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Jairon

KISS with the Solar Pro Package?

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Posted (edited)

If I'm understanding the configuration and components of the current solar options offered by Oliver, the Solar Pro Package at $4999 would be ideal for someone not looking to spend an additional $4000 to have LiFePO4 but would like to upgrade sometime in the future.

I'm hoping someone with some solar knowledge can double check my thinking here. Should I want to upgrade to LiFePO4, the Zamp ZS-30A can handle the LiFePO4  chemestry and the Xantrex PROwatt 2000 could still be used, just not to power the AC off battery power. When the AGM batteries kick the bucket I should be able to simply swap out the battery interconnects and add LiFePO4, correct?

Thanks!

Edited by Jairon

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the forum.

Since you want to keep it truly simple and don’t care about running the AC, order just the standard solar package with the 2000 watt inverter, and ask them to substitute two standard lead acid batteries (instead of four AGMs). They should credit you the substantial price difference. Right after delivery install a couple of Battleborn or similar lithium batteries (200 amp hrs total) for less than $2000. Sell the “like new” takeoff LA batteries on Craigslist. You don’t need 400 amp hrs of usable power, but you could always upgrade by adding another battery later if you wanted to. I don’t see why Oliver wouldn’t do this, as long as you fully understand why your inverter won’t run very long as delivered.....

You certainly don’t need the massive weight of four AGMs. I would have done this if lithiums had been more affordable and mainstream four years ago. I do plan to recycle my four AGMs at some point and go with the same capacity in two lithium ones.

The inverter is AKA the Battery Killer, if you can do without it completely, you don’t need massive reserves of 12 volt power. I would remove the one in “Mouse” if my wife would allow it...😢  I hate it.

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! Going with the lead acid over the AGM saves about $850. I'd probably never get around to selling them but your point about getting rid of the weight as quickly as possible is well taken. I'm a little weary about the weight already and will be towing with the same vehicle you use. Thanks for the guide by the way!

Do you know what brand Oliver uses for their wet and AGM batteries?

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Posted (edited)

I don’t know what they are currently using, these specs change over time. Call and ask Oliver Sales. Mine are Trojan AGMs. They are reallllllly heavy suckers, maybe 70 pounds each? They are hard to remove for an older, less muscular guy like me. The weight is centered over the axles which is great, but I personally would rather have lithiums and not tow a bunch of unnecessary lead ballast.

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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That math says that if you want Lithium, you probably want to just pay to have the factory do it - especially if you have the tax credit incentives to do it.  My quote from Amsolar for 400Ah of Lithium (albeit with all premium components) is $5k material and $2k labor.  I can offset some of that by adding some solar to get the credit, but that will also cost.


2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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After a lot of back and forth, I changed my option to lithium despite the cost being hard to stomach.

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We pick our Elite II in November, and have been trying decide about the Lithium Pro package as well, and like you, after “a lot of back and forth “ decided to go with it.. We priced out other options, doing it ourselves and decided to bite the bullet and go with the Oliver system. The tax credit helped a great deal in the decision making process.. Part of it was that we are completely unfamiliar with guts of an Oliver trailer at this point so it makes sense for us to get it set up and ready to go from the factory, instead of showing up with a different set of batteries and assorted other stuff that I’d have to figure out while parked at Davy Crockett State Park the first couple nights..Seems like there will be enough of a learning curve to work out... 

I’m going to try to really hard to keep the modifications down to a dull roar the first year or so with our brand new Oliver..  which will be hard for me.. you should have seen our old Casita.. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Just to address the original question, provided the LFP batteries you buy have a built in BMS like the battleborns, then they can be dropped in and will work fine with the standard charger, inverter, and solar charge controller.  They do make an LFP specific charger, but I don't think the charge profile is that much different and battle born at least has said that the standard charger is fine to use.  And even if you want to swap that out later, you can and it's neither difficult nor costly - there's a post or two here on the forum on what's involved.  

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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2 hours ago, WhatDa said:

That math says that if you want Lithium, you probably want to just pay to have the factory do it - especially if you have the tax credit incentives to do it.  My quote from Amsolar for 400Ah of Lithium (albeit with all premium components) is $5k material and $2k labor.  I can offset some of that by adding some solar to get the credit, but that will also cost.

