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Old 08-18-2014, 06:34 PM   #127
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Look at solar
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:02 PM   #128
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Actually, I have been, this past week. Have always read the threads completely. But, in the midwest here we camp in pretty deep woods 90% of the time. So rooftop systems are not a good option. I did pull the trigger on Sunday, for a 160 watt Zamp portable unit. I also ordered up some marine stranded duplex 6ga wire and some connectors for a 50' extension. That should allow for enough sun in the wooded areas. I know I'll still need Gennies sometimes. Solar is not the end all be all for those of us with trees and in the northland.


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Old 08-18-2014, 08:48 PM   #129
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Actually, I have been, this past week. Have always read the threads completely. But, in the midwest here we camp in pretty deep woods 90% of the time. So rooftop systems are not a good option. I did pull the trigger on Sunday, for a 160 watt Zamp portable unit. I also ordered up some marine stranded duplex 6ga wire and some connectors for a 50' extension. That should allow for enough sun in the wooded areas. I know I'll still need Gennies sometimes. Solar is not the end all be all for those of us with trees and in the northland.


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Are you still using the stock batteries? I'm interested in how this works for you. Do you plan to put the controller at the battery box?
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:00 PM   #130
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I'm using group 29 Interstates. Unit came with group 27s....so sorta stock, just a bit more capacity. On the recent trip, I used a bit less than 30Ah/day, but that was with no Fantastic Fans nor furnace.

I haven't decided about moving the controller yet....nor have I decided if it is a really quality piece. It is an improvement over the Gen 1 - 4 models, but still not an MPPT, I need to study how it behaves with my TriMetric in both locations and make my decision after documenting some performance parameters. I'll start with the stock controller at the panels. I would like to keep portability to use it away from the AS if I wanted to.

The answer may be to mount a controller in the AS, and keep the stock unit at the panels. Then have some sort of switching device to run uncontrolled juice to the AS controller when camping. Then switch it to the stock one for remote use. That'll take some thought and another thread. Perhaps a winter project????.......


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Old 08-18-2014, 09:05 PM   #131
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I haven't seen too many quality components on many of the suitcase solar systems. I've been thinking about ordering mine piecemeal. At least that way, I will have the parts I want not what someone got a truckload deal on! Keep us posted on your project.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:20 PM   #132
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I half heartedly started piecemealing a system together and it was going to get more expensive to get the same quality stuff and put it together.

The only part of the Zamps that I question are the controller (I emailed and got some more technical info. On paper it appears to be a pretty quality PWM piece, but it's no MPPT), and the wire lead gauge. The 160Watt comes with 12 ga wiring!!!! That's a 5% loss right out of the chute for the 16' lead. By replacing with a 50', 6ga lead, I can get it down to 3% and reach more sun in the woods. I wanted to use 4ga, but I couldn't find any stranded duplex marine 4ga...and cost went up dramatically for two 4 ga wires.
Here's the controller link. See the additional link on that link, at the bottom for the manual. See page 6 for charge modes. As I said, on paper it looks pretty good. Mind you, I'm only dealing with 8.94 amps max here:

| Zamp Solar
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:35 PM   #133
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In the PDF under Wiring Connections, they recommend 16 or 18 AWG! Surely they mean 6 or 8??? That controller looks to be pretty good. It has external battery temp connections and the charge voltages all look to be in the right ranges.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:44 PM   #134
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I think they are talking about an internal mount at less than 1 meter from battery. Still too small, IMO.

Yeah, it is much better than the Gen 4 system. We'll see, I studied long and hard, and stewed for a few days. Finally couldn't take it anymore. I'm just not going to know until I try it. They improved the leg system too.

Panels are Bosch monocrystalline and appear pretty efficient for their dimension.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:48 PM   #135
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Sounds like me. Research, look, compare until nearly crazy and then order one and hope for the best. Bosch is supposed to be the best. Glad to hear they aren't using cheap Chinese ones.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:44 PM   #136
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Just a quick update as we returned from our first 10 day trip w/o hookups...and all went well. Ran our 2000 watt generator during designated times when needed. Guess our two shake down weekends taught us how to best plan our energy use & water conservation. Thus, no stealth mode special ops were required. Fortunately, there was adequate dry fallen hard wood for a few chilly days & nights for some great campfires.
All our AS 20'FB systems worked as expected, including a few hours of furnace on chilly night when it dipped down below 40.


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Old 02-10-2016, 09:38 PM   #137
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Is common sense were to prevail there would be a decibel rule....
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