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Oliver advertises the panel’s STC rating, same as every other retailer and panel manufacturer in the world. That standard allows consumers to compare apples to apples when shopping for panels -

Standard Test Conditions (STC) refer to lab tests for solar panels evaluated in a solar simulator called flash tester. During the test, the modules are exposed to artificial sunlight with an irradiance equal to 1,000 W/m<sup>2</sup>. This irradiance value is associated with the maximum solar radiation typically at noon and assuming the Sun directly reaches the module. Moreover, the temperature of the module is established at 25°C and the atmospheric density or air mass is equal to 1.5 (shortest optical path length of sunlight through the Earth atmosphere).

The test is designed to give a potential maximum power from the panels so that consumers can then size their wiring and charge controllers appropriately.

 

IMO, to advertise them at some lower wattage than their STC rating would be confusing, and even potentially dangerous.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Any of you get a chance to see this in action at the rally? Since our build just started I'd be interested to see if they're looking at any beta testers.

"All who wander are not lost"


Keith (Buddha) & Ilene (Buffy) Shafer | Fredericksburg, TX


LE II, Hull #528 Buddha & Buffy | 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Z71 Crew Cab 4 x 4 5.3L V8


Travels

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IMO, to advertise them at some lower wattage than their STC rating would be confusing, and even potentially dangerous.

 

 

Rather than expecting the buyer to understand the rating system, and to assure that everyone is on the same page, while avoiding predicting a variable number, Oliver's wording might be a simple as:  Roof solar system with a 340 watt rated output.  An available automatic tracking system will increase the overall performance, and show you what it is doing, on your smart phone.

 

This method seems like it is what they are doing with the Anderson Hitch.  Oliver supplies it as an option and installs it.  The decision is made by the buyer about whether they want it or not.

 

Literature can be handed out that graphs the difference in performance between flat and tracking.  And a picture of someone smiling, as we look over their shoulder, at the smart phone in their hand, with a nice display of the performance.  Then there would be a page that had a generator, gas can and cord with a big red X over them.  With the caption "No more noisy, loud and polluting generators!"  The picture includes a beautiful woman, very frustrated looking, with her hands over her ears, as the grimacing husband struggles to get the generator out of the truck.

 

 

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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That's fine, but then Coy is selling the trackers, so it's his job to educate his customers, not Oliver's.  If Oliver gets a cut and wants to do the same, sure.  But don't say that they're misrepresenting anything now, because they just aren't.

 

If Oliver were to downgrade their advertised wattage by whatever random number, then that would be misrepresentation.  Because then someone sells his trailer and tells the buyer it's a 180W or whatever system and then that guy decides to upgrade, tells AM Solar he has 180W of panels, they send him the wrong wires and charge controller, and his trailer burns up.

 

It's no different from HP or torque numbers on your truck.  You'll never see those numbers, but that's just how you measure output.  It's not GM's job to say that actually that's just theoretical, but if you buy this other guy's intake system and exhaust, you'll get closer to those numbers.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Any of you get a chance to see this in action at the rally? Since our build just started I’d be interested to see if they’re looking at any beta testers.

 

What they had was a rough but working mockup.  It sounds like Coy (@hardrock) is going to be the beta tester, but you could always send him a PM and ask.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Coy, Our E2 went into production Friday. Not sure if you're looking for beta testers but we'd be willing to entertain the idea.

 

Keith

"All who wander are not lost"


Keith (Buddha) & Ilene (Buffy) Shafer | Fredericksburg, TX


LE II, Hull #528 Buddha & Buffy | 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Z71 Crew Cab 4 x 4 5.3L V8


Travels

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Everyone has to stick with industry ratings in panels and gear. Of course, most people understand that 100 watt panels mean max output 100 watts per hour, but perhaps some don't.

 

Panel highest output has to be beliw wiring and controller capacity. Or, you run risks of overload. And fire, or equipment failure.

 

Most people understand they won't get any solar generation at night, but may not understand the devastating effects of shade or clouds or sun angle. But, that's not tied to the panel's rating. It's tied to campsite shade, location, weather, and season.

 

Even on our home system, installed in prime location, prime angle after sun study, the output varies with season and weather. We designed the roof to match the best solar numbers. That's why I often talk about 11 to 3 or 4 as prime solar hours. Our 10.8 kw system may give us 29 or 65 kw or more, per day, depending on above factors... it's all about time in the strongest sun, and, how long the sun hangs up there in the season, and travel path.

Just for fun, compare my solar graphs for home, yesterday, and today.

Yesterday. you'll see huge dips in production, as we had several big storms roll through. Today was often hazy to a little overcast, but no storms.

 

 

Screenshot_20190720-153820_Tesla.thumb.jpg.bcc2538c320bf302f424ad5d41f1f014.jpg

 

 

 

Screenshot_20190720-153830_Tesla.thumb.jpg.e21042440d384fbc228bc91ea8683d54.jpg

 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Somehow, the advantage of the tracking system has to be demonstrated to the buyer, or there is no advantage at all.  It's not about underrating or misrepresenting.  It's about describing why the tracker is better on any given system, and how much better.  This means numbers must be thrown around.  That means there will be a misunderstanding about what the rating means.  It has nothing to do with undersizing wires or future buyers possible confusion.

