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Old 12-07-2018, 12:06 PM   #1
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The Diesel heater thread

Hi,


In Tango's fantastic build thread (http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f27/46...tml#post300399) he asked if somebody had experience with the Chinese diesel heaters.


Several follow up questions came up, so I thought we better not sidetrack the build thread and continue here.


I have one on order and watches many Youtube videos before ordering one:
- They are much cheaper then the Eberspacher / PLanar equivalent
- They are exceedingly simple (Fuel pump, fan, glow plug, burning chamber)
- The issues they have are similar to the more expensive ones


There is a very active Facebook group where people post their experiences.


Overall the feedback is positive, with some people having very significant soot build up issues.


Since these heater can be tweaked, the question is always: did people tweak and not say so. The fuel feed rate and fan speed can both be adjusted to get a clean burn.


It's highly recommended (for all these heaters) to run them full power regularly to build of any soot


You can run kerosene at some interval as well. It burns not as hot, but will help in remove build up (easier combustion?). Kerosene also recommend if you use at higher elevations (but adjusting the fuel feed rate should do the same)


I would love to come up with a relatively inexpensive way to tweak the burn settings. Maybe with a CO2 sensor and try to find peak CO2. Or maybe there is sensors that would be able to measure the level of unburned hydrocarbons.


Once I get mine, I will post some experiences here


Bas
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:54 PM   #2
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I'm looking for information too. Just starting my build. I saw someone mention a password. Are these thing computer controller? Can we redesign the controller, using say a beetle bone or other SBC, to not only control the fuel flow based on CO2 but also add a thermostat or timer or RTC so it turn on about 1/2 before i wake up or from my android before I get home.
If we are going to rough it, we might as well rough it in style
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:05 PM   #3
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@alpinekid I mentioned the password. I didn't want to post a copy here. I suggest you join the Facebook group. If you can't, send me a direct msg and I'll find the pwd's. They are likely to change regularly, and then the info here would be out of date. Best to go to the source.


The slightly fancier remote version has a timer functions etc build in. There is a guy on the Facebook group that is working on reverse engineering the encoding. I don't think it was particularly straight forward.


A lot of people have added a phone controller remote trigger. I haven't looked at that because it was of not interest to me. But I have seen people post ebay links to devices that would do that.



Bas
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:05 PM   #4
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I have one of these heaters I bought a while ago, still in the box. I was convinced at that moment it was the way to go, mainly after watching a bunch of European RV videos (they are far more common there) and talking to my friend who is a long haul trucker.

Somewhere along the line, I got talked out of it by people who never used one (forums are great for that). But also, the person who I was talking to about installing it pooh-poohed it, convincing me to try something else. I have since figured out that he really just doesn't know how to install it and isn't super interested in learning.

I was planning to sell the diesel heater, but after checking into his "something else" I've come back around, and I think I want to use it.

Have any of the people expressing interest in these pulled the trigger yet? If so, how is it working out?
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:51 PM   #5
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diesel heaters, webasto

I bought "webasto" been doing gasoline and diesel heaters for at least 70 years that I know of, not made of chinesium.

Mine heats engine coolant for heat. It is more expensive. I am paying some for just the name and reputation. I have seen these things in pieces and they appear to be well constructed. Talked to more than one person using these on boats, info on web site is supported by people using them that I have written to and spoken to.

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Old 01-02-2019, 12:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
I bought "webasto" been doing gasoline and diesel heaters for at least 70 years that I know of, not made of chinesium.

Mine heats engine coolant for heat. It is more expensive. ...

william

That gives me an idea; how much work would it be, and would it be effective, to plumb that into the engine coolant system and allow it to warm the engine while it warms me and the bathroom in the morning. I'm thinking cold weather camping and hard starting diesels.
Would it be effective in replacing the block heater in an off-grid environment?
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:30 AM   #7
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alpinekid

This is meant to be plumbed into engine coolant system, and the bus heaters.

On boats, the engine, cabin heaters, and potable water are all heated by the diesel fired engine coolant heater.

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Old 01-02-2019, 01:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
This is meant to be plumbed into engine coolant system, and the bus heaters.

On boats, the engine, cabin heaters, and potable water are all heated by the diesel fired engine coolant heater.

william
Just to be clear, the heater I have and am seeking info about is a diesel AIR heater. I didn't actually knowabout the one Wiliam is using and now I'm thinking that seems pretty great, though I'm sure it's more expensive.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firebuild View Post
I have one of these heaters I bought a while ago, still in the box. I was convinced at that moment it was the way to go, mainly after watching a bunch of European RV videos (they are far more common there) and talking to my friend who is a long haul trucker.

Somewhere along the line, I got talked out of it by people who never used one (forums are great for that). But also, the person who I was talking to about installing it pooh-poohed it, convincing me to try something else. I have since figured out that he really just doesn't know how to install it and isn't super interested in learning.

I was planning to sell the diesel heater, but after checking into his "something else" I've come back around, and I think I want to use it.

Have any of the people expressing interest in these pulled the trigger yet? If so, how is it working out?

Mine is on it's way. I did a lot of reading and are very confident that it will do what it needs to do. The basic construction is extremely straight forward. I'll report on my results as soon as it comes in


Bas
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:44 PM   #10
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We have a 20k btu propane furnace plus a 14k btu Planar diesel air heater in our bus. Like them both...Why 2? My Mary is post cancer and really doesn't like being cold, being the toughest person I know gets her special treatment from me and a redundant heat source.
*Planar pros:
Easy to fuel. Run out? Just dump some in. My tank holds 5g.
Low fuel use=1g per 24 hrs. +-.
Nice dry heat with low noise level.
*Planar cons:
Yearly maintenance.
A bit more finicky than the LPG one.
*LPG pros:
Programable thermostat.
A bit more btus.
Nice dry heat.
Low fuel use= 1 20lb tank lasts 7 days +-.
*LPG cons:
Blower's a bit noisy.
Need to take tank to refill.

