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JaquelynK

Diesel generator?

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I am trying to find the perfect generator for my yet-to-be-ordered Ollie. I will mostly be traveling alone I expect, so there is a limit to how much generator I can dead-lift in and out of my truck or a storage compartment. I'm pretty strong for a woman I think, but still, I'm not going to be slamming around anything much over 50 or maybe 60 pounds. I would like to get away from gasoline because of the general mess and fire danger. And my truck is a diesel, so I have a virtually unlimited supply of that relatively unvolatile fuel if I want to suck it out of the truck. Problem is finding a reasonably lightweight, relatively quiet diesel generator. I found one supposedly made by in Canada by Advanced Engine Technology Ltd., but I am not finding a way to actually buy one. Their website shows one called the Flex-Lite 2.5kW AC/DC that sounds like it might be just the thing. It weights 108 pounds (without fuel I assume). But my plan would be to have it securely locked into a generator basket on the tongue so I don't have to lift it ever. The truck will handle the extra tongue weight fine I am sure. I am wondering if anyone has ever seen or used one of these generators or know where to buy one? Failing in that, any recommendations for an equivalent diesel that doesn't weight 400 lbs and cost more than the Ollie would be helpful. Also, the thing is rated at 75 db at 7 m, which is about 15 db more than similar kW-rated gasoline Hondas and Yamahas. But 75 db is supposed to be about like a hair dryer, which doesn't sound so awful. I might be able to get a cover with good sound insulation that I could run on it to minimize the noise and still let the engine cool (it is air-cooled so it will need air). This is the website where I found the Flex-Lite, but it seems to exist nowhere else, other than a picture on the web

 

http://www.aet.ca/index.php?section=50

 

Any comments on how much of a jerk I would be at 75 db and advice on diesel generators in general. I'm not so concerned with the extra cost, since I would expect to get many more hours out of a diesel engine to offset the initial expense. But the perfect model so far eludes all search.

 

Jaque

 

Idaho Ollie Owner of the Future (ordering a 2017?)

 

2006 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Duramax Diesel with Allison 6-speed and tow package, Ext cab, long bed with topper


Jaque

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I suspect you just might piss off quiet a few other campers with a 75 db generator. Why not invest in solar? We have the two panels with Trojan T-105 battery pack and have never come close to running out of electricity… ever. We just returned from the desert country in Utah and were completely off the grid for two weeks, and the lowest we got was 96% on a very cold morning with the furnace running. Half the days were either overcast, or intermittent rain and the system still charged  100% by mid morning. Same thing last summer camped in Glacier with dappled shade. We have a Yamaha generator that is rated at 38 db I believe, quietest one available and even its too loud. We never take it with us though, as its not needed any longer. We used it with our T@b and hated messing with then.

 

But that said, whats wrong with a gas generator. The Yamaha's are relatively quiet, more so than the Honda's and work well if you really do need one. We don't use our AC and probably never will but have on occasion used the Max Air fan through the night. Out west its all we've ever needed. Perhaps we're just cold blooded though:))

 

 

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75dba is at the level that it will annoy you as much as your neighbors.  If you do a search over at expeditionportal.com, you'll find a few threads on diesel gens, most of which just point out how loud and big they are.  Though 2.5kw is smaller than any I've seen.

 

The alternative, if you're set on diesel, is to size up your truck's alternator or add a second, and then just run your truck each morning for the bulk charge, letting the solar take over for the remainder of the day.  Fred Cook, aka DiploStrat, prefers this method and has the experience and knowledge to back it up.  You can read some of what he's written on the subject here - https://diplostrat.org/documents/

 

Unfortunately, the Oliver's battery bank and solar package really aren't designed for extended boon docking.  It's better than most, for sure, but not where I'd want it to be if you're going to be out for 5 days or so.  The rule of thumb is 1w solar for every amp hour of storage.  So with the Oliver you're starting off behind the curve, and that's before you eventually swap the battery bank out for lithiums (which eventually everyone will do, given the expected life of these trailers).  So they really need to squeeze another panel of the roof somehow.  We're going to try for two, even if that means eliminating the AC.

 

I wish Oliver would offer an 'expedition package' that included a lithium battery pack, larger fresh water tank, and doubled up on the solar.

 

 

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Unfortunately, the Oliver’s battery bank and solar package really aren’t designed for extended boon docking. It’s better than most, for sure, but not where I’d want it to be if you’re going to be out for 5 days or so. The rule of thumb is 1w solar for every amp hour of storage. So with the Oliver you’re starting off behind the curve, and that’s before you eventually swap the battery bank out for lithiums (which eventually everyone will do, given the expected life of these trailers). So they really need to squeeze another panel of the roof somehow. We’re going to try for two, even if that means eliminating the AC. I wish Oliver would offer an ‘expedition package’ that included a lithium battery pack, larger fresh water tank, and doubled up on the solar.

