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Everything posted by Fritz

  1. Is there any advantage to a 3,000 Xantrex watt inverter over the 2,000 watt model other than perhaps occasional, short-duration use of the A/C using lithium battery power?
  2. I've lurked now for several years on this forum, and over the last year have even begun sneaking in some questions. I've been highly impressed with the knowledge, advice, suggestions, and ideas; the constructive forum community has contributed to our selecting an LE2. And now that we are getting closer to finalizing our order, I thought I'd send in a more formal introduction. My first RV in the late 1970s was a Job Corps bus (a shorty school bus); since then my wife Susan and I have backpacked, tent- and car-camped, owned 2 Airstreams (1965 Globetrotter and a 1966 Caravele), and over the last 13 years have averaged 2-3 months per year in a Sprinter conversion attending old-time music festivals, exploring the west, and visiting friends and family throughout the country. Our vacations over the years have also included numerous self-supported whitewater raft and kayak trips. We hope to continue doing all of these things, and perhaps, in our travels we'll have an opportunity to meet some of you in person. In the meantime, I look forward to learning from you.
  3. Has anyone perhaps used suction cups and tarps (e.g., lightweight nylon) to create occasional streeetside shade in lieu of an awning? If so, how has it worked? Similarly, has anyone tried smaller, window-size awnings for shade or as a rain shield? In advance, thanks for your insights.
  4. Back to solar/battery (and inverter) options ... Our ordering deadline is approaching quickly, and I'm still wrestling with the Solar Pro vs Lithium Pro option. The lithium package appeals to be, but it seems that the implementation in Oliver trailers is still being refined. Several have suggested going with Solar Pro (340W solar, 2000W inverter, AGMs) now, and perhaps replacing the AGMs (or less expensive flooded-cell batteries) with lithium when the AGMs wear out. However, the Lithium Pro (340W solar, 3000W inverter, lithiums allows use of the AC for short periods of time (e.g., highway rest stop for lunch on a hot summer day). The 2000W inverter in the Solar Pro setup, even with lithiums added later, may be insufficient for the the AC (as I understand it). So selecting the solar/battery package based on batteries may preclude future use of the AC. So, my questions are these: 1. How hot does it really get in the trailer on very hot days (e.g., over 100°F)? Does the white outside color reflect enough light so that the interior temperature is OK with fan, open window, etc.? Is the AC a needed for this situation, or am I overthinking it? 2. Are there other reasons for having the 3000W inverter other than AC? (We can easily do without microwave or other high-use items when the AC is on.) 3. Can the 2000W inverter somehow be used to run the AC (with easy start) from battery power for relatively short periods of time (thinking ahead, when the AGMs have been replaced with lithiums) as long as there are no other major, simultaneous electrical draws? 4. Is it better to stick with the 2000 W inverter, carry a generator in the optional utility box in front of the propane doghouse, and rely on the generator for AC during rest stops? Theoretically, on option would be to order solar, less expensive batteries, and the 3000W inverter now, but that's not how the packages are arranged and it seems highly unlikely that Oliver would deviate from the pre-packaged options. In advance, thank you for your thoughts! p.s., Based on current patterns, I anticipate that 60% of our use will be boondocking (in the open or in SP or FS "primitive" sites), 20% with hookups, and 20% in friends or family driveways (most often with 15A 120V electric).
  5. From previous posts I understand that the awning is a 16-foot version of the Girard model GG750. FYI, I called Girard about the two fabric options (standard is a vinyl material; "pro" is a canvassy sunbrella material called "Bravia") -- I was interested in longevity. Longevity, of course, depends on many factors, including sun exposure, humidity, conditions during storage, etc. I was told that the vinyl might last at least 3-6 years with "typical" usage (whatever that means, although the company is in Southern California); Bravia 5-8 or perhaps 10 years. Bravia is breathable; vinyl is less so, and can mildew if stored wet. The vinyl costs $270 + shipping and labor to replace (he said replacement is not all that difficult, and there is a video to help guide the process). The corresponding replacement Bravia material costs $560 + shipping. Thus, a person could go through 2 vinyl replacements and still be ahead over the cost of the Pro model (assuming labor is DIY and free), although the Pro model represents less throw-away material (the Pro model would also include the sensor and light, I suppose). Finally, FWIW, the entire unit (didn't specify standard or Pro) weighs about 80 lbs.
