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Old 04-26-2014, 02:10 PM   #21
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

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Originally Posted by vwteleman
....cut.....

Sorry for the small hijack. To the OP, if a big concern of yours is heat in an all-electric, gas rig, your options are probably limited to:
  • a catalytic heater, which requires carrying alternate fuel
    a gas Espar (SMB doesn't install, but would someone else?)
    a diesel Espar, with a dedicated diesel tank

An electric heater is probably not feasible for overnight heat due to the large power demands. For our needs, which includes many nights staying at the ski hill in sub-zero temps, the Espar is ideal. If we couldn't have the Espar, I would have had to succumb to propane.

Also, our fridge is 12VDC only, and works very well.

Cheers,
Brent
I agree battery energy storage is not practical to have the equivalent of a "normal heater" as typically designed to handle worst-case heating loads (that's the way heaters are normally sized, right?), but I personally don't view my personal camping needs on an "all or nothing" basis.

In the case of heating, a small electric heater will not keep a van warm to same level as a fueled heater (whether propane, diesel, or gas), but even a 500-watt electric heater can improve comfort significantly by comparison to not having one at all. And a few degrees may make a huge difference.

My uninsulated window van has always stayed warm with a 1500 watt heater we often run on low at night. On low it's either 750 or 1000 watts (not sure which) and it easily warms the van at least 30 degrees above ambient. For instance, set at 65 degrees with outside at 35 degrees, I can hear it cycling. With a well-insulated van I'd expect even a 500 watt heater could make the inside at least 20 degrees above ambient. And if that's the difference between the van being at 55 vs. 35 F inside that would be a lot better for me.

Granted even that would take a lot of battery capacity, but I think an all-electric middle ground should be possible. On the other hand keeping a van at 70 when it's -10F outside is practically out of the question at present. Only with future lithium batteries might that be possible.
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:57 AM   #22
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

Sorry but one of my favorite items is my Espar heater. Being able to lounge in my van in light clothing is nice IMO. Fuel consumption is low and the battery draw is really low. If I had a gas engine I'd find a way to put in the petrol Espar heater. Timer is nice too. I don't need it at night cause I like sleeping in cooler weather but being able to get out of the weather and relax in warmth is great. Sure makes the ice cold beverages go down better. Besides there's nothing like yelling "its too hot in here" at your buddies freezing in their tents. The down side is the price. I wish they had an A/C so power and fuel efficient. I'd spend the money for that too.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:29 AM   #23
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

My ears were burning. Although my sprinter is all electric diesel, I must add that having the espar is essential if you want to luxo-camp in winter. I do not winterize my van and ran a constant temp of 60f all winter without freezing my water system. With reflectrix panels in place did not burn that much fuel and was warm and toasty despite polar vortex. Wasteful but it got to the point where my wife only wanted to use the van to go anywhere due to the comfort factor upon entry. Espars are great if maintained well and horrible if used only occasionally. They sip power but a large battery bank or solar panels help.
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Old 04-27-2014, 10:08 PM   #24
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

I'm probably the only one here who went another way. I have a gas van, no propane and a diesel Webasto Airtop 2000 that I bought used off ebay for $411 Canadian. I installed a custom built gas tank that cost $228. I fuel the Webasto with kerosene. Kerosene burns hotter than diesel so it uses a bit less fuel and also burns cleaner. It keeps the van toasty in cold weather.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:29 PM   #25
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

WVvan,

I was thinking of you when I mentioned the dedicated diesel/kerosene tank. Forgot you had a Webasto instead of an Espar, though. Great deal on that, by the way - my Espar cost considerably more to install.

Cheers,
Brent
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:49 PM   #26
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

Hey Brent,
I just checked the price of a new Espar Airtronic 5 without installation. Yikes! Now I remember why I went the used route.

Dave
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:43 AM   #27
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
We have a Ford EB 2WD 5.4 SMB, all electric. What do you want to know?

if your not plugged in what do you do for heat -if it's needed-i do not do winter camping or traveling but might hit rump seasons of spring /fall cool weather

also do you have electric hot water heater-

thanks
My interests are similar and I like all-electric if practical. In mild weather when it's not too cold a small heat pump may save considerable battery energy because the coefficient of performance can be in the range of 3 to 4 (versus 1.0 for resistance heater). As with air conditioning a major drawback is getting one small enough to have manageable start-up current for an inverter to work properly without tripping.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:49 PM   #28
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

Small propane tanks and Coleman Black Cat heater works great. Tried using my Little Buddy heater but when the tank gets low the flame goes out and leaks the rest of the smelly gas out. Cheap and effective. Your nosey neighbors will never known. I refill my canisters from my 20lb barbecue tank and save even more money. The trick is to put the 1lb bottle in the freezer . The 20lb in the sun then fill. The difference in pressure helps to assure a filled tank. l just realized, I am one cheap son of a gun.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:03 PM   #29
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

At risk of igniting (no pun intended) We have a Wave 3 propane heater that we use to take the chill off. We were Yosemite last week in our window van with some insulation and window coverings when it was 30 deg and snowing at night, and it was wonderful and easy. I have used both 1 lb and 5 lb propane bottles. For us, the 1 lbs are very convenient and on low (with a some high to get things going) last around six to eight hours. At around $200, it si a great value, imho.

Sure I would love an Espar, but $$$$$$$$ and just how often I needed it, as well as the bulk just does not work for our style of camping. We have nice warm bed, so no heater needed while sleeping.

Summertime the Wave 3 stays at home wrapped up. Winter ventures, it comes along and does not take up much room at all.

Electric? Only if I know we are at a site with power, which is rarely.
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Old 05-09-2014, 03:37 PM   #30
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Re: anybody no propane all electric GAS engine

Weve been lugging around a 40lb empty propane tank for several years. We use a Coleman type propane stove with the 1lb cylinders and a small portable catalytic heater with 1lb propane cylinder. If its unusually cold one morning the engine heats up the van in no time at all. Hot water is heated on the stove for washing and showers. If we had a newer or larger van a built in water heater would be a luxury. Were looking at the portable, 1lb propane cylinder, hot water heaters, for showers, made by Coleman and AquaCube. This could be kept in our hitch trunk, although, a Sunshower bag works just fine.

We dont winter camp in the North so a couple of down bedrolls for spring/fall sleeping does the job. During a complete three-month summer trip we only use about six-eight propane cylinders for everything(way less than the 30lbs usable in the tank). Thinking about removing the propane tank and using that space for something else. For our three season traveling I can't find a reason to have a built in propane tank for an RB. A EB van has the space for a built in hot water heater, stove and heater, however, this setup has positives and negatives as well. Terry
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