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I tried to search this with no luck so forgive me if these questions have already been asked. 

1. Do crosswinds vibrations during travel or anything else have any negative affect on these mount points of the factory solar panels? 

2. Have any of you had issues with the factory solar panels relative to how they are attached to the roof of the Oliver? If so in what way? 

3. Have any of you upgraded, added more panels or simply deleted these factory panels? if so how has that worked out relative to the original mounting holes? waterproofing? 

I ask because I am soon going to have to commit to my build sheet and these questions came to me when I first saw the panels mounted on the roof sideways, it is a fair question given the way the panels edges hang out in the wind so to speak, however I have not been able to find an answer to this on my own..... maybe that is my answer but I leave it to you all now to give me the goods.

FYI I am already set on AGM Batteries to start out, regardless of what decision I make about panels, so no point in opening that can of worms in this post. My goal here is to decide if I am going to add panels now or wait until I decide exactly what I want to do relative to a full on boondocking solar solution in a year or so. I am fine with the cost of the panels, I know some will think it is overkill for me to purchase them if I am not boondocking that is my prerogative so hold those comments please, thanks.

I am simply concerned about how their attachment affects the roof/gelcoat of the RV and since I do not plan to do any hardcore boondocking the first year I am leaning towards no panels at all because we all know that 12-18 months from now there will likely be better panels that may or may not mount the same way leaving holes/patches in my roof that I am not crazy about thus the question because the oliver being 100% gelcoat is brand new to me and you can all see by now I am going around in circles about something that probably should not be so complicated 😉 so I look forward to your educated input on the subject.

Thanks

Dan

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We didn’t order the factory solar panel option on our  2019 Elite II, so there are no holes or brackets on the roof.  We typically stay at full hookup campgrounds.   I do have a portable 140 watt solar panel with integrated charge controller that I use for brief stays at Harvest Host locations, connected through the 7 pin trailer wiring harness plug.  

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

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We've had ours for 2 year and many miles and never any issue.  

I make sure to check the fasteners each time I was the roof, and tighten the quick connectors that can be loosened to remove or tilt the panels as well.
(A tilt kit is available in the aftermarket.)

You may want to check with your Oliver Salesperson, but I believe there are metal reinforcement points on the inside of the roof for the solar mounts and they may be able to be installed later easily if you know where the mounting points are.  

One thing to be aware of is the very long backlog presently with any solar installations through after-market installers.

****

As to SOLAR benefits you might have overlooked:

One thing to be aware of is the Battery Re-Charge current you'll get while driving.

One of the more important benefits of SOLAR is that as you drive, solar does a great job of recharging your AGM batteries.

 

Hope that helps.

Craig

The 7 pin connector on the Oliver  has a +12V line (10 AWG) that runs through a breaker to the AGM's.
This will help recharge batteries while you drive.
The amount of current that flows on this line is only 7-10 amps simply because the wires are pretty small on most trucks.
That amount of current isn't enough to fully recharge your batteries quickly while you drive.

If you drive with your fridge on DC, (or on AC with the inverter on) then SOLAR becomes a more important feature.
Without the boost from Solar on board,  you'll deplete your batteries as you drive instead of recharging.
Some folks feel safe driving with Propane On for the Fridge, but many local regulations make that somewhat iffy.

 

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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

 

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I’m also planning on no solar if I can find one. Most likely we’re going to utilize a renogy 40 amp dc to dc charger for both the trailer and a battery bank in the truck to run a additional freezer/fridge.  We have a lot of cloudy days in the Midwest and as a family like to stay on the move. 
 

As GG mentioned above the reinforcements are already installed on all trailers and for that reason I’d probably have them install the mounts down the road. The solar panels might be considerably more efficient in 10 years so waiting, if they’re not currently needed, might be a good idea. 

