What is the BEST....High Altitude Solution for Heating?

biotect

Designer
.
Julius0377
,

Once again, many thanks for all the feedback!

Your replies have inspired a very long response; hope you won't mind…..:)


****************************************

1. Diesel versus LPG



It seems we are on the “no gas/lpg” in E[xpedition] V[ehicles]'s deal, and I know of no diesel powered water heaters.
Some participants on ExPo are strongly pro-diesel and anti-LPG, and Earthroamer is famous for completely eliminating LPG – see http://earthroamer.com/xv-lt/safety/no-volatile-propane/ , http://earthroamer.com/xv-lt/safety/ , and
http://earthroamer.com/employees-facilities/ . I am in the same camp.

It's worth quoting a summary of diesel's advantages from Webasto's website:

Fuel autonomy: Diesel fuel is uniform worldwide and available 24/7, all year long. A very precise monitoring of fuel supplies is possible via the fuel-gauge.

Heating autonomy: Heating while driving is allowed worldwide. By supplying the heater with diesel out of the vehicle fuel tank, there is no need to search for fitting bottle connectors or hassle of exchanging gas bottles in foreign countries.

More space: Gas bottles in motorhome can be reduced as they do last longer anyway and all Webasto heaters can be mounted outside the vehicle. This leads to significantly more space inside the motorhome.

Less weight: In winter, more than 80% of LPG gas is needed only for interior heating. By using diesel operated heaters, the LPG gas bottles can be downsized to one single 5 kg bottle and up to 35 kg of additional load can be gained.
However, I will grant that there are good arguments to be made for a “tri-fuel” set-up, which mixes diesel, gas, and electric. In your second post above you made those arguments, so I won't repeat them here.

It's interesting that on one web-page in particular, Webasto seems to advocate for gas/diesel “hybrid” solutions – see http://www.webasto.com/int/markets-...-vehicles/heating-solutions/hybrid-solutions/ .


****************************************

2. Boiler: Isotherm versus Elenga versus Whale? All-Electric or LPG/Electric?



Interesting point about the difficulty of finding diesel-powered water boilers, equivalent to the ones made by Elenga or Isotherm – see http://www.elgena.de/index.php/produkt.html , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...u=http://www.elgena.de/index.php/produkt.html , http://www.isotherm-parts.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4_34 , http://www.isotherm-parts.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4_34_62 , http://www.isotherm-parts.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4_34_57 , and http://www.webasto.com/gb/markets-p...s/boiler-calorifier/isotemp-electric-boilers/ .

Above you wrote:

I do find the 10-12 liters in the combined systems to be on the small size, therefor a complimentary water boiler is good both for redundancy and added capacity.
I am inclined to agree that the 10-12 liter boilers attached to “integrated” heating solutions like the Truma Combi 6 DE, the Alde 3010 Combi, or the Webasto Dual Top, might prove insufficient, and should be supplemented with a dedicated water boiler.
In his original proposal LoRoad specified an Isotherm as well.

Can an Elenga boiler be LPG driven as well? It's hard to determine from the website if any of Elenga's boilers are. Sure, they offer lots of different combinations of electrical power, but LPG does not seem to be an option – see for instance http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...odukt/druckfest/nautic-therm-s.html&sandbox=1 . But if Elenga boilers could be heated by LPG too, and if one has LPG on-board in any case, then perhaps an Elenga boiler would be preferred to an Isotherm?

Webasto sells the “Whale” boiler, which is most definitely dual-fuel, both LPG and electric powered – see http://www.webasto.com/int/markets-...boiler-calorifier/whale-gas-electric-boilers/ , http://www.whalepumps.com/rv/produc...0&Product_ID=21&FriendlyID=Water-Heater-13ltr , http://www.whalepumps.com/rv/siteFiles/resources/docs/resource-library/Water_heating_brochure.pdf , http://www.whalepumps.com/rv/siteFi...ry/CaravanBrochure2014_reducdedsizeforWeb.pdf . But the “Whale” boiler is only 13 L, in contrast to Isotherm boilers, which are available in sizes from 15 L to 75 L; and Elenga boilers, which are available as small as 3 L and as large as 50 L – see for instance http://translate.googleusercontent....m.html&usg=ALkJrhhhXSmm_Z0y69-k1uR16XSTEXpJbQ .

Given that the whole point to an additional boiler would be to significantly supplement the 10 – 12 L boilers of integrated “combi” heaters, just adding a 13 L “Whale” boiler might seem pointless? So which size of boiler would you recommend? And do you know of any manufacturers other than “Whale”, who might make larger, “dual-fuel” LPG-electric boilers?

I am designing a large motorhome (by expedition vehicle standards), in the 9 – 10 m range, about the same length as egn's “Blue Thunder” – see http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/11614-MAN-6x6-camper . Furthermore, I am designing a “fully integrated” expedition motorhome that will resemble an American Class-A or German “Liner" motorhome. It will be a one-room design; the cab will be not be separate from the camper box; and the driving seats will swivel around. It will not look like a UniCat or an ActionMobil. For extended discussion, please see the thread that I began on ExPo titled "Fully Integrated MAN or TATRA 6x6 or 8x8 Expedition RV, w Rigid, Torsion-Free Frame", at http://www.expeditionportal.com/for...-8x8-Expedition-RV-w-Rigid-Torsion-Free-Frame .

So what size of supplementary boiler would you recommend for such a large, 9 – 10 m vehicle, designed to carry 2 – 4 people?

Also, would you recommend a “calorifier”, as opposed to a boiler? If so, which brands? Alde makes a calorifier, for instance - see http://www.alde.co.uk/itemdetails.php?itemId=126 .


****************************************

4. “On-Demand” Hot Water



Just curious: how do you feel about “on demand” hot water? LoRoad mentioned this in the first post in the thread, but it has not been addressed since.

Isn't the whole point to “on demand” hot water that it eliminates the need for a large boiler tank? Or, at the very least, “on demand” allows one to use a much smaller boiler, like the 10 L in the Alde 3010 Combi? See http://www.alde.co.uk/itemdetails.php?itemId=1 , http://www.alde.se/media/106190/compact-3010-us-letter-high-res.pdf , http://www.alde.co.uk/downloads/alde_brochure_motorhome.pdf , and http://www.alde.co.uk/downloads/alde_cat_21.pdf :

“The Alde Compact 3010 boiler has combined water heating that means there is always hot water for the shower and kitchenette. The boiler has a volume of more than 2.2 gallons, which can give 4 gallons of mixed shower water. In the summer, the boiler can be set to only produce hot water by lowering the desired indoor temperature on the control panel.”
I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Alde system is so effective, that even after you've used all the water in the boiler, the shower water still remains hot. In effect, the Alde provides “on demand” hot water. But I am not certain about this.

The Alde puts out 5.5 KW of power with gas, a bit less than the Truma Combi 6 D E or the Webasto Dual Top, which produce 6 KW. But the Alde also puts out 3.2 KW of power when electric, much more than either the Truma or the Webasto. Furthermore, in the Alde gas and electric can be used at the same time, so its maximum potential output is 8.3 KW, which isn't bad….:)

But the Alde is LPG, not diesel, and who knows what it's altitude capability would be.


****************************************

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

.
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
.
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

****************************************



5. Hydronic or Forced Air?


****************************************


Another related topic is air vs. water heating. I notice that many of the luxury EV producers (Action Mobil, Unicat, etc.) go for water heating of the camper box.

Personally I prefer air heating for winter climates with this in mind:

*Dries out the air inside, so if you have wet clothes etc. they dry faster.
*Easier self maintenance/repairs, simpler construction.
*Reaches a warm air temperature quicker (depending on a lot of factors of course).

Make sure you have a lot more air outlets than you think you need. The more you have the better. Typical serial produced campers are delivered with too few air vents, and have issues with too high air flow volume from each outlet, dust particles being blown around, etc.
I am inclined to agree that “forced-air” is preferable to a “hydronic”, water-based system, for the reasons that you just gave. That's why I am so interested in the various “Combi” heaters, where “Combi” means heating water for domestic use + heating air for a forced-air system.

But just to play devil's advocate: it might simplify the system a great deal to go “all-hydronic”, because the pipes that carry water to/from from the heat-exchanger on the vehicle engine (for instance), could also circulate through the passive radiators that heat the cab and box. This might be one of the reasons why ActionMobil and UniCat favor all-hydronic systems. I have not yet looked into the systems that they tend to favor, which manufacturers they choose, etc. Off the top of your head, would you know which these might be? All ActionMobil and UniCat expedition vehicles are “bespoke” creations, so perhaps they will use different heating systems, depending on customer requirements and preferences?

More to the point, do ActionMobil and UniCat design their heating systems (including the diesel generator), to take into account the extreme, 3,500 - 5,500 m altitude of the Tibetan Plateau or Altiplano?

Here is another manufacturer to introduce into the mix, that makes an all-hydronic system: Mikuni – see http://www.mikuniheating.com/Vehicle.cfm . Mikuni's diesel-fueled heater warms water for a hot water tank, as well as for a system of “radiant” or “matrix” heaters – see http://www.mikuniheating.com/HotWater_RV.cfm and http://www.mikuniheating.com/MX60_RV.cfm :


7.jpg 5.jpg


The larger heater, the MX60, produces a respectable 7.6 KW, more than the Truma Combi or the Webasto Duo Top. With such a system, it would probably be unnecessary to have an additional, electric-powered water boiler from Isotherm or Elenga.

But it's anyone's guess how altitude-capable the Mikuni MX60 heater might be, and my first few google searches turned up nothing. Furthermore, the MX60 does not seem to be “dual-fuel”, i.e. it does not seem to have an electric-powered option.


****************************************


6. International Thermal Research Diesel Water Heater, and Hurricane and Oasis Heating Systems


And here is one more manufacturer worth thinking about: Interational Thermal Research (ITR). ITR is a military supplier, that has developed innovative, high-specification solutions for the United States Army – see http://itrheat.com/about-us/ , http://itrheat.com , http://itrheat.com/products/pioneer-space-he http://itrheat.com/products/mbu-diesel-kitchen-burner/ aters/ , http://itrheat.com/products/military-tent-heaters/ , http://www.army-technology.com/contractors/field/international-thermal-research/ , etc.

As it turns out, ITR produces a diesel-electric water-heater (!), in which diesel heating is supplemented by a 120 V, 1500 W heating element – see http://itrheat.com/products/the-water-heater/ , http://www.maddogmarine.com/Products/Marine/ITR_diesel_waterheater.htm , and http://www.sopac.co.nz/shop/Heating...ydronic+Heating+Systems/ITR+Water+Heater.html . So the following is a dual-fuel, diesel-electric water heater:


WaterHeater.jpg


This water heater provides both continuous output + water storage, and the tank is big: 5.3 US gallons, or 20.5 liters. It can also be fitted with a supplementary “SHM”, or “Space Heating Module” – sound familiar? In other words, it can function a bit like a Truma Combi or Webasto Dual Top.

