Trials and Tribulations: Dry campng with our Solar Panel - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-05-2008, 05:55 PM   #43
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I say go for a NO power heater and be done with it. If you must have one... get a battery powered fan and blow the heat around. Charge that with a little solar cell unit. Could even run it off solar in the day time.

these are diesel fired and OK for indoors. (with window cracked). They are desinged to be able to handle a TENT so Im sure they can handle an egg.

Pioneer Space heater

Nordic Space Heater. One might be a rebranding of the other? Both use a Toby oil flow control valve.

Also their is a new diesel fired cook stove under development for third world countries. Might make a good stove replacement.

Protos Pure Plant oil Cook stove. Should LOVE diesel since its a thinner fuel oil than PPO.

Upon further research it looks like the Protos is NOT availalbe anywhere but in the Phllipines at this point in time.
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Old 10-05-2008, 06:00 PM   #44
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If you want to stick with your RV heater. Switch the fan motor out to a lower amp 12v unit?
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Old 10-05-2008, 07:58 PM   #45
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<br />There is something I am confused about...in the previous segment, you got Mr. Buddy to work, and then it failed again? I have one...I am interested in seeing if you know why it failed? It is our primary heat choice. Thanks!;
Yup, the Portable Buddy failed me. My last post, however, lets everyone know that Mr. Heater only suggests using the Portable Buddy at altitudes up to 7000 feel, and we were at 7500 feet and above.

So this may not have been Mr. Portable Buddy's fault, but it is something to keep in mind if you go camping wit him in the mountains.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:25 PM   #46
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One more update on our Portable Buddy. We got a chance to use it again at the Fall Northern Oregon Gathering (NOG) last weekend just to see whether it was working correctly. We had it set on "low" (which kept our 5th wheel plenty warm, even though it was freezing outside) and it burned through the whole 1lb cylinder in 5-6 hours without stopping. That's a little fast on the burn rate, which should be closer to eight hours, but it did not die on us like it did at 7500 feet in Yellowstone.

So I'm calling our Yellowstone malfunction an altitude-related failure, which is good news if you have or are planning to buy a Portable Buddy and don't camp high up in the mountains . . . just remember the manufacturer says it only works up to 7000 feet, and they mean it!
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:47 AM   #47
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One more update on our Portable Buddy. We got a chance to use it again at the Fall Northern Oregon Gathering (NOG) last weekend just to see whether it was working correctly. We had it set on "low" (which kept our 5th wheel plenty warm, even though it was freezing outside) and it burned through the whole 1lb cylinder in 5-6 hours without stopping. That's a little fast on the burn rate, which should be closer to eight hours, but it did not die on us like it did at 7500 feet in Yellowstone.

So I'm calling our Yellowstone malfunction an altitude-related failure, which is good news if you have or are planning to buy a Portable Buddy and don't camp high up in the mountains . . . just remember the manufacturer says it only works up to 7000 feet, and they mean it!
Peter,

Did you have problems with just lighting it, or it staying running after it was going? We went into Jackson hole, and had a terrible time lighting it, but after using major heat and getting it going, it did ok.

Pam
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:39 AM   #48
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Did you have problems with just lighting it, or it staying running after it was going? We went into Jackson hole, and had a terrible time lighting it, but after using major heat and getting it going, it did ok.
At 7500 feet in Yellowstone the heater would light, run for a couple hours, then go out and resist efforts to re-light the darn thing. At an altitude close to sea level we did not have these problems.
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:34 PM   #49
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One more update on the update about my Portable Buddy heater shutting down in the dead of a cold, cold night while we were at Yellowstone. Mr. Heater says their Portable Buddy Heater only works to about 7000 feet altitude, and we were camping well above that when we were having heater problems I described them like this:

<blockquote>It's an odd problem. I can light the heater's pilot, but instead of burning a demur little pilot-light flame, the pilot ignites a furious jet of propane that doesn't even start to burn until it's half an inch past the thermocouple that controls the flow of gas to the heater.
</blockquote>Well, because of the problems I was having with the Portable Buddy at higher altitudes, I just bought an Olympian Wave 3 catalytic heater. Unlike my Portable Buddy, it does