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chuckstovall

DIY Solar Install?

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I'm less than 2 weeks from picking up my new-to-me 2017 Oliver LEII.  It's set up almost perfectly for me, except it doesn't have the solar.  It's not going to work for me to get it to Oliver for installation, so I'm considering a Zamp dealer OR doing it myself.  

BTW - my Ollie has 4x 6v AGM batteries and the Xantrex 2000w Inverter factory installed.

I'm wondering if any forum members have done their own install?  If so, any input to share?  Pictures?  Advice?

If you considered doing it yourself, but decided not too and want to share your reasoning, I'm open to hearing that as well.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by chuckstovall
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Not knowing the age of your pending trailer, some or all of this may not apply. 

During delivery, make sure the previous owners show you where all the solar wiring has been preinstalled.  Also, where it begins and terminates.  There should be wiring leading to the roof to connect the panels to through a combiner box mounted there.  If not get them to show you how to retrieve the wires at the roof. In addition, the PO's may not know any of this.

There are metal plates embedded in the fiberglass on the roof. These are attachment points for the brackets that hold the panels on.  Make sure you understand where they are.  During panel installation,  you will drill through the outer shell fiberglass and the plate below it.  Here's where you stop.  Do not continue to drill after the metal plate is penetrated or you risk drilling through the inner fiberglass shell and ultimately into and through the ceiling.  This will create a tiny unwanted round skylight.  Not good.

Let us know the model year and the hull number.


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 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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Thanks ScubaRx -- I edited my post above to indicate it's a 2017.

I don't think the previous owners know about solar wiring, but will ask.  They didn't have a need for solar at time of build.  Is the location of wiring standardized, at least by year?

I know about the metal plates.  I've learned that the 170w Zamp panels currently available are the same size as the 160's used on the 2017.   I think I'll be able to pinpoint the location of the plates fairly easily.  I'd like to hear more about attaching the 4 panel mount brackets thru the hull and into the metal plates.  I understand not going thru, but certainly the mounting screws for the brackets go into the metal plates.  Drill and tap some threads?   (I know to Dicor on top of all screws, etc.)  Do you (or anyone) know how thick the metal plate is?   Also, what are the metal plates -- aluminum, I'd guess.   

I agree -- NO SKYLIGHTS!  🙂

I really appreciate your input.

Edited by chuckstovall

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The ones I've seen that were prewired had the the cables terminated under the port side bed (driver's side). The plates in the roof are 1/4" aluminum.  You are correct about drilling and tapping.  I would use 1/4-20 button head hex-drive screws.  The proper bit to use is a #7 (0.201 inch) the closest decimal size bit is a 13/64 (0.203 inch), either will work just fine.  You would use two screws per bracket.

I don't exactly know when they started prewiring the units. My guess is: if yours has the plates it probably has the wiring. I will be at the factory Monday thru Wednesday.  I'll inquire about the wiring and get back to you.

Edited by ScubaRx
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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 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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I just completed an install of two 170 watt Zamp solar panels, a Zamp three port combiner box, a Victron SmartSolar 50/100 MPPT solar controller, a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor, a Progressive Dynamics 60 Amp replacement converter and (2) Battle Born 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 batteries.  I worked with Jason (Oliver's Service Manager) to complete the install as close to factory as possible.  

I have attached the pictures I have of the installation.

I would be more that happy to help you or anyone else out, in anyway I can.

Please message me I will provide you with my contact information.

Andrew

Solar Panel Connections 1.JPG

Solar Panel Connections 2.JPG

Victron BMV-712.JPG

Victron BMV-712 Wide.JPG

Victron BMV-712 Shunt.JPG

Battle Born Batteries.JPG

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Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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Steve and Andrew, Appreciate information shared.   Andrew nice installation!

Did Oliver install aluminum roof plates in the 2015 LE2s that did not come with factory solar?

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Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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9 hours ago, ScubaRx said:

The ones I've seen that were prewired had the the cables terminated under the port side bed (driver's side). The plates in the roof are 1/4" aluminum.  You are correct about drilling and tapping.  I would use 1/4-20 button head hex-drive screws.  The proper bit to use is a #7 (0.201 inch) the closest decimal size bit is a 13/64 (0.203 inch), either will work just fine.  You would use two screws per bracket.

