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Everything posted by Fritz

  1. Nice work! Just to be clear: I assume that the basement fan is different from this installation, i.e., the battery fan conditions the battery box and the basement fan conditions the basement space?
  2. We opted for a high topped (but not the highest topped) A.R.E. shell. I like the extra height; it's easy to crawl into the back; taller items (e.g., bicycle, chairs, patio rug) can be transported vertically. Eventually I'll build slide out drawers that can double as a bed platform. I agree with Jim and Francis: build quality is good but not great. I really like the flip out side windows for side access.
  3. You might also want to confirm that the cabinet-instead-of-microwave option is still available; I was under the impression that 2021 was the last year for this. Also, temporarily sliding an oven away from the back wall while in use may not be an option in that the bottom the cabinet door when open is about 1/2 in above the cabinet floor, and the top of the door when open extends about 4.5" beyond the counter into the isle.
  4. The storage cabinet in a 2021 LE2 is 19.25" W, 13.0" H, and 13.5" D. You can request a hole in the roof of the cabinet that goes to a 120V outlet in the cabinet above. I agree with the other responses: you'd want to be careful with oven temperatures. We keep an instant pot in the storage compartment. On slow cook, no problem. We put the instant pot elsewhere (e.g., outside, or on the table) for pressure cook.
  5. After spending hours and hours dealing with communication errors and unsuccessfully uploading new firmware Xantrex has sent me a replacement Freedom XC Pro inverter. It looks like at least two of you have replaced the inverter. Might you have any guidance that would help in replacing this unit (and to help keep me from electrocuting myself)? Thanks!
  6. My comment about the Zamp controller in the original post in this thread is incorrect. The Zamp controller does charge the batteries up 14.4 volts. Moderators: I tried to modify the original November 4 post, but could not find the "edit" option. Could one of you please show me how to correct the error in the original post?
  7. I recently purchased the 780. As far as I can tell, it is mostly the same as the 890 except for a smaller screen. The old TomTom failed a couple years ago. This last year we used Google maps and Carplay exclusively, but were of course limited in areas of no reception. Of which there are still quite a few, especially out west. (In our experience, cell phones will work on GPS in an area without coverage if already programmed for a route; they’ll lose the map if you turn the phone off in an area of no coverage). I suspect the RV functions on the 780 will turn out to be mostly gimmicks, but I liked the higher screen resolution compared to less expensive GPSs. There’s also something to be said for comparing google and Garmin routes, especially in urban areas. I would not want a bigger unit than the 780 on our pickup’s dash. The 780 is almost too large as it is.
  8. I received the following private message, and am posting it here in case anyone else has the same question (or to give others a chance to correct my response): "Are there switches/breakers inside the trailer that I need to switch off before I remove my batteries? I would assume so - like a "main" switch similar to on a house panel that would just power everything off." I have not yet removed the batteries for the season (I'm still trying to get an inverter issue resolved). That said, I think the only thing that is necessary is to stop all major loads (e.g., unplug from shore power, turn off major uses (e.g., microwave), and perhaps turn off the solar controller (the red dial-switch located in the upper cabinet above the streetside bed). Record the SOC and voltage for warranty purposes (I take screenshots of these readings for each battery). Take a photo of the wiring array before you begin disconnecting terminals to help with reconnection in the spring. Then turn off each of the Lithionics batteries (the light-blue lit button in the far right corner of each battery). Disconnect the batteries beginning with the primary negative terminal (this is the right-front terminal with multiple, heavy-gauge wires), then disconnect all of the other wires being careful not to accidentally bridge terminals with a wrench. As a heads-up for reconnecting in the spring, I think I recall seeing a torque specification in the manual for tightening nuts on the terminals (to avoid damaging the batteries by over tightening terminal nuts).
  9. The question that I have -- and I like your idea -- is whether this configuration of return air vent (with associated length, twists, and turns) would have too great of a friction loss given the size of hose that would fit, thereby making the heater work inefficiently (or perhaps shorter life because of getting too hot). You might want to look up specs on the furnace to see what the friction-loss constraints would be for this return-air venting location and configuration. Please let us know if you do this -- I think several of us would be interested.
