Diesel Heater?

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ZRex

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I'm interested to see the experiences here. When I was driving trucks over-the-road my truck had a Webasto bunk heater. This is actually something I've been considering for my rig since it is diesel powered and I wouldn't need another fuel source, and it would replace my buddy heater for the most part. As far as noise goes I never noticed much noise from my bunk heater aside from the fan running which was no worse than a small fan in the bunk, although mine was stashed pretty well under the bunk and the fuel pump was outside the tractor. Because of my experience with the diesel heater in my trucks I was heavily leaning towards running one of these heaters in my rig and integrating it with the rear HVAC already in place, although with a smaller space and less distance for keeping the noise out I'm a little more on the fence about it. Keep up the good work, I'll be watching for some reviews here soon!
 

astroflashjones

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I built a diesel heater inside a pelican case last year. Its a 2Kw and works great but its kind of a hassle to transport and setup. The ducts get crushed if you arent careful. I also had the vent to the fuel cap leak diesel from all the sloching around in the bed. Not fun to clean up. Working on a permanent installation in the truck bed with a different tank.
 

lhoffm4

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So I made a couple videos, one is 2 minutes, one is 8 minutes, both are too large to upload here, I will work on it tho.

Testing the heater with the silicone flex ducting was a success. The heater came with two short aluminum duct pieces about a foot long each. I used one of these pieces to close off two of the four vent stubs on the face plate. I connected one 3 foot section of silicone duct to one open vent and a 12 foot section to the remaining vent. I connected the unit to one of my truck batteries via jumper cables and powered on the unit with the remote fob. I set the output to level 6, the highest setting. It took just a couple minutes to prime and startproducing heat from the open vent-ducts.

at 12 ft away from the heater, the laser thermometer read an average of about 110 F. The short 3 ft duct read about 130 F. The ducting near the vents averaged 140 F, and was too warm to touch with my bare hand for more than a few seconds. The ducting near the open ends of the two lengths could be easily held but were quite warm to the hand.

I ran the heater for about 20 minutes total this test. It had no issues. No smoke from the exhaust after initial start up. Ambient temp in the garage with the bay door open was about 60 F. So far all my testing has been using my truck batteries with my truck motor running. It’s a 2001 Silverado 2500 HD, diesel, so I ran the heater off my Aux battery, reading 13.9v in the cab dash battery gauge.

I will be ordering 2 sets of 4 x LiFePO4 (8 cells total) soon for my solar set up (will chat about that project in a different post). I anticipate powering this parking heater and a few other things off of that battery bank, with 2x 255KW residential panels mounted on the rig with charge controllers and a 12v inverter for 12v stuff like air compressor, lights, CPAP, etc. (anticipated Solar-thread for deets).

I only shot video, as mentioned, if I cannot figure how to load video here, I will take some still shots to upload.

I am almost ready to field test the heater in my Overlander XL roof tent. I plan to try to camp at Swan Falls, hopefully within the next week, so I will have pics and reports on how it does. I just need to sort out a temporary battery set up until my LiFePO4 cells arrive.

let me know if you guys have questions on things I can test. My plan is to heat three tent spaces when I go. The rtt /annex and an 8x8 ft awning tent.

My Son, who bought and set up a 2KW CDH in his full sized schooly /food truck up in Rexburg, ID thinks my 5KW All-in-one is gonna be too much heater for the tents. I don’t think so. My tents are not yet insulated and are probably too well ventilated to keep too much heat in. I’m betting the smaller (1.5 in) ducting will be enough to make 4-season camping comfortable.

If it isn’t up to the task, I’ve been thinking of ways to augment the tents... looking at a thermal liner for the rtt and/or lining the walls with some sort of reflectix type material to keep the heat in? I am hoping all that won’t be necessary, but it’s fun to play and experiment...
 

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So I made a couple videos, one is 2 minutes, one is 8 minutes, both are too large to upload here, I will work on it tho.

Testing the heater with the silicone flex ducting was a success. The heater came with two short aluminum duct pieces about a foot long each. I used one of these pieces to close off two of the four vent stubs on the face plate. I connected one 3 foot section of silicone duct to one open vent and a 12 foot section to the remaining vent. I connected the unit to one of my truck batteries via jumper cables and powered on the unit with the remote fob. I set the output to level 6, the highest setting. It took just a couple minutes to prime and startproducing heat from the open vent-ducts.

at 12 ft away from the heater, the laser thermometer read an average of about 110 F. The short 3 ft duct read about 130 F. The ducting near the vents averaged 140 F, and was too warm to touch with my bare hand for more than a few seconds. The ducting near the open ends of the two lengths could be easily held but were quite warm to the hand.

