M&Dredmond
We bought a 2017 retro 509, the teardrop model. It came with a plug in for a solar panel. Can any one tell me how this works. We bought a solar panel and tried using in and It didn't seem to work right.
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retro195man
M&Dredmond wrote:
We bought a 2017 retro 509, the teardrop model. It came with a plug in for a solar panel. Can any one tell me how this works. We bought a solar panel and tried using in and It didn't seem to work right.


Contact riverside directly before doing that. They can fill you in on what to do safely. 
Good luck.  And please post your findings on here for others to see. 
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mikes
It's for one of the overpriced Zamp systems. You do not want to plug a panel in directly. The connector is wired directly to the battery, and connecting a panel without a controller can ruin your battery. It's also wired opposite the SAE standard, as I recall.
Mike
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M&Dredmond
What is the answer then, and why did they put the connection on the trailer
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mikes
My guess is that Zamp provides manufacturers with free or very low cost connectors (they're only a couple of bucks at retail). Zamp gets to sell their overpriced systems, and manufacturers get to advertise "solar ready." Win-win, except for the customer.

If you have basic electrical skills/knowledge, it is possible to put together a panel, a low cost ebay controller, and the appropriate connector and create a system at a reasonable cost (<$200 for 100W, easily). A discounted 80W Zamp (Amazon), will cost over $500. But at least on my 177, they put the connector on the side, which only makes it useful for a portable solar setup, where you carry and setup a panel each time you camp.

I just ended up mounting panels on the roof, used a better than ebay/china controller, and didn't bother with the "solar ready" connector. Since it's simply connected to the battery, I use that as a power outlet, to power some lighting.
Mike
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jackgomez
The key is to bridge the panel to your battery via a controller. The controller will regulate the 21 volts generated from a 100 w panel to the 13.5 volts required to safely charge your 12 volt battery. The controller will determine what voltage is needed to first charge and then maintain your battery at a safe level. 
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the5reeds
... or you can buy a portable folding solar panel with a charge controller built in and connect it directly to that connector. Renogy makes good quality portable folding panels for a fair price, for example. But as others have said, you have to end up with that same connector and polarity to make it work right, so some electronics skill is required. I used that outside connector, but installed an internal charge controller in line between the connector and 12v system (with a 15A fuse), so I can connect a panel directly. 
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M&Dredmond
We bought a panel and a controller and plugged it into the outside receptacle on the trailer and it didn't work.
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