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Everything posted by Fritz

  1. Kudos not only on the installations, but also on the thorough explanations, photographs, material sources, etc. It's contributions like these that give this forum so much value.
  2. Very nice work! Might you be doing some hi-lo temperature measurements on hot or cold days -- I'm curious about the temperature difference this will make.
  3. I agree with the previous comments about giving yourself time. We took 8 weeks on our last trip 10 years ago, and it felt rushed. The entire Alcan Highway has now all been paved at some point, and most of it is decent enough. There's plenty of gravel and stones to go around, searching for radiators and windshields, but Neuman describes it as being better now. Even 10 years ago, the road was way, way better than I what I encountered on my first trip in 1973 hitchhiking to Alaska. At that point the last 1,500 miles were dirt and gravel, and the road had many arbitrary curves (so that the Russians couldn't take out a straight-line convoy). The road has been shortened 32 miles by just taking out curves. And the road was much smoother on the return trip in December, when everything was frozen. My return ride (an old Toyota Land Cruiser with canvas roof) was towing a utility trailer; an axle broke near the Yukon-Alaska border. We laid the trailer on the wheel (which we positioned flat on the highway) and drug it over the ice to the White River Road House, where we removed the axle and drove 250 miles to Whitehorse to get it welded. Temperature while removing the axle? minus 64 degrees F. But that's another story. The road to McCarthy, as others have said, is washboarded, but fine if you're not in a hurry. It was once an old railbed, the last 8 miles of which was built across the Kennecott Glacier to the mine site; this section had to be rebuilt every year as the glacier moved. We saw old rail under the gravel in a couple places, and were looking for spikes, but saw none. They apparently kick up when grading the road, and we certainly didn't see graders. We left our canoe trailer at a campground, but made the trip in the Sprinter van -- no problem. I'd allocate at least a week, preferably at least 2 weeks, for the Wrangell-St. Elias and Valdez portion of the trip, so that you'll have a better chance to experience at least some good weather (this applies to Denali as well). The Wrangell-St. Elias (American) with the adjacent Kluane National Park (Canadian) has 9 of 16 of North America's tallest peaks, and glaciers larger than Rhode Island. You can't see it all from McCarthy (you can't see it all from anywhere, really, except perhaps by plane), but you might enjoy area more if the weather is good. And more days gives you a better chance for at least some good weather. The mine site is really cool, and has a fascinating history; this was, after all, the start of the Kennecott Mining Company. Another example of why extra time is good: we couldn't even get into McCarthy via the footbridge because of bears on the footbridge-- we simply had to wait. I liked the area around Valdez -- we rented see kayaks and paddled out into the bay, and, with a group of friends, rented a larger boat to go out 40 miles to see whales and glaciers calving. Incredibly memorable. I don't recall seeing people hiking with long guns here (or anywhere for that matter, including on a Kenai backpack trip), but everyone is carrying at least bear spray. And folks have rifles in vehicles and on 4-wheelers. In my experience, bears in rural areas are a bit safer, especially if they haven't learned to associate people with food, and if you don't surprise them. Bottom line: there's lots of areas in northern BC and the Yukon to explore and be away from crowds (along the Cassiar Highway is a prime example, or along the northern portions of Kluane National Park). Take a kayak or canoe, if you can; there's lots of places to paddle around in the evening for a few hours. I'm sure you'll have a great time in however long you have for the trip, but I'd encourage you to take as much time as you possibly can.
  4. The short answer is that I did not find out earlier. The longer answer is that the 2021 "Optional Feature Manuals" in the Oliver University files include manuals for both Freedom XC (which covers 1000W and 2000W inverters) and a Freedom XC Pro (which covers a 2000W and a 3000W model). From this I'd infer (although perhaps incorrectly) that Oliver offers the 2000W Freedom XC (for AGMs) or the 3000 XC Pro (for lithiums) -- and that is why they include both the XC and XC Pro manuals. FWIW, I ordered the lithium package (and therefore the 3000 XC Pro), and am hoping that they get the error code issue resolved before I pick up the trailer in late April. Hope this helps...
