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Oliver Appliances & Utilities


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I've written two long blog posts taking a close look at the systems that are built into the Oliver.

 

Here is my post on the Oliver's plethora of plumbing:

http://radven.livejournal.com/132858.html

 

And here is a look at all the appliances that ship with the Oliver:

http://radven.livejournal.com/132941.html

 

Here is the text of the Appliances and Utilities post, but follow the link above to read the version with pictures and working links to manufacturer websites.

 

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Here's what I know about the core appliances that we will be having built into our Oliver, and how they compare with what we have lived with in Tab...

 

Ceiling Fan / Staying Ventilated:

Tab comes with a variable speed reversible Northern Breeze ceiling vent that has worked wonderfully over the past two years. When cranking on full blast it really does cool down the trailer nicely, particularly when combined with a cross breeze from the Tab's huge windows, or with the spray from our Misty Mate.

 

Oliver has been shipping with a three-speed FanTastic Vent Fan Model 6000RBTA that includes a thermostat and a rain sensor to automatically shut the vent if it starts to drizzle while you are out.

 

According to the spec sheet, the FanTastic Fan on high uses 3 amps to blow 920 cubic feet of air per minute, and 1.86 amps to blow 478 cfm on low.

 

The Oliver factory has been investigating offering the SHURflo Comfort Air Gold roof vent as an alternative. One reason to switch is that the SHURflo fan can circulate air even while the roof vent is closed. And the second reason is supposedly lower power consumption, perhaps because the SHURflo has a variable speed control that can be dialed way back for gentle circulation. Looking at the spec sheet, I see that the SHURflo fan claims to use 3.6 amps to blow 980 cfm of air while on max, but it has the potential to use just 0.3 amps at the lowest power setting. This could be very useful for a little low-power airflow while off grid.

 

Both options look like great fans, and they both get great reviews online for quality and customer support.

 

We have asked for the SHURflo Comfort Air Gold model to be built into our Oliver. It gives up the rain sensor and thermostat, but the variable speed control is nice, and we like the idea of being able to use the ceiling fan for air circulation even while the vent is closed. If we wanted to splurge, we could have gotten those features (and also a remote control) in the Comfort Air Platinum model.

 

We are also contemplating asking for an upgrade to the FanTastic 6600, which is a relatively new model that offers both advanced features and lower power consumption. According to the spec sheet, it uses half the power on full blast as all the other fans - only 1.9 amps, while the lowest setting draws only 0.2 amps. In addition to lower power consumption, it adds variable speeds and a remote control to the FanTastic 6000's rain sensor and thermostat features.

 

 

Air Conditioning / Staying Cool:

Though a Cool Cat Air Conditioner is an option with the Tab, having one means giving up a big chunk of the interior storage space since the Tab can not handle a roof unit. We made do without just fine however, and in the worst heat we used a small Misty Mate to do some evaporative chilling by blowing a fine mist into the exhaust from our roof fan. In the dry environment of the desert, it actually worked amazingly well.

 

We will probably continue to make use of the Misty Mate when camping off-grid in the Oliver.

 

The Oliver initially shipped with a 13,500 btu Dometic Duo-Therm roof mount air conditioner, but now the factory is transitioning to the smaller 9,200 btu Coleman Polar Cub.

 

The big advantage of the Polar Cub is that it is able to run off of the relatively small and affordable Honda EU2000i generator, whereas the larger Dometic required a 3000W generator to keep the compressor cooling.

 

Our Oliver will feature the Polar Cub, which should prove to be more than enough to keep such a small interior space cool. Sadly though, air conditioning uses way too much power to ever run effectively off of solar power...

 

 

Furnace / Staying Warm:

The Polar Cub features 5,600 btu electrical heat strips that are effective for "taking the chill off of a cold morning", but only if you are plugged into shore power.

 

For more powerful heating no matter how off-grid we roam, the Oliver comes with a Suburban NT-12S 12,000 btu propane-fired furnace. The furnace in Tab is also 12,000 btu - an Atwood 7900. But the Tab's furnace is located so that it vents out deep UNDER the bed, in an area often blocked by our excess cargo.

 

The Oliver's furnace vent is located effectively, right in the middle of the kitchen cabinet and next to the bed rather than under it.

 

We may also eventually purchase a small electric ceramic heater for use when staying in campgrounds with full hookups where AC power is more cost effective than propane.

 

 

Stove / Staying Hot:

The Oliver Legacy Elite features an "upgraded stovetop" over the base model Oliver - an Italian brand called SMEV. Reportedly, the SMEV cooks faster and uses less propane than a typical RV stove.

