Oliver | Luxury Fiberglass Travel Trailers, Campers & RVs › Forums › OLIVER CAMPFIRE › General Discussion › Solar option
- August 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm #12657
Here is yet another question for experienced Ollie owners. Is the solar option worth the money. If so which battery package is best…4 6v, or 4 glass mat batteries.
I am thinking about this in light of evacuating in a hurricane, or even living in the Ollie while recovering from a disaster…natural or other. What can actually run on the batterise. No AC of course, but what about fans and frig?
Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31
2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)
2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo dieselAugust 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm #18883
The Oliver is the perfect "BUG OUT" vehicle ! Run the refrigerator on propane and the solar keeping the battery’s charged will let you keep up with news, weather and current events so you know which way to turn next. Air conditioning will require more power than the battery’s are comfortable giving. A small generator will be needed to power up and cool down the interior for lengths of time needed to rest up for the next day’s activity. Should the small noise of a gen set attract too much attention, seek higher ground where up sloping breezes from prevailing winds will get an increase and use the ceiling fan to move more air for comfort.
The 4 six volt battery’s give the deepest ampre per hour response over a given time and the glass matt battery’s offer no maintenance ease of use at the expense of a small loss of amp per hour capacity.
I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)August 24, 2014 at 3:29 am #18898
Mountainborn is right on this being a great bugout or bondocking outfit.
Fridge, furnace, stove on gas. Everything else on solar, if camping in the right exposure.
We added solar (200 watts) six months after we bought our trailer, (side mount) and have always been very happy with our decision. If you don’t do it now, at least ask about an option to prewire, if you anticipate camping without services in your future.
We run the FanTastic fan or furnace fan, the electrical controls for the fridge, interior lights (sparingly, if camping without electric.) The solar won’t run the ac, nor the microwave, but we try not to camp where we need the ac, and rarely use a microwave at home or camping. The furnace fan in cold weather is probably the biggest draw down on power, since we also limit our online time to an hour or two on each computer if we camp without power.
Honestly, I’d have left off the kingdome, but it was already there, as we bought a unit that had already been partially built out. The tv is nice for dvds and local weather/news with an antenna. We run the radio for weather, more than the tv. And these days, it’s on your phone, probably. We’re not big tv watchers, especially when camping, but Paul likes to watch a dvd every other night or so.
We charge our laptops and cellphones off the twelve volt system as well, or off the car inverter while driving.
We love the solar on our Oliver. Silent, easy, extends our time away, no exhaust fumes.
We don’t have six volt batteries. We stayed with what we had. From new, that’s a good question, better answered by those who have changed to the deep storage batteries.
We carry a very light, gas=sipper Honda 1000 to charge the batteries when we encounter a string of rainy days. We use non ethanol gas exclusively in the generator, and all our yard tools, as well.
2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4
2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12August 24, 2014 at 5:19 pm #18901
I don’t own an Oliver at least yet, but they are high on my list. But have been studying extensively solar power and batteries in general for the last few months anticipating our RV upgrade from our 2006 T@b. I am posting a link below which I believe to be the absolute definitive information source about dealing with this technology. Even if you decide not to go solar you will learn lots about batteries and how to properly charge them.
Now make no mistake HandyBob has an attitude and for what ever reason seems to always be angry in his writings, but I would encourage you to look past this in order to plumb this deep well of information he presents here. Its unlikely you’ll get through it in one reading due to the depth, but it is worthwhile.
It is also worth pointing out that probably no manufacturer of TT gets this right either. Once you read through this it will become patently clear why. To that I will ad that the converter/charger Oliver uses is probably better than the vast majority of other manufacturers yet still this charger does NOT completely fill up a battery to 100%. For that you will need a charge controller that outputs a full 14.8 Volts especially if you decide to go with the Trojan batteries which state they need this much juice for a 100% charge (i.e. 7.4 volts per 6 V battery). Go to Trojans website and you will see their specs require this much juice, yet almost no charge controllers on the market today charge at this level.
Here is the link: http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the- … -puzzle-2/
I hope this helps.
RobAugust 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm #18903
Ditto on Handy Bob. I’ve read that blog a dozen times and am just now starting to understand it. He’s pissed because he feels he is dealing with a bunch of uncaring dealers that are only interested in their bottom line and not whether the customer is getting what they really need. He thinks he knows more than everybody else and he may be right, at least he’s convinced a lot of folks of it (including myself).
He may be the guy Will Rogers or Walt Whitman or Dizzy Dean (we don’t know which) was talking about when he said "If you done it, it ain’t bragging…"
Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4August 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm #18904
Not familar with Angry Bob. However, I know that our controller continually steps down as the charge goes up. The last few steps take the longest. I understand that this is to preserve the batteries. Don’t know for sure, but I’ll go with it, since we’re working on old batteries, and happy.
2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4
2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12August 25, 2014 at 12:04 am #18907
Sherry, I would still encourage you to read through his articles. I promise you will learn something including how to take better care of your aging batteries. He addresses all of this stuff. It is worth noting the guy has a degree in electrical engineering and also worked in sales for the same industry for years. IOW’s he is not a shade tree mechanic, the boy knows what he is talking about and proves it explicitly through his blog. As Steve says, regardless of whether you like his writing style he has me convinced hook, line and sinker.
Any good controller will step down the voltage as the charge goes up, the critical part on behalf of your batteries is WHEN that happens. Its my understanding that when a charge controller steps down at too early of a stage it does more to harm your batteries then preserver them, and again he has much anecdotal evidence to back this up.
