Review: Zamp Solar 200 Watt Portable Solar Charging System - ZS-200P

Sarah and I purchased our trailer with the intent of using it anywhere, including places with no hookups or only partial hookups. We will take and pay for hookups if we have to, but we did not want to be limited to places that only had hookups. There are many scenic locations that have no hookups at all, and our trailer has holding tanks and batteries for a reason!

Why Solar?

Batteries alone are not enough for an extended trip without hookups, we need a way to supplement our power and re-charge the batteries. The two most common methods for this are generator power and solar power. Sarah and I own a Yamaha EF2000iS portable generator. It works great, but at the end of the day it's still a generator. Even though it's a "quiet" generator it's only quiet relative to other, louder generators, it still puts out a decent amount of noise. It's smelly and requires regular maintenance and a constant supply of gas (we may look into converting it for propane use for convenience). Though it is loud and smelly, it can be used to quickly bring our batteries from 50% to 80%, and works whether the sun is out or not.

We wanted to supplement our generator with solar power. Actually that's not true, we want the generator to supplement the solar, and only be used when we do not have access to sunshine due to weather, or a completely shaded campsite.

Solar is clean and quiet and largely maintenance free (solar cells usually have warranties of 20-25 years), but requires direct (non-shaded) access to sunlight to work.

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