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carnivore

2 vs. 4 Batteries

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I am seeking some input to help me with my battery selection for the LE2 we have placed a deposit on.

We are upgrading from a Casita and typically boondock only 35% of the time. To date we typically stay 3 days off the grid in one spot before driving to another location. Our current trailer doesn’t have a furnace and our only power usage has been LED lights and an endless breeze 12 v fan that we run all night on warm nights.

 

In past trips we could get a full charge on our single battery by running a Honda 2000 for 20-30 minutes once a day. As I mentioned this has been without a furnace which the LE2 will have.

 

The decision I need to make is to go with 2 vs. 4 - 12 v wet cell batteries. We are not planning on ordering solar or an inverter and will keep using our generator to top off the batteries and/or possibly going with a portable solar panel once I learn more about them.

Are there any negatives to having 4 batteries over 2 when using a smaller portable solar panel or trying to get a full charge with a Honda 2000 generator in a short (1 hr max) run time?

 

Any input is appreciated and hope to see you down the road.

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No negatives.  The limiting factor on the generator will be the trailer's converter, which charges at 45 amps, while your generator can produce 160 or so.  That means that when running your generator, adding an external solar panel won't actually charge your batteries any faster, though I don't know at what amp draw your generator goes into quiet mode, so it might be that the solar would help to keep it at the lower revs.  Of course, depending on how much solar you have and how much power you actually use, you might find that an all day charge from the panel(s) allows you to not use the generator so much - for example, if you have to replenish 60 amp hours, then you could run the gen for an hour, then let the solar finish the job.

 

 


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Having used the factory solar with 4 AGMs for two seasons, I have to comment on how wonderful it is to have a system that usually doesn’t requires any fussing with a generator to keep them topped up. In your shoes I would select the factory solar and two 6 volt AGMs and NO inverter.

 

Not that I never need the gennie, I need it for running the AC and for dim dark short autumn days. But in the long spring and summer months I hardly ever need it for normal use. It makes me smile every time I see the power panel showing all that free and silent power streaming in, making the batteries stay happy too. For boondocking it really is an outstanding system, and it keeps your neighbors happy too. You should embrace it. I don’t think you would regret it.

 

It works so well that for the rare times we end up in a full hookup site I don’t usually connect to the shore power unless cooling is needed. We certainly don’t need the sewer....

 

A portable panel is a great idea for shady spots but I consider it a supplement to the main ones. It would be very hard to match the high performance of those two big rooftop panels.

 

Ollies are great RVs and I think the factory solar option is one of their very best features.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"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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Ya got to do the math.  How many amp hours out versus how many in.  Obviously, four batteries give you virtually twice the useable amp hours as compared to only two batteries.  So, if your math (or experience) shows that you tend to have to use your generator more than you (or your neighbors) would like and you only have two batteries, you should strongly consider getting two additional batteries.  And the converse is also true.

 

Of course there are also the additional weight and cost of the two additional batteries to consider.  Finally, I believe that the standard batteries are 12 volt.  Of course you could replace these with two six volt or simply get four of the six volt.  Most studies suggest that the six volt batteries will last longer that the twelve volt ones due to a more robust construction of the plates inside the batteries.

 

Cost, weight, convenience, longevity, and usage - simply too many variables for almost anyone to tell you what to do except for you.

 

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Mine came with the standard package and yes they're two 12-volt 100Ah marine batteries.  I use them to hold down the slab in the garage.


Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Carnivore, good question,

 

I'll take a little different approach to the question. Are you interested in expanding your Oliver camping opportunities? If so, the full Monty solar set-up fits the bill.

 

I must say I really enjoy the freedom that the total solar/4 AGM/inverter setup provides. It is our general goal to explore places that are not on the beaten path, and given that,  having our  setup really opens up possibilities for camp spots. As an example, during planning of our extended "summer" trip, I have gone from planning and reserving camp spots, to merely loosely planning the direction of travel given  - the time factor of getting to a predetermined destination. Using such apps as Campendium, I see little need to reserve ahead of time. Places to camp are endless, (and can be very cheap) if your open to discovery, and flexible. We will not need any sort of electrical hook-up unless for some reason we stay in a lower elevation and its too warm for sleeping. Other wise,  we have no need of shore power, water and sewer connection. I don't plan to carry a gen set.

 

Filling up the fresh water, and emptying the grey water, are simple also - again there's an app for that.

 

We have basically a 5 star camp experience - anywhere I can get the Ollie into safely.

 

For the cost, I believe the full package is a great value. Add the composting toilet, and you end up with a very freedom inducing set-up.

