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Lithium Pro Package vs Solar Pro Package


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I have ideas and I’m great at spending other people’s money but my elite II is not being delivered until spring.  My practical experience is lacking but I’ve read some of the install reports and a common theme is short running cycles. My thought is the unit should be sized so it runs almost continuously on the hottest days but has enough reserve capacity to quickly bring the temp down.  To be honest I’m thinking about taking apart the new unit and remote mounting the temperature sensor if possible. That might take care of the short cycle behavior. Looking at total power draw the short cycling might be advantageous, not sure. 

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On 11/25/2021 at 5:52 AM, John Dorrer said:

 

Posted on Facebook also.

We don't pick our EII until the end of June. I selected the Lithium Pro package. Truth be told, I'm second guessing that choice. I realize I have 3-4 months to change to the Solar Pro Package. Obviously $4,300 difference is a lot of money that can be used elsewhere.

My wife and I come from a truck camper background. When we started the roof top solar package was a 100w Zamp panel on the roof and 2-AGM 12-volt batteries. We had a Dometic 80L compressor fridge. Between the solar and driving to charge the camper batteries, we got by. 50% of our camping was off grid, batteries running fridge, furnace, lights and CPAP Machine. The last 2 years we upgraded to 2-100 Zamp panels on the roof, a new Zamp controller, and new 12v AGM batteries. We also added a Honda 2200i generator.

With the Oliver, we see our camping style changing with less back country, but numerous places without shore power ( National Parks, USFS, BLM).

When we drove 6-8 hours between campgrounds, our batteries were fully charged. Yet others with the same batteries and solar, and a 3-way fridge ran their batteries down when set on 12v. I can't figure that one out. I wouldn't want to drive with the propane on.

I don't think I would have an issue with the lithium package running on 12v while driving. The A/C, microwave, and TV would require the inverter.

Are 4-6v AGM batteries with the 340w solar going to be enough? Will I have problems driving with the fridge on 12v?

I guess there is another side to this. I'm asking myself if the Lithium and 3,000w inverter are way over my head. I have been reading the forum and some issues have popped up between the lithium batteries and the inverter.

Sorry for the lengthy post. I want to get this right, and if I'm good with just the solar package, that $4,300 will be a big help elsewhere.

 

Thanks for your input.

Hi John,

Seems like this original post went off in a fun direction but I wanted to throw my two cents in regarding the original question, and I'm looking at it from a different direction. The Oliver LEII is expensive, no question about it. It took me three years of delay before I finally laid down the money. The delay was to get confident that it was worth the money. I told myself that I could very easily get a Jayco for half the cost and be done with the whole matter. But, I was working hard at my job, saving my money, and continuing to look at other companies. When the time came to order, I went with the options I wanted (including the Lithium Pro) and tried to ignore the price. The way I figured it, I'd already decided to get one of the most expensive trailers on the market and didn't want to have any regrets down the road. So, if you want the Lithium Pro, go for it. I love my setup and it's worked very well. 

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2021 Elite II #841, 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, 3.0 diesel

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On 12/7/2021 at 9:25 AM, Cameron said:

Hi John,

Seems like this original post went off in a fun direction but I wanted to throw my two cents in regarding the original question, and I'm looking at it from a different direction. The Oliver LEII is expensive, no question about it. It took me three years of delay before I finally laid down the money. The delay was to get confident that it was worth the money. I told myself that I could very easily get a Jayco for half the cost and be done with the whole matter. But, I was working hard at my job, saving my money, and continuing to look at other companies. When the time came to order, I went with the options I wanted (including the Lithium Pro) and tried to ignore the price. The way I figured it, I'd already decided to get one of the most expensive trailers on the market and didn't want to have any regrets down the road. So, if you want the Lithium Pro, go for it. I love my setup and it's worked very well. 

Thank you. We decided to stay with the Lithium Pro Package.

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 John & Susan Dorrer, 2013 F250, 6.2 gasser, 4x4, 2022 Legacy Elite 2, twin beds, Hull #1045, Jolli Olli

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Hello there,

I am getting ready to order an Oliver Elite 2 and have a question about the Lithium Platinum Package vs the Lithium Pro Package. If you had the Platinum package, how many days could you be off grid without a generator? Without full rainy days per say? and not in summer. I am just curious about the 2 setups. The pro is several thousand cheaper but adding a generator and carrying fuel would be extra stuff. Thank you in advance to those who can respond.

