Heaters: Comparative data

Yeah, I love my Wave 3, but my next build will have a third battery to power a 12v mattress pad.

I'm pretty sure I recall discussions about diesel/gas heaters sooting up high altitudes because of incomplete combustion.
 

crhawkeye

New member
So am I right in thinking that running a propex heater in a wedge style popup camper might be a bit crazy/expensive when it's say, 20 degrees out at night?

I wonder if I could insulate it well enough... That or perhaps don't pop it up.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
So am I right in thinking that running a propex heater in a wedge style popup camper might be a bit crazy/expensive when it's say, 20 degrees out at night?

I wonder if I could insulate it well enough... That or perhaps don't pop it up.
Investment vs the value of comfort is of course a per-owner decision.

But per-hour cost with any heater will be through the roof as ambient drops without appropriate insulation.

Foamie hard-sided popup inserts would help

or a standy design.

A popup you could still use in the down position, would be interesting.
 

crhawkeye

New member
Reading more about these, diesel heaters sound more efficient for a poorly insulated tent camper.

Anybody run one of these in this situation?
 

VanIsle_Greg

I think I need a bigger truck!
Reading more about these, diesel heaters sound more efficient for a poorly insulated tent camper.

Anybody run one of these in this situation?
It seems that their operation may be well suite to that scenario. As they sound like they run up, then run, then run down... a really well insulated non pop up may end up like an oven inside. heh But a less well insulated unit (like mine will potentially be) that could work out well. Other than the fuel consumption that is.

I am looking to make my own winter pack for it once I get it. I have some ideas... but need a surger or a cheap strong sewing machine... and then I need to learn how to sew. At least its long straight lines. heh

Good thread.
 

crhawkeye

New member
It seems that their operation may be well suite to that scenario. As they sound like they run up, then run, then run down... a really well insulated non pop up may end up like an oven inside. heh But a less well insulated unit (like mine will potentially be) that could work out well. Other than the fuel consumption that is.

I am looking to make my own winter pack for it once I get it. I have some ideas... but need a surger or a cheap strong sewing machine... and then I need to learn how to sew. At least its long straight lines. heh

Good thread.
Yeah, I read that some people were getting 24hrs -- three nights I assume -- off of a gallon with the cheap Chinese setup. Pretty cost efficient if true.
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
There are lots of Facebook pages dedicated to Chinese diesel heaters. They do seem effective. They come in 2kw, 5kw, 8kw versions. The downside is their electric consumption. It seems slightly less than a typical propane forced air furnace. If you have a diesel truck so don’t need to carry fuel separately, it has the advantage of not depleting propane.
 

Asa Kim

New member
Having recently installed a Camco Wave 3, purchased a dual remote thermometer to monitor the fridge, and having a frigid cold front come through while the camper is parked outside the house so I could do some work on it, the conditions were ripe to test a couple of different heating options. 1995 Northstar TS 1000, uninsulated initially. 1500 watt small cube ceramic electric heater with high/low and thermostat left overnight on high with thermostat set at about 3/4. Outside low temperature 18 degrees. Camper never dropped below 51 degrees. Turned off the electric heater and turned on the Camco Wave 3. Outside temperature 19 degrees. It could only heat the camper to 43 degrees. I installed Reflectrix around the inside of the canvas. 50 minutes later the outside temperature had dropped by one degree and the inside temperature had increased by one degree. I then turned off the Camco and turned the electric heater back on with thermostat set at maximum. One hour later it was 15 degrees outside and 51 degrees inside. Lesson: a 1500 watt electric heater has quite a bit more oomph than a Camco Wave 3 Catalytic heater. If you're going to camp in these kinds of temperatures a Camco 3 is probably going to be inadequate for most people's tastes. I've just turned on my Buddy Heater so it will be interesting to see how it performs compared to the Camco. I'd probably be happy with a heater that could maintain 55 degrees inside at 10 degrees outside or something like that.---edit Little Buddy heater: It was 23 outside and 19 inside when I started the Little Buddy (outside figure is suspect--sensor was in direct sunlight to probably more like 19 inside and outside) One hour later it was 46 degrees inside and 27 outside (again with the same suspicion on outside sensor accuracy. Phone says 14 degrees outside) So the Little Buddy heater is substantially more powerful than the Camco Wave 3.
kerry and anyone who uses the Wave 3,

Is this glow pattern when on "high" normal?
I've been running the Wave 3 for a couple months now and have noticed that when it's on "high" the heating element never gets any larger than the area you see in the picture I've attached.

would like to see anyone else' picture or hear of their experience on this...


Thanks!
 

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kerry

Expedition Leader
Yes, that is normal. Somewhere Camco has a picture like that to show the normal glow. I think they say it is 40% of the catalyst which glows
 

highwest

Active member
There are lots of Facebook pages dedicated to Chinese diesel heaters. They do seem effective. They come in 2kw, 5kw, 8kw versions. The downside is their electric consumption. It seems slightly less than a typical propane forced air furnace. If you have a diesel truck so don’t need to carry fuel separately, it has the advantage of not depleting propane.
We run a 2kW Chinese diesel heater in an Apache Eagle trailer (pretty big, all tent, no hard shell roof, no other insulation). The battery (100ah) and fuel tank are sized for about 30 hrs on max (guessing on the fuel consumption). Solar and an extra can of diesel get you out even further.

We haven’t been in sub-freezing conditions yet, but we also haven’t run it above 1/3 power for sleeping. We crank it up to full in the AM to get out of bed, play with the toddler, and give the heater an Italian tune up, which is recommended.
 
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kerry

Expedition Leader
Great info. I'll be curious if the 2KW is adequate sub-freezing. Most people seem to be buying the 5KW and running them on low.
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
I measured the CO coming off the Wave 3 today with a Sensorcon industrial CO detector at a mile high. On low, measuring directly above the heater it showed no CO. On high readings varied. Shortly after lighting I got 7ppm right above the heater. After running it for a while it showed 0. I assume the longer it ran the cleaner the burn but I'm not sure about that. The lesson from this is that you should by monitoring your indoor air quality if using a heater like this. Most CO detectors alarm around 40ppm for 10 hrs, 50ppm for 8 hours, 70ppm for 1 to 4 hrs. Osha says 50ppm for 8 hrs is the maximum safe level. But much lower levels can also cause impairment. I wouldn't want to sleep all night with 7ppm for instance. For comparison, our gas stove in our kitched boiling 4 pots of vegetables with enough boil over to turn the flames yellow, produced 7ppm after about 45 minutes. The blue flame on our kitchen gas stove registered no CO at all on the meter. The Sensorcon meter is considerably more expensive than your standard home CO detector. Around $150. But it's your life.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Incoming fresh air is the key

ventilate, ventilate, ventilate

does not need to be set on a high CFM rate while sleeping, but definitely more while cooking, having sex or running **any** unvented heater

The CO alarm is to stop you dying, but good health is a different matter entirely.
 

dstefan

Active member
So, since I’m getting ready to buy a Wave three or maybe six for my Ovrlnd pop-up (same set up as Wrathchild) how much ventilation is needed? My Tundra bed is well sealed, but left the drain slots at the cab bulkead mostly open and the tailgate is well bulbed-sealed for dust, but a bed rug covers everything. Theres a 3” dia positive pressure vent i can leave open too. If I crack a couple of the fabric windows at the rear of the truck is that sufficient? Will have all the sensors/alarms too, of course.
 
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