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Old 06-29-2017, 10:26 AM   #41
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Portable Solar

The new AS's come with a plug for the Zamp. I disconnected it and installed the quick disconnect for GoPower since we have had a GoPower 80W portable folding solar panel for last 4 years. I'm not sure about Zamp or Renogy, but if I were purchasing new, I would consider the Zamp to be compatible with the plug that AS is supplying standard. Seems the Zamp units cost a bit more, but I am not sure if there is any difference between GoPower or Zamp.
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Old 06-29-2017, 10:30 AM   #42
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I have been using Renogy products for 2 years now and they are excellent. Their customer service cannot be beat. I have 2 of their 50w panels and their Rover MPPT controller and couldn't be happier.
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Old 06-29-2017, 10:31 AM   #43
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Also, that plug is just a standard 2 flat to the battery. You don't have to use zamp products for it. Ya just have to be aware that it's 10 guage wirin with a 10 amp fuse. My renogy folding briefcase plugged right in and worked great with that factory plug til I upgraded my setup.
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Old 06-30-2017, 07:20 AM   #44
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I just started using a Renogy 100-watt suitcase set, but only have the pinch clamps to connect to the batteries. What does one need to install a hook-up to plug in the panels? Clearly there needs to be a fitting on the panel cable and also a fitting connected to the batteries.
I plan to visit Jackson Center for a tour on route west or east to or from the International Rally in Escabana, Michigan next month. Would it be best to have Airstream install the battery connection while I am there? (2007 Safari 20-foot.)
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Old 06-30-2017, 07:31 AM   #45
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How are the alligator (pinch) clamps connected to the controller? Are they hard wired to it or do the plug into it? You need a two flat plug from the panel. It looks like this:

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Renogy customer service in Ontario, Ca is excellent. If you tell them you are trying to plug your panel/controller into a 2-pole flat inlet on your trailer, they will certainly help. Otherwise, if ya take it to any 12v electrician and tell then you need a 2-pole flat cable from your panel controller to that inlet, they can make a cable for ya pretty quickly.

If ya get a two pole flat coming out of your panel controller, all ya need for 100 watts is one of these 8 dollar connectors from Walmart or Amazon to hook up to the battery. No need to have Jackson center do it:

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tende.../dp/B000NCOKZQ

If ya upgrade to more watts you will need to upgrade the cabling eventually.
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Old 06-30-2017, 07:47 AM   #46
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Also, in case anyone is wonderin, that 8 dollar part from Deltran/Battery Tender that can be found at Auto Zone, Napa, Walmart, etc... is exactly the same item as the factory 'zamp' inlet they install at Airstream. It's just battery terminal connectors on one side, a 2-pole flat on the other, connected by 10 guage wirin with a 7.5amp fuse that can be switched to 10amp by the user.

8 bucks.

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Old 06-30-2017, 08:24 AM   #47
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Bestconverter has a better price than Amazon and offers free shipping and no tax.
http://www.bestconverter.com/Zamp-Po...its_c_234.html

The advantage of Zamp over Renogy and GoPower is you can get a 200w portable suitcase. The others don't offer this size unless you add more panels.

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Old 06-30-2017, 08:41 AM   #48
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Great link, thank you, Kelvin.

I believe that zamp 200 case is over $800, unless I'm mistaken.

2 of the newest 100 watt renogy panels, which weigh 15lbs each, cost 200 each. A pair of hinges costs a buck. If ya don't have a controller yet, that's another $80. Maybe a few bucks in cables? So... $485 vs $800 or more is a lot of saved money.

I don't wanna sound like a renogy ad but zamp seems expensive.
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Old 06-30-2017, 09:29 AM   #49
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The panel I'm referring to is the eclipse. Currently $192 on Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01B3TEM1E/
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:51 PM   #50
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And actually, if you do a free pickup from Walmart, it's an extra 7.50 off, so you could get high quality 100w panels for about $185 each that's a pretty good deal.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Renogy-Ecl...anel/196132197
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:38 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravlinMan View Post
Great link, thank you, Kelvin.

I don't wanna sound like a renogy ad but zamp seems expensive.
Renogy is only 100w unless you add another 100w then you are dealing with multiple sets of panels. My brother in law has the Renogy 100w portable since he only has one battery on his trailer. The controller is not as user friendly as the Zamp controller.

You could always purchase a set of 100 panels, rivet on some hinges and a lock and make some folding legs and sew together a carry bag.

If I was only needing 100w I'd probably go with the Renogy.

