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chuckstovall

Electrical questions...

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I'm in process of buying a used Ollie LE2.  VERY EXCITED!  It has the inverter and the 4 6v batteries but not solar.  I may add solar at some point but meantime am considering a generator.  Don't currently plan to boondock a lot, but that could change.  It's just me and let's just say I'll never need a hair dryer.  🙂

Seems to me that since the trailer has an inverter and the 4x 6v batteries, I can get away with a generator as opposed to a gen w/inverter.  Am I missing something?  Potentially run A/C some, but I'm not one who keeps the house cold with A/C.  Will use a Keurig every morning for a cuppa.  Occassional telvision use, but not daily.  Furnace fan in cooler weather.  Otherwise, the usual.  All of my use will be supplied by the batteries and either tow vehicle during transport, shore power or gen will keep batteries charged???    So, questions are:

1- Am I correct that I don't need the gen w/inverter?

2- Are there other reasons to consider gen w/inv besides the camping need issue?

3- Is my understanding that keeping batteries charged will meet my elec needs correct?

4- Any recommendations as to what gen to look at?  Don't want to have to lift 100# by myself and quieter is better.

5- What else am I needing to consider?

6- Off subject, but with my class A motorhome, here in Colorado when winterizing, I ALWAYS remove both house and chassis batteries and bring inside to put on a battery tender over the LONG winter.  I hope to use my Oliver MUCH more during the cold months.  I probably won't be able to park the Ollie in an enclosed garage nor have a power source to keep it plugged in to shore power.  So, I'm guessing I'll need to remove the batts and bring them in just like I've always done?

Thanks in advance for any input.  I've already learned so much by reading thru so many of the threads.

 

Edited by chuckstovall

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Welcome to the group, and congrats on the new Ollie.

I think you'll still want an inverter generator.  They produce cleaner power that's kinder to your electronics, and control boards of your onboard equipment.

The ac is about the only thing that I doubt you could manage without a bigger generator than a Honda 1000i, which is light, easy to use, and very quiet and efficient. And, probably the kuerig, but I  don't know the wattage, as I don't own one. There are other ways to make a great cup of coffee without electricity. 

Edited by SeaDawg
Typos

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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7 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Welvome to the group, and congrats on the new Ollie.

I think you'll still want an inverter generator.  They produce cleaner power that's kinder to your electronics, and control boards of your onboard equipment.

The ac is about the only thing that I doubt you could manage without a bigger generator than a Honda 1000i, which is light, easy to use, and very quiet and efficient. And, probably the kuerig, but I  don't know the wattage, as I don't own one. There are other ways to make a great cup of coffee without electricity. 

Thanks.  So there is some advantage to feeding the camper inverter power from a gen w/inverter?  I do like that the gen/inv combo seem to be quieter but was thinking I'm buying a duplication.  Appreciate the input and welcome.  

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Ya might think twice about removing those batteries.  Given the location - right over the axles - they are fairly easy to get to.  However, they are about 4 to 4.5 feet off the ground.  Unless you are a fairly strong guy and/or are fairly tall - something over 6'2" then I'd say that you are going to have your hands full lifting each of those 90 pound batteries off the sliding tray.  I did it once and then figured out quickly that there simply must be another way.  In my case I leave them in place and hook a 25 watt solar charger to them.

Welcome to the Family!  Enjoy the heck out of that beautiful camper!

Bill


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

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I’ve been using a Champion 2,000W inverter generator I got at Tractor Supply for $399.  Very quiet and 38lbs.  It will start my AC (with Easy Start).  We’ve only used it to charge batteries on a few very cloudy/rainy Wyoming days. If you are going to use a generator in a camp ground please go with an inverter, they are quiet and have a significantly lower “annoying” effect on your camping neighbors.


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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4 hours ago, topgun2 said:

Ya might think twice about removing those batteries.  Given the location - right over the axles - they are fairly easy to get to.  However, they are about 4 to 4.5 feet off the ground.  Unless you are a fairly strong guy and/or are fairly tall - something over 6'2" then I'd say that you are going to have your hands full lifting each of those 90 pound batteries off the sliding tray.  I did it once and then figured out quickly that there simply must be another way.  In my case I leave them in place and hook a 25 watt solar charger to them.

