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astrocaster

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Everything posted by astrocaster

  1. Hey, Mountainborn, Glad to hear that your excitement only ended in needing new tires! I don't understand one thing, though: If you dislodged the breakaway brake cable pin when you pulled out of the SCUBARX's driveway, why didn't the Oliver's brakes activate immediately at that point, rather than some time later, while you were on the parkway? Don't the brakes activate as soon as the pin is pulled? Thanks, Steve
  2. Congratulations! Let me second Tumbleweed's recommendation that you register your Oliver in your home state as soon as possible after you bring the Oliver into the state, to avoid late fees. They are really high here in California! Your state's motor vehicle department web site should have information regarding how long you have to get it registered. Steve
  3. From what I understand, with the smart charger that is installed as standard equipment in the Oliver, it should be fine--even recommended--to leave our Olivers connected to shore power while we have them at home between trips. That is to allow the smart charger to keep the batteries adequately charged, through the charger's ability to provide the level of charge that is needed, including a "storage mode" of 13.2 volts DC "When the converter senses that there has been no significant battery usage for approximately 30 hours," to quote from the Progressive Dynamics Intelipower 9200 converter/charger instruction manual. In addition, the manual mentions the charger's Equalization Mode and describes its function: "When in storage mode the microprocessor automatically increases the output voltage to 14.4 volts for 15 minutes every 21 hours. This will help to reduce the buildup of sulfation on the battery plates." We have kept our Oliver connected to shore power most of the time that we have it here in our driveway. I check the voltage reading from the meter in front of the sink once or twice each day (if I think of it). Although the reading is sometimes 13.1 volts, most of the time I have checked it recently, the reading has been 13.5 volts, even when there has been no significant use of 12 volt DC for several days. So, it puzzles me a bit that the charger apparently hasn't stayed in storage mode. However, several sources that I have found (but not all) indicate that a charging voltage of up to 13.8 volts could still be considered a float (or storage) charge for the flooded lead batteries that we have in our Oliver. Also, I have found information that it is good (or necessary) to adjust the charging voltage to compensate for the difference of the battery electrolyte temperature from a norm of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, adding charging voltage as the temperature goes down. I even found a chart that shows how much output charging voltage should be added or subtracted to compensate for temperature changes in the electrolyte. The charger may be finding it necessary to provide a higher charge sometimes these days, as our local temperature goes down into the 40's and 50's, requiring a voltage of 13.5, even though, as far as I can tell, this charger does not have a probe to measure the temperature of the batteries. In sum, I have read wildly conflicting recommendations on the web regarding this issue, ranging from a recommendation that one leave your trailer unplugged from shore power except for two consecutive days each month, or to just one day each week, even if the trailer is outfitted with a four-stage smart converter/charger, like the unit in our Olivers. Others say that if you have a smart charger, you can leave it connected to shore power indefinitely, so that the charger will maintain the batteries' charge. (This appears to be the intent of the design of the charger in our Olivers.) Frankly, I doubt that most of the advice on the web is provided by knowledgeable parties, and some of it may just repeat what on one web site what has been posted on another. So, I hope that some of those among us who may truly be knowledgeable and experienced in these areas can help us. Thanks, Steve
  4. Thank you for the compliment, mountainborn! And you are right about the storage: the D-shaped brackets swivel at their top and bottom connections to the panel, so when I remove the two support struts, they fold inward for storage. In fact, they fit entirely within the profile of the panel itself. The support struts are simply attached with hinges that I use machine screws and wing nuts to secure, so they only take a minute to detach. By the way, for this setup, I used the existing mounting holes in the aluminum panel frame, without drilling any myself. The box on the back is the connection box that is part of the panel as it comes from the manufacturer. The the cable is passed through a grommet in the box and hooked to the panel's terminals. The charge controller is mounted inside the Oliver, so that you can control and monitor the panel from inside. I still have one thing to do with this set up. In order not to lose much of the power generated by the panel over the 40-foot run of the cable back to the Oliver, I chose an AWG 8-2 cable, and it is quite stiff and heavy, and, therefore, not as easy as I would like it to be to stow and to deploy. So, I plan to develop a way to quickly detach the cable from the panel and handle them separately. This will probably involve cutting the cable as it emerges from the box to a one or two foot length and attaching a robust male/female plug system to the cut cable ends. I would want to get one that locks in place by rotating it, like the one installed by the Oliver folks on the other end of the cable to plug it into the Oliver. So far I have not been able to find this locally, so I will contact Oliver for their assistance. Yes, I did get the photo posting thing figured out! Thanks for providing the reference for me. I'll enjoy sharing more with the group in future posts. Steve