 

CW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Explore, Dream, Discover

Christi, Matt & Lucy

2022 Legacy Elite II, TB

Hull # 1261

2019 F150 Limited
 

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Hey CW, that’s a good question.  I’m not familiar with either of the lithium options you are asking about.  I can tell you that I have 2 Battle Born Lithium batteries, 100aH each, that I installed last January.  I also have the older 320W solar with the Blue Sky controller.  (Oliver would probably call this the Lithium Amateur Package if they offered it! 🤣). This set up has not limited us in the least in our travels this year (6 week trip to Maine, 4 week trip to Colorado, 2 week trip to Arkansas).  We are leaving tomorrow for Arizona for a couple of months and I’ve decided not to take my generator.  Our solar and two batteries have been plenty.  All that to say that you should be good with either package.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 6.7L

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18 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

Hey CW, that’s a good question.  I’m not familiar with either of the lithium options you are asking about.  I can tell you that I have 2 Battle Born Lithium batteries, 100aH each, that I installed last January.  I also have the older 320W solar with the Blue Sky controller.  (Oliver would probably call this the Lithium Amateur Package if they offered it! 🤣). This set up has not limited us in the least in our travels this year (6 week trip to Maine, 4 week trip to Colorado, 2 week trip to Arkansas).  We are leaving tomorrow for Arizona for a couple of months and I’ve decided not to take my generator.  Our solar and two batteries have been plenty.  All that to say that you should be good with either package.  Mike

"Our solar and two batteries have been plenty.  All that to say that you should be good with either package.  Mike"

I haven't ordered yet,  but I have decided on the lithium pro for us.   I am aiming for March or April,  2023 delivery so have an e-mail in to Jason at Oliver to see when we need to order to get that delivery period. 

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John and Debbie, Beaverton, Oregon,  2017 Ford Expedition EL 4x4 3.5 liter Ecoboost, with heavy duty tow package. Hull #1290, twin bed with Truma package (a/c, furnace, hot water heater with electric antifreeze option), lithium pro package, picked up November 7, 2022

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Mike, did you boondock on those outings or mix it with campgrounds? I would love to not have to buy or take a generator and gas can and we want to boondock a lot but sometimes go to campgrounds.

 

CW

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Explore, Dream, Discover

Christi, Matt & Lucy

2022 Legacy Elite II, TB

Hull # 1261

2019 F150 Limited
 

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chiwald - 

I know that Mike and Carol are "on the road" right now, so, they might take a couple of days to get back to you.

Bill

2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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2 hours ago, chiwald said:

Mike, did you boondock on those outings or mix it with campgrounds? I would love to not have to buy or take a generator and gas can and we want to boondock a lot but sometimes go to campgrounds.

 

CW

CW,

Like Mike, we also have two Battle Born 100 ah batteries.  We have 340 watts of solar and a Victron MPPT solar controller.  We don't have a built-in inverter but, use a 400-watt portable inverter for the wife's flat iron. 

We dry camp and deep shade, with temperatures above freezing, we go six days without needing a recharge. 

If there is any real sun at all, we could go indefinitely.

Hope that helps.

Andrew

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Andrew

 

2019 Legacy Elite II  2018 BMW x5 35d 

 

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9 hours ago, chiwald said:

Mike, did you boondock on those outings or mix it with campgrounds? I would love to not have to buy or take a generator and gas can and we want to boondock a lot but sometimes go to campgrounds.

 

CW

Yep, we’re on the road!  We boondocked for up to a week with no issues.  A mix of Harvest Hosts and NH and VT state parks with no utilities on our trip to Maine.  We don’t use our inverter much, so most of the load is the 12V things in the trailer.  With some sun, we were usually back up to 100% by early afternoon.  Even when we had an electrical hookup I rarely turned our charger on, just relied on the sun.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 6.7L

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I guess we are old fashion and still camp the way we did back in the 1980's. Our 2019 Oliver Elite II is pretty basic and we opted for no electronic upgrades, that's no solar, no wi-fi upgrades, no options other then a convection oven and LP gas quick disconnects. Our trailer was purchased new in 2019 for $55,000 a far cry from what people are paying for them today. It was not a money thing just commonsense for how we camp and what works for us. Since we don't Boondock, but did stay over night in a Walmart parking lot twice and it was just not that bad without the additional power equipment that will still not run the A/C if needed. With a iPhone and all its options for connecting to the world outside I find it hard to justify the added expense of options offered in the Oliver are hardly worth to added expense. I guess my thought is when we go to sell our trailer all the options that are available today will be obsolete and all that added expense will need to be upgraded by the new buyer and Oliver can do that for them. From what I see and talking with other Oliver owners is they just don't use the upgrades that add $15,000 to the price of there Oliver, I think buyers today just have the money to spend, plus Oliver over sells these options and most just don't use them. I guess we all do what works for us, or we think it works for us, just go camping and enjoy life. 

trainman 

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With 2 million new RVs on the road since the pandemic started, and the industry planning to sell another 600,000 this year, we expect to do more state park/forest boondocking than we used to. We just booked Memorial Day weekend sites in our usual full-hookup campground. They want $95/night this year! The state park is still $20 for residents.