  5. Couldn't agree more! Hopefully as winter turns to spring and the weather turns nice you (SherMica) will find some humor in at least some of your experiences -- experiences from which the rest of us can learn.
  6. I too appreciate that the forum has been open to non-owners. I've benefited immensely from the information that has been posted over the years, and from your willingness to answer questions (both on the forum and via PM) as I prepared our build sheet. Thank you to Oliver for hosting such a clean site, to you (the participants) for your ongoing contributions, and to the moderators for many hours spent keeping the forum friendly and on track. Now, back to the thread ... Stock Pinto? -- perhaps not so much. But what about a slightly modified version?
  7. Nice job! This mod will be high in my list later this year...
  8. SeaDog — this is a very clever solution; thank you for posting it. And thank you, John, for the tip about electrical conduit instead of PVC.
  9. A couple of weeks ago I was told (I think) that the dimensions are 20" wide, 14" deep, and 12" high. These are a bit different than the dimensions listed above (although perhaps I wrote them down incorrectly, or perhaps what I was given was very approximate). We too are skipping the microwave; a small toaster oven and/or small Instant Pot (for oatmeal, soup/stew, and perhaps fresh bread) will be more useful for us (at least when plugged in to shore power). Apparently Oliver is discontinuing the option for omitting the microwave, as only about 10% of buyers have chosen to do so. Hopefully there will be an outlet, or at least an outlet that can be reached fairly easily. The cabinet door, I was told, hinges on the bottom.
  10. On 2/19/2021 at 8:28 AM (under the thread "Length of Sewer Pipe Extension Needed," John E Davies suggested (in regard to dust at the back of a trailer) that "Vortex generators would help a lot, but only if you never slowed below 30 mph😬." Have any of you installed Airtabs on your trailer and/or TV? If so, what was your experience? Less dust? Noticably better fuel mileage? Other?
  11. If Oliver would go back to installing a two-inch receiver on the back bumper then a person could use a standard hitch propeller. Steering? Well, perhaps from the flying bridge up on the solar panels. Stability? Someone (John Davies?) would have design and fabricate a keel to attach between the mudflaps. Sideways propulsion while docking? — perhaps the outdoor shower?
  12. The Lithionics rep told me that Lithionics makes a 315 AH battery specifically for Winnebago. But for wiring, two of these (for 630 AH) would theoretically fit into the LE2 battery tray. But from what I understand from Oliver, with wiring: no go. Might something will change in the future? -- who knows. This battery size would support (or even beg for?) a larger solar array. Cha-ching, cha-ching 🤑.
  13. I think that Oliver is now using two Lithionics 130 amp-hour lithium ion batteries in the LE1, for a total of 260 AH (in the LE2, three 130 AH batteries for 390 AH total) as part of the lithium package. The lithionics batteries have a charging range of 32°F to 113°F, and a discharge temperature range of -4°F to 113°F. Acceptable temperature ranges for long-term storage are a bit more constrained (https://lithionicsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Lithionics-Battery-Storage-Procedure.pdf). The batteries can handle a wider range of temperature when in use (e.g., when traveling) than in long-term storage. My understanding (from what I've read; we do not have our trailer yet) is that you can draw from the batteries below freezing, but charging them requires heating below 32°F. If charging with solar, then all solar gain goes first to the 12V heating system and any excess goes to charging the battery.
  14. Susan, like you, I'm interested in a mildew-free awning (while we live in a more arid climate, we spend a fair amount of time in the moister northwest). I'm wondering if you recall precisely why Girard suggested that the vinyl material would be more mildew resistant, or perhaps the vinyl is better at shielding rain? I would prefer the lower cost of the standard awning, but I (perhaps mistakenly) understood from a Girard representative that the Sunbrella fabric is better in moist areas, because it is breathable and can dry out. Thoughts? From anyone? Thanks, Fritz
  15. Does anyone have the interior dimensions of the microwave-replacement cabinet? I've searched the forum, but couldn't find this (perhaps incorrect search terms?)... Thanks!