 

This is where the graphing comes in, that shows the performance over a day and the peak achieved.  It's not the same as HP numbers with trucks, because with trucks, you don't have a readout with instantaneous numbers of how much power is being delivered at that instant and how much power was delivered over a period of time in the past.  We don't care about the average accumulated horsepower hours the engine produced over an entire day, for instance.   Everyone has a general idea of what happens when we step on the gas, but not so many people understand watts, battery charging, and 12volt usage.

 

I understand the the numbers are just a starting point for comparison, but at some point, there has to be a comparison between tracking and non tracking values.   Oliver would be doing themselves a favor by adding the word "peak" or "maximum" to the 340 watt rating.  As it stands, it's not clear how that number relates to power use in the trailer, and it can't be used for calculating purposes.

 

It may be Coy's job to sell the system, but it will presumably be sold and installed, at the retail level, by Oliver and they will profit from it as well,  I don't think Anderson, for instance, sells the hitches to the Oliver trailer buyers.  Oliver sells them.  Truma doesn't go to the Oliver sales office and sell their water heaters directly to the buyers, Oliver presents them as a nice option, and then installs them.  And Coy needs to help Oliver demonstrate why the tracker is a viable option in terms of performance gains over what Oliver is now selling.  Then Oliver can honestly present them.  This involves numbers.  Peak numbers, overall amp/hours per day numbers.  Why it's better.  How much better.  The emotional thrill of having a high-tech and practical solar system on their new trailer.  And that means that Oliver's numbers have to be clarified.  It doesn't mean they are deliberately misrepresenting anything.  It means more information is needed to show why there is more to the story than peak watts.  There is nothing wrong with what Oliver is doing, but soon, more explanation will be needed.  And I wish them all well.

 

As I've said, I was initially skeptical after dealing with this very issue for many years in the solar business.  But, the gains the tracker achieves is impressive, the real estate on the roof is limited, and the very intelligent software, that addresses every possible issue, made me a believer.   I'm interested in following this along and seeing them go into production and onto trailers.  I'm hoping people see it as a real practical upgrade.  And to that end, they need to understand what it is doing and how that relates to their available energy.

 

 

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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And of course Coy will face the inverse problem.  If he advertises 250% gain, well maybe that's an average or only on the winter solstice in Calgary.  There's always going to be someone in Tuscon, 12 noon June 21 comparing his system to his buddy's and getting mad that they're showing the same output.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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SeaDawg,

 

 

 

Thanks for that info.  Love the graphs and the real world performance.

John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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Somehow, the advantage of the tracking system has to be demonstrated to the buyer

"It makes them work better."

 

"How much better?"

 

"Double"

 

"Sold"

 

What it does sells itself.  What it costs, how dependable it is, how solid and well built it seems, etc. will determine sales, imo.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Yeah, that's my opinion. If I could double my home output, I could probably power my neighbor's home, too. I already produce more power than my home uses. And the power company doesn't compensate me much for my charitable contributions to the grid. I just get to feel good, which is ok.

I like knowing that my home is clean powered by the sun.

Update for later afternoon screenshot. Partly cloudy. Thundering in the distance. Time to get the thindershirt on the dog...

 

Sherry

Screenshot_20190720-164110_Tesla.thumb.jpg.ed21a07ef6bee6c7a8c04a71aee3d17a.jpg

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Your graph pictures are labeled with Tesla, so I assume you have Tesla panels.  Do you also have the Tesla battery wall?  I think that’s what they call it.

 

Are you happy with the ROI of your system?  My neighbor certainly is happy with his Tesla panels, but last we talked, he was waiting on the batteries or battery wall.

 

Mike

Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Mike, we don't have Tesla panels. Our system was installed over 4 years ago, by a local company.

We do now have a Tesla powerwall system, battery backup vs generator for the house. We didn't have it during the Irma aftermath. Made sense to add batteries vs a fossil fuel generator, as during an outage, our grid tied system gave us zero power for the house.

You're fairly close to us. I can give you the info on our solar panel provider, if you like. Great guy, great install, great followup service.

 

We're figuring the roi at 8 to 9 years, maybe less. No power bill since install, december 2014. If you want to take advantage of the federal tax credit. biggest credit ends this year. Reduces to 26 per cent, next year.

 

 

Sherry

Screenshot_20190720-194218_Tesla-2.thumb.jpg.01f3aaacad373f99baec45017f7d70ef.jpg

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Thank you for the clarifications.  If we decide to follow that path, I’ll reach out for your recommendations.  It’s been in the back of my mind for a while and I want a new roof prior to solar panels.  The solar option on the Ollie has really been a revelation as to its benefits.

 

We have had two 4 hour outages in the past two weeks and we have discussed a larger generator.  I know from my work in wireless communications that fuel is the biggest hurdle during widespread, long term power outages.  We also lost power for 7 days after Charley and 4 days with Irma and both hurricanes really devastated fuel supplies, so the solar option is very appealing.