  10. To me, the Lithionics storage requirements are a bit ambiguous, in that the duration of extreme temperatures isn't addressed. For example, the batteries have a 130°F maximum operating range; does this mean that temperatures during storage cannot exceed ~95°F at all, or for most of the time, or? Similarly, short-term low temperature limit is -4°F, but longer term short-term limit is 14°F. So for how long can short-term storage can batteries be less than, say, 14°F -- a month, or? Here in southern Idaho temperatures can be lower than 0°F for a few days (or nights), but not generally very long. But nighttime temperatures can be less than 14°F for several weeks at a time, with daytime temps above 14°F. To be safe, I'll be removing the batteries for the winter, storing them at about 50% SOC. I haven't done so yet, because daytime temperatures here are still in the mid 50s -- and it's December! There are also relative humidity (RH) criteria for storage. I have no idea how to address these here in a relatively dry climate, especially indoors in the winter (the batteries will be stored in a heated shop/garage). Recognize that the SOC values under load (or while charging) can be substantially different than those when the batteries are at rest, at least in my experience. So, I plan on discharging for a while, stop the load, look at the resting SOC, repeat as necessary. Next, for those that haven't seen earlier Lithionics-related posts, the SOC is unreliable if the battery firmware has not been upgraded to the current version. See: Finally, note that the manual suggests that you record SOCs and voltages when storing the batteries for warranty purposes. See https://lithionicsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/12V130-G31LRBM8-Battery-User-Guide-R1.pdf.
  11. We use a foldable shower stool. Toilet does not get wet. I wipe down the shower door before getting out, and then squeegee the shower pan. Works well, at least for us. I think I prefer this approach to having a shower curtain bulked up in storage next to the toilet and towel rack, although I haven't really tried the latter.
  12. Did you by any chance look at Park-it 360 (e.g., 10,000 lb version)? I have no experience with either, but am looking at both....
  13. Something isn’t right. Your batteries should be able to put out full power up until they’re almost dead. My guess is that the low voltage cutoff on your inverter is set too high. Larry and Linda, if you picked up your trailer in May, and if you have not updated firmware for the Lithionics batteries, I'm willing to bet that your State-of-Charge values are incorrect. Here is a thread that might help...
  14. I agree -- we've been very pleased with the composting toilet. No second thoughts on that choice. Urine in the primary compartment has simply not been a problem. It did take several cycles to properly prepare the coconut coir (i.e., to get the right amount of starting moisture, which varies depending on whether we are in a dry or humid climate). And we don't seem to get the 3-4 weeks of use that some might; 7-10 days has been quite manageable (the crank gets too hard to turn for arthritic hands). But even with that, I empty on my terms (not when the blank tank is suddenly full and won't take the last flush, like in our previous camper). We don't wait in line for the campground dump station, and we don't have to drive around looking for one when boondocking.
  15. I spoke with Jason Essary about this when we picked up the trailer. He expressed concern that reducing the warm-air vent closest to the cold-air return would force more air into the second duct (the one that sends warm air to the vent under the drawers and the one in the bathroom, but that this line wouldn't carry enough air for the the furnace to operate correctly if the closest air vent were closed too much. So I suppose it would depend on just how much you close off the closest air vent. I agree that the system short-cycles. However, the interior space is sufficiently small that the air mixes well enough. It gets warm throughout the cabin, in our experience. Leaving the bathroom door slightly open (or installing a vent) helps.
  16. Thank you very much for correcting this. I agree with after looking at the manual, and just to be sure, I verified with Zamp that the ZS30A PWM controller goes to 14.4V in absorption mode before returning to 13.6V in float. It does. So a full solar charge should serve to calibrate the batteries' BMS, resulting in a more reliable SOC. So then, if I understand correctly (which clearly is not always the case), the reason to install a PMMT controller is for a bit greater efficiency, which becomes more important for larger solar arrays. I also asked whether Zamp would be building one, and the rep said there had been discussion about this some time ago but he hadn't heard anything recently.
