Jump to content

How much difference between battery types?


Recommended Posts

Hello, we are looking into the Elite I, and trying to decide on what is really needed and what is a nice to have when putting together the cost of getting into an Oliver. 

For the next 10 years, we will be primarily using it for short trips of 3 days to a week, to explore around. We would prefer to boondock as much as possible. Power is obviously a big concern. We really want solar, but the cost is a big add-on. However, we hate running generators more than absolutely necessary, so I think we will spring for the solar. So that brings us to the batteries. Looking at the sheet, we can get a package with 2 AGM batteries, or Lithium batteries for $2,600 more. That's a painful jump.

So... How much of a difference do those Lithium batteries make for our plans? How hard is it to upgrade them later? Thanks for any help!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

We're still using two Agm batteries. We almost never have electricity. 

You can buy nice replacement agm batteries several times for the price of the lithium. Unless you are crazy power consumers, 2 agms and solar should carry you through three days, and, with decent weather, a week. Carry a small genset as insurance.

We think our best add-on ever was the original solar package. We have recently upgraded it from 200 watts to 400, but Oliver installed the first system, so the heavy lifting on wiring and brackets was mostly done by them. 

You could probably be fine with a couple hundred watts portable,  for that matter, for shorter trips. But, it's kind of a pain to lug around and set up all the time. I set up our homemade "portables" when we're in a site for more than a few days. The generator is easier.

For people who know they enjoy boondocking, I really think fixed solar is a best option. 

  • Thanks 1
  • Love 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/28/2021 at 9:34 AM, SeaDawg said:

We're still using two Agm batteries. We almost never have electricity. 

You can buy nice replacement agm batteries several times for the price of the lithium. Unless you are crazy power consumers, 2 agms and solar should carry you through three days, and, with decent weather, a week. Carry a small genset as insurance.

We think our best add-on ever was the original solar package. We have recently upgraded it from 200 watts to 400, but Oliver installed the first system, so the heavy lifting on wiring and brackets was mostly done by them. 

You could probably be fine with a couple hundred watts portable,  for that matter, for shorter trips. But, it's kind of a pain to lug around and set up all the time. I set up our homemade "portables" when we're in a site for more than a few days. The generator is easier.

For people who know they enjoy boondocking, I really think fixed solar is a best option. 

Yes . . . . opt for the solar package; AGM batteries are ideal, but you can easily upgrade to them yourself later.  The AGM/solar pkg includes the 2000w inverter.  Unless you have the need for inverted power, the inverter adds unnecessary cost.  Perhaps there are separate upgrades for solar and AGM instead of the AGM pkg upgrade; I haven't seen a recent build list.

An advantage to fixed solar over portable is that the panels will charge your batteries while towing; the house batteries do not receive much charge from the tow vehicle's alternator.

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

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)

AZARCAIDNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAsm.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of all the options available to you, the two that I consider essential to boondocking are the Solar Pro Package with the 6V AGM's and the Micro Air Easy Start.  

The AGM batteries will easily run your lighting, cabin fan, toilet fan, water pump, awning, charge your phones, etc.  They will even run your TV if you have a signal.  With direct sun the solar will keep up the charge during the day and provide the essential electricity needed after sunset.  If your charge drops after a few cloudy days you can recharge the batteries with your generator.  It won't always be sunny and you will certainly need a generator at some point (or wish that you had one).

Air conditioning is sure nice to have on those hot humid nights when you can't get to sleep because you feel like you are being broiled alive.  The Micro Air Easy Start will allow you to use a portable generator to run your air conditioning off of a small genset.   It takes a lot of oomph to start the compressor on an AC unit.  Once it is running the demand is not as high.  The easy start feature allows you to use a smaller (lighter/less noise) generator than what would otherwise be required to start the compressor.  We use a Honda EU2200i as do many others on this forum.  I recommend that you figure that into your budget at around $1,100 and get the Easy Start option for the AC.  

The Elite has a 3-way refrigerator that runs wonderfully off of LP gas.  No worries there.

Food for thought...  We have endured several power outages over the years that were caused by severe weather.  We live at the foot of Lake Michigan.  Thunderstorms tossing trees on power lines is not an uncommon occurrence.  After the recent cyberattacks on our infrastructure, we considered getting a Generac nat. gas fired whole house generator to combat yet another potential cause of a power outage.  I am glad that we did not go through the unnecessary expense.  Keep the LP tanks full and a couple gallons of gas for the generator and we can just move into the Ollie if the power grid fails.

In closing let me add one more suggestion.  Don't upgrade the standard cushions to the KTT mattress yet.  We have the standard foam cushions with Ultrafabric and find them to be very comfortable to sleep on.  Far better than we expected.  Try them first and see if you like them.  

We loaded up on options when we put down our initial deposit so that we could get in the queue for the build, and then trimmed them back on the final build sheet.  That got things in motion and gave us time to educate ourselves and carefully consider each option.

Good luck, and have fun with this!