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2 hours ago, Steph and Dud B said:

 They want $95/night this year! The state park is still $20 for residents.

With commercial RV park prices on the rise, the marginal cost of additional "boondocking" power (i.e., solar panels and lithium battery packages) will be amortized more quickly.  If you are even happier boondocking than buying RV park services, like we are, the marginal cost of solar with lithium makes more sense.

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On 1/1/2022 at 5:16 PM, chiwald said:

I am getting ready to order an Oliver Elite 2 and have a question about the Lithium Platinum Package vs the Lithium Pro Package. If you had the Platinum package, how many days could you be off grid without a generator? Without full rainy days per say? and not in summer. I am just curious about the 2 setups. The pro is several thousand cheaper but adding a generator and carrying fuel would be extra stuff. Thank you in advance to those who can respond.

I think it depends on how you like to camp.  Our solar package (with 340 watts of solar and 390-Ah batteries) typically produces between 100 and 120 amp-hours per day (Ah/day) in the summer, depending on exposure, shade, etc.  Late fall and early winter (with sun at a low angle) we were gaining about 20-30 amp-hours.  Maximum summer charge rate is about 15 amps.  Of course, hourly and daily charge rates are less if there is shade.  

In the summer when boondocking we use about 40-50 amp hours for lights, water pump, CPAP, jacks, awning, etc., and more with abundant furnace use.   A microwave (which we don't have) uses a lot of electricity; the amount of electricity it consumes depends on how long you use it and the power setting.  The A/C uses about 100 amps per hour, so it works fine for rest stops but it can't be run very long with the expectation that it will charge quickly with solar.  

Here are typical draws (per Oliver User's Manual): 

766212806_ScreenShot2022-01-03at4_50_11PM.png.f13209ae040f10f560f00f47d3576433.png

When traveling, the refrigerator uses about 15 amps when switched to 12 volts (and it generally runs continuously when it is switched to 12V).  Thus, even in full sun with the panels producing 15 amps, the batteries are not charging when the refrigerator is on 12V.  

This is why some have installed DC to DC chargers for the lithium batteries: it lets you drive down the road with the refrigerator on 12V and provide additional charging capacity for the batteries.

Here are some simple scenarios to illustrate the number of days before an external charge from shore power or generator is needed.  I calculated the number of days before a charge is needed based on an assumed useful capacity of 312 Ah (80% of 390 Ah, the rated non-platinum lithium battery capacity).   Clearly, a 600-Ah battery set will let you boondock longer in the shoulder seasons, under shade, or with greater power demand, but perhaps the 390-Ah battery set is sufficient for your intended use.

507442813_ScreenShot2022-01-03at4_36_05PM.png.be6f4da79cf6a597dcb6eabdd9fe537e.png

So, whether you need 390-Ah or 600-Ah batteries depends on how and where you intend to use your trailer.  Good luck!  

 

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12 hours ago, Trainman said:

I guess we are old fashion and still camp the way we did back in the 1980's. Our 2019 Oliver Elite II is pretty basic and we opted for no electronic upgrades, that's no solar, no wi-fi upgrades, no options other then a convection oven and LP gas quick disconnects.

Everyone is different.  It’s nice that you camp as you did in the 80’s.  A lot of us like to explore our National Parks and Monuments.  Most of the campgrounds in these areas have no hook ups.  We’ve  discovered the capabilities of our Oliver allow us to spend time in some very scenic areas without being concerned with power requirements.  Like you, we do like FHU commercial campgrounds, occasionally. But, nothing beats being out in a National Park or some even more remote areas, with no other campers nearby, enjoying a quiet sunset with a nice glass of wine.  Life is good!  Mike

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On 11/25/2021 at 10:24 AM, John E Davies said:

A three way fridge running on DC uses about 15 amps pretty much continually. Your old compressor fridge used way less and cycled on and off depending on temperature. You won’t be able to recharge your depleted Ollie batteries while driving with it set to DC, though you might just keep up with the discharge rate. If the sun is bright, your panels will do the job, but what about grey days? I recommend that you learn to accept the idea of traveling with the fridge set to gas, and if you are super concerned about fire danger get a Gas Stop device for each bottle.

I had 4 AGMs and solar originally, I think the real battery killer is heavy use of the microwave off the inverter. If you don’t often microwave two TV dinners in a row, then you should not have much trouble. But you can’t expect them to last long powering the fridge all day.

FYI: Your lithiums would NOT charge off the truck anyway, without some modifications. Oliver does not even connect that wire to the seven pin harness. You must install a DC to DC charger to get that to work correctly. Does that affect your decision?