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22 minutes ago, FrankC said:

We didn’t order the factory solar panel option on our  2019 Elite II, so there are no holes or brackets on the roof.  We typically stay at full hookup campgrounds.   I do have a portable 140 watt solar panel with integrated charge controller that I use for brief stays at Harvest Host locations, connected through the 7 pin trailer wiring harness plug.  

Hello Frank, I appreciate this I was unaware the 7 Pin could be used with portable solar I will seriously consider this option. 

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While connecting a portable solar panel to the 7 pin connecter does work, it is not at ALL ideal, the distance back to the batteries is FAR too great. And on my Hull 218 the ground wire was undersized for part of the way, 14 AWG instead of 12. There has to be a two way path for the current, it doesn’t matter if there is a big charge wire if the ground is too small. You need to plug a portable one in as close as possible to the batteries. Use large wires (10 AWG at least) and keep them short. And mount the controller remotely, close to or inside the trailer, not on the panel itself, if you have lithiums, or the charging will be inadequate.

My roof panels have been trouble free after the initial issue with the knobs falling off.

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/2066-how-to-install-safeties-on-the-solar-panel-mount-knobs-important/

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

"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, Safari snorkel.

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47 minutes ago, fairmontrvpark said:

Hello Frank, I appreciate this I was unaware the 7 Pin could be used with portable solar I will seriously consider this option. 

It can be used but you have to make sure the panel has a charge controller. Here’s what the setup looks like.  As John said, it’s not the optimal setup but it works and it was a heck of a lot cheaper.  About $1,000 for the panel with controller plus the 7 pin adapter I had to wire up.  Plus as portable panels improve I can upgrade easily.   As far as the distance issue it’s not much different than the tow vehicle alternator to trailer distance, and my batteries fully charge just fine from both my tow vehicle when driving and when using the solar panel at Harvest Host stops.   As John described, wire gauge vs current capacity is heavily dependent on wire length, whether the wire is in open air or buried in a bundle, continuous or intermittent current, ambient temperature, etc.  Chart below.  My panel is only 140 watts so call it 12 amps max. (And I rarely see above 10 amps).  John is correct though that for a very high wattage panel like the Oliver factory setup, larger gauge and shorter wiring is required.  

8CD10577-CE99-4A68-BE9A-E0745864CFDC.jpeg

8D58EE0C-DD1C-4FCC-A5EB-1702A0B6DBFB.jpeg

3E8B0369-991B-468D-A61B-840C90500570.jpeg

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

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16 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

While connecting a portable solar panel to the 7 pin connecter does work, it is not at ALL ideal, the distance back to the batteries is FAR too great. And on my Hull 218 the ground wire was undersized for part of the way, 14 AWG instead of 12. There has to be a two way path for the current, it doesn’t matter if there is a big charge wire if the ground is too small. You need to plug a portable one in as close as possible to the batteries. Use large wires (10 AWG at least) and keep them short. And mount the controller remotely, close to or inside the trailer, not on the panel itself, if you have lithiums, or the charging will be inadequate.

My roof panels have been trouble free after the initial issue with the knobs falling off.

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/2066-how-to-install-safeties-on-the-solar-panel-mount-knobs-important/

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Hello John, 

A 2013 Land Cruiser 200 is not an Ideal TV, but it gets the job done for you right? I am quite sure 99% of my choices relative to my Oliver will not be up to your standards so that is established now. 

As I stated in my Original Post I am NOT using Lithium and would like to avoid this post going down that rabbit hole so it can stay on topic. 

I absolutely love the 7 PIN solar solution in my case it is an ideal option, and I am grateful for it. 

Dan

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1 hour ago, fairmontrvpark said:

1. Do crosswinds vibrations during travel or anything else have any negative affect on these mount points of the factory solar panels? 

2. Have any of you had issues with the factory solar panels relative to how they are attached to the roof of the Oliver? If so in what way? 

3. Have any of you upgraded, added more panels or simply deleted these factory panels? if so how has that worked out relative to the original mounting holes? waterproofing? 

