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Old 05-03-2020, 05:26 PM   #1
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Zamp Controller

How do I know if I have a Zamp controller in my 2016 Winnebago Aspect 30j. I bought the RV slightly used. It has a100W solar panel. I understand that the Zamp Controller was recalled. Where do I look for it?
Do I need to worry about it?
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Old 05-03-2020, 06:37 PM   #2
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Read the owner's manual. It will tell you what you have under "Appliances and Systems".

If you have the Winnebago "Black Bag" that has all the non-Winnebago appliance manuals, it may also be mentioned in there.

Lastly, locate your One Place panel, where you can display tank levels, battery levels, start the generator, start/stop the water pump, etc. It is the most likely place for Winnebago to install the Zamp Charge Controller Display panel at the factory. If there isn't one there, you probably don't have one.
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Old 05-03-2020, 06:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aspect1 View Post
I understand that the Zamp Controller was recalled.
Where did you hear that?

I have the Zamp solar controller and I have not heard a single word about it being recalled. If it is I would like to know about it, but Winnebago has sent me no notice nor have I heard anything from our local dealer.
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:39 PM   #4
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I think that I received the information about the Zamp Controller being recalled. Sorry.
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:55 PM   #5
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Thanks.I figured it out. Couldn’t find it in the manuals.
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Old 05-04-2020, 09:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by aspect1 View Post
I understand that the Zamp Controller was recalled.
I spoke with Zamp Solar this morning and was told that there were no recalls of their Solar Controllers. At least none that they were aware of.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:33 AM   #7
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Perhaps you're thinking of the recall that calls for adding a fuse to the external Zamp plug for using an auxiliary suitcase solar panel. That has nothing to do with the controller or any rooftop panel installation. It's just an unfused SAE Zamp plug in a compartment that's directly connected to the Zamp controller.

Most solar controllers say the brand LOUD and CLEAR on their meters - WBGO uses Zamp and Xantrex and both are generally well marked on the meter inside your RV.

Yep, looked at your Operator's Manual. Zamp solar port on the roof, Zamp solar Charge Controller, Auxiliary Zamp Plug for plugging in a portable suitcase style panel. (Not related but you also have a 1000w Xantrex Inverter.)
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Old 05-04-2020, 12:04 PM   #8
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That's probably it.
As a caveat, even though each solar panel input port is rated at 150W, the total system limit from all inputs is 510W (from my owner's manual - page 4-4). If you maxxed out each panel input you'd be over the maximum system rating. Probably due to the 30A limit of the ZS-30A charge controller.
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Old 05-04-2020, 02:30 PM   #9
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That's probably it.
As a caveat, even though each solar panel input port is rated at 150W, the total system limit from all inputs is 510W (from my owner's manual - page 4-4). If you maxxed out each panel input you'd be over the maximum system rating. Probably due to the 30A limit of the ZS-30A charge controller.
I had always assumed, and Zamp confirmed, that the unit could handle 510 watts max and Zamp said that they installed exactly that configuration on many RVs. But I am not so sure after spending a couple of days dry camping about a month ago.

We have 3 100 watt flexible SunPower panels on our roof that are theoretically capable of delivering a maximum of something like 17.5 amps under ideal circumstances (based on the voltage spec for the panels). The term "ideal circumstances" has always seemed to me to be code for "don't ever expect to actually see those numbers" but while camping I noticed us getting 19.9 amps from our nominally 300 watt SunPower solar panels. That would mean that we were probably limited to 450 watts of the same panels if we wanted to stay under the 30 amps that the controller is rated for.

All I am saying is that 510 watts may be too much.
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Old 05-04-2020, 02:49 PM   #10
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I was quoted 440w max for the Zamp controller from one of their techs. But many other folks have said it is 510w.

I've replaced the Zamp PWM controller with a MPPT Victron 100/30. Which also limits me to 30-amp but if I ever went over 30-amp the controller would just pass 30-amp and no more ignoring the extra current.

I have 300w right now and plan to add a 4th 100w panel this Summer. We don't boondock much, but when we have I love seeing the batteries reaching 100% SOC without running the generator. And, to add another panel to my system will cost less than $150.

That's pretty much the max I'll go with my current installation. I'd have to redo much of the install to go higher. I'm tempted... but as I said, we don't boondock all that much.

PS. I really love the Victron 100/30 SmartSolar Controller. The Bluetooth feature is great.
https://www.amazon.com/SmartSolar-MP.../dp/B073ZJ3L13
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Old 05-04-2020, 02:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
I was quoted 440w max for the Zamp controller from one of their techs. But many other folks have said it is 510w.

I've replaced the Zamp PWM controller with a MPPT Victron 100/30. Which also limits me to 30-amp but if I ever went over 30-amp the controller would just pass 30-amp and no more ignoring the extra current.

I have 300w right now and plan to add a 4th 100w panel this Summer. We don't boondock much, but when we have I love seeing the batteries reaching 100% SOC without running the generator. And, to add another panel to my system will cost less than $150.

That's pretty much the max I'll go with my current installation. I'd have to redo much of the install to go higher. I'm tempted... but as I said, we don't boondock all that much.

