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  • Zamp Solar Connections - Explained

    This information has been discussed many times here on the forum and in an effort to preserve and reference it (in the future) I wanted to provide additional information and clarification on Zamp Solar's panel connections and when using a battery tender. This is basically an extract of the information I previously had posted up over on the Little Guy forum back in 2016.

    Zamp wires their solar panels in an effort to make them safe to use and in an effort to avoid accidents since the panels do convert sunlight into energy and it is possible for a user to put themselves in series with a solar panel and receive an electrical shock should they become part of the circuit when hooking up and using a solar panel.  This is true whether it is a Zamp solar panel or any solar panel you may be using since they are able to generate energy when in sunlight or for that matter, any ambient light they come into contact with. 

    Image result for little guy trailer

    The photo below shows the stock Zamp Solar Port wiring harness that comes on all of the trailer units and is located either on the battery box, sides of some trailers and on the tub of the T@B and T@G trailer units.  This piece wires directly to the trailer battery and as you can see in the photo the positive (+) side (red wire) of this harness is the bare contact terminal, negative (-) side (black wire) is the female part of the solar port.  

    The photo below shows the style of connector that would come off the end of the newer Zamp solar panels.  In this photo the positive (+) connector (red wire) is the female style end.  Zamp wires their solar panels in this manner to protect users from accidental shock accidents.  The bare end of the connector shown is the negative (-) terminal (black wire) and this is where some of the confusion comes into play when people discuss the "Battery Tender" brand of trickle charger, as their terminals are wired directly opposite of the Zamp wiring scheme shown below.  

    Note:  The gist of  Zamp's safety intent here is that should you deploy "any" solar panel and have wires connected to it in full sunlight it is producing electrical power.   If the above wiring is connected to a Zamp solar panel the risk of being injured is reduced here because the "positive end of the cable" coming from the panel has an insulated plastic coating over the energized (+) cable end.  By wiring their panels in this manner it greatly reduces the potential of accidental contact should you have the cable ends in your hand. 

    Battery Tender brand trickle charger wiring explained

    In the photo below you can see that the Battery Tender units are wired opposite the Zamp solar connections and unless these terminals are wired in reverse you will not be able to charge up your trailer battery if you plug a Battery Tender into the Zamp Solar Port on your trailer.  In other words you would need to do the following with the battery tender trickle charger unit:

    1.  Cut the charge wire coming off the back of the Battery Tender unit, reverse the wires and splice them back together.  

    2.  Use the clip on style connectors shown just to the right of the tender unit and attach them to your trailer battery when charging the trailer battery.  

    Unless you follow the above steps the Battery Tender unit will not charge your trailer battery if the tender is plugged into a Zamp Solar Port and this issue has confused many trailer owners as a result of the way Zamp wires their solar panel wiring harnesses.  

    The bottom line here is that Zamp Solar does not wire their solar ports for use with the Battery Tender brand trickle charge units, but only wires them for Zamp Solar equipment and apparatus.  Therein lies the difference and hopefully the above information will help people understand the reasoning behind Zamp Solar's wiring set-ups and provide them with enough knowledge to use a Battery Tender in charging a trailer battery when it has a Zamp Solar connector wired into the trailer and hooked to the battery.  

  • Re: What accessory/item do you regret buying?

    Interesting discussion and as noted, everyone has different needs/desires/ideas, etc.  

    Things I use less or that we decided to leave home:

    • Sewer hose support rack - this is to allow the "stuff" to flow downhill and unless you spend a lot of time in parks with full hook-ups it basically just goes along on trips for a ride.  
    • Electric Hot plate - Linda bought one and it went on vacation with us to Arizona and back to Michigan under the bed!  LOL
    • Portable camp kitchen rack -  I should have taken this to the swap meet in Ohio as I bought it and we've used it once and it is now collecting dust in the garage.  
    I have found that since I no longer have a smaller teardrop trailer that prior items used are no longer necessary for the T@B since we have a shower/toilet in the T@B Max S.  

    Things we DO enjoy and use:

    • T@B Tent Screenroom - GREAT addition, we used it extensively in Arizona and used it a week ago up in Northern Michigan.  Adds extra room, no bugs now, privacy, extra storage, can create privacy with side windows (zip them up, etc.) and it goes up quickly once you figure things out.
    • T@B XL visor -  This is priceless in that it goes up/comes down quickly and easily and can be used for shade and does keep rain off the side of the trailer.  This is a mainstay for our travels.  
    • 200 W Zamp Solar & 6-volt batteries -  BEST addition and allows us to stay off grid indefinitely. 
    • Front tongue sewer hose storage mod -  GREAT idea and makes the dirty job a ton easier with things in close proximity to the duty station.  
    • Alde Thermostat -  This really changed things up and when you live in a state like Michigan or are in colder areas it gives you spot on temperature control.  I never did like the analog set-up and with this you can see where things are in real time and it's like having a smart phone on the wall.  Of course I enjoy a good challenge, doing these types of mods and this one was fun.  
    • SeeLevel ll Tank Monitor System -  this does make a difference and at least you have a ballpark idea of what is in your holding and fresh water tanks.  This is about an 8 out of 10 for installation difficulty and I accomplished it, but it was a challenge and the easy part was installing the sensors.  Once you get back to the underside of the trailer and are looking at all the wiring in hand it becomes one of them "Oh S%#@!!!" moments!   :o   It's like what the heck did I get myself into taking this one on!!!  LOL  
    • Lightweight Folding Table with cupholders -  This is a GREAT little table that can be used anywhere!  Thank you@Verna !!!  This is my latest and greatest addition and I purchased it from the money I made at the rally swap meet.  Absolutely love it and it breaks down and stores easily and is small.  Valuable and travel worthy!  

    I believe that most of the items we have purchased were done so with good intent, but it's like anything else, you realize that some items are not needed and when you step up in trailers to a larger unit some items are no longer needed with added amenities within a trailer, etc.  Camping is more or less an art in many ways as you see and use things differently and each setting (RV parks & dry camping) may require different gear and over time you do figure out what items are needed and that some of this gear you can live without.  
  • Re: Alde safety Relive vale open or shut to blow out system

    I don't doubt either theories but am also on the "flip the yellow pressure relief valve open" band wagon as it works, the Alde drains profusely and I'm able to remove all of the water.  I set my compressor to around 20-25 pounds, blow out the lines, lower the trailer tongue down to its lowest point, raise the tongue up as far as possible, etc. and am able to get the water out of the system and end up with air hissing out if the lines.  

    I believe that this process and experiences therein are no doubt different for everyone, but also believe that people need to go with what has worked for them (stick with the process that works!) and to be vigilant in removing water from the system and using the pink RV antifreeze in the gray water tank, sink drain, toilet and shower drain.  The plumbing is a bit forgiving and I guess I don't recall hearing any horror stories regarding damaged pipes, Alde, etc?   
  • Re: Winterizing Issue?

    There might be a very small amount of water in the fresh water tank, but if you've taken ample time to drain it via lowering the tongue, etc. you should be fine.  A small amount of leftover water won't hurt anything.  I don't put any of the pink RV antifreeze in to any of my lines other than the black tank, gray tank, sink, shower and stool area.   I set the air compressor at 20-25# PSI and it does a nice job of blowing out all the lines.  Have never had any issues here in Michigan and am confident things will be fine this year as well.   
  • Are you having problems unhooking the trailer hitch from the ball?

    This seems to be a common issue we hear on the forum area.  This video should help you out and explains what is happening when you have problems getting the hitch off the ball.