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Old 11-24-2021, 09:59 AM   #1
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2022 20' Basecamp
burt , New York
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Solar addition via a pickup bed

We have two flexible 60 watt panels, with their own controller, that we have used, with success on our schooner for years and would like to use them on our pickup bed to generate additional wattage for our basecamp.
Looking for more information on adding another solar mfg's panels to the plug in port on the base camp.
Any insight would be most appreciated.
Thanks,
M
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Old 11-24-2021, 02:58 PM   #2
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As long as the panel(s) have adequate voltage and the charge controller is design for the voltage and battery type in your Basecamp they should work fine by just making a Zamp port adapter. A little more information may help determine if they would work for sure. What battery type is in your basecamp (Lead Acid, AGM, Lithium) and what model panel and charger controller are your portable panels?
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Old 11-24-2021, 04:23 PM   #3
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Zamp plug

Iíll have to look at the panels to remember their mfg..
Wondering if anyone has a closeup of the port on the trailer?
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Old 11-25-2021, 08:35 AM   #4
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2020 23' Flying Cloud
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Hi, capemiker2.
You'll get more helpful replies if we have a better idea of what your concept is.
Short answer: On my 23FB, there is a topside connector, a multiport (3) Zamp that goes to a controller. Since your portable panels have their own controllers, you wouldn't want to plug into that. It would be a pain to climb topside anyway.
On the A-frame/battery box, I have a single Zamp port that goes directly to the battery. (SAE style with a Zamp label slapped on, most panels have an output that will plug right in.) No controller, so this would be the best place to connect your portable panels. I have heard that Zamp reverses the polarity, so if your panels are not Zamp, do the research. (Zamp should provide a picture and more details on their website.)
Not sure why you would want to mount the panels on your pickup truck bed, where they would be disconnected during any daytrips, and would be exposed to bouncing/theft when away from the campsite. Please explain.
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Old 11-26-2021, 12:59 PM   #5
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Solar addition via a pickup bed

I have 4 solar panels mounted on my bed cap. The output from the solar controller goes to the dedicated 35 Ah battery for the compressor fridge in the bed (left circuit breaker) or to the umbilical cord to charge the 3 BB lithium batteries in the Airstream (right circuit breaker).



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Old 11-26-2021, 01:14 PM   #6
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TouringDan,
Nice setup! Makes you feel better about not being able to get a shady parking spot, and easier to catch all the rays at the campground. Plus, you don’t need to poke holes in your Airstream roof.
Do you have excess capacity when not hooked up to the BB’s?
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Old 11-27-2021, 12:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetawA-S View Post
TouringDan,
Nice setup! Makes you feel better about not being able to get a shady parking spot, and easier to catch all the rays at the campground. Plus, you donít need to poke holes in your Airstream roof.
Do you have excess capacity when not hooked up to the BBís?


GetawA-S

Well that depends. Much of the time we travel with kayaks which reduces solar performance by 80% or so, then we do always travel with a compressor fridge which needs to be fed 24/7. Fortunately when we are driving we usually power the fridge from the TV.
I certainly do like having the solar on the TV rather than on the Airstream. It works well for us.

I suppose we may have excess capacity when it is sunny and no kayaks, but then it is sometimes cloudy or raining. I sure am glad we donít have less solar capacity than we have.

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Old 11-28-2021, 10:39 AM   #8
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New Basecamp owner here. Our TV is arriving just before Xmas, fingers crossed!
We are planning to install (2) 200ah lithium ion batteries in the pickup and charge from the pickup solar and alternator while underway.
My next quest is to find what will be the best way to transfer the amperage from my 200ah bank in the truck to the 200ah AFM bank on the TV.
After we've toasted the new AGM's I'll replace them with a proper charger and lithium ion.
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Old 12-05-2021, 12:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capemiker2 View Post
New Basecamp owner here. Our TV is arriving just before Xmas, fingers crossed!
We are planning to install (2) 200ah lithium ion batteries in the pickup and charge from the pickup solar and alternator while underway.
My next quest is to find what will be the best way to transfer the amperage from my 200ah bank in the truck to the 200ah AFM bank on the TV.
After we've toasted the new AGM's I'll replace them with a proper charger and lithium ion.
Placing the (2) 200ah lithium ion batteries in the pickup provides 400AH at 12 (actually 13.6 or so) Volts DC.

The current capacity is more than 400 Amps, and the voltage drop of a 12V circuit is significant. That is a lot of power, so the resistance of the connecting cable, circuit breaker, connections, etc. need to be as low as possible, i.e. use a larger cable gauge. For a 30 Amp circut 10 Gauge minimum, but I'd recommend a 8 Gauge cable with 40 Amp circuit breaker.

Where to connect to the Basecamp?
The next problem is the DC voltage difference between Lithium Ion Batteries and Lead Acid. (This also affects the charging from the tow vehicle electrical system)

You should use a DC to DC converter to boost voltage from the tow vehicle to charge the LIon batteries, and a DC to DC converter to drop the DC voltage from the LIon battery circuit to the Basecamp. Otherwise the tow vehicle will not properly charge, and when you connect Lithium Ion batteries to Lead Acid, the current inrush will blow the circuit breakers and you will cook (boil away) the Lead Acid battery electrolyte and quickly destroy the batteries.

The Base Camp Converter battery charger may be able to set for Lithium or Lead Acid, but if the Basecamp is plugged into shore power it may try to charge the Lithium Ion battery bank (and possibly blow fuses or circuit breakers).

What I would do:
1) Convert the Basecamp to Lithium Ion and put the LIon batteries in the Basecamp. (change the jumpers or replace the converter if needed)
2) Put the old Basecamp Lead Acid batteries in the truck (Optional for 3-b below))
3 -a) Get a Victron DC DC converter to join the Tow Vehicle to the Basecamp, or
3-b)use a 12V to 120V AC inverter (2,000 Watt?) and plug the Basecamp shore power into the Truck Inverter when boondocking (will NOT work if the Basecamp can plug into Shore Power at the campsite, only for boondocking)

The cost for 3-a or 3-b is close, but you still won't be able to run Air Conditioner from the batteries.
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Old 12-05-2021, 04:56 PM   #10
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"You should use a DC to DC converter to boost voltage from the tow vehicle to charge the LIon batteries."

Why do he need a DC to DC converter? The 7pin can only allow as much power as it is fused for. Never had a DC to DC converter, in 20 years plus never had a problem with the alternator. Even with 415 amps in lithium batteries, never had an issue. My truck is factory fused at 30 amps for the 12 volts to the trailer. Batteries got a charge, but now I have 1600 watts solar on the trailer, still, 30 amps was all the truck would supply, no matter what the batteries would want.
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Old 12-22-2021, 09:36 PM   #11
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The lithium batteries charge at higher voltage than the lead acid batteries and , tow vehicle alternator.
The lithium batteries will try to power the tow vehicle and charge the TV battery
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