 

The lid over the SMEV stove closes flush to the countertop to create extra flat counter space in the Oliver's kitchen.

 

Interestingly, our Tab also features a two burner SMEV stovetop, and we have been very happy with it. One difference is that the Tab's stove required a flame to light, but the Oliver provides a built in ignitor.

 

 

Refrigerator / Staying Fresh & Icy:

Most RV refrigerators use "gas absorption" technology that involves no mechanical compressor (like in your typical home refrigerator), but instead relies on a heat source (ironically) to cause a coolant to flow through a closed loop. Through this mechanically simple process, a hot propane flame is turned into frozen food and cold drinks. It is totally silent while working too.

 

The most efficient heat source for this sort of refrigerator is propane, though "3 way" RV refrigerators can also generate the necessary heat via AC power, or even 12V from your battery. Running a gas absorption refrigerator off of 12V power however is a sure way to kill your batteries in just a matter of hours though, so be careful! A compressor style refrigerator is MUCH more power efficient for 12V use.

 

The two major manufacturers of RV gas absorption refrigerators are NorCold and Dometic, and Oliver so far has been using both, shipping the Dometic Americana DM 2454 and the NorCold N412.3.

 

Both of these refrigerators offer three way (AC, DC, and Propane) operation, and they measure in at 36 9/16" x 23 11/6" x 24" (despite what the Dometic website incorrectly claims). They also both offer automatic mode selection, and electronic propane ignition (despite what the NorCold user manual incorrectly claims).

 

The major practical difference between these two models is that the NorCold offers 4.5 cubic feet of storage and a slightly larger freezer area. The Dometic provides slightly less usable space, with 4.0 cubic feet of refrigeration.

 

Though Tab offers a small 1.8 cubic foot refrigerator as an option, my Clamshell did not come with one. Instead we rotated through two coolers, and frequent ice purchases. This worked surprisingly well for us.

 

Being able to actually make ice cubes in our own freezer while on the road though - now that will be luxury!!!

 

 

Microwave & Convection Oven / Saving Space:

The Oliver currently comes with a Sylvanian SC11000 combination microwave and convection oven. This would at first seem to be a very useful cooking tool on board, but after talking with several Oliver and Casita owners with a built in microwave, most of them rarely use it and they all wished for the extra storage.

 

We have opted to have this area turned into a large cabinet, with an AC outlet located inside. This should give us space for storing a small toaster oven, a blender, and all of our bar supplies. And when the weather is nice, we can relocate the toaster oven outdoors for some cooking on the patio.

 

 

Washer, Dryer, and Dishwasher:

I wish!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Camping World catalog lists the Coleman Polar Cub at 8,300 btu, not 9,200. It list the amps at 8.0.

 

I suppose one of those facts is false, but which one?

 

Has the Coleman Polar Cub proved itself adequate for Texas heat in the Oliver?

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What are the height and width dimensions for the furnace plate? I am wondering if an Olympian Wave catalytic heater, which comes in three sizes, could be installed in place of the furnace. I have used a cat heater in my 5th wheel and love it. It is virtually 100% efficient and totally silent, whereas RV furnaces are very inefficient and noisy.

 

When using a cat heater, a window and a vent have to be opened about an inch to provide for air circulation, but that has proven to be no problem in my 5th wheel.

 

Any thoughts or comments?

 

How do you Oliver owners like your furnace? Can you watch TV and listen to radio without raising the volume every time the furnace cycles on?

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The Camping World catalog lists the Coleman Polar Cub at 8,300 btu, not 9,200. It list the amps at 8.0.

 

I suppose one of those facts is false, but which one?

 

Actually, as I understand it - they are both true. Coleman has over time made both an 8,300 and 9,200 btu model.

 

The model that Oliver is using is the 9,200 btu model.

 

Based on my research, it has gotten great reviews.

 

- Chris

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What are the height and width dimensions for the furnace plate? I am wondering if an Olympian Wave catalytic heater, which comes in three sizes, could be installed in place of the furnace.

 

I was going to have the factory leave the furnace out - hoping to get some extra storage space. But I changed my mind once they told me that it would require a lot of expensive custom work to redesign the cabinets and drawers to take advantage of that space.

 

Currently, leaving the furnace out would just result in a wasted space and a blank white patch of wall.

 

- Chris

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I've used the Polar Cub 9200 at Lake Corpus Christi State Park on two different occasions . . . it works great! One of the sites put the trailer in the sun throughout the afternoon at 95 degrees. Inside temperature stayed at watever I wanted to set on the wall mounted thermostat. Couldn't make it too cool inside only because Oscar would have gotten a chill. :roll:

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


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