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Old 06-24-2019, 09:35 PM   #1
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Solar on the roof and solar suitcase

We have a 22í Sport with one solar panel on the roof and I am thinking about purchasing a solar suitcase. After listening to Colonial YouTube, they say that both will not work at the same time. Is this true?
I was hoping to purchase a 100 watt suitcase to increase my solar charging. And yes I know the other solution is to place another panel on top.
Thanks
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Old 06-25-2019, 12:39 AM   #2
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It will certainly work with if you rewire the portable panel to not use its built-in solar controller and instead wire it in parallel with the solar panel on your roof. Thatís because there is only one solar controller in the system.

It MAY work fine to use the portable panel out of the box and let the two controllers duke it out. It wonít hurt anything, itís just just that one controller might get fooled into thinking the battery is charged and go into float mode when it shouldnít.

The Zamp connector likely will be backwards from the correct polarity for your panel so Iíd suggest just clipping the portable onto the battery itself to see if you like how it performs before getting fancier by rewiring.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:01 AM   #3
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It will certainly work with if you rewire the portable panel to not use its built-in solar controller and instead wire it in parallel with the solar panel on your roof. That’s because there is only one solar controller in the system.

It MAY work fine to use the portable panel out of the box and let the two controllers duke it out. It won’t hurt anything, it’s just just that one controller might get fooled into thinking the battery is charged and go into float mode when it shouldn’t.

The Zamp connector likely will be backwards from the correct polarity for your panel so I’d suggest just clipping the portable onto the battery itself to see if you like how it performs before getting fancier by rewiring.
+2. I have 200W on the roof and a 160W Zamp suitcase. I simply made connectors to bypass the controller on the suitcase. (I wanted to leave it available in case I wanted to use the suitcase remotely for another purpose...like charging a boat, etc) The controller bypassed Zamp panels are fed via a 50' 6ga extension to the front of the AS where I mounted a positive and negative junction stud. To these studs the raw Zamp output and the raw rooftop panel output are connected. (all panels must have very near the same voltage output spec in order to get the most out of them) From these studs, single 6ga wires run to the Victron controller...and the rest is electrifying.

Colonial is correct that one should never have two controllers feeding the same battery bank, unless you want to forego a goodly portion of your total panel output.
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Old 06-25-2019, 07:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffCross View Post
We have a 22í Sport with one solar panel on the roof and I am thinking about purchasing a solar suitcase. After listening to Colonial YouTube, they say that both will not work at the same time. Is this true?
I was hoping to purchase a 100 watt suitcase to increase my solar charging. And yes I know the other solution is to place another panel on top.
Thanks
From FAQ's on the Zamp site....
3. Can I connect two charge controllers to the same battery bank (e.g. combine a roof mount system and a portable kit)?

Yes, two independent charge controllers can be connected directly to the battery as long as both controllers are set to the same battery type.

The charge controllers will not work properly if wired in series, one to the other.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
We charge two Zamp 180w thru the 7pin...each on it's own controller. We also charged a 120w & 180w thru the 7pin.
I don't believe there will be a concern if the portable is connected directly to the batteries.

I would give it a try...you could always mount the portable on the roof thru the existing wiring if needed.

Bob
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Old 06-25-2019, 07:38 AM   #5
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I have a portable connected through the 7 pin and rooftop, 300w, connected through my Victron. I have monitored the charging amps with and without the portable and I do not see any degradation of charging with my setup. Contrary to the folklore, the controllers do not fight each other.
Larry
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Old 06-25-2019, 07:45 AM   #6
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I have a portable connected through the 7 pin and rooftop, 300w, connected through my Victron. I have monitored the charging amps with and without the portable and I do not see any degradation of charging with my setup. Contrary to the folklore, the controllers do not fight each other.
Larry
Well, yes they do, according to the laws of physics. If you have identical controllers, theoretically, you are correct. If you have different controllers, with different outputs and different trigger levels for their stages, you will lose some total Ah for the day. Is it significant enough to worry about??? Maybe not, but I am kind of anal that way, and it isn't that hard to do it right (by my definition).

