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Old 07-04-2019, 04:03 PM   #11
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Solar Controller: $196
Victron Energy BlueSolar MPPT 100/30 Charge Controller
MPPT vs Zamp PWM, Bluetooth control from your smart phone.
- Remote mount it and cover up the old location or use that location for something else. Victron is a slick unit.

Renogy 100w Compact Design x 2 - $212
200w on two panels better shade tolerance than single Zamp plus 30w more. 17.6% more watts for 4.7% more surface area. If you want to expand to 300w, easier to add a 100w increment then a 170w increment.

Clips: Use Alum angle or
Renogy Clips package $20 x 2= $40

Solar Pass Through if you are wanting to upgrade: $30
Fits under the panel nicely, waterproof and easy to mount.

Wiring from roof panels:
Buy this cut it in half and you have 25ft each with male and female connectors plus you will need the two into one or three into one Mc4 combiners

Combiner: (I suggest three because you can easily add another panel if so desired;

Remote location Panel connection is so desired:
Locate down low (NOT the roof) so it has easy access to placing the suitcase panel away from the shade. Can be a surface mounted through the wall or a plug that comes out under the van or just inside the door. The other end goes to your solar controller.

Apples to apples is $450 vs $750 or more for the Zamp.
Saves $300+ for ??

Renogy sale ends today for the panels but they have them often.

Beastie 3: 2002 7.3 EB Cargo: Agile TTB, CCV Mid Top, Custom Walk Through, Lots of stuff added.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:59 PM   #12
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Solar panel replacement: Solara ---> Zamp

Agreed.....I just replaced (moved it to the Lance) my single Kyocera with 2 of those 100W units from Renogy-great panels at a good price and they’re a nice size to fit more than one of them up on the rooftop.

'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
(de)SMB'd Custom RB-50
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile Offroad's R.I.P. package
CCV High Profile Pop Top
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:26 PM   #13
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Thanks all, for the great input and suggestions. I've got a lot to chew on before I make my purchase. Much appreciated.
2004 EB50 SMB 4x4 V-10. Buckstop front and rear bumpers, Pro Comp 7069 wheels, Cooper ST Maxx rubbers, and a Line-x roof
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Old 07-09-2019, 10:14 AM   #14
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Location: Santa Fe, NM
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No experience with Renogy or any other panel but I want to add my $.02 about Zamp. We have a SMB-installed Kyocera on top and an external Zamp that is one of the first Zamps sold through SMB. (John Yozamp answered the phone in those days.) We upgraded the external and bought a second portable for our Chaser. Had some warranty issues early on. Had compatibility issues with the Chaser. Every time we've talked with Zamp they've been quick to help and made things work for us. Others may have had other results but I can't speak highly enough about the people and the service at the company.


The Doghouse: 2012 RB E350 6.8L V-10 4WD
Modified RB 30 w/Front Lockers. PH Top, Kyocera solar and Zamp portable unit
Sire: The Turtle Shell, 1991 Chevy K250 V8 with Lance Squire 11 3/4 cabover
Dam: VannieGone, 1987 VW Westphalia
(If we'd bought the winch, we'd make a fortune pulling cars out of the snow.)
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:02 AM   #15
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Also take a look at the Renogy mppt controller as well as their panels.....Lots of use of their panels and hardware in Mexico.....Otherwise, I don't see why you couldn't use the Victron recommended earlier 100v/15A version if the two panels are hooked in series (~6A short circuit)....about 1/2 the price.
Pac NW and warmer places
1995 E250 EB 5.8 2WD on to a new owner
2006 E350 EB Elect Top 2WD
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:49 PM   #16
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We had a 2005 E-350 with the exact same panels and controller. SMB West replaced one of our panels with a Zamp, and did not replace our controller. Based on that, I don't think you need to replace your controller, either.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:15 PM   #17
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Adding Solar

Can someone direct me to source or guide for adding solar to 2002 E-250 SMB Penthouse?
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:04 AM   #18
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I'll echo some comments above:

* the Victron MPPT controllers are great. They are solidly built, harness a lot of early / late power and the Bluetooth monitoring is much easier than trying to read some half hidden display screen. Very configurable too.

* definitely consider how to get the panels away from the van. Ours are roof mounted, so they're always charging when we're parked at a trailhead or just parked somewhere for one night and not too worried about how much juice we get. But when we stay somewhere multiple days the panels come off the roof and plug into an "extension cord" (make sure the cord is proper size for distance and voltage drop) and get the panel away from the van, especially if we parked in shade, and so you can properly angle / move around for mid day / early / late sun.

* if you're going with two panels consider wiring them in series not parallel to take greatest advantage of the MPPT's ability to convert voltages... but be aware series panels perform worse when one panel is shaded and other is in shade than if they're wired in parallel.

* I used 12 gauge "two wire trailer connector" plugs to make my plug from my series wired panels (2 x 50w Renogy) to the wiring through the Penthouse, then made my "extension cord" up with those plugs as well, to move panels off Penthouse pull four pins, disconnect one plug, connect extension cord and done

Just did 4 days / 3 nights, hot during day fridge running alot, cold at night furnace ran decent amount, never had to worry about power, our 100w setup kept our two semi-crappy ~75AH batteries nice and happy.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:23 AM   #19
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I've installed Renogy 100W panels on 2 vans and a tent trailer over the years. Currently have 2 panels on the roof of my E350 and 1 on my Vanagon. Used the Renogy MPPT Controller on all of them with good success, although the controller I have is no longer listed on their website. The bluetooth connectivity on the Victron is desirable. so I could check the batteries whenever I wanted without going to the display. Although I will say, after years of using this setup, I don't think about my batteries much, so I don't check them that often.
Tim Potts

2012 Ford E350 EB
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:50 AM   #20
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I apologize if this is slightly off topic, but can anyone offer some advice on the best way to fill the old (unused) mounting holes to prevent leaks, and likewise, what fasteners and sealants are recommended for installing the brackets for the new panels.



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