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Everything posted by Buzzy

  1. John, Nice looking emergency chocks! I bought four of the chocks in the link below. I tied a loop of rope on each handle to facilitate easy handling. They are nothing special but they seem to get the job done and have been very durable. https://www.amazon.com/MaxxHaul-70072-Solid-Rubber-Heavy/dp/B008CE0R5E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489670213&sr=8-1&keywords=rv+chocks+rubber Buzzy
  2. I remember when I first arrived back home in June of 2016 making a commitment to myself to understand the Blue Sky gear in detail. The reason being, I wanted to become a boondocking camper! When I mentioned this back at the factory on delivery day, Tommy and Jason both seemed surprised. When I asked Tommy, why do you seem surprised he said, “Most Ollie owners use shore power. You would be the first to focus on dry camping exclusively.” I began a process of digging into the Blue Sky controller and monitor. I happen to enjoy reading technical manuals. In various postings, here on our Forum, I attempted to document the highlights of my journey. My postings did not elicit a reaction. At the time, Steve (ScubaRX) appeared to be the only owner who shared my “enthusiasm” for the journey ahead. Keep in mind, the learning curve was steep at best. I contacted a Blue Sky technician, Boz, in California who was superb. However, he possessed a level of knowledge which was struggling to find common ground during our email and phone conversations. I remember vividly how he asked me to pop the face plate on the controller and connect a voltmeter to the terminal identified in the technical manual for the wire from the array. He stressed, the importance of not getting electrocuted in the process. My reply, “What is a voltmeter?” Long silence on the phone! LOL! I asked Boz, please hang in there, I will get this problem solved! At the time the knowledge base within the factory was limited. I began a search within the New England region for a service center with Blue Sky knowledge as a back-up to Boz. I located a technician in a wealthy section of the Maine coastline who services very large sailboats. The reply was stunning, “We do not service RVs of any type!” Boz and I were on my own. LOL! My message to our Forum community of owners, think twice about owning Blue Sky gear if you do not possess a love for acquiring technical knowledge in detail. It is not the day-to-day operation of the Blue Sky gear, it is the problem-solving abilities you will need to possess should a problem arise. In my case, I had a loose wire running from the controller to the monitor which I needed to repair. I also had to re-boot the controller which necessitated the manipulation of multiple parameters. There was no user guide or individual to help with these operations. Now I am curious, are there any future, prospective or recent owners who see value in a journey like mine? I would guess not, after all aren’t we suppose to just enjoy camping! Buzzy PS - For the last 2 days my array has been 90% covered with a thick layer of snow and yet my Blue Sky controller is pulling in power and recharging my batteries. Amazing! I LOVE my Blue Sky gear!!
  3. Hi, The Blue Sky controller is MPPT technology. I own an Ollie with Blue Sky gear. On page five of the technical manual is the following section. MAXIMUM POWER POINT TRACKING (MPPT) The 2512’s patented MPPT technology can increase charge current up to 30% or more compared to PWM controllers operating 36 cell PV modules. Principal operating conditions affecting current boost performance are PV cell temperature and battery voltage, with lower PV temperature and lower battery voltage producing greater charge current increase. In cool comfortable temperatures, most systems see about 10 – 20% increase. Increase may go to zero in hot temperatures, whereas charge current increase may easily exceed 30% with a discharged battery and freezing temperatures. MPPT also allows efficient use of higher voltage 60 cell modules by converting their much higher voltage down to battery voltage. Ignoring conversion losses, the conversion process produces an output current roughly equal to PV current times the ratio of PV voltage to battery voltage. If a 60-cell module is operating at 23V at 5 amps and battery voltage was 14V, output charge current would be about 5 amps’ times 23V ÷ 14V or about 8 amps. For a more complete MPPT description see www.blueskyenergyinc.com. If you need additional info, just ask. Buzzy
  4. Reed, Take a look at the article in the link below. Helpful? http://truckcamperadventure.com/2016/10/review-of-the-zamp-zs-30a-solar-charge-controller/ Also, the following YouTube video was interesting. Very brief, yet it describes what I have seen in my panels. Buzzy
  5. Reed, I looked at your controller pics and it appears you have the 30amp 5-Stage Deluxe Digital PWM controller (ZS-30A). Nice! The Zamp website provides a link to a pdf file which contains the controller manual. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5887872dd482e9581cc508e1/t/589d07dd03596e50dac128ed/1486686176698/ZS-30A.pdf Is this the technical document you have been using? By the way, although YouTube does have a variety of video regarding the “Zamping Lifestyle” (Their term, not mine!) I did not see one which is a step-by-step guide for the new owner. Will continue the search. Buzzy