It's not folklore....maybe overblown, but not fiction.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Well, yes they do, according to the laws of physics. If you have identical controllers, theoretically, you are correct. If you have different controllers, with different outputs and different trigger levels for their stages, you will lose some total Ah for the day. Is it significant enough to worry about??? Maybe not, but I am kind of anal that way, and it isn't that hard to do it right (by my definition).

It's not folklore....maybe overblown, but not fiction.
Rich,

Some of us reality stars prefer our experience to physiks. 😂

"...if it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is"

Bob
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:50 AM   #8
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The easiest and most efficient

Let me pre-apologize, I was a banker in a former life, so electrical connections are not my background. And we have owned the camper 2 weeks, of which we have already camped in it 10 nights......

It sounds as if the easiest thing to do would be to plug the suitcase into the 7 pin connector. I am looking at the Renogy site and they have ones with controllers and ones without. If I understand correctly, purchasing the one without the controller is OK if I plug into the 7 pin as the trailers controller would manage the power to the batteries. I don't plan to use this suitcase for anything but the camper.

Of course, once I get the suitcase and a 7 pin, I am going to ask someone to help me with the connections.
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:03 AM   #9
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Let me pre-apologize, I was a banker in a former life, so electrical connections are not my background. And we have owned the camper 2 weeks, of which we have already camped in it 10 nights......

It sounds as if the easiest thing to do would be to plug the suitcase into the 7 pin connector. I am looking at the Renogy site and they have ones with controllers and ones without. If I understand correctly, purchasing the one without the controller is OK if I plug into the 7 pin as the trailers controller would manage the power to the batteries. I don't plan to use this suitcase for anything but the camper.

Of course, once I get the suitcase and a 7 pin, I am going to ask someone to help me with the connections.
Actually the reverse. Every solar panel or set of panels needs to be feed through a solar controller before voltage is at the right voltage for the batteries. If you are going through the 7pin then you’ll want your portable panels to have with a solar controller. The 7 pin doesn’t feed through the solar controller.

You’ll also, of course, need a 7pin adapter if you want to go that route. In the mean time you can just clip onto the batteries directly with the cables that come with your panel.
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:06 AM   #10
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^
X2

Jeff...no I'm sorry needed. 😁

The Zamp,(made in USA), will have it's own controller mounted to the back of the panel.👍

Bob
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:10 AM   #11
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^^ That does remind me that if you are willing to pay more you could buy a Zamp portable that’s designed to just plug into your trailer’s Zamp connector next to the battery. They are quality products, just more expensive than Renogy.
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:19 AM   #12
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Rich,

Some of us reality stars prefer our experience to physiks. ��

"...if it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is"

Bob
����
Well, I'm a fictional star, so there you go!

In reality, I wonder how much of reality is actually reality. (see what I did there?)

"If it ain't broke, keep fixing it till it is perfect" (like it should've been in the first place)
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:37 AM   #13
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More understanding

I don't want to get into the discussion of Zamp vs Renogy, but I do want to understand that a suitcase panel must have a controller.

Additionally, I can either use the 7 pin connector or connect directly to the batteries with alligator clips. But with a solar panel on top, using the Zamp connector by the battery would negate some if not all of the value of the solar panel on top while the suitcase is plugged in?

Thanks
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:45 AM   #14
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I don't want to get into the discussion of Zamp vs Renogy, but I do want to understand that a suitcase panel must have a controller.

Additionally, I can either use the 7 pin connector or connect directly to the batteries with alligator clips. But with a solar panel on top, using the Zamp connector by the battery would negate some if not all of the value of the solar panel on top while the suitcase is plugged in?

Thanks
To my point in above post, it can partially negate SOME of the total power output potential of the combined panel setups. How much, depends on a lot of variables.
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