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Old 10-04-2014, 01:04 PM   #1
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Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

I am new to solar and the controllers that go along with them but hopefully someone with a Zamp Zs30a controller can help.

I have the zs30a controller and last night it started flashing red charging status, usually at night it just shuts off and shows voltage and 1 led for battery condition, and just showed battery voltage that slowly went down due to the fridge running. Now today with full midday sun it is still flashing red but battery voltage is going up and the condition led went from middle to full.

According to the manual flashing red power inductor means solar panel weak, so at night I didn't think anything of it but daytime it has me worried.

I unhooked the battery and panels to try and "reset" the controller but same problems happens. I've checked the wires and nothing appears to be out of place but I did notice sportsmobile didn't put in the 40amp fuse inline that is recommended by Zamp.

I didn't find much while googling this issue or here on the forum. Any ideas?

Chris
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Old 10-04-2014, 02:16 PM   #2
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

Oh and 1 other thing. My relay usually gets hot when it's charging and I can hear it cycle but it's cold now which makes me think it's not charging.
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:19 AM   #3
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

I checked the panels and I have 21+ volts coming out of them
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:35 PM   #4
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

Chris, what is the voltage coming out of the controller?

You can rule out a separator issue in a few ways. Most likely it's a bi-directional Surepower.



>>>Check voltage on both sides of the separator to ground. One side will usually be different if it's open.

>>>Plug in the solar and see if the voltage jumps up on one of the lugs. That will tell you if the solar is working or not.

>>>Disconnect the solar and start the engine. Again, the voltage should jump up on one terminal. That way you'll know the separator is seeing a charge voltage.

In most cases the separator should close and when it does the voltage on both terminal sides should be the same. If it doesn't close there could be a problem with it. If you start the engine you can pull the separators ground wire off the ground strip and touch it on and off the strip or lug it's normally grounded to. This should cause the separator to operate and you'll hear it click open and closed. Sometimes they stick open or closed and a light rap on the solenoid might free it up. Also I've had dirty contacts cause a problem and the rapid open and closing might clear the problem.
But I'm having some issues with what you've posted. I don't understand why the house system is going dead in the first place. Hopefully your solar is able to keep up with the load. The solar is usually hooked to the house side of the separator so even if the separator is open the system should be getting charged. In any case, the engine should be pumping up the house battery. Perhaps you have more than one problem. If the solar is hooked to the starting side of the separator that would be a different story and an open separator would not allow any charge. Also if the separator is stuck open and your solar can't keep up with the load, then the battery would also slowly loose its state of charge even if itís hooked up to the house side. This can happen with a short or battery going bad. In a bad battery situation the separator usually closes when the engine is started and the alternator charging begins, but as soon as the motor is shut off the battery quickly dies and the separator quickly opens to protect the starting system. In the case of a completely dead house battery that will not take any charge it's possible the separator will never close.
Your main goal should be to get the house battery fully charged by running the engine and making sure the separator closes without the solar and go from there. Then make sure the solar is working. After a long charge the house battery may be warm but if itís hot the battery is probably going bad. As a side note you never mentioned the shore charger. You donít have that?

Post back what you find.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:21 PM   #5
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

Thanks for the in depth response! I will definitely give all that a try. I'm back on the road now and the house battery is charging from the alternator no problem as I'm back over 13 volts. The house battery is only about a month or two old so that shouldn't be a problem either. I haven't been in a spot to plug in shore power since this started happening. So once I get home day after tomorrow I'll go through that troubleshooting.

Thanks again and I'll let you know what I find.
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Old 10-10-2014, 03:15 PM   #6
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

So I finally went out for some troubleshooting with a volt meter. The voltage straight from the panels, in shade right now, was 17.5 volts. That was with the panel wires removed from the controller. Battery voltage was 12.6 on both sides of the relay with and without the solar panels plugged in. I start the truck and voltage on both sides of the relay jump to 13.4. The solar controller reads battery voltage as 13.4 with the truck running as well.

Best I can tell its the solar controller on the fritz. Its about a year and half old so I'm sure there is no warranty from Zamp. This is the one I have
http://www.zampsolar.com/index.php?m=66 ... 413&page=1


Does anyone have a suggestion for a replacement that is roughly the same form factor?
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Old 10-18-2014, 09:01 AM   #7
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

I finally got a hold of Zamp and they agreed that it sounds like the controller. I called on Fri afternoon and someone picked right up and helped me for about 10 mins between sales and tech support. They were very friendly on the phone.

I am sending it back and they are going to either repair or replace it. Its nice they were so easy to work with and didnt even ask for the receipt from when it was purchased. I did tell them it was just over a year old and that was good enough for them.

I'll post up when I do get the new one installed and if that fixes the issue. I suspect it will.
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Old 10-18-2014, 02:19 PM   #8
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

So Chris, what voltage did you get on the solar side of the separator with the engine off after you got the batteries fully charged with the controller connected in full sun? After a load was applied (like cranking the fridge to full) did the solar voltage out of the controller drop way off?
If it did I'd suspect the controller has issues.
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Old 10-18-2014, 03:21 PM   #9
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

With the battery topped off and a load pulling I still was only seeing low to mid 12s. I think it was really just reading battery votage and nothing was flowing out of the controller. Normally when the battery dropped and I was in full sun the output from the controller was 13+. It was just a weird controller flaking out I suppose. I mailed it off today so it wont get to Zamp until next monday then they will turn it around so it will be a couple weeks before I find out if the new one solves the problem.
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Old 12-07-2014, 01:08 PM   #10
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Re: Zamp zs30a controller flashing red

So this continues to be a problem. I sent the controller to Zamp and they tested it and said it was working just fine. I got it back re-installed and still same issue. I cut and respliced my connections from the panels to the controller thinking the butt connectors might have corroded or something. Still no luck. I bought a new controller, same model, and still no luck.

Today I got out there and pulled the sure power 1315-200 relay off and tapped on it to free it up. While I had it the wires off I directly connected the solar positive side output to both the van and house batteries separately but still they controller did not want to pass a charge even though it was sunny out and I had 20 volts coming out of the panels, as read by the controller. I put it all back together and of course nothing.

I have a small 12v battery that I discharged down to about 11.5 volts and hooked it with short jumpers directly into the solar controller and it started charging without issue.

I don't think the relay is cycling regularly or properly so I ordered a new one but I doubt it will fix this problem but its seems to need replacing regardless. I thought the relay was easy to pull apart to clean but it looks like you have to drill out 4 rivets to get the top off to pull it apart and I didn't want to do that.

What might I be missing? Bad ground? Bad connection to one of the terminal blocks somewhere? Anything else to try?
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