But it gets better: ITR makes a full range of “combi” units, that it calls the “Hurricane Heater” and the “Oasis Heating system”. These are, in effect, integrated “Combi” versions of ITR's water-heaters – see http://itrheat.com/products/hurricane-heating-systems/ , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSukFPC6JK8&feature=youtu.be :




ITR makes a very wide range of “combi” units, designed to produce hot water as well as heat camper or boat space, and ITR classifies them in terms of BTU's, from 25,000 BTUs at the low end, to 50,000 BTUs at the top end. All ITR heaters are dual-fuel, diesel-electric; and it seems that in some of them, the 1500 KW electric immersion elements are driven by 12 V DC, which would be an added plus if true – see http://itrheat.com/products/hurricane-heating-systems/ , http://itrheat.com/products/hurricane-heating-systems/system-info/ , and http://itrheat.com/products/hurricane-heating-systems/support/manuals/ :



IMAG013.jpg



H2CombiV3A.jpg



DSC00170.jpg



Oasis-Combi-Flow-Chart.jpg OasisDM12flowchartcutcopy1.jpg .......Zephyr-LR.jpg


I first heard about “Hurricane Heaters” in the boating world (I am an avid sailor), and it seems that their “Oasis” line is an RV version of their marine product.

Hurricane and Oasis heaters seem very well-made, constructed of stainless steel, copper, and brass. But perhaps their most unusual feature is that they can run on either:

  • Diesel #1
  • Diesel #2
  • Arctic Diesel
  • Kerosene
  • Stove Oil
  • Furnace Oil
Combustion takes place in a patented “low pressure” system that uses compressed air, which makes me wonder whether these might also be good for high altitude? Sort of like the heater equivalent of a turbocharged diesel generator? I am not an engineer, but watching the video did make me wonder…..

Let me know what you think!


****************************************

7. High-Output Alternator as Power Source



Keep in mind also that the biggest added benefit of an AC it not neccesarily lowering the temperature, but drying out the air. As an example in 30 degree weather, I would set my AC to 28 degrees. This will dry out the humidity and making the interior a much more habitable space while using a lot less power than cooling all the way down to say 22 degrees. The “heavy duty” standard alternator i have in my Atego gives 100 amps at 24 volts, this converts to 2400 watts (a bit less due to loss in conversion etc.) But should be enough for both charging the batteries, running a Saphir Vario AC as well as a fridge and other accessories. The alternator puts out enough only at higher rpm's, so the vehicle would have to be in motion, not standing still with the engine on.
Interesting. Earthroamer stongly advocates for a dual-alternator solution. So much so, that Earthroamer suggests a diesel generator is not necessary. In another thread I wrote:

Earthroamer completely avoids diesel generators, instead advocating heavy duty, high-output, 130 AMP “dual engine alternators” – see http://earthroamer.com/xv-lt/systems/no-noisy-generator/ , http://www.earthroamer.com/tab_xpedition_vehicles/xvlt3_systems.html , http://earthroamer.com/xv-lt/systems/electrical/ . On its website Earthroamer writes:

“The other reasons are its size, weight, noise and fuel consumption. This generator takes up 3.23 cubic feet of space, weighs 200 pounds, is loud (67dBa at no load), and burns more than twice as much fuel (1.25 gallons/hour) as the Ford Power Stroke engine – and produces less power (3.2 kWh continuous) than the dual Ford alternators! The manufacturer of the Fisher-Panda 4000w DC Diesel Generator claims 54db sound level at 7 meters but an independent test measured the Fischer-Panda 4000w at 69 dB (with no load!) which is as loud as the Ford engine at wide open throttle. At idle the Ford engine is only 49.3 dB. The measured fuel consumption of the Fischer-Panda 4000w was 1.25 gallons per hour.”

Egn, what do you make of this? Does your MAN KAT have dual, high-output alternators?
To which egn replied:

We have done this for 5 years with a high power alternator and it worked fine as long as you move within the storage capacity of the battery. But if you stay longer than a week, in winter then you will have to run the engine, which is not accepted everywhere.

I also don't believe the [Earthroamer] numbers cited. It may be true that Ford engine is more silent and uses less fuel than the Fisher-Panda when the Ford is idling. But I don't believe that the alternators will produce the same power as the Fisher-Panda when it produces 4000 W. The power of alternators is heavily dependent on rpm. When the engine is idling, the alternator will normally deliver only a few 100 Watts. The transmission is normally designed to give the full power somewhere in the upper rpm range of the engine.

A comparison at idle is pretty useless. The comparison has to be done at a specific power output of generator and alternator.

Besides this, idling is not allowed in most countries.
In short, egn made pretty much the same point as you: high-output dual-alternators are really no substitute for a diesel generator. And yet Earthroamer seems to be selling lots of vehicles without diesel generators.

I wonder how Earthroamer would respond? The “illegality of idling” does seem like a big problem, as does the rpm issue. Maybe Earthroamer would answer that the massive solar they provide on the roof, plus their massive battery bank, should prove sufficient?


****************************************

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

.
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
.
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

****************************************



8. Truma's very confusing "Combi" webpages


****************************************


This is incorrect, the Truma Combi 4E and 6E (gas) and D6E (diesel) all have 1800 watt electric heating elements that run off 240v grids. This means you can run one with an inverter if you have enough electicity available (generator or alternator when driving.) Other benefits are heating both water and interior using only electrical hookups when at campgrounds. It should be said that 1800 watts of heating is not enough for very cold temperatures, in these instances you can run them on combined gas/diesel and electric operation, where the truma will favour electric and start using gas/diesel only if it cannot reach the desired temperature on electricity alone.
Many, many thanks for this correction!!!

So the Truma 6E does seem like a nearly ideal solution – if indeed the diesel version of the Truma D6 heater can handle electric. Please let me explain why I had some doubts.

I did a bit of web-searching, and came across the following PDF that describes Truma variants -- see http://www.southdownsmotorcaravans.co.uk/pdf/sdmc_truma_combi_heating_flyer.pdf or http://www.espar.co.uk/Images/Truma_Combi_Heating_Systems_2pp.pdf . On this pdf the Combi D6 is described as Diesel-capable, but not switchable to electric. Only the Combi 6E in an LPG version is switchable. But perhaps this was an old PDF, because it also describes the electric heating element as generating only 1,000 Watts, instead of 1,800 Watts.

Even so, the same seems suggested by the list of Truma product variants on the following webpage: http://www.espar.co.uk/EsparPlymouthProducts_Truma_LPG_and_Diesel_Combi_Heaters.htm . On this webpage Combi LPG heaters are the "default" category, and are simply referred to as "Combi", in 4, 4E, 6, and 6E variants. Presumably "E" stands for electricity, and without an "E" attached, a Truma heater is only LPG capable. The D then stands for "Diesel", as in "Combi D". And on this webpage, Combi D (diesel) heaters are not described as electric-capable as well.

It seems as if Truma product development began with an LPG heater, which they later expanded to make dual-fuel, i.e. electric-capable. And then around 2008 they came out with a diesel version, but one that was not electric-capable -- see for instance http://caravansplus.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=10880 , http://caravansplus.com.au/pdf/truma-diesel.pdf , and http://www.leisure-supplies.co.uk/productdetails.php?id=306 .

So what's really needed is a Truma heater that has the designation "Combi DE" -- a Combi that is both diesel and electric-capable.

Now on what appears to be the most "international" and up-to-date Truma website for this series, the heater does seem referred to in this way, as a Combi D 6 E -- see at http://www.truma.com/int/en/heating/diesel-heater-combi-d-6-e.php . But the "technical details" page on this international website is very confusing, because it still lists the Combi 4 and Combi 6 LPG heaters alongside the diesel:


Untitled.jpg


So let's switch instead to Truma's specifically British website - http://www.truma.com/uk/en/heating/diesel-heater-combi-d-6.php . There things are more clear, because no LPG heaters are listed, just the diesel. But the heater is referred to, once again, as only a Combi D6. No "E" in the designation:


1.jpg


I then suspected that perhaps Truma has been a bit negligent about the presentation of information on its "global" or "international" website, and that the German website might be better.

But alas no, the presentation of information on the German website is just as strange as the presentation of information on the "global" website:


3.jpg


But granted, on the international website, the opening "diesel" page does seem to draw an explicit distinction between the Combi D6 and the Combi D 6 E -- again, see http://www.truma.com/int/en/heating/overview-diesel-electric-powered-heaters.php . And the German website does so as well -- see http://www.truma.com/de/de/heizsysteme/uebersicht-diesel-elektrisch-betriebene-heizungen.php .

Furthermore, the Truma product Catalog does seem to suggest that the diesel variant is available in an "E", electric-capable version -- see http://www.truma.com/flip/truma_campingworld_2014_de/#18 and http://www.truma.com//flip/truma_camping_world_2014_uk/index.html#18 :


8.jpg........... 9.jpg


So let's put it this way: Truma needs to clarify and clean up a number of its webpages. Some of these webpages are probably such a mess because the Truma Combi 6 D E is still a very new product. It seems as if Truma came out with a diesel version of the Combi back in 2008, but the diesel-electric dual-fuel version perhaps only last year?

You mentioned that when the Truma Combi 6 D E runs on electricity, the power output is only 1,800 watts, instead of the full 6,000 watts when running on diesel. Where did you get the 1,800 watt figure from? It does not appear anywhere on any of the web-pages or pdfs just referenced. Again, the only figure that I've come across for electric power output is 1,000 watts - see http://www.espar.co.uk/Images/Truma_Combi_Heating_Systems_2pp.pdf or http://www.southdownsmotorcaravans.co.uk/pdf/sdmc_truma_combi_heating_flyer.pdf . What Truma websites or pdfs would you be looking at instead?


****************************************

9. Webasto Dual Top Heater



Thanks for the “heads up” about Webasto, and yes, the “New Dual Top Evo generation” is in fact “dual-fuel” – see http://www.webasto.com/gb/markets-p...ng-solutions/integrated-heaters/dual-top-evo/ and http://www.webasto.com/fileadmin/we...ternational/rv/data-sheet/rv-dual-top-evo.pdf . Like the Truma, this Webasto integrated solution warms forced-air for central heating, as well as producing hot water for kitchen and shower, and includes an 11 liter hot-water boiler. Thankfully, Webasto's product literature is very clear, and states:

“The Webasto Dual Top Evo 6 uses only diesel from vehicle‘s fuel tank. Whereas the Webasto Dual Top Evo 7 and Evo 8 are also equipped with an electrical coil that allows for heating the cabin and providing process hot water via a 230 V connection.”
Like the Truma Combi 6 D E, the Webasto Dual Top Evo 8 gets 6000 W with diesel, and 1000 – 2000 W when running just electric. But like the Alde, the Webasto Dual Top can also run diesel-electric simultaneously, and so potential maximum power output is 8,000 W.

I then wonder if Eberspracher makes something similar? As near as I can tell, Eberspracher does not make an “integrated” combined water/air heater. Eberspracher makes either air-heaters, its “Airtronic” line of products; or Eberspracher makes water-heaters, its “Hydronic” line – see http://www.eberspaecher.co.uk/fuel-operated-heaters/product-portfolio.html . Eberspracher does not seem interested in creating combination solutions, as per Truma and Webasto.

Indeed, the heater in the Truma Combi 6 D is an Eberspracher, so perhaps Eberspracher is happy to just license its technology to Truma, to repackage as integrated solutions?


****************************************

10.
Webasto Dual Top versus Truma Combi


The Webasto Dual-Top's altitude limit is 2,200 m, and not 2,750 m as per the Truma Combi 6 D E.

2,200 m is just 7,200 feet, or roughly the altitude of Mexico City (7,380 feet) – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico_City :

“Do Webasto heaters work at high altitudes?

Yes!