I ran the heater for about 20 minutes total this test. It had no issues. No smoke from the exhaust after initial start up. Ambient temp in the garage with the bay door open was about 60 F. So far all my testing has been using my truck batteries with my truck motor running. It’s a 2001 Silverado 2500 HD, diesel, so I ran the heater off my Aux battery, reading 13.9v in the cab dash battery gauge.

I will be ordering 2 sets of 4 x LiFePO4 (8 cells total) soon for my solar set up (will chat about that project in a different post). I anticipate powering this parking heater and a few other things off of that battery bank, with 2x 255KW residential panels mounted on the rig with charge controllers and a 12v inverter for 12v stuff like air compressor, lights, CPAP, etc. (anticipated Solar-thread for deets).

I only shot video, as mentioned, if I cannot figure how to load video here, I will take some still shots to upload.

I am almost ready to field test the heater in my Overlander XL roof tent. I plan to try to camp at Swan Falls, hopefully within the next week, so I will have pics and reports on how it does. I just need to sort out a temporary battery set up until my LiFePO4 cells arrive.

let me know if you guys have questions on things I can test. My plan is to heat three tent spaces when I go. The rtt /annex and an 8x8 ft awning tent.

My Son, who bought and set up a 2KW CDH in his full sized schooly /food truck up in Rexburg, ID thinks my 5KW All-in-one is gonna be too much heater for the tents. I don’t think so. My tents are not yet insulated and are probably too well ventilated to keep too much heat in. I’m betting the smaller (1.5 in) ducting will be enough to make 4-season camping comfortable.


If it isn’t up to the task, I’ve been thinking of ways to augment the tents... looking at a thermal liner for the rtt and/or lining the walls with some sort of reflectix type material to keep the heat in? I am hoping all that won’t be necessary, but it’s fun to play and experiment...

You'd be surprised how much heat some tents can hold. My iKamper tends to hold just my body heat quite well, it's just cold when I get into my bag :laughing:. The reason for me to get the heater would be for the annex room mostly... well and when I do sub 20F camping. To date I've been through one night under zero, but it required me to use the insulation quilt that my iKamper uses for the main tent. The annex room was an icebox without the little buddy though..
 
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lhoffm4

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You'd be surprised how much heat some tents can hold. My iKamper tends to hold just my body heat quite well, it's just cold when I get into my bag :laughing:. The reason for me to get the heater would be for the annex room mostly... well and when I do sub 20F camping. To date I've been through one night under zero, but it required me to use the insulation quilt that my iKamper uses for the main tent. The annex room was an icebox without the little buddy though..
Im kind of wondering if heat rises, then heating the annex might also heat the tent above? That would be “cool” er...”warm”?
 

lhoffm4

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I was able to do some more testing/playing with the All-In-One Walmart heater. It is running well. I am still learning the control panel and programming. It is NOT intuitive. Thankfully, the FB group is SUPER helpful!

Based upon some good advice, I am ordering a few extra components to help keep the heater in good working order. From what I am reading and based on the experiences of others it’s good to have some extra fuel line, an extra temperature sensor, a fuel pump and a glow plug and removal tool for the glow plug on hand. None of these components are /appear to be prone to failure, but when they do fail the heater won’t work. In spirit of the old Military adage, “it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it...”. I try to carry a few supplies to keep my lanterns and cook stoves in good working order as well, so this makes sense too.
 
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Shahn

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I was able to do some more testing/playing with the All-In-One Walmart heater. It is running well. I am still learning the control panel and programming. It is NOT intuitive. Thankfully, the FB group is SUPER helpful!

Based upon some good advice, I am ordering a few extra components to help keep the heater in good working order. From what I am reading and based on the experiences of others it’s good to have some extra fuel line, an extra temperature sensor, a fuel pump and a glow plug and removal tool for the glow plug on hand. None of these components are /appear to be prone to failure, but when they do fail the heater won’t work. In spirit of the old Military adage, “it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it...”. I try to carry a few supplies to keep my lanterns and cook stoves in good working order as well, so this makes sense too.
Is there a link to your videos yet?
 

lhoffm4

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So now that Christmas and New Years and Two of my Childrens’ birthdays are behind me (and my wallet), I finally got enough parts and pieces together to start the portable diesel heater build. I had been waiting on a commercial mounting bracket but due to its depth (making heater sit too tall in the box. I ended up making my own mounting bracket from some scrap diamond plate I had. The benefit of it (besides allowing the heater to sit deeper into the case, is it serves the dual purpose of protecting more of the case around the heater.

