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Old 03-07-2015, 12:29 AM   #21
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Maybe later. Right now I got other things to spend yet more money on. Having hot water at the washing machine isn't a big deal.
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Old 03-07-2015, 06:12 AM   #22
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On tablet now so linking is tough

I have a 40 gallon twin element WH, it is hooked up for 30amp(120v) and 50amp(240v)

So far we have only used it about 2 weeks, 1 week each at 30 and 50 amp(2different camp grounds)

With 50amp service it has hot water in less than 1/2 hour, 30 amp is longer and we can pure heat going down the road

It is installed primarily for the 150 gallon tube for wifeys weekly soaking, normally showers

I did a write up in general conversion will try to link later today

We do not boondock and don't even have real holding tanks, that will change a little this spring
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Old 03-09-2015, 12:52 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by lornaschinske View Post
Which Eco-temp did you use? The L-5? I have an L-5 that we used in the food cart. David was thinking about trying it to heat the water just for the washing machine. Never did get around to seeing it we could fit it up in the available space above the washer. Did you run it on an RV water pump? I know the one in the food cart was barely able to keep the water flow high enough for the unit to kick on. I have a slightly larger pump in the bus. Maybe next summer I will get it hooked up.
TL;DR summary: yes I have the L5; it works, but a person should have "reasonable" (limited) expectations.

I've done an experiment to put some numbers to the discussion. It's kina-sorta rigged up to model RV usage:

  • deep cycle battery (cheating a bit: the charger is connected and running, is near the end of its cycle, so battery voltage is unusually high at 14.9v)
  • SHURflo pump model 4008
  • Ecco-Temp L5 (nameplate: 11 kW input, 1.46 GPM)
  • bucket of water (4.75 gallons, 50 degrees F)
  • plumbing: 1/2" vinyl tube for pump suction, faucet connector hose between pump and heater (rather small inside diameter), 1/2" PEX output. Output is elevated about 6 feet above ground level
I set the knobs on the heater for maximum heat and maximum water flow. It took 4.25 minutes to pump the 4.75 gallons and the peak output temperature was 86 F. The heater extinguished several times and I toggled its power switch to trigger re-ignition. So, I got 1.11 GPM and raised the temperature of 4.75 gallons (39.6 pounds) of water by 36 degrees F. That's 1426 Btu in 4.25 minutes, or 20131 Btu/h, or 5.9 kW. Am I doing the math right? I didn't weigh the propane to measure the consumption.. but if this heater is actually consuming 11 kW and putting just 5.9 kW into the water, I consider that lousy efficiency. Probably par for the course in traditional RV equipment, though!

I've read that the problem with the heater extinguishing is related to pressure -- that these heaters use a pressure switch, rather than a flow switch, to control the burner. I've found that I can turn down the flow knob to a point where the burner reliably stays lit, then adjust the gas knob for the temperature I want. If it's not hot enough then turn the water flow down more. I've thought about modifying the heater to use a flow switch and/or excess temperature switch but haven't spent the time to find one.

Overall... it works about the way a hundred-something-dollar heater should. For occasional or low-budget use it's definitely worth considering. But where more heat, more flow, or no-nonsense regardless of conditions are required, the L5 is not the right one for the job.
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:29 AM   #24
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I've done an experiment to put some numbers to the discussion. It's kina-sorta rigged up to model RV usage:
Nice experiment! You ever thought of a career as a MythBuster?

Yes, your math checks out. These things are definitely inefficient, but be aware that heater/boiler manufacturers are allowed to list their "maximum" output as their "rating". This number requires a special set of circumstances that usually only happen for one magical second during a heating cycle - a certain flow rate, a certain input temperature, a certain ambient, etc.

You see this with wood stove makers, too. A unit is listed as 50kBTU/hr, but puts out barely half that in normal usage. Same with cars / mpg, too. Best thing to do is divide by 2 to get a better expectation.
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:33 PM   #25
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i have the same unit, love it! you may have gottin a faulty one. even in the cold months here it works great, heat on 2/3 and flow about the same. i used it in my shower to test it. it will melt your skin off on high. i went 3 1/2 months on one grill tank, shower every day sometimes 2. never had it shut down, never. still the same d batteries 9 months now.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:16 PM   #26
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...but if this heater is actually consuming 11 kW and putting just 5.9 kW into the water, I consider that lousy efficiency. Probably par for the course in traditional RV equipment, though!
Yeh, I purchased one of these and it wastes a lot of heat. You can tell just by putting your hand above the exhaust; the exhaust is extremely hot! If it were efficient the exhaust would be much cooler.

I plan on putting another heat exchange above the exhaust and power-venting it. That should suck some more heat out of the exhaust and into the water.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:57 PM   #27
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I use the L5 in my skoolie and like Superdave I am completely satisfied with the performance. The trick is to have a pump that will provide adequate pressure even when the water is running. Most (think cheap sticks and staples here) pumps loose pressure while the water flows which causes the heater to shut down even if flow would have been enough to keep the heater lit. As to efficiency, while there is lost heat, the heat loss only occurs while you are using the water--not while you are gone or otherwise not using hot water as is the case with any conventional water heater. Sort of hard to compare apples to apples when one of the apples is a water melon. I should mention that I am careful to turn the heater batteries off when not in use. In my experience, if the batteries are left on, they go dead in short order--no batteries, no hot water. Jack
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:36 AM   #28
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We do not boondock and don't even have real holding tanks, that will change a little this spring
Wow, how do you do this?

Everything I have read says that you need a black water tank at least, to keep the waste from drying up.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:50 AM   #29
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We only use Full hook ups, our travel days are limited to 6/8 hrs, so needing holding tanks etc isn't a priority

Last year I had the toilet dumping into 4" dia pvc that was about 8 foot run total (after the vent) so that gave us about 5 gallons of "emergency" storage that is slopped slightly and it can't dry out easily, since we will be hooked up to sewer w/i 8 hours

this spring/summer I am modifying that (since I moved toilet) to have about 15 gallons of "emergency storage"

When we are at places that do not have full hookups, we just use the bath houses
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:59 AM   #30
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We only use Full hook ups, our travel days are limited to 6/8 hrs, so needing holding tanks etc isn't a priority

Last year I had the toilet dumping into 4" dia pvc that was about 8 foot run total (after the vent) so that gave us about 5 gallons of "emergency" storage that is slopped slightly and it can't dry out easily, since we will be hooked up to sewer w/i 8 hours

this spring/summer I am modifying that (since I moved toilet) to have about 15 gallons of "emergency storage"

When we are at places that do not have full hookups, we just use the bath houses
Huh.
Do you have a photo that we can peek at, or a link to one of that setup?

I had no idea this could be done. I mean, it makes sense, but all I have read says that it's not possible.

Do you have a pressure monitor on the incoming water? Does this affect your hot water heater performance?
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