Dan, we have the factory panels installed on our 2016.  We’ve never had an issue with crosswinds or vibrations.  We’ve driven through some pretty fierce winds in west Texas that prompted a lot of 18 wheelers to pull over.  No vibrations either.  We’ve also camped in some pretty strong winds, gusts up to 60 mph one night in southern AZ.  No panel issues.  I wash the panels and roof after every trip so I’m up there a lot and haven’t seen any mounting issues. I do check the T knobs while I’m up there and they’ve always been tight.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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1 hour ago, Neuman's said:

Am confused by your comment that the Oliver is 100% gelcoat.  What are you referring to?  The gelcoat is only a thin layer, maybe 20 - 30 mils, sprayed up against the release coat in the mold.

No big deal. I read it as 100 per cent fiberglass,  versus composite. Gelcoat is basically fiberglass, minus the fiber. It's more brittle than full on fiberglass, but shiny and nice! Oliver uses a great marine grade gel coat, that keeps that shine, if you keep up with the waxing.

Holes can be filled pretty easily, with marine epoxy, or a gelcoat repair kit. MarineTex epoxy is fairly close in color, and if it's on the roof, you and a police helicopter pilot are likely to be the only ones to see it, anyway .

The mounting brackets that Oliver uses are really nice, and beefy. We were able to upgrade from 2 x 100 to 2 x 200 watt panels pretty easily, with a bit of additional aluminum bar stock as spacers for the slightly longer panels,  and new panel clips from am solar.

Ours are custom (by Oliver in fall, 2008) saddle bracket  sidemount, and have been in place for  13 years, with good backing plates. We examined them, and felt very comfortable reusing them, hopefully for at least another decade. That said, a couple people fashioned their own sidemounts, after seeing ours, in 08 or 09. So, after market install is entirely possible.  I think the tough part would be pulling the heavy guage wire through the double hull.

Our smaller Elites have a smaller rooftop area available for panels, as you've seen. We like the sidemount solution Paul drew up in 2008, but I  suspect the current twin panel flat would be fine, too.

Good luck with your decision process. It's not an easy one, to be sure.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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On the 7 pin connector for portable- it's probably a decent solution for small panels with a controller. 

Oliver can also install a Zamp port, which provides a shorter fused path to the batteries, and there are various conversion bits available for other types of connectors to Zamp, so you can use the more reasonably priced renogy or other brand portable panels.

Zamp is usa made, great quality, but pricey, and kind of heavy, imo.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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I should add that I have the 4x12volt lead acid wet cell battery configuration as a big reason why my portable solar panel setup works well vs. John’s concerns.   Nominal full charge voltage for lead acid wet cell is approximately 12.7 volts.  So my setup through the 7 pin connector can tolerate a few tenths of a volt drop through the wiring length. The controller on the Zamp portable panel has selection options for battery type.   For AGM batteries, nominal full charge voltage is 13.0 volts.  Not sure about lithium nominal full charge voltage but I believe it’s even higher than the AGMs.  I know the lead acid wet cells get a bad reputation as needing a lot of maintenance but mine have been almost zero maintenance into our third year of camping.   I check the water level regularly and they have  only needed very small amounts of water once.   When they do eventually needs replaced I’m still on the fence about which option to go with then. 

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

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2 hours ago, Neuman's said:

Am confused by your comment that the Oliver is 100% gelcoat.  What are you referring to?  The gelcoat is only a thin layer, maybe 20 - 30 mils, sprayed up against the release coat in the mold.

Sorry Neuman, I can see how that sounded, the 100% was meant in comparison to my previous RV's that had PVC Roofs, Wood Substrate, Fiberglass Coated Wood Siding etc. The Oliver is nothing like them and is new to me. 