That's a lot of labor for just a battery swap.  I assume that's Victron batteries and separate BMS?

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Yes:

1x MONITOR-VTBMV-S BAM030712000 Victron Battery Monitor BMV-712 Smart
1x TEMP-VTBMV ASS000100000 Victron Temperature sensor for BMV-700 series
1x BATTBMS-VT-BUS BMS300200000 VE.Bus BMS
1x BATTBMS-VTLYNX LYN060102000 Lynx Distributor
 

They have a high amount of hours for labor in my mind:

for the batteries and BMS: Labor @ 16hrs = $2,080

For the multiplus: Labor @ 21hrs = $2,730 

to swap for an MPPT solar controller: Labor @ 12hrs = $1,560 

 

If I did everything myself, with the right parts and right tools in front of me -- I really doubt it'd take ~50 hours to do everything. So I do have an ask back to them to check it --- they say they would revise at intake and some of that is an erroneous easy start install added to the multiplus-- but I'm not keen on committing to $6k of installation so I may drive by for a better quote.

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2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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Yeah, 50 hours would mean that they're less efficient at it than I was when I did mine.  And I really had little clue what I was doing.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Posted (edited)

All you need is two 100 amp/hour LiFePO4 batteries with built in BMS and a battery monitor.

If you are purchasing the trailer new, it will have an 2000watt/80amp inverter charger that can be set to charge the new batteries.

15 minutes to install the batteries and a few hours for the battery monitor, depending where you mount it.

$2,500 max all in.

Andrew

Edited by AndrewK
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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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Thanks for the answer, Overland.

I'll need to look more into the tax credit, Mcb. Our completion date isn't until next year so I'm not sure it would still apply.

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It still applies, but at a lower rate. 22 per cent in 2021.

Screenshot_20200722-191737_Chrome.jpg


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks SeaDawg. 22% is better than nothing! 😃 Are you the same SeaDawg that was selling an Escape trailer recently?

Edited by Jairon

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Nope. Not me. Happy owner of hull #12, original Ollie. Never owned, nor wanted, an Escape. 

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Nope. Not me. Happy owner of hull #12, original Ollie. Never owned, nor wanted, an Escape.

Nice! We were actually considering an Escape due to the layout (and price) They wouldn't budge on the new exchange rate policy so we decided to get something nicer instead 😃 Hopefully Oliver can avoid the private equity trap that is gobbling up RV manufactures.

Edited by Jairon

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I truly think it means a lot when your family name is on every trailer that rolls out the door.

Sherry

 


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Two years of use - my AGM's and the standard Oliver solar have been a decent set-up. Were it not for needing AC cooling every now and then, we would never need shore power. When the AGM's die, I'll look at the replacement options. If I was buying my Oliver today, I would seriously consider doing what Andrew K advised. 

As for Oliver selling the RV side of the business - money - lot of it - has a way of changing minds. Give it a few years - we will see.  

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"

ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201524964bac5483378b34b491562080842sm.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

There's a caveat on tying in batteries, with solar, to obtain the federal tax credit.

We were advised that solar and batteries needed to be at the same time, or tax period, to get credit for the batteries with solar. Just saying, check with your CPA, to make sure you fit in the guidelines, before you count on the tax credit if you do a standard battery, and swap for lithium. And, don't  cross over the tax year on bits and pieces.

I personally think going with standard/included battery, and swapping for droppin battleborns or other quality lifepo,  as suggested by Andrewk, would be the way to go. If it were me.

Sherry

 

Edited by SeaDawg

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SeaDawg said:

I personally think going with standard/included battery, and swapping for droppin battleborns or other quality lifepo,  as suggested by Andrewk, would be the way to go. If it were me.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Battleborn LFPs are 100 Ah vs the 200 Ah of the LiFeBlue. The cost ends up being $3796 for Battleborn (assuming 4 fit) vs $3790 for the LiFeBlue.

If I'm being honest, I have no idea why Oliver chose LiFeBlue to supply LFPs vs some of the other seemingly more reputable brands. The datasheet has typos, the website (or at least the copyright) hasn't been updated in 3+ years and the Android app looks like it sends more data to the PRC than TiKToK. I was really tempted to build the entire system from scratch using Victron components but you end up thinking things like:

Oliver probably has some fiberglass reinforcement for the panel mounts and the Zamp panels are a non-standard size.  -  I guess I'm buying the solar panel package for $2799 to avoid having my new custom panels fly off the trailer at 60mph.