  17. Not at all, IMO. The only benefit of the DC to DC charger is if you want to charge your lithium batteries using your TV while driving. Without DC to DC charging, the batteries will charge with solar (if you have that option) while you are driving or parked (as long as there is sun), or with shore power at night. Not sure about other lithium batteries, but the Lithionics batteries want to be fully charged (to 14.4 V) at least once every two weeks. There are at least 3 ways of doing this: (1) plug into shore power (or perhaps a generator), (2) use DC to DC charger while driving, or (3) have an MPPT solar controller that allows the batteries to reach 14.4 volts from solar (Oliver currently installs a PWM controller, which charges the batteries, but not to 14.4 volts). So whether or not to use a DC to DC charger might depend your battery requirements and on the way you intend to use your system. With batteries like the Lithionics, extensive boondocking (i.e., no shore power) and avoiding a generator steers you to either option 2 or 3.
  18. We're using a 2-5/16" ball to tow an LE2 with a '21 Ram 2500. The larger ball may provide the most benefit if using the Anderson weight-distribution hitch (larger ball surface reduces wear). We chose it for the extra ball surface and extra strength (which is almost certainly overkill), even though we are not using the WDH. Oliver did upgrade the hitch to 2 5/16" -- there was an extra fee, but I don't recall quite how much.
  19. This might be in a TMI category (and if so, I apologize), but our solution for a shower when the trailer is winterized is to use a solar shower bag. We heat water from the jug on the stove, pour it into the bag, perhaps add a bit of cool water to get the temperature just right, and hang the bag in the shower. The only thing that might need attention in severely cold temperatures is to drain the gray-water tank more frequently, and add antifreeze to the drain trap. The shower bag and sprayer hangs lower than the normal shower head, so we sit on a stool for a shower. This also keeps incidental spray to a minimum (no shower curtain needed!). Actually, we use this shower-bag method whenever we're boondocking and trying to conserve water, regardless of season. We fill the bag at the galley sink with water heated from the tank, or heat water from an outside supply on the stove (or heat water from an outside supply in the bag by placing it in the sun for the day). The spray from the shower bag is finer than that of the installed shower head, so less water is needed. Using the shower bag saves the volume of water needed to fill the hot water line between the galley sink, and the amount of water normally needed to adjust the temperature at the shower. Between the composting shower and the shower bag, we can conserve tank water for a very long time, and extend the time to when we need to empty the gray water tank. ** Moderators: I'm responding to a post in this thread, but putting this response into its own thread might make it more searchable later... **
  20. I think the craigslist title is woefully incomplete. It should read “Free, you haul. Bring front-end loader and dump truck. And skid-steer for cleanup.”
  21. I received this question as a private message (PM), but am posting it here as others may benefit from the discussion, or wish to weigh in... "Does the inverter automatically shut off when the batteries reach their full charge state? If so how would I know this? Is there any setting that would tell me this? Since our fan keeps running I am thinking in my head that the inverter is still trying to charge the batteries... I am thinking that the inverter is still drawing some power from our batteries when we are disconnected from shore power if that is at all possible. Maybe that is why our batteries are draining so fast with nothing on in the RV?" My understanding (which is very far from complete, and may in fact be flat-out wrong) is that the Xantrex unit really has two components: (1) a charging function and (2) an inverting function. When connected to shore power, the Xantrex unit is on, but its sole function is charging the batteries. The Xantrex unit is not inverting (changing 12V current to 110 volts) because it doesn't need to; the 110V outlets (and A/C, microwave, etc) are powered with shore power. The uppermost "esc" light on the remote panel is lit when the trailer is plugged into shore power and the Xantrex unit is set up to charge. The only way that I know to really "turn off" the Xantrex entirely is to trip the 300A breaker under the streetside bed. When in charge mode (i.e., plugged in to shore power) the Xantrex fan is running while charging. When the batteries are full the fan kicks on for about a minute every 15 minutes or