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What upgrades can you not live without?


KennyS
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We will be ordering an Oliver Elite I in a few months.  Boondocking is one thing we are interested in, and there are a couple of things we think are important to us to upgrade.  To help with boondocking and camp sight parking, we want a compost toilet, the solar package, and a shower curtain.  

What are you top 3 or 4 things you either should have upgraded or you did upgrade that are important (knowing these can be very personal)?  Thanks

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You already have solar on your list. If you plan to boondock a lot, that's the single option that would be on my "must have" list. If that includes agm batteries, I'd definitely like to have those instead of FLA. How many watts of solar in the Legacy Elite I package? We've done really well with 200 watts for many years , until we installed the 12v fridge. Then, we needed portable solar, and some days, a small generator to keep up. 

We don't have the composting toilet, nor the shower curtain, so I can't comment. I do think the composting toilet will save some water.

I would look beyond your current items to portable solar (not necessarily Zamp, which is heavy and pricey), a small generator,  and a better battery monitor than the Zamp, if you want to boondock a lot with 2 batteries, you'll want more information than the Zamp monitor provides, imo. These are not on the options list, but our of pocket, I think .

I  would limit other additions to the trailer which use power. The included 6 gallon water heater worked fine for us , til it died. We added an inverter, then wound up removing it because we didn't use it. 

We originally had a microwave, but removed it,when it died ,and really enjoy the additional storage. Our television is unplugged. Stereo usually turned off at the breaker. We cook outside,  or on the lo stovetop, including coffee. No kuerig for us.

This is my opinion,only, but, based on 13 seasons mostly without power. If you plan to camp often with power, it's another ballgame .

 

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On 1/16/2021 at 4:22 PM, SeaDawg said:

portable solar (not necessarily Zamp, which is heavy and pricey)

Is there a brand  (or a few brands) you'd  suggest as good  alternatives?

 

Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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If I  were looking today, I'd probably look at Renogy. Decent pricing, decent history. Probably half the price of the Zamp, or less. Don't get me wrong.  Zamp makes excellent,  exceptional panels. Just pricey, imo, for a portable item.

We have used a cheap Coleman 100 watt rigid panel for a few years,  with a "support" made from leftover pvc. It's not highly efficient,  but I'm not out much if someone decides they need it more than I do. I think it was $120 or less, on costco. So cheap, that I bought one for us, and one for my sister. Came with a little, cheap controller (which we don'tuse, but it works.)

I have one friend who uses a flexible panel and a portable waterproof controller. They slide it under the mattress for travel.  If I were to do that, I'd look for a deal on Sunpower. And build a pvc frame. Not my idea of a great setup, but others have used it with some success, and they're happy. Very light.

 

 

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2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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AS a boondocker - I would say for me, solar, compost toilet, Truma, 30 lb. Propane, front tray, the rear rack (so I could modify) Perhaps the extra power port would be  good, but I  am good without it. .

From experience - don't purchase the factory shower curtain track - if you are at all handy, you can come up with a very good solution, at a much more sensible cost.  If your all thumbs - well - ok .

A portable remote Solar - is a good thing to have. The factory LI is not worth the trouble(cost) in my opinion, The AGM's make more sense in the current time frame - I am positive others feel differently. 

Happy Trails

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 say that solar plus the lithium batteries makes for a great combination (sorry BackofBeyond). Having removed the 240 lbs of lead AGMs (which lasted only 4 years) and replacing them with 60 to 90 lbs of Battleborn Li with a significant net increase in usable capacity and a 10 year warranty is nice.  Of course these two items wouldn't be as great without the inverter and microwave (and coffee maker and ...).

This is not upgrade but since I live in Texas, the AC allows me to camp here throughout the summer months.  I wish the Dometic unit wasn't so loud and was also much more efficient, but it does keep the Elite II cool on even the hottest Texas days.

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Lithium can be worth it but I hope people understand what they are getting and how to take care of them. Ruining your lithium batteries after a year or two is way harder to swallow than trashing your AGMs. At the rate Oliver is selling Pro packages I suspect there are going to be more than a few angry customers in a year or two.

Edited by Jairon
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On 1/20/2021 at 5:20 PM, Jairon said:

Lithium can be worth it but I hope people understand what they are getting and how to take care of them. Ruining your lithium batteries after a year or two is way harder to swallow than trashing your AGMs. At the rate Oliver is selling Pro packages I suspect there are going to be more than a few angry customers in a year or two.

