Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by NCeagle

  1. Ok, thanks Larry. So with the package that Oliver is providing (2 x 200 Ah LT LifeBlue's), when the battery is cold enough (which should be very rare), we need to be sure we are charging the LifeBlues with something under 20 amps or over 24 amps - but not in between. My 180 watt solar suitcase produces 10 amps in maximum sun. My generator can push 15 amps sustained. Looks like it would be wise to know the amps on the various charge sources in case I have to mix and match to avoid that "gap". Anyone happen to know how many amps the 340 Watt solar panels on the roof of the Ollie can produce in full sunlight? I'd guess it's around 19 max.
  2. Hi Larry, for a pair of 200 Ah LifeBlue Batteries, does .05C equal 20 amps (.05 * 400)? And... what current is required for the heater circuit to activate? I guess it would be up to the owner to make sure the charge source wasn't trying to charge the batteries at a rate between .05C and whatever the heater circuit is? That would be bad luck resulting in no charging. 😞
  3. Well summarized Susan. These are the reasons I'm investing in lithium - I'm certainly not investing in the technology hoping to run my A/C all night while boondocking. The reasons are really convenience (more forgiving) and cost savings over time when compared to the AGM / wet batteries. I've already conceded trying to get rid of my generator - it's not going to happen any time soon. Also, I definitely would not have gone with the Lithium package if Oliver had chosen the non-heated version.
  4. Yes, in my truck there is a dedicated fuse for the charge wire so very simple.
  5. Jordan, your truck is similar to my "older" truck in terms of towing capacity (mine is 12K lbs) and Payload (I have 1543 lbs). One big difference is my curb weight is 7657 lbs. (just weighed it yesterday on a CAT scale). With these numbers, towing the Ollie is certainly not going to be the limiting factor for our TV - it's going to be payload. I've weighed all the items I'm taking and I know (mostly) what stays in the truck and what goes into the Oliver. I'm ok with my payload, but it's closer than I thought it would be. Here are some of my planning numbers that may help you assess whether or not payload is going to be an issue for you... 1. These weights are already built into my curb weight, but something to keep in mind. I've added a massive fuel tank (+252 lbs when full) and a full camper shell (+300 lbs) along with some HD suspension/steering (+ 175 lbs) over the years. Will you have to add any weight to the truck to get it the way you like it? 2. I always carry tools and emergency stuff (+169 lbs), the Rock Tamers (+41 lbs), some camping gear that won't go in the trailer (+65 lbs) and of course me and my wife (+320 lbs). Has anyone else ever weighed their tools? I think I carry way too many with my "hope for the best, plan for the worst" Reacher mentality. 🙂 3. On the way to pick up the Oliver, I'll have the extra gear that will be put into the trailer (+655 lbs). I'll still be under my GVWR by 300 lbs, but that's pretty tight, so depending on how the truck rides I may not fill up the massive fuel tank all the way to provide more buffer. 4. Once we pick up, I'm unloading a bit more than the tongue weight (if my estimate of 620 is close) so all should be good there too. 5. I'll have to keep an eye on this as I'm leaving home some things that I would normally have like my generator (+70 lbs), my solar suitcase (+41 lbs), an extra propane tank (+33 lbs) and our dog (+75 lbs). Fingers crossed that the Ollie has enough storage to make room in the TV for these extra things when boondocking, etc.
  6. Good to hear I may be overestimating the tongue weight a bit. I only got the Lithium/solar option so I hope you are right. I know I'm going to love the bigger tank! I've always thought this truck had an undersized tank and limited range and I just needed an excuse to upgrade.
  7. I just ordered a 62 gallon fuel tank for my tow vehicle from S&B. Stock size is only 26 gallons, so this is quite the upgrade - and a necessity in my mind even though another 252 lbs of payload goes poof. After this tank upgrade, my curb weight will have increased by about 750 pounds over the years, reducing my payload from 2273 (stock) to 1523 pounds. Additions include the fuel tank upgrade (+252 lbs), full size fiberglass camper top (+300 lbs), HD steering and suspension (+120 lbs) and other smaller items accounting for the rest of the weight. Before I pulled the trigger I weighed everything that I typically camp and fix things (tools) with (276 lbs) and other things that we have bought for the Oliver (655 lbs). Luckily we are still under GVWR hauling everything to Hohenwald (by 272 lbs). Coming back we should be ok too since we'll unload 655 lbs of stuff and add the tongue weight which I'm assuming around 650 lbs.