so. When the batteries are full (or as full as you want them to be), you can set the charger ignition control in the Xantrex app to "auto-on" (again, thanks to NCEagle for this tip). In this mode the 110 outlets, the A/C, and the fridge get electricity from shore power, but the Xantrex unit is not charging the batteries. The inverter portion of the Xantrex unit is (or should be) active only when the trailer is not connected to shore power and the inverter is turned on (i.e., the button on the remote inverter panel is pressed in). The "bat" light on the remote panel is lit when the inverter is on. The Xantrex fan may run briefly when the inverter is first turned on (I suppose the fan could also run if the inverter is inverting to meet a large load). If the batteries are draining overnight there is likely another problem. Here are some ideas for troubleshooting the problem: Update the battery firmware to version 1.0.07 if you have not yet done so. In my experience, the SOC is completely unreliable if this is not done. Unreliable SOC might lead you to think there is a drain when there really is not. If updating the firmware, be sure to fully charge the batteries to 14.4 volts afterward to calibrate the SOC. When disconnected from shore power, turn off the solar (by turning off the the knob at the front of the streetside bed upper cabinet), turn off all lights, fans (including the toilet fan), etc., and check to see if there is a load on the batteries by checking the Lithionics app (2 upper right boxes below the SOC). The current and power should both be zero. Then... With updated firmware (and solar off, and no obvious load on the batteries), record the SOC and battery voltage on the Lithionics app. Let the trailer sit overnight and check again. The batteries should have a SOC and voltage very close to where you left it. If not, then... Turn off the inverter by tripping the 300 amp breaker under the streetside bed and letting the trailer sit overnight again. The SOC and battery voltage after a day or so should be the same as when you started the test. If this is the case, then there may be something in the inverter. If this is not the case, then there may be some other phantom load that is drawing down the batteries. (smoke, propane, etc detectors will draw down the batteries some, but it should not be very much over 24 hours). Record the SOC and battery voltage. Turn off each of the 3 batteries (button on top of the battery) and let them sit for a day or so. The SOC and battery voltages should be the same as when you started the test. This should confirm that the problem is not in the batteries. Next, .... Call Oliver. Any suggestions of mine are those of a well-meaning amateur, not to be confused with those of a real professional. They really should be able to help with this stuff; hopefully the results from some of the above-described steps will help them. Good luck!
  22. The 3000W inverter is mounted vertically on the interior wall under the streetside bed (see photos below). Are 2000W inverters mounted in the same location? Do the 2000W inverters have high speed fans? What is the maximum charging amperage for the 2000W inverter? (The 3000W inverters can charge at up to 100 amps.) I'm not sure that stereo sound mat installed only underneath the inverter would fully accomplish the sound-deadening goal; the horizontal mounting bolts alone would would transmit vibration (and therefore noise) to the interior fiberglass wall under the bed (if the inverter were mounted horizontally, then the inverter could rest on rubber feet). Given the vertical mounting, what might be a better way re-mount the inverter so that the inverter remains well-secured but reduces sound transmission? Any re-mounting would be easiest if there were no wiring changes were needed. That said, I think sound-deadening foam (or stereo mat material) would be a good thing to add to all the interior walls in the under-bed chamber to reduce reverberation. The foam should probably extend under the battery box and into the space under the rear dinette seat, since the fan noise reverberates in this area as well. Ideas?
  23. Thank you, John. You and others have set a very high standard!
  24. One way to isolate the inverter when connected to shore power should be to trip the 300 amp breaker that is near the inverter under the streetside bed (press in the button; you can start it up again by pressing in the little flag). To keep the batteries from charging from shore power is to set the charger ignition control in the Xantrex app settings to “auto-on”). In this mode shore power energizes the 110 outlets, the A/C, and the fridge, but does not charge the batteries. Turn the charger ignition control “off” to resume charging batteries with shore power.