  6. Kudos on collecting, compiling, and presenting these data. It appears that the space heater resulted in a 10°F temperature differential between outside ambient and basement temperatures, and the furnace (with the ducting mods you've made) made an approximate 20°F difference. Thank you also for recording propane use. Your nightly use of 7.2 lbs of propane, or about 1.7 gallons (at 4.24 lbs per gallon), would cost about $7 (at $4.00/gallon). Substantially less than the tax on a ski-area hotel room.
  7. Thank you all for the responses. I think I'll pass on the air suspension (based largely on Mike's comments) and second alternator. I spoke with a local auto electrician -- he confirmed that the single alternator would produce plenty for whatever sized wire that can be reasonably extended to the hitch area and on to the trailer battery. I'll be curious what mileage you experience, Mike, when you head for Arizona...🙂
  8. Thank you! That's encouraging about the suspension -- I would prefer to pass on it. Is your truck version slightly higher than the standard Laramie? In the 3 weeks have you towed enough to get a sense of towing fuel mileage?
  9. I'm getting close to ordering the Ram 2500 (w Cummins) to tow an LE2. With the trailer tongue weight (~600 lbs), topper (200 lbs), and perhaps 400 lbs in the bed, is the air suspension really needed or is the squat tolerable without? Similarly, even with a heavier gauge charging system to the trailer (heavier gauge wire, with or without a DC to DC converter), is there any benefit to ordering a second 220-amp alternator. It seems that the single, standard 200-amp alternator should suffice (given the wire-gauge limitations of anything that can be run and connected to the trailer batteries), but I'm interested in your opinions. Thanks!
  10. There is still much to be said for the Lithium Pro Package, largely because of the lithium batteries themselves. But with recent threads about solar controllers, solar charging levels, DC to DC converters, and options for increasing current flow from tow vehicles, I'm inclined to think there are at least 2 relatively low-cost improvements that would make the Lithium package more much useful, efficient, and appealing. The first is to use a MPPT charge controller instead of a PWM controller. There doesn't seem to be a substantial cost difference, and the MPPT will allow batteries to reach 100% charge from solar. The second is to install a heavier gauge wire during initial construction from the hitch area to the batteries (with dedicated fuse) that can be used by a later, owner-installed charging system from the tow vehicle. Such a system would allow greater charge rates from the tow vehicle than is possible through the 7-pin connector. If the AC is to be run for short periods of time from batteries (e.g., for 15 minutes at a rest stop), it would be very nice to return portion of the battery charge during 2-3 hours subsequent driving (at least more than is possible through the 7-pin connector). A dedicated owner-installed heavy-gauge wire from TV battery (as LifeBlue has suggested) to the TV hitch is part of the solution; a matching cable from the hitch area to the trailer-battery area is another part (a DC to DC converter could also be installed later by an owner, if desired, but the harder part seems to be installing a heavier-gauge charge wire from the trailer hitch to the battery area). In fact, for those opting for the Pro package, a 12V charging port for connection to the tow vehicle may be more useful than the optional 30-amp connection near the propane tanks. Such a 12V connection could also be used for additional TV-mounted solar panels (with separate controller). I can only imagine that such vehicle-based charging will become more popular with hybrid and electric pickups. It seems both of these relatively low-cost improvements would make the Pro Package much more useful, allowing short-term use of the AC without needing to hook up a generator or plug into shore power to charge batteries afterwards (which kind of defeats the purpose of the beefier batteries, inverter, etc. Perhaps Oliver would be willing to weigh in on the feasibility of these changes for those of us in line for a 2021 trailer. And one other non-solar (but wiring-related) suggestion: might it be possible to wire one exterior light (e.g., the one by the door) separate from the others? This would provide lighting to enter or exit the trailer at night without needing to light up the entire campsite. Several others have commented on this; I think it would be a popular improvement. To Oliver: thank you for your dedication to thoughtful engineering and quality builds, and for the opportunity to have these community-wide discussions. My hope is that these suggestions could make an already stellar product even more so.
