Jump to content

External small solar panel to use during storage with Zamp plug ?


Recommended Posts

We have an Elite II with the Zamp solar package including the zamp port on the side of the trailer.  I would like to cover our Oliver with an RV cover (possibly the CalMark) when not in use which would, of course, cover the roof-mounted solar panels.  There is no electric service at the storage lot and I'm considering purchasing a small external solar panel that I could attach to the rear bumper outside the cover and keep my AGM batteries charged while in storage. 

Does anybody have experience with this kind of set-up?  Would a small 20w panel with controler be enough?  So far I can't find an adapter for a non-Zamp panel that would work with the zamp port on the Ollie.   Anybody have a link to one?  Should I just connect directly to the batteries with alligator clips and will the battery door still close and lock with charge cable?

Considering these two options from Amazon...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RZBVTGR/ref=syn_sd_onsite_desktop_34?psc=1&uh_it=289e09821f35644186bce4efffe39f69_CT&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyVjJNNDU3V1ZOM1MwJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODM0Mjc3MzFXMU9DQjIzSEgxTCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDU4MjQzT0U5SFBPSFEyR1pMJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c2Rfb25zaXRlX2Rlc2t0b3AmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl#customerReviews

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072B5J7CF/ref=ox_sc_act_title_9?smid=A2D22KZJD14Y8Y&psc=1

 Appreciate any insights or help!  Thanks!

 

Tallmandan

2020 Elite II, 2021 Silverado 1500 3.0L diesel 

Edited by tallmandan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
33 minutes ago, tallmandan said:

There is no electric service at the storage lot and I'm considering purchasing a small external solar panel that I could attach to the rear bumper outside the cover and keep my AGM batteries charged while in storage. 

Tallmandan - 

I use the CalMark cover with a 25 watt solar panel.  See THIS thread for a bit of info in this regard.  Yes you can use clips directly to the battery and as long as the wires from the panels are relatively small you can close and lock the battery compartment.  However, what I did was to wire up the solar panel to a 7 pin plug and I simply plug that into the 7 pin pig-tail coming off the Oliver - just like you would plug it into your tow vehicle.

Bill

 

7 pin wiring diagram.jpg

P1020093.JPG

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suggest a larger panel, so it can also be used when camping. A 20 watt panel is equivalent to a little 120 VAC battery tender, and it has zero usefulness at other times. Of course, theft is a risk so you need to factor that in. Your trailer has phantom electrical draws, that occur all the time unless you disconnect the batteries. The propane detector, for example, uses about 0.3 amps, day in, day out. So if you do get a small panel, disconnect the negative cables to eliminate those loads.

I think Bill’s method, using the trailer 7 wire harness, is simple and will work OK, it requires very minimal skill at wiring. However, there is a very long wire run from there to the batteries, so the voltage drop means you don’t get the maximum amount of current. For simply maintaining the batteries, that doesn’t matter, but at other times, the leads should be connected as close to them as possible, and always use large wires...

A small panel does not need any kind of charge controller, but a larger one does, so that adds a little expense.

Here is a Furion adapter, it requires cutting and soldering wires.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M4RQ3X1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/3247-how-to-external-solar-dc-power-cable-using-factory-furrion-port/

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Edited by John E Davies

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did the same as Topgun and made an 7 pin adapter receptacle to plug in a 140 watt Zamp panel with an integrated charge controller, connected to the trailer 7 pin pigtail.  Works great.   Just be careful though to confirm the wiring polarity with whatever panel you get when you make any kind of adapter.   Zamp is different than other panels.  

8EFE8DCD-AD7F-410F-800C-0D4718A2CB1B.jpeg

Edited by FrankC
  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, I am confused. During build out I was told that I could plug a solar panel into the Zamp external connector that would be run through the charge controller to charge the batteries, or to add an additional panel to the system. I have 2 100 amp panels (with charge controllers) that i purchased on ebay for $120 that work great to charge my non-trailer batteries that I use for portable use, or to charge my lithium Bioenno 1000 watt power pack. I had planned on using one of these solar panels for the same purpose, when the cover is on the trailer, or at a campsite as a supplement. Will that not work - which is what I am hearing? If so, I should not have had the Zamp external connector installed? What is the Zamp external charge port used for, then - which is my source of confusion?

John

      

2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An external port positive wire goes through a 10 amp fuse, then directly to the batteries, no controller is installed there. It is not connected to the roof panel circuit in any way. So you need to use a portable panel with its own onboard controller, then plug it directly into the outside port, or onto the battery terminals using clips. This is from an earlier manual, I don’t think the current one shows the port wires. The inline fuse is not shown here.

