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Zamp port, Zamp panels and solar battery connection prob

Zamp Solar FWC Battery polarity

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#1 Ghotihsif

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Posted 27 December 2021 - 04:32 AM

I am a newbie poster to the site. I’ve tried to scan old discussions to see what seems to be a pretty simple problem. I have a new 2020 4 Wheel Camper Hawk shell on our not new 2006 Toyota tundra. We have 2, 6V AGM batteries inside the shell - installed by FWC. The shell has a zamp labeled exterior port on both rear and roof which appears to be an SAE plug. I have a portable Zamp 200w solar panel with a charge controller included.  Seems like a simple ‘plug and play’ and when I asked Zamp technical support they said plug it in and it should work If the solar panel brand and the port are both Zamp products. I did so and of course I get the ‘bO1’ read out on the charge controller - which indicates it’s not reading a battery. Ditto no go with the Zamp labeled port on the roof. Zamp tech support suggested I connect the panel included alligator clips to the AGM batteries in the hawk shell. Bingo! - charge controller reads the connection (6v)! I did rudimentary inspection and appears that the battery does have a wire that goes to the external ports but can’t see much more.   However I have not tested with a voltage meter if these plugs are live and wherein the polarity lies. Guess I need to get one of those?

 

I see that (unnamed massive online retailer) sells some ‘reverse polarity’ SAE plugs. Is this A waste of time or a simple fix? 

Thinking about upgrading the AGM batteries to lithium as I have experimentEd in the past with building a battery box with some great success to power our portable dometic fridge. Any recommendations for a reputable RV solar installer in the Portland, Oregon area?
 

As y’all can tell by my post, my electrical knowledge is the same as my ability to write succinct online posts -  very limited!

 

any suggestions much appreciated. I feel like I just opened the door to an amazing resource.

 

sincerely, Al

 


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#2 rubberlegs

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Posted 27 December 2021 - 05:54 AM

In ours, there were wires in the battery compartment for the solar connection, not connected to the battery. You have to be careful to wire to the right posts. Zamp is opposite other brands… anyway look for those the ask again.
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#3 Jon R

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Posted 27 December 2021 - 07:49 AM

As rubberlegs said, if you did not order a solar controller or solar panel from FWC, the wiring provisions are there and the connectors are connected to the wiring, but the solar wires are coiled up and labeled in the battery compartment and are not connected. If your panel has a built in charging controller, you should be able to connect to the SAE connector, and connect the coiled up wires to the battery. Measure polarity with a meter rather than assuming a color code is correct.
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#4 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 27 December 2021 - 03:16 PM

Hi Al, welcome to WTW!

 

Looks like you’re having fun with solar problems.   I do recommend getting a reasonable quality digital multimeter, it will save you a lot of time.  I believe FWC terminates solar panel wiring near the batteries when they sell a camper that doesn’t have solar included.  If it were me, after buying a multimeter, the first thing I would do is locate the wires for both the roof and back wall, then label each.  I assume they’re not connected to the batteries.

 

Then I would connect your solar panel to one, and with the multimeter, determine polarity and label the positive and negative wires.  Do the same for the other port.

 

You will then need to connect the wires to batteries, but before you do that, I would talk to Zamp about circuit protection in the form of a fuse, and perhaps an inline diode on the positive leads to keep the ports from having 12VDC on them at all times.  Put terminal rings on the wires (if needed), then connect the two positive leads to the battery that has positive going to the camper, then the negative pair to the battery going to camper ground.

 

I’m just an old one wire electrician, so double check with a technician to make sure you’re not getting bad advice.


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#5 Jon R

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Posted 27 December 2021 - 05:01 PM

My 2021 Grandby had the roof and rear wall connector already wired together in parallel in the cabinet, and only one pair of red and black wires coiled up and secured in the top of the battery compartment.
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#6 Ghotihsif

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Posted 05 March 2022 - 08:32 PM

Thanks to everyone who contributed. Solution was quite easy. There are two open leads that were screwed into the battery box ceiling by FWC - I simply put ring leads from these wires to the battery. boom - solar works from outside port! Zamp was not crosswired - Red to red and black to black!!
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