  16. The appeal of the split tailgate to me is also the ability to close the tailgate more easily when inside (when camped with just the truck and no trailer). The shell window/door is easy enough to close when inside, but a regular tailgate -- even a damped one -- is much more difficult. Our current truck has a shell with double doors (i.e., no tailgate), but going this route with a newer truck eliminates the factory-installed tailgate camera system, which is too useful to eliminate.
  17. We’ve gone ahead and ordered this year’s HD, but there are 2 things I wish it had: a telescoping steering wheel and the multi-function tailgate. I think this tailgate would make it so much easier to climb in and out of the back. I would have gone for it in a heartbeat if it were available.
  18. Oliver is now beginning to use three 130 AH batteries (390 AH total) as part of the lithium package. Listed below are the storage requirements from the Lithionics website (https://lithionicsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Lithionics-Battery-Storage-Procedure.pdf -- my additions are in red text). LifeBlue batteries likely have similar storage requirements. These are storage requirements; the lithionics batteries have a charging range of 32°F to 113°F, and a discharge temperature range of -4°F to 113°F. In other words, when the batteries are in use (e.g., when traveling) they can handle a broader temperature range than when in storage. After much back and forth, I have decided to order the lithium package. Here's why: (1) there is ample charge for several cloudy days at our anticipated daily use (probably between 75 and 100 AH per day) to last for several cloudy days; (2) there is ample battery capacity for occasional, short duration A/C use (perhaps for an hour at 100 AH per hour), although this will likely require supplemental charging from non-solar sources); (3) the lithium package comes with the 3000 W inverter, which allows A/C use at rest stops; (4) I've satisfied myself that I will generally be within the operating and storage temperature ranges; (5) lithium batteries charge more quickly than other battery types from generator or shore power; (6) lithium batteries reduce trailer weight; (7) at least in theory, lithium batteries will last longer; and finally (8) it is done, the system is built, I won't (hopefully) need to upgrade soon, and I can simply use the system. Yes, the lithium batteries do require some attention, especially in exceptionally hot or cold climates (e.g., during extended visits with BackofBeyond's sons). However, here in the arid west where temperatures are typically less than 105°F, and generally greater than 0°F, it should be OK. If it looks like the temperatures will be excessively high or low during times of storage, I can remove the batteries from the trailer and keep them in a conditioned environment: each individual battery weighs about 40 pounds. Another alternative would be to purchase the solar/AGM package and wait for lithium battery prices to fall. However, the solar/AGM packages only comes with the 2000 W inverter. Future upgrades to lithium with the intention of occasional A/C use would require a new, larger inverter. Another reason to perhaps delay going with lithium now is that future lithium battery packages may have greater capacity (e.g., 500 or 600+ AH). However, charging this size of battery (the initial cost of which will likely be expensive) would probably require the use of shore or generator power; there is insufficient charge current available from the existing (340W) rooftop solar system to charge a mostly discharged 600 AH battery pack in a reasonable amount of time. A general rule of thumb might be to have ~1.5 watts of solar panel for every AH of battery capacity (thanks for this, Overland). Thus, 390 AH battery (as is offered in Oliver's current lithium package) is perhaps sufficiently right-sized for the current 340W rooftop solar array (especially if using a 100W or 200W portable panel in conjunction with the 340W rooftop solar). Lacking additional solar, additional charging capacity has to come from the TV, generator, or shore power. If the goal is to reduce or minimize generator use (or shore-power reliance), there's an argument to be made for not oversizing the battery. (Actually, thanks to Overland for helping frame this entire bigger-battery-is-perhaps-not-better perspective.) In summary, I am not in the more tech-savvy group among you (although I feel like I'm confused now at a higher level than when I was before -- that's progress). Nonetheless, I am grateful that Oliver is offering a lithium package, even if the implementation is still evolving. I'm looking forward to giving it a try. quirements
