Today we tackled an issue that has been on our minds for awhile! Join us as we discuss on today’s vlog understanding our Zamp Solar Controller. This will be a first in a series where we explore understanding our solar, batteries and other components that make life easier for RVers.
What the Zamp Solar Ready stickers mean
Either you have an RV or have seen an RV with a sticker that reads “Zamp Solar Ready”. This typically means the unit is pre-wired for solar packages and has one of the three options:
- If your RV came with a Zamp Solar sidewall port, all you need to do is pick one of Zamp’s portable solar kits and plug it in. That’s it!
- If your RV came equipped with a solar port roof cap (single or triple) and a charge controller, you’ll just need to choose one of Zamp’s roof mount expansion kits, mount the panel(s), and plug them into the solar port roof cap.
- If your RV came equipped with a solar port roof cap but not a charge controller, you’ll need to get one of Zamp’s roof mount expansion kits AND a charge controller. Then you’ll need to mount your panels, wire your charge controller, and plug in to the solar port roof cap.
- If you are looking for Zamp products, check out their product page.
What we have
Our 2018 Little Guy Max came with the following:
What does the controller do? What information does it provide?
One thing to note. Our controller is good for the 100W panel we have installed. If we want to add another panel, we may have to consider upgrading the controller as the ZS-10AW can only regulate up to 170W. So be aware you may need to select a different controller from Zamp if your needs are greater.
We will provide an overview but for more detailed information, please refer to Zamp’s user manual here: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5bc0c5b6a568274b3ac678c7/t/5c704b474785d3c4f12843bc/1550863180782/ZS-10AZS-15AUserManual.pdf
Setting battery type
The first thing you need to do is set the battery type. This can be accomplished by pressing the “Battery type” button. Press and hold the button for 3 seconds until you see on the LCD screen blinking just below the large numbers. Once the words are blinking, continue pressing the Battery button until your specific type of battery is displayed. Your battery type will continue blinking for a few seconds and when it stops blinking, your battery type has been set. Our battery is a wet battery, so we have it set to “wet”.
Reading volt, amp & amp hours
To check the status of your power, select the Amp/Volt button. Here you can cycle between Volt/Amp/Amp Hours readings.
On the top of the LCD screen you’ll notice flashing bars from left to right. This will show when you are in a charging status.
Just below the flashing bars on the left, you should notice a box with 4 small looking “hamburger” symbols. This will show you that your connection between the controller and your solar panel is active.
Below that you should see a battery icon with “BT1” in it. This is telling you that the connection between the battery and the controller is active as well.
The chart above shows you what various light combinations mean. In our video, we show you an image of our controller while it reads in the Float Charging mode.
A fully charged lead acid battery (AGM, GEL, WET battery) has a voltage of more than 13.6 Volts. A fully charged LiFePO4 or LTO battery has a voltage level of 13.4V
The reading we really focus on
A voltage less than 11.5V Volts indicates that the battery is discharged and needs re-charging.
On the bottom of the controller you may notice a sticker with “Solar + – , Battery + -, Temp Sensor”. The Solar and Battery notations are guidelines for when installing the controller to the solar and battery wires in your unit. The Temp Sensor is an add-on item you can purchase. This upgrade optimizes operation performance of your controller and offers protection in the event a battery overheats.