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Old 11-08-2021, 04:53 PM   #1
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heating?

Hi! So I'm new to the skoolie life and I have a question for all you more experienced people. It is getting cold on the east cost and I need heat. My electrics will not handle an electric space heater... so I was thinking propane but, I don't know much about propane heaters outside of salamanders (which are as quiet as a jet engine and will kill you if you run them inside)... I was hoping one of you could recommend a propane heater that is safe (and quiet enough) to run inside a 14' skoolie?



Thanks much!

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Old 11-08-2021, 05:23 PM   #2
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If you're definitely sticking with propane, then look into Propex heaters. They're a bit pricey, but supposedly worth it (I have no personal experience).

If you have a diesel bus (or even if you don't), diesel heaters are pretty dang nice. The Chinese knockoff versions are cheap and generally work very well. Google "Chinese diesel heater" for more info than you can handle. "John McK" has an excellent YouTube series that will make anybody an expert.

Edit: both options above are reasonably quiet and both use outside air for combustion and exhaust, so they're safer than the salamander (or Buddy) heater you mentioned.
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Old 11-13-2021, 09:23 AM   #3
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I just installed a chinese district heater, the first one was junk from "Happy Buy" at Amazon. The second was from ebay and it works like a champ.
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Old 11-13-2021, 11:24 AM   #4
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Another vote for Chinese Diesel Heaters, i have one from "maXspeedingrods" on Amazon. It is amazing.
You ran power them from your bus diesel tank or install the included 10l fuel tank and you're good to go.
One recommendation: if you go w the diesel heater also buy an upgraded fuel line. The green fuel line that comes with the heaters is garbage, it is too thin and can easily kink. The upgrade is a harder plastic, and comes with great rubber connector things (its early).
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Old 11-13-2021, 06:05 PM   #5
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do you guys have the lcd controller or the knob? I like the simplicity of the knob but I know the lcd has more options(like a priming feature).
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Old 11-13-2021, 06:10 PM   #6
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I now use 2 Chinese diesel heaters for my 40 foot bus. They work real good. Just started them today for the first time this season.
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Old 11-13-2021, 06:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nixon186 View Post
do you guys have the lcd controller or the knob? I like the simplicity of the knob but I know the lcd has more options(like a priming feature).
I had the LCD and it was fine. Had a priming feature like you said, which I'd consider almost essential. I'm actually surprised to hear that the knob version doesn't have that.

After a few weeks, I wanted more control so I upgraded to the Afterburner controller that's made by a very clever Australian fellow. It costs almost as much as the heater, but it was money well spent. It's been 6 months since I used it, so I can't remember all of the features, but my favorites were wifi/Bluetooth control from my phone and being able to set a desired temperature (as opposed to "HOT" and "off" settings I had before). I also just noticed a new (?) feature that let's you have custom fuel setting for different altitudes.
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Old 11-13-2021, 06:26 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=Tejon7;458618]I had the LCD and it was fine. Had a priming feature like you said, which I'd consider almost essential. I'm actually surprised to hear that the knob version doesn't have that.

After a few weeks, I wanted more control so I upgraded to the Afterburner controller that's made by a very clever Australian fellow. It costs almost as much as the heater, but it was money well spent. It's been 6 months since I used it, so I can't remember all of the features, but my favorites were wifi/Bluetooth control from my phone and being able to set a desired temperature (as opposed to "HOT" and "off" settings I had before). I also just noticed a new (?) feature that let's you have custom fuel setting for different altitudes.[/QUOTE

honestly, the knob setup may have a priming feature(seems necessary). I've read a bunch of reviews with lcd failures so I was thinking the more primitive knob setup would work best. Now that I'm aware of that afterburner controller Ill check that out. thanks for the info.
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Old 11-13-2021, 06:27 PM   #9
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Mine have the LCD controllers. I have looked at the afterburner just haven't made up my mind.
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Old 11-17-2021, 09:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nixon186 View Post
honestly, the knob setup may have a priming feature(seems necessary). I've read a bunch of reviews with lcd failures so I was thinking the more primitive knob setup would work best. Now that I'm aware of that afterburner controller Ill check that out. thanks for the info.
I couldn't remember where or if I kept my old LCD controller, but I found it yesterday. If you get the knob style and want an LCD, I'll send you this one. There are two or three different plug styles, so make sure the knob has this 3-pin triangular style (pretty sure they do). It looks all scratched up and dirty, but that's just the protective film over the screen.
Diesel Heater Plug.jpg
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Old 11-17-2021, 09:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
Mine have the LCD controllers. I have looked at the afterburner just haven't made up my mind.
It might be nice to have an Afterburner on only one "main" heater and leave the stock LCD on the other. That's my plan for when I eventually install a second heater. The main heater can have timers, Wifi control, remote monitoring, and all the fancy bits, while the secondary heater can be manually turned on for that rare instance where you just need the bus hotter faster.
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Old 11-17-2021, 02:49 PM   #12
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with my 16kw Water heater.. (D&E model) it does have a priming feature however I didnt need it..