All Webasto heaters are tested and approved to work reliably up to 1,500 m, which is sufficient for most European mountains. The Air Top Evo and Dual Top Evo range even work up to 2,200 m thanks to the integrated automatic altitude sensor. The Air Top 2000 ST is optionally equipped with an integrated switch for altitude operation of up to 2,200 m.

For altitudes above 2,200 m it is possible to adjust our heaters. Please contact your local Webasto dealer for further details.

Passing over the mountains while the heater is in operation, is not a problem for any of the Webasto heaters.”
So despite that overly emphatic marketing-hype “Yes!” in the above response to an FAQ, the stated, official altitude capability of the Webasto is not great. See http://www.webasto.com/int/markets-...utions/service-downloads/faq-heating-general/ . But the Dual-Top's fully automatic altitude sensor is integrated, whereas the Truma's is an add-on kit. Integrated seems preferred.

On the other hand, it would be nice if all-electric heating did not kick in until after 9,000 feet, instead of at 7,000 feet. So perhaps here everything depends on just how usable and convenient Truma's “high altitude kit" might be?


****************************************

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

.
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
.
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

****************************************



11. Webasto and Truma: the Altitude Limits of Both


****************************************



It seems fairly clear that even with a “dual-fuel” integrated heater like the Webasto Dual-Top or the Truma 6 D E, a supplementary form of all-electric heating would be necessary for altitudes above 10,000 feet. Sure, one can experiment to see whether a Webasto or Truma can go higher, and reach 12,000 or 13,000 feet. But for extended traveling at 13,500 to 18,000 feet, something more guaranteed seems necessary. Of course, when the Webasto or the Truma switch over to electric-only heating, they will still generate 1000 - 2000 KW of power. But for a medium-sized or larger expedition motorhome, 2000 KW of electrically-generated heat will not prove sufficient to keep a camper box warm on the Tibetan plateau.

So at 15,000 feet, supplementary electrical heaters of the kind made by Eberspacher might heat the camper, while the “dual-fuel” integrated heater could still produce hot water (electrically) for just kitchen and shower – see http://www.espar.com/products/electrical-heaters.html , http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...J19NEDn4QvjIA6-Jjw&bvm=bv.68235269,bs.1,d.bGQ , http://www.eberspaecher.com/en/top-thema-01.html .

These could be multiple “decentralized” PTC electric heaters, located at various positions in the vehicle – see http://www.eberspaecher.com/en/electrical-heaters/decentral-heaters.html and http://www.eberspaecher.com/en/electrical-heaters/decentral-heating-systems.html . Or they could be more conventional “supplemental” electric heaters – see http://www.eberspaecher.com/en/electrical-heaters/standard-heaters.html , http://www.eberspaecher.com/en/electrical-heaters/high-voltage-heaters.html , http://www.eberspaecher.com/en/electrical-heaters/electronic-heaters.html , http://www.eberspaecher.com/en/electrical-heaters/is-heaters.html .

Here it seems worth investigating who else makes automotive electrical heating solutions of this kind.

LoRoad: what kinds of all-electric solutions might you be currently investigating?


****************************************

12. Eberspracher Hydronic MII-10 or MII-12 versus Webasto ThermoTop C



Downside to all this is complexity. A simpler solution would be to forego engine heating (there are other options for cold start help, something you do need at very cold temperatures, but not cab heating without the engine running). Drop the whole heat exchanger business (thus no sharing of engine heat with the rear box while driving). And go for a simple dual setup, one webasto or eberspacher air heater, connected to the same pipes as a Truma gas heater with 240v. You can heat the air with both gas/diesel/electricity as you wish, but only heat the water with gas or electricity.
Yes, agreed, complexity is an issue.

But perhaps as long as one lays the pipes in such a way that if one component fails, it does not mess up the entire system, then perhaps having multiple sources of heat in the system would prove a strength, not a weakness? An additional “hydronic” heater/heat-exchanger by Webasto or Eberspracher on the engine could serve as another backup, just in case the integrated diesel-electric “Combi” heater (Truma or Webasto) fails. An all-electric or LPG/electric boiler in the system (Isotherm? Elegna? Whale?) would provide some additional backup.

But from everything I've read so far, I would be inclined to go with an Eberspracher Hydronic MII-12, and not the Webasto ThermoTop C, for the reasons given on the “Project Dino” website:

Having an auxiliary heating system with a hot water option was a high priority for us. Specially on longer trips in colder regions, a warm shower and warm interior makes a huge difference for your personal comfort.

There are many different ways of heating air/water in an RV. For us a Diesel powered coolant heater from Espar
(Hydronic D 4 W SC) made the most sense for a few reasons. First its very compact as space is limited, second you only have to have one single source of fuel on board and third you can preheat your Diesel engine on very cold days. The reason for an Espar vs. Webasto is the better availability of spare parts worldwide as well as the possibility to run the heater over a longer period of time in high elevation (over 1500m above sea level – with special fuel pump sensor) which we are going to have a lot during our time in the Andes.
See http://dinoevo.de/diesel-coolant-heater-hot-water-tank/ .

The model of Eberspracher that "Project Dino" used no longer seems to be manufactured, but the Hydronic MII-10 or MII-12 seems preferred in any case, because it has fully integrated, completely automatic altitude adjustment up to 3,500 m. See http://www.eberspacher.com/products/fuel-operated-heaters/water-heating.html , http://www.eberspaecher.co.uk/fuel-operated-heaters/product-portfolio/water-heaters.html , http://www.espar.com/products/fuel-...t-selection/coolant-heaters/hydronic-mii.html , http://www.espar.com/fileadmin/data/countrysites/EB_Kanada/pdf/Hydronic_M-II_Spec_sheet.pdf , http://www.eberspaecher.co.uk/filea...zeugheizungen/je_wasserheizungen_tab03_en.jpg , and see post # 23 above.

This seems fairly unique in the world of diesel heaters, and it's also unique even when compared to Eberspracher's other “high-altitude options” – see http://www.esparparts.com/techsupport/pdfs/High Altitude Kits/High altitude options 11-2012.pdf .

For the Webasto Thermotop C, see http://www.webasto.com/gb/markets-p...lant-water-heaters/thermo-top-c-motorcaravan/ , and http://www.webasto.com/fileadmin/we...international/rv/data-sheet/rv-thermo-top.pdf . If Charlie's comment earlier in the thread is any indication, there is nothing automatic or easy about Thermotop altitude adjustment:

Unicat supplied me with a modification of the fuel system going to my Webasto Thermo Top C.

Basically two "T"s with a bypass from the fuel line from the pump-heater line to the fuel return line with a needle valve. One full turn every 1000m above 2000m. Essentially a partial short circuit of the fuel system.

Haven't installed it yet.

Charlie
Of course, the question still arises: what happens to the Eberspracher Hydronic MII above 3,500 m?

Well, as you suggested Julius, there are other ways to heat up a cold engine. So perhaps when travelling the Himalayas one simply has to accept that the Eberspracher Hydronic MII element in the system simply will not work. And that one has to heat up a cold engine that won't start some other way.

If so, then perhaps there is no need to install a multi-pump/multi-altitude system, as per that MAN-KAT mobile home that Iain_U1250 referenced earlier in the thread – see https://translate.google.com/transl...e/whitemankat/about-us/fahrzeug-daten-technik , https://translate.google.com/transl...://sites.google.com/site/whitemankat/about-us , https://translate.google.com/transl...ttps://sites.google.com/site/whitemankat/home , and http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...us/fahrzeug-daten-technik/fahrer-haus-heizung .

As they admit on the website, they only came up with such a system because their MAN-KAT, built circa 1970, has “no motor heating of the cab”. In most expedition vehicles the diesel engine will be turbocharged, ergo able to handle high-altitude (one hopes...:)). And so in most expedition vehicles the cab-heating system that comes with the engine, and that works with heat generated directly by the engine, should also work at extreme altitudes. Of course this won't be enough to heat the rest of the motorhome. That would have to be handled instead by the electrical heating elements already mentioned above, in section 11.

But with an Eberspracher Hydronic MII-10 or MII-12 installed on the engine, the water circulating in the system could still be heated at least partially by diesel, from 2,750 m to 3,500 m. The Webasto or the Truma Combi heater will have gone “all-electric” after 2,200 m or 2,750 m, but the Eberspracher on the engine could keep functioning well above that, until 3,500 m.

And needless to say, if one were willing to consult Mrs. Gabriela S. and Dipl. Ing. Marcel S. at Eberspracher, they might be willing to help one design a simple 2-pump system, to get the Eberspracher from 3,500 m to 4,500 m; and from 4,500 m to 5,500 m – see https://sites.google.com/site/whitemankat/about-us/fahrzeug-daten-technik/fahrer-haus-heizung .

In summary, although putting an Eberspracher Hydronic MII-10 or MII-12 on the engine adds complexity, as the Webasto website suggests there are some good reasons to have an additional heater up front:

"What is the use of an additional heater?

There are different possibilities when it comes to additional heaters.

Large (e.g. integrated) motorhomes usually loose the majority of heating energy through the windscreen. The big windscreens are not well insulated, and condensation water concentrates in this area. Also if you swivel the drivers' and passenger's seats around towards the dinette, you may feel cool air on your back.

In order to avoid both, the Thermo Top C Motorcaravan heats the driving cab specifically, and reduces the accumulation of condensation. It is mounted in the engine compartment and the air is distributed through the vehicle's own fan system.

Also, an additional air heater makes sense when your existing heating system is not sufficient ,or if you would like to feel secure on holiday by not having to rely on your LPG gas supplies. You can use the larger Webasto heaters to heat the entire motorhome, or you can use the Air Top 2000 ST when a bit more power in the front area is needed, or to warm other parts which are not well reached by the existing main heater."
See http://www.webasto.com/int/markets-...utions/service-downloads/faq-heating-general/ .

This sounds like good advice; except that an Eberspracher Hydronic MII-10 or MII-12 seems to be the best choice, at the present moment, for high altitude.


****************************************

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

.
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
.
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

****************************************



13. High-Altitude Generator


****************************************



Any thoughts about a turbo-charger-equipped diesel generator? Or a diesel generator that might work at very high-altitudes without a turbocharger?

A diesel generator is very relevant to high-altitude heating in more ways than one. First, it will supply the electricity that drives the electrical heating elements when the vehicle engine is turned off, the dual-alternators are no longer producing power, and it's cloudy and there is little solar available.

And second, the generator itself, if liquid-cooled, can also be a source of hot water. Whisper Power, for instance, makes diesel generators intentionally designed to generate hot water as well – see for instance http://www.pilotmedia.us/NewProducts/newprods_whispergen.htm , http://www.mackboring.com/cmfiles/docs/product_brochure.pdf , http://www.whisperpower.com , http://www.whisperpower.com/8/27/support/downloads.html , http://www.whisperpower.com/8/27/7/support/downloads/catalogues.html , http://www.sailfishmarine.co.uk/Web.../602C/WhisperPower-Catalogue-EN-2011-2012.pdf , http://www.whisperpower.com/phpimg/wp_download_86f59c83390686a751b_0a_WhisperPowerBook_20142015.pdf , and http://www.whisperpower.com/phpimg/...5f554_0a_OffGridWhisperPowerBook_20142015.pdf ,

Again, I am designing a large motorhome (by expedition vehicle standards), in the 9 – 10 m range, like egn's “Blue Thunder”. Newell's Class-A motorhomes are usually fitted with 15 – 20 KW generators, so I am looking for more or less the same size, which is just as well, because it seems that only the larger generators are turbocharged.

