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Old 12-16-2018, 09:45 AM   #1
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Hot Water Options

Hi,

I am still looking at options for hot water. Has anyone tried an electric mini-tank HW heater?

I am planning 400W of solar and 200 amp hours of lithium batteries.

I expect to use the a gallon or two of hot water in the morning to wash up and clean dishes and the same in the evening. Of course if I am plugged into shore power, we would keep it hot all the time.

The advantages of the mini tank is cheaper, smaller and easier installation than a hydronics unit. The downside is power usage.

For the heater below it heats 2.6 gal using 1440 watts. I have read that they get to temperature in 20 minutes, so for my usage we would run it in the morning and evening for about an hour total.

The theoretical power usage for 1440 watts is a 125 amps. For 40 minutes per day it would consume ~80 amp hours per day. That is a big chunk of my 200 ah batteries, but it would be replenished through the day with solar and driving.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0148O658Y...01a604df2&th=1


Any thoughts or feedback? Has anyone tried this. It's hard to beat the cost at $115 for the heater. Of course there is an investment in solar and batteries, but I already have that.

thanks
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:02 AM   #2
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I know you said you were going electric.... but after weighing all my options (I have 2x 100 watt solor panels and 2x 75 Ah AGM batteries) I opted for a point of use propane water heater mounted on the inside of my rear driver door.

The tank is mounted outside on the same door between my first two ladder rungs. Of course you have to open the rear doors to use it (we are using as a shower station) so it's a "fair weather" type of operation, but very simple.

Our water tank is a 12 gallon weed sprayer tank with pre-installed electric pump that just happen to fit under the seat/bed in the back of our rig.

I will be watching this thread to see how you made out, heck maybe I should switch to electric??! ;-)
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Old 12-16-2018, 11:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by cthayn View Post
The downside is power usage.
I suspect that you will find that recharging your batteries every day will take far longer than you think. My 300W solar set-up is probably closer to 100W's average at the end of the day due to a lack of continuous maximum sun and shading. You may also need to upgrade your alternator to reduce charging time. Rather than use a large % of your battery capacity every day, you might consider using a tank-less unit like the Ecotemp They are very inexpensive, easy to install and provide unlimited hot water. Plenty of folks here use them successfully.

https://www.amazon.com/Eccotemp-L5-P...6SDTF3WBYFNKPD
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Old 12-16-2018, 01:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for your thoughts on the solar output. That is my concern is about solar, that theoretical is not close to the real life performance.

I am trying to avoid adding another fuel system as I donít have onboard propane right now.

Has anyone ran these Eccotemp off the 1 lb propane bottles?
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Old 12-16-2018, 02:21 PM   #5
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I'm in a similar boat -- I only use hot water for doing dishes. This may sound obvious, but have you considered just heating water on your cookstove? I find it doesn't take long and I can use one of the same pots I'm cleaning.
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Old 12-16-2018, 04:30 PM   #6
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Both 1der and I have electric water heaters......


...it takes a lot of electricity to heat water....


As it turns out, I'm pretty sure we have that exact Bosch water heater in our outside dog washing station..works great.


I bought a 2.5 gallon Rheem water heater from Home Depot for my van and removed the 1400W/110V heating element and replaced it with a 200W 12V element that's readily available on Ebay and a few other places.


There is a thread about this here (my threadjacking starts at post #16 ):


http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...r-13704-2.html





It takes almost 2 hours to heat 2.5 gallons of water with a 200-300W 12V element.



My use case is turn on when leaving on a motorcycle trail ride and return 3-4 hours later to shower after the ride....then turn off water heater.



The advantages of using 12V instead of 110V is you don't need to run your inverter with it's associated losses. One disadvantage is that it takes much longer and uses lots of current at 12V to heat the water....and you need to run beefy wire. I had a 300W 12V element in the heater at first but the current draw was melting fuses so I backed down to 200W.


Showering once a day in the use case described above results in my batteries approaching 50% state of charge usually by day 3 of camping. I have 320W of solar and 350AH of AGM house batteries.


1der bought a small 110V marine water heater and had the element modified.....they added a 12V element to the existing 110V element. The element in 1ders setup is not a standard water heater (1" straight thread) element. The small Rheem unit I have uses a std element..so cheap and easy to play with.
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:06 PM   #7
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Boywonder,

Thanks for your input on how you get hot water.

1der (Ray) was kind enough to call and we discussed his setup.

This has given me somethings to think about. I like the idea of the standard components of your system. I need to see what will fit in my interior build out.
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:38 PM   #8
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Iíve just eliminated my built in propane system but am planning on incorporating an eccotemp L5 into my drivers side rear door for on board showers and outside hot water for washing up.
Iím planning on either mounting my 5lb. Propane tank on my Aluminess box or carrying a few 1lb. canisters along with this adapter. Although I hate having to throw those things out, I may get one of the ones thatís refillable. Seems a better way to go seeing as how the draw from those electric units is either too much or takes too long to heat up using a smaller element.
Iíve used my eccotemp a fair bit in the past hooked up to the tank on my off-road trailer and it works really well, endless supply, or at least till the propane runs out, but at least itís not draining your batteries.
DozyAnt Steak Saver Adapter 1 lb to 20 lb Propane Tank Adapter for Disposable Throwaway Cylinder, Converter Universal 1 Pound / 16.4oz Disposable Small Bottle for 20 or 30 Pound LP Gas Steel Bottle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KYDJ694..._vGWfCbH1PSXA7
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cthayn View Post
Thanks for your thoughts on the solar output. That is my concern is about solar, that theoretical is not close to the real life performance.

I am trying to avoid adding another fuel system as I don’t have onboard propane right now.

Has anyone ran these Eccotemp off the 1 lb propane bottles?
I believe you can do that, however I was able to get a 1 gallon propane tank to fit between my ladder rungs on the back of my rear drivers side door.

LPG tank: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Like REF said.... this is the on demand water heater I'm using:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My setup is minimal and non-invasive. I was primarily checking out if the On Demand water heater would work at such low volumes. (It does pretty good but the stopping and starting does give you cool spots).

Hope this helps
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Old 12-23-2018, 04:24 PM   #10
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SMB used to install a small heat exchanger and pump under the cabinets in the back. Use two pieces of 20' of good quality heater hose to run the coolant to the heat exchanger and back to the engine. Heat exchanger is ready after the engine has been running for 5 minutes or less.

Make sure that the water is not too hot. If it is, route some cold water to the pump just before your fresh water goes into the sprayer hose.. You may consider making a pump (w/filters) that can draw water from a stream or lake for an endless shower. Talk to Peter at SMB West and ask if they carry the heat exchanger. If not go to Amazon and order a small heat exchanger and a RV water pump.

The only thing that failed on my installation was the plastic "Ts" I used on the heater hoses. One popped when we were driving through Las Vegas and the temps were 110. At first I smelled coolant and said "That poor bastard." thinking it was someone else's vehicle. Fortunately the Ford 5.4 will shut down four cylinders and run on the remaining four when there is a loss of coolant. Thanks to DARPA we were able to get to an overpass and park in the shade.

I pinched off the leak and had AAA bring me some water. Problem solved. When I replaced the plastic fittings with brass I also installed a valve on both hoses. The valves allow me to cut the coolant off whenever I have a similar problem. They also allow me to choke down the flow of coolant to the heat exchanger when the engine is hot.
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