Oliver, or maybe LifeBlue, should do a video on using and caring for lithium batteries.  Perhaps there is one; I'll check it out.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; delivered December 7, 2020

2013 F350 6.7l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

1UP-USA Heavy-duty bike rack

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

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On 1/20/2021 at 7:20 PM, Jairon said:

Lithium can be worth it but I hope people understand what they are getting and how to take care of them. Ruining your lithium batteries after a year or two is way harder to swallow than trashing your AGMs. At the rate Oliver is selling Pro packages I suspect there are going to be more than a few angry customers in a year or two.

In my opinion - we all have one, or two,😲

Perhaps I am way off base - I don't believe the majority of current and future Oliver owners are as tech savvy on the LI systems and their peculiar needs as are the majority of  the intelligent and learned posters on this forum. (This poster - excepted)  As Jairon states - it is an expensive system to lose to excessive heat or cold, or whatever. 

One only needs to see the creative engineering of these same folks to understand that sensitivity to temps is something to be considered. A few summer days- parked unattended in my sons Phoenix driveway - at 110 + degrees- may need some attention?  Similar situation - but in winter, at -35  in my other Son's Fairbanks driveway.  Seems heating would be needed - or removal - AGM's - from my research - are much more temperature tolerant when fully charged.  

The central point in my cautious attitude on the LI package is the initial cost - and the state of current Oliver system engineering and design. I'm not saying it is Bad - I'm saying the AGM system may be a more cost effective and user friendly system for the average RV owner in todays world. (of course the thought has occurred to me - Oliver owners in the total are not average)

Long term warranties -  full replacement - prorated, or non existent - once the manufacturer is out of business in 5 years. Makes a difference.

A luddite I am not, early adopter - sometimes - here the value is very low given the risk and reward.  But I understand the appeal. To say one can run the AC off the LI system - is somewhat of a stretch. 

The weight savings - while substantial - don't make a difference in the overall - to me anyways. 

I certainly hope my cautiousness is unwarranted. I would love to see a  user friendly, low risk, bullet proof system - at a reasonable, cost effective price. I am positive one is in the near future.  Perhaps just as my AGM's approach their demise.....

Good tidings

Happy trails

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"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, BackofBeyond said:

Perhaps I am way off base - I don't believe the majority of current and future Oliver owners are as tech savvy on the LI systems and their peculiar needs as are the majority of  the intelligent and learned posters on this forum. (This poster - excepted)  As Jairon states - it is an expensive system to lose to excessive heat or cold, or whatever. 

One only needs to see the creative engineering of these same folks to understand that sensitivity to temps is something to be considered. A few summer days- parked unattended in my sons Phoenix driveway - at 110 + degrees- may need some attention?  Similar situation - but in winter, at -35  in my other Son's Fairbanks driveway.  Seems heating would be needed - or removal - AGM's - from my research - are much more temperature tolerant when fully charged.  

Oliver is now beginning to use three 130 AH batteries (390 AH total) as part of the lithium package.  Listed below are the storage requirements from the Lithionics website (https://lithionicsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Lithionics-Battery-Storage-Procedure.pdf -- my additions are in red text).  LifeBlue batteries likely have similar storage requirements.  These are storage requirements; the lithionics batteries have a charging range of 32°F to 113°F, and a discharge temperature range of -4°F to 113°F. In other words, when the batteries are in use (e.g., when traveling) they can handle a broader temperature range than when in storage.  

After much back and forth, I have decided to order the lithium package. Here's why: (1) there is ample charge for several cloudy days at our anticipated daily use (probably between 75 and 100 AH per day) to last for several cloudy days; (2) there is ample battery capacity for occasional, short duration A/C use (perhaps for an hour at 100 AH per hour), although this will likely require supplemental charging from non-solar sources); (3) the lithium package comes with the 3000 W inverter, which allows A/C use at rest stops; (4) I've satisfied myself that I will generally be within the operating and storage temperature ranges; (5) lithium batteries charge more quickly than other battery types from generator or shore power; (6) lithium batteries reduce trailer weight; (7) at least in theory, lithium batteries will last longer; and finally (8) it is done, the system is built, I won't (hopefully) need to upgrade soon, and I can simply use the system.