  11. I've been learning lots from these solar/battery/charging threads, but still feel confused, although perhaps confused at a slightly higher level than before 🤔. So, I wrote to LifeBlue about charging using a DC to DC charger: "I was shown the LifeBlue electrical diagram for increasing charge current to LifeBlue batteries in an Oliver trailer. How does this compare to using a Redarc DC to DC charge controller (e.g., https://www.etrailer.com/Battery-Charger/Redarc/RED96FR.html)? Here is his response: "We don’t recommend any external DC converters. If you use the right size wire for the circuit, the battery will charge." So my question is this: Is charging the LifeBlue batteries from the TV "simply" a matter of having a large-enough wire to carry adequate current to the trailer (and from the front of the trailer to the batteries), or is there a benefit from an external DC converter (which is what I understand the Redarc charge controller does) to fully top off the batteries. Larry, if you see this, perhaps you could weigh in on why you don't recommend an external DC converter.
  12. Has anyone tried to modify the wiring so that there is a dedicated switch for just the light by the door? Or perhaps a dedicated switch for just the lower light near the steps. With such a switch one could see enough to exit for enter the trailer without lighting up the entire campsite...
  13. My understanding is that you can choose any awning color as long as it is black.
  14. I've been contemplating a tow vehicle now for several months (a long waiting time for the LE2 allows this). Preferred TV: 1/2 ton diesel, but the payload isn't there. John Davies said "You owe it to yourself to go try the Ram 2500." I did, and tried the GMC HD also. Big vehicles, but solid. It appears that either of these trucks would get better towing mileage than any of the 1/2 ton, non-diesel pickups (search for "LE2 Towing Mileage"). But in the back of my mind, I saw folks like Mike and Carol trading a 1500 for another 1500, and concluded they must have been plenty happy with the 1/2 ton truck. But now they trade to a 2500 -- more payload and capability mountain passes. Well, I guess that points us even more toward the 2500. BoB, from your picture above it looks like you're using the Anderson WDH with your GMC 2500... am I seeing this correctly? If so, do you do this for the weight distribution, or ride quality, or...?
  15. NCeagle, what brand temperature monitor have you installed? Does it also have sensors for outside and inside temperatures? Thanks!
  16. There are multiple references to replacing the 2" hitch ball with a larger 2 5/16" ball and coupling. Oliver will do this on new trailers for $230, which includes some credit for the 2" coupler. Seems like the primary purpose for going to the larger diameter hitch ball has been to reduce wear associated with use of the Anderson weight distribution hitch. But what about trailers without the Anderson WDH? Is there still a wear or strength advantage? Seems like most 2" and 2 5/16" hitch balls have the same 1 1/4" shaft (and therefore the same shear strength), or perhaps that's not the case. Would hitch-ball material make a bigger difference than diameter? Thoughts?
  17. I agree with this, but am leaning toward ordering the Truma unit anyway. It's not that we're interested in long, uninterrupted showers. On the contrary, in our current camper we have a diesel-powered Espar hot water heater, and we generally use it to simply fill a solar-shower bag at the closest faucet to the heater, and then move the bag to the shower. This approach uses *much* less water than that which is needed to get the shower-water temperature set at the shower itself. Less water from the freshwater tank, and less water in the gray tank. My current (but not firm) logic behind the Truma is that the Truma should heat water more quickly than the standard heater (thus using less LP), heat just the amount of water needed (which is typicallynot much), and be substantially lighter than the standard option (6 gallons that doesn't effectively add to the freshwater supply weighs about 50 lbs). 50 lbs here, 50 lbs there -- it adds up. It's appealing to use 120V power to heat water, but we are often not plugged in to shore power. I'm also hoping that while perhaps somewhat delicate, and Overland's experience notwithstanding, that the Truma will, in fact, be relatively reliable. How many of you have had ongoing, unresolvable trouble with the Truma?
  18. I called Girard about these awnings. The upgrade option (for which Oliver has quoted me $699), as Jairon noted, has the O'bravia polyester material. The Girard rep describes this as a breathable material that will last at least a third longer, and probably twice as long, as the vinyl material. There is less chance for mold with the polyester if put away wet because, as breathable material, can dry more easily. Both the vinyl and polyester comes with a black color (which seems odd because it would absorb sunlight much more than a lighter color -- I'll like it more if Oliver's version turns out to have a khaki color). The light strip has a "daylight" color (as opposed to a "warm" light color), and is not dimmable.