Here is what I wrote in the another thread about generators:

[egn],

Do you have a Fischer-Panda generator in your MANKAT? If so, what model?

As with washing machines, there might be a bit of a transatlantic divide when it comes to generators. Winnebago, Fleetwood, Tiffin, and other Class-A motorhome manufacturers all seem to specify Cummins Onan generators. However, interestingly enough, Newell does not.

The generator that Newell specifies instead is a bit difficult to determine, because Newell is not very forthcoming about the model it uses on its webpages. Instead, Newell simply states that its generators are 20 KW, and very low-noise – see http://www.newellcoach.com/features/standard-equipment/ , http://www.newellcoach.com/features/specifications/ . One has to search around a bit to figure out what make and model this might be.

As near as I can tell, Newell has used two brands: Martin Diesel, and Kohler – see http://www.newellcoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/NewellNews_Vol34Iss3.pdf , http://www.fmcmagazine.com/back-issues/2013/october/7483-newell-2020p?tmpl=component&print=1&page= , http://www.luxurycoachlifestyle.com...kw-kohler-diesel-generator-wont-power-ac.html , and http://www.luxurycoachlifestyle.com/forum/search.php?searchid=3549 .

The Martin Diesel CGS series of generators seems very attractive, because they are designed to be very low-noise – see http://www.martindiesel.com/index.htm , http://www.martindiesel.com/Products/products_generators.htm , and
http://www.martindiesel.com/Products/Generators/CGS Series.htm .

The Kohler looks none too shabby neither – see http://www.kohlerpower.com/index.htm , http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/category.htm?categoryNumber=12961&sectionNumber=13361 , http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/filterresults.htm?categoryNumber=12961&sectionNumber=13361 , http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/f...mber=12961&sectionNumber=13361&filter_1=60 Hz , http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/d...oryNumber=11861&filter_1=60 Hz&prodnum=232861 , http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g3049.pdf , http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g3044.pdf , http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/adv7391.pdf , and http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/adv7394.pdf .

If you have any time to look at this information, please let me know what you think.

What follows below is the beginning of a survey of generators, and their potential (or possible lack thereof) for high-altitude operation. This seems like the best place on ExPo to do this survey, but again, what follows below is just a beginning. This series of posts is already long enough! In future posts I'll try to address some of the other major generator manufacturers, like Fischer-Panda, Martin Diesel, Kubota, Hatz, Power Tech, etc.

But before I continue, it's also worth asking: what generators do ActionMobil and UniCat typically install? That might indicate a good direction to follow. And what about other expedition motorhome fabricators? As already shown above, the market-leading American fabricator, Earthroamer, does not install diesel generators. But what about Tiger or GXV? And what about less well-known German fabricators?


A. Cummins Onan

Cummins' largest RV-specified model, the RV QD 10000/12500, produces either 10 KW or 12.5 KW, weighs 765 pounds or 347 kg, and measures: length 1051 mm (41.1 in), width 622 mm (24.5 in), height 685 mm (27 in) . But the Cummins RV QD 10000/12500 is not turbocharged. See http://power.cummins.com/onanpowerWeb/navigation.do?pageId=510&parentId=0&linkName=Applications , http://power.cummins.com/onanpowerWeb/navigation.do?pageId=521 , http://power.cummins.com/onanpowerW...52&parentId=533&linkName=RV Diesel Generators , http://power.cummins.com/onanpowerWeb/navigation.do?pageId=964&parentId=533&linkName=RV Generators , and https://powersuite.cummins.com/PS5/...nary_Asset/pdf/Consumer/specsheets/a-1483.pdf .

Cummins also makes a larger 20 KW unit for “commercial vehicles” that weighs 890 lbs or 403 kg, but it too is not turbocharged – see http://power.cummins.com/onanpowerW...tId=533&linkName=Commercial Diesel Generators and http://power.cummins.com/onanpowerW...tId=533&linkName=Commercial Diesel Generators.

In general, it seems that Cummins-Onan does not make turbo-charged diesel generators except in very large sizes, for marine applications for instance – see http://power.cummins.com/onanpowerW...d=655&parentId=533&linkName=Marine Generators .


B. Whisper Power

Whisper Power does make a series of turbo-charged high-power geneators, and the smallest one, the M-GV 50, is comparable in weight to the Cummins generators just described above: 400 kg, or 882 lbs. The M-GV 50 generates a whopping 33 to 50 KW – see http://www.whisperpower.com/4/21/products/generator-systems-(high-power).html , http://www.whisperpower.com/4/21/161/products/generator-systems-(high-power)/m-gv-50-genverter.html , http://www.whisperpower.com/phpimg/wp_product_download_1cb62b18531caa25015_0a_d-gv-50-datasheet.pdf . It is “freshwater cooled”, so presumably it could be integrated into the heating system of the rest of the vehicle.

As near as I can tell, none of the smaller generators that WhisperPower makes are turbo-charged. But WhisperPower does make a very interesting series of “programmable RPM” generators:

“Instead of adding an alternator with fixed speed on the back of the fly-wheel, we have designed a very compact permanent magnet alternator (PM), located just behind the engine. As a result, these systems are much smaller and lighter compared to traditional generators.”
See http://www.whisperpower.com/4/2/products/generators-(programmable-rpm).html .

The same technology seems to be incorporated into WhisperPower's high-power turbo-charged generators, which perhaps explains the M-GV 50's comparatively light weight – see http://www.whisperpower.com/4/21/products/generator-systems-(high-power).html . The WhisperPower M-GV 50 produces over twice the power of the Cummins 20 KW, but it weighs the same. And it produces three to four times as much power as the Cummins 12.5 KW, but weighs only 60 kg more. The WhisperPower M-GV 50 is about the same length as the Cummins 12.5 KW, but it is wider and taller – length 1062 in mm (41.8 in), width 868 mm (34.2 in), height 830 mm (32.7 in).


C. WhisperPower versus Kohler

The WhisperPower M-GV 50 also looks good compared to Kohler's RV-specified generators of equivalent output (see http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/filterresults.htm?categoryNumber=12961&sectionNumber=13361 ):

***************

20 KW, 358 kg, 790 lbs, turbo-charged-- see http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/detail.htm?sectionNumber=13361&categoryNumber=12961&prodnum=232861 and http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g3044.pdf .
25 KW, 526 kg, 1160 lbs, not turbo-charged? -- see http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/detail.htm?sectionNumber=13361&categoryNumber=12961&prodnum=241161 and http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g3045.pdf .
30 KW, 526 kg, 1160 lbs, not turbo-charged? -- see http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/detail.htm?sectionNumber=13361&categoryNumber=12961&prodnum=241261 and http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g3045.pdf .
33 KW, 535.2 kg, 1180 lbs, turbo-charged -- see http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/detail.htm?sectionNumber=13361&categoryNumber=12961&prodnum=241361 and http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g3046.pdf .
40 KW, 535.2 kg, 1180 lbs, turbo-charged -- see http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/detail.htm?sectionNumber=13361&categoryNumber=12961&prodnum=241461 and http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g3046.pdf .

***************


Most of the larger Kohler generators appear to be turbocharged, as well as most of the smaller ones, i.e. the 12.5 KW, 15 KW, and 16 KW models -- see http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/detail.htm?sectionNumber=13361&categoryNumber=12961&prodnum=232561 , http://www.kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g3044.pdf , http://www.kohlerpower.com/mobile/filterresults.htm?categoryNumber=12961&sectionNumber=13361 , etc.

The turbo-charged 20 KW Kohler certainly compares favorably agains the Cummins-Onan 12.5 KW. The Kohler 20 KW is only 11 kg or 25 lbs heavier than the Cummins-Onan 12.5 KW, but the Kohler produces 20 KW instead of 12 KW, and it is turbo-charged. But the larger Kohlers all weigh much more than the WhisperPower M-GV 50. Indeed, they weigh over 100 kg more, or an additional 280 - 300 lbs. And yet they produce roughly the same power as the M-GV 50. The M-GV 50 is variable rpm, and so presumably at top rpm it can produce 50 KW, a figure that none of the Kohler generators specified for RV's can match.

In terms of size, the Kohler 40 KW is longer (1228 versus 1062 mm), narrower (610 mm versus 868 mm), and taller (876 mm versus 830 mm) than the WhisperPower M-GV 50. Overall, the Kohler occupies .6563 cubic meters, whereas the WhisperPower occupies .7651 cubic meters, so the Kohler is more compact.


****************************************

In closing, please remember that I am not an expedition vehicles engineer, so the above is all hypothetical. I am not writing as an EV expert offering advice, but rather as a designer who is just trial-balooning some ideas, to see what others think. Needless to say, it would be great to hear from those who've had experience fitting out and/or driving vehicles across the Altiplano, or the Tibetan Plateau.


All best wishes,




Biotect
 
Last edited:

julius0377

Adventurer
High altitude thoughts and considerations

Hi Biotect! Many, many good points and considerations. Here are some thoughts:

Some participants on ExPo are strongly pro-diesel and anti-LPG, and Earthroamer is famous for completely eliminating LPG – see http://earthroamer.com/xv-lt/safety/no-volatile-propane/ , http://earthroamer.com/xv-lt/safety/ , and
http://earthroamer.com/employees-facilities/ . I am in the same camp.
I agree with this and would be in this camp too if my main use of my EV was expeditions to far away places over long stretches of time (several months to years at a time). My use is mostly shorter trips (weeks), with some 2-3 month “expeditions” to cold/high/remote areas every second/third year. This is highly individual and would be different for every client. An expedition motorhome for extended living will have to take into account where it will be parked most nights, and this should guide the choices of everything onboard.

If the answer to the above is being in campgrounds more than half of the time you use your EV, parking near urban/suburban/village areas a certain amount of time, and a small percentage (1-5 %) being far away from civilisation, I'm not sure foregoing LPG is such a good choice. Most european campers (non expedition) use LPG widely and extensively, without issue, so the Earthroamer claims are somewhat tenous. If you look at the very long travels undertaken by “ordinary" motorhomes under the guided tours of for example http://www.abenteuerosten.de/atw-2012/rec_036/, looks like they are finding propane/lpg along their routes with a bit of planning and research ahead of departure. It is certainly possible.

This is where dual redundancy comes in. The cost of a dual diesel/lpg system in an EV both in space and price, is comparatively small when looking at the total budget and space in/for a large EV. And if you use your EV anything at all like a “normal” RV for parts of the time, then it seems very costly and laboriously to omit LPG. It is however the way it is ofthen done, just look at the largest Unicats/Action Mobils.

Fuel autonomy: Diesel fuel is uniform worldwide and available 24/7, all year long. A very precise monitoring of fuel supplies is possible via the fuel-gauge.

Heating autonomy: Heating while driving is allowed worldwide. By supplying the heater with diesel out of the vehicle fuel tank, there is no need to search for fitting bottle connectors or hassle of exchanging gas bottles in foreign countries.

More space: Gas bottles in motorhome can be reduced as they do last longer anyway and all Webasto heaters can be mounted outside the vehicle. This leads to significantly more space inside the motorhome.