 

Thanks, Mike

Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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All

 

My apologies for not replying earlier.  I am on the road and just now was able to log in.

 

Please allow me address some concerns here.

 

First, I nor our product/ Happy Camper Solar, are affiliated with Oliver Travel Trailers or Oliver  Technologies.  I am good friends with Scott Oliver and others in the Oliver family and staff. They are very family and customer focused and very much want to sell a quality product.  I have been the chairman of the Oliver Travel Trailer Owners Rally but I am not an employee of Oliver.  I bought hull # 73, live near Hohenwald, Tennessee, in the Huntsville Al area and have a great relationship with Oliver.

 

Secondly, My company Happy Camper Solar and my two business partners have no plans on selling our product to Oliver as an Oliver accessory.  It should be easily installed on the Elite and the Elite II.  The framework of the tracker is being designed for the current solar panel configuration.  We are developing this product from our own funding.  My two partners are engineers, one with many years doing engineering research and development for the US Army Corps of Engineers and headed the Energy Department for the US Army.  My other partner has been a engineer doing work in energy  research for the US Department of Defense.  I retired from BAE Systems as a Vice President, the second largest defense contractor in the world.  We built ships, planes submarines , missile systems., and a lot of classified defense systems.   I am NOT an engineer but I know business very well.

 

Thirdly, Solar Tracker.   This is a framework that supports movement of solar panels to gain the maximum efficiency that we can design.  It moves the panels automatically  from early morning to late evening, up and down, left and right to track the sun’s activity rather than sit flat on the roof.  It does nothing to the solar panels themselves.  It is a vehicle to move, rotate, articulate and increase the efficiency of the solar panels to capture the suns energy.  It is not cheaply built nor will it be cheaply sold.  The technology is far advanced beyond the current commercial capability.

 

Last, we are still developing the solar tracker.  We are retired and have time to do this right. The two engineers are putting so much into the tracker capability, it is unbelievable. Soon, we will have the first tracker installed on my Elite.  We will use this prototype to test.  I have a friend that has agreed to test the prototype for the Elite II.   My focus at this point is safety and reliability. This tracker has a number of electronic parts that has required a large amount of writing computer programs to make it reliable and functional.  The technology is being designed by two engineers that are building capability that will hopefully exceed our needs as campers.  I hope to be able to provide you with a video demonstration  soon.  Our marketing plan at this point is to sell directly to the consumer.

 

I will try to keep you posted on our progress soon.  THANK YOU

 

coy gayle

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Has anyone removed a mounting bracket for their solar panels? We are trying to determine if all of the solar panel brackets are mounted in the same manner.

1. Is the same sized bolt, thread pattern, length, stainless steel, etc used on each mounting bracket?

2. Does the same bolt go back in and tighten down easily?

 

Explanation. We are in the final testing of the solar tracker. Mounting brackets is a key factor and we need to determine how “standardized “ the mounting bracket is across all of installation process on the Elite and Elite II. If the brackets are easily removed the tracker should be mounted with little to no difficulty.

Pictures are greatly appreciated !

THANK YOU

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UPDATE

 

We are in the process of building and testing 3 different models of the Solar Tracker.  We will have a Solar Tracker designed to fit the Elite II, another for the Elite and the third will be a suitcase model.  The Elite and Elite II models will be made specifically for Oliver Travel Trailers and should be easily mounted.  The third model is a suitcase model that is designed to be set in the sun while your trailer remains in the shade.  Like the other trackers, it will track the sun continuously as long as it can "see" the sun.  Initial testing indicates the suitcase model will efficently capture the sun's energy throughout the day as will the other 2 trackers.  The suitcase model is being built to have (2) 50 watt solar panels.  They will be hinged to fold up and be stored.  The solar tracker will be the same size as the folded solar panels.  Each can be stored easily  in your TOW vehicle.

 

We have done  significant testing on the tracker frames.  We have strengthened the framework to meet/exceed safety requirements.  I will soon post videos of the solar tracker in operation, the data we are collecting to indicate the efficiency of each tracker and how the tracker is mounted on an Oliver.

 

In January 2020 we will be attending the Quartzsite RV Big Tent Show and have a booth inside to demo the trackers.  We will be displaying a fully operational model and have each for sale.  We currently do not have a price for each unit.  We are sourcing raw materials and writing the app for each owner to operate the Solar Tracker.  The tracker has a number of electronic components that are essential to operate the tracker automatically throughout the day, shut it down automatically if it senses movement  (wind) or it can be done remotely. It will have a GPS and cell phone so it can immediately alert you and provide GPS coordinates if it (and the trailer) is being moved.  Please check our website for updates. www.happycampersolar.com

 

THANK YOU

 

coy

 

 

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Coy, it all sounds great and I wish your company the best of luck. I hope you include a manual failsafe stow mechanism, in case the electronics or a motor fails, so the owner can park the panel drive unit back in the stowed position for travel.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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  • 10 months later...

Here is the website, cost for an Ollie rooftop “big” model is just under $3000. I have no idea when products would start to be delivered. 
 

Happy Camper Solar Trackers

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Edited by John E Davies

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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