  8. I can't say for sure until I pick up the Ollie and try it but I have a good WiFi connection for about 100' from my truck (unobstructed) and the router will be in the back very close to the Ollie so I will be shocked if it doesn't. I'll let you know for sure sometime shortly after 11/18 if all goes according to schedule with our pickup.
  9. I don't have an Ollie yet, but I've had my truck set up for working online remotely for years now. I recently upgraded some of my components and I'm very pleased with my results so far. Currently, I have the WeBoost Drive Reach cellular booster and I use an AT&T Nighthawk hotspot. The Nighthawk is positioned in the back of my truck very close to the WeBoost internal antenna so it can benefit from the boost. I have found that the Nighthawk is often great by itself and I only use the WeBoost when the cell signal is very weak. WeBoost actually hurts download speeds a bit but really helps upload speeds - so it's best to use when doing video conferences and things that require bigger upload speeds. If you are able to position your mifi near (I'm talking within feet) your cell booster antenna in the Ollie, I don't see why it wouldn't work well. Side note: I then use the WIFI network created by the Nighthawk for everything (iphones, ipad, wireless cameras...). With this setup I didn't order any of the electronics for our Ollie. My truck wifi hotspot should work great without modification (I'll just leave it in my truck) when we're in the Ollie as well. The wifi router also allows other cool things like using the wireless cameras as backup or dashmount while driving and security while camping (even when away from our setup the cameras will ping if there is some activity, etc.). I plan on checking for bears before I open the front door every morning. 😉
  10. As I've mentioned in another post, I've decided not to bother with charging from my truck. I already have a small Honda generator and rather than upgrade my truck's charging capabilities, I've just splurged for the 180 watt Zamp solar suitcase to help when the sun is out. Still getting a 26% rebate this year helps. I just got it and it's working great - pretty fun charging all of my deep cycle marine batteries and several other 12v batteries I have around the house with it. 🙂
  11. Oliver is using the heated batteries. I have asked because winter camping is important to my wife and I. I have made a note to double check that when we pick up our Ollie in Nov.
  12. Hi all, Jason did respond back on this topic. He reached out to the R&D team at Oliver that has worked on the Lithium package and this team also recommended following LifeBlue's design that has been shared and discussed in the forum (Oliver calls it a kit). Here's what I'm going to build and mount on top of my Ollie someday when I get the spare time... having the alternator closer to the batteries makes everything so much easier! 😉
  13. This is ultimately the biggest challenge I see - the voltages having to be within specific ranges to actually get a BMS to accept charge - and regardless of wire thickness a vehicle alternator's voltage outputs just aren't made to charge batteries - only maintain them. I'm back to not overthinking this as you suggest, in fact I'm done thinking about it for now. 🙂 I'm going to play it safe and disable the connection between my TV alternator and the Ollie. Seems like a very minimal charging capability (if any) is not worth introducing the additional risk. I'll just be carrying my generator for long boondocking trips for now in case my solar doesn't keep up.
  14. Will do. I have an open service request with Jason and he's sent the question to the R&D team that worked on the Lithium battery option.
  15. I'll just pull the fuse and disable that circuit. In my case, the fuse is under the hood in the main electrical distribution center and it's a dedicated circuit, so it doesn't impact anything else to pull it out. I have a "dummy" fuse to put in there to keep dirt out of the contacts in case I ever want to use it again.
  16. All TVs will "try" to charge batteries if the batteries are asking for energy (through the harness wire). The upgrades mentioned would be required to increase the efficiency of charging (more amps to the battery to put more charge into it). I may worry too much, but Lithiums are not the same as Lead Acid and I don't want to be the guinea pig with a $4K set of batteries. Stock alternators and wires provide a trickle charge (unless upgraded), so they maintain or slowly charge house batteries. Sending a constant un-managed low amp/low voltage trickle charge to Lead-Acid batteries is not dangerous and in fact good for them, but this is not the case for Lithiums - Lithiums cannot accept overcharge. Maybe the LifeBlues manage this internally? Maybe charging with a stock setup can cause repetitive BMS protection cycling and void the warranty? Even if LifeBlue sends my phone a message that says "turn off that trickle charge now!" - I wouldn't be able to without stopping my truck, opening the hood and pulling the fuse. 🙂 I'm hoping LifeBlueBattery can help us understand if there are any risks and if so how to mitigate, etc. No way I'm enabling this TV charging on my new Lithium's without more info.