Less weight: In winter, more than 80% of LPG gas is needed only for interior heating. By using diesel operated heaters, the LPG gas bottles can be downsized to one single 5 kg bottle and up to 35 kg of additional load can be gained.
To comment on Webasto's info above:
Yes, diesel is available worldwide. But gas is also available in very, very, very many places. If you are redundant, as you should be, then it is a non issue. Use gas when available, and diesel when not. Measuring a gas tank is no longer an issue, you get very precise readings with simpe instruments.

In spring/summer/early autum my gas bottles last for months at a time. The gas is only used to heat the water, and I use electricity to heat both water and camper via a hookup or generator when possible. Using gas to heat while driving is a non issue. You can even heat with the inverter while driving having hot water when you arrive and 0 gas usage to do it. Plug in to an electric grid and you are still using 0 % gas.

More space is true, but a large EV should have redundancy, and then the space will be used anyway, so why not for an LPG solution?

Less weight in the 35-100 kg amount is a non issue with a large EV. This argument is however very valid for a normal motorhome that has to stay within the 3500 kg weight limit.

Can an Elenga boiler be LPG driven as well?
I do not think an Elgena is available in LPG, but Truma has this one for LPG and electricity with a 14 litre capacity:
http://www.truma.com/int/en/water-systems/boiler-b-10-b-14.php

Also for example these boilers are air heat driven, being placed “in line” with the heat output pipe from a webasto/truma/eberspacher setup:
http://www.elgena.de/index.php/produkt/druckfest/compact-luft.html
http://www.truma.com/int/en/water-systems/therme.php
It should be possible to place these inline with another integrated boiler like Alde/Truma/Webasto, increasing the capacity with 5-10 litres (just enough to eek out two showers in the morning instead of one.) The downside is you neet to use heat to make them warm, unless you are driving with an inverter, or you are hooked up to an electrical grid.

Given that the whole point to an additional boiler would be to significantly supplement the 10 – 12 L boilers of integrated “combi” heaters, just adding a 13 L “Whale” boiler might seem pointless? So which size of boiler would you recommend? And do you know of any manufacturers other than “Whale”, who might make larger, “dual-fuel” LPG-electric boilers?
I think 10-15 liters of extra capacity is what you need. (Total warm water amount in the 20-30 liter range). This gives two people the chance to shower the same morning without having to wait 30-60 minutes for the water to warm up. If you are 4 people traveling, then 2 showering in the morning and 2 in the evening, or 2 and 2 on a rotation of showering every second day, seems very doable.

Also, would you recommend a “calorifier”, as opposed to a boiler? If so, which brands?
If you run a heating system based on convectors and heat exchangers (water heating from webasto/eberspacher/alde) it makes sense to utilise this heat with a calorifier. Particularly one with an electric option, and even more important if you have a heat exchanger with the engine (then you can heat the water with excess heat from the engine).

Just curious: how do you feel about “on demand” hot water? LoRoad mentioned this in the first post in the thread, but it has not been addressed since
I have no experience with this in motorhomes. It may be a good option, but my experiences with “on demand” hot water from ordinary homes is mixed at best, and a usually a disaster. May be there are good options for this out there, but the 5-6 homes/hotels I have visited with on demand hot water invariably scolds you with very hot water in the start and then ends up being lukewarm for the remainder of the shower. But again, I'm definitely no expert on this and should be taken with a grain of salt.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Alde system is so effective, that even after you've used all the water in the boiler, the shower water still remains hot. In effect, the Alde provides “on demand” hot water. But I am not certain about this.
The Alde 3010 produces 12 litres of 40 degress celcius water pr. 30 minutes (from water having 10 degrees initial temperature, as per the instruction manual). The Truma 6 kw systems produce 10 litres of 60 degrees water in approximately 20 minutes (from 15 degrees initial water temperature, as per the specification sheet). (I could not find the webasto dual top heat-up times for water in the litterature published online.)

The Alde puts out 5.5 KW of power with gas, a bit less than the Truma Combi 6 D E or the Webasto Dual Top, which produce 6 KW. But the Alde also puts out 3.2 KW of power when electric, much more than either the Truma or the Webasto. Furthermore, in the Alde gas and electric can be used at the same time, so its maximum potential output is 8.3 KW, which isn't bad….:)
The Alde has a combined output of 8.3 KW
The Truma has a combined output of 5.8 KW (lower than with diesel or gas alone, no reason stated in the published litterature.)
The Webasto dual top has a combined output of 8 kw.

But the Alde is LPG, not diesel, and who knows what it's altitude capability would be.
I have tried to search online for altitude limits to LPG systems and found none (using both English, my native Norwegian, as well as “google translated” German.) Maybe this means there are few incidents with this, and that users generally find they work? Surely there must be some “lpg powered” expeditions to high altitudes with online diaries that discuss issues if they had any?

But just to play devil's advocate: it might simplify the system a great deal to go “all-hydronic”, because the pipes that carry water to/from from the heat-exchanger on the vehicle engine (for instance), could also circulate through the passive radiators that heat the cab and box. This might be one of the reasons why ActionMobil and UniCat favor all-hydronic systems. I have not yet looked into the systems that they tend to favor, which manufacturers they choose, etc. Off the top of your head, would you know which these might be? All ActionMobil and UniCat expedition vehicles are “bespoke” creations, so perhaps they will use different heating systems, depending on customer requirements and preferences?

More to the point, do ActionMobil and UniCat design their heating systems (including the diesel generator), to take into account the extreme, 3,500 - 5,500 m altitude of the Tibetan Plateau or Altiplano?
Going “all-hydronic” is much less simple than “all-air” due to the large amount of convectors, exchangers, valves, etc. that you need. Two ways about it:
I would suggest all hydronic, or all air, and never a mix! Dual pipes (water and air) seems like a waste. Both systems can utilize engine heat, water to water or water to air. See Eberspachers brochure for convectors of water to air. I assume with some smart piping the water to air convectors could use the same air-piping as the heater/boiler from truma/webasto.

If you go for a hydronic engine heater (webasto/eberspacer) you already have a component that is hydronic, so going the all hydronic route with an Alde boiler, and perhaps a supplementary calorifier, seems like the smartes way in that instance. Here you get triple redundandy for heating and water (diesel/electric/lpg). Simplification would be to drop the redundancy and go from diesel/lpg/electric, to pure diesel/electric with only the engine heater and a calorifier.

If you choose a different cold-start method like for example the flame-start form Borg Warner http://www.beru.com/download/produkte/TI01_en.pdf, then you could simplify your system a lot by going with an air heater from webasto or eberspacher, as well as an LPG Truma product. You do not however get redundant water heating, if the Tuma goes dead, your hot water stops. For redundant water heating you would need to install a dual-top from Webasto, but then you need to connect three items to the same air-piping if you want to utilize engine heat (Webasto heater/boiler, Truma heater/boiler and Eberspacher convector.) Seems like a difficult task, and I would suggest all-hydronic if you want an “all-in” solution with redundancy everywhere. This is perhaps why Unicat and Action mobil etc. goes this route.

And here is one more manufacturer worth thinking about: Interational Thermal Research (ITR).
I did not know about these, good find!

Checking out parts availability would be my primary concern, if not some of their products seem like good options.

Earthroamer stongly advocates for a dual-alternator solution. So much so, that Earthroamer suggests a diesel generator is not necessary.
I agree with EGN on this. A generator is preferable between the two, and an alternator is no replacement for a generator. You do however need a strong alternator unless you want to connect to the grid frequently or have a noisy genset running all the time. So factor in a heavy duty alternator as an option to any chassis you consider for your EV. Mastervolt has a nice alternator for 24 volts http://www.mastervolt.com/automotive/products/alternators-24v/alpha-24-150-mb/ as well as a host of other desirable EV products.

I would however from both an environmental viewpoint and a noise perspective go for a large solar array, with a large battery bank and a large alternator with a heavy duty 12/24 v split charger in the mix. You should be able to make a system like this for an EV without having to resort to a generator, unless you plan on running an AC for large amounts of time while standing still away from civilisation.

So the Truma 6E does seem like a nearly ideal solution – if indeed the diesel version of the Truma D6 heater can handle electric. Please let me explain why I had some doubts.
I agree it is very confusing that Truma operates so many websites and does not dissipate their product litterature quickly amongst them. This is the current products from their “international” website:
Combi 4 (Gas) http://www.truma.com/int/en/heating/combi-4.php
Combi 6 (Gas) http://www.truma.com/int/en/heating/combi-6.php
Combi 4E (Gas/Electric) http://www.truma.com/int/en/heating/combi-4-e.php
Combi 6E (Gas/Electric) http://www.truma.com/int/en/heating/combi-6-e.php
Combi D6 (Diesel) http://www.truma.com/int/en/heating/diesel-heater-combi-d-6.php
Combi D6E (Diesel/Electric) http://www.truma.com/int/en/heating/diesel-heater-combi-d-6-e.php

The old diesel heater did not have electricity, it is new from 2013 I believe, and also leads to some confusion.

You mentioned that when the Truma Combi 6 D E runs on electricity, the power output is only 1,800 watts, instead of the full 6,000 watts when running on diesel. Where did you get the 1,800 watt figure from?
It is stated in the instruction manual of the Combi D6E. Downloadable form the international website.

I then wonder if Eberspracher makes something similar? As near as I can tell, Eberspracher does not make an “integrated” combined water/air heater. Eberspracher makes either air-heaters, its “Airtronic” line of products; or Eberspracher makes water-heaters, its “Hydronic” line – see http://www.eberspaecher.co.uk/fuel-operated-heaters/product-portfolio.html . Eberspracher does not seem interested in creating combination solutions, as per Truma and Webasto.
Indeed and good point.

I have no experience with water heating times using a calorifies, so this should be researched thoroughly when going the Eberspacher route.

On the topic of altitude, going all electric seems only possible if you have additional heaters, and you still would need a lot of energy (basically a strong generator) to do this.

I have no experience with diesel generators, but a quick search reveals a lot of displeasure with some brands, in particular in sailing forums. This should be taken lightly, as the interweb forums usually display product dissatisfaction and not satisfaction in the same amount, and any negative feedback should be taken lightly until a certain statistical level can be asserted. Going for another fuel for the generator is counter intuitive to installing an LPG system in my mind… Unless it is a small Honda and a 5 litre canister of fuel…

It seems fairly clear that even with a “dual-fuel” integrated heater like the Webasto Dual-Top or the Truma 6 D E, a supplementary form of all-electric heating would be necessary for altitudes above 10,000 feet.
To me it seems like a Webasto or Eberspacher is not a viable alternative at high altitudes, and that electric heating requires a generator (I would not go for this, but many do).

What I would be left with as an option is to test if LPG would work as the redundant/secondary heater, and to figure out how large an lpg tank I would need to stay at a high altitude for say 2-3 weeks or so. I would use diesel as the primary heating device for all other altitudes. If I where to stay for a prolonged time I would look into if changing the injectors and air/diesel mix of a webasto/eberspacher and see if that does the trick. For example the “high altitude kit” for a Truma is basically just a separate fuel line with a different injector and air/diesel-mix and perhaps delivery pressure.

Lastly a lot of the diesel heaters (water and air) have 2500-3000 hours service life. Say you stay at altitude in the Tibetan Plateau, where you can in worst case scenarios have freezing temperatures from october through april. This means you reach the devices service life about halfway through the freezing season, going into “it may break any minute” territory. Unless you teach yourself how to service it and bring parts (not uncommon and a good solution.) You may even find someone to service it, but then you are not “far-away” are you?

