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Old 03-29-2016, 12:09 PM   #1
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Solar Charger Outlet Installation

I'm considering buying a 40watt Zamp Solar charger kit to keep my two batteries charged while out boondocking--that's the kind of camping I do most. I don't watch tv or use a lot of power, but the water pump and lights eventually take the batteries down after a while. My question is how to install the Zamp solar charger outlet. I'd like to install it right into the battery box, but how do I wire it? Do I need to wire it to both batteries? Just one?

Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:20 PM   #2
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Solar Charger Outlet Installation

Change to LED light bulbs. 1/10 the power consumption.

40w likely not enough even with limited usage. IMHO. Think at least 200w.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:22 PM   #3
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Hi Goostew65, you should connect the charge controller just like your existing charger.

If you have two batteries, they are either two, 6 volt batteries wired in parallel OR two, 12 volt batteries wired in series.

The 40 watts of this kit is measured under ideal conditions and is approximately 3 amps (at 13.5 volts, charging voltage). 3 amps times 6 hours of sun (per day) is about 18 amp-hours per day - not a huge amount. Under normal conditions, you can cut this by at least 20% which is pretty close to very, very little. An energy audit would tell you exactly how many amp-hours you require per day and would help you to pick a system that supplies the power required.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:22 PM   #4
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Just hook it up to the 12 Volts coming out of your battery(s). Something like this I suppose.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:23 PM   #5
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Do you have two six volt batteries in series? Or two 12 volt batteries in parallel? If two 12 volt just connect to one and the other is covered. If two six volt connect to the end positive and negative terminals (think of the batteries as one 12 volt battery).
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:42 PM   #6
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Thanks!

Thanks for all the suggestions. I have already changed out the lights to LED. I have two 12-volt batteries. As stated, I don't use much in the way of electricity, aside from the water pump and heater fan. I'm not sure I want to sink a lot of $$ into a higher-watt solar charger. Still thinking over my options. Thanks again!
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:17 PM   #7
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There are heaters without fans. That would help some.
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:30 PM   #8
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I'd recommend you wire it to both batteries. Since you're running 12v in parallel, wire the positive to the positive terminal on one battery, and the negative wire to the negative terminal on the other battery. This should be the way the battery bank itself is wired into the RV. Just mimic that.
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goostew65 View Post
As stated, I don't use much in the way of electricity, aside from the water pump and heater fan. I'm not sure I want to sink a lot of $$ into a higher-watt solar charger.
I have a 100 watt panel for the house batteries. For power demands while boondocking I have the fridge controller, furnace and thermostat, lights, house radio and water pump. In southern AZ, during this last late winter and first week of spring, my furnace would run a few times a week. With good sun and the panels tilted for optimum sun for the best part of the solar day, the batteries would reach nearly a full charge, say 90% charged.

If I was depending on solar for all of my house power needs other than high power demand items like the AC or microwave, I would double the wattage to 200 minimum.

Of course the amount of power collected depends on length of sun exposure, panel tilt, etc. If flat mounting the panels, I'd triple the wattage to 300. Just my opinion, of course.

The best part about solar is that you pay once, and if nothing goes wrong ever, you cry once.

Good luck!
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:14 PM   #10
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Solar Charger Outlet Installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by okcnewbie View Post
There are heaters without fans. That would help some.

Agree. A furnace fan consumes a lot of power overnight. We have a Big Buddy heater to avoid using the furnace when dry camping.
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