2012 Ford Transit Connect Solar Panel Build Questions

Hi everyone! I am working on building out my first van with solar and deep cycle battery on board. I have heard some great things about Renogy for the price and quality. Currently I have in my cart the following:

100 Watt 12 Volt Solar RV Kit

20A/30A/40A/60A/100A ANL Fuse Set w/ Fuse

1000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Inverter with Power Saving Mode (New Edition)

12V 40A DC to DC On-Board Battery Charger

So I think that I have everything in these, planning to run the panel to the charge controller, charge controller to deep cycle battery, deep cycle battery to an inverter (I assume the fuse goes in between the two to prevent trips) and then lastly I have the on board battery charger to run power from the alternator to the deep cycle battery to charge it as I drive. Can you guys give me any input? I want to make sure I am not missing anything to make this work. Not looking for a super complex set up, but at most I will be using it to run a small fridge/cooler on board, power laptop, charge camera and drone battery, and that should be it. Thank you all and can’t wait for some feedback!

Renogy makes some decent stuff.

For your (low) usage, I wouldn’t bother with both solar panels and an alternator charger, just to keep costs down and simplify your electrical system. If you park for days at a time without moving, go with solar. If you drive every day or two, go with the DC-DC charger. If you want to get both anyways, more power to you.

Renogy does make an interesting 50A DC charger that also has an MPPT input for solar, so it does the work of the solar controller and the alternator charger.

You should make sure you also fuse the solar panels and charger, as well as the cable between the alternator and the charger. Do you even need an inverter? Looks like a DC fridge would make it so that all your devices are DC and you could skip an inverter altogether.

Use the search feature of this website and you’ll find a bunch of info. Search for “tutorial” and you’ll find the tutorial I wrote on this subject.

Greetings & Welcome!

You’re getting the cart before the horse.

A) Figure out how much power you will use & double it.
B) Figure out the size of battery you’ll need for xx days, remembering there will be days of little or no solar power. Then double that because you shouldn’t run your battery(s) below 50%.
C) Now you’ll have xx ah of battery storage. Multiply the number of ah by at least 2, and preferably 3x to get the amout of solar you’ll need.
D) Then you can figure out the controller and other materials (fuses, wiring, etc. sizes).
E) Inverters are very inefficient, avoid them if at all possible.

Good Luck!


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