Yes, the lithium batteries do require some attention, especially in exceptionally hot or cold climates (e.g., during extended visits with BackofBeyond's sons).  However, here in the arid west where temperatures are typically less than 105°F, and generally greater than 0°F, it should be OK. If it looks like the temperatures will be excessively high or low during times of storage, I can remove the batteries from the trailer and keep them in a conditioned environment: each individual battery weighs about 40 pounds.

Another alternative would be to purchase the solar/AGM package and wait for lithium battery prices to fall.  However, the solar/AGM packages only comes with the 2000 W inverter.  Future upgrades to lithium with the intention of occasional A/C use would require a new, larger inverter.

Another reason to perhaps delay going with lithium now is that future lithium battery packages may have greater capacity (e.g., 500 or 600+ AH).  However, charging this size of battery (the initial cost of which will likely be expensive) would probably require the use of shore or generator power; there is insufficient charge current available from the existing (340W) rooftop solar system to charge a mostly discharged 600 AH battery pack in a reasonable amount of time.   A general rule of thumb might be to have ~1.5 watts of solar panel for every AH of battery capacity (thanks for this, Overland).  Thus, 390 AH battery (as is offered in Oliver's current lithium package) is perhaps sufficiently right-sized for the current 340W rooftop solar array (especially if using a 100W or 200W portable panel in conjunction with the 340W rooftop solar).  Lacking additional solar,  additional charging capacity has to come from the  TV, generator, or shore power.  If the goal is to reduce or minimize generator use (or shore-power reliance), there's an argument to be made for not oversizing the battery.  (Actually, thanks to Overland for helping frame this entire bigger-battery-is-perhaps-not-better perspective.)

In summary, I am not in the more tech-savvy group among you (although I feel like I'm confused now at a higher level than when I was before -- that's progress).   Nonetheless, I am grateful that Oliver is offering a lithium package, even if the implementation is still evolving.  I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

 

 

 

2123287700_ScreenShot2021-01-26at11_30_23AM.thumb.png.42c213555d5b05895a8135642d9ac65b.pngquirements 

 

 

Edited by Fritz
Clarification
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6 hours ago, Fritz said:

Oliver is now installing three 390 AH Lithionics Group 31 batteries in the LE2 (for a total of 390 AH).  Listed below are the storage requirements from the Lithionics website (https://lithionicsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Lithionics-Battery-Storage-Procedure.pdf -- my additions are in red text).  LifeBlue batteries likely have similar storage requirements.  These are storage requirements; the lithionics batteries have a charging range of 32°F to 113°F, and a discharge temperature range of -4°F to 113°F. In other words, when the batteries are in use (e.g., when traveling) they can handle a broader temperature range than when in storage.  I confirmed this with a Lithionics representative.

Thanks for this info Fritz....I was told by my sales rep that LifeBlue batteries are still being installed on 2021 E2 models.  Do you know more specifically when the switch to Lithionics will be made?  Maybe you can comment on your delivery date?  

 

 

2021 Elite 2 Hull # 832 "Bucket List"

2021 F250 7.3L Gas / 4.30 AR (delivery date unknown)

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14 hours ago, Fritz said:

Oliver is now beginning to use three 130 AH batteries (390 AH total) as part of the lithium package.  

Wow, that was a fast switch of Lithium vendors.  I'm curious when this change will occur as well although I'm way more concerned now as an owner of LifeBlue batteries.  What else has Oliver found in addition to the overheating problem with the cold temp version that has made them switch so fast?  Could be cost alone but I doubt it.

If I were in the queue for a new Oliver right now and had this new information, I'd be seriously considering what many other owners have done - skip the Lithium from OTT and install your own in a few years when the AGMs die.

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2 hours ago, NCeagle said:

Wow, that was a fast switch of Lithium vendors.

Oliver uses both LifeBlue and Lithionics as a battery supplier now.

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3 hours ago, NCeagle said:

Could be cost alone but I doubt it.

I doubt it, too. I don't think there's that much difference in the price per amp hour across the range of available vendors. 

I haven't spoken to anyone at Oliver, so my guess may just be wishful thinking. Since lithionics builds custom batteries for various OEMs, my hope is that they'll build batteries that will fit the smaller Elite tray.

There has been an increased interest this year in the smaller Elite, and Lifeblue didn't have a product to fit that tray.

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Picking up an additional supplier is a good business move, especially if Lithionics also offers different form factors - ones that would also work in the Elite I as @SeaDawg eluded to.  Thanks for sharing that info @Jairon.  My stress level went down when I read your post that Oliver isn't ditching LifeBlue.  

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