Heaters: Comparative data

erstwild

Active member
Just my 5 cents, I have a planar portable heater mounted on the outside of my SpaceKap build (https://expeditionportal.com/forum/...2017-ford-f-250-and-spacekap-diablo-8.207675/) and have enjoyed it as a full-timer and this has been my first Winter (Northern Coastal California but in a valley that can get decently cold on occassion and have had some 20 degree record lows). It has been quite reliable with only a couple failures that I attribute to a small amount of water condensation in the fuel tank on one occasion (siphoned empty and refilled, no problem) and probably some soot in the combustion chamber on another (tapped and shook unit quite hard and it restarted without having to actually open it up). My SpaceKap has been insulated reasonably well for what it is, but there are some drafts around doors and bed installation points for reference. I find it uses 0.5 amps @ 12 volts on low and 0.10 L/HR running after initially start up and before end stage purge cycles. That amount of heat on low seems to buy you a ~30 F degree increase (adjust my maxxir roof vent opening to make some crude adjustments and let any excess moisture chimney out) which is very nice for how I like to do things: still use pretty heavy sleeping bags to keep warm but well above freezing so your face doesn't start to hurt and impact sleep quality.

A few extra tips:

-If it going to be below freezing make sure to adjust the mixture to include some pure kerosene (planar manual floating around somewhere had a chart indicating percentage). I also think it is good to run some pure kerosene for maintenance and reliability sake on occassion.

-The portable planar unit has purge cycles to keep the combustion chamber cleaner even if you are running it on low all the time, however, if you are using a standard unit (or a chinese clone probably), you need to run it on high every 12 hours or it will foul up and need to be cleaned.

-Ventilation and safety precautions are not be minimized at all for any and all heating solutions. Unless, you have an amazingly well insulated rig (talking R20 here) with no cold bridging where you can have it sealed up tight and just have a vent cracked and a heater that pretty much only kicks on before you go to bed and in the morning, I would much rather have high quality bedding and let things get a little cooler with very good ventilation/air circulation in such a small space. Even non-lethal amounts of CO can build up in your system and really hurt your health overtime. @john61ct Is absolutely right

All in all, I think Planar (and probably some of the chinese clones) are the best heating options available for most serious rigs nowadays. Electric vehicle battery tech needs to come a long way before mobile electric heat/AC becomes a practical reality.
 

VanIsle_Greg

I think I need a bigger truck!
Just my 5 cents, I have a planar portable heater mounted on the outside of my SpaceKap build (https://expeditionportal.com/forum/...2017-ford-f-250-and-spacekap-diablo-8.207675/) and have enjoyed it as a full-timer and this has been my first Winter (Northern Coastal California but in a valley that can get decently cold on occassion and have had some 20 degree record lows). It has been quite reliable with only a couple failures that I attribute to a small amount of water condensation in the fuel tank on one occasion (siphoned empty and refilled, no problem) and probably some soot in the combustion chamber on another (tapped and shook unit quite hard and it restarted without having to actually open it up). My SpaceKap has been insulated reasonably well for what it is, but there are some drafts around doors and bed installation points for reference. I find it uses 0.5 amps @ 12 volts on low and 0.10 L/HR running after initially start up and before end stage purge cycles. That amount of heat on low seems to buy you a ~30 F degree increase (adjust my maxxir roof vent opening to make some crude adjustments and let any excess moisture chimney out) which is very nice for how I like to do things: still use pretty heavy sleeping bags to keep warm but well above freezing so your face doesn't start to hurt and impact sleep quality.

A few extra tips:

-If it going to be below freezing make sure to adjust the mixture to include some pure kerosene (planar manual floating around somewhere had a chart indicating percentage). I also think it is good to run some pure kerosene for maintenance and reliability sake on occassion.

-The portable planar unit has purge cycles to keep the combustion chamber cleaner even if you are running it on low all the time, however, if you are using a standard unit (or a chinese clone probably), you need to run it on high every 12 hours or it will foul up and need to be cleaned.

-Ventilation and safety precautions are not be minimized at all for any and all heating solutions. Unless, you have an amazingly well insulated rig (talking R20 here) with no cold bridging where you can have it sealed up tight and just have a vent cracked and a heater that pretty much only kicks on before you go to bed and in the morning, I would much rather have high quality bedding and let things get a little cooler with very good ventilation/air circulation in such a small space. Even non-lethal amounts of CO can build up in your system and really hurt your health overtime. @john61ct Is absolutely right

All in all, I think Planar (and probably some of the chinese clones) are the best heating options available for most serious rigs nowadays. Electric vehicle battery tech needs to come a long way before mobile electric heat/AC becomes a practical reality.
Good details and information. I am really leaning towards the Planar heater for my camper... and will also mount it externally (likely). I have a local source for these and he is a friend, so I have seen his installs and how compact they are... very nice piece of kit.
 

erstwild

Active member
Good details and information. I am really leaning towards the Planar heater for my camper... and will also mount it externally (likely). I have a local source for these and he is a friend, so I have seen his installs and how compact they are... very nice piece of kit.
If you would like to mount the portable one in a pelican case externally like I did, take a look at using these:

https://www.eo2fastener.com/

I used these parts:

SnapTop™ Rail
  • Lock:
    With Lock
  • Rail Length:
    14"

Bottom Mounting Rail
  • Profile:
    High Profile
  • Rail Length:
    22"

Mounting Hardware Kit #1
 

kerry

Expedition Leader
I've installed the P12000. I don't have exact data yet but I've had it on in 20 degree weather. It is a quantum leap above a Wave 3 and with the blower running it pushes a lot of hot air, I'd say approaching the power of the OE forced air furnace when on high. My impression is that we are going to be very happy with it. There is a significant difference between forced air heat and radiant head from a fireplace. I mounted it north of the refrigerator across from the dinette in our Northstar TS1000 (temporary mount, it comes off when not in use). So even if the average temperature per square inch in the camper is cool, the radiation coming from the heater feels hot when sitting at the dinette. Not to mention the aesthetics of the flame.
 

Shapeshifter

Restless Adventurer
I don't have any comparative data on this yet but I will say that my driveway is at 6320 feet of elevation and this 5kw diesel clone heater could heat a small house. I will get some higher elevation data as soon as I can get up there.....

 

Lance990

Observer
I have a truck bed carpet kit in my 8 ft truck bed and use a Wave3 to heat the space when we are sleeping back there. At 40F with no insulation in the cab high (23") aluminum truck cap, we were toasty warm all night. In fact, the high setting was too hot and we had to turn it to low. Even on low, I had to stick a leg out of my sleeping bag to cool off. Had about 3/4" of a window open and had very little condensation (just a tiny bit on the windows). There is a CO monitor just above my head and it never read above 0. Super quiet and hardly used any propane from a 5 lbs tank. It just doesn't get any more efficient or comfortable than that. IMG_4069.JPEG
 
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