Installing the Renogy DCC50S in a 2020 Ford Transit
Updated: Sep 30, 2021
In a previous entry we talked about the main components for the electrical system for our van conversion and the Renogy DCC50S was at the center of the charging system to run our fridge, lights, Internet router, etc. We chose this system because it manages charging from both the vehicle alternator and the solar panels we want to put on the roof. This means we need to hook the Renogy controller to up to the vehicle charging system and the solar panels so you want to find a place where you know you can run wired from both sources as well as to your positive and negative bus bars and/or your house battery. Below is the diagram in the Renogy manual.
Obviously we needed to carry +12v current from the charging system of our 2020 Transit back to over the driver's side wheel well where we decided to locate our charger. We also need to run a sensor wire (low current 12v positive and ground) from a location under the driver's seat pedestal that lets the Renogy unit know it can draw current from the vehicle. The diagram below is from the 2020 Transit BEMM and shows the location of the Vehicle Interface COnnector C33-E that provides this signal.
We chose this signal over the "engine run" signal since out Transit has "Smart Regenerative Charging" which auto start/stops the engine in effort to increase gas mileage by shutting off the engine when stopped at traffic lights, etc. Our concern was that the starting and stopping would reset the charging cycle of the Renogy controller. You can choose to to attach to the engine run signal that is also on the C33-E connector as outlined in the table below.
In order to get to this connector you will have to unbolt the driver's seat. It looks complicated under there but it's really pretty simple and rather interesting. You can get a look at the fuse panel for the Customer Connection Points and your vehicle batteries both of which you may have to replace at some point. In our case the C33-E connector had an empty male plastic connector inserted in the female end so it was simply a matter of crimping a Molex conductor insert onto the wires provided by Renogy for the positive and ground wires. I had ordered a male connector with the conductors from Amazon thinking I would find the C33-E without the male connector.
The other thing that needs locating is the Customer Connection Points that make current available from the Vehicle Charging System. In our case we had two CCPs; one that provides 60A and is unswitched (stays on even if the vehicle is off) and CCP2 that provides 120A but is switched and times out in order to preserve battery power for starting the vehicle. These are located on the right side of the outside of the driver's seat pedestal as shown below.
This is where you attach the cable that carries current back to the Renogy control unit where it is converted into optimal charging current for charging the house battery bank. It is important to consider proper cable and fuse sizes for this connection as outlined in the diagram below from the Renogy manual.
I decided to mount my fuse/switch for this connection right next to the CCPs as shown below.
The important thing to keep in mind with the solar installation is that the voltage limit for this controller is 25 volts. In out case this meant wiring our panels in parallel in order to stay under this limit. After installing the panels I checked the voltage while the panels were in the sun.
There is a post on the controller specifically for solar positive current input. Be sure to install a breaker/switch on the positive wire from the solar panels in order to protect the wire from shorts and be able to cut the solar current prior to switching off the battery.