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Old 09-28-2022, 01:22 PM   #1
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Adding Solar

I understand to add any solar panels other than Zamora I need the Polarity Adapter. I have gotten 2 fairly cheap from Amazon.
My question: Are my 2 beliefs below correct?
I believe to attached through the side port with a portable panel I need a Solar Charge Controller just before that port.
I also belief if I attach from the extra roof port, that port (not the port the Zamp Panel is going through, the extra port that is on the roof) will go through the internal (factory installed) Solar Charge Controller so I dont need an additional Solar Charge Controller.

Are these assumptions correct?
I understand, depending on how much Solar I put on the roof, I may need to increase the factory installed 10 amp controller.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 09-28-2022, 03:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTarnahan View Post
I understand to add any solar panels other than Zamora I need the Polarity Adapter. I have gotten 2 fairly cheap from Amazon.
My question: Are my 2 beliefs below correct?
I believe to attached through the side port with a portable panel I need a Solar Charge Controller just before that port.
I also belief if I attach from the extra roof port, that port (not the port the Zamp Panel is going through, the extra port that is on the roof) will go through the internal (factory installed) Solar Charge Controller so I dont need an additional Solar Charge Controller.

Are these assumptions correct?
I understand, depending on how much Solar I put on the roof, I may need to increase the factory installed 10 amp controller.

Thanks for any help.
I can comment on the charge controller. You need to check the voltage and amperage of the charge controller (typically it will say 12v 10a or 24v 30a). That is the voltage FROM your panel and the maximum amperage of the panel. Typically the panels will list their maximum voltage and amperage which is a good design spec since that is the maximum.

For your charge controller, add up the amperage of all the panels and that is the number that your charge controller has to be able to support.

As for your access, you can easily add panels to an existing line by using a 'Y' adapter. Then all the amperage will go through that same line.
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Old 09-29-2022, 10:28 AM   #3
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Solar

I had the same questions for my 2020 AF 25Y. The roof ports are run through the factory controller, the side one needs to have an external controller.

Here is my question to them and the email response from Northwood....

I do have a question on the solar input plugs that are factory installed, do both the auxiliary one on the roof and the one on the front left side run through the ZAmp solar controller or do they go direct to the battery? Also what gauge wire in run from those solar inputs?


From: rob.miller@northwoodmail.com
Date: December 2, 2020 at 12:23:27 PM MST
To:
Subject: RE: ZAmp connection on 2020 25Y



Hello,



The roof port runs through your controller on the way to the batteries, it uses eight gauge wire. The side wall port uses the same wire but runs directly to the batteries. It is designed to use Zamp portable solar panels, they have a controller built in. Here is a link to Zamp's web site. If you have additional questions please let me know.



https://www.zampsolar.com/


Thank You,

Rob Miller
Sales Administrator
800-766-6274
rob.miller@northwoodmail.com
Sales Fax: 541-963-4392
59948 Downs Rd
La Grande, OR. 97850
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Old 10-01-2022, 03:35 PM   #4
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It is prudent to get a voltmeter to check the connections of the new panels to the existing system. I suspect your new panels will have MC4 connectors, which means youll need an MC4 to SAE adapter OR cut off the connectors and butt splice to an SAE plug.

I added two additional panels to a Zamp system on an ORV, and did not use a polarity reverser. I may have simply connected the wires correctly with butt splices - I dont remember the details. I do remember checking potatoey before I plugged it in.

On my current rig I replaced the tiny Zamp panel with Renogy panels. I used an MC4 to SAE adapter just before the Zamp roof port, and the polarity was correct. I removed the Zamp controller and replaced it with a Victron MPPT controller.

Regarding wire size, Mr. Miller may be incorrect. My 27-5L uses 10-gauge wire from the roof to the controller, and 8-gauge from the controller to the batteries.

The side port starts with 10-gauge and transitions to 8-gauge quickly. The 8-gauge is not connected to anything, and does need a charge controller either inside the rig or on the portable panel. You should be able to track down the wires and see. The Zamp wires are likely to be labeled.

In both the ORV and the Northwood the Zamp wiring is thin and takes long paths. There will be more voltage drop than you really want. If you have he opportunity to run new wire it may be prudent to do that.
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Old 10-12-2022, 09:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHinman View Post
It is prudent to get a voltmeter to check the connections of the new panels to the existing system. I suspect your new panels will have MC4 connectors, which means you’ll need an MC4 to SAE adapter OR cut off the connectors and butt splice to an SAE plug.

I added two additional panels to a Zamp system on an ORV, and did not use a polarity reverser. I may have simply connected the wires correctly with butt splices - I don’t remember the details. I do remember checking potatoey before I plugged it in.

On my current rig I replaced the tiny Zamp panel with Renogy panels. I used an MC4 to SAE adapter just before the Zamp roof port, and the polarity was correct. I removed the Zamp controller and replaced it with a Victron MPPT controller.

Regarding wire size, Mr. Miller may be incorrect. My 27-5L uses 10-gauge wire from the roof to the controller, and 8-gauge from the controller to the batteries.

The side port starts with 10-gauge and transitions to 8-gauge quickly. The 8-gauge is not connected to anything, and does need a charge controller either inside the rig or on the portable panel. You should be able to track down the wires and see. The Zamp wires are likely to be labeled.