Welcome to the Family!  Enjoy the heck out of that beautiful camper!

Bill

I understand the issue of physically moving them.  OTOH, I'll likely be storing the camper in an environment exposed to the weather.  To give you an idea, it's been below freezing since Sunday and may poke over 32f tomorrow afternoon.  Extended hours of single digit temps.  I've always been under the impression that those cold temps are harmful to the batteries.  These conditions may last from Oct to May or even into June.  I'd love to not move them, of course.  Am I worrying about the cold unnecessarily?   Thanks much for your input.

Also, for clarification, do you mean a 2.5 watt solar charger?  Like maybe this: https://www.etrailer.com/Battery-Chargers/Performance-Tool/PTW2997.html

 

 

 

Edited by chuckstovall

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3 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

I’ve been using a Champion 2,000W inverter generator I got at Tractor Supply for $399.  Very quiet and 38lbs.  It will start my AC (with Easy Start).  We’ve only used it to charge batteries on a few very cloudy/rainy Wyoming days. If you are going to use a generator in a camp ground please go with an inverter, they are quiet and have a significantly lower “annoying” effect on your camping neighbors.

Thanks Mike.  I appreciate your input.  

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Dear Travelers:

We are in the process of learning as much as possible before the Ollie arrives in late Spring. It was recommended that we buy a Honda Generator EU 2200i series.  We appreciate your feedback on which one would be quieter, better for the environment, and easier on Ollie's equipment.  We are planning on boondocking. Thank you.

Mirna and PK


R2W

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Chuck -

No, I really did mean a 25 watt solar panel.  A 2.5 watt panel would not be strong enough to keep 4 batteries fully charged - particularly during the winter months with the shortage of sun.

I don't remember how low temps can get before a fully charged battery can have problems - google it.  However, I do know that it is fairly low.

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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Hi Bill.  Thanks for the input.  What do you think about this? https://smile.amazon.com/Battery-Portable-Batteries-Motorcycle-Generator/dp/B07YP6NGM8/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2DJGUXH233NE9&keywords=25+watt+solar+battery+charger&qid=1572546679&sprefix=25+watt+solar%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-4

$40 seems like a steal.  No controllers, tho.   

I did read up on batteries and you are correct, if they are kept charged up, temps have to get lower than we're likely to see here (-65f and we don't often get far into below zero and then not far and not for long.) . Thanks again.

 

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The problem with relying on a very small solar panel is that, while it might maintain four large batteries with adequate sun exposure, if you drop in to check on the trailer and run some stuff, say the furnace, while you are doing things in there, you might deplete the batteries further than that dinky "maintainer" can deal with. It is intended to keep one or two fully charged batteries topped up, NOT recharge four of them... it only puts out 1.5 amps in the best of circumstances.

I would suggest a 100 to 120 watt folding (suitcase) unit, so that it will recharge during storage, as well as be useful on camping trips. The larger size will also make up for degraded charging due to the grey days and much shorter hours of winter, a partially shaded panel, dirty glass, etc. Bigger is always better in this situation - it gives you some reserve capacity.

Portable solar for RVs

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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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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Thanks John.  Very helpful info.  

Based on a quick read, I'm leaning towards the first one from the article - Renogy 100.  Seems to have a good potential 500-watt hours/daily.  It talks about maybe needing two panels if working with 24v (4x 6v batteries).  Am I understanding that correctly?

Any thoughts/input about mounting one (or two) of these on the roof?  Size-wise I'm sure they'd fit but not likely to line up with the factory reinforced mounting locations.  My storage options are not great in terms of leaving a suitcase set-up out, not to mention frequency of STRONG winds.  Thanks again.

 

Edited by chuckstovall

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Chuck, There is another option, rather than attaching a charger. I disconnect my batteries whenever I put my Ollie into storage. At first I used a wrench, but then I put on a simple battery disconnect switch.