I recently replaced the filter and line that goes from filter to heater.. I turned it on and it attempted to light which it didnt the first try.. but second try it pumped enough fuel into the filter and lines to light and operate..



the priming feature i used the first time I installed heater and it made it easy but they will work without it.. i wouldnt consider no priming feature to be a deal killer...


-Christopher
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Old 11-20-2021, 11:15 AM   #13
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I have the knob version and like it a lot. You can prime the pump by pressing and holding the off button.

The only thing I dont like about these heaters is the ticking from the pump. you could get a silent pump but they're as expensive as the heater unit itself.

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Old 11-20-2021, 11:17 AM   #14
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I'm taking the bus hunting next weekend and the overnight lows will be in the low 20's. It'll be a nice test to see how the diesel heater does in a factory insulated mini bus. I do have the windows blocked w insulated foil. It did fine in upper 30s a few weeks ago.
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Old 11-20-2021, 11:25 AM   #15
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Use one of these to mount your heater pump mount to. https://www.ebay.com/itm/27095855489...8AAMXQkl9Rc~ZZ I did it on both of my heaters and it made all the difference in noise reduction.
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Old 11-20-2021, 12:02 PM   #16
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You can quiet the pump by suspending it from a rubber mount
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Old 11-20-2021, 12:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
You can quiet the pump by suspending it from a rubber mount
That is how I used the Volvo fuel pump mounts. I was double isolated.
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Old 11-20-2021, 12:45 PM   #18
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I have my whole diesel heater mounted on isolaters.. to me the water heaters make a ton more noise from the combustion fan than the pump ever makes..
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Old 11-20-2021, 12:46 PM   #19
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Three points to consider:

1. If you try to prime the heater with the pump, you risk permanently scoring the pump's internal tolerances. Like any fuel injection pump on a diesel engine, it relies on the natural lubricity of diesel fuel to maintain its tight internal tolerances, so if you run one dry while trying to prime, guess what happens? Instead, just suck the fuel through with your mouth; if you get some in your mouth it really isn't the end of the world, just spit it out and rinse your mouth, big deal.

2. Swapping a controller by itself may not always work. Controllers and motherboards are meant to work together, and some people have found that one brand of controller doesn't play well with another brand of board. It's best to buy both together as a matched pair. The main advantage of the LCD controller is its ability to fine-tune the heater's operating parameters by adjusting its pump Hz and fan speed; these adjustments are accessed by the hidden code (usually 168eight *).

2. There is no such thing as a "8kW" heater. These are 5kW heaters that may have been turned up slightly, or maybe not, and they won't produce much (if any) more heat than a true 5kW heater. Even they don't usually produce more than about 4 or 4.5 kW. It's just marketing hype, nothing else. It's no different that eBay selling truck air horns described as 300 or even 600 decibels, or 90,000 Lumens cheapo bike lights, or any other nonsense intended to sucker in the gullible and naive.

John

* When I type 1688 the last 8 is replaced by some stupid little yellow face! WTF?
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Old 11-20-2021, 01:03 PM   #20
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my pump came with lubricant in it from the factory.. and of course when I reprime it there is residual fuel in it. they arent run truly dry unless you left it sert on a bench of a year maybe..


the controllers and motherboards on a lot of these heaters use the same protocol.. K-line is a common protocol used but its definitely not universal. as ive found with the water heaters.. 3 different brands means 3 different data protocols on the heaters I have..



if you burn more fuel then you are making more heat... but of course the reality is that your heat exchanger has to be able to transfer the heat to the air or water like john says or you really arent gaining anything but throwing heat out the chimney.


my 16kw heater has a lot higher exhaust temp than my 12kw does.. now its heat exchanger is bigger but im convinced a higher PERCENT of my heat is lost.. ive been toying wit ha secondary heat exhanger off of the exhaust to recover some of those losses.. but since my bus is a mobile office and not full time home im guessing any $$ I put into building such a device would prob not be made up anytime soon..



I havent yet tested my extra big 16kw heater for exhaust temp.. the same heat exchanger in that unit is used for 16,23, and 30kw models.. the nozzle size gets changed for the different sizes. . you can change the air / fuel mix on those so you still get a good burn..



its the same with the webasto DBW2010, you can up the size of those by going to a bigger nozzle and the heat exchanger and handle it..



they use standard nozzles like i use to put in the Beckett oil-burner home furnaces
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