Byers Guide Diesel heaters by ExPortal

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
I would have liked to see a review of the controller interfaces between the various manufacturers.

For a baseline camper heating system I would compare to the clunky forced air propane furnace with a thermostat that comes in every mass produced trailer and camper. Switch the thermostat on and set the temp. The heater cycles on and off to maintain temp and runs reliably for many years. This doesn't seem to be the case with diesel heaters. It seems they need to be monitored and run just so in order to retain reliability.

I recently purchased a new Planer 2D with the PU-27 controller and it leaves a lot to be desired. The controller programming is not intuitive. My sense is that this controller was made to be a one size fits all for the entire planar product range and the firmware wasn't written for an end user camper application. The instruction manual is worthless. Some You Tube videos are helpful but don't get into the ins and outs of working around a fiddly system.

I wish the PU-27 controller had an internal memory or battery so it doesn't need to be reprogrammed when the power is disconnected.

It appears that there is an upgraded controller to make the interface easier to operate but it doesn't address the need for occasionally running on high to burn the combustion chamber clean. I also requires programming and scrolling through a lot of menus.

I'm not seeing this new controller here https://planarheaters.com/spare-parts/ or here https://expeditionupfitter.com/coll...e-dial-controller-pu-5?variant=31767047503918

If the Planar 2D heater were to match the standard baseline for RV heaters, the end user should be able to turn it on, set a temp and have it run reliably for many years without another thought.

I agree on the PU27 controller....
Personally I like the manual dial PU5. On/Off and temperature setting is all we usually need.
Then there is also the PU28 that's very nice and intuitive. I believe Winnebago uses them in their Revels.
 

simple

Adventurer
I agree on the PU27 controller....
Personally I like the manual dial PU5. On/Off and temperature setting is all we usually need.
Then there is also the PU28 that's very nice and intuitive. I believe Winnebago uses them in their Revels.
I was wondering if the PU-5 would be better for ease of use and overall reliability.

Does the PU-5 run the burner on high power only and cycle on and off at set temperature point?
When it cycles off does the heater fan continue to run to circulate air?
If it does cycle on and off what is the hysteresis range for high and low temperature points?
Does the PU-5 use the internal heater temp sensor for cycling or is there a sensor in the controller?
 

Joe917

Explorer
Correct. Most big expedition trucks have hydronic heating. A lot of the super cool systems are only available outside North America. They certainly are a very nice system. Like everything else, there are pro and cons:
1. it ads complexity and possible failure points
2. needs way more space
3. takes longer to heat a camper if you go through a warm water radiator
4. most vehicle manufacturers void warranty if you alter the cooling system
5. higher power consumption as you need to run more accessories like water pumps, fans
6. expensive

Again, these system are well proven in higher end vehicles that have the space and pay load. For myself I like to keep it simple and cost effective, hence the diesel air heater.
1. It is adding coolant hose and radiators, not particularly failure prone when correctly installed.
2.yep
3. When living full time in a vehicle you keep the habitat heated all the time when it is cold. Our small wet bath with a large wall radiator/towel bar heated up quite fast, pure luxury!
4. Most of us are driving vehicle well out of warranty. Webasto coolant heaters are also installed in new vehicles without warranty issues, I have one in my 2019 Sprinter, Mercedes factory installed.
5.The only pump our system used was the Webasto pump. No other pumps or fans required.
6.Thermotop, plus hose and radiators vs Airtop.
7.Quiet in the habitat, no fans or blowers.
8. The ability to pre heat engine and use engine waste heat, and heat domestic water.

I agree , if you don't have the space or payload air heaters are the best option, otherwise go hydronic.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
1. It is adding coolant hose and radiators, not particularly failure prone when correctly installed.
2.yep
3. When living full time in a vehicle you keep the habitat heated all the time when it is cold. Our small wet bath with a large wall radiator/towel bar heated up quite fast, pure luxury!
4. Most of us are driving vehicle well out of warranty. Webasto coolant heaters are also installed in new vehicles without warranty issues, I have one in my 2019 Sprinter, Mercedes factory installed.
5.The only pump our system used was the Webasto pump. No other pumps or fans required.
6.Thermotop, plus hose and radiators vs Airtop.
7.Quiet in the habitat, no fans or blowers.
8. The ability to pre heat engine and use engine waste heat, and heat domestic water.

I agree , if you don't have the space or payload air heaters are the best option, otherwise go hydronic.
you are right, plenty of new vehicles have a hydronic pre heater installed. At the factory! Of course that’s covered under warranty. But if you tap into a vehicles coolant system yourself, your warranty is down the drain. That of course only applies to new vehicles.
for travelling full time the hydronic system is great! We put those in all unicat I build. our family travels mostly weekends and the air heater makes more sense as it heats up the interior fast.
in any case, I’m not dissing the coolant variant, just pointing out that even though many people love them, it’s not for everyone. We have these type of conversations with customers on a daily basis. each and everyone has different expectations, budget , vehicle etc.
 