Many, many, many considerations to all these questions, and no correct answer unless you have the users/cilents specific requirements and proposted usage defined in advance.
 
Last edited:

Mundo4x4Casa

West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
Julius,
I would hate to be the first one to respond to all this tech talk. Wait! I am. My eyes are still rolling around. We use a 1998 hard-side Lance Lite 8'6", narrow, 165-s extended cab truck camper. Bought it 3 yrs. used for $6500. It is pretty basic but has all the stuff we need for XTC-ing. The good part is the appliances are geared for Norte Americano use. Propane is mucho available and cheap. We still have the 3-way fridge with 110v/12v/propane. It works fine. What doesn't work so well is any of the propane appliances above about 11K feet. A few yrs ago we made a monumental trip over all the jeep passes in the San Juans, climbing and camping all week near the summits of the passes from 11K feet up to 13, 200 foot Imogene Pass.

On the way up to Imogene Pass from Telluride, way down there to the left in that trench:

On our last night we were at, "OH!" point near Engineer Pass and I was making supper in the box using the stove top. Fine.

I had the propane heater set to come on (actually inadvertently) when the temp dropped below a certain point and @ about 4 AM, it came to pass. The mixture was so rich, it set off my gas alarm in the box and I left the camper, in a tanktop, shoeless and holding my ears. I turned the heater off, but the loudest bleat I have ever heard kept coming out of the alarm. We had to stand a long ways from the box to endure that situation. I also had woes with my Honda E2000, which worked O.K. at 10K feet but at 13K plus it would hardly start or run. I have a 'jet set' to cover the altitudes now, but it's kind of a pain even with only one lung.
If it were not too late for me, I would appreciate all diesel appliances and I actually live very near The XPCamper people who have done marvelous things with a world truck camper. The Wescott's of Turtle Expedition fame are also my neighbors. Where is that you ask? Nevada City, California 95959. No, it's not in Nevada. I do have some querries. Are the diesel set ups heavier than the lpg or propane set ups?. What about maintenance?
regards, as always, jefe
 

LoRoad

Adventurer
I had the propane heater set to come on (actually inadvertently) when the temp dropped below a certain point and @ about 4 AM, it came to pass. The mixture was so rich, it set off my gas alarm in the box and I left the camper - jefe
Jefe,

Not sure this will help or not, nor do I know if it's even real - but it has / does work for me and so perhaps there is some small merit to it. You know how a bag of chips will swell or shrink based on altitude - well it was suggested to me once that if I fill my LP tanks at or near the altitude I plan on being, it will yield better results. Now I have NO way of knowing if any of that 'Information' (it was of course free information) is accurate or not....but what I will say is that ever since I have been doing it I have had NO problems at high altitude using the LP in my Lance. If some liquid gas engineer can explain why this has worked, or tell me I'm pulling Jefe's leg...please.
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Some Random Notes

Life above 10,000 feet. Lived in Bolivia for three years and camped at around 14,000 feet. FWIW, at this altitude, very little works. Propane lantern would not glow, stove barely worked. In the end, the only thing that got hot was a fanned fire - attempts to cook on coals were useless. My experience is that you are going to be miserable above 10,000 feet and I simply would not spend any more time worrying about it than I would trying to run an air conditioner for a week in the Amazon - ain't gonna happen.

Webasto at Altitude. The Webasto Dual Top in my current truck works very well at above 10,000 feet, as do the propane furnaces in Provan Tigers and the Espar air heater in one Tiger. Observed all at the Tiger Rally above Leadville, Colorado. Was the Webasto silting up? Don't know, but it has been working perfectly at between 5,000 and 10,000 feet for weeks. N.B. The Espar owner runs his on kerosine, citing that this burns much cleaner.

Need for generator. Ndeke Luka has a 600Ah battery bank and 500w of solar panels. No generator and all electric cooking. Typical power consumption is is between 125 and 200 Ah from engine stop in the evening and engine start in the morning, depending on weather and menu. We achieve charge rates of over 150A at idle. With good sun, the charge rate is 30A from solar. Driving for the last two days in monsoon rains across Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, we still achieve 100% charge by noon.

Air Conditioner on Batteries. Air conditioner typically draws under 50A when the compressor is running and about 15A or less on fan only. Longevity is a matter of temperature, sunlight, etc. You have to watch the dials. N.B. On trick that works well is to idle the truck engine for 30 minutes to an hour during the first cool down stage. This greatly extends battery autonomy as this is the most power intensive period. I agree with Bill Swails - my 6.6 Duramax makes much less noise, and much less annoying noise, than any small genset that I have heard, with the possible exception of a small Yamaha which changed speed with load.

With proper wiring and adequate solar, we have not had to plug Neke Luka into shore power for months.

As with all of this, YMMV.
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
Hi jefe,

Some really interesting observations about the limits -- and potential dangers!! -- of LPG…..:Wow1:

I also had woes with my Honda E2000, which worked O.K. at 10K feet but at 13K plus it would hardly start or run. I have a 'jet set' to cover the altitudes now, but it's kind of a pain even with only one lung.

If it were not too late for me, I would appreciate all diesel appliances and I actually live very near The XPCamper people who have done marvelous things with a world truck camper. The Wescott's of Turtle Expedition fame are also my neighbors.

I've heard that the diesel cooktops (Wallas, Webasto) don't work well at high altitude either. In another thread, egn strongly recommended that electric is the way to go for a high-altitude hob, either ceramic or induction, as per the hob in DiploStrat's Tiger (see next post).

Your Honda E2000 generator is gasoline-fueled, right? See http://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/models/eu2000i . So perhaps it's surprising that it still worked as high as 10 K feet, let alone 5 K? On web-forums many suggest that turbocharged diesel is strongly preferred for high altitudes, in both cars and generators. Gasoline generators usually need to have an altitude-compensation adjustment on the carburetor -- see http://www.rvtechlibrary.com/generator/altitude.php . And it seems that getting the adjustment set correctly is sometimes difficult?

All best wishes,


Biotect
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
.
Life above 10,000 feet. Lived in Bolivia for three years and camped at around 14,000 feet. FWIW, at this altitude, very little works. Propane lantern would not glow, stove barely worked. In the end, the only thing that got hot was a fanned fire - attempts to cook on coals were useless. My experience is that you are going to be miserable above 10,000 feet and I simply would not spend any more time worrying about it than I would trying to run an air conditioner for a week in the Amazon - ain't gonna happen.

Hi DiploStrat,

One reason I plugged for "extreme-altitude capability" is because I've been on a number of treks hiking above 15,000 feet, in Tibet and Nepal, and enjoyed the altitude. In addition, one of my best friends is a Geshe born in Tibet, and I practice Buddhist meditation. So Tibet is perhaps more "real" for me than it might be for others? If I had the money and an appropriate vehicle, would love to spend months boondocking on the Tibetan plateau.

It's also worth nothing that the Tatra 815 GTC "Around the World" expedition seems to have spent a great deal of time above 13,000 feet: first along the length of the Andes, and then across the Tibetan Plateau. See post #284, and posts #288 - #303, at http://www.expeditionportal.com/for...pedition-RV-w-Rigid-Torsion-Free-Frame/page29 . The link to “page 29” will work if you use default ExPo pagination.

To be sure, my concerns are much more theoretical than LoRoad's, because I am merely designing a "TerraLiner" as an MFA thesis project, and not building an actual vehicle. But surely a "go anywhere" motorhome should be extreme-altitude capable? One wonders what ActionMobil, UniCat, Earthroamer et al, tell their customers: you can go anywhere with our expedition motorhomes, just not above 13,000 feet? Surely they must have some kind of "standard solution" for customers who want extreme-altitude capability? Customers who might want to travel from Mongolia to India, via Tibet?

Very interesting take on solar, heavy-duty battery bank, all-electric, and Tigers. Ndeke Luka looks great -- http://www.pbase.com/diplostrat/ndeke_luka , http://diplostrat.org , http://tigerowners.freeforums.org/introduction-diplostrat-t149-40.html , http://tigerowners.freeforums.org/introduction-diplostrat-t149-40.html , http://www.fenderforum.com/forum.html?db=&topic_number=791811&lastpost=2013-12-2222:04:20 , and http://www.tigervehicles.com . My specialty is interior design, and Tiger interiors are terrific. What kind of electric hob do you have? Ceramic or induction?

I didn't know that Tiger is in the same “let's eliminate generators” camp as Earthroamer? Or did you merely choose this as an option?

However, you are still space-heating with the diesel Webasto Dual Top, i.e. diesel 6 KW, and some limited electric, 1.5 KW – 2.0 KW. Very interesting that the Dual Top works just fine way past its stated altitude-limit of 7,200 feet. Do you ever use the Dual Top in “electric only” mode? If so, when/why?

Do you think Tiger could configure a vehicle to be Tibetan-plateau capable? Maybe the Siberian – see http://www.tigervehicles.com/tiger-models/siberian/ ? If so, how? Even just a rough-sketch of the ideal solution would be be interesting. Speculating, it would probably be a vehicle similar to yours, but with a different, all-electric space-heating and water-heating system. Any thoughts how this might be done?

All best wishes,




Biotect
 
Last edited:

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Up, up, and Away!

Biotect,

After three years in Bolivia (and a previous two in Ecuador), I have learned the following about altitude:

-- There is grossly below 10,000 feet and above 10,000 feet. Below 10,000 feet, problems are generally limited to headaches - take a pill. (Unless you suffer from sickle cell anemia.) Above 10,000 feet, pulmonary edema is a real threat. Counter intuitively, young, fit males often suffer more than older, less fit women - don't ask me why, but I have lots of anecdotal experience.

-- Above 10,000 feet, you will notice as little as 500 feet. (Ask any realtor in La Paz, altitude changes house prices, a lot.)

I lived at about 10,000 feet, worked at about 12,000 feet, would notice going up to the airport at 13,000 feet and was sick as a pig at 14,000 feet.

So I know that my Webasto Dual Top performs (i.e. heats water and air on diesel fuel) beautifully up to just over 10,000 feet. (Silverton, Colorado) Did it soot up? Haven't looked. Would it work at 12,000 feet? As noted above, I have no way of of knowing. (N.B. The Dual Top is diesel only.)

Ndeke Luka has a smart controller (See: Smart Bank in UK [http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/smartbank.html] or Blue Sea Automatica Charge Relay [http://www.bluesea.com/products/category/Automatic_Charging_Relays/ML-ACRs] or Magnum Smart Battery Combiner [http://www.magnumenergy.com/products/SBC.htm] in US) I use a Magnum SBC. The starter batteries are connected to the camper batteries by a pair of 1/0, fused cables. (Approx 100mm2) The Chevrolet regulator is quite capable of managing the camper batteries. The pair of 125A alternators on the Chevrolet is actually smaller than the options on a Ford or RAM.

The Chevrolet Duramax seemed to completely ignore the altitude; I never noticed any lack of power, even at 12,000 feet.

The induction stovetop worked perfectly, until it failed. So we will add a diesel stove. Not because of altitude, but because I could not find a 110v induction cooktop in Europe.

Can you use a BAT (Big American Truck) outside of the US? I have done so for almost 40 years and these folks have taken their Tiger to over 50 countries. (Albeit not Tibet.) http://www.travelin-tortuga.com/Travelin-Tortuga/index.html Spares are always an issue, but the idea of some truck for which parts are magically available is a bit of a myth. As I was told by the Frenchman who could not find tires for his IVECO Daily 4x4 anywhere in the US. A big air freight bill later ...

