Connecting Solar Panels to RV ZAMP connections
We’ve all heard that Solar Ready RVs and Campers, that use ZAMP connections, have to use the ZAMP proprietary solar panel kits. It turns out that while the plugs are SAE plugs, that ZAMP covers the positive terminal of their SAE plugs, instead of the negative terminal like most other companies.
NOTE: Be sure to do your research, for your RV. I am not responsible if you fry your electronics, get shocked, eaten by trolls or for any other mishaps that may occur!
How to connect to ZAMP connections
ZAMP polarity slowed me down for quite some time. I did my research and crawled under my RV tracing the ZAMP plug’s wires. Then I realized that all I needed was a SAE to SAE Extension Cable.
I cut off one the end of the SAE to SAE Extension Cable, the end with the red wire that ends in the silver terminal. I put this aside for future products, since we don’t need it for this tutorial.
If you cut this cable correctly you should have this portion left. This is the part that we will connect to our solar charge controller.
Connecting the Solar Charge Controller
Be sure to connect your positive and negative wires from your SAE connector to your solar charge controller. Yes, you must use a solar charge controller. “Solar Ready” RVs only have a connector that is wired to your coach batteries, there is nothing else included. If you don’t use a solar charge controller you will mess up your batteries, and other awful things can happen!
Solar Panels and Charge Controller AMPS
With a single 100 watt solar panel, a 10 amp charge controller should be fine. The Renogy Wanderer 10 Amp charge controller was around $30, and has 2 built in USB ports on the underside, for handy mobile device charging.
How do we know that a 100 watt solar panel will generate 10 amps or less? Math: 100 Watts / 17.5 volt Vmp = 5.7 Amps.
Solar panels have short cables, so you may need to add some Solar panel extension cables, to ensure that you can get your panels in the sun.
Then I mounted the solar charge controller to a scrap piece of wood, secured the wires to the SAE connector and the solar panels, to avoid them getting pulled easily free. Then I added an eye hook and carabiner on top, to hang the charge controller from one of my storage doors.
I will come up with a better mounting system later on. This is just a portable and fast setup. Later on I’ll put panels on the roof of the RV and mount a charge controller inside.
This is how you can connect to your ZAMP Solar Ready port on your RV.