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45 minutes ago, FrankC said:

I should add that I have the 4x12volt lead acid wet cell battery configuration as a big reason why my portable solar panel setup works well vs. John’s concerns.   Nominal full charge voltage for lead acid wet cell is approximately 12.7 volts.  So my setup through the 7 pin connector can tolerate a few tenths of a volt drop through the wiring length. The controller on the Zamp portable panel has selection options for battery type.   For AGM batteries, nominal full charge voltage is 13.0 volts.  Not sure about lithium nominal full charge voltage but I believe it’s even higher than the AGMs.  I know the lead acid wet cells get a bad reputation as needing a lot of maintenance but mine have been almost zero maintenance into our third year of camping.   I check the water level regularly and they have  only needed very small amounts of water once.   When they do eventually needs replaced I’m still on the fence about which option to go with then. 

FrankC:  we also have the 4 six volt Torjan wet cell batteries, they have provided excellent service for almost six years of Oliver II ownership.  I check the batteries on a regular schedule and most of the time no water is necessary.  The most water I have ever added is between 0.5 to 1.0 oz of water.  If you take care of them they will out last any AGM battery.

We did not purchase or regret purchasing the solar package; we stay about 75% of the time in campgrounds with hookups.  We have stayed in National Park Campgrounds up to two weeks without any problems.  Sometimes we will carry a 2000i Honda generator; but not all the time.  My tow vehicles has no problem in charging the Oliver's 4 six volt Torjan wet cell batteries; after I corrected Oliver's wiring problem.  When my current Torjan batteries require replacement it will be the same battery.  With NO solar or No inverter there are fewer problems to deal with, I have no issues in my ability to handle any electrical issue with the Oliver Travel Trailer.

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Horace & Dianne

Chesapeake, Virginia

2016 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4x4 Limited

2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull # 93

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5 minutes ago, Maverick said:

FrankC:  we also have the 4 six volt Torjan wet cell batteries, they have provided excellent service for almost six years of Oliver II ownership.  I check the batteries on a regular schedule and most of the time no water is necessary.  The most water I have ever added is between 0.5 to 1.0 oz of water.  If you take care of them they will out last any AGM battery.

Maverick, you mentioned you have 4 six volt wet cells.  Mine are four 12 volt wet cells, in parallel, so plenty of amp-hour capacity. 

BC3D81BF-F264-45A8-BFB5-C7D18B6C9582.jpeg

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

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fairmontrvpark

Answers to your questions:

1 - no

2 - no

3 - Similar to Maverick I got the 4 trojan 6 volt wet cell batteries at delivery and they are still going strong.  However, unlike Maverick I did get the rooftop solar panels which have had absolutely zero issues since new.  And, like FrankC I have added a small portable panel - 25 watts with controller connected via the pigtail - for use when I have my CalMark cover on during storage (i.e. the rooftop panels really don't do much when they are covered).  These Oliver panels are really about as bullet proof as it comes and the way they are attached through the roof is stellar.  I strongly suggest that you take a factory tour where you can see this sort of stuff for yourself.

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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35 minutes ago, FrankC said:

Maverick, you mentioned you have 4 six volt wet cells.  Mine are four 12 volt wet cells, in parallel, so plenty of amp-hour capacity. 

 

Yes, I have 4 six volt T105 Trojan wet cell batteries.  This was one of the battery options at the time of purchase of the Oliver Travel Trailer.  The 4 six volt batteries fills the battery tray with no spare space available.

Horace & Dianne

Chesapeake, Virginia

2016 Toyota Tundra Crewmax 4x4 Limited

2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull # 93

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My Oliver came standard with the Zamp connection on the side of the Oliver pre-wired for connection of mobile panels. You should contact Oliver sales to confirm the connector is standard.

The 340 watt Oliver panels and controller are well matched to keep the batteries charged, even in the winter in New England, so why wait to later, since you can afford them.

2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354 | 2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi

 

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2 hours ago, FrankC said:

Maverick, you mentioned you have 4 six volt wet cells.  Mine are four 12 volt wet cells, in parallel, so plenty of amp-hour capacity. 