Tiger makes three lines:

-- Bengal: Aluminium/wood/fiberglass camper, based on a Onan generator. (19 to 24 feet, depending on cab/extended cab/crew cab truck.)
-- Malayan: Same size, but all aluminum, R10 on all sides. No genset. Same size as Bengal.
-- Siberian: Larger, all aluminum camper. With or without genset. About 22 to 26 feet, depending on truck chosen. (Ford 550 or RAM 5500)

One point worth noting: You can build a Tiger mild to wild. Mine is designed for US/European motorways and back roads, and typical Third World washboard. Thus it has very little lift, massive shocks, and mild tires. You could add a 4 or 6 inch lift and go nuts, if you wanted to, with 40 inch Continental tires, etc. But some of those tires are limited to 70 MPH and I just drove my truck fifteen hours yesterday at the the various speed limits.

While I know what I have done and what I would do, I am always a bit hesitant to make categorical statements; everyone sees things differently.

Believe all of this to be accurate; hope it is helpful.
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
Hi DiploStrat,

Thanks for your reply.


*******************************

1. Altitude Sickness


Your description of altitude sickness seems about right.

When I first drafted post #21 in this thread, where I made a strong pitch for the extreme-altitude dimension of LoRoad's question, I initially wrote “14,000 feet” as the height where altitude sickness typically sets in, instead of “12,000 or 13,000” feet. On treks that I've been on in Nepal and Tibet, 14,000 feet seems to have been the altitude where those prone to altitude sickness got really sick. I only changed the height to 12,000 - 13,000 feet in the final draft after reading the wikpedia article about altitude sickness, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altitude_sickness . The article suggests that some people succumb earlier, at 12,000 feet, so it seemed best to be more conservative:


Sure, if one is prone to altitude sickness (many people are), sleeping at 12,000 or 13,000 feet will prove a challenge, and therefore undesirable in any case -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altitude_sickness. But speaking personally, I've slept comfortably at 16,000 feet on treks in Nepal, albeit after having spent weeks acclimatizing first at lower altitudes. And granted, above 18,000 feet it kinda feels weird breathing the thin-air equivalent of skim milk. I've only slept at 18,000 feet for two nights, on either side of crossing a pass at 22,000 feet by foot, in the Dolpo region of north-western Nepal -- see http://www.nepaltravelandtour.com/Trips/Nepal/Dolpo+Region/Trekking/Phoksundo+Lake+Trek/23 , http://www.wildearthjourneys.com/category.php?id=13 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igFZNHz2_vg , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V08y1cTAVE0 ,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolpo , and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shey_Phoksundo_National_Park . But the trek was fantastic, crossing that pass was spectacular, and breathing thin air sort of makes you feel lighter.

Many people have similar positive experiences with mountain altitude, and find it invigorating to sleep so high. As the Tibetan plateau becomes increasingly accessible, it will become a place that independent overlanders who enjoy altitude will want to explore, and they will need rigs designed to match.

In other words, it should be emphasized that altitude sickness does not affect everyone equally, and some do not get altitude sickness at all….:).... I don't know the statistics here, and perhaps I am an outlier. I've been on six treks that went above 15,000 feet, and I've not had altitude sickness even once (knock on wood!). So I have no personal, first-hand experience of what altitude sickness actually "feels" like, and hope I never will....:sombrero:

Sure, I'm physically fit, but youth and physical fitness alone do not explain who gets altitude sickness, and who does not:


"Altitude sickness tends to affect men more than women, especially men between the ages of 16 and 25, for unknown reasons. It is important to remember that just because you are young and healthy, and haven't experienced altitude sickness in the past doesn't mean you are immune to it on future climbs. Physical fitness is not necessarily a good indicator, and neither are strength or good health. You may react badly to altitude despite being fit, young and healthy. In fact, the fit, young and healthy have a hidden risk: their general physical capacity leads them to believe that they should handle altitude just fine, which is not always true."

See http://wikitravel.org/en/Altitude_sickness . This jibes well with my experience on treks. Physically fit older women in their 50's and 60's will have no problem, while many young women and men age 21 or 22 will be absolutely wrecked by altitude. On one trek in Nepal I was 28 years old, my then girlfriend was 23, and she got altitude sickness so bad that she decided to sit out a particular extreme-alitude loop for a few days, in a small Nepalese village. The trek had us circling back in any case, so we picked her up on the return, three or four days later.

And here's the punch-line: she was/still is a marathon runner. Whereas I have low-level asthma, and always carry a super-sized "turbo-inhaler" on treks, just in case.

Physically fit young people do not like hearing any of this, and they never really believe it.... until they get sick. At which point they tend to think (mistakenly) that everyone must get sick at 14,000 feet. That is to say, unless they're on a mixed-age trek, and they see the oldsters hiking past just fine. Which is most unfortunate indeed, because humiliation and wounded pride then gets piled on top of their altitude sickness.....:(

Part of the trick is to “walk high, sleep low”, gradually acclimatizing oneself to increasing altitude. So needless to say I did not fly into Kathmandu, and then cross a pass at 22,000 feet the next day. On that particular trek we crossed the 22,000 foot pass after about three weeks, on a hike that lasted five weeks. We'd been sleeping above 15,000 feet for at least a week, and we slept at 18,000 feet just before and just after we crossed. According to wikitravel, it's possible to spend several weeks sleeping at 20,000 feet, although permanently acclimatizing above 18,000 feet is impossible. However, permanently acclimatizing to 15,000 feet certainly is possible: millions of Tibetans have done it – see http://wikitravel.org/en/Altitude_sickness .

For more about altitude sickness, see http://www.doctortravel.ca/index.php?page=high-altitude-medical-advice , http://www.drugs.com/health-guide/altitude-sickness.html , http://www.epicski.com/a/altitude-adaptation-and-acute-mountain-sickness , http://www.accesstibettour.com/mountain-sickness.html , http://www.outdooreyes.com/highaltitude.php3 , http://www.highaltitudelife.com , http://www.highaltitudelife.com/altitude.htm , https://www.boundless.com/physiolog...ory-adjustments/adjustments-at-high-altitude/ , http://www.crystalinks.com/highelevations.html , http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/beall.html , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3970967/ , http://jeb.biologists.org/content/204/18/3151.full.pdf ,
http://www.chinahighlights.com/tibet/health.htm , http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/jul/02/mutation-gene-tibetans-altitude , http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/climbing/tibet-altitude-sickness.htm , http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/climbing/tibet-altitude-sickness1.htm , and http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/climbing/tibet-altitude-sickness2.htm .

If you're a science buff the last few articles might be interesting, because they suggest that adaptability to altitude (or lack thereof) is genetic. For a comprehensive discussion of "High Altitude Adaptation in Humans", and a thorough list of articles available on the web that address the same, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-altitude_adaptation_in_humans .


*******************************

2. Why the Tibetan Plateau is potentially important - for European Overlanders


Now as suggested in post #21 in this thread, it is a mistake to think of today's Tibetan plateau as remote trackless wilderness, without good roads:


Like Charlie Aarons and Egn, I am particularly interested in the performance of diesel heaters and stoves not at 2000 m, nor even at 3500 m, but rather, in the 3,500 to 5,500 m range that characterizes the Altiplano and Tibetan plateau....

10,000 feet is not the same thing as 15,000 - 18,000 feet, the upper range of altitude experienced by vehicles driving the Tibetan plateau. For what it's worth, in Nepal 10,000 feet is still considered mere "foothills" country. As Charlie suggested, the average height of the Tibetan plateau is 15,000 feet, and the mountains rise thousands more feet above that -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Plateau and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_china . Even the very broad, U-shaped, flat-floored "valleys" in Tibet are still quite high. For instance, Lhasa sits at an elevation of 11,450 feet -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lhasa . The average height of the Altiplano in South America is only a bit lower than the Tibetan plateau, about 13,000 feet -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andes and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altiplano .

Now here's the thing: the Tibetan plateau has traffic. In fact, lots of it.

For better or worse the Chinese government is massively investing in road infrastructure in Tibet, and the ultimate goal will be a trans-Asian highway that connects China and India, Beijing all the way to Delhi, via the Tibetan plateau – see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8480637.stm and http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2013/01/30/chinese-highway-forces-tibetan-kingdom-21st-century/9802 . There is already an asphalt, completely paved highway – the China National Highway 109 – that connects Lhasa with Beijing. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_National_Highway_109 and http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/ti...-driving-along-the-national-highway-no-109-2/ . And there are long-term plans for a Beijing-to-Lhasa 4-lane expressway, about 50 % of which is now open to traffic -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G6_Beijing–Lhasa_Expressway . There is another high-altitude highway that runs from Lhasa to the western corner of the Taklamakan desert – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_National_Highway_219 . And there is a spectacular, dangerous, but very economically important highway that connects Sichuan with Lhasa – see http://www.dangerousroads.org/asia/china/49-sichuan-tibet-highway-china.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_National_Highway_318 .

For more information about Tibetan roads, see http://www.tibettravelguides.com/Roads-in-Tibet.html . The Tang Gu La Pass, through which the Lhasa-Beijing China National highway 109 runs, reaches 17,162 feet, or 5,231 m -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanggula_Pass . And the highest drivable road in Tibet crosses the "Semo La" pass at 18,258 feet, or 5,565 m -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semo_La . For more about high-altitude drivable Tibetan passes, see http://kekexili.typepad.com/life_on_the_tibetan_plate/2006/12/high_mountain_p.html .

Which suggests a question:

How do trucks and tour-buses that travel the Altiplano and the Tibetan plateau heat their cabins? Do they ever use diesel heaters or pre-heaters? Do they only heat when the engine is running?

See for instance Eberspacher's line of diesel pre-heaters for buses, at http://www.espar.com/products/fuel-operated-heaters/applications/coach-bus.html . Could any of these work at 15,000 – 18,000 feet? And if not, what do Chinese truckers do when they stop for a night on the road to Lhasa?....

In short, if anyone knows whether and/or how Bolivian, Peruvian, and Chinese truckers heat their cabins and cook their meals using diesel, at truly extreme “Andean” or "Himalayan" heights in the 13,000 – 18,000 foot range (approx. 4,000 m to 5,500 m), that would be great.... But perhaps they don't use diesel at all?

Altitude sickness notwithstanding, the Chinese have been massively investing in Tibetan infrastructure (or as they see it, Chinese infrastructure :() . The Chinese really are building a 4-lane Beijing-to-Lhasa expressway, which they hope will eventually extend all the way to Delhi. Sounds crazy, sure, but 4-lane expressways criss-crossing the Swiss Alps once seemed crazy, too. The St. Gotthard tunnel that links Zurich to Milano, for instance, is not that old: it was completed only in 1980 -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotthard_Road_Tunnel . China is now a middle-income “second world” country, and China's economy either already is or soon will be the world's biggest economy (depending on how one measures economic output). If China's current 8 % growth per annum continues, 20 or 30 years from now China will be a rich country, even in terms of GDP per capita. So China has the economic resources, political will, and technical know-how to build many more paved roads across Tibet. The only hard part will be connecting the system to Delhi, because Nepal is a fourth-world country, and India is still decidedly third-world.

