Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-28-2021, 11:35 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler View Post
I've heard good things about Renogy within the overloading community...

Too true.😆
Those be the folks who habitually exceed the GWVR?

Sorry. Couldn't resist.
__________________

Jack K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 11:32 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
YoTerryh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Portland
Posts: 190
Zamp panel warranty

Quote:
Originally Posted by JabberBox View Post
What did Zamp conclude was causing the panel itself to blow fuses?
I have been looking at the Zamp OBSIDIAN® SERIES 90 Watt Long Solar Panels to replace my existing renogy 100 watt panels due to their narrower foot print.

I havent had any shorting or fuse blowing issues with the renogy stuff, theyre just to wide for my rig but i dont want to spend a premium on 90 watt Zamp panels if they short out and cause issues. Any idea what was wrong with the panel?
Keep in mind I had zero issues with my Zamp panel for the past 7 years, until this issue cropped up last month. Zamp told me: "It appears your older 120-W kit has both compromised solar cells and a defective solar controller."

I wasn't really sure how they were able to make this determination from thee photos I sent, but I'm not arguing!
__________________

__________________
YoTerryH
2001 Ford Econoline E250
GTRV camper conversion
YoTerryh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2021, 01:00 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Scalf77's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 2,258
OK, to clear here I am not trying to knock either of these companies, I actually own both Renogy panels and a Zamp panel for my new transit build. I came to that decision, based on size or lay out of the panel, I have two 100 amp Renogy panels and one 90 Watt Zamp, the Zamp is a long and narrow panel. Both panels operating voltage is around 18 to 18.5 volts. In my mind it was a compromise, because footprint was the driving factor.



I believe Renogy to be a middle of the road supplier, their products are good but they don't really drive tech features. I also like the fact that Zamp is made in the USA (Oregon even better), but again I struggle to find the technological reason to say they are better than some others. Zamp does lead in their frame technology and new Obsidian series is a industry leader in that area. Does it justify the cost, I am not sure. More improvements went to the frames than the actual panels. That said if when I was looking for panels last year and they had the full Obsidian line out, they might be on top of my van now. My other dig on Zamp, is I always have to email them for specs, not sure why they aren't more easily available.

I think both of these companies have a strong presence, a loyal customer base, and both appear to support their products. So they must be doing something correct.

The first question is do I want a aux panel that has a controller, or do I want to use an existing controller that I already have. Most of controllers that come with aux setups are low end in my experience. The other reason I am generally against them is that we generally have a pretty go wire run between the panel and the van. You can suffer the voltage drop in the panel voltage or suffer the voltage drop in the controller voltage. I would generally pick the drop in the panel voltage.

Of course if you already have panels on top, or plan to put panels on top then you may be limited on your aux panel choice based on the specifications of the existing panel. In most cases we will be connecting these panels in parallel, so we really want to match the operating voltage as close as possible. Let say you have a 60 cell 36 volt panel on the top of the rig. Does that mean you need a 36 volt auxiliary panel to match it? The answer is yes and no, Your aux panels can be around 18 volts, but you will need two, that you can hook in series that then parallel to your existing setup. You just need to make sure that is doable with the aux panel you purchased. If I have 18 volt panels on top of the rig I will be looking for something in 19 to 20 volt range, as I expect some drop from wire run.

So if I am looking for a solar controller, at this time I would probably go with a Victron unit, they have a wide variety of voltage/current choices. I also believe that Morningstar make good solar controllers, and even midnight solar. These guys are in the business of making solar controllers.

Now when choosing the panels it really depends on if you want a full flexible set up, or a framed suitcase unit. The framed are easier to deploy the flexible units can be a little tricky to angle and setup, especially if your chasing sunlight during the day. The new Zamp Obsidian portables are kind of neat, you really have to get by their cost, if you were running Zamp Obsidian on top of the van, they might be a no brainer. Renogy doesn't make a decent size in a flexible unit, but they have plenty of framed units to choose from. Generally they sell with a controller, and without.

If you happen to have Sunpower solar cells on top of your rig, then you pretty much need to look at something similar for your portable units. A foldable unit like the ACOPOWER LTK 120W Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase.
Another choice may come from Lensun, they make both a line a full flexible units, or even ones with smaller frames. For that matter maybe blanket unit might be what you want.



Both the Acopower and Lensun use ETFE versus PET, these panels are really strong I have more worries about wires breaking than the panels.

And if you pinching pennies, you might just find a deal on ebay for some flexible units that you wire together. I use this these for testing installs and as a back up.



If at all possible try to install an Aux connector on the outside of the rig. Here was where I put it on my previous rig.


Or on the new rig I put one on each side.