In both the ORV and the Northwood the Zamp wiring is thin and takes long paths. There will be more voltage drop than you really want. If you have he opportunity to run new wire it may be prudent to do that.
I agree 100% with this. Having small #8 wire, the long run(24" in my case)and the controller over the bed causes at least a half volt loss. A half volt doesn't really sound like much, but it's pretty huge regarding this. I replaced the standard #8 wire with #4 welding cable. I ran it all the way to the pass thru. I also replace the Zamp combiner with and after market unit. And I moved the controller to the pass thru to get closer to the batteries. I did a lot of thinking before I did this and it was a fair amount of work. Mine came with dealer installed Samlex solar set up that was "fair at best". I added one matching panel to bring me up to 450w. I utilized the existing Samlex 30a pwm controller in the pass thru. My panels are fixed to the roof. I never want for power and it keeps, and maintains the batteries very nicely. I know pwm's aren't the hot ticket, but for a pwm, I think it's pretty up scale.......for a pwm. I continue to look at MPPT's but it's really on the back burner since it works so well as it is. Also, just my opinion, I don't see a reason to use MC4 connections. I use all crimp connections and instead of using an MC4 branch or Wye type fitting, I used lugs and crimp type eye fittings. I believe there is less fittings involved doing it this way and less chance of a bad connection....just my opinion.
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Old 10-12-2022, 05:28 PM   #6
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I stayed with the MC4 connectors, but Im not sure that was a good idea. They are bulky and awkward, and seem pretty flimsy internally. Crimping on a but splice and shrinking on a tube is pretty easy.

I did need a Y fitting, as I have three strings of panels and only two Zamp ports on my roof box.

Vintage465, what are you referring to as lugs and crimped eyes? Ive given some thought to cutting off the MC4 and cleaning up the installation, but have not figured out a clean way to make a Y.

My set-up seems to work. A few weeks ago I was in a spot that had sun from about 2 PM until about 4:30 PM. I did not keep up with usage, but certainly extended the batteries. Last week I had sun from 11AM until almost 6 PM, and was up to 100% by mid-afternoon. In my area, 7 hours of sun is pretty rare.
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Old 10-13-2022, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHinman View Post
I stayed with the MC4 connectors, but Im not sure that was a good idea. They are bulky and awkward, and seem pretty flimsy internally. Crimping on a but splice and shrinking on a tube is pretty easy.

I did need a Y fitting, as I have three strings of panels and only two Zamp ports on my roof box.

Vintage465, what are you referring to as lugs and crimped eyes? Ive given some thought to cutting off the MC4 and cleaning up the installation, but have not figured out a clean way to make a Y.

My set-up seems to work. A few weeks ago I was in a spot that had sun from about 2 PM until about 4:30 PM. I did not keep up with usage, but certainly extended the batteries. Last week I had sun from 11AM until almost 6 PM, and was up to 100% by mid-afternoon. In my area, 7 hours of sun is pretty rare.
I got this box off Ebay. I got the UV rated #10 round duplex and the fittings to go into the box from AM-Solar. AM-Solar also has a kit to remove the existing wire from the panels and tie in the new #10 duplex. Inside the box i put a positive lug in one corner and the negetive lug in the other corner. I since removed the switch/breaker from the box as it tripped due to ambient heat in the box. The crimp fittings I use are just text book crimp fitting with the heat shrink integrated on them. I fused each of the solar positive's with a 10 gauge, 15A fuse/holder. In my mind this whole thing looked a lot more tidy. But in reality the routing of the wire to keep everything easy to install and maintain it came out like this!

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Old 10-13-2022, 02:25 PM   #8
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Thanks for the photos!

It looks like the lugs are essentially bolts that clamp a series of eyes together.
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Old 10-13-2022, 07:51 PM   #9
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Thanks for the photos!

It looks like the lugs are essentially bolts that clamp a series of eyes together.
Yes. Thats what they are. A stud fused to an insulated plastic base you can screw down to the wall or box
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Old 10-17-2022, 07:20 PM   #10
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Yes. Thats what they are. A stud fused to an insulated plastic base you can screw down to the wall or box
These are what I used. I've used these things all over my coach. Just make sure you put some Permatex type never seize goop on it. Sometimes when you tighten those stainless steel nuts, then try and remove them they gall and really ruin your good feeling you go going on.

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Old 10-23-2022, 10:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTarnahan View Post
I understand to add any solar panels other than Zamora I need the Polarity Adapter. I have gotten 2 fairly cheap from Amazon.
My question: Are my 2 beliefs below correct?
I believe to attached through the side port with a portable panel I need a Solar Charge Controller just before that port.
I also belief if I attach from the extra roof port, that port (not the port the Zamp Panel is going through, the extra port that is on the roof) will go through the internal (factory installed) Solar Charge Controller so I dont need an additional Solar Charge Controller.

Are these assumptions correct?
I understand, depending on how much Solar I put on the roof, I may need to increase the factory installed 10 amp controller.

Thanks for any help.
Your correct. I have 200w on the roof and run it though the installed Zamp ZS-10A controller which per a conversation with Zamp is the max you can run with that. You'll need the reverse polarity cable with any panel other than Zamp if you decide to retain and use the SAE port, same for the side port if you use a carry-out panel setup other than Zamp. I have a Renogy 200w panel and 100w suitcase setup with built in charge controller. I also installed a Victron SmartShunt to keep an eye on what's happening.

I may add more on the roof but for now it works well for us as we don't use anything other than 12v stuff; lights, TV, stereo, charge ports, etc. With 200AH of SOK lithium we're always charged completely by 10-11AM. Batteries were moved inside under the bed so I don't have to worry about temperature. Anything more needed we fire up the 4500w Westinghouse dual fuel generator on propane. Rarely use it though.
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