John Davies

Spokane WA

John

You mentioned "I had 4 AGMs and solar originally"...  What have you now?  Just curious, since you are an Oliver expert and have great ideas and mods of value to the Oliver community.  

 

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KWR


2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II, Hull#444


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1 hour ago, KWRJRPE said:

You mentioned "I had 4 AGMs and solar originally"...  What have you now? 

I replaced the 4 original batteries when they went Tango Uniform at the end of the 2020 camping season - two Battle Born 100 amp hr, with room on the tray for a third with only a little extra minor work. So far that setup has worked fine for me, I doubt that I will add any more capacity.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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2 hours ago, Liana said:

This thread is super helpful/useful, even the good side path it took!

For those who have BattleBorns, why did you choose those over SOB?

I went with Battle Born because they are assembled in the US, they have great customer service and I know several others that went with them and were satisfied customers.  Mike

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I believe Overland was the first Battle Born adopter on this forum.  He is also the first person that I remember discussing RV's being eligible for the solar rebate.  My wife and I had the opportunity to tour Snowball at the 2018 Oliver Owner’s Rally and we were very impressed with the mod’s he has completed.  So when my original batteries needed replacing, I started researching Lithium batteries based upon his experience.  This Battle Born battery tear down by Will Prowse was the clincher for me.

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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@mossemi thanks for the link, that guy is pretty enthusiastic! 😄

I actually appreciated his interview with the CEO of BB even more than the deconstruction of the battery itself, it was super informative!

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Like Mossey said, I think we were the first, and at the time, Battleborn (Dragonfly back then) was the only game in town when it came to batteries with a built in BMS. Victron was an extremely expensive option at the time, even more so than today, and then our other choice was to make our own battery pack from individual cells and add a separate BMS.

We’re only talking five years ago but even then there was a lot less info and fewer choices out there than today. So Battleborns were definitely the easiest to do.  As it turned out I could have gone the DIY route, which had been my first choice, but that’s a longer story.

I’ve had a 50% failure rate on the battleborns, fwiw. Maybe that’s just bad luck, or maybe I’m hard on them, or maybe they aren’t as tough as people say. (One thing I’ve learned about the RV community is that they are very reluctant to admit problems with their setups until after they’ve replaced it and can then brag about how smart they are for having done so.) Regardless, 50% of my batteries have met expectations, and 50% did not. Their service on replacing the ones that went bad was less than exemplary, but they did replace them.  I still might recommend them, but not enthusiastically, so I’d say weigh your options.  It’s a good package and quite possible that their quality or quality control has improved since I bought mine.  The risk of being an early adopter perhaps.

But were I to do it again, I’d spend for the Victrons. That, or build my own, just because it would be fun to do. I would definitely not buy Oliver’s package - you’ve got to work hard to make Victron gear look cheap, so fair credit to them for doing so.  But that’s me, you may find it worth the price to not have to worry about it and to have Oliver’s warranty and service. 

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6 hours ago, Overland said:

But were I to do it again, I’d spend for the Victrons. That, or build my own, just because it would be fun to do. I would definitely not buy Oliver’s package - you’ve got to work hard to make Victron gear look cheap, so fair credit to them for doing so.  But that’s me, you may find it worth the price to not have to worry about it and to have Oliver’s warranty and service. 

Well I have a growing stack of Victron boxes in my closet and will probably be the only delivery this year without solar.  So I will be working hard to make my trailer the way I want it.  Still can’t understand why they won’t install the solar panels without forcing two more indicator panels cut out of the interior…

I’m going to beg the service department to help on some of the upgrades, hopefully they’ll have some extra time to assist.  

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Fwiw, in the early days, only Pete got Solar, as original. (Scubarx was a bit later, I think.) We added it 5 or 6 months after picking up our trailer, with Oliver's help,  when we realized we actually needed the energy from the solar to camp the way we do.

Since then, we've doubled the panels , and changed up other equipment,  but stayed with BlueSky. We've used victron on the boat , and had a few issues, a few years later. 

The Zamp system that Oliver installs is pretty much bulletproof,  and easy for new users.  I can see the reasons why they chose it. usa built, stout, simple.  

Those of us who went a different (unwarranteed ) path of choosing, live with our own results and resources.  

Not everyone has the same skills, nor the same desires to do the research and  work, or live without warranty.

It's all good, either way.

We're still living with agm on the trailer,  and making do. Not sure we'll make the upgrade to lithium. My husband wants to build his own lithium battery pack. We'll see. I'm not as enthusiastic. 

It's really all about your comfort, and skill level, and risk level.

We went sailing this weekend on our 45 year old solar powered boat. I hope I'm around to see the results of our 45 year old Oliver. And its experiments. 

Only 30 years to go...

 

 

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400 watts solar. DC compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.


        
 

 

 

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