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Old 01-16-2021, 09:20 AM   #1
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Renogy 200W starter kit

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.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:23 PM   #2
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You will need enough battery to power your frig cpap and heater for at least one night. Then the solar panels can recharge the batteries during the day, if the sun shines enough. Most of us also have a system to recharge the batteries from the van, while driving.

If you are only camping one night the solar panels may not be necessary.
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Old 01-16-2021, 06:01 PM   #3
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The aux battery currently (no pun intended) charges off of the alternator while driving and is isolated from the start bettery when the ignition is off.
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Old 01-16-2021, 06:58 PM   #4
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If your van is a daily driver, I would put more emphasis on battery bank capacity than worry about Solar panels on the roof - that's if you tie the alternator in as a charging source.
If you use the alternator, then Solar on the roof is only beneficial when the engine isn't running. So, if you purposely park under trees or in shade while stopped then the panel(s) on the roof will be no help anyway...you're better off using an extended cord with solar suit-case panels that you can position in the sun while you enjoy the benefits of shade. Roof panels will only help when the Van is in the sun, for the majority of the day.
Lot of informative Threads on Suit-Case panels on this Forum - easy enough to use the search function to tap into that info.
Just my two cents.
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Old 01-16-2021, 07:28 PM   #5
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Well the panels are bought and will probably still mount them. Any advice on orientation? Also not sure how the charging controller works with the battery also connected to the alternator.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:00 PM   #6
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A suitcase actually might be a good thing to have around the house as well. Thanks for the idea even if its not what I thought I was looking for.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:34 PM   #7
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I bet I could come up with something that would allow me to use them as a portable unit and also mount to the roof of the van if I wanted to.
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Old 01-17-2021, 03:43 AM   #8
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I use Jackery Explorer 500 for CPAP. I love the compact and flexible design that makes it easy to take my travels at all times
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Old 01-17-2021, 07:03 AM   #9
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I have a little 400 watt inverter I got at walmart for the last time my wife and I went camping. That's prob gonna be one of the first things I do is add a power port coming from my aux battery that I can plug that little inverter into.
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:11 AM   #10
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Just took a look at the Jackery 500. Looks like it could be handy to have as well.
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