Hi Lady Fitz,
It is my understanding that 50 amp cords for RV's are #6 wire, not #10, so the voltage drop should not be an issue, except at the pedestal.
I do observe significant voltage drop on the 30 amp service on the order of 10% when running 2400 watts (30 foot run to the pedestal with #10 wire). I try to never exceed 2880 watts on a continuous basis.
Yes, 50A cords are 6AWG. I was discussing the highest load scenario on the run from the breaker that feeds the Cheap Heat. That will be 10AWG. However, when calculating voltage drop, one has to factor in all potential resistance, including the power cord running to the RV from the pedestal, and even the wiring feeding the pedestal as well as the total load in the RV and the system feeding the pedestal. Adding insult to injury, loads are highly variable so one has to calculate for worst case scenarios. Even worse, in the case of the pedestal and its feed, you have no control over the variables short of resorting to an autoformer (which will cost you amperage in low voltage events, another ugly variable to deal with) or moving.
Hi Lady Fitz,
Thanks for the link. I'll read it carefully.
22 amps @ 240 volts--but I believe (or I hope) it is balanced between the 2 120 volt "legs". So wattage is 5280 and btu's are 18016 giving a total daily maximum output with no voltage drop of 432384 btu's.
I see the 50 amp ones are balanced--but the biggest is only 21.6 amps
That means a few less watts and a few less btu's
21.6 @ 120 x 2 = 5184 watts = 17688 x 24 = 424512 btu's per day with zero voltage drop.
I'm not terribly familiar with voltage drop on 50 amp units. Is it an issue from time to time?
As long as the wiring is sized appropriately for the current draw and distance of the run, it won't be an issue. 10AWG usually would be plenty for even the largest unit (that is rated for 30A and only 22A is being drawn). It's not likely an RV will have a run from where the power enters the RV to the Cheap Heat that will be long enough for voltage drop to be an issue. Normally, a 60' run of 10AWG Romex will handle 30A at 240v with only a 2% voltage drop (roughly 5v). I can't see any installation using more than 10-15' from the power source which would keep voltage drop down to 2.4v or less, normally not enough to loose sleep over.
Keep in mind that this is assuming the supply source has been adequately wired. If the wiring to the pedestal is inadequate for the total load being placed on it, for example, then there will be an excessive voltage drop. Calculating voltage drop can be a real headache (and a pain elsewhere) because of all the variables that can be involved.
Ok, I can accept those figures (I never believed the smallest unit would ever be adequate; I just wanted to see if you could actually back it up with something more solid than your opinions); there are a few points, though:
The largest unit draws only 22A (at 240v).
Propane furnaces normally cycle on and off. Cheap Heat can run full time so it usually can put out the same amount of heat as a lager rated gas furnace. Of course, we don't know if that furnace ran full time or not during the night. We also don't know the ambient temperatures.
Aqain, all one would need would be a two stage thermostat (and, if the thermostat leaves the first stage on when it switches to the second stage, a relay) to allow the furnace to switch from electric to propane when and if the temperature drops too low for the Cheap Heat to keep up with.
I stand corrected on the location.
While I'm at it, Trailer Life recently had an article on the Cheap Heat. You all can read it here.
Then how do explain the web page at the Attwood site which essentially states that modifications will void the warranty?
While Atwood's claim is actually illegal, it doesn't matter because Cheap Heat will cover the furnace's warranty if the manufacturer will not. I wish I had a dollar for every time you have been told this.
If you have a 30 amp service then the cheap heat won't meet your needs. If you have a 50 amp service--then there is no need for multiple cords to run heaters.
I have a 30 amp service, so I do indeed have to run more than one shore power cord.
I suggest you install the biggest possible unit, since you have already proved that the smallest one and the medium size one are NOT going to meet your real life needs.
Interesting about the start up and electric motors. Does it apply to A.C. (120 volt) motors too?
So the bearings in a motor never wear out?