  19. Mossemi, Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Perhaps I've been confused because in my current camper the exterior port does run through the primary charge controller; I can see the increased current from the supplemental panel on the display (I stay well within the controller's max-amperage rating). I will follow up with Oliver to see how difficult it would be for them to wire the exterior port to the controller instead of the battery. IF the Zamp ZS-30A controller is built to handle 510 watts, and Oliver's solar package has 340 watts of panels, then I can't exceed an additional 170 watts (which is fine, in that my current 100-watt panel is under this limit). Yes, I do use a heavier gauge wire for the 30-foot cable, but I find the 30-foot length handy when chasing sun in an otherwise shady spot. And thanks for the Will Prouse YouTube links -- ah, more video to watch!
  20. Three questions regarding supplemental solar panels: 1. I understand (but I can't find where I might have read this in the manuals) that any supplemental solar panels plugged into the Oliver's external port require their own charge controller, i.e., electricity from the charge controllers does not go through the Zamp charge controller. As such, any supplemental panels would require their own charge controller(s). If this is correct, then it confuses me, in that the Zamp ZS-30A is suitable for solar panels up to 510 watts (according to the manual), and the standard Oliver installation is only 340 watts. It seems the Zamp ZS-30A should be able to handle an additional 170 watts. (Supplemental panels without controllers are substantially less expensive than panels with controllers). Can anyone confirm that supplemental panels do, in fact, require their own controller, and if so, perhaps tell me why? 2. If using multiple additional solar panels (e.g., for the sake of discussion, two 100-watt panels, each with their own controller), how do the controllers operate in tandem and in concert with the Oliver's installed Zamp controller to protect that batteries, in that the primary house controller and 2 supplemental controllers may each be trying to achieve the same result, but perhaps with different algorithms? 3. Am I overthinking this? This topic is relevant to me, because we frequently seek shade in our current camper (which has 260 watts on the roof), and, where possible, place a supplemental panel on 30-foot cable in the sun to charge batteries. In advance, thanks for your help!
  21. In the Only-Somewhat-Related-But-Perhaps-Amusing-Department: Several years ago we were driving up the Whitebird grade (the new version, with four lanes, a fast and slow lane in each direction, but same elevation gain/loss, and similar big drop-offs over the side). It was windy. Very windy. The wind coming out of the canyon below caught the slide-in camper in the pickup ahead of us and twisted it out of the truck. Bent out the entire side of the bed. The camper went skittering across several lanes, breaking up into many pieces (which a stick-built unit is capable of doing very well). Personal belongings -- clothes, cookware, food -- were scattered everywhere. We of course stopped to offer the poor guy some help (very little traffic that day). Another pickup coming down the hill also stopped. That fellow got out, put his hands on his hips, surveyed the situation, and in typical Idaho fashion helpfully offered the guy whose camper was demolished and whose belongings were scattering in the wind, "Ya wan' me to help ya jus' shove it all over the side?" It wouldn't have been the first wreck that ended up in the valley below.
  22. Here is the Ucluelet (British Columbia, on west coast of Vancouver Island) evacuation plan that would lead to the "sound of lots of panicked running feet"...
  23. Has anyone built something to protect the screendoor from dogs that occasionally scratch as a signal to get out?
  24. Here is an updated graph of LE2 towing mileage; the update includes responses in this thread or additional references that I found in the archives. Data are summarized in this PDF: LE2 Towing Mileage (Table).pdf For illustration purposes, I've aggregated data by general vehicle and engine type (see graph below). The "n" value is the number of mileage data in a group; the higher the number the more reliable the average (although this case the number of data are insufficient to be statistically significant). Nonetheless, these mileage estimates likely fall in the ballpark of what one might expect for these vehicles. I found only three references to LE1 towing mileage (which ranged from 11.5 to 15); these are listed in this PDF:LE1 Towing Mileage (Table).pdf Bottom line: most folks see towing mileage with the LE2 ranging from about 9 mpg to more than 18 mpg, depending on vehicle, terrain, wind and temperature, speed, city/highway, etc. In addition, fuel mileage for various vehicles over millions and millions of miles are compiled at Fuelly.com. Data can be sorted by engine type, and include a mix of towing and no-towing, city and highway, etc. conditions. Fuel mileage is but one of many criteria for selecting a tow vehicle. Nonetheless, I hope thread helps others (like me) for whom towing mileage is one factor in choosing a tow vehicle.
  25. Several others have said the same. I’m curious why. I can see gasser for mostly non-towing, but for mostly towing? Is it the extra cost? Maintenance cost? Emissions technology reliability? All of the above? Thanks!
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