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Zamp solar controller question


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Hello,  I recently purchased EII hull 627 as second owner.  With winter here in Colorado, it’s been sitting in my driveway without use with solar panels in full sun with nothing that would draw power.  The control panel never shows a full charge.  It always shows the 75% charge as in the attached photo.  Is there a problem with the system?  Also, there is a slight electrical “buzz” sound coming from the Zamp solar control panel that I can hear.  Is that normal?

Thanks for any help with a newby question!

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2 hours ago, tallmandan said:

with nothing that would draw power

I hear a faint buzz from mine (hull #709 delivered this past  December). Don't know about the other  questions, but unless you've disconnected the batteries there are things that will still  draw at least a small bit of current, though I think less than  an amp, even if you have switched off the 12V circuit breaker (per Jason E from Service: "There is a 12v breaker inside under the street side bed but it does not stop all loads and there would remain a small load roughly less than 1 amp."). I don't know if this  would explain why your system seems stalled at 75%. FWIW Up here in the cloudy northern-ish latitude of the  Pacific Northwest in winter, I'm finding that with the trailer in the driveway getting what  little bits of sun reach there, if left alone the battery charge wavers up and down but has not shifted much across multiple days so long as I'm not doing things like running the furnace. I have  the factory lithium option and can monitor charge level from  the LifeBlue app, and have seen that it goes up a little through even  cloudy days but then drops  by almost the same amount each  night due to the various little  draws such as smoke, CO, and propane alarms etc. This is without flipping said 12V breaker off.

Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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Is the battery type set correctly on the Zamp controller? The display says that it’s set to AGM type batteries.   You may want to double check your battery type just to make sure. 

Edited by FrankC

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

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I once thought the same about mine - often reads just three batteries - full sun, and on shore power. It does - at times hit the  full mark.  The chart above sort of spells it out. I believe it is just at the point of full  -  and will full charge when it hits the right voltage. I'm sure one of the experts will chime in with detail. 

In any case, I just quit worrying about it - it has always done fine - I ran it down to the yellow a few times - full sun brought it back- each time- Seems the coffee makers 1500 watts pushes the limits after awhile.....

That is one of the limitations with our set-up - you really don't know where you are at - unless you add something that monitors and displays better data. As long as it shows 13volts - I am ok. 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
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6 hours ago, FrankC said:

Is the battery type set correctly on the Zamp controller? The display says that it’s set to AGM type batteries.   You may want to double check your battery type just to make sure. 

Thanks for your reply.  Yep. I have the 6 brightway AGM batteries that came with the solar package from Oliver

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3 hours ago, BackofBeyond said:

I once thought the same about mine - often reads just three batteries - full sun, and on shore power. It does - at times hit the  full mark.  The chart above sort of spells it out. I believe it is just at the point of full  -  and will full charge when it hits the right voltage. I'm sure one of the experts will chime in with detail. 

In any case, I just quit worrying about it - it has always done fine - I ran it down to the yellow a few times - full sun brought it back- each time- Seems the coffee makers 1500 watts pushes the limits after awhile.....

That is one of the limitations with our set-up - you really don't know where you are at - unless you add something that monitors and displays better data. As long as it shows 13volts - I am ok. 

Thanks.  This does make me feel better.  We haven’t yet been able to take it on a trip and won’t for a few months but just want to be sure all is working as it should.  Also curious about the draw from your coffee maker...  is it a regular drip unit?  We are interested in a small toaster oven that would fit in the storage area since we don’t have the microwave.  Anybody else do this?

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Doesn't matter what it is - most coffee makers, toaster ovens, space heaters run 1500 - 1800 watts max - -for some period of time - and that is a good amount of amperage - "fuel" drained  from the tank.  Resistance appliances are energy hogs. Use them sparingly if you are on solar - in sketchy sun light. On shore power - have at it. We managed several weeks on solar - no problem. (ran a portable  freezer off the inverter the entire time) Power  management. I actually enjoyed the challenge - and I carry a decent stove top perk coffee pot.   

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

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I would plug in, if possible. Agm batteries do not love living below full charge.

Once you have a full charge, 13.2 ish, they'll be fine.

I   would look for ghost draws.  We narrowed ourselves from over 1 amp to .4

Edited by SeaDawg
Typos

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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2 hours ago, tallmandan said:

Thanks.  This does make me feel better.  We haven’t yet been able to take it on a trip and won’t for a few months but just want to be sure all is working as it should.  Also curious about the draw from your coffee maker...  is it a regular drip unit?  We are interested in a small toaster oven that would fit in the storage area since we don’t have the microwave.  Anybody else do this?