  6. Reed, Let me throw out a few comments/ideas to chew on. 1. Learning how to operate and interpret data from new solar equipment can be daunting at first. Feel free to lean-on our Forum membership for help. Steve (ScubaRX) was the one who helped me. 2. If you could post a link to your on-line technical manual, additional pairs of eyes can analyze the information. Matt, our webmaster, guided me with providing the Dropbox link. 3. I suspect your goal will be to arrive at locating two valuable pieces of data. A. The amount of charge in amps currently on your bank of batteries. B. The number of amps from full. I have access to that data and they are the most valuable. 4. Although I have a reading of volts from my controller to my batteries on the SeaLevel II monitor as well, that data is of no use to me. 5. It does seem as though your system is operating as designed. I would not be too concerned regarding the readings from your array to your controller. The technician is correct that you could see a reading of 18 plus volts coming from your array on a sunny day. I agree with the technician’s comment that the reading of volts from your array is not a meaningful piece of data in your daily operation of your system. 6. It is possible that your controller uses the LED lights within the “Battery Condition” display to communicate the battery amps. I would dig into the manual to determine if a more precise numerical reading is possible. I should think it is! This is an amazingly enjoyable period of discovery! Thank you for your posts! Buzzy
  7. Hi Liz and Spike, Welcome to our Forum. Thank you for including “EarthPicks of Cochise County” in your signature block. I enjoyed viewing your video on “Leaving a Legacy…….” Excellent! Like yourself, I was brand new to RV camping when I bought my Ollie last June. Our Forum members helped me learn to operate and maintain Ollie and we will be happy to help you. As you journey along through the various stages of becoming an Ollie owner, you will encounter several major milestones. Reaching the stage where you have completed selecting your options is an important milestone and can be a daunting task. It sounds like you may have completed your list. If not, reach out and various members can help provide a user prospective on a number of the options offered. Sometimes the wait until your delivery day can seem endless. I know that feeling! Although I am hesitant to suggest this after viewing the superb quality of your video noted above, I have a collection of 10 goofy little videos posted on my profile. Please feel free to view them for comic relief. Sometimes viewing an Ollie either in person or via a video can help pass the time until your Ollie arrives. Buzzy
  8. Reed, Two suggestions: 1. You might try to locate an electronic version of the Zamp controller technical manual. My Blue Sky technical manual is very specific regarding the progression from one phase to the next. You seem to have progressed from absorption to float and maybe you also entered equalization prior to float. The technical manual should tell you at what volt level you enter each phase and how long you remain in the phase prior to moving to the next. 2. If you obtain the manual and a contact at Zamp, you might consider initiating a new thread devoted to the Zamp Controller? You seem to be on the cutting edge (Some might say the bleeding edge) of discovery. How exciting! Keep up the great work and the pics are outstanding! Buzzy
  9. Reed, Sorry, more thoughts based on a review of your photo showing the LED indicator light chart. Based on the chart, it looks like your system may be in the absorption phase. In my system, it would progress to equilization at 15.1V unless turn off at either the controller settings of via the parameters. Where you do not have AGM, it is possible your system is set to progress into the equalization phase. I should think that is OK. One thing I discovered with my system was the value in locating a very knowledgeable technician at Blue Sky. Sometimes multiple sources of knowledge can be helpful in understanding systems that are new to you. Just a thought. Buzzy
  10. Reed, For what it is worth, this past summer I placed a voltmeter on the line coming from the array to the controller and registered 18.5V. (The array is very efficient!) The line from the controller to the batteries was reading 14.1V and excess power was being "diverted" away at the time. That process was controlled via the parameters on my monitor. One interesting approach you might try is to hook up to shore power. If memory serves me, the inverter functions to keep the shore power coming in at 13.5V. Buzzy
  11. John, I forgot to add one more idea in answer to the quote above. Last year I was frequently asked, “Why the heck did you select the additional street side awning?” (There was a method to my madness.) I frequently book my camping trips well in advance and I cannot anticipate a stretch of hot sunny days. Since I like sunny campsite for my boondocking, and since most of the windows are on the street side, the additional awning gives me great relief during hot sunny days. Buzzy
  12. John, Over time you will collect a set of metrics which are uniquely your own and some which are assigned to the gear in your Ollie. For me, the key has been to use my Ollie for fun! (Remember, camping is all about fun! Right? ????) In answer to your question regarding how best to park your Ollie, “That depends”! Sometimes I would arrive in the late evening at my campsite and did not know how the sun would hit my array. I would carry a compass and attempt to get a good idea, but sometimes it was pure luck. Most of the time, my campsites in state parks were aimed toward tent campers. In other words, the sites were tight and I did not have any options to reposition my Ollie. My recommendation, do not worry about it. Focus more on your power usage. That is the side of the equation which gives you more opportunities to alter the data. (Not sure if that is helpful, but that is all I got! ????) Each day while camping, I determined my power usage overnight. Since I am running a medical device for a family member which utilizes AC power, I need to run my inverter all night and part of each