Over Thanksgiving We used our Montana as an additional bedroom for relatives that were in visiting from Texas. We had the furnace set at 65f during the day and 70f at night. We also had 2 space heaters running continuously in addition to the gas furnace. 1.5 30lb tanks of lpg were consumed during this time frame. Where we live I pay right at $25 to fill a 30lb cylinder. At the rate of consumption of 1.5 tanks of propane per week it would only take 13.5 weeks to have spent $500! For me this is a no-brainer, I would rather spend $500 on the Cheap Heat system and have it paid for in 1 season than to have to run numerous small electric heaters in addition to running the gas furnace and having to worry about running out of gas! Speaking only for myself, the Cheap Heat system is what I'm going to purchase for my camper because it is more practical for MY needs. I don't want electric baseboard heaters or stand-alone electric heaters in the middle of the floor, I don't want multiple extension cords run from the rig to the power pedestal and I also want heat in the basement to keep water lines, drains and valves thawed like the factory system is intended to do. Also, if the furnace blower has to run longer with the electric add-on that's fine, the life of an electric motor is NOT shortened by running, it's shortened by the max amp draw of the start condition.
How do you know the smaller version of Cheap Heat will not meet his needs? Back up your claims with hard facts, not your opinions. Keep in mind he is in Texas, not Canada. It doesn't get down to -20° very often (to put it mildly; the coldest I ever saw was 9° and that was 40 years ago when it was colder than it is now).
The bearings will last for so long, whether used on electric heat or on gas heat. If you weren't using electric heat, you would be using gas heat, running the blower. In fact, the fan motor bearings should last longer when used on electric heat since they won't get as hot and they are running at a slower speed.
Why do you insist on denigrating Cheap Heat when it is so obvious you know so little about it, especially after several people, including people who actually own and use Cheap Heat, keep disproving your ridiculous allegations?
I invite you to comment on which of my observations is wrong. I would appreciate being corrected if a statement is false.
As to inconsequential--that is a matter of opinion and my opinion is just as valid as yours.
I now have data on a cold soaked rv that suggests that about 45 amps are needed to warm it up from -20 (-f f) to +20 C (68 f) taking about 9 hours and that at least 25 amps are required to keep it warm when the ambient temperature is -25 C (-13 f).
Anyone contemplating the 'cheap heat' system should wire it for the largest possible amperage design, if they camp in weather that is truly cold.
What bothers me is every one of your complaints have been debunked by several people in past threads yet you persist with the same inconsequential or inaccurate arguments.
For the last time (hopefully):
Can not fail over to furnace - I already told you all you need is a two stage thermostat. I also told you the reason one isn't included is not everyone will need one.
Can not replace all heating needs in the 30 amp flavor - Not everyone camps in -20° weather like you do. Most people won't even see 32° while camping. Most fulltimers go south for the winter.
Probably can not replace all heating needs in the "medium" flavor - Same as the previous response.
Can not be used with 15 amp power. Seriously? You would be hard pressed to run ANY adequate electric heater on a 15A service without turning everything else off unless it's a really tiny RV.
Can not be run to act as a helper to the furnace. Again, seriously? It's not designed to do so nor should it be. What you are suggesting is no more sensible than running a toad in gear while towing it. If you need higher heat output, get one that is big enough.
takes 5 hours to install (and that is if you have done more than one). So what if it takes that long (and I doubt that anyone who has done it before would need that long). Once installed, that's it; you're done.
Costs $500 smackers plus install (so in my opinion to call it cheap heat is an insult) - You get what you pay for. You want upfront cheap, stick with your portables. You want quality, convenience, and a non-ghetto look, you will have to pay for it. As far as "cheap" goes, not everyone wants "cheap". Campers with no access to propane or fulltimers who either can't or don't want to lug propane tanks around frequently will find not having to do so to be well worth the upfront cost.
requires a good working knowledge of electricity to diy. Yet again, seriously? You are grasping at straws again. Using that "logic", people who don't know how to fix their cars shouldn't buy them. If you don't have the knowledge to properly and safely install something, pay someone who does.
voids the warranty on the furnace - Completely wrong! Besides being against Federal law here in the USA to void the warranty (don't know about up in CA but most purchasers will be from here) unless it can be proven to have damaged the furnace, Cheap Heat will replace the factory warranty should that happen.
the three flavors are identical--just wired differently to allow different output levels - And this is a problem how? It actually makes the product less expensive because the manufacturer can maintain a lower parts inventory, manufacturing is simplified, any repairs are simplified since the same parts work on all "flavors", one can "upgrade" at a latter date for much less that replacing the entire unit, etc. Btw, there are more than three "flavors".
the 30 amp flavor does only a few more watts than a heat strip in an air conditioner - Not all ACs and Heat Pumps can have heat strips installed. Also, the fans in the ACs will still run at full speed whereas the fan on the furnace in a Cheap Heat installation will be lower.
the furnace fan gets a lot more hours on it. - Not much more than if the furnace itself had been running, possibly less if you count total fan revolutions since it runs at a lower speed when on electric heat. And so what if the fan does get more hours? A separate fan will rack up hours so we are talking about a tradeoff here.
has the same noise level as the propane furnace. - Again, wrong. The fan runs slower and there is no burner burning so your claim is completely false.