  5. Larry, Good questions. I invite you to have another look at the response I posted early in this thread. Elizabeth and I decided that any solar panel we had would need to be able to be moved around to find the sun, since we, too, would normally be camped mostly in the shade. So, we have a 100W panel attached to a 40-foot cable that plugs into the Oliver near the water connections. I have designed a mount for the panel that is pretty easy to set up and that allows the panel to be oriented in a "landscape" format, to make it less liable to be caught by the wind, and it is easy to rock up and down, as needed, to follow the angle of the sun. It is also very easy to lift the panel a little to swivel it right and left. Here are a couple of pictures I took of it before I painted the wood: The two "D"-shaped supports are held in place by the removable struts and they swivel inward for storage, to pack flat. (Thank you very much, Pete, for the compliments on this setup. I enjoyed showing it to you.) We have found that the panel produces far more charging amps when it is oriented perpendicular to the angle of the sun, and, therefore, we adjust the angle of the panel rather frequently. It is very easy to do with this setup. We are concerned about security, since it would be easy to steal the panel. So far, we have not left camp when the panel has been deployed. This has not been a problem for us, though, since Elizabeth usually stays in camp and reads when I go fishing. Also, it seems that most folks don't easily recognize this as a solar panel, due to its unorthodox mounting system. When we are away from camp, and at night, we simply unhook it and stick it in the back of our Suburban. I would be happy to share more info regarding this mounting system, Steve
  6. Our Polar Cub actually doesn't make so much noise, considering that the entire unit is just a couple of feet from our heads, if we are standing in the rear of the Oliver. We got this A/C rather than the more electrically hungry Duo-Therm unit, so that we could run it with our Honda EU2000i generator. We have done so on several occasions with no problem, when shore power was not available. Steve
  7. Earlier today I saw a new forum topic about what we carry and where we put it. That topic seems to have disappeared. Anyone know what happened? Thanks, Steve
  8. Hi, Everyone, As an alternative to using suction cups to hang things on the interior walls of our Oliver trailer, we would like to consider actually drilling holes to attach various sorts of hangers. If you had done so, please post information on how successful that has been for you. Please describe the process, what precautions you have taken, types of drill bits used, the types of fasteners you have inserted through the fiberglass to make the anchor, and any other information that you think would be useful. Thank you, Steve
  9. Hi, Everyone, It seems to me that it has been several months since anyone has posted on these forums any information or pictures of the accessories they have added to the walls of the kitchen and bathroom areas of their Oliver trailers. In particular, since some time has passed and more folks now have Oliver trailers, Elizabeth and I would like to know how successful it has been for you to use suction cups to hold up soap dishes and other containers. If you have removed these suction cups after a while, have the suction cups left some sort of abrasion or other marks that show they were there? If so, were you able to remove the marks? Do you have any recommendations? Thanks, Steve
  10. Sherry, Yes, the caps are sold separately. We bought our Lynx Levelers at WalMart for $30 for a package of ten. Actually, I had never seen the caps before you mentioned it, and I just looked them up. I think that the Lynx Levelers do need something on top of them to spread the weight of a narrow jack, so I cut pieces of 1/2-inch plywood to the same size as the Lynx Levelers, and that works fine. However, if I come across the caps in a store and they are priced reasonably, I might buy them. We also use the lightweight yellow plastic chocks that are widely available. They are remarkably strong and good at digging into loose dirt and gravel. Steve
  11. Herm, Thanks for posting the pictures of your Oliver. It looks sharp and clean. I have an observation that might interest you from viewing of the picture of the exterior of your Oliver. This is in connection to your comment in one of your posts in the "First Impressions" thread. There you say that you were not sure that you had the Polar Cub A/C, since the unit reads "Duo-Therm" on it. We have the Polar Cub, and the unit on the top of your trailer does not look like our unit. It does look more like the Duo-Therm unit. You might want to check into this further, if it is important to you. Steve
  12. We, too, have found it useful to have a small step stool (just one step), that we got at Camping World. As far as pad for the jacks, we had two sets of Lynx Levelers already, so we use them and put a square of plywood on top. The Lynx Levelers are interlocking plastic pieces that are designed to support RVs. They are about 8.5 inches square, come ten to a set, and are very strong. Hope this helps. Steve