  17. Hello Larry, thanks for joining the forum. I've just purchased an Oliver Elite II with the LifeBlue Lithium Ion batteries. I was just researching what it would take to charge the LifeBlues from my TV alternator while driving - or even while idling as I'd like to leave my "emergency" generator at home. I see from the LifeBlue spec sheet that it takes between 14.1 and 14.6 volts for the LifeBlue's to absorb charge (recommend 120 amps for 15 minutes). I sent an email about this to your sales team alias and got back a reply and a recommended configuration (see attached diagram). As it stands now, in addition to a solenoid, fuse and a high amp connector, I'd have to upgrade the charge wires in my TV to 0 or 00 gauge to maintain sufficient voltage and the high amps for charging. It's 20' to the end of my truck and probably another 10 to the house LifeBlue's. I asked Jason (service) how they were wiring the hot lead from the TV to the LifeBlue's but haven't heard back yet. I'm pretty sure there will need to be some upgrades to the Oliver to make this happen as well. Any experience, recommendation or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Maybe it's just easier to carry the generator for charging the batteries when there's no other sources available?Alternator Charge Circuit copy.pdf
  18. You are most likely above 13.8 volts and charging your AGMs with your set up - you would know if you weren't. I was not impressed when I measured my voltages because I have the towing package and expected better. I suspect I have a problem somewhere. I think one important point is that for new owners that are getting the Lithium package (like me), there are increased voltage / amp requirements coupled with more stringent charging requirements that are really going to push the limits of some of the alternators in our TVs, and it looks like LifeBlue is recommending some significant upgrades to charge from the TV. Hopefully Oliver engineering is aware and will advise / adjust accordingly.
  19. Just to close on this topic, I'm going to post what I've learned through some additional research. 1. With my current "stock" alternator and wiring setup, I have more voltage at my alternator (14.1) than I have at the trailer harness hot lead (13.9 volts). The drop in voltage is explained by Ohm's law. Basically, the wire used in the trailer harness is nowhere near a heavy enough gauge to preserve the voltage over the 20' run to the back of the truck. It's going to drop even more going from my harness back to the Oliver battery bank. A reasonable estimate is down to 13.8 volts. 2. Lead acid batteries accept charge when the voltage is between 13.8 - 14.7 and maintain via a float charge when the voltage is between 3.5 and 3.8. The LifeBlue lithiums absorb a charge when the voltage is between 14.1 - 14.6 and maintain via float when voltage is between 13.6 and 13.8. 3. Given these facts, I would only be borderline float/charge with lead acid and only able to float charge the lithiums. So really no charging capability at all - just maintaining / floating. 4. I sent and email to LifeBlue since I'm getting the Lithium package and I asked them for guidance on setting up a TV to charge the LifeBlue lithiums. See attached file. 5. From the provided diagram, one can see the tow vehicle needs a solenoid to protect the TV battery when the ignition is off and only charge the lithium house batteries when the ignition is on. The solenoid is connected to the TV battery and alternator through a heavy duty MRBF fuse and 2 gauge or larger wire. The solenoid is then connected through a wire and high amp Anderson plug. I specifically asked about the recommended gauge of wire between the Solenoid and Anderson plug if the run is 20' and was told 0 gauge minimum, 00 gauge optimal if I include 10 more feet for the Ollie. That's some THICK wire! 6. From there the current goes into the Oliver and the wire thickness of 00 would have to be maintained to the batteries. They also recommend a cutoff switch. 7. I've asked Jason in Oliver service for the electrical diagram of the Oliver Elite II (specifically this connection) to see what kind (if any) of upgrades would be required on the Ollie side. I'll share what I get back from him in case anyone is interested. Summary. Now I know why Mike and Carol also had to use a generator along with the TV alternator on that "cloudy" trip they described... if the stock trailer harness lead is all that is being used, you won't really be able to add any significant charge to any house batteries while driving. This is especially true for Lithiums. Looks like a lot of upgrades / money to actually enable meaningful charging from the TV alternator - with the payoff being not having to carry a generator. I'm still thinking this over. I already have a generator I could use. 🙂 Alternator Charge Circuit copy.pdf
