Originally Posted by Vanguy
I just bought a Renogy 200W starter kit (2- 100W panels, charger and mounting hardware) for my 2000 E150. I'm hoping to get everyones opinion on their products and advice on how to mount them, including thoughts on orientation and location. Prob should have asked before buying but seemed like it has good reviews and the price seemed right.
Also looking for advice on future upgrade possibilities such as additional or different panels, different charging controllers, etc... Would also be nice to add a shore power plug at some point.
The van allready has an aux battery mounted under the vehicle. I'm not sure what type other than it looks like a regular car battery. I also have an RV/Marine deep cycle/starting battery that I could add to the system. The goal is to just be able to power a mini fridge/cooler, my CPAP, charge phones and run some lights if needed. The van also has a small diesel heater that is tied to the aux battery.
This is a daily driver and will prob see limited use as a camper/travel rig.
From several things you mentioned here I would recommend going with a good inverter/charger, also sometimes called a Powerverter by some. It's an inverter that will allow you to plug AC items in to your battery bank when on the road but it also contains a battery charger so you can add an AC exterior power plug and then be able to just plug in at home or a campground to both charge your batteries and also power your AC items by 'passing through' the inverter rather than making it work when AC power is already available.
With your Renogy setup you are very close to having all your electrical needs covered for any scenario and this would complete it. If I relied on a CPAP I would definitely do this.
You also need to get under your van and check out exactly what house battery is there. That is info lots of us here can use to recommend how to get the most out of the system. If you haven't been under there for awhile it's probably a good time to check that battery anyway and clean terminals, check water is it's a flooded lead acid, etc.
Take some pics of your setup and several of us here can help with how to upgrade it for the long haul.