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Old 11-11-2015, 09:40 AM   #1
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Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

I’ve only seen members mention this type of product in passing, so figured it deserved a more thorough write-up for people looking for heating solutions this winter.

For background, our van is a 2014 Sprinter with penthouse. It was designed for 3-season camping in moderate climates, so there is no coach heat or air conditioning. As an all-electric system, it does have the extra 4D battery bringing the total capacity to 400 amp hours. While a 110 volt ceramic heater helps while docked at a campground, I had been looking for ways to take advantage of the big battery bank to help stay warm while boondocking.

There are a bevy of 12 volt heated blanket options available online and at truck stops. However they seem to vary in quality and most have a safety timer of just an hour or two before shutting off. That’s hardly ideal for sleeping through the night.

During the search I came across the Electrowarmth mattress pad heater. It’s marketed as a “bunk warmer” for truckers with a list price of more than $100 – putting it at the top edge of the market. But their design makes sense. Since heat rises, you want the heating element under you instead of a blanket on top of you that dissipates heat into the air.



The pad only comes in a Twin 36’’x60’’ size, which you can see easily fits on the penthouse mattress. It’s generous for one person, but isn't very roomy for two. Additionally, the coils don’t run to the outer edge, so most heat radiates near the center of the product.



The instructions warn this is not an instant heater – don’t think it’s faulty because you’re not toasty in five minutes. Instead it’s a very gradual build, and works even better if you can turn it on 30 or 60 minutes before bedtime. I set the thermostat to “7” while making up the bed and the blankets were luxuriously warm when I came back from the campfire. A “3” setting was perfect overnight with temperatures the 40s. The penthouse bed stayed warm but never uncomfortably hot.



Power usage is noticeable, but far lower than any type of space heater. The pad has a generous 12v power cord, which I ran to the outlet downstairs. The maximum draw appears to be 7 amps, though runs much lower once warmed up. After that night in the 40s with the fridge also running, the Magnum meter showed my battery bank dropping from 99% to 87%. I imagine the toll would be worse in colder weather – when the pad runs extra hard and battery performance is degraded.

Overall I think the heated mattress pad is a solid addition for cold weather camping, especially if you have no other built-in heat source. The Electrowarmth is American-made with a 1 year warranty, designed for people who have no choice but to sleep in their vehicles.
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Heater Packaging.JPG   Penthouse.JPG   ControlKnob.JPG  
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:25 AM   #2
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

thanks for showing us this product and sharing your experience. this would work good for our setup until we dial in a heat source.

ive never used a heated blanket properly. ive always laid on it instead of under it, so this would be a perfect option for the wife and i. even the width. i sleep warm and she sleeps cold, even though her physical body temps dont support that. shes basically my heater, lol. if we used this, i would put it to her side of the bed and sleep half on and half off of it to regulate my temps.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:30 PM   #3
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

Looks to be the same I recently linked to in another post:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17286

http://www.backwoodssolar.com/products/ ... -twin-size

I had originally thought this to be a good backup for me in case my Espar shuts down for some reason. Hauling a separate heater takes up a lot of valuable space just to pack something I might never need, not to mention the fuel. I've been told they pull about 5 amps on high and somewhere around 2-3 amps while on a lower setting. Standard 110 electric blankets pull much higher amps and most will only work with a pure sine wave inverter. I think a DC blanket or bed warmer is a better way to go. I'd still caution that the battery bank needs to be rated for full nightly use. I don't have an issue with two 4D batteries on board.
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Old 11-11-2015, 03:26 PM   #4
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

Great link DB!! And $10 bucks cheaper than listed! Great idea to bring up "if " the Espar conks out, a great backup that doesn't take up much space! Perfect! Thanks for the tips!
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:58 PM   #5
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctb
Great link DB!! And $10 bucks cheaper than listed! Great idea to bring up "if " the Espar conks out, a great backup that doesn't take up much space! Perfect! Thanks for the tips!
Thankfully Ned has used it and can confirm the quality and performance. Like Ned posted, I've heard standard 12v blankets are not as high quality as the bed warmer types. Perhaps a electric blanket might also work well (as compared to a bed warmer) used as a throw for when sitting reading a book while sitting inside a cold cab but I've never actually used any of those as well.
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Old 11-11-2015, 06:02 PM   #6
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

I just ordered one for the wife. We are camping soon and keeping her warm makes the difference in good trip or hearing wining the whole night. We will have power on that trip, but can see me using when boon-docking. I normally sleep down when really cold, so could see turning it on while driving and having a warm bed to get into.

Thanks for info.

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Old 11-11-2015, 08:50 PM   #7
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned5555
...the instructions warn this is not an instant heater – don’t think it’s faulty because you’re not toasty in five minutes.
That's for sure. I have 2 or 3 of these, and the first one I bought didn't come with any instructions (bought it used on eBay). It is a subtle, slow warmth that benefits from pre-planning on when you want the warmth. Best use is still with a warm blanket or warm comforter.


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Old 11-11-2015, 08:58 PM   #8
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

Thanks for the review - very nice! I'm going to have to get one of these when we find our new van. The GF loves her heated mattress pad at home - maybe a bit too much - so this will be perfect. We had a Little Buddy heater for last winter and never got around to really looking in to these before our van got stolen. I figured they would draw a lot more amps than they apparently do.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:34 AM   #9
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

FWIW since I'm notoriously cheap when it comes to home utilities, hate using something when its really not needed I use the home version of this bunk warmer, actually turning the furnace off at night while sleeping.

The features here are very similar to the home version but of course those do come in different sizes to fit standard bed sizes. Since most OTR bunks are usually twin size only these might not be readily available in a double or queen size---a bit of a disappointment if one has a snuggle buddy while boondocking etc.

With a nice comforter or insulated type top cover one of these would be great, assuming there's enough amp-hours in the battery bay to last all night long.

I'm curious if the home version running on 120 VAC would be practical if powered through an inverter?
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:08 AM   #10
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Re: Electrowarmth 12 volt mattress heater

Google: typical electric blanket draws 100w on high. Lower setting on controls can cut that down to say 15 watts. You can also put a comforter over them (if specific owners manual allows...many do) and save more wattage. So 120v electric blanket looks very doable at one of the low settings and a house battery of reasonable size (>50 A-h).

Personally we carry a good goose down sleeping (our trusty old Gerry) bag in a stuff sack. When the weather gets to cold for us we get it out. At 50F or warmer it is WAY to hot to use.

Oh ya, in the penthouse bed by default you are snuggling.
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