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Old 06-10-2022, 09:01 AM   #41
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That is a good note on the charge controller. I donít think the one currently on my panels is technically waterproof either.

My dealer is not wiring the Zamp to the shunt. They will do it for me, but theyíll charge me a bunch of man hours to do it. Scratch that, I think I misunderstood or misspoke with my dealer, it seems like the shunt has to connect directly to the negative side of the battery, and everything should go through it. I will confirm where that is being installed and how thatís being routed.
Are you moving the batteries inside or leaving them in the battery box on the tongue? If the latter Iím not sure the shunt fits in the box or if it does, how happy it is being there. Others might have the answer. I moved my batteries under the front twin bed so I didnít have to worry about them getting too cold so my shunt is there as well.
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Old 06-10-2022, 09:07 AM   #42
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Also note that BlueSolar does not come with Bluetooth. Only the SmartSolar controllers do. You can add it with an additional dongle, but then you need to mount that somewhere as well.
Hi

I'm not sure that the BlueSolar plus dongle approach gets you the networking feature. It may only be part of the SmartSolar versions. Also the price of the BlueSolar plus dongle is higher than the price of the SmartSolar units.

The normal wiring for the external panels is simply a straight run to the battery. It uses a connector that is found on stuff like motorcycles for battery connections. If you are running an external panel without a controller, it would be much better to switch over to a connector designed for solar wiring. I'd keep the other connector (and wiring) for powering up this or that 12V device ....

Bob
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Old 06-10-2022, 10:01 AM   #43
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Are you moving the batteries inside or leaving them in the battery box on the tongue? If the latter Iím not sure the shunt fits in the box or if it does, how happy it is being there. Others might have the answer. I moved my batteries under the front twin bed so I didnít have to worry about them getting too cold so my shunt is there as well.


For now, our batteries are staying in the box. We got heated Lithium batteries.
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Old 06-10-2022, 02:22 PM   #44
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Gosh, I'm glad I followed up again with the dealer. They were not going to install the battery monitor that is included in their parts guide for the package I purchased. I was able to point them to their own guide at which point they corrected the order and are installing it now. They are bringing the negative side of the Zamp portable port inside now to attach to the shunt, but the positive side would still be in the battery box. At this point, I'm not going to push any further with the dealer and once I get it, I'll consider my options and maybe connect a Goal Zero cable to the MPPT already there and figure out how to run that cable outside on my own. It will be cheaper than anything I ask them to do at this point. And hopefully if the cables are already run, it shouldn't be too hard to add one more.
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Old 06-10-2022, 03:46 PM   #45
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Gosh, I'm glad I followed up again with the dealer. They were not going to install the battery monitor that is included in their parts guide for the package I purchased. I was able to point them to their own guide at which point they corrected the order and are installing it now. They are bringing the negative side of the Zamp portable port inside now to attach to the shunt, but the positive side would still be in the battery box. At this point, I'm not going to push any further with the dealer and once I get it, I'll consider my options and maybe connect a Goal Zero cable to the MPPT already there and figure out how to run that cable outside on my own. It will be cheaper than anything I ask them to do at this point. And hopefully if the cables are already run, it shouldn't be too hard to add one more.
Sounds like an improvement in the plan. The positive cable won't affect the performance of the shunt.
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Old 06-10-2022, 04:09 PM   #46
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Sounds like an improvement in the plan. The positive cable won't affect the performance of the shunt.

Oh yes, definitely an improvement, and no, it won't affect the shunt, but I'd still need to get that routed into the trailer if I'm going to connect a charge controller to that port. So maybe a separate line for the portables makes more sense in that case.
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Old 06-10-2022, 04:18 PM   #47
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If you're going to be messing with the Zamp port, this would be a good time to decide if the wiring size is large enough. If not, I'd suggest running a new pair of wires large enough to carry the load, and if needed installing Andersen connectors (or the connector of your choice) to use to connect your panels.
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Old 06-10-2022, 07:06 PM   #48
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How many watts are you planning to run with the Zamp portable panels? Will you have multiple panels? If so, in parallel or serial configuration?