day. I can then determine my rate of replenishment during the day. As you can imagine, the medical device is a “must have”! When I was parked for four days under conifers with no replenishment of power, my metrics were critical. I discovered my power usage would allow me to go for 6 days as I bring my four AGM batteries down to 55% capacity. Every owner will have a different set of metrics and there is no right or wrong approach with the following exception. Never, and I mean never, run your refrigerator on DC power while boondocking. But of course, you knew that! I tested that hypothesis and it precipitated a whole series of events. Trust me, you do not want to go there! Reed, I noticed you have a Zamp monitor! I knew OTT was planning to migrate away from the Blue Sky controller and Blue Sky monitor. Their rational was that the Blue Sky gear was overly complex for the average owner. I suspect the Zamp gear is a step in the right direction. Do you happen to have two separate devices with the Zamp gear, one for the controller and one for the monitor? It looks good. Perhaps you will quickly become the resident expert on our Forum. Nice! ???? My Blue Sky gear is parameter driven. That allows me to adjust for the type of batteries which I am using. (As well as a number of other system adjustments.) In my case the AGMs. Since AGMs should never be “equalized”, my parameters make the adjustment in the controller. Over time you may acquire the knowledge you need to verify how your gear has been configured. On the other hand, that knowledge may not be necessary. Buzzy
  13. John, As Randy and Mike mentioned, the Zamp solar panel, as delivered, does not appear to be adjustable to facilitate tilting it to face the sun. However, I suspect you have both the skill and desire to make modifications to satisfy your need to improve the efficiency of the system. (By the way, the red streamer is a nice touch!) Although, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how well the solar gear works without any modifications! For the pending and potential owners who are more like myself, with no skills to make mechanical adjusts, the following may be helpful. I discovered getting acquainted with Ollie after delivery day takes a fair amount of time. I tried the approach of getting to fully understand each system and how it works prior to compiling my list of potential modifications. That required a series of varying field tests. Since my style of camping is boondocking, the solar system was tested extensively. (It is important to note, initially my solar gear needed minor adjustments since I was receiving inaccurate readings on the monitor. Our team, here on the Oliver Forum, got me up-and-running in no time and my field testing continued.) To make a long story short, let me cut to the chase with a few bullet points. • The solar gear as delivered with no modifications appears to be very efficient and meets all my needs for dry camping. • It will charge the batteries during overcast days. • You will need to think about your campsite and its effect on your solar panels if the panels are your only source of power. • I discovered a campsite with partial shade is OK, but one which is in deep shade due to conifers will inhibit the solar system. (I know that should have been obvious, but I like to test the obvious!) • A layer of snow on the panels will inhibit the system. (Here again, the obvious.) • I did not need to clean the panels at all during my first season of camping. I will add, I did not camp in dusty locations. When I did clean the panels, I removed a fair amount of seagull poop, which is a fact of life in my camping locations. Surprisingly, I did not notice any degradation in the efficiency of the system. • I live in New Hampshire where the sun is low during the winter months and yet the panels have been charging every day. Sweet! • With my field testing completed, I do not plan to make any modifications to the solar system. Buzzy PS – It is good to be back ????
  14. Hi Hikegsm, Deciding which options to choose can be time consuming, but also very rewarding. With your prior knowledge of RVing, you will have a good idea what you might need to support your style of camping. If a particular option is puzzling, post your concerns and I am sure one of us will provide you with an owner prospective. I understand your concern regarding the TV placement. I use the bed on the other side, so I am not the best source to guide you. I do know several owners have repositioned their TVs to the rear center over the nightstand. One of them may jump in with their thought process and the results they are now experiencing. In any case, this is all very exciting! Enjoy every moment! Buzzy PS - Love your avatar!
  15. I want to extend a BIG congratulations to Mike and Carol as our newest Moderators! You embody all the best characteristic evident in all our Forum moderators. You are helpful, understanding, resourceful, patient and best of all you love owning an Ollie! Being a moderator may not be easy, but thank you for offering to help our team! Buzzy
  16. Hi Hikegsm, I was moved by your thoughtful introduction. Like yourself, I experienced a very similar journey in deciding to purchase my Ollie. In many ways, buying an Ollie is so much more than simply buying a piece of camping equipment. As a future owner, you need to know there is a team who can help as the inevitable questions or concerns arise. That team communicates via the Oliver Forum. This is our neighborhood. It is far more than existing owners. It also includes Oliver staff, component product technicians, curious potential owners and future owners like yourself. Please continue to post your observations as well as any questions or concerns. Welcome to the neighborhood! Buzzy
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