 

Your wrong about this information. As previously stated above we have camped with our Oliver for two weeks or more and never not once have we need shore power… ever. The only time we dipped down into the low 80's% of our battery pack was the first week we had it, staying in TN at my sisters house when the weather was freezing cold, mid to low teens every night for 4-5 days running. We ran the furnace during the night to keep the camper around 58º and in the morning the battery pack would be around 82-85% but easily recharged even in heavy overcast days with the rain every day to 100%. As far as I'm concerned the solar package will keep anyone with electricity indefinitely based upon our experience. Campers will run out of gas and water long before electricity with this package.

 

And again we just returned from a two week trip to Utah depending 100% on our solar package, we had rain, we had wind, we had overcast days and the lowest our battery pack got to was 96% but only because we ran the furnace in the morning. We had at least 3 nights of freezing temps at Sand Island Campground close to Bluff.

 

Not sure why you think otherwise but this solar package is awesome providing more power than we will ever use. We have the Elite II with dual panels, 4 Trojan batteries.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

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First you must ask why you need a generator.  If it just to augment the solar a small 1000 or 2000 WATT Honda or Yahama will be fine.  My Honda weighs 48 pounds and sits nicely in the gen basket.  On the other hand if you plan to dry camp where you will want to run the AC you will need at least a 3000 WATT.  Again I would go with Honda or Yahama.

 

We camped for two weeks last Summer on the Blue Ridge Parkway with little or no sunshine many days.  I ran the Honda twice to boost the batteries after several days in a fog bank, but other than that the batteries held up just fine.  I have four T 105s.

 

My only regret is not getting a larger inverter.  3000 Watts would run my AC.  Not the standard Dometic.  I have an Atwood Air Command that runs on my 2000 Watt Honda.

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Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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I guess I was trying to keep my options open. If I just get too hot and can't take it any more, I would like the option to run the AC for a little bit. Mainly I would try to cool with geography. But if I miscalculate, just more options without the gasoline component. All possibilities are still on the table at this point including the traditional Honda/Yamaha or a dual fuel that will run on propane. Still in my very early learning curve here. Thanks for the inverter tip. I will be mindful of that when I order.

 

Jaque

 

Idaho-based Ollie of the Future (a 2017?)

 

2006 Silverado Duramax Diesel with Allison transmission and tow package


Jaque

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Your wrong about this information. As previously stated above we have camped with our Oliver for two weeks or more and never not once have we need shore power… ever. The only time we dipped down into the low 80’s% of our battery pack was the first week we had it, staying in TN at my sisters house when the weather was freezing cold, mid to low teens every night for 4-5 days running. We ran the furnace during the night to keep the camper around 58º and in the morning the battery pack would be around 82-85% but easily recharged even in heavy overcast days with the rain every day to 100%. As far as I’m concerned the solar package will keep anyone with electricity indefinitely based upon our experience. Campers will run out of gas and water long before electricity with this package. And again we just returned from a two week trip to Utah depending 100% on our solar package, we had rain, we had wind, we had overcast days and the lowest our battery pack got to was 96% but only because we ran the furnace in the morning. We had at least 3 nights of freezing temps at Sand Island Campground close to Bluff. Not sure why you think otherwise but this solar package is awesome providing more power than we will ever use. We have the Elite II with dual panels, 4 Trojan batteries. Hope this helps.

 

If you're using a max 80Ah a day (82% remaining charge), then 320 watts of solar is more than enough.  The typical estimates for solar charging are in the range of 20-30Ah a day per 100w.  Obviously that's highly variable, but taken as an average, that gives a range of 64-96Ah a day that you can reasonably expect out of the Oliver's 320W array.  So @ 70-80Ah a day, you're within the limits of the system.  But if you want to use all of the recommended 50% capacity of the batteries, then you need to recoup 225Ah, which can't be done without a gen or alternator providing the bulk of that charge.  Double the solar and you can get closer, 128-192Ah of charge, which is more reasonable in terms of usage.

 

What you're really saying is that you could get by with a smaller battery pack.  Nothing wrong with that.  What I'm saying is that the solar package is undersized for the battery capacity.  It's not Oliver's fault - there's only so much you can fit on the roof, and most people will prioritize AC, fan and satellite, and will settle for an undersized solar array.  If you want to match the solar to the batteries, then at the moment I think you have to be willing to forgo two of those three.  Most people wouldn't do that, I don't think, but it would be nice if Oliver offered it as an option.  Don't get me wrong, what Oliver offers is far better than the token systems that other manufacturers provide.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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I was afraid that 75 dab was going to be over the top unless I am by myself somewhere (which I expect to be as often as possible). I guess I just wanted to be able to maybe run the A/C for a little while to quick-cool it off in the evening. I sleep poorly if I am too hot. And the idea of an endless fuel supply on non-volatile fuel in the truck is alluring.  I did read something about a adding a second alternator to the truck. I will certainly look into that. That thing will idle for about two years on a tank of fuel I think. And it's pretty darn quiet.