  25. There have been numerous posts in this forum about Oliver’s lithium battery systems—about their usefulness, limitations, and value with respect to cost. Despite reasonable arguments against it, a number of us have purchased the lithium package. Reasons for purchasing the option have included the ability to run the air conditioner (A/C) for short durations (like at highway rest stops), greater usable energy (more boondocking in cloudy weather without needing a generator), faster charging, and longer battery life. This post summarizes things I’ve learned over the last 6 months about the Xantrex/Lithium/Zamp system. This post might also be titled “Things I Wish I’d Known from the Start.” This summary is a work in progress. Hopefully, with your corrections and additions, this thread will be of use to others that have purchased the Lithionics option or are considering doing so. At the time of this writing, manuals and other information for the Lithionics batteries are in the Service Center Knowledge Base — see links at the end of this post. I assume at some point Lithionics information will be compiled with all of the other trailer manuals in Oliver University. Battery State of Charge A key component of the Lithionics system is the app that lets users monitor State of Charge (SOC) and voltage (see links below). The reliability of the SOC values (which describes the amount of energy remaining in the battery) depends on (1) maintaining SOC calibration and having (2) up-to-date Lithionics firmware. The SOC should be near 100% at 13.6 volts, and about 50% (+/- about 10%) at 13.2 volts. If this is not what you’re seeing on the Zamp controller, Xantrex remote, or Lithionics battery app, then something’s wrong. By way of example, a couple times we’ve experienced the SOC readings of 60% when the batteries were dead -- not good. Note that the voltage reading on the app while there is a load on the system (e.g., electric heater) is different than when there is no load; the “resting” voltage may be higher. SOC Calibration The SOC requires periodic calibration. According to the manual for the 130 Ah batteries, the SOC can be calibrated simply by charging the batteries to 14.4 volts. The manual also states that fully charging the batteries to 14.4 volts should be done at least once every two weeks for battery life. Get the 130-Ah battery manual from Lithionics using the links below; at the time of this writing, Oliver has the incorrect manual posted in the Knowledge Base). When charging with shore power, it is not always apparent that the batteries have reached 14.4 volts, because when charging, the batteries only stay at ~14.4 volts for a short while before dropping back to about 13.6 volts. You can verify that batteries have reached 14.4 volts by monitoring battery voltage using the Lithionics app during a charging event. If you are unsure that the batteries are reaching 14.4 volts, you can at least confirm that the Xantrex charger/inverter is set to charge to at least 14.4 volts in the Xantrex app (https://support.olivertraveltrailers.com/portal/en/kb/articles/xantrex-remote-bluetooth-pair-operation) and, under Settings, check the custom absorption voltage. Ours came from the factory set at 14.6 volts, which is sufficiently high to get the batteries to 14.4 volts. Lithionics Firmware At least some of us that picked up our trailers in spring or early summer have batteries with outdated firmware. As I understand from Lithionics, more recent firmware versions have an improved SOC algorithm (our initial SOC readings were unreliable). You can check firmware version with the Lithionics app by clicking on a battery, then clicking on the settings “sprocket” in the upper right side, and then clicking on firmware. Our battery came with firmware version 1.0.05; I’ve recently updated to 1.0.07 by clicking on flash firmware. This has to be done with your phone in close proximity to the battery, and has to be done separately for each battery. Updating firmware comes with a “…this is a critical operation…” warning; you might want to check with Oliver or Lithionics if you have any questions about doing this. Has updating firmware improved our SOC readings? I’m not sure yet, but I think so. So far, the readings seem more reliable, but I’m still testing. SOC Calibration by Cycling A Lithionics rep told me that the SOC can be calibrated by “cycling” the batteries, and that this should be done every two months. Cycling consists of discharging the batteries to reserve voltage (e.g., ~12.1 volts) and then charging to 14.4 volts. However, the rep could not point to written documentation supporting this form of calibration. As the batteries support more partial cycles than full cycles (see graph below), calibrating by simply charging to 14.4 volts (assuming this effectively calibrates the SOC) seems better for battery life. Lithionics batteries will not charge from tow vehicle The standard 7-pin connection from tow vehicle to trailer cannot be used for charging the Lithionics batteries. Charging the batteries from the TV requires a DC to DC charger, which is an aftermarket installation. For more discussion on this, search for John Davies’ Redarc DC-to-DC charger installation