Now I have some overpriced panels and a charge controller, let's insult our wallet further by tossing the charge controller in the trash. 😃

Time to install the inverter and pray to Zeus that I don't fry my entire electrical system when I power it on.

OK scratch that, I'll just get the wet cells and inverter and replace the professionally wired factory inverter with my own... wait, is that price right? $1300 for a $300 inverter?! I might as well just get the AGM battery package!

And so on...

At the end of the day, I'm a little relieved I just said screw it went with the factory install; I'll probably have a perfectly functional setup for 10+ years vs never getting around to installing the custom setup. "Perfect is the enemy of good." Props to anyone that rolled their own system on a brand new trailer though! 😃

 

 

Edited by Jairon

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Oliver did our original solar install in 2008, which we've updated a bit. And, we'll be updating more, later in the year.

This past year, we installed 600 watts of solar, using Victron controls, on our boat.  It was a very extensive labor of love. Not months, but definitely weeks of time. Some of those many hours were definitely not fun.

The end result was great. It was really important to us to have solar on the boat as another source of power, as we've lost 2 alternators over the past 5 years, both at extremely inconvenient times. 

 Before solar, everything on our 40 year old boat was engine driven. Battery recharge, water heater,  refrigerator,  etc. Or, shore power, which is obviously unavailable sailing 50 miles or more off shore.

I totally understand going with the original package, and being solar powered from day one. If you counted up the hours of our solar install on the boat, we'd have spent a lot, lot more than just the component prices 

We manage our Oliver shorty on two group 27 batteries,  200 watts solar, and rarely plug in. We have augmented the last year with a cheap Coleman 100 watt "portable" panel.  We're good to go, living the 12 volt life, for over 12 years..

Where I think you'll most likely want to make a change is in the Zamp battery monitor,  and that's a pretty inexpensive and easy upgrade. But, many people are fine with it. It depends entirely on how you use your trailer. 

With our particular circumstances  and necessary power monitoring,  because we have limited battery power, and no other other power  source beyond solar, we need better than just simple gauging  lights. 

Sherry

 


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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On 7/22/2020 at 4:18 PM, SeaDawg said:

It still applies, but at a lower rate. 22 per cent in 2021.

Screenshot_20200722-191737_Chrome.jpg

Does the solar tax credit apply to RVs?  It says "residential and commercial".


Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

2013 F350 3.2l Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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We were told that our rv qualifies as a 2nd home. As does our boat. Bath. Cooking facilities. Sleeping quarters .

Ditto with the boat.

Verify with your own cpa. 

Sherry

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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We are still undecided on lithium pkg vs solar/AGM pkg.  I calculate the cost difference at $3,600 (solar pkg + soft start = $5,400).  Plus additional 1000w inverted power.  So, is it worth an $3,600 to get lithium?

My thoughts:

1.  Do we need 1000w more inverted power? 

2. AGM - 220 available ah (440ah @  50% discharge)  Lithium - 340 available ah (400ah  85% discharge)  Would we use 120 additional ah?

3. Battery life: Lithium = 2x AGM life?

4. Cost of battery replacement - 2 lithium vs 4 AGM?

5. Weight - not sure of the differential between Oliver supplied 4 AGM and 2 Lithium

6. Maintenance, monitoring etc - no experience with lithium

7. Solar battery charging - our RV experience has been with 200w flat panel (inefficient?) solar panels with two 12v flooded house batteries, mostly in marginal sun exposure.  This setup barely kept batteries topped off with basic onboard draws, including macerator toilet and no additional inverter usage.

8. High watt power usage would be appliances - toaster oven (1800w), inverter burner (100-1800w), electric kettle (1500w), hair dryer (1800w).  No microwave and would use generator for necessary AC.  Other power demands - lights, LP ignition, fans, water pump, cell phone and electronics charging, phantom draws.  We only occasionally use TV.

The additional power supplied by the lithium package is attractive, though I'm sure we could manage just fine without it; the solar package would certainly be a definite improvement over our current system. 

Is it worth $3,600 for power we might not use?  

 

 


Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

2013 F350 3.2l Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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