I'd say the bigger issue that is causing forums to go downhill are the new users that join to post a question that is too vague (not enough detail for other users to answer) or easily answered by google. It's starting to remind me of Facebook groups, where people post things like "I need rock sliders for my vehicle," and then expect the community to provide an ordered list of what is available on the market.
As a new person who's been asking a lot of questions recently, and also as someone who runs several "domain expertise" communities that often have beginners join: this is the kind of attitude that ruins communities and alienates new members.

When you're new to something, you don't know what you don't. You don't know the right terms. You can Google things and get a bunch of conflicting information and not have any idea how to make an educated decision.

Having someone who's "been there and done that" who can say, "focus on this, ignore that" is invaluable when you're in that phase of learning. And if you want to avoid repeated, common questions, having a pinned set of "start here" type threads is also a great way to cover FAQs.

But yea, it's "all the new people." 🙄
 

motovan_mn

Active member
As a new person who's been asking a lot of questions recently, and also as someone who runs several "domain expertise" communities that often have beginners join: this is the kind of attitude that ruins communities and alienates new members.

When you're new to something, you don't know what you don't. You don't know the right terms. You can Google things and get a bunch of conflicting information and not have any idea how to make an educated decision.

Having someone who's "been there and done that" who can say, "focus on this, ignore that" is invaluable when you're in that phase of learning. And if you want to avoid repeated, common questions, having a pinned set of "start here" type threads is also a great way to cover FAQs.

But yea, it's "all the new people." 🙄
I totally agree that it's often hard to know how to search for things when you are new! Like you said, "you don't know what you don't know." Of course I'm not saying that all new people are detrimental to forums. Everyone is new at some point, and there's no point in gatekeeping. A post stating "I'm looking for something like this, but I don't know what it's called. Can anyone point me in the right direction?" has a ton of value, both for the OP and for anyone who comes along after the OP and happens to be searching using similar terms.

What I was drawing attention to was that many people don't put forth any amount of effort to read through the forums and make an attempt at finding out info on their own. For example, on the Ford Transit forums, there are countless threads along the lines of "how should I build the floor in my van?" If you can join a forum and make that post, you are more than capable finding the hundreds of existing posts on that forum, not to mention the blogs and YouTube videos that would come up with any number of keyword searches on Google.

But this is all pretty off-topic for this thread. Maybe a discussion to be continued in a NEW thread... 😁
 

motovan_mn

Active member
If someone has obviously neglected doing their preparation before posting, and that annoys you, makes you feel taken advantage of

one option that does no harm, is to simply move on and ignore their request for help.
Yep, absolutely right. Maybe I'm just becoming the old man standing on his porch and yelling at the clouds :LOL:
 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
I have a Webasto 90ST-D . On start-up and boost mode it uses 80W (6.5A) for about 5 -10 minutes and then drops off to around 60W ( 4.5A) on our 12V system). It does add a bit of complexity to the engine cooling system. I set mine up to not only heat the camper ( and hot water tank) , but also the engine block as well. As it is part of the truck cooling system, I decided not to use rubber hoses for the long to the back of the truck, but use Stainless steel braided teflon hoses, mean for much higher pressure and corrosive liquids. I just didn't want the risk of dropping all the coolant out of the truck. The advantage of this is that the engine heats the camper and hot water when driving, and I can use the Webasto to warm up the engine before starting. Having the 20L+ of water helps stop it from short cycling, and I set it up so that the hot water goes to the camper first, then back to the block. When driving, I have a small circulating pump to boost the flow around the camper, but only use that in cold climates, most of the time I have the camper heater valves off.

I run two 16000btu Kalori heater radiators, in the back, and they have fans which are noisy, so I put an extra set of silent computer fans behind the fans, and have a thermostat to control them, it just gives a gentle breeze through the matrix, or I can switch on the main fans to heat the camper up really quickly. All four fans draw 1A in total on maximum.

Fuel comes the main fuel tank, averages about 1/2 litre per hour, but I can warm up the whole camper in about 15 minutes, at 0C, which is as cold as we have ever had it at. I would warm up the camper then turn off the heater, camper stays warm for a few hours before I had to turn it back on again, so overall it doesn't use much fuel. I also have the Webasto Diesel cook top, with uses less fuel, and can heat up the camper as well as cook the food.

We had the truck on the road for over seven years now, and have not had to use the heater that much, but I still start it up every month or two. So far, it has always started with any problems, ( as has the cook top which has been used a lot more) so I think they are pretty reliable. There are modifications for high altitude use, basically a needle valve that short circuits the fuel system reducing the fuel supply, but we don't have that problem in Australia, nothing is that high that they won't work. The unit is not small, so finding a place for it was difficult on our little truck. I mounted it in the engine bay, behind the intercooler radiator, over the front mudguard. It is about 1.3 above the ground, and the intake is 1.6m, so should be good if we go swimming in the truck, at 1.6M we will be floating. To get to it, I have to move the intercooler radiator out of the way, which takes about 5 minutes to undo. You can see it on the bottom left of this photo.

Websto.jpg


Here are all the specs for the unit.



Websto 90ST-D specifications.jpg
 
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