 

I will of course order the max package for batteries, solar, inverter and so on. Lithium batteries is an idea I hadn't heard, so I will be exploring that idea. I am an ex backpacker and river guide, so I can conserve water. With just one person, it would take me a long darn time to empty the water or fill the black water. I used to be able to wash my hair with less than a quart of water, and it was long then. If the solar works as described I could probably sit out in the wide open BLM lands around Canyonlands for a month easy and be in significant luxury. I will look into better battery options and modifying the truck that I already own. All good stuff guys. Thanks so much!

 

Idaho-based Ollie of the Future (a 2017?)

 

2006 Silverado Duramax Diesel with Allison transmission and tow package

 

 


Jaque

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I agree. The forum is a fantastic source of information and quite fun to read. The generosity in sharing information and welcoming me as a prospective new owner is impressive and rather touching. I will feel so much more confident when I make my final decisions with all the advice from the forum backing me up.


Are Airstreams really that much? If so, my Ollie-of-the-Future will feel a little less extravagant. My Grandfather bought a 28-foot Airstream in about 1965 for (I think) about $5000, a fair bit of money at the time. Some of my best childhood memories are of vacations we took in that trailer. He hauled it down to Mexico once with a Wally Byam caravan and was gone for three months. I guess they don't have those any more, but it was quite a thing with several hundred Airstreams. I'm not sure about going to Mexico on my own in my Ollie, but I will be returning to my childhood in a way, touring the West in my Nest Egg. I can't wait.

Jaque

Future Ollie Owner (a 2017 perhaps)

2006 Chevy Silverado Duramad Diesel with Allison transmission and toe package

 

Jaque

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Couple more thoughts here in addition to some of the already excellent other post. But I do agree with Dave (trumpet guy) wish I had gotten an inverter installed, probably not the 2000 watt since we do not have or use a microwave or will never ever use the AC. But there are a few other things we could have used one for. I carry along a 400 watt inverter that plugs into the 12V port under the dining table and it does work so long as you don't tax things too much. The 12 V over the cooktop is all but worthless however due to the undersized wiring they used from the batteries to this area. Too much voltage drop.

 

Don't know what part of ID you currently live in but we are just over the border here in MT. If you haven't seen an Oliver yet you're more than welcome to come visit ours. PM if interested.

 

Back to solar, batteries and AC. We've camped where day time temps were either in the hundreds or near so for days on end, and never not once have we felt the need for AC. Just this past summer in Glacier we had those temps for almost our entire 2 week visit, in fact it reached 109º one day in Whitefish. But out west it cools down in the evening and you can vent out what warm air exist in the trailer quickly with the fan and all windows open. From our experience the Oliver doesn't even get that hot during the day parked in the sun. Now if you're down in Moab in the middle of July it might be a bit different story but this would not be high on my list of activities anyway. After May I don't want any part of that area, much prefer to head to Glacier, Beartooths, or some other equivalent place. But understand there is nothing wrong with the two options for batteries that Oliver already supplies. AGM's are maintenance free, while the T-105's tend to hold a bit more juice, both work great and will supply all of your electrical needs except for AC which you might never need anyway.

 

At the risk of beating a dead horse regardless of what mathematical equations imply, unless you're using AC you will never run out of electricity with the solar package and 4 batteries on the Elite II even in the worst of weather. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. Back your TV up to the hitch, plug in the cable while running your engine and charge up that way. Beats the heck out of carrying generator around and if boon docking with no one else around your diesel engine will only be heard by you yet still quieter than all but the Yamaha's and Hondas. Another alternative would be purchase an additional portable solar panel, pull out the battery draw and hook that up in addition to the existing solar panel on the roof and charge at a faster rate. But the existing system is already overkill except in the worst sort of conditions none of this will be necessary anyway.

 

We use lights freely as needed on our Oliver, furnace if needed, vent fan as needed, as well as water pump. We don't use the entertainment system however. We would rather be out hiking and exploring, then come in cook diner have an adult beverage get up and do it again. But I doubt that system would eat up more than a percent or two even if used.

 

 

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When I brought The Wonder Egg (hull #14) home in 2008 it had a single 100w solar panel and my batteries only held 110AH reserve energy.  I did an experiment and ran the Fantastic Fan 24 hours a day for a full month, no hookups, just capturing solar energy.  In the end, the batteries were at full charge and asking to keep on going to prove the trailer was like the Energizer Bunny.  "In the early years" my interior and exterior lights were halogen . . . energy sucking devils.

