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Old 12-26-2009, 11:22 PM   #1
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infared heat?

I was looking at my friends' Good Sam magazine and came across what seemed to be a reasonably priced heat solution. I'll throw it out there to be picked apart! It's about $300 and endorsed by Bob Vila, so it has to work right? The smaller unit operates at 6.3 amps and 900 watts according to the specs...heats about 300 square feet. If you were on shore power, this would be feasible to use...sounds like a lot of bang for the buck (one source, safe, etc). What about running down the road...you'd need a pretty large dedicated inverter, am I right on that one? Here's the link:

http://www.edenpure.com/heater/

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: infared heat?

These heaters are 900 watts. 900 Watt-hours times 24 hours per day equals 21.6 kilowatt Hours per day. That's 180 Amp-hours at 120 VAC, or about 1980 AH into an inverter from 12 volts, using an 11:1 ratio to allow for inverter losses. Powering heating or air conditioning off of a battery bank is never a good idea. The 12-volt blower fan alone in a typical RV furnace can kill a typical battery bank in 1-3 nights, never mind running a heating element.

The good news is that you can save both propane and battery life by using an electric space heater when you are connected to a shoreline, or run one to pre-heat the interior while running a generator run to charge the batteries. Turn the space heater off when switching back to battery power. As a better option, 1500-watt "Ceramic" electric heaters can be found in most big-box stores, take up very little space, and are much less expensive to purchase than any designer model that pays for Bob Vila's endorsement.

I have an RV furnace in my camper, and often deal with dead batteries. The folks who have propane catalytic heaters report the best fuel 'mileage' from them. These are also infrared devices. I wish I had one instead of the furnace. There is no electrical draw, but heed the warnings about the moisture (combustion by-products) and ventilation (oxygen replacement) when using them.

Edit: In re-reading your post, you did mention using this going down the road. I saw 'inverter' and immediately though 'battery bank.' 6.3 amps times 11 is 69.3 amps continuous from your alternator. If you subtract ~70 amps continuously from your alternator output, is it big enough to have enough capacity left for battery charging, running lights, instruments, stereo, etc.? With the added strain on the belt and alternator bearings, is it worth doing this as a normal (non-emergency) practice? I would plan to re-mount the under-seat coolant heater somewhere in the conversion, or get a diesel furnace before I tried to get heat from the alternator. YMMV
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:01 PM   #3
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Re: infared heat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbear
Edit: In re-reading your post, you did mention using this going down the road. I saw 'inverter' and immediately though 'battery bank.' 6.3 amps times 11 is 69.3 amps continuous from your alternator. If you subtract ~70 amps continuously from your alternator output, is it big enough to have enough capacity left for battery charging, running lights, instruments, stereo, etc.? With the added strain on the belt and alternator bearings, is it worth doing this as a normal (non-emergency) practice? I would plan to re-mount the under-seat coolant heater somewhere in the conversion, or get a diesel furnace before I tried to get heat from the alternator. YMMV
I would second that notion. The best heater you have for driving down the road is your under-seat coolant-based heater. Sure it takes up a little space, but there's a reason why that's the choice for every bus we've seen to date. It's a way to transfer the extra heat from the engine to where you can use it for relatively very little energy. In my opinion, worth having both an in-transit heater and a shoreline / parked heater.
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Old 12-27-2009, 12:22 PM   #4
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Re: infared heat?

Thanks guys. I just don't seem to be getting much heat from the stock heaters. Granted it was cold...below freezing everyday that I've used my bus. The temp gauge has never really moved too far...which is probably a good thing. I need to play with the different knobs and valves to see if I can't generate more heat inside the bus. My wife is always cold, and the kids will be equally miserable...I'm tough. I can deal with it!

Thanks again for the input.
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:12 PM   #5
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Re: infared heat?

For those from warmer climates, a "winterfront" is a canvas-like cover that goes over the grille in front of the radiator. The bus gets fitted with snaps around the edges to hold it on. On the old IH's they were nearly square, and had a zipper down the middle kind of like a sweater so more or less "cleavage" could be exposed to the cold, depending on the day's weather. I don't know what one for a GMC horizontal grille would look like, probably much the same, covering the area between the headlights.

If you were really lucky, you could have mechanical louvers that close off the grille like Camo Monster's GMC:



As far as cardboard, been there, done that. If you put the cardboard outside in front of the grille, it should be no problem with cooling, but the wind may tear it up. If you hang it directly in front of the radiator, cover only PART of the radiator. You still need some of the radiator available for climbing hills, etc. I would start with blocking the top half, and then change to 1/4, 1/3, 2/3, or 3/4 as indicated by the temp gauge readings. Covering 2/3 was about right for my '71 Dodge Dart with a 225 ci Slant 6 engine. I used two pieces of coat hanger poked through the upper corners to hold it in place, and fan suction did the rest. And don't block off any oil or transmission cooler fins, which are usually at the bottom of the radiator as far as I've seen.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:03 AM   #6
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Re: infared heat?

The winter front idea was great! I just ran back to Kansas City from Goodland...some 400+ miles and it was all kinds of hot in there! When I made the trip from Ohio to home, the temp gauge just moved off 100* to 110*. Today, it moved all the way to 120* and it was really nice. It was great. My wife and kids were very happy. Thanks for the advise!

Ben.
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