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Old 12-01-2018, 08:30 PM   #1
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Factory solar plus portable

Am I correct in assuming that if I'm camping in a shady area where my factory solar is not producing, I can plug a portable zamp unit in at the battery and it's controller will take over from the factory controller?
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Old 12-01-2018, 08:49 PM   #2
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Yep, that is the way they have it set up.
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Old 12-01-2018, 09:06 PM   #3
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Great, thanks for the affirmation. Now to decide how much portable to get.
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Old 12-01-2018, 09:09 PM   #4
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Around 200 watts should work out great.
https://www.zampsolar.com/180watt-portable
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Old 12-01-2018, 09:35 PM   #5
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Thanks, it's only 40 watts less than the factory system. The factory system, this portable system and my small generator should do all I need.
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Old 12-01-2018, 10:50 PM   #6
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I added three 100 watt panels with a renology MTTP controller. It will cost the same as your two-panel system as there is a 30% tax credit from the federal government if your state recognizes the trailer as a second home.

I also built a water proof enclosure with two small fans.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandreth View Post
Am I correct in assuming that if I'm camping in a shady area where my factory solar is not producing, I can plug a portable zamp unit in at the battery and it's controller will take over from the factory controller?
We have configured our rig for the concern you've expressed. That said, we found that the Zamp connector plug on the A Frame will not work in connection with the 200W factory roof mounted solar. Although it would make sense that roof mount and portable solar would work together when making use of the A Frame Zamp plug, this has been confirmed as being not possible without rewiring.The Jackson Center Service Center confirmed that a portable Zamp unit's controller will sense the roof top controller and they will both shut down.

In order to resolve this issue, the techs ran a connector for the portable unit through the refrigerator vent, up to the 3 plug solar connector on the roof. We then plug the portable unit into this new connector, but also disconnect the portable unit's controller. This is quite easy, i.e. by pulling a plug on the portable unit. In this manner, the roof-top controller (mounted in the front outside storage area in our 2017 International 27FB) takes over all 4 of our 80W panels.

In order to make movement of the portable 160W portable unit, I purchased an extender cable due to the fact that when disconnecting the portable unit's controller, you also bypass use of the standard cable.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:48 AM   #8
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Hmmm. Doesn't have to be that way.
We had our solar system done at AM Solar in Eugene, Oregon. 4x100 watt panels on the roof and a 160w Zamp portable. SunRunner controller. The panels can all work together or independently. If our roof is in the shade, our portable can be set up in sun and will charge the AGM batteries just fine. The primary limitation is tall trees, cloudy days, and seasonal low sun angles-all challenges in the Northwest.

Keep in mind portable panels are bulky and heavy....
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:59 AM   #9
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Hi

On a practical basis / most of the time - it's going to be one or the other that is supplying the power. If you have 300W on the roof and 300W portable, your net will not be 600W. You can get around this with networked solar converters. They are quite expensive ....

Bob
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:13 PM   #10
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We have configured our rig for the concern you've expressed. That said, we found that the Zamp connector plug on the A Frame will not work in connection with the 200W factory roof mounted solar. Although it would make sense that roof mount and portable solar would work together when making use of the A Frame Zamp plug, this has been confirmed as being not possible without rewiring.The Jackson Center Service Center confirmed that a portable Zamp unit's controller will sense the roof top controller and they will both shut down.

In order to resolve this issue, the techs ran a connector for the portable unit through the refrigerator vent, up to the 3 plug solar connector on the roof. We then plug the portable unit into this new connector, but also disconnect the portable unit's controller. This is quite easy, i.e. by pulling a plug on the portable unit. In this manner, the roof-top controller (mounted in the front outside storage area in our 2017 International 27FB) takes over all 4 of our 80W panels.

In order to make movement of the portable 160W portable unit, I purchased an extender cable due to the fact that when disconnecting the portable unit's controller, you also bypass use of the standard cable.
So if the roof top panels aren't getting any sun to charge the batteries and I plug in a prattle set that I can place in the sun then neither controller will work? If that's the case, is there a way to shut down the factory system to be able to use a portable set?
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:40 AM   #11
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Goal Zero

I just purchased a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 portable power station with the add-on MPPT module and the Goal Zero Boulder 200 (200W solar panels). How do I use any of this equipment to charge my battery on my 2016 Intíl Signature?
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Old 12-03-2018, 09:48 AM   #12
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In order to resolve this issue, the techs ran a connector for the portable unit through the refrigerator vent, up to the 3 plug solar connector on the roof. We then plug the portable unit into this new connector, but also disconnect the portable unit's controller. This is quite easy, i.e. by pulling a plug on the portable unit. In this manner, the roof-top controller (mounted in the front outside storage area in our 2017 International 27FB) takes over all 4 of our 80W panels.
Wow. Seems to me it would have been easier to rewire the A-Frame connector to the panel side of the controller. Plug your portable panel (without a built-in controller) into the A-Frame and all panels work together seamlessly.
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:04 PM   #13
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Interesting discussion. After considering whether to invest in an add-on roof solar system (my 2015 23 FB is supposedly prewired for it, but I understand it is not the ideal setup), I purchased 160 watt Zamp portable unit. Though bulky and at 37lbs adds to my limited payload, I saved lots of money and gained flexibilty regarding shaded camps, etc. It works fine for recharging my two Group 24 AGM batteries within a few hours on good days, even here in the PNW. But the problem was how to break camp after a night of boondocking and still have recharged batteries at our next camp later that day?

My plan is to fasten my Zamp panels on the flat roof top ski rack (no gear accessories) using two 1 inch nylon straps (each placed diagonally corner to corner). I will run the power cord down the back of my tv and make the usual battery connection. Slack cord will be stored under cover in my LPG tank area. I will cushion the panels with foam used for carrying boats on the rack. The Controller will be visible through my moonroof and hang above the glass.

Everything measures up well and I plan to do this for the first time during a trip from Orange County to Death Valley and Lake Havasu in February.

Has anyone attempted this approach? Any thoughts concerning this approach? As with any roof top rack items (we have extensive experience transporting bicycles, skis, kayaks, and a box) secure and balanced fastening is critical. Other thoughts are welcome - I prefer learning from your mistakes, if there were any!

I appreciate the wisdom of folks on this forum!
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jlandreth View Post
So if the roof top panels aren't getting any sun to charge the batteries and I plug in a prattle set that I can place in the sun then neither controller will work? If that's the case, is there a way to shut down the factory system to be able to use a portable set?
Hi

If you have 300 on the roof and 300 portable, you will get 300 as a result, not 600. You either get 300 from the roof *or* 300 from the portable. Which one you get the power from is a very random thing.

In the exact case you mention where the roof is completely in shade and doing absolutely nothing at all, the portable in full sun will be where the power comes from.

Bob
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