 

Now - given one rarely camps sans hook-ups - I would not spend the $$ on the additional batteries - but I would install an inverter. We camped for many years - all across the country, Canada, Alaska, etc.,  with a van based conversion - with one "house" AGM - charged by the vehicles electrical system, and a 1000 watt Xantrex inverter. Worked great and was very simple set-up.

 

However, finding ourselves on the cusp of retirement, we really enjoy the comfort and ease our Oliver set-up provides, while also fulfilling our desire to explore the paths less traveled.

 

RB

 

 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

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I would definitely opt for the (4) batteries over the (2) batteries.  We have the (4) 6 volt wet cell Trojan bats and it does make camping more convenient.

 

I will not run the generator every day.  We do run the heater as needed, we use a lot of lights, use pressure water and we charge the computer and phones from a small plug in inverter.  We also watch movies sometimes and run the DVD player on another small, plug in inverter.   At about three days in, the batteries are at 50%.  At that point the charging plan kicks in, or it's time to move on to the next place and they get charged while driving .  We don't have the rooftop solar and haven't set up the portable system yet.

 

I was using the 2,ooo watt generator, but now, I leave it at home and charge with jumper cables directly to the trailer batteries from the truck.  This works very well as it charges faster than the generator, is quieter, I don't have to carry the generator with us and I don't have to carry fuel for it.

 

If you use the same amount of power you've been using, and have (4) batteries, you'll be able to charge half as often, or if you end up using twice as much power, you can charge like you are used to.

 

The battery compartment is directly over the axles and is well designed to carry the weight.  It's one of the great features of the Oliver trailers.  Batteries outside, but not on the tongue.

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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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@Overland:

 

I believe your batteries are 1,000 amp hour, not 100.


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If they are, I'm putting them back in and putting the lithiums in the garage.  Problem is I don't think they're heavy enough to hold the slab down.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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@Carnivore:

 

I strongly recommend you get the inverter, and if it is not standard by now, the Soft Start Kit for your A/C.  The inverter converts battery power from 12V to 110V so that you can make coffee or use the microwave and not run the generator early in the day.  The soft start kit on the A/C lets you run your A/C with your Honda EU 2000.  I do recommend the Honda EU2200 (It replaced the EU2000) as it gives you some spare capacity and makes running the A/C less of a full load chore for your generator as well.  With both you have to manage your 110V power usage and your battery charge level and charging efforts.  Remember to keep your refrigerator on "Gas".

 

We purchased our Oliver with the standard batteries and the inverter.  We often boon-dock and use a Honda EU2200 during the day to charge up.  We can function well with the basic system (Inverter and  1,000 AH marine batteries), but have to watch our power use in the morning.  When these batteries die, I will replace them with four 6 volt ones as I have the gear to make new cables to do so.   If budget is an issue, then the batteries are something that can wait and be done a few years down the road.

 

When you go solar, then you will need the "Full Monte".    What some owners do is go with the inverter and standard batteries, then just before the 12V batteries die, get the Solar added with the 4 AGM 6V ones.  I would be curious to know what Oliver charges for a retrofit of solar vs. getting it during original build.  Then discount the battery costs as you would be getting them anyway (assuming you waited until the marine batteries were worn out).

 

Beyond cost, the primary reason that I did not get solar is the drag that the current ones certainly add to the slick hull of the Oliver.  Last year the "flexible" panels that were on the market would not "Bend" enough to follow the roof curves.  I know that down the road they will become more flexible.  If following the roof curves, the air drag would effectively be eliminated.  That's when I'll jump onto the Ollie solar team.  (We have 27 panels on our home in Hawaii and love it!)

 

Lots of options as the above owners have mentioned.  Good news is that any option Olive offers is already planned for and key wiring is in place to facilitate it's installation down the road.  This certainly played a role in our option selections.

 

Welcome to the Oliver Family!


Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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Canivore:

 

We also ordered our Oliver Elite II without solar and the inverter and have never regretted our choice.  However we did opt for the (4) Trojan wet cell batteries; to me this is the best option that Oliver offers.

 

Like you we camp around 35% of the time without any type of hookups and have stayed up to two weeks in national parks, with only recharging the batteries from our tow vehicle for approximately 30 minutes per day.  During most of these two week periods we used the furnace at nights.

 

The Oliver is our 7th travel trailer over the past 50 years and we have never had solar or a large inverter.  We have used small inverters to charge small items but with the Oliver there are several USB ports that allow most items we use to be charged.