2A484D5A-EA3E-432D-848A-BADC695B8CFF.thumb.png.8d9356f5c977b5af1831739a095be9f9.png

If you wanted to use an unregulated panel, so that you can place it further away (less voltage drop), you would need to install a controller inside the trailer, between the port and the batteries.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, JRK said:

Okay, I am confused? .................................................What is the Zamp external charge port used for, then - which is my source of confusion?

John

If I understand this correctly - you have an external Zamp solar port. To charge from an external solar panel - all you need is a solar panel and solar controller. The port is wired directly to the batteries - well my 2018 is anyways.  However - Zamp port is wired opposite of most others  - polarity.  So you will need to reverse any plug you use to connect. If in doubt - verify with a tester. 

A 20 watt panel is a waste of your time and money.  I had a 60 connected - was just ok. -  Locate it in the best sunlight position. You will be good to go.

This one appears to be plug and play - Amazon.com: Zamp solar Legacy Series 45-Watt Portable Solar Panel Kit with Integrated Charge Controller and Carrying Case. Off-Grid Solar Power for RV Battery Charging - USP1005: Garden & Outdoor  However, I would prefer a lager panel, 

Amazon.com: Renogy 200 Watt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase, 200W Panel-20A Controller: Garden & Outdoor is more appropriate for the long haul - just add the appropriate standard plug - wired correctly - and you are good for both maintenance charge and when out boondocking.  

Best of luck

RB

My comments are for a simple connection - One could do a much more robust connection - locate an upgraded MPPT inside the trailer, with a nice read out, Larger wires - 10 gauge, and so on.  I prefer simple - at first.

Edited by BackofBeyond
help

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

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
Posted (edited)

@Tallmandan,  you seem to have a similar setup to Topgun2,  so you may want to converse with him. 

Also, you can pretty much  ignore everything John E Davies posted about a furrion connector,  as that's not what you have. You have a Zamp port, as you stated. Only a few of us have Furrion.

Edited by SeaDawg

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

So, we have a Coleman (read cheap) 100 wat panel that came with  (an equally cheap) attached controller. Maybe $100 for everything, on sale.

Works great as a portable panel. I would never leave it attached to the trailer to keep the batteries charged,  if i were absent,, because I wouldn't trust the chintzy controller. It did work great, as a boost to shaded fixed panels, which I monitor. You can't do that in storage, and you could wind up with overcharged batteries.

BoB recommended some well known, and more expensive brands, as multi purpose. I'd probably trust them, but they're expensive,  in a storage situation. 

If it were me (and it's not, because we don't cover our trailer, and let the inboard quality components take care of everything), I'd look for a small, basically trickle charger panel, with a controller.  Cheaper. No big deal if it's lost in a storm or theft. If amps in pretty much matches amps used with self discharge, and everything disconnected, I'd say golden. But, I'd be out there at the lot every few weeks, first season, to see if I  had attained a good match.

JRK, curious. Lithium? Agm? Fla? Storing at home? Covered, or not?

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@SeaDawg@BackofBeyond@John E Davies@FrankC@topgun2  Thanks to all of you for your information and suggestions.  Appreciate it.

@SeaDawg You are thinking what I'm thinking  - want a small, cheap panel that will keep the batteries charged if I cover the trailer but will be no big deal if it is stolen.  Unfortunately, I have to keep the trailer at an RV storage lot.  My thought was to drill an extra hole in the frame if needed and lock it to the trailer bumper with a small diameter security cable and lock where it is out of view from the main drive-thru and one would have to go looking for it.  It's a low-crime area but if someone wanted it bad enough to cut the cable then no huge loss.  I share your concern about a cheap controller in an unattended situation.  I'm dissapointed that the zamp port on the side of the trailer does not go through the onboard controller before reaching the batteries.  

Does anyone know if connecting the panel through the 7-pin hitch connector routs the power through the onboard zamp charge controller?   If so then I would not need a potentially sketchy exteral controller...right?

@SeaDawg Curious - I see your Oliver is 2008.  Has it always been uncovered?  I'm concerned about the brutal Colorado high-elevation sun exposure 300+ days/year wearing on the plastic, caulking, vinyl windows, seals, etc.   Should I not be so worried about that?

