We plan to do quite a bit of traveling in our SMB through the coming winter, sometimes in very cold conditions. We boondock a lot, so a 110v ceramic heater is out. I don't want to spend too much time searching for LP, and we have two AGM batteries, so I thought about using a 12v heater to supplement the gas furnace.
I've heard that 12v systems are ill-suited to generating heat, but I've found several small 12v heaters such as this Koolatron and this more expensive Back Seat Heat Plus model. Both these units seem kind of puny, but I wonder if either one would be adequate for the small space inside a B?
Does anyone have experience with this type of heater, or should we just bundle up and get over it? Thanks!
If a small ceramic heater is rated at 1000 Watts and operates on 120 V, it draws I=P/E = 1000/120 = 8.333 Amperes. If you had a similar 1000 W heater that operates on 12 V, the current draw would be 1000/12 = 83.3 Amperes; much too much for your house batteries. Seems to me that you're stuck with using your furnace for cold-weather boondocking, and you need to conserve your battery power to run the furnace blower. Some posters to this forum have talked about the "Buddy" portable propane heaters, but I have no experience with these devices. Perhaps someone will post info on this.
Jerry & Susie
1996 Roadtrek 190 Versatile (Dodge 5.2 L)
FMCA F390585 Trees are being destroyed through the transportation of invasive insects and diseases in firewood. For more information, please visit www.dontmovefirewood.org
I use a Mr. Heater portable Buddy heater with great success when dry camping. I don't have a generator, so we must be conservative with the battery power.
The Buddy heater did an excellent job warming up the camper and keeping it warm. I turn it off prior to going to sleep and turn the furnace on 55 degrees. Throw on a good blanket and sleep like a baby.
The Mr. Heater Buddy propane heaters do consume oxygen, so you've gotta provide ventilation. IIRC, they say 6 or 9 sq. inch opening, from maybe-fallible memory; haven't used it this year. I don't use mine when I'm sleeping. Be sure you have a working CO detector.
Jim, "I'm not old. I'm olde."
* This post was
edited 11/21/06 09:20am by Handbasket *
'06 Tiger CX 'C Minus' on a Silverado 2500HD 4x4, 8.1 & Allison (aka 'Loafer's Glory') www.tigervehicles.com
A small catalytic heater is fuel efficient and will keep you toasty warm with NO battery or AC useage. As chris said turn off before you go to bed. Be sure to do what is necessary to keep water lines/tanks from freezing.
...I've heard that 12v systems are ill-suited to generating heat, but I've found several small 12v heaters such as this Koolatron and this more expensive Back Seat Heat Plus model. Both these units seem kind of puny, but I wonder if either one would be adequate for the small space inside a B?...
The bottom line is that 1 lb of propane contains 300 times more energy than one lb of battery.
The Coleman BlackCat heater is great for a small space if electric isn't available. Its output is about equivalent to an electric heater and it stores easily. A electronic start button is well worth a few extra dollars.
We went to an Espar Airtronic d2 diesel furnace with our Sprinter and just love that solution for efficient btu's. Our 20 lb propane tank lasts a very long time because it does not have to heat the van.
I liked the fact that cetane (12 bonds) vs propane (5 bonds) chemistry means the diesel is a much denser source of energy.
The Espar unit is very small but expensive. Sounds like you already have a propane furnace. I am puzzled by you thinking propane is hard to find. You could go my route and install a propane storage locker (up to 40 lb tank) for extended stays. It would make a useful "safe" or storage cabinet for warm weather when one tank is plenty.
I am also an energy fanatic and insulated pretty well. Foam panel inserts for the windows at night would drop winter heat requirements. I am considering a "winter camping" floor of isocyanurate foam panels covered with some thin ply/rug or such. Would lay it out for really cold camping but not use it otherwise. (I can't stand to lose the headroom).
02 Freightliner Sprinter 2500 long tall home brew conversion
I tried a 12 volt heater once, it was a waste of my money. I threw it away. Hope you have better luck if you buy one.
2010 Ford Expedition TV
2010 Outback 230RS Toybox, 5390# UVW, 6800# Loaded Not yet camped in Hawaii, 2 Canada Provinces, & 2 Territories I can't be lost because I don't care where this lovely road is going