I don't exactly know when they started prewiring the units. My guess is: if yours has the plates it probably has the wiring. I will be at the factory Monday thru Wednesday.  I'll inquire about the wiring and get back to you.

ScubaRx --Wow, great info.  Exactly the kind of input I was hoping to hear.  It would be fantastic if you could gather any info and share.  Thanks so much.

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8 hours ago, AndrewK said:

I just completed an install of two 170 watt Zamp solar panels, a Zamp three port combiner box, a Victron SmartSolar 50/100 MPPT solar controller, a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor, a Progressive Dynamics 60 Amp replacement converter and (2) Battle Born 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 batteries.  I worked with Jason (Oliver's Service Manager) to complete the install as close to factory as possible.  

I have attached the pictures I have of the installation.

I would be more that happy to help you or anyone else out, in anyway I can.

Please message me I will provide you with my contact information.

Andrew

 

Thanks.  This is incredible.  More than I'd hoped for!  I'll be in touch.  The install looks amazing -- well done.  

 

 

 

Edited by chuckstovall

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Bill,  Oliver prewires and installs the aluminum plates on all of their trailers regardless of any solar being ordered.  

Andrew


Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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16 minutes ago, AndrewK said:

Bill,  Oliver prewires and installs the aluminum plates on all of their trailers regardless of any solar being ordered.  

Andrew

Andrew,

We purchased our 2015 LE2 used and it did not have factory solar. Started using a portable 100W panel and wired a system on Ollie earlier this year, really like it. Now interested in a roof solar installation just like yours.  Really like your Battle Born Batteries, too.

Appreciate the information!


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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Andrew -

Not ALL Ollies were pre-wired.  Back in the "dark ages" each Oliver actually was wired as an individual unit and depending on which person did the wiring it just might be wired differently from another with very similar options.  Now that things are more standardized both the quality and the ability to add options after the fact are greatly improved.

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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Hull # 12 wasn't  prewired,  but that would have been unexpected in 2008. Pete was the pioneer, then technomadia. 

I guess, the question is, when did Oliver begin the free/gratuitous prewire? It's an awesome feature. 

Sherry 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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 my hull is #124 (2016 production) and it is not prewired for solar. I spoke with jason to get help from him to locate the the plates in the roof so we can mount the panels on the roof but have yet to get the locations from him. he told me the factory uses a template to locate the points to drill the roof and would take some measurements indexed off the air conditioner.  

in the mean time, we have installed a zamp controller on the back wall of the pantry and run the solar panel cable inside the hull from under the pantry forward under the bath, through the front wall behind the propane tanks with the other power cables for the trailer jacks and generator input. from here we have installed a weather sealed zamp port under the rear jack switches at the nose of the trailer.  we have mounted our 170w solar panels on yakima c channel tracks on top of our   A R E truck cap that is on our f250. we use one or two zamp 25' cables from the zamp junction box at the nose of the trailer to the solar panel on top of the A R E truck cap.  We have made a "umbilical safety cord" (between the cable end and the rack) grasping the end of the cable to protect  from pulling on the plug at the panel.

to date we are pleased with this set up. we can park the trailer in the shade and have the panels in the sun. we feel this setup is much more convenient than toting/setting-up portable panels.  we may choose leave the panels on the truck so we not to put more holes in the roof of our oliver.  one important tip if you choose to mount panels to a yakima or thule c channel track especially if your track is installed as an option at the cap factory.  be sure to have the track cut long enough to support two 170 watt panels using the zamp mounting brackets (only used the top half of the mounting brackets / this keeps panel the profile low and integrates to the c track t-nuts with one bolt). the minimum usable track length needs to be at least 60" for two panels and longer if you wish to mount a yakima or thule rack to carry gear above your panels (the panels will nest below a yakima. i have not tested it for a thule but assume the thule will also be tall enough to clear the panels.

 

 

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