BC3D81BF-F264-45A8-BFB5-C7D18B6C9582.jpeg

FranKC, what is the amp-hour rating and brand of your 12v batteries?  Were they stock Oliver batteries or did you purchase them after pickup?

Mossey

Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Dan, Oliver did a special install for us back when they did that stuff - 640 watts of solar total - you can see the configuration here. At the factory though, they got their wires crossed and installed the standard array first, then had to redo it in service (twice, actually, since they didn’t install them like we had agreed). Anyway, all that to say that Oliver repaired the holes from the original install and I honestly couldn’t find those spots if I tried. And we haven’t had any problems with wind, with essentially an aircraft carrier deck on the roof.

Also, at least one owner has installed additional panels similar to mine, simply using VHB tape to secure the mounts to the roof. 

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11 hours ago, mossemi said:

FranKC, what is the amp-hour rating and brand of your 12v batteries?  Were they stock Oliver batteries or did you purchase them after pickup?

Mossey

They are PowerTron brand which is a Trojan sub-brand.   The four 12v wet cell setup was an Oliver option when we bought our 2019 Elite II.   Not sure about the amp-hour rating.  Part number is PowerTron D24DC-140.  But I can’t find the specs online.  Looks like this model might have been discontinued.  The four 12 volt parallel arrangement has worked really well for battery life when boondocking at overnight Harvest Host stops.  We don’t have the inverter or factory solar.   Just running the DC accessories (fans, lights, water pump) when boondocking so the battery running time has been great. 

B43C1E3A-8D59-40D1-826F-AD5288433794.jpeg

01CEDAE9-6170-4FC4-BE2D-DEEC23D907AE.jpeg

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

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I am not sure if Oliver will in the near future continue to install the old style “legacy” Zamp panels, but they are very heavy, have lots of drag and are super ugly - dorky IMHO and they ruin the lines of a gorgeous hull. If I were to choose equipment for a new installation it would most likely be the new Obsidian panels.
 

A4899D49-9F53-43A1-B3C6-ABBCD7A57E0B.thumb.jpeg.68c42bca6e07f8ad12492939b4939354.jpeg

They are very expen$ive….  I would prefer flexible ones bonded tightly to the roof but they have their own set of issues like scratching and cooking the underlying surface.

https://www.zampsolar.com/pages/obsidian-series-solar-panels

The new panels have much better connectors than the horrible SAE reverse polarity things they use in the old panels, but the new ones are still non-standard, which continues to perplex me.

IMHO of course, I am pretty picky about how I spend money. I do think you will eventually end up with roof solar, for Western camping that is a great help. Maybe in a year or two, after the incredible RV Sales Rush has ended, those Obsidians will be cheaper. And in stock to purchase😬


John Davies

Spokane WA

 

 

"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, Safari snorkel.

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1 hour ago, FrankC said:

They are PowerTron brand which is a Trojan sub-brand.   The four 12v wet cell setup was an Oliver option when we bought our 2019 Elite II.   Not sure about the amp-hour rating.  Part number is PowerTron D24DC-140.  But I can’t find the specs online.  Looks like this model might have been discontinued.  The four 12 volt parallel arrangement has worked really well for battery life when boondocking at overnight Harvest Host stops.  We don’t have the inverter or factory solar.   Just running the DC accessories (fans, lights, water pump) when boondocking so the battery running time has been great. 

That sounds like a nice battery package and I guess the label indicates that they are 140 amp-hour rated, giving you 280 usable amp-hours.  Excellent battery choice!

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, mossemi said:

That sounds like a nice battery package and I guess the label indicates that they are 140 amp-hour rated, giving you 280 usable amp-hours.  Excellent battery choice!

Mossey

Updated:  yes, mossemi is correct that it’s usable 280 amp-hour (if they are 140 amp-hour batteries) by sticking to the 50% discharge limit. 

Edited by FrankC
Corrected because I can’t read. 🙂

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

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