Break even even for a full time RV'er is several years of use. - So what? How long before one reaches break even depends on one's usage, the cost of propane and electricity, etc. Some will reach the break even point before others. Some may never reach a break even point but will still want the convenience of not having to deal with portable heaters, don't want the ghetto look of portable heaters, prefer the comfort of central ducted heat, don't want to or can't lug around propane tanks, etc.
Again, I and others have pointed these things out to you multiple times before. It's alright to express opinions but all you have to offer are fallacies aggravated by your insistence on repeating them after others have pointed out you are wrong.
What bothers me is the bad design.
What bothers me is every one of your complaints have been debunked by several people in past threads yet you persist with the same inconsequential or inaccurate arguments.
Well got installed today and to be honest it was idiot proof on the install, it takes a bit to get use to on the mixin of cold and hot water, but works just like id expected!!!!
It didn't happen without pictures! ;)
Hi Lady Fitz,
So, why doesn't cheapheat provide one then?
all that is needed for a "fail safe" is a two stage thermostat.
Both for the same reason residential heating and cooling systems don't provide a thermost (too many possible combinations) and low demand. A Cheap heat could be installed in an RV with heat only or with heat and an AC from one of two (or possibly more) different manufacturers. Later model Dometic AC/HPs use a thermostat that is not compatible with other brands of AC/HPs. Not everyone needs a "fail safe", defintely not enough to justify the expense of adding on to the Cheap Heat. Nor does everyone camp in sub-zero weather, let alone the extremes you camp in (darned few in fact).
Cheap Heat will save money in the long haul IF one stays at a campsite only a few nights at a time and, thus, do not have their electricity metered. That probably covers far more campers than those who will stay in one place long enough to have their electricty metered.
The convenience factor has already been beat to death and if you haven't gotten it by now, you never will.
I have yet to see anyone, either here or on other RV forums, who actually has Cheap Heat installed complain about it. In fact, they all speak of it in glowing terms (pardon the bad pun). If you and nitrohorse don't want it, whether it's because it doesn't meet your needs, it's out of your budget, you prefer a cheap "redneck solution", or whatever, then don't buy it; no one is forcing you to. But please stop denigrating a product you know little to nothing about, especially in a post where the OP asked specifically, "Has anyone installed an electric heat conversion kit called Cheapheat and if so your comments?"
I've seen a post from only one person who had problems with the RV 500. He bought used from a mobile repairman who claimed it cam e from a rig owned by an old woman who was scared everytime it came on. Need say more on that one?
Don't confuse this unit with the Girard which a lot of people have had trouble with.
I don't understand you keep saying that the 30 amp Cheap Heat Systems will not work in anybody's camper, when you don't and sounds like you will never install one. I would let everybody know that you can contact Mr Larry with Cheap Heat and ask him any Questions about his heating systems. You can read about it at rvcomfortsystems.com.
I will say it again that this system is not for everybody but if I was working out of my camper I would make arrangements to pay to have a 30 amp electrical connection. Weather it's at a family or friends house. That's just me. I think that if Mr Larry offers two Cheap Heat systems for a 30 amp camper hook up they will take care of your heating needs. Now if you would of said that you purchased a unit from Cheap Heat and tested it in your back yard then I may take your word for what it is. Please have a great day!!!!
Paw Paw John, I've had this discussion with Pianotuna before and it's a waste of time. He is hung up over the cheap issue and either can't understand it or just doesn't want to. That's why I haven't bothered to respond to his posts in this thread. For example, I've already told him all that is needed for a "fail safe" is a two stage thermostat.
Cheap Heat is also ideal for full timers who stay parked in one place for months at a time and/or getting propane is inconvenient or impossible.