The factory wiring from the external connector is only so big and only capable of handling so much current. You'll need to calculate the number of amps you plan to send over the wires before you can answer this question.
I have 2 Zamp obsidian portable suitcases: 100 watts per suitcase. Currently one suitcase connects to the other and then runs into the Zamp connector on the tongue frame. Dunno about serial or parallel. The 180 watts on the roof go into a 150/35 Victron controller. The PWM controller on the portables shows full when the batteries are showing barely 70%. Itís annoying and inefficient. So Iím hoping adding another controller for the portables will fix this. If the rooftop are charging at 12 amps, Iíd like the portables to be at least close to that and not just 2-3 amps or showing full. Is this a reasonable expectation?
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Old 06-11-2022, 05:44 AM   #49
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I have 2 Zamp obsidian portable suitcases: 100 watts per suitcase. Currently one suitcase connects to the other and then runs into the Zamp connector on the tongue frame. Dunno about serial or parallel. The 180 watts on the roof go into a 150/35 Victron controller. The PWM controller on the portables shows full when the batteries are showing barely 70%. Itís annoying and inefficient. So Iím hoping adding another controller for the portables will fix this. If the rooftop are charging at 12 amps, Iíd like the portables to be at least close to that and not just 2-3 amps or showing full. Is this a reasonable expectation?
If your Victron controller is 150/35 and you only have 180 watts on the roof you should be able to just wire the two Zamp portable panels to that controller. Not all panels need to have their own controllers.

Parallel connection means that the positives all connect together on one side, and all negatives connect together on the other side. They may not all connect together at the same point in the harness, but all your panels will have their positive wires feeding the same side of the controller and the negatives on the other.

Serial connection for panels mean that you're connecting your panels with the positive lead of the first panel connecting to the negative lead of the next panel. This would continue with all your panels - positive to negative - until all your panels are daisy chained together. The positive & negative leads from the two end panels are then connected to the controller.

When you connect panels in parallel you keep their output voltages the same, but the amperage output from them all is added up. For example, if you have two panels with an output of 5 amps @ 20 volts, when connected in parallel they'll have a cumulative output of 10 amps @ 20 volts.

Connecting panels in serial does the opposite, adding the voltage but keeping the amperage the same. Those same two panels with an output of 5 amps @ 20 volts connected in series would have a cumulative output of 5 amps @ 40 volts.

Why choose serial or parallel? They each have advantages... Panels connected in parallel do better if you have partial shading. The panels in the sun continue to function at their full capacity and only the panel in the shade is affected by the shade. A downside for parallel connection is voltage drop on the wires connecting them, as you are dealing with lower voltages and higher amperages. Higher amperage requires a larger diameter wire to avoid voltage drop.

Panels connected in series have the advantage of being able to use a smaller gauge wire or a longer wire without voltage drop, since they have a higher voltage/lower amperage output. A downside of series connection is that if one panel is in the shade it will bring down the entire series of panels it's connected to. This is not so serious a problem with portable panels though as you can move the panels to keep them all in the sun.

So, how do you know if you can connect them all to your existing controller without overloading it?

You have a Victron 150/35 controller, which I believe can handle up to 150 volts of input from the panels and can output up to 35 amps of charging to your batteries. This means that the cumulative voltage from your panels has to be under 150 volts to make use of them optimally.

The Zamp 100w portable panels you have each have an output of up to 26v and under 5 amps. If you connected your two panels in parallel you'd be connecting anywhere up to 52 volts to your controller, depending on sun conditions. The amps would be under 5, which means that you would have less issue with voltage drop over your lead cord to the panels.

The two panels on your roof have similar outputs - about 25 volts each. Assuming that they are connected to your controller in parallel, they are sending about 50 volts or less to it. Combine this with the voltage from your two portable panels and you're still well under the 150 volt max on the controller.

If this were my setup, I'd wire a connection for my portable panels to feed them into the Victron 150/35 controller parallel to the roof panels. Then I'd set up a suitable 30-50 foot cable to connect the portable panels to this connection so the panels could easily be positioned in the sun while the trailer sits in the shade. You may need to bypass any controllers built into the portable panels from the circuit to do this.

Sorry for the super long post, but there was a lot of information here to lay out.
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Old 06-11-2022, 08:25 AM   #50
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...... The PWM controller on the portables shows full when the batteries are showing barely 70%. It’s annoying and inefficient. .......
Hi

The *only* thing any controller knows about is voltage. That's true of a converter / charger or a solar controller. Figuring out battery charge level from voltage is never going to work very well. Doing it while charging ... even worse.

The only reasonably accurate way to know what the charge state of your batteries is ( lead acid or lithium) is to use a shunt based monitor.

It also sounds like your PWM controller is set up for lead acid. That's not a great way to charge lithium's.

Bob
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