 

TallManDan

2020 Elite II, 2021 Silverado 1500 3.0L diesel 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks JD. I can work with that.  Although I was led to believe that the zamp port was wired into the onboard controller. I can research, but will this allow me to supplement the on board solar system through the zamp port? Charging at the same time? I am able to do that with my house solar, add additional panels into the system to add to the charge capability. The external panels are not permanent. 
I think I am getting AGM batteries, 2 6 volt. I’ll be storing at home in Southern California, west of Los Angeles in Ventura county, 11 miles from the coast. ( With free launch ramp for yellowtail.)Plan to cover it, most of the time. Planned to use the auxiliary panels while camping, in conjunction with the roof mounted system.  I have a decent controller for the portable panels. 
will need to build an adapter from the external panels to the zamp port. 

Edited by JRK

      

2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, tallmandan said:

Does anyone know if connecting the panel through the 7-pin hitch connector routs the power through the onboard zamp charge controller?   If so then I would not need a potentially sketchy exteral controller...right?

The 7 wire cable is totally separate from any solar circuits. It is standard equipment on all trailers, while the rooftop solar and side solar ports are add-on options. The only place where they interesect at all, is at the battery terminals.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

The zamp port is, as far as I know, installed the same way in other brands, as well. Why? Because the on-board controller is normally sized for the installed panels, and no one knows what size panels someone might add as portable. Or, as in the case of my sister's trailer, there was no fixed solar, hence no onboard controller nor wiring. The zamp port with fused line to the batteries allowed her to use an inexpensive portable panel to "go solar."

Yes, the portable panel , with its own controller,  will help charge your batteries from the Zamp port. At least, ours has been very helpful, to me. If your fixed panels are shaded or covered, the portable panel's controller "takes over" some if the charging duties. They don't necessarily work "together", because they are separate systems.

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

If you have a Zamp suitcase solar, you're plug and play. If you're like many of us, you bought some other brand for portable, and you'll need an adapter to plug your panel into the Zamp port. You can build one, or they can be purchased elsewhere. I think even Zamp might sell them, now, not sure. But, I've seen Zamp to Anderson, and Zamp to mc4 online.

We don't have a Zamp port. Ours is Furrion. And our inexpensive 100 watt Coleman panel came with tiny alligator clips. Paul wired an aftermarket Furrion connector (like John's) to the panel. 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
12 hours ago, tallmandan said:

SeaDawg Curious - I see your Oliver is 2008.  Has it always been uncovered?  I'm concerned about the brutal Colorado high-elevation sun exposure 300+ days/year wearing on the plastic, caulking, vinyl windows, seals, etc.   Should I not be so worried about that

There's another whole thread going on now about storing your trailer. 

My fiberglass is nice and shiny, waxed twice a year. Windows are fine. The front jack cover and the door window frame in my 2008 must have been made from some less uv resistant plastic, as they've both yellowed a lot. The sun has been tough on them.

We had a terrible time with Cottonwood stickers in Colorado, and pine sticky goo in another site. I  think if I had to store mine under trees that made that kind of a mess, I'd consider some type of cover .

I  actually bought an inexpensive, lightweight automotive cover (made for a large van) early on, intending to cover the trailer out if season. But then we added solar, and I  never used the cover. 

 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
Posted (edited)

If one reads this entire thread, it appears that at least to some degree there is discussion about "apples" and "oranges".  

The original poster was asking about a storage situation specifically with a small solar panel.  A small solar panel should still have its own controller but in the event something would happen to that controller the Oliver batteries would not be damaged (at least in the short run) due to over-charging.  In addition, since these panels are small they are also relatively inexpensive.  Thus, if stolen, the amount of money at risk is reasonable.

A suggestion was then made that instead of purchasing a small panel a larger one would be better in that it could also be used in situations other than simple storage.  This is true except that since the larger the panel, the greater financial risk for the possibility of theft and the greater risk of battery damage in the event the controller fails.

No matter how big or how small these external solar panels are, the electrical connections should be basically approached in the same manner - proper polarity (positive to positive and negative to negative), proper voltage (panel voltage output and appropriate wire sizes/length) and proper control (via a solar controller and/or size of panel) of what and how much electricity is being sent to the batteries should all be considered.

Bill

Edited by topgun2
  • Like 1

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
7 minutes ago, topgun2 said:

If one reads this entire thread, it appears that at least to some degree there is discussion about "apples" and "oranges".  

Yes, but, one question so often morphs into another, doesn't it? 😄

  • Haha 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Yes, but, one question so often morphs into another, doesn't it? 😄

Yeah, for the moderators, trying to keep these threads on topic must be like herding cats. 😆

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...