description. Batteries Turn Off Twice now one or two of the three 130-Ah batteries have turned off when reaching low voltage (which happened because we were relying on incorrect SOC values). The SOC readings themselves looked OK, but the voltage did not correspond with SOC. The battery State in the Lithionics app reads “Off” for each battery when it is off. There is no flag on the Zamp or Xantrex control panel that alert the user to one or two batteries being off. The lesson (at least for me): monitor all three batteries, not just one, and note the Current, Power, State, and Status Code settings. If one or more batteries are off, turn the battery(ies) back on, and fully charge to 14.4 volts. Inverter Noise The Xantrex charger/inverter can be noisy charging the batteries with shore power (I’ve measured 60-64 decibels in the cabin when batteries are charging, and about 72 decibels adjacent to the inverter). The noise comes from (1) the charger/inverter fan and (2) the way in which the inverter is mounted (the fiberglass wall to which the inverter is mounted propagates noise into the cabin). The noise can be masked by turning on the A/C. Alternatively, the noise level can be reduced somewhat by lowering the charger current. In the Xantrex app, go to settings, and change the Charger Current from, for example, 100 amps to 30 amps. This will reduce fan noise. It will obviously take longer to charge the batteries with lower current. If you would like to be connected to shore power (to run an electric heater or the A/C, for example), but not charge the batteries (to avoid keeping them fully charged for long periods of time, or to reduce inverter noise) you can set the charger ignition control in the Xantrex app settings to “auto-on” (thanks to NCEagle for figuring this one out). In this mode shore power energizes the 110 outlets, the A/C, and the fridge, but does not charge the batteries. Turn the charger ignition control “off” to resume charging batteries with shore power. There are likely ways of re-mounting the inverter so that noise does not propagate into the cabin, with either a different mounting location or perhaps mounts using rubber bushings. Has anyone tried this yet? Xantrex Communication Errors Too often, I’ve gotten “Code 20” communication errors on the Xantrex remote panel. This can be resolved by pushing the red button on the 300A breaker under the streetside bed, waiting for at least 30 minutes, and then pressing in the little red flag on the breaker. Yes, this is a pain (I wish this breaker were more accessible), but it usually resolves the issue. Leaving the Xantrex inverter on battery mode for 25 hours or more will result in the Code 20 communication error. The time limit can be changed in the Xantrex app, but cannot be lengthened to more than 25 hours. As long as the inverter has not timed out, turning the inverter off and then on again at the remote panel resets the 25-hour time-limit clock. Battery Storage Lithionics provides guidance for storing the lithium batteries (see link below). Long term storage can include lowering the SOC to about 50%. Discharging to the appropriate SOC can be accomplished by turning on an electrical load (e.g., A/C or space heater) while in battery mode and monitoring frequently. Theoretically one could set the inverter cutoff voltage (in the inverter app, under settings), to something like 13.2 volts, but the highest cutoff-voltage option is 12.8 volts. Lithionics recommends keeping a log of SOC and voltage readings prior to and after storage for warranty purposes. ------------------------ Hope this helps. Again, please correct any errors that you see, and please add your observations and tips. Fritz ------------------------------------------ Relevant Links Lithionics battery app: https://support.olivertraveltrailers.com/portal/api/kbArticles/386680000012415191/locale/en/attachments/lpqvx861bbc9c842d48f7995281b07d0a193d/content?portalId=edbsnfe5dceb1ade7571879ff200cb63e14a94b62f48e3338c31a6401acd00130b0bc&inline=true). Lithionics battery manual: At the time of this writing, the Oliver Knowledge Base has links to Lithionics manuals for 125 Ah and 320 Ah batteries. However, our LE2 has three 130 Ah batteries as part of the 390-Ah package, and the manuals for the 125-AH batteries and the 130-Ah batteries are not the same. A manual for the 130 Ah battery can be found on the Lithionics website: https://lithionicsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/12V130-G31LRBM8-Battery-User-Guide-R1.pdf. Lithionics Storage Procedure https://support.olivertraveltrailers.com/portal/api/kbArticles/386680000012415191/locale/en/attachments/lrotz3ebee5a7020f42a58eb0d4db18a41356/content?portalId=edbsnfe5dceb1ade7571879ff200cb63e14a94b62f48e3338c31a6401acd00130b0bc&inline=true Lithionics FAQs https://support.olivertraveltrailers.com/portal/api/kbArticles/386680000012415191/locale/en/attachments/lrotz0edc34bc92ef4dce941bbb7f3f2d89db/content?portalId=edbsnfe5dceb1ade7571879ff200cb63e14a94b62f48e3338c31a6401acd00130b0bc&inline=true Xantrex Remote Bluetooth Pairing and Operation https://support.olivertraveltrailers.com/portal/en/kb/articles/xantrex-remote-bluetooth-pair-operation
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