Doesn't staying in one place for months at a time negate the idea of "FREE" electricity to off set the cost of propane? Any RV park I've been in charges you a metered amount of electricity if you stay a month or more.
You missed the point. If propane is unavailable or inconvenient to get where one is parked, the cost of the electricity over propane is irrelevent.
I hate seeing threads like this because they usually get full of people posting opinions based on inadequate or downright wrong information. Although Cheap Heat’s main marketing point is lower heating costs under certain conditions, that is not the only advantage to Cheap Heat. After paying tens to hundreds of thousands for an RV, not everyone wants to have portable heaters cluttering up their RVs or getting in the way. Cheap Heat works through the existing thermostat making operation automatic. Cheap Heat is also ideal for full timers who stay parked in one place for months at a time and/or getting propane is inconvenient or impossible.
For those worried about Atwood, etc. not honoring warranties on furnaces with Cheap Heat installed on them, to Cheap Heat's website and read the Warranty News Release linked at the bottom of the page. For those who can't be bothered to do so, here is what it says:
Warranty News Release
We are receiving some requests for clarification concerning Cheapheat™ system certifications. The Cheapheat™ product is UL Certified in accordance with ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards. Upon receiving a UL system certification, we submitted to RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association) for Compliance and have received documentation confirming our RVIA compliance.
Additionally, there have been some questions regarding what effect the addition of the Cheapheat™ system may have to the furnace warranty. From the beginning, RV Comfort Systems has been committed to providing a “Do No Harm” product. In the spirit of that commitment, we will provide not only a 1-year new equipment warranty on our product, but also a warranty for the FURNACE as follows:
OEM Coach Manufacturers
For 2 years RV Comfort Systems will reimburse the OEM coach manufacturer for the cost of any failed part not covered by the furnace manufacture to which the Cheapheat™ System is attached.
After Market installation
For 1 year RV Comfort Systems will reimburse the installing Dealer for the cost of any failed part in the furnace caused by the addition of the Cheapheat™ System.
Lastly it should be made clear that the based in the 1974 Magnusson-Moss Act –Public Law 93-637 Section 2302 Paragraph (C) “Rules governing contents of warranties”. In Summary-It is illegal for a primary product manufacture to void the warranty when a 3rd party product is attached to a primary product. For exact wording please refer to Public Law 93-637.
RV Comfort System
PO Box 1554
Bothell, WA 98041
I've used Carbonite for several years and have been happy with it. I researched Backblaze a while back and it didn't measure up to Carbonite. Crashplan has had troubles with their servers being overloaded, resulting in impossibly slow upload speeds (go to their forums to see what is going on). Mozy no longer offers unlimited storage for a flat fee.
As far as cloud backup being unreliable goes, that is true of the free cloud storage sites. Those often disappear with little or no warning. Also, unless you encrypt your files yourself, they are subject to being hacked into. I do use Amazon's Cloud Drive to temporarily back up photos when I'm on the road (in addition to backing them up on a 2.5" HDD, my notebook, and a 32 GB camera card I keep in my purse) but I would never use it long term.
Carbonite has had a reasonably good track record for several years. Your files are uploaded already encryted automatically without any perceptable slowing of your computer. You can also access your data from another computer (I find that handy when on the road). At a bit under $5/month, it's a bargain. The only two downsides of Carbonite is data recovery is slow and your computer has to be on long enough for your data to upload. If you are on the computer for only short periods, tere may not be enough time to upload your data.
All media will eventually fail, be it CDs, DVDs, hard drives, or the cloud which is why redundancy is vital. A bare minimum backup plan should include a local backup, such as on a hard drive, and one offsite. Carbonite will serve as an offsite backup but should not be relied on solely (although that would still be better than nothing).
I personally have three HDDs to use for backups for each HHD in use. Two of those HDDs stay at home and the third is kept in a safe deposit box at my credit union (the credit union HDDs gets swapped out with one of the other HDDs at least once a month). I also use Carbonite on my desktop computer (I don't keep any critical data on the notebook I use when I travel or when the desktop is down). That way, if I lose my computers and local backups to fire, theft, or whatever, I can quickly recover the bulk of my data from the HDDs at the credit union and the data that was added or changed since those backups were made can be recovered from Carbonite within much less time than recovering all of the data would take.
It seems anal but much of my data is irreplaceable and it would be time consuming and expensive to replace the rest.