We plan to take our Breville Mini-Smart oven; haven't had the chance to test the battery draw yet.  I guess the smart thing to do would be to try it while parked in the driveway 😄 I believe our oven is 1800 watts, which is more than most RV microwaves (not sure about the convection microwave option).  It depends, too, on whether you are making toast (3-4 minutes) or baking something (20-30 minutes).  We will mostly likely use it when connected to shore power, or at least when solar charging is adequate enough to replenish the batteries. - at least until we have enough experience with power usage in our new Oliver.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

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13 hours ago, tallmandan said:

We are interested in a small toaster oven that would fit in the storage area since we don’t have the microwave.  Anybody else do this?

Unfortunately, all of the toaster ovens on the market right (that I know of) now are too big to fit in the cubbies either over the dinette or kitchen.  We solved this by finding a older one at a garage sale.  Warming pizza or making toast is no problem. However, unless I'm on shore power, I never "bake" anything.

Bill

Edited by topgun2
added detail
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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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17 hours ago, tallmandan said:

We are interested in a small toaster oven that would fit in the storage area since we don’t have the microwave.  Anybody else do this?

The Breville Mini is the only one I know of that will fit. It’s 1800 watts and our experience is that cooking something for 20 minutes will use 30-40 amp hours. 

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So-called "parasitic loads" could also (collectively) be keeping you just shy of a full charge. Depending on your configuration,  you could look for things such as:

  • Inverter "powered on" but not being used (we turn off the remote switch *and* the switch on the inverter itself when not in use)
  • Water pump left on (even though not being used)
  • Truma (for us) water heater 12v controls left on (remote switch inside and 12v controls switch outside on the heater)

Of lesser concern, and not enough by themselves to inhibit a full charge status, but possibly "adding to" the loads from above:

  • Radio/audio system (no switch to turn completely off)
  • TV has no real on/off switch.... its always sitting there looking for the remote to say "turn on" (we added a switch to ours... not because of the parasitic load while off but because the bright little power-on LED interferes with DW's sleep).
  • CO monitor
  • Off-the-Air antenna amplifier
  • And taking it to a ridiculous level... the little LED's on all the USB charging ports

I haven't read the Zamp ZS-30 charge controller manual lately... does it need to be "trained/synchronized" to recognize a full charge?

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Tom

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite #409 - 2017 Silverado 1500, 5.3L, 4x4 Z71, Dbl Cab, Std Bed

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3 hours ago, Overland said:

The Breville Mini is the only one I know of that will fit.

I believe this one will fit as well (Panasonic FlashXpress): https://smile.amazon.com/Panasonic-NB-G110P-FlashXpress-Infrared-Removable/dp/B008C9UFDI/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2CIG994XT7R3

I misplaced my storage box estimate though so I can't confirm.

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2019 Toyota Land Cruiser

2021 Oliver Elite II, Hull #748

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2 minutes ago, Overland said:

That would be nice if it fits - good to have options. Plus it comes in white.

If anyone that opted for the storage box has the exact measurements, here are the Panasonic dimensions:

71vH652UwsL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

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2019 Toyota Land Cruiser

2021 Oliver Elite II, Hull #748

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Thanks everyone for your responses.  We tried our slightly older but awesome panasonic 1750 watt toaster oven and it worked on battery without overload on the 2000 watt inverter but definitely drew considerable batt power.  As for my batts not ever reaching full, turns out the norcold refrigerator was not completed off.  Hoping that was the reason but had to take it to the RV storage lot (HOA regs 😑) so I haven't been able to check again.

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Phantom loads can be more insidious than you think. Even if your PL is only 0.4 amps, that's 9.6 amps/day. With the AGM's usable capacity of 200 amps, with no AC power connected and no solar, you will use all this in less than 3 weeks.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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10 minutes ago, ScubaRx said:

Phantom loads can be more insidious than you think. Even if your PL is only 0.4 amps, that's 9.6 amps/day. With the AGM's usable capacity of 200 amps, with no AC power connected and no solar, you will use all this in less than 3 weeks.

Yes, it is a serious number.  Especially with our small trailers, and 2 batteries. 

Solar helps, but in crummy weather, or shade, you have to plan for that loss. 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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