  19. CELL BOOSTER As Andrew notes, Oliver is no longer using the WeBoost unit; they've gone to the SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 (https://www.amazon.com/SureCall-Fusion2Go-Vehicle-Booster-Carriers/dp/B079TKG6Q5/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Fusion2Go+3.0&qid=1611515323&sr=8-3). A 5-G knock-off, perhaps, although it seems like SureCall is one of the larger suppliers for this sort of device. Here are product specs: Uplink Frequency Range (MHz): 698-716 / 776-787 / 824-849 / 1850-1915 / 1710-1755 (G Block Included) Downlink Frequency Range (MHz): 728-746 / 746-757 / 869-894 / 1930-1995 / 2110-2155 (G Block Included) Supported Standards: CDMA, WCDMA, GSM, EDGE, HSPA+, EVDO, LTE and all cellular standards Input/Output Impedance: 50 Ohm Maximum Gain: 50 dB Noise Figure: ≤5 dB VSWR: ≤2.0 Gain Adjustment: 20 dB (Automatic) DC Car Charger: 6-15V Maximum Output Power: 1 Watt EIRP Cable: SC-240 Exterior Antenna Cable Length: 40 ft RF Connectors: FME Male (both ends) Power Consumption: <10W Dimensions: 5.625" x 4" x 1.125" Weight: 1.43 lbs This unit supports multiple frequencies: LTE bands 12, 17, 13, 5, 2, 25, 4 (i.e., more than bands 4 and 13 on older models, which is good). The Internet Resource Center folks (MIMO vs Boosters: Do Cellular Boosters Provide the Best Signal & Data Performance? - YouTube-- thank you, Andrew, for the initial link) seem to have a decent opinion of the SureCall cell booster. However, I'm beginning to think that the hotspot approach (such as the Jetpack sold by Verizon) may offer a better antenna, wifi access to internet for other devices (e.g., laptop and tablet), and a port to plug a MIMO antenna or an even better antenna (such as John Davies is doing). Furthermore, StarLink (https://www.starlink.com) may soon provide an internet alternative where one system serves both home and trailer (100 Mbps download, ~$100/mo), with access in and out of cell areas, negating the need for pulling in weak cell signals. Expensive, yes, but if it replaces DSL or cable at home a well as provide mobility, then it's an intriguing solution. WiFi BOOSTER According to the Internet Resource Center (IRC), the WiFi booster used by Oliver (WiFi Ranger Sky Pro, based on photo in Upgrades -- please correct me if this is not true) is decent, but not very future proofed. My understanding is that the model is being discontinued. There are many alternatives out there at various price points that do different things. Head-spinning, really. The IRC folks are making a full-time occupation out of reviewing the plethora of devices for mobile cell, internet, and wifi uses. Thus, unless some of you make a compelling argument to the contrary, I think I will try the trailer without the factory-installed devices initially, and perhaps look more closely at a Jetpack or similar device in the future.
  20. Thank you, Bill, for your detailed descriptions and comments. Do you think that the combination 890 and BC35 camera would be a solid alternative to the backup camera system that Oliver installs on new trailers ("Furrion Vision S" with a 4.3-inch screen)? Or, do you find that the 890 provides substantial benefit as an additional backup camera system so that both are warranted? From your description, the Garmin combination would offer a much bigger back up screen (perhaps making it easier to see obstacles when backing up), plus give all of the benefits of navigation, especially if you can easily toggle between rear-view and navigation when driving. Does the BC35 camera have a motion-detect function (I don't see anything mentioned in the Amazon descriptions...).
  21. Thank you for finding and posting this. Do you know the purpose of the small rail above the exterior light? Perhaps shield the window from some of the rainwater coming off of the roof?
  22. Thank you for all of your comments. I agree that "less might be better" -- we have not yet decided on the microwave (that cabinet could be a good spot for storing the instant pot instead). But how many of you have (or perhaps would have if you had the larger inverter and sufficient battery power) run the A/C for short periods of time, taking a short respite from the heat on a hot summer day?
  23. I agree - partial deployment, and maybe a solid fabric to help shield rain, would be good. If they are light, perhaps they could be held on with suction cups (and removed for travel)...
  24. Thanks -- your first photo came through, but not the second one...
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