 

At time we do carry a Honda 2000 generator in a custom build cargo carrier that inserts into the bike rack receiver on the rear of the Oliver.

 

Enjoy your new Oliver Travel Trailer.

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Horace & Dianne

Chesapeake, Virginia

2016 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4x4 Limited

2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull # 93

 

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I was using the 2,ooo watt generator, but now, I leave it at home and charge with jumper cables directly to the trailer batteries from the truck.  This works very well as it charges faster than the generator, is quieter, I don’t have to carry the generator with us and I don’t have to carry fuel for it.

 

Raspy--

 

Your method of charging your batteries intrigues me, for I have been contemplating the different ways I might be able to run the A/C when boondocking. We have the solar and inverter in our Ollie II. We don't have the soft start but have been considering buying and installing one and purchasing the Honda generator. Here are the questions that come to my mind after reading about your method of charging with jumper cables directly from your truck:

Would one be able to run the A/C with the soft start using this method?

Would the soft start perhaps not be needed with this method?

Approximately how many gallons of gas per hour might be consumed when idling my 5.6L Tundra? (I could foresee running the A/C perhaps for 8 hours at a time to get some sleep when boondocking in hot climes.)

I have the 4 6-volt AGM battery configuration. Where would it be best to clamp the trailer-side cables?

Would "extra long" jumper cables (if they exist) do the job if one didn't want to unhook the truck from the trailer, or would one lose too much juice with the extra length?

Anyone's comments on using Raspy's method of charging the Oliver's batteries for running the A/C  would be appreciated.


Onward through the Fog!


EarthPicks of Cochise County


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Spike,

 

I don't have the soft start either.  I've tried to run the the AC from my 3,000 watt inverter, but it won't start it.  I think it would for sure with the soft start.

 

If you wanted to run the AC for eight hours, idling the truck for that long seems like a bad idea and I'm sure it would use a lot more fuel than a 2,000 watt generator.

 

To charge from the truck, you simply pull the battery tray out about 1/2 way and attach the jumper cables to the two terminals that connect to the leads going into the trailer.  Find the two cables that leave the battery box and they are the ones to connect to, at the batteries.

 

I disconnect from the truck whenever we are camped in order to free up the truck and to level the trailer, so I can simply turn around and then reach with the cables I have.

 

Charging with the truck is faster than with a small generator and quieter.  I seem to never do it for more than an hour, and usually about 1/2 hour, depending on how low they are and what I'm running at the same time.

 

If you want to run your AC from a 2,000 watt generator, you'll have to have the soft start, as you know, but you will also probably have to have the batteries already charged so that some of the power is not being used to charge batteries, while starting the AC.  With a soft start, it might work better to run the AC from the inverter and use the generator to charge the batteries.  This could work if the inverter could handle a larger starting load than the generator. That is what I was trying to do, but my inverter would not start the AC.

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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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Prolonged idling is not good for any vehicle for many reasons. A modern quiet generator makes so much more sense. A small engine running hard is very fuel efficient. That is why they exist, so you don’t have to run the big engine on your expensive truck with no load for long periods. If you want to have power for air conditioning for eight hours you simply need a generator.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 

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"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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Battery systems as provided by Oliver:

 

Standard - 2 x 12V Lead/Acid @ 100Ah wired in parallel - total Ah=200 - Usable Ah=100

 

Optional #1 - 4 x 12V Lead/Acid @100Ah each all wired in parallel - total Ah=400 - Usable Ah=200

 

Optional #2 - 4 x 6V Trojan AGM @ 200Ah each 2 pairs wired in series and each pair wired in parallel - total Ah=400 - Usable Ah=200

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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Several years ago (pre-Oliver) I was camped in Yellowstone National Park and was aware that YNP didn't allow generators in that campground.  When my battery died I thought I would simply hook that battery up to the truck and charge it - no "generator" involved.  Fairly quickly after getting everything hooked up, a Park Ranger came by and informed me that there was really no difference as far as he was concerned and I should stop using my "generator" immediately or risk a fine.  Of course I didn't argue and can certainly see the logic.

 

Unfortunately, taking the battery into either Cooke City or West Yellowstone to have it charged cost me about as much as it would have cost to simply replace the battery with a new one - ouch!  And, all of this was caused by a blown fuse that cost less than a buck to replace.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Do the parks that prohibit generators have any issues with portable solar? I suspect they don't want the noise, but OTH they also don’t want the place looking like a solar farm....

 

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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No rules against solar - portable or otherwise.  Both noise and air pollution are reasons against generators.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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