  20. Thanks for the insight on this topic! I'm convinced that I want/will need the ability to charge my Ollie batteries while towing now, but the engineer in me wants to understand how the connections are made within the Ollie and what technology is being used. I need to figure out if an upgrade my alternator and/or an increase in the wire gauge is required for me to actually take advantage of this charging method. Using some real world estimates, electrical properties dictate that a 14 volt current over a 10 gauge wire from a typical TV alternator (that's the average voltage from a properly running stock alternator) will experience a 3.85% voltage drop over 30 feet (my truck is 20 feet long and then there's an estimated 10 more feet to get to the battery bank in the Oliver). That means that I'll have about 13.46 volts on the charge wire at termination. 13.46 volts would only be enough to trickle charge a 12V battery on it's own, so if I go this route and there's no magic going on with the electrical components in the Oliver, I may need to beef up my alternator and/or wire gauge. Unless someone knows off-hand how Oliver wires all this together, I'll ask them directly. The owners manual doesn't have the detail to figure this out. Sorry if this is getting too deep into the weeds. Oliver probably has a simple answer for this. I'm assuming the moderators will let me know if I'm going way off base here and inadvertently hijacking the original intent of this thread. 😐
  21. Seems to be since typically you use 8 gauge with a 40 amp circuit. It's what was in it when I bought it, so it's probably for something like a winch that takes a lot of start up amps but doesn't have a constant pull over 30 amps. It's one of those large maxi fuses that GM uses and I double checked it - still in my center console after all these years - definitely 40 amp. Like this one: Bussmann (BP/FMX-40-RP) Green 40 Amp Female Maxi Fuse
  22. I know solar will top off any batteries (Lithium included) during a day trip. I'm hoping there isn't a problem with just a fan or a few small things running in the Ollie while towing at night without the hot lead from the TV. My understanding is that the configuration of the trailer harness lead does vary from vehicle to vehicle, so your mileage may vary with this answer. With my TV (older Silverado), I have a standard "always hot" lead on my trailer harness - nothing fancy - it's a 12v x 40amp circuit on my truck. I removed the 40 amp fuse to kill that power just about the day I brought the truck home 14 years ago to "not use" the lead. I didn't like the idea of having to worry about disconnecting the trailer every time I parked the truck to protect against phantom power draw or whatever else might lead to a dead battery - and at 40 amps it could happen very quickly if not careful. Some trucks are wired so that the lead is only hot when the ignition is on and many come with a dummy fuse in place of a real one so an owner can enable the lead only if needed. I'd prefer that but I've never bothered rewiring my truck. I am going to wait and see what other owners do here because of my inexperience with travel trailer batteries in general, but if I have to put my fuse back in to make that lead hot I'll look into a heavy duty alternator and rewire to have it only hot when the ignition is running. As it stands now, I'm running a small data center in my truck already so power is more limited there than it will be with the Ollie. When on a roadtrip, we typically have 2 iphones, an ipad mini, my truck performance monitor, my backup camera, our cellular hot-spot/wifi router, our cell phone signal booster, my wife's laptop for work and a 12v powered dometic cooler running and being powered simultaneously!
  23. I've never used my 12v hot lead on my trailer harness because I've never towed a trailer with a battery (or any 12v winches, etc) before. Do current owners tow with that lead hot by default or are there some that don't use it? I'm not keen on putting more stress on my TV alternator and engine if I don't have to. I was thinking with solar and big batteries I'd not have to worry about it.
  24. I'm going to look closer at this once we have our Ollie in November - it's tough right now for me to envision and understand what is involved without getting my head down in the plumbing. One of the first things I'll be working on will be trying to improve the insulation and/or heat around all the plumbing. I know winter camping is more challenging but I'm an avid skier and with Covid ruining ski season last year and threatening again this season (hotel availability mainly), I'm thinking a winter camping trip to a ski resort parking lot may be in the cards sooner rather than later. Some ski resorts offer dry camping in their parking lots for free or a very nominal fee. One of the (many) challenges with this "winter" use case is using a bladder may not be possible due to the freezing potential. With a converted black tank and proper insulation and heating, that shouldn't be as much of a concern. Fun to think about!
  25. Wow. Now I know why it's been discussed but no one has tried anything like I was thinking. I don't think I'll be removing the tank either if I can't take it out whole and replace it if we ever decide to sell or switch toilets. I'll just rest easy for now knowing that I have a spare tank on board that won't need any special attention. Thanks Overland and SeaDawg for sharing your thoughts and experience. I'll just have to make do with various water storage containers to make it all work if/when we'll be camping dry for an extended period.
  • Create New...