The low operating cost goes to the 20k BTU Suburban furnace. here propane is $1.70 and diesel is $3 per gallon.

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Old 01-02-2019, 05:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Why 2? My Mary is post cancer and really doesn't like being cold, being the toughest person I know gets her special treatment from me and a redundant heat source.
*Planar pros:
Easy to fuel. Run out? Just dump some in. My tank holds 5g.
Thanks for the info! I'm a big believer in redundancy myself when it comes to heat. Sounds like you keep your Mary toasty. Sounds like you got a good team there.

Your bus is full size, yes? Mine is a shorty, 12 feet long from rear of front seat to back door, which I close off at night and on cold days. The Planar-type heater I have is only 5k. Do you think it'll give me anything or is that too small? Also, my plan was to run it off the bus's fuel tank, though it did come with its own tank. Do you feel the separate tank is a better option?

Thanks again!
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:47 PM   #12
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Our bus is 26ft and the Planar is 4kw. I like the separate tank, didn't want to mess with the oem bus fuel system.
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:49 PM   #13
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Our bus is 26ft and the Planar is 4kw. I like the separate tank, didn't want to mess with the oem bus fuel system.
Ah! Sorry, I read your BTUs as kw! I guess I'm good, then!
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:37 PM   #14
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Bugger!

When I lived in AZ we had a big propane tank in the yard. We paid $2.74 a gallon. That was 15 years ago.

Currently I carry my tanks to the fill station and pay $3.29 a gallon.

I picked a diesel heater as diesel was cheaper than propane and contains 50% more BTU's per gallon than propane. Today diesel and propane are the same price here.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:04 PM   #15
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you *SHOULD* be plumbing your diesel heater into your engine coolant loops unless you are going to install a secondary expansion tank someplace.. coolant expands as it heats up.. your engine coolant system has the expansion / recovery tank to handle this.. if you were to install separate heating loops in your bus using their own coolant solution you will want an expansion tank.. if you are using the built in bus heaters but valving off the engine portion then you will need an expansion tank someplace in your heater loops..



-Christopher
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
you *SHOULD* be plumbing your diesel heater into your engine coolant loops unless you are going to install a secondary expansion tank someplace.. coolant expands as it heats up.. your engine coolant system has the expansion / recovery tank to handle this.. if you were to install separate heating loops in your bus using their own coolant solution you will want an expansion tank.. if you are using the built in bus heaters but valving off the engine portion then you will need an expansion tank someplace in your heater loops..



-Christopher
Thank you Christopher,

You saved me a bonehead move. Somewhere I got the idea that my Webasto had a built in expansion tank. After reading your post I double checked.... It doesn't.

I have to add that to my design
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:16 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
you *SHOULD* be plumbing your diesel heater into your engine coolant loops unless you are going to install a secondary expansion tank someplace.. coolant expands as it heats up.. your engine coolant system has the expansion / recovery tank to handle this.. if you were to install separate heating loops in your bus using their own coolant solution you will want an expansion tank.. if you are using the built in bus heaters but valving off the engine portion then you will need an expansion tank someplace in your heater loops..



-Christopher

All the Chinese diesel heaters I have seen are HOT AIR only. Makes for a super simple install. Three holes in the bus (fuel, combustion air in, exhaust out) and done. The heater unit sits inside and a fan pushes air over the hot burning chamber.


Bas
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Old 01-03-2019, 07:26 AM   #18
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hot air heaters are definitely an easy install .. and if thats all you need is hot air then id go with a hot air model vs a coolant heater... only reason id use the coolant model is if you want to keep your engine warm too or want to keep the bus heaters for driving heat and want a single solution for all..



in my case I bought a webasto coolant heater (2 years ago and havent put it on yet....) but I wanted the ability to pre-heat the engine and the heater coils... kind of like "remote start" i have on my cars.. since im internet connecting the bus to my own cloud servers already..

-Christopher
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
hot air heaters are definitely an easy install .. and if thats all you need is hot air then id go with a hot air model vs a coolant heater... only reason id use the coolant model is if you want to keep your engine warm too or want to keep the bus heaters for driving heat and want a single solution for all..



in my case I bought a webasto coolant heater (2 years ago and havent put it on yet....) but I wanted the ability to pre-heat the engine and the heater coils... kind of like "remote start" i have on my cars.. since im internet connecting the bus to my own cloud servers already..

-Christopher
Same here plus I want hydronic heat.
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
hot air heaters are definitely an easy install .. and if thats all you need is hot air then id go with a hot air model vs a coolant heater... only reason id use the coolant model is if you want to keep your engine warm too or want to keep the bus heaters for driving heat and want a single solution for all..



in my case I bought a webasto coolant heater (2 years ago and havent put it on yet....) but I wanted the ability to pre-heat the engine and the heater coils... kind of like "remote start" i have on my cars.. since im internet connecting the bus to my own cloud servers already..

-Christopher
OK, so here is where I get thoroughly confused. When I discovered my bus had no block heater, I looked into theses diesel coolant heaters, thinking I could kill two birds with one stone - or as PETA would say, feed two birds with one scone - by installing a device that would make cold starting easy and also heat the air inside the bus. But I couldn't find a straight answer on this anywhere. If you google "difference between a coolant heater and a block heater" most of the links you get say they are the same thing. Which I guess on some level they are since they both heat the coolant, but maybe I was asking the wrong question. I ended up paying for a block heater AND for this diesel air heater (block heater arrived today and is being installed tomorrow). It's too late now, but just for my future knowledge, is it correct that I could have gotten away with just one purchase?
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