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Old 08-27-2017, 07:07 PM   #1
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portable solar: Zamp vs GoPower vs Renogy

So, what's the difference? I'm looking at 120watt portable panels. Strictly from the specs:

Zamp and GoPower are about the same size, weight, with price difference at $125.

Renogy (no 120watt so looking at 100 watt) is less than half the cost. I could by two 100 watt suitcases and get more watts for less than one GoPower.

All three have generally positive reviews that I can see, so does anyone know the difference? I'm assuming it's quality.

I'm suspicious of something priced as low as Renogy, when its competitors are 2x's the cost. Renogy's charge controller isn't waterproof, unlike Zamp and GoPower.
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Old 08-27-2017, 07:32 PM   #2
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It's the brand label. Some people are impressed by name brands and excessive cost. I am very happy with my Renogy 100 watt suitcase.
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:10 PM   #3
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I just ordered a 120W suitcase unit off of Amazon. Brand name is Eco-Worthy and I personally know another AS owner who has had good luck with one. Normally they run about $250 but occasionally they go on sale. I picked mine up last week for $190. They include a controller and all one needs to do is attach an SAE connector on the end that plugs right into the AS. I looked at both Zamp and Renogy but just couldn't justify the added price. BTW - the Zamp and Renogy are Mono-crystaline where as the Eco-Worthy is Poly-crystaline. That means the Eco-Worthy is slightly less efficient but for the price I'm good with that.
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:54 PM   #4
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I just ordered the 200 watt Renogy suitcase
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Old 08-27-2017, 09:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KelloggKid View Post
BTW - the Zamp and Renogy are Mono-crystaline where as the Eco-Worthy is Poly-crystaline. That means the Eco-Worthy is slightly less efficient but for the price I'm good with that.


Any other technical specs which account for the difference in cost?
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Old 08-27-2017, 09:34 PM   #6
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We have Overland Solar suitcase we are happy with but nothing to compare against.
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Old 08-27-2017, 11:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ijoe13 View Post
Any other technical specs which account for the difference in cost?

Not a technical spec...but am curious - where are the essential components manufactured? Does it make a difference from a quality, durability, longevity or other perspective?
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Old 08-28-2017, 06:38 AM   #8
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Renogy has excellent customer service and warranty
You might try calling Ecoworthy
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:46 AM   #9
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I have the Renogy 100
Watt suitcase and it works great. Their customer service is great also.
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Old 08-28-2017, 12:03 PM   #10
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We have a Zamp 200W portable panel and have probably used it for about 700 days of generating solar power for our Airstream over the course of 3+ years. Except for damage from being blown over by a strong wind gust, it has lasted very well with heavy use. I cannot speak to the other brands but can say that our Zamp panel has withstood the test of time and we would definitely select that brand again. We bought it from Solar Dealz and have been happy with their customer service, as well.

Someone mentioned above that one brand you are considering does not have a waterproof controller. That alone seems like a big issue unless you want to be constantly babysitting your panel.
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Old 08-28-2017, 12:06 PM   #11
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We use a Zamp 160w suitcase. Well-built and does a great job keeping the batteries charged.

My main reasons for spending a little more $$ is that it's local (Bend, OR) and US-made. Can't speak for the other brands.
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Old 08-28-2017, 12:28 PM   #12
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I bought the 200w Renogy for my AS and it works flawlessly, used it a few times camping this summer and never had an issue, but mine is permanently mounted on my camper. I use it to recharge three (3) group 24 marine batteries in parallel. The system powered everything we wanted except A/C...
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Troy McLure View Post
We use a Zamp 160w suitcase. Well-built and does a great job keeping the batteries charged.

My main reasons for spending a little more $$ is that it's local (Bend, OR) and US-made. Can't speak for the other brands.
I also have had great success and no problems with my 160 W Zamp. Theft is a potential concern with any of the pirtable units. I use a kayak cable lock to discourage impulsive thiefs, but I doubt you can protect any of the 100%.
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Old 08-28-2017, 03:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dstalzer View Post
I have the Renogy 100
Watt suitcase and it works great. Their customer service is great also.
second this.
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Old 08-28-2017, 04:15 PM   #15
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Many thanks everyone! I guess the three brands never show up at the same show or rally together so I could compare...? probably not.

I've no doubt Zamp is quality stuff, but I'm just starting out (newbie to fulltime in a week or so) and don't have a clue what my energy needs would be when boon docking. That's why I wanted to start with portable panels first. Lucky for me, the previous owner of the trailer upgraded the batteries to two 6v and the inverter to 1000w. So just neeed the panels.

Guess I'll go with the Renogy 100w suitcase - thanks!
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Old 08-28-2017, 04:19 PM   #16
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I made a suitcase from two Renogy 100w panels and their Wanderer controller at a time when they didn't offer a 200w suitcase (posts above indicate they now do). It's performed flawlessly.

Some people may be willing to pay more for one brand over another (hell... if you're reading this, you own an Airstream... you and I are both willing to pay more for one brand over others in at least some areas!). For me and solar, no brand could have performed better than my 200w worth of Renogy and I saved a bundle.

As for the controller, if you have a suitcase you won't set it up in the rain because it only does what it does on sunny days. If you mount the panels on the roof permanently, the controller is located in the trailer. If you are concerned about a storm blowing up while you're away do what I did. Put magnets on the feet of the controller, on a sunny day, simply snap it to the frame of the trailer near the battery box. On a day when unexpected rain could be an issue practice "safe solar". Put the controller in a loose fitting zip lock bag and use the magnets to snap it to the frame with the bag's opening pointed down... instant (and cheap) raincoat for your controller.
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Old 08-28-2017, 06:39 PM   #17
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Why do you call it a suitcase? I went on the website and I do not see a suitcase solar system. What am i missing?
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Old 08-28-2017, 07:27 PM   #18
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I've had Renogy and now Zamp. The Main difference is the quality of frame construction for me, if you're a once in a while user the cheaper Chinese made units are OK, for everyday abuse, go with Zamp
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Old 08-29-2017, 05:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryker View Post
Why do you call it a suitcase? I went on the website and I do not see a suitcase solar system. What am i missing?
A suitcase is a portable solar kit with panels, controller, wiring, typically a Cary bag, etc.

Google "_______ solar suitcase" using any of the manufacturer's names in the blank.

Here's a link to the Renogy site for their 100w suitcase: https://www.renogy.com/renogy-100-wa...olar-suitcase/

Someone in an early post on this thread said they now make a 200w suitcase. I didn't see that in my Google results.

For rooftop (permanently mounted) solar, it's better to buy components ala carte rather than the bundle that is a suitcase.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:56 AM   #20
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And then there is this support frame
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