  • Thanks 3
  • Like 2

820.png.45d6985802d380947444b4da5835ac4e.pngMike and Yasuko

2021 Legacy Elite Hull #820 "The Owls Nest"

Tow Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Tundra Limited 5.7 V8 TRD Off-Road 4x4 "Tundrasaurus Rex"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

@LongStride how many amp hours of storage do you get with the 6v agms in today's package with the Elite? 

Our 2008 came originally equipped with 2 12v flooded batteries, group 27.

We've moved up to agm, 2 group 31 12v, # 105 ah each.

 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have (2) Lifeline GPL-4CT 6V AGM's.  Amp hour capacity at 20 hour rate of 220 Ah (each).

Not certain exactly what that means in storage capacity.  Electrical, particularly solar energy and DC current are not in my wheelhouse.  I'm learning.

820.png.45d6985802d380947444b4da5835ac4e.pngMike and Yasuko

2021 Legacy Elite Hull #820 "The Owls Nest"

Tow Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Tundra Limited 5.7 V8 TRD Off-Road 4x4 "Tundrasaurus Rex"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Oliver is using Lifeline batteries now?  Nice - those are top notch. 

If you have two 220 amp hour 6 volt batteries, then that’s the same as you have in total storage since the two are combined to make 12 volts. You can use roughly half of that if you want to keep them healthy, maybe a bit more, so around 110+ usable amp hours. 

  • Thanks 1

❄️🏈

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
46 minutes ago, LongStride said:

Not certain exactly what that means in storage capacity.  Electrical, particularly solar energy and DC current are not in my wheelhouse.  I'm learning.

That's ok. 12 volt life is a learning curve for everyone. 

Your two 6v batteries are set up in series, so the voltage is x 2 (12 volt, nominal) and the amp hour rating remains the same.

So, you have 220 ah of storage, of which you should not use more than 50 per cent, and I try to stay at 70 to 75 per cent remaining, to sustain battery life. (Less cycling, longer life.)

About the same as my 12v agms, in parallel,  though you have a slight edge. With my 2 x 105 12v, in parallel, volts stay the same, amp hours double.  So, I have 210 ah, 105 actually useable, of which I  try to use only 50 to 60,  and recharge daily to the full capacity with the solar. 

On the boat, we use 6v x2 in series, then pairs in parallel, for the banks. 6v seems to give a longer life, a little more forgiving on deep cycling. 

I'm still exploring options for the trailer. Our 2008 battery compartment is pretty small for two 6v batteries, though I  know at least one person managed it, years ago, with some modifications. 

Edit to add: looks like Overland beat me to the explanations. And, I  agree. Lifeline is a great brand. 

Thanks, @LongStride

  • Thanks 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, LongStride said:

The Elite has a 3-way refrigerator that runs wonderfully off of LP gas.  No worries there.

Great info, thanks!
Regarding the 3-way refrigerator, I've been seeing a lot of ups and downs about it, and people talking about changing to a compressor fridge. Any thoughts on this?
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
2 hours ago, AuthorSP said:

Great info, thanks!
Regarding the 3-way refrigerator, I've been seeing a lot of ups and downs about it, and people talking about changing to a compressor fridge. Any thoughts on this?
 

I have a compressor fridge prefer it, but I wouldn't say that it's a 'must have'.  From what I've read here and elsewhere, it does cool faster, and more reliably in hot weather, but the downside of greater power consumption means that it isn't a universal better option for everyone.

It's also a little tricky to retrofit, though by no means impossible.  

My advice would be to keep the existing three way and add a compressor fridge in your tow vehicle.  That way, you've got additional storage, a backup fridge, and the best of both worlds in terms of having one that's cheap to operate and another that's super reliable in hot weather.  Plus it's fantastic for grocery runs.  I can turn my fridge on before heading into Costco and it will be cold by the time I come out with the groceries, and then I can run other errands without worrying about about it.

  • Like 1

❄️🏈

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
2 hours ago, AuthorSP said:

Regarding the 3-way refrigerator, I've been seeing a lot of ups and downs about it, and people talking about changing to a compressor fridge. Any thoughts on this?

We replaced our Dometic with a compressor fridge. We like it, but we also liked the Norcold that came as original equipment (until it didn't work anymore.)

The compressor fridge swapout we did ourselves. 

The Norcold 3way is easier to manage, powerwise, boondocking, than the compressor fridge, as you can run it on propane, and use very little power.  The compressor fridge used 60 to 70 amp hours a day, which requires some power monitoring for us, with only 2 group 31 batteries.

Try the 3way. I suspect you'll like it once you get used to it.

 

  • Like 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not well versed in the advantages of a compressor unit.  I can say without reservation that I am perfectly happy thus far with the stock Norcold.  It does its job, it sips LP, and it is quiet.  

  • Like 2

820.png.45d6985802d380947444b4da5835ac4e.pngMike and Yasuko

2021 Legacy Elite Hull #820 "The Owls Nest"

Tow Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Tundra Limited 5.7 V8 TRD Off-Road 4x4 "Tundrasaurus Rex"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...