I am kind of partial to using these 45 amp capacity Anderson pole units


Of course you can also use a SAE connector like

-greg
Scalf77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2021, 01:22 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Twoxentrix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Maryland
Posts: 2,912
Garage
Cant get anymore explicit than that - Complimented by the pictures, should make it easy for any future inquirers to go to task using Scalf77 post above. Well done!
__________________
TwoXentrix
"AWOL"
Twoxentrix is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2021, 04:24 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
BrianW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 4,041
For portable units, is there any issues with deploying them inside the windshield? Like overheating, significant power drop, etc.? I’d like one for external campsite use, but also to use as maintenance when my van is parked in my driveway, where the windshield directly faces the sun much of the day.
BrianW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2021, 12:55 AM   #16
REF
Senior Member
 
REF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Boulder, CO.
Posts: 2,434
Send a message via MSN to REF
I use a Renogy 100W suitcase without a controller to supplement my roof solar, I wired up one of these Zamp ports to the vans Victron controller and mounted it through the rear quarter of the van. I also ordered up a length of 10 gauge wire and added an SAE plug to one end and spliced the other end into the suitcase panel wires with an inline fuse. There’s also SAE to SAE lengths you can get, just cut off the unnecessary end to wire into your panel. Just make sure of your continuity when splicing things together.

Zamp Solar Roof or Sidewall Solar Port, 10 Gauge Wire, Weather Resistant, 12-inch lead, Great for Portables or Roof Mounted Panels https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T36YVI4...505T72DZRHWTRV
__________________
'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
REF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2021, 03:59 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 158
Garage
I have two Zamp 115W panels on the roof of our Transit. The controller is a Blue Sky SB 3000i Solar controller. I had a prior Zamp suitcase 120W panel that was used with our teardrop trailer. When we added a portable Zamp port it was wired into the MPPT and not directly to the house batteries. The issue became how to bypass the built in Zamp controller that comes with the suitcase. After communicating with Zamp tech support, we removed the old built-in controller and rewired the panels directly to the Zamp male plug. Here’s the sequence:
1. Divided +/- wires to Zamp controller
2. Connected +/- wires from each panel, respectively, to the male Zamp plug cord +\- wires.
3. View of all cords prior to placing panels back in the suitcase
Also, I did these connections in my garage with the photoelectric cells of the panels covered so no electric charge via the cells could be transmitted.
Attached Thumbnails
DE92F71D-6E62-47C1-9172-3D624EEFCD6F.jpg   A8F97F0B-60B2-4949-B3B7-D8DDBFB99D7F.jpg   97CA571A-B432-4596-A919-51D1E70067F6.jpg   44A3DDF7-D397-45D2-8756-FF6D9121E5C8.jpg  
__________________
Scott

2019 Transit 350 HR Eco Quigley 4X4
“Vandemic”
Charliesmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2021, 04:17 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Twoxentrix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Maryland
Posts: 2,912
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctb View Post
...only drawback is going to figure out how to make/set up bracket for angling of some sort...
All kinds of options out there - personally I've never had an issue keeping the panels from moving, even in wind (I use a couple tent stakes and some paracord). But, in the event you want something that may offer a little more stability I can offer a couple suggestions just to get you thinking (initially I thought I would need this as well so I searched a couple options, ultimately found nothing was needed...but these links were on my "list" of possibilities). Being a little creative, You can make a DIY support frame using some of these ideas:
https://www.amazon.com/F-T-Gardening...223008&sr=8-82

https://www.amazon.com/YARNOW-Greenh...23346&sr=8-242

https://www.amazon.com/M80-TX-Pack-A...8FZV628B&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Fis...&sr=8-267&th=1

https://www.amazon.com/Toasis-Fishin...75H62B3L&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Adjustable-So...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
__________________
TwoXentrix
"AWOL"
Twoxentrix is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2021, 06:07 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Scalf77's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 2,258
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charliesmom View Post
I have two Zamp 115W panels on the roof of our Transit. The controller is a Blue Sky SB 3000i Solar controller. I had a prior Zamp suitcase 120W panel that was used with our teardrop trailer. When we added a portable Zamp port it was wired into the MPPT and not directly to the house batteries. The issue became how to bypass the built in Zamp controller that comes with the suitcase. After communicating with Zamp tech support, we removed the old built-in controller and rewired the panels directly to the Zamp male plug. Here’s the sequence:
1. Divided +/- wires to Zamp controller
2. Connected +/- wires from each panel, respectively, to the male Zamp plug cord +\- wires.
3. View of all cords prior to placing panels back in the suitcase
Also, I did these connections in my garage with the photoelectric cells of the panels covered so no electric charge via the cells could be transmitted.
Nicely done, you could also look at putting on connectors so that you could actually use the old controller if needed . I have seen some some portable units that actually come that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
For portable units, is there any issues with deploying them inside the windshield? Like overheating, significant power drop, etc.? I’d like one for external campsite use, but also to use as maintenance when my van is parked in my driveway, where the windshield directly faces the sun much of the day.
Brian, good question. Panels get awfully hot in the sun, to be honest the shot of the two flexible units my windshield probably wouldn't have been left on there very long. It might not loose much power behind the windshield, but certainly would get hot (which actually causes it to loose power). Maybe I'll set something like that up this summer for testing. It wasn't uncommon for me to see 145 -150°F on the back of the panel on my old rig.

-greg
Scalf77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2021, 02:04 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 158
Garage
@SCALF77
Right, I used butt connectors with shrink wrap, but could have used male/female insulated connectors.
Easy reconnect as I saved the Zamp controller.
__________________

__________________
Scott

2019 Transit 350 HR Eco Quigley 4X4
“Vandemic”
Charliesmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:38 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×