 

Now with all LED lights,  a single, 160w panel, and 200AH of energy in my Lifeline batteries, I'm set for indefinate boondocking unless I find the never ending fog bank in the deep woods for extended camping.  I recently traveled to Pennsylvania. While boondocking and using the furnace at night, I never woke up with fewer than 12.7 volts on my batteries.  As soon as the sun was above the horizon, they slowly increased in voltage and by mid morning they were getting a super deep charge with 14.7 volts.

 

Personally, I feel my current energy package is perfect as long as the tempurature is not stiffling and there is no need for the A/C.  In those extremely rare instances, the generator gets to exercise.  The beauty of having a rolling castle is the ability to seek the perfect climate by going high into the mountains or high up the latitude ladder.

 

Both are fun.

 

 

 

 

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Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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I think an inverted is available as a built in option so I will be getting that. And I expect to manage temperature by geography as much as possible. But clearly I need to study up on kW this and amperage that. Inverter changes 12V to 120 for my laptop, right. So much to learn. And almost more information coming in than I can take in. The forum is amazing.

 

 

 

I appreciate the offer to peek at your Ollie. I assume you are the one near Bozeman. I had thought to just go to the factory to see them. If I stand in an Elite and then in an Elite II, I think I will know if the Elite will do. I hope it will because my truck is so darn long. But looking at a real one would be helpful as well. I have a big Caribbean trip coming up and work in Alaska. But I might be in touch come July.

 

Jaque

 

Future Ollie Owner (a 2017 perhaps)

 

2006 Chevy Silverado Duramad Diesel with Allison transmission and tow package


Jaque

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Buzzy,

 

No Tent campers here . . . Pinnacles Campground, WY.  Bear country.  Look closely across the wetlands, onto the opposite shore of the high mountain lake.  If you see the bright white "dot" slightly above the lake (30' or so above it in reality, but just a bear's whisker in height above the lake in this long distance picture)  that's The Wonder Egg, in all its boooooondocking splendor.  My all time favorite boondocking camping spot so far.

 

Pete

 

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Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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Excellent! I am consumed with envy. Nice photo. Might have to speed up my egg order.

 

Jaque

 

Elite (TBD) Ollie of the Future with 2006 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Duramax Diesel, Alluson transmission and tow package


Jaque

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I think an inverted is available as a built in option so I will be getting that. And I expect to manage temperature by geography as much as possible. But clearly I need to study up on kW this and amperage that. Inverter changes 12V to 120 for my laptop, right. So much to learn. And almost more information coming in than I can take in. The forum is amazing. I appreciate the offer to peek at your Ollie. I assume you are the one near Bozeman. I had thought to just go to the factory to see them. If I stand in an Elite and then in an Elite II, I think I will know if the Elite will do. I hope it will because my truck is so darn long. But looking at a real one would be helpful as well. I have a big Caribbean trip coming up and work in Alaska. But I might be in touch come July. Jaque Future Ollie Owner (a 2017 perhaps) 2006 Chevy Silverado Duramad Diesel with Allison transmission and tow package

 

Yep we are in the Bozone, that would be us. You're right there is much to learn regarding AC/DC voltage. The 400 watt portable inverter we got from Radio Shack is more than enough to charge our laptop, grind fresh coffee beans in the morning and so on. But a bit annoying to get it out and hook up when needed vs having one installed permanently.

 

Just an fyi, not all Airstreams cost $130 grand, not that I'm trying to talk you into one. I've seen some of the lesser models like the Flying Cloud for around $80± a few and they used to make a very small one that is more in line with the Elite II but for that sort of money the Oliver annihilates the Airstream IMO.

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I loved the Airstream trips I did as a kid, but even a brand new one doesn't really measure up to the boon docking capabilities of the Ollie. So I'm not tempted to go over to the Aluminum side.

 

I'm such fun tricking out my imaginary Ollie!

 

Jaque

 

Ollie Elite II of the Future A 2017?) with a Chevy Silverado 2500HD Duramax diesel, Allison six speed with tow package

 

 


Jaque

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Solar is silent, and reliable.

We carry a little Honda 1000 for backup, but have probably had electricity at campsites less than a dozen days in 8 years and 70,000 miles of Ollie camping. We have no power connection at our Nc camping proprty, by choice. It's available, but we don't want or need it. We manage just fine with solar, a single battery, and faithful power management. I charge tablets and phones while the sun is high, for example.

Do take a look at the smaller Legacy. It has served us well for 8 years. Can't honestly think of owning a different trailer.

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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