I purchased most of the parts from AliExpress and the case is the Harbor Freight 4800. I still need to mount the pump and replace the green fuel line from the All-In-One to the hard white line. I had also replaced the motherboard and controller from the 3-blade fan icon to the newer one, that has more features. I also plan to try to use one of my smaller outboard motor fuel tanks that can be set up to quick disconnect from the heater to fill, store and travel. Hopefully I will get that tank sorted outin the next day or two (long weekend thanks to MLK day). Will keep ya posted.
 

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Billiebob

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There are different codes for various applications. Housing. Mobile Home. RV. All similat but different. The explosion of globalization means we now see shit that was once illegal in first world America getting sold on totally uncontrollable websites like Amazon. There was a day you could walk into Simpsons Sears and know you were buying a "safe" product. Cheap offshore unregulated imports now mean we are as vulnerable to bad, deadly engineering as Uganda.

Buyer beware is the rule today. You want a "safe" product..... is it UL Certified for sale in the USA or ULC, CSA Cerification in Canada. Beyond certification, separate the CO source and emissions from the air you are breathing. BUY A CO DETECTOR !! and READ the manufacturers instructions...... read all the disclaimers brought on by deaths resulting in lawsuits.... read between the lines.
 
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lhoffm4

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There are different codes for various applications. Housing. Mobile Home. RV. All similat but different. The explosion of globalization means we now see shit that was once illegal in first world America getting sold on totally uncontrollable websites like Amazon. There was a day you could walk into Simpsons Sears and know you were buying a "safe" product. Cheap offshore unregulated imports now mean we are as vulnerable to bad, deadly engineering as Uganda.

Buyer beware is the rule today. You want a "safe" product..... is it UL Certified for sale in the USA or ULC, CSA Cerification in Canada. Beyond certification, separate the CO source and emissions from the air you are breathing. BUY A CO DETECTOR !! and READ the manufacturers instructions...... read all the disclaimers brought on by deaths resulting in lawsuits.... read between the lines.
Fitst thing I bought when I got the diesel heater was a CO detector. First thing I did after that was watch all the YouTube’s I could find on them BEFORE firing it up/ even while waiting for delivery (taking into consideration the information sources). Your same concerns and well received WARNING could be said about any and all DIY projects. “Buyer/Builder Beware”.

This technology is relatively simple and straightforward. It has been in use for several years (even the patent-copy foreign knock offs). Parts for them are widely available from retailers (mostly sourced from China-granted). Most of the reason I have taken so long to build my own rig, accessories, etc. is because I I not only want to save my hard earned money but also because I need time to “go to school” onthe project. I want to learn about the build process, tools required, technology. I usually also want to customize the project a bit for versatility, my ppurpises, etc. as well. With regard to this project, I equate it to building a short-block Chevy V-8: There are so many aftermarket parts, most are plug and play, some require some “enginuity” and creative modification but work as intended). Believe me when I say I have learned just as much about what NOT to do as I have learned how to do correctly. I try to over-build, under-use, have spares of consumables and listen/watch closely to what those who have gone/done before say and experience. I attempt to not just copy a product with my DIY, I attempt to “Monkey See, Monkey Do-better”.

I do acknowledge your concerns about being safe and being aware that for the most part commercially made products are held to standards far beyond what a DIY-er is. I would submit to you, for consideration, “where would your internet device be were it not for open source innovation? Where would Sience, Engineering, Medicine, or ANY of today’s industrial marvels be without innovation? I would submit “not as far along as we are now”.

I digress, Thank you for bringing valid concerns. I will strive to be safe and safety conscious as I move forward in my DIY approach to this and all my projects. Happy trails, and be safe out there...
 

lhoffm4

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For those watching this thread, the heater ROCKS! It has worked so well (with a slight learning curve) I decided I wanted tear it apart and put it in a more durable and transportable pelican style case. For my intended purposes, it made sense...in my mind. I have another thread that describes what I did. It has come together nicely. I’m still working out a few details (quick disconnect fuel lines to a outboard motor fuel tank) and how to keep the inside of the case cooler without drilling too many holes in a “weatherproof” case. That last part may be impossible, but still working on it...
 

lhoffm4

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I have now used it in the rooftop tent for a few weekends, including this past 3-day, Presidents Day. I’m very happy with it. I picked up a 3-gal boat tank and set up the heater with Q-D fittings. This past weekend, it got down to 18 F outside and inside it stayed about 65 F. That was on high setting of 5.4Hz. All windows and doors shut with only 1 of the 4 vent/ducts coming into the tent. I’m optimistic that a tent liner will only do better and/or will allow me to lower the heat output. The 3-gal fuel tank lasted 2 1/2 days on high before I needed to add fuel. I had it powered by a Bluetti EB70 that also powered mY CPAP and some LED lights inside the tent at night. Note-I did have shore power keeping the Bluetti charged/topped off. I figure the battery bank would easily make it through a night or two, however, just running what I did.