For further discussion of nebulous terms like "second", "third", and "fourth world", see http://www.expeditionportal.com/for...pedition-RV-w-Rigid-Torsion-Free-Frame/page23 , page 23 (if you used ExPo standard pagination), posts #225 - #227, the entries titled "4. A Question about Comparative Road Conditions Worldwide", "5. What is the meaning of Third World Capable?", and "6. Overlanding in a Steadily Improving World". And also see http://www.expeditionportal.com/for...pedition-RV-w-Rigid-Torsion-Free-Frame/page24 , page 24, post #234. For the passage quoted above filled out with lots of images and videos, see the top of page 3 in this thread, at http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/121929-What-is-the-BEST-High-Altitude-Solution-for-Heating/page3 (again, if you use standard ExPo pagination) .

So it would seem that the "Tibetan Altitude" question is well-nigh unavoidable, for any truly "globally capable" expedition vehicle worthy of the name. If one is traveling through China or Siberia and wants to get to India, or vica versa, the shortest possible route runs across the Tibetan plateau. Sure, one can evade Tibetan altitude by having one's vehicle shipped by boat from Shanghai to Kolkata, or the other way around. But this seems a shame, doesn't it? And given just how good the roads in Tibet now are, and how much better they are likely to become over the next decade or two, why evade the plateau?

If one is North American, and if one is the kind of North American whose overlanding imagination stretches only as far as Latin America and perhaps Europe, then this whole line of thinking may seem a bit abstract and unreal. But for European overlanders central Asia is not unreal.

For instance, in Germany there exists a tour operator that organizes trips for motorhomes traveling in convoy clear across central and southern Asia -- see http://www.abenteuerosten.de , http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.abenteuerosten.de/ , http://www.abenteuerosten.de/reiseangebot/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...&u=http://www.abenteuerosten.de/reiseangebot/ , http://www.abenteuerosten.de/reiseangebot/suedasien-2014/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...enteuerosten.de/reiseangebot/suedasien-2014/ , http://www.abenteuerosten.de/seidenstrasse-2014/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...nteuerosten.de/seidenstrasse-2014/ &sandbox=1 , http://www.abenteuerosten.de/reisereportagen/ , http://translate.googleusercontent....tagen/&usg=ALkJrhhGfBeyfQbyAUKD1KzYNf3oKD7HQg , http://www.abenteuerosten.de/reisereportagen/grosse-asien-rundreise-2013/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans.../reisereportagen/grosse-asien-rundreise-2013/ , http://www.abenteuerosten.de/reisereportagen/grosse-asien-rundreise-2013/auf-den-spuren/ , http://translate.googleusercontent....puren/&usg=ALkJrhhG4RqZptWAY4TnB_JsCL6WhTwiGg , http://www.abenteuerosten.de/reisereportagen/grosse-asien-rundreise-2013/im-reich-der-mitte/ , http://translate.googleusercontent....mitte/&usg=ALkJrhjH-rW0g0vcPl7fYv-pt7p2PXahDw , and http://www.abenteuerosten.de/wp-content/uploads/seabridge-reisekatalog-2014.pdf :


47_Suedasien.jpg 44-45_Seidenstraße-1.jpg
20lemberg_36.jpg

header_0061.jpg


Granted, these routes only skirt the Tibetan plateau, but these are the routes of a German tour-operator leading a convoy. These are not the routes of an independent, "globally capable" expedition vehicle of the sort that should theoretically be able to go anywhere, including the Tibetan plateau.

More tellingly, come this August 2014, Mercedes "Driving Events & Travel" will conduct a 42-day expedition from "Stuttgart to Hanoi", the first segment of its ambitious G-wagen “Global Experience” sequence. Along the way it will traverse the Tibetan plateau -- see http://www.mercedes-benz-events.com/en/travel/all/global-experience , http://www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/ , http://www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/global-experience/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans.../www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/global-experience/ , http://www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/global-experience/asien-2014/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...road.com/reisen/global-experience/asien-2014/ , http://mb-offroad.com/wp-content/up...ngen/2014-Ausschreibung-Global-Experience.pdf , and http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...ngen/2014-Ausschreibung-Global-Experience.pdf .

And I do mean traverse it: take a look at the second, more detailed map, which clearly demonstrates the expedition's intention to drive the entire length of the plateau:


Mercedes-Benz-Offroad-Welt-Reise.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-043.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-042.jpg
2014-mbo-Vietnam-018.jpg 01_Titel-Diashow-02.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-012.jpg


***************************************

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

.
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
.
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

***************************************



2014-mbo-Vietnam-037.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-036.jpg
2014-mbo-Vietnam-033.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-029.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-031.jpg
2014-mbo-Vietnam-038.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-034.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-032.jpg
2014-mbo-Vietnam-024.jpg 2014-mbo-Vietnam-022.jpg


From the Mercedes website:

Global Experience....What to expect

Europe and Asia: Germany to Vietnam

The first stage of the tour, from Germany to Vietnam, will provide you with some lasting memories – of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China, of Tibetan mountain passes at an altitude of 5,000 metres and driving through the stunning green of the jungle and the paddy fields in Vietnam. Each stage of the trip will last around six weeks, and the maximum number of participants for each trip will be twelve G-Class vehicles plus one support vehicle......

This trip will be an exciting and challenging experience. A distance of about 15,000 kilometres needs to be covered in a matter of six weeks. On average, that means driving 200 to 600 kilometres a day, depending on the state of the roads. Rest days have been included in the schedule for sightseeing at notable locations along the route of the stage, but also as a contingency – in case a dirt road becomes impassable for a day or two in the rain, for example.

Arrival and accommodation.

Accommodation on all Mercedes-Benz Offroad trips is provided in the best local hotels, although in some regions of the world this has to be seen in relative terms. And where there are no hotels, bivouacs will be the order of the day.

Conditions.

The most important conditions for participation are therefore: possession of your own G Class (G 270, G 350, G 500, G Professional) with tyres as specified by us, a spare fuel tank, camping equipment and a certain number of accessories, such as an air compressor and recovery strap..... This journey involves travel at altitudes of over 5000 metres on several occasions and the routes are quite demanding on the participants, so all members of the tour must be in good health. With this in mind, we would ask you to arrange a check-up with your GP prior to the trip.

The quality of the fuel in the countries we will be visiting is variable and can lead to problems with the vehicles. This particularly concerns diesel vehicles with Euro 5 or 6 engines, which will need to be converted back to Euro 3 for the duration of the trip....
For the newsletter that covers the "pre-tour", in which two vehicle sussed out the route, see http://www.mb-offroad.com/newsletter/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.mb-offroad.com/newsletter/ , http://www.mb-offroad.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Newsletter-01.pdf , and http://www.mb-offroad.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Newsletter-02.pdf . All of the pictures above were from the pre-tour -- see http://www.mb-offroad.com/bilderbuch/2014-vortour-vietnam/ and http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...-offroad.com/bilderbuch/2014-vortour-vietnam/ .

Future trips in the "Global Experience" series will be:

  • 2015 Australia: Darwin to Melbourne
  • 2016 North America: Alaska to Honduras
  • 2017 South America: Venezuela to Tierra del Fuego
  • 2018 Africa and Europe: Cape Town to Germany
For other G-wagen trips organized by Mercedes, including Spain, Tunisia, Namibia, South America, etc., see http://www.mercedes-benz-events.com/en/travel/offroad-travel .

For the more comprehensive mb-offroad.com website in German, loaded with picture galleries of past trips, see http://www.mb-offroad.com , http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.mb-offroad.com/ , http://www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/ , http://www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/out-of-africa/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...tp://www.mb-offroad.com/reisen/out-of-africa/ , http://www.mb-offroad.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2014-Ausschreibung-Sued-Afrika.pdf , http://www.mb-offroad.com/videothek/ , http://www.mb-offroad.com/bilderbuch/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.mb-offroad.com/bilderbuch/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans.../www.mb-offroad.com/bilderbuch/dach-der-welt/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...ww.mb-offroad.com/bilderbuch/polarkreis-2013/ , http://translate.google.co.uk/trans...ww.mb-offroad.com/bilderbuch/sudamerika-2013/ , etc. And see the complete archive of "Mercedes Benz Offroad" magazine, at http://www.mb-offroad.com/magazin-archiv/ . Unfortunately, all the issues are in German.

But the “Driving Events and Travel” catalog is available in English, at http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...KZ6C5tAONjkKOBInJyyo0aA&bvm=bv.65788261,d.bGE , and see pages 45 to 57 for "Travel" in particular. In addition to "Events" and "Travel", the catalogue details off-road driver training programs that take place in the summer, from pages 35 to 44.

Here are some videos of Mercedes G-wagen trips and training sessions:


[video=youtube;NHmwUsDvDy4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NHmwUsDvDy4[/video] [video=youtube;7icCwCnEjfw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7icCwCnEjfw[/video]
[video=youtube;n4mP23xwwNY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=n4mP23xwwNY[/video] [video=youtube;yPug2JdfOKM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yPug2JdfOKM[/video]
[video=youtube;-BEzatvJafg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-BEzatvJafg[/video] [video=youtube;WN3VfG9J_yo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WN3VfG9J_yo[/video]
[video=youtube;Lld9VsazvBY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Lld9VsazvBY[/video] [video=youtube;t47Rv7QAfPM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=t47Rv7QAfPM[/video]


***************************************

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

.
 
Last edited:

biotect

Designer
.
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST

***************************************



Now just in case you might be tempted to think that "Stuttgart to Hanoi" in 2014 is merely a publicity stunt, and crossing the Tibetan plateau this year is a one-off, think again. Mercedes has already run two similar, "Berlin to Kolkata" trips in 2011 and 2012, and both crossed the Tibetan plateau, north to south -- see http://www.mb-offroad.com/bilderbuch/dach-der-welt/ and http://translate.google.co.uk/trans.../www.mb-offroad.com/bilderbuch/dach-der-welt/ :


2012-DdW-01 copy.jpg Merc-driving-event.jpg 2012-DdW-34.jpg
2012-DdW-50.jpg 2012-DdW-67.jpg Mercedes-Benz-G500-Berlin-to-India-16800-km-road-trip-via-moscow-kazakhstan-china-nepal-19.jpg
2012-DdW-24.jpg 2012-DdW-39.jpg Mercedes_G_Wagon_Tour_India.jpg
2012-DdW-38.jpg


Mercedes runs one "mega-trip" per year, and every year it's usually a different route. But in 2011/2012 Mercedes broke precedent and offered the same trip two years running, because enthusiasm for a route that crossed the Tibetan plateau was so strong. The highest point reached was in Nepal: Everest base camp, at 5,380 meters, or 17,650 feet -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everest_Base_Camp . For full news coverage, see http://www.rushlane.com/mercedes-be...00-km-road-trip-arrives-in-india-1223963.html , http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...d-by-Kolkata-traffic/articleshow/10673711.cms , http://bharathautos.com/15-mercedes-benz-g-wagons-end-their-16800-km-journey-in-india.html , http://ibnlive.in.com/news/gwagon-caravan-travels-from-germany-to-india/207805-25-166.html , and http://www.zigwheels.com/news-featu...-cross-continent-ride-ends-in-kolkata/10478/1 .

Probably very few or no Americans participated in these G-wagen trips, but that doesn't make these trips any less real, or the Tibetan plateau any less important as an "altitude consideration" worth taking seriously, in the design of a globally capable expedition vehicle.
.

***************************************

CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

.
 
Last edited:

Forum statistics

Threads
179,353
Messages
2,795,281
Members
214,333
Latest member
mondopoint
Top