  13. This topic has discussed a bit on the "First Impressions" thread in this forum. It seems that it would be helpful to many if we shared information in a thread focused on the water heater. We have used our water heater several times on propane, but we have not yet used it on shore power. We understand from the instruction booklet and from the discussion referred to above that the switch is actually on the outside of the water heater, which is under the panel on the outside of the Oliver. We also understand that the water heater must be filled with water prior to turning the electric heating switch on, and that there is no fail-safe to this. Therefore, if one has shore power supplied and turns the switch on, the heating element will heat, whether or not there is water in the tank. If there is insufficient water in the tank, then the unit will be ruined, and, perhaps, there may be danger of a fire. I would appreciate it if those who have used the water heater on shore power will share that information. Particularly, I would be interested in knowing how you insured that the water heater had water in the tank (does it automatically fill the tank when you hook up and turn on city water?), how long have you found that it takes to get the water hot enough to take a shower or wash dishes, and whether you make it a practice to leave the switch turned on for long period of time (e.g. several hours) while you are using shore power. In addition, I believe that you can activate the propane burner to heat the water faster when the electric heating element is turned on. Is that true, and have you found that this works well? Anything that you can share will be helpful. Thank you, Steve
  14. Thought it would be helpful to add our experience to this topic: The A/C does make some noise, but since it is only a few feet from our heads, we think that is normal. We are happy for the cool air. We, too, had a number of things that had to be fixed when we picked up our Oliver, and I agree that there are QA issues that need to be addressed. In fact, we had to stay two additional days in Hohenwald for appliances to be changed out and other things to be fixed. Following that, on our way back here to California, several other problems came to light. We had to take the trailer to a local repair firm to have these problems taken care of. Through all of this, the Oliver team has been very helpful and eager to get the problems fixed. We still have one intermittent problem: one of the electric jacks sometimes does not work without requiring that we go inside and move the jack back a forth a little manually, using the tool that came with the trailer. I have notified Oliver about this, and I have not yet received any guidance regarding how to deal with it. Our Oliver has not been in any rain since we picked it up, so we do not yet know whether there will be any leaks. I think that it would be useful to many if another thread were to be started to discuss the operation of the water heater on electric power. I have several questions about this since I have not tried it, and others may wish to take part. I'll start the thread right away. Steve
  15. Thanks for all of the repies regarding running the refrigerator on propane. We have done so now for several trips over a few thousand miles and we are very pleased with how this works. The refrigerator seems to use very little propane and does a great job cooling. We do make a point of stopping short of the gas pumps at stations and turning the refrigerator off while refueling and then pulling out and restarting it. No problem. Steve
  16. Bill, Let me clarify regarding my installing the brake controller: My tow vehicle is a 2002 Suburban, and we purchased it with the tow package, which included the seven-pin wiring plug at the hitch and a separate plug and pigtail to hook up a brake controller. All that was involved was connecting the wires from the brake controller's pigtail (supplied with the brake controller) to the wires of the pigtail for the tow vehicle, plugging the tow vehicle pigtail into the circuit box under the dash, and installing the controller under the dashboard using a bracket that came with the controller. I drilled two holes to do this. The whole process took me about an hour to do, but I spent about eight hours researching and learning about it ahead of time, in order to do it correctly. It was this easy because the tow vehicle was ready for the installation. From what you say, it sounds like you do not have the wiring run and the seven-pin plug for a trailer to plug into. This is the wiring that not only will engage the brakes, but will operate the Oliver's turn signals, brake lights, etc. If that is the case, then I would recommend getting this done by a professional. I agree with Herm that it makes sense to check with a Volvo dealer to make sure that you have all of the requisite wiring and plug available at the hitch, if it is not already there. If I misunderstood your response and you do have the seven-pin plug but don't know where to tie in the controller, as Cherie suggests, a good mechanic familiar with wiring for towing should be able to install the controller for you. Or, of course, the Volvo dealer could do it. I also agree with Cherie's suggestion that you install the controller within reach of the front seat passenger, as well as the driver. I installed ours that way for just the sort of reason that she mentions. Hope this helps, Steve
  17. Bill, The brake controller is essential, and you will be glad you have it. The Oliver's brakes cannot be operated without the controller. There is no option. While the Oliver is not a heavy trailer, it is heavy enough that brakes are really needed to safely tow it. In many states, if not most or all, brakes are required on trailers that weigh much less than the Oliver. Steve
  18. Bill, The electric (or electronic) brake controller is a device that is connected to the tow vehicle's electrical system and that sends a signal to the trailer through the seven-pin wiring harness to activate the trailer's brakes in conjunction with the braking action of the tow vehicle. As Mountainborn has explained, the amount of braking action can be adjusted by settings on the controller, to avoid laying down that long black rubber strip when you apply the brakes. You will need to install a brake controller in order to operate the Oliver's brakes. It is a relatively small device that is installed within reach and view of the driver, usually under the dash. I purchased a Tokonsha Prodigy controller and installed it myself. This was pretty easy using the wiring harness pigtail that came with my tow vehicle for this purpose, matched up with the pigtail that came with the controller. The driver may also manually apply the trailer's brakes using the controller (on our brake controller, this is done with a lever), even if the tow vehicle's brakes are not applied, or to add to the braking action already called for by the controller. This allows the driver to fine-tune the braking action, if needed. Hope this helps, Steve
