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Greetings from SW Mich


rferg800
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New here so please bear with. Wife and I were camping less than 2 hours from Oliver's factory last Oct. . We had just seen a gentleman camping in an Elite, hull #819. So we called and asked to take a factory tour. Needless to say, we are now in line to get our Elite II in July '22 . We have an appointment to visit in Jan. to spend more time in a showroom model to make final option choices. 

We have been camping for the last 2 years from our CanAm Spyder motorcycles pulling a Leesure-Lite popup and a modified RT-622 CanAm trailer which we added 200 watts of solar to for power.  That allowed us to use a 12v fridge/freezer and a 500 watt LiPO4 solar gen. to run my CPAP and all our electronics. That said, I researched equipment, and followed many forums for almost 3 years to get the most efficient and lightest weight items I could find, and afford. 

Here's where I am struggling. I would like to upgrade to LiPO4 and solar system in the Elite II, but their options don't seem quite right.  Watts of solar to ah of battery storage should be at least two to one, not every day is a sunny day. In other words, their 340 watts solar and 630 AH battery is almost backwards. Also, as much as I would like to have enough battery capacity to run the air conditioner I would rather have a 12v unit, like the Dometic RTX 2000, to be more efficient. The idea of trying to collect enough sun with only 340 watts to replenish the power used on the AC unit and also the loss from converting from DC to AC to run it has me a bit nervous.  I am familiar with the brand "Zamp" they have some good products however when trying to get all the power you can from an under sized solar array a MPPT charge controller would be ideal. 

Again, coming from camping off motorcycles where weight is a major factor, having to step up to 30# LP tanks is hard for me. Unfortunately, with an absorption style fridge, even if you can run it from the onboard electrical system, you will deplete your batteries too fast unless you are on shore power. So, for long term boondocking LP is really the only option. Finding a compressor style fridge would be ideal. 

 Their composting toilet seems ideal for us who like to boondock a lot. I just wish that option included a conversion of the black tank to grey water storage. 

Sorry if I seem to be only focused on my perceived short comings of what I think is a GREAT camper, or we wouldn't have put down a deposit for one. I have spent a lot of time reading the Mods section of the forum here and I find many are converting stock items to what I have talked about here.  Even switching to lithium, it sounds as if you lose the ability to charge while towing unless the new owner installs a DC to DC charger on their own, maybe I missed something. 

I hope I don't come across as a "Debbie downer" when I say it seems like I will be removing A LOT of $ items to modify to above ideas to get it "just right" for us, as soon as we bring it home from the factory.  

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Welcome to the forum and to your future Ollie.

 

We too came from a 12v compressor fridge background, running a Dometic 35CFX on 100W solar and 160aH of AGMs.  When deciding on options for our Ollie I asked but was told there were no 12v compressor fridge options, so ours too was delivered with the standard 3-way.  After using the standard fridge on propane I can honestly say I like it.  It keeps frozen items frozen and cold items cold and does not use much propane in doing so.  We still have the dometic in the tow vehicle, powered by the same standalone solar and battery setup and are using it is a backup freezer. 

 

As for additional gray water storage, we carry three 6 gal water jugs in the tow vehicle.  Two are marked for gray and provide additional 12 gal capacity where we cannot legally empty to the ground with a garden hose (we also have the composting toilet, so no black water).  The third container is for potable water only and is used to ferry fresh water to the trailer where it is added to the fresh tank thru the boondock port at the rear.

This Forum is great and we learned a lot before and after placing our order, refining the options we wanted through experience of others and asking questions

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2021 Elite II, Hull# 898

2018 Toyota Tundra, 2003 Dodge Ram 3500 5.9l SRW

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rferg800, welcome!  You make some good points that I’m sure will start some good discussion.  Just some general comments as my brain wakes up this morning….  We have been happy with the Dometic fridge.  We only run it on propane or 110 if we have it.  It is very efficient on propane.  We also have the 30 lb propane tanks, but would be happy with 20 lb tanks for a couple of reasons (easier to lift, easier to exchange/refill, can easily swap out with what I carry in the truck).  We have the older 320W solar/Blue Sky system with 4 AGM batteries.  They worked well for years.  I swapped them out with 2 100aH Battle Borns and have found them to have ample capacity.  I’ve thought about adding a third, but haven’t been able to justify doing it just because I have room for one more!

Congrats on your order, hope to hear more from you.  Mike

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

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

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Dear "Debbie",

Decisions, decisions!

Most (if not all) of us have made changes to our Olivers - some big, some small.  It's a great canvas that allows this sort of thing.

My take on the whole "solar thing with the large battery capacity" is that Oliver was trying to address the need of some customers to have air conditioning available for use for relatively short periods of time without the need of being plugged into shore power.  Obviously a limiting factor for the solar array is the space available on the roof - yes, there is still more room for additional panels on the roof but at what price point?  For me, the decision would be fairly simple - do I really NEED to have the air conditioner run off the batteries?  In the six plus years I've owned my Oliver there have only been two times that it would have been nice to have this feature - I can virtually always find a campground where I can plug in if necessary and I can do that a bunch of times for that $ you are talking about.

The whole MPPT controller story is discussed here on this Forum multiple times.  Yes the MPPT is a bit more efficient but the change to the current controller was done (at least partially) to make the whole solar process easier for owners.  In most situations it seems that this current controller works as intended.

The black tank conversion has also been discussed at length here.  But, given the seemingly limited number of owners that have actually done something in this regard it would appear that it is either still a "work in progress", too difficult to do the conversion for the resultant benefit, or simply a "nice to have someday project" versus something that really impacts current camping utility and enjoyment.

Finally, the running of the fridge on 12volt versus propane has also been discussed here on multiple occasions.  As MM198 says above, the fridge is really efficient running on propane.  If you are nervous keeping your propane lines "open" while traveling, there is a product called "GasStop" that should alleviate that worry.  If you are still nervous then you should know that a number of people simply do not open the fridge door while traveling and unless it is very hot or the travel day is exceedingly long, the interior of the fridge stays cold enough until you are stopped once again.

Unless you are planning on doing a fair amount of winter/cold weather camping, the 20 lb propane tanks should be enough for the reasons Mike & Carol cite above.

Finally, WELCOME!  You'll find that many of us here came from a motorcycle background.  Right now you are in what I believe is the "hard part" of owning an Ollie.  Trying to make all of the decisions on options, trying to come to grips with the money spent on a relatively small camper, trying to get working knowledge on the Oliver systems.  Please know that all of this is really not that difficult.  And you still have plenty of time to get comfortable with this Family.

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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Thank you MountianMan, Mike, and Bill

I understand a lot of your responses, and we will probably live with the stock configuration for most of the first year. Most of my points I was trying to make come from having those 3 years to prep for our motorcycle camping. Then I ended up not only putting everything together (one piece at a time), I also modified our popup camper to the point of major modding the axle to make it work with all those choices. 

Thanks again 

Robert & Deb 

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Rfer800, I agree about the solar/ battery  equation being backwards, but a generator solves that problem for those grey days when the solar panels are just idling…. and you will definitely want to be able to run the air conditioning anyway on blistering hot days. I do not suggest running it often off the batteries though. The factory lithium packages are a work in progress. However, with your technical abilities, installing a Redarc charger would be quite simple, and that will give you 11 amps hour after hour without even touching the tow vehicle wiring. If you were amenable to modifying the truck also, and beefing up the cable size in truck and trailer, you can triple that rate. I don’t really think it should affect your decision, just consider it a challenge.

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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