I visit Ollie periodically when it is in storage to deal with things, and I use the lights and maybe the radio. That does not seem to be too much of a power draw to affect the batteries significantly. This method has worked fine for me for three winters. 

John is probably correct that the power draw from the furnace might be too much for my method. 


David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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Thanks David.  I expect your weather and temps are similar to mine.  Do you store outside too?   Do you have the 4x 6v set-up but no solar?  How long between trips, even in winter - meaning, do you get it out and use it with shore power at a campground from time to time?

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I have the 4 6v AGM batteries, with solar on the roof. I store it in a storage unit, so the solar panels do not work. The temperature in the storage unit would be slightly higher than outdoors. 

4 minutes ago, chuckstovall said:

How long between trips, even in winter - meaning, do you get it out and use it with shore power at a campground from time to time?

In season, from spring to fall, probably 3-6 weeks between trips. I put the trailer to bed a month ago, and we probably will not get it out again until March or April. I do not take it out to hook up to shore power during that time. The batteries did just fine the past three winters. Disconnecting the batteries eliminates the parasitic draw. 


David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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Good info, thanks so much.  I hadn't really considered just putting in a battery switch.  

Does your storage unit get down to freezing or below?  I wish I could find an inside storage with a 110 to at least keep it plugged in.

I talked to a lady at a local storage unit the other day.  They only offer 50' x 15' inside storage units with a plug in available.  Waiting list of probably over a year.  $525/mo + utilities.  She said some of the users with BIG RV's keep it at 75f inside and their utilities are more than the rental.  Good for them, but I'm NOT in that league!

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Your Ollie does not have a 24 volt system, it is 12 volts. The two 6 volt batteries are tied together, and each pair is tied to the other. It is a series/ parallel arrangement.

If you plan to mount panels permanently on your roof, you need bigger stand-alone panels, not a portable one with its own onboard charge controller. The portable units are designed to be temporary and you just clip them to your battery terminals. I think you need to do some reading about solar, there are a number of excellent videos and sites describing what is needed.

The Renogy suitcase unit in either 100 or 120 watts, with onboard controller, would be perfect for your needs. When folded it does not take much space. If you added an outside port and suitable plug onto the panel harness, you will find that much better than clipping them to the battery posts.

There are flexible plastic (folding or rollup) panels designed for expedition vehicles, and while they are super compact and weigh only a few pounds, they are four or five times the price of a rigid glass set....

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 minutes ago, chuckstovall said:

Does your storage unit get down to freezing or below?  I wish I could find an inside storage with a 110 to at least keep it plugged in.

 

Yes, it regularly gets down to freezing and below. Rarely 15-20°F. No electricity in the unit. 


David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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John, thanks.   

I'm going to have to consider how to make this work for my situation.  I store at a public storage facility.  It's outside.  Concern 1 is wind.  It's not uncommon to have sustained winds over 40mph.  I'm not sure I could secure it from the wind.  Concern 2 is how to ensure the suitcase isn't just taken by any passerby.  Concern 3 would be how to set it out so as to minimize snow covering it up.  

Would love to see pics of anyone else's solutions, especially in so far as they are similar to my situation.

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I am puzzled, 4 battery configuration, but no solar charge. Just seems kinda dumb to  me, but you got what you got. 

My suggestion, purchase at least 100 watts of solar panel, add a remote port, and build some sort of mounting platform that can be cable/chain secured. Snow build up - requires periodic inspection.  Or do as David S has done. 

As far as the 4 battery system - but with solar, with  no need for AC use, we never needed shore power the entire summer trip. Oh, we hooked up the few times we had it available, but the system maintained almost full charge most of the time - with the sun doing its job. Otherwise you will need an alternative source. 

Or as many are doing  - Move south young man, move south.

RB


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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Russell --  Thanks so much for the input.  What you're suggesting (about building a platform, etc) is what I've decided is going to be my plan.  Good to hear that confirmed.  Also, I may just see about biting the bullet and having the permanent solar panels put on and integrated to my system.  I believe that would solve the winter issue and make life simpler during use.  

As for moving south, I've learned to never say never, but I just absolutely love looking at Pikes Peak every day!  🙂

Thanks again!

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