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andrew

Adding Solar to our Oliver

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We are working on modding our Oliver with some solar panels and a new inverter/charger.

 

I am adding stuff here about doing it:

http://oliver.hewus.com/Mods/Solar

 

The most interesting so far are probably the brackets we are having custom made:

http://oliver.hewus.com/Mods/Solar/Parts/Brackets

 

I will update this thread as we go along. Let me know if you have any questions.

 

One interesting thought I have for the future is that since we have the 4" lift, we could build a battery box under the trailer that spans the width of the trailer just in front of or behind the axle and add quite a few more amp hours plus gain the storage space where the batteries are now.

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Andrew,

 

I've always liked that placement for the solar panels ever since I saw the two panels on Seadawg's Ollie. Your angular swing of the panels from down to up is large. Will you be able to fix the panels at numerous angles to maximize energy capture or will it be all or nothing?

 

Getting more amp hours would also be a gooooood thing. I think Technomadia's batteries are the highest amp hour capacities I've heard of on an Ollie - at a whopping 260AH! Ther'e a discussion thread at:

 

Can't wait to see the finished project and hear how it works for you. :D


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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I wish we had 260 :) Chris decided on AGMs, which we had to compromise and come down to 220 so that we could have faster charging, etc. I believe we had 260 on our former T@b trailer however (and just 110w of solar panels).

 

It's doing fine.. but man would I love more battery capacity.

 

Can't wait to see your set-up on the playa, Andrew!

 

- Cherie

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I've always liked that placement for the solar panels ever since I saw the two panels on Seadawg's Ollie. Your angular swing of the panels from down to up is large. Will you be able to fix the panels at numerous angles to maximize energy capture or will it be all or nothing?

The plan is that the panels will pivot at the point near the center of the roof to allow us to maximize energy. The pivot point is so far from the panels so they will clear the AC when they pivot.

Back_Solar_Up_disp512.jpg

Eventually I want to motorize it and put it on a solar tracker, but that is a future project :)

Getting more amp hours would also be a gooooood thing.

Very true, and I think a lot of them could fit in the ~60 inches between the frame rails.

Can't wait to see the finished project and hear how it works for you.
:D

I can't wait either! Hopefully the panels will show up by next weekend and we can get them installed in the next couple of weeks.

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Yay! Successful tests of the inverter/charger and the solar system (panels, controller)! Everything seems to work. Just need a few more brackets and clamps to keep the panels on the roof and we are done.

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Having seen Andrew's solar installation and electrical upgrade work at Burning Man, I have to say that I am blown away.

 

We used to have the coolest and most geeked-out Oliver in existence, but he has taken things to a new extreme. He has a bigger and better inverter, larger solar panels, and more battery capacity too.

 

If you haven't checked out his work yet, you will be impressed. He rocks. :-)

 

- Chris

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Thanks Chris, I appreciate that.

 

I was very happy with how everything came out. With what we did, we we were able to spend the entire week at Burning Man without unreeling our shore power cord or starting our generator!

 

We were down over 70AH when we arrived because I ran the fridge on DC most of the trip there. That was the lowest I saw the batteries and every morning by 10am they were again full.

 

The most power I saw from the solar panels while we were there was 235 watts which I that was fantastic.

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Andrew,

Our original 12 volt batteries have finally called it a day, and it's time to replace them with batteries that will afford us more storage and better utilization of our pv panels.

Chris mentioned that you modified the battery box and used a larger type of battery. Would you mind sharing what you did, what type of batteries you installed, and how they've been working for you?

Thanks

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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We installed a couple Universal Battery UB121350's. We have had them for about a year and so far I have been happy, although we haven't had nearly as many trips as would have been nice.

 

CIMG0374_disp512.jpg

 

We actually ordered the Gruber Power branded batteries but they shipped us the others.

 

I believe we got them from Gruber Power's eBay store.

 

As you can see, they were a bit taller than I thought, or the battery box was smaller than I measured.

P1050732_disp512.jpg

 

The red terminals stick out the top of the box.

P1050895_disp512.jpg

 

and the box is cut to a flap so the black cables can snake underneath.

P1050717_disp512.jpg

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That's COOL! It sort of defeats the purpose of having a battery box to isolate their air supply from the rest of the cabin, though with AGMs it's not a big deal.

 

I also put in a Prosine 2.0, pulled from my old Casita, they are great inverters (though reviews seem to indicate that later manufacture ones have some reliability issues). The battery cable on my Oliver was 2/0, and wasn't quite up to Prosine spec as well as not very flexible, so I recently brought it up to 4/0 using welding cable.

 

4723200603_443be2ebfd.jpg

 

Getting 4/0, even the super-flexible welding cable, to bend with the battery as it slides in and out on its tray was a daunting task, so I came up with this alternative arrangement using an Anderson SBX-350 connector which can be disconnected before pulling the batteries out.

 

4723200431_e55184256a.jpg

 

4723852646_1716302d32.jpg

 

Oh, yeah: Kudos on your ham radio antenna!

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Wow Eric, nice install!

 

The only reason we accepted this install, even temporarily, is that the batteries are AGM.

 

My plan eventually is to eventually find a tray that is deeper and wider so that I can put 3 batteries along the back of the tray, have the faucet mounted in front of the batteries and beside the faucet, have room for our toolbag.

 

At that point I would engineer a solution to separate the battery box from the main compartment.

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