  19. Hi, Mark, Since most of our camping is high in the forests and mountains here in Northern California, where we are almost always parked in the shade, we decided to go with an outboard system, where we move the panel around on the ground to the areas of strongest sunshine over the course of the day. The panel, of course, is attached to an electrical cable which is plugged into the side of the Oliver. I believe that we got the same solar panel and controller that Pete (Bugeyedriver) did--AM Solar 100 watt panel and the HPV-22B charge controller, also from AM Solar. I believe that the "solar ready" option offered by Oliver uses a different controller. You will need to discuss this Oliver to make sure that you get the controller that you want, as we did. My advice is to consider very carefully where you will be camped in order to decide whether to have the panels mounted on the Oliver or to have an outboard system, such as ours. Our system is much more labor intensive in transporting (we carry the panel and electrical cord in our TV), setting up, moving, and putting away the panel when we are not around camp (so it will be there when we come back!). However, it is what we need where we camp: If we had the panel mounted on the Oliver, we would have to search out and try to camp in the few sites in each campground that have significant sun exposure (if there are any). Otherwise, the dense forest shade would reduce the panel's charging amps too much and make the panel of little practical value. We have found that by moving the panel around a few times to different parts of the site to follow the sun and by adjusting its angle to be perpendicular to the sun, we are able to maintain output of around 5.5 amps over several hours and still to maintain reasonably strong output as the sun gets much lower in the sky. To do this, of course, we must be in camp. This works for us, though, since my wife generally stays in camp doing things she enjoys while I go off to fish. So, if your camping will be anything like ours, you might consider an outboard system. If you are going to be in the sun or light shade most of the time, I would probably recommend that you have the panel(s) mounted on your Oliver. Steve
  20. While we have not had our Oliver Legacy Elite weighed, the title transfer document that we got when we picked it up last month says that it weighs 3,400 pounds. Additionally, the VIN sticker on the outside of the trailer states the following about the weight: GVWR 1814 KG (4000 LB) GAWR ALL 1814 KG (4000 LB) PER AXLE WITH 15 TIRE 15X6J RIM AT 345 KPA (50 PSI) COLD SINGLE Reference to the "15 TIRE" is because we got the 15-inch tires and 4-inch lift option. We were quite surprised that the Oliver weighs considerably more than we had been led to believe. However, our TV (2002 Suburban 1/2 ton) has handled it without any real strain, even up (and back down!) the very steep 6,500-foot grade into Kings Canyon National Park from California's Central Valley. Steve
  21. If you find that your outside shower hose does not come out as far as you think it should, I recommend that you look inside the compartment that is discussed in previous posts here to see if some of the electrical wires are holding the shower hose back. We took delivery of our Oliver recently and have found that two electrical wires are looped inside the hose in such a way that they prevent its final extension by about 18 inches. If we were to pull on the hose very hard, we might break the electrical connections. This will need to get fixed. Steve
  22. As did Chris and Cherie, Elizabeth and I went to a fabric store and picked a fabric that we felt would suit us and the color concept that we had for our Oliver. We then shipped the fabric to Hohenwald. The fabric is a robust low-cut plush upholstery fabric that we think will hold up very well. One concern that we had in going through fabrics in the store is that so many of them were very light in weight and thickness, and Elizabeth knew that they would not wear well over time. We liked being able to actually get samples of the fabric from the store and to look at them at home before buying. Steve
  23. Hi, Sherry and Paul, Elizabeth and I are wondering about the Empire large van cover and how it fits, etc. Perhaps you are back from your camping trip and can let us know. We now have our Oliver here at home and need to get a cover to protect it from the sun and all of the sticky stuff that falls from the oak trees over our driveway. Thanks, Steve
  24. Thanks, all, for your responses. They are very helpful. We have a nine-hour stretch of driving through Texas to do on Monday, and we will run the refrigerator on propane (and not the 12v) for at least most of that time. One more question: Somewhere I read that it is the law, at least in Texas, that you have to turn off all appliances running on propane before pulling up to get gasoline for your TV. Is that your understanding? Is this really necessary? Is it common practice? We'll be going through Arizona and then returning home to California, as well. Do you know about the law in these two states on this issue? Thanks, Steve
  25. Thanks to you all for the responses! I checked, and yes, indeed, the "curved air flap" venting material that you have described was positioned in such a way as to totally block the vent, forcing all of the heat from the refrigerator to remain in the cabin! I have repositioned it in a way to direct the heat out of the cabin through the vent, but I think I will need to check this from time to time. I also will get some insulation and put it behind the vent, as suggested by Mountainborn. Great idea. Thanks again, Steve
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