80 Or 120 Watt Solar Panel

Discussion in 'Electrical & Mechanical Issues' started by Randy, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Randy

    Randy Ranger Donating Member

    I'm getting ready to by a new Zamp Solar Panel. Despite the price, I am sold on the new and improved Zamp panels for many reasons (plug type, availability of receptacle and extension cord, weather proof controller, drop down controller for easy viewing, heavy duty legs, nice bag, etc.)

    I think a 100 watt would be perfect but they only come in 80 or 120. The 80 watt is attractive because it is smaller and lighter. I run the Dometic, charge cell phones, stereo, TV and lights. Anyone have any opinions on 80 vs. 120? Maybe some of you with the Trimetric meter?


  2. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    The general consensus is that 100 watts would pretty much be a minimum to keep the Dometic fed.
  3. Warren  Mary Ellen

    Warren Mary Ellen Junior Ranger

    We have a 90 watt that we got from California PC which you can find their website on the Links page on the Camp Inn website. It has worked fine for us on our 2 Long Hauls.
  4. AlCat

    AlCat Junior Ranger Donating Member

    bigger is better, unless you can't fit the panel in your TV

    if that's the case, I'd still buy the big one and carry it on the bed in the TD
  5. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    If you want more power, why not go with two 100 watt Chinese flexible panels - two are half the cost of one glass panel, and are less than a quarter of the weight (and by the time they wear out, you'll want the latest and greatest improved version anyway). Point one to the SE and one to the SW and you won't have to bother with moving the panels to track the sun.

    Two panels would be about a half inch thick, so they would store just about anywhere. Just make sure that the controller can handle the additional amperage.
  6. lorieandkeith

    lorieandkeith Novice

    120 for sure. We aren't running the refrigerator and Carey was fully supportive of the 120 in our circumstances. Consider the following:

    1. Short days
    2. Cloudy days
    3. Not being on top of turning the panels to the sun at all times.
  7. Inn42

    Inn42 Junior Ranger

    Yeah, the short answer with solar power for the Dometic is that this is clearly a case where more is better. Though I'm not sure that a single large panel means you wouldn't have to re-orient the panels as often. It has the potential to recharge the battery faster, but it can still only put so much juice in the battery. Part of the key to preserving battery life when using the Dometic is the length of time that the Dometic is running solely off the battery. The longer that is, the greater the potential for drawing the battery's voltage down. Too low of voltage, for too long and too often means you will be buying a new battery sooner than you want to.
  8. AlCat

    AlCat Junior Ranger Donating Member

    The size difference between the 120 and the 80 didn't matter to us. If we had room to carry the 80, we had room for the 120. Other folks may have less space than we do, of course.

    If cost is the issue, Zamp does sell refurbished panels. I bought a refurb'd panel and it has been fine. An engineer at Zamp told me that the "worst" problem any of these panels had (and why it was returned to them) is because an electrical connection needed to be fixed, often because the customer stepped on the cable causing a disconnect, and the customer didn't want to solder it so the customer returned it. Zamp fixed the connection but can't sell it as "new" - so we save $100 or so. (the refurb'd panels may be sold through Solardealz, I don't recall.)


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