Hope this helps.
robAugust 25, 2014 at 12:31 am #18908
Thanks, Rob, and i will take a look at his blog.
As you may know, our solar pv system is six years old, so technology changes, actually, quite rapidly in the renewable energy systems.
Best to look to those with the newest gear for the best advice. (As we did, six years ago. A lifetime in solar technology, probably.)
All that aside, we’re extremely happy with the performance of our system. We did our research, talked with our friends, and in the end, modeled our system after the technomadia Oliver system. Chris and Cherie put a tremendous amount of time into research on their system, and eventually, we followed in their footsteps, as theirs worked for them. We felt we were using the best gear available, at an affordable price, at the time. Still feel the same.
True believers in solar power. Silent, no exhaust fumes, constant payback. Solar for our home, too. It’s a big decision.
2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4
2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12August 25, 2014 at 3:37 pm #18912
Thats great you have gone all solar, home and RV. Understand too I’m not knocking what the Technomadia folks did, most likely when they were looking into it Handy Bob didn’t have his blog going and as he so aptly points out time and again in this blog the vast majority if not all RV solar installers are not getting it right. Its often been said that the Solar industry is the bad boy of alternative energy and I think this especially holds true in RV solar.
If you’ve already started digging through his blog you’ll already know what I am talking about perhaps, if not you are in for some very big surprises. Understand its not just about new technologies, rather its about how what is available, and how it is implemented. He started writing this blog back in ’10 I think, but has been living on solar only for some 13 years both with his 5th wheel and also his cabin in the boonies. He has never owned a generator either, yet runs all sorts of power tools including but not limited to table saws.
At any rate if you decide to plow through it, hopefully you will find as much useful info as I have.August 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm #18915
I read thru that long blog on rv solar and "wow". I need to print it out and really study it so I have some idea how everything works and things to check.
Now that I have a trailer coming down the pipe line with the solar package and the AGM batteries, my question is…Would this setup meet the approval of HandyBob as it is setup at the factory? Being a "electronic idiot" the questions start raising their ugly heads.
Stan and Carol
2014 Dodge Durango 5.7 Hemi
2014 Legacy Elite II Standard Hull 63August 25, 2014 at 9:01 pm #18916
LOL, that was my reaction too when I first came across this blog. Its an eye opener for sure.
Now if you take what he has to say verbatim and its certainly worth considering I would drop the AGM’s and just go with the Trojan wet cells if its not too late. The charge controller that Oliver uses ramps up voltage to 14.2 or 14.4 volts can’t remember which and that is better than most but having a charger that can be adjusted to output 14.8 until the battery is full would be much better assuming you can still go with the Trojans. The other unknown is what gauge wire is used between the solar panels and charger, his recommendation is a full 4 AWG which is some pretty big wire yet he claims anything less and you have voltage drop from panels to charger to battery if longer than 6 ft (i think i got those numbers right). Initially it struck me as extreme when I first read it but then he goes on with his anecdotal stories of proof.
Hopefully they can or will be willing to accommodate you on the upgrades on your Elite II. Doesn’t hurt to ask. If not it may be possible for you to retrofit at least the heavy AWG wiring without it being too disruptive.
RobAugust 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm #18918
Guess I need to call Robert tomorrow and check on this stuff. Our trailer is still "on Paper" so I don’t think they started it yet, at least they did not call for the second payment yet.
Stan and Carol
2014 Dodge Durango 5.7 Hemi
2014 Legacy Elite II Standard Hull 63August 26, 2014 at 6:28 pm #18927
And BE SURE to get a Trimetric Battery Monitor!!!!!August 26, 2014 at 10:44 pm #18928
The Wonder Egg was the first Ollie with solar. When I told the company I must have a solar system, they said it hadn’t been done before and asked me to help them out and point them in some direction. I am one of those types who always thought of electricity as "voodoo magic" stuff, so it’s not like I had a Double E degree, or could even wield a voltmeter with competence. Sooooo, I researched around the internet and found a company who had been installing solar on RVs for a long time, called them up and spoke with the folks, choosing the best system for my needs at that time. Their 100w package which, so far, has served me well since the spring of 2008. I believe Oliver still deals with the folks at AMSOLAR for many of their installations unless some prospective owner with a EE major has other plans afoot. Then, of course, they meet the customers request with a smile on their face.
I thought about going with 6v batteries for the large AH available. But after one of my 12v AGMs tuckered out on me after five years, I still had 12v available from the remaining battery to run my systems until I got to a town and could replace both at the same time. (I figured the other was getting long in the tooth as well.) If I had two 6v batteries and one quit on me, I would then have a 6v battery pack and would have have lost all of my 12v systems. That’s what is inhibiting me from going for the larger amount of AH 6v batteries now.
When this second set of Optima Blue Top batteries needs replacement in the future, my plan is to go with military grade 12v batteries by Lifeline. They will more than double my current AH. Very pricy, but peace of mind is worth a lot to me.
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.comAugust 27, 2014 at 3:13 pm #18943
Yes Oliver is still dealing with Amsolar as I understand it and likewise have always heard great things about their products. You make a valid point regarding 12 vs 6 volts. Its my understanding those Trojans if well cared for and fully charged regularly (and that is the big if) will last for a very long time, 8 years or more is not out of the norm. I’ll probably go with the 6 volt system.
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