PS. I really love the Victron 100/30 SmartSolar Controller. The Bluetooth feature is great.
https://www.amazon.com/SmartSolar-MP.../dp/B073ZJ3L13
It was one of their techs that told me I could go to 510 but after what I saw I will not go over 400 or so without upgrading the controller and wiring. Better safe than sorry.

It is an enormous relief to me to not worry about dead batteries any longer. We had 124AH of AGM power, meaning we really had not much more than 70 AH or so without harming the batteries, so an available 180-200AH lets me sleep much better at night knowing that I will have power in the morning.

I will watch the solar input and the SOC of the batteries before deciding if I want to upgrade the panels. Hopefully 300 watts will be sufficient. We do a lot of dry camping but the sun is usually pretty strong here in Arizona. I am also going to look at the Victron solar controller. I have been very happy with their BM and the smartphone app. Thanks for the link.
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Old 05-04-2020, 03:45 PM   #12
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I am also going to look at the Victron solar controller. I have been very happy with their BM and the smartphone app. Thanks for the link.
One plus for the Victron charge controller - it's more efficient at converting voltages above 12v into more amps for charging.

The Zamp controller ignores voltages higher than about 14.5v but most 12v panels put out between 18v and 22v. The MPPT controller will use the extra voltage, yet still provide the correct voltages to your batteries.

One thing to note - when there is something else charging your batteries - shore power, generator, alternator the Victron charge controller pretty much turns off as it reads that surface voltage as a fully charged battery bank.

When plugged into shore power my inverter/charger stops charging after four hours while at the float stage. When it's charging, my Victron shows zero watts of solar, but when the inverter/charger rests you'll see the full 280 or so watts from your 300 watt array.

Of course, when no other charging is present you will always see the power being harvested from the sun.
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Old 05-04-2020, 04:49 PM   #13
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One plus for the Victron charge controller - it's more efficient at converting voltages above 12v into more amps for charging.

The Zamp controller ignores voltages higher than about 14.5v but most 12v panels put out between 18v and 22v. The MPPT controller will use the extra voltage, yet still provide the correct voltages to your batteries.
There does not seem to be a display screen on the controller so I assume you have to use the smartphone app. That seems like a disadvantage but I have to admit that I am really pleased with the Victron BM and it has made me wonder if I should change out the DC-DC charger as well as the solar controller.

I have put off changing the inverter/charger for the generator until this Fall or Winter with the idea of spreading the cost over a longer period of time. Right now I am using the Progressive Dynamics pendant to provide the proper voltage for the BB batteries. Perhaps when I do the inverter/charger later this year I will also do the DC-DC charger and solar controller. I am just very happy with the Victron BM and not so sure about the Renogy charger as a long term solution.

Quote:
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One thing to note - when there is something else charging your batteries - shore power, generator, alternator the Victron charge controller pretty much turns off as it reads that surface voltage as a fully charged battery bank.

When plugged into shore power my inverter/charger stops charging after four hours while at the float stage. When it's charging, my Victron shows zero watts of solar, but when the inverter/charger rests you'll see the full 280 or so watts from your 300 watt array.

Of course, when no other charging is present you will always see the power being harvested from the sun.
That does not seem like an advantage. With the Zamp controller I can see that the charging power being applied to the batteries is both from the DC-DC charger and the solar panels. The charger maxes out at 40 amps and I do see 42-45 amps, sometimes more, so I know that the solar is included. I do not see an advantage to not having both being applied, but it really is not a big issue. If I am driving the alternator will surely top off the batteries and if I am using shore power it does not matter. And we only use our generator for very short periods - heating up water for coffee (for me) or tea (my wife), or using the microwave.
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Old 05-04-2020, 05:23 PM   #14
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Since I almost always am on shore power - this is not an issue. Also, my batteries are at 100% SOC nearly 100% of the time. When we do dry camp it's doing exactly what I want it to do.

I don't know what's happening when I'm driving, I've never looked at the app with the engine running.

There is no display - just the app. On my RV the Zamp remote was inside a basement compartment. So, I could only see it by going outside, kneeling down and looking up into the compartment. So, having the app is a huge improvement.
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Old 05-07-2020, 05:47 PM   #15
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I’ll send a picture of the meter when I can finally get to the RV. It’s sort of hidden in the wooden cabinet with small shelves on the right side of the RV next to the TV.( Not in the TV cabinet.)
The digital meter shows voltage in from the panels as well as watts. Maybe the actual controller is somewhere else? There is no literature in the valise about the Zamp. I think that the panels were installed at the factory.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:27 PM   #16
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Zamp Solar Panel

OK. My mistake. The display for the solar panels is a Maximum “Go Power.” A “Digital Solar Panel Controller.”
The “One Place” is the standard meter which allows the user to check the batteries and other levels. The Xantex Display is for the inverter.
Please forget the Zamp. It’s not.
I tried to upload photos but couldn’t get it to work.
Maybe this is enough. Since I don’t think that I have a Zamp controller, I should apologize and appreciate all of your input.
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