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Factory lithium package with solar - does it come with a better charge controller?


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The standard Zamp solar controller won’t bring the lithium batteries to 100%. This has been reported by at least one owner who switched from AGM to lithium. It seems as if the factory package should include an upgraded MPPT type unit. It would have to be a brand other than Zamp because they do not make any.

Can somebody with the new lithium and solar packages look at your documentation and see what is installed? Please post your info.

Thanks,

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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The lithium package includes the "standard" Zamp 30 Amp controller.  Barely adequate for the 340 watts of solar.  Ripe for an upgrade for sure!  

John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

Tow Vehicle:  2006 Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab.  6.6L Duramax

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The “older” trailers did use the Blue Sky solar controller. While probably not the best by today’s standards, the Blue Sky is an MPPT type unit. I ordered my trailer without the solar option because I didn’t know enough about solar at the time and the Zamp equipment was just beginning to be used. In later discussions with ScubaRx I found out that the Blue Sky equipment was probably the best at the time so he and I installed that brand. It is fully and easily programmed for any battery chemistry. Fast forward, last summer I installed three Battle Born batteries and did some wiring changes as well. The Blue Sky controller brings the batteries to 100% each day and the lithium speced shore power charger brings them to 100% very quickly. Also as a side, I plugged the battery box door vents and insulated the door with 1/2 inch thick closed cell neoprene foam. So far camping in freezing weather, the battery box has stayed comfortably warm without battery heaters. 

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The Zamp controller has a setting for lithium with the specific charge voltage outlined in the manual. This setting might only exist in newer revisions or a possible firmware update. I'd also be pretty disappointed if Oliver never confirmed a single charge cycle before pushing out their lithium option. Crazier things have happened I suppose 😁

Edited by Jairon
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I don't believe that I have ever seen my ZAMP controller above 13.3 volts until recently when before I hooked up to the trailer I took a quick peek. It was at 13.8 volts after being parked for a week with no shore power attached.  I hooked it up to the truck and towed it for 25 minutes and then checked the voltage at the ZAMP again. This time it had dropped to 13.3V.  I was a bit surprised that the battery voltage had dropped by 0.5V.

I currently have 2x Battleborn batteries and it was sunny out (with solar), but it was later in the evening. 

I will plan on testing for the parasitic draining of my house batteries through the 7 pin connector.  

 

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That sounds very similar to the problem I was having.  You might try charging from shore power for an afternoon to make sure they're both getting a charge.  Make sure you can get them both to a 13.6 resting voltage by disconnecting them and checking them independently of one another.  

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Great idea...

Continued from previous message... After getting the trailer home I charged the two Battleborns up for 90 minutes using shore power. The ZAMP showed 14.6 volts. Then I removed the batteries to prepare for a four battery retrofit. 

I charged the other two batteries up one at a time to 14.5 volts using the trailer (90 minutes roughly). I placed all four batteries in the tray and started measuring for bus bars and cable clearance.  I concluded that it would be best to move all but the two main battery cables into the trailer before installing the four batteries.  So I started planning that as my next project.  I am still a bit confused by some of the Oliver wiring choices, but plan on making small improvements along the way.

The original two batteries that I pulled out had voltages at 14.1 and 13.9 (measured several times over several hours), which is pretty close, but I felt I should balance them before reinstallation.  

I placed the two other batteries (previously un-used) into the trailer after verifying they were properly balanced (both read 14.2V).  I returned the trailer to storage and have been planning the movement of the other cables into the trailer.  I will post my plans in a new thread for feedback before I purchase anything else for this part of the project.

 

Edited by mjrendon
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13 hours ago, mountainoliver said:

The “older” trailers did use the Blue Sky solar controller. While probably not the best by today’s standards, the Blue Sky is an MPPT type unit. I ordered my trailer without the solar option because I didn’t know enough about solar at the time and the Zamp equipment was just beginning to be used. In later discussions with ScubaRx I found out that the Blue Sky equipment was probably the best at the time so he and I installed that brand. It is fully and easily programmed for any battery chemistry. Fast forward, last summer I installed three Battle Born batteries and did some wiring changes as well. The Blue Sky controller brings the batteries to 100% each day and the lithium speced shore power charger brings them to 100% very quickly. Also as a side, I plugged the battery box door vents and insulated the door with 1/2 inch thick closed cell neoprene foam. So far camping in freezing weather, the battery box has stayed comfortably warm without battery heaters. 

Honestly,  Blue sky is a bit "old school," compared to Victron.  They "probably " will have Bluetooth capability sometime soon.

That said, the reliability and customer service from Blue Sky is second to none, imo. 

We did use victron on the boat, because of a better water resistance rating , and their dominant position in the marine market, for future proofing in integration. That decision was actually a really tough one, because of our excellent experience with Blue Sky .

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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