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Old 06-30-2017, 02:51 PM   #52
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I used heavier gauge wire for my 100 watt Renogy suitcase. I used MC4 connectors to make a pigtail directly from the batteries.
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:53 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJRitchie View Post
You could always purchase a set of 100 panels, rivet on some hinges and a lock and make some folding legs and sew together a carry bag.
Yep that's pretty much what Im doin, except instead of hinging them together, im using quick connects and puttin them each on their own legs so I have flexibility. The quick connects look like this picture. And yep I also upgraded the wirin to 8 gauge.
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Old 06-30-2017, 03:07 PM   #54
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Another option

Looks remarkably similar to the Renogy:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XWL79L7...=2DU34OEGQSLTX

ZAmp seems overpriced...
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Old 06-30-2017, 03:13 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravlinMan View Post
The panel I'm referring to is the eclipse. Currently $192 on Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01B3TEM1E/
I bought 2 of those panels two weeks ago for $180 something dollars. The day after they were delivered the price dropped to $130.70! I tried to get a price adjustment with Amazon and they wouldn't do it, so I returned the first 2 panels and ordered 2 more. I had to pay for shipping back but still made out around $60 better.

Keep an eye on them, the price may drop...
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Old 06-30-2017, 05:30 PM   #56
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Thank you, Scott, I will look out. I try to use the ship to store with Walmart 1st and use Amazon as my second option cause if I order somethin to Walmart and change my plan, I can just cancel it but if I'm havin somethin shipped from Amazon I gotta know where I'm gonna be.
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Old 07-02-2017, 04:03 AM   #57
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This is the Renogy 100-Watt eclipse solar suitcase that I have. It is now $30 less than I paid last November.
https://www.renogy.com/renogy-100-wa...olar-suitcase/

As an additional thought, I am concerned that the charge controller attached to the back is not waterproof, considering that the panels are intended to sit outside in the weather. I don't know what to do about that.

I have no idea what to do with the temperature sensor and battery voltage sensor, both of which seem just to be cables.
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Old 07-02-2017, 06:28 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by MaineStreamer View Post
This is the Renogy 100-Watt eclipse solar suitcase that I have. It is now $30 less than I paid last November.
https://www.renogy.com/renogy-100-wa...olar-suitcase/

As an additional thought, I am concerned that the charge controller attached to the back is not waterproof, considering that the panels are intended to sit outside in the weather. I don't know what to do about that.

I have no idea what to do with the temperature sensor and battery voltage sensor, both of which seem just to be cables.
Well with most traditional setups the controller is usually inside. The way they have it set up on the portable is to prioritize portability but ya give up a little efficiency for portability.

The panels are water proof and the way the controller is hidden under the panel on the portable means the panel will act as an 'umbrella' in light rain and protect the controller a bit. But in heavy rain you should put it away. Ya ain't getting sun at that point anyways. I have had it out in a thunderstorm and it did not get damaged, but I'd still put it away if ya know that kinda weather is comin.

What I did with my portable was remove the controller and hardwire it inside to the battery (and upgraded it to MPPT but that's not necessary) and now instead of plugging in and unplugging the controller, I plug in and unplug the panel and the controller lives inside. It takes a little know-how but not a lot. With even less know-how, ya could put the controller in a weatherproof box, if ya can't or don't wanna run the controller inside.

The temp sensor is optional, ya connect the terminal ring to one of your battery's negative terminals (don't matter which) or it can just sit in the battery box next to the battery so the controller is reading the most accurate battery temp. If ya don't use the sensor, the controller will just use the ambient temp around it to determine the temperature. If the controller is outside it's not as important cause it's ambient temp will be close to the battery temp but if it is in a spot where the temp is different than the batteries, try to use it if ya can so the controller knows to adjust for heat or cold.

Battery voltage sensor is the same thing but accounts for voltage drop in the long wire from the controller to the battery. That device will tell the controller exactly the correct battery voltage if the controller is too far from the battery but, again, it's not required. Hardwiring the controller to the battery at a short distance will keep voltage reading pretty accurate.

Hope that's​ helpful to ya, I tend to ramble!
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:21 AM   #59
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Looking at the Renogy kits. Is there any advantage to the Wanderer vs PWM-LCD controller other than the obvious display on the LCD unit?

Or is there any real advantage to going to an MPPT controller, or is that just optimizing the last bit of efficiency?
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:46 AM   #60
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Well I ain't a scientist so I only know so much but my mppt controller has performed better than the pwm controller that originally came with the unit. I do believe it is about optimizing that last bit of efficiency but that's actually pretty important on cloudy days with less panels. I use the Renogy Rover 20 amp which can handle up to 260watts of solar panel. The 40 amp version can take 520w. But I plan on stickin with 200 for at least a year.

An LCD is very helpful to know what the controller is doin and without it you'll probably have to buy a remote display.
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