site from 7-14 days depending on the spot. Occasionally we end up staying in a site with hookups. We're also working full time on the road, so our big power draw is two MacBook pros and iPhones. Based on comments on this forum, I think we're on the higher side of electricity consumption.

In August and September, the roof solar panel alone was enough to keep the batteries charged in open campsites. As winter settled in or if we were in a mildly shady spot, it wasn't enough. Our 100w portable panel helped saved us a lot BUT it has downsides. I move the portable throughout the day to follow the sun or avoid shade, make sure it was not too windy out for it and put it away every night.
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Old 01-25-2021, 12:01 AM   #9
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Thanks for the reply! We will get the zamp port as it is inexpensive and allows for easy expansion and then test out our power consumption\generation with the roof-top panel in spring in our shady provincial parks!!
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:16 PM   #10
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You could mount secondary solar on your truck like this. The panel folds flat or tilts in all four directions. 200 watts of power.
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:25 PM   #11
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You could mount secondary solar on your truck like this. The panel folds flat or tilts in all four directions. 200 watts of power.
Interesting, but obviously of no benefit when 'side-tripping' with the truck away from 'trailer base-camp'.

Nope, no thanks, more logistical constraints when travelling not needed. YMMV

At some point ya gotta ask: "Is the quality of life I think I want interfering with the quality of life I'll really enjoy, so what quality of life is really important?" Ya know what I mean?
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Old 01-26-2021, 03:41 AM   #12
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Interesting, but obviously of no benefit when 'side-tripping' with the truck away from 'trailer base-camp”
Nope but when the trailer is in the shade, the truck can be in the sun and nobody’s going to steal your portable panel.
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Old 01-26-2021, 07:41 AM   #13
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You could mount secondary solar on your truck like this. The panel folds flat or tilts in all four directions. 200 watts of power.

I like that set up.
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Old 01-26-2021, 03:13 PM   #14
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You could mount secondary solar on your truck like this. The panel folds flat or tilts in all four directions. 200 watts of power.
I've seen references to setups like this on other forums. They had batteries in the bed charged by the solar panel and used the 7 pin connector to hook the charged batteries up to the trailer. A switch was necessary to isolate the starter battery from the 7-pin circuit when needed.
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Old 01-26-2021, 04:17 PM   #15
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Interesting, but obviously of no benefit when 'side-tripping' with the truck away from 'trailer base-camp'. )
If I go “side-tripping’ with the truck there is no way I am just leaving my portable solar sitting around at camp for someone to take.

Also having it on the truck means it might be easier than putting it away in your trailer before you go.

You could make it so it is removed at home once your camping trip is done.

However I am not sure the average person would be able to secure it good enough to the truck from theft and still allow it to tip in all directions while on your side trips.
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:29 PM   #16
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I camped in Red Rock canyon campground (near Las Vegas) few weeks ago. My 320w roof panels in the desert sun every day all day, the problem this time of year is the angle of the sun, to keep the batteries in good shape I needed to deploy a portable 100w pointed at the sun, in my case the portable has its own charge controller but that’s not the point, it all comes back to your power consumption. I use the invertor for a toaster, a blender and a coffee maker, I also charge drone batteries and e-bike batteries and those are serious power hogs. Of course, phones and laptops also need charging. In the summer I had plenty of power from just roof panels, in early January not so much.
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Old 01-26-2021, 09:47 PM   #17
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If I go “side-tripping’ with the truck there is no way I am just leaving my portable solar sitting around at camp for someone to take.

Also having it on the truck means it might be easier than putting it away in your trailer before you go.

You could make it so it is removed at home once your camping trip is done.

However I am not sure the average person would be able to secure it good enough to the truck from theft and still allow it to tip in all directions while on your side trips.
Your right it was difficult to manufacture. I had to have an aluminum frame welded up and used heavy duty SS piano hinges and a lot of SS rivet nuts. I never leave it up when traveling. It is rather easy to tip up and easy to clean
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Old 01-26-2021, 11:02 PM   #18
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Here is a little mock up I did of how you can simply mount a panel yet have it hinge up in any one of 4 directions.

By using 2 loose pin hinges in each corner, the appropriate pins can be removed allowing the panel to tilt. Making some creative new pins just a bit smaller in diameter with handles would make the system easier to use.

Just pull all the pins to remove the panel for safe storage when not camping or to move into the sun if required.
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Old 01-27-2021, 02:41 AM   #19
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Good idea, if you put a loop on the pin that went to the corner you could put a lock through both loops
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Old 02-03-2021, 12:54 PM   #20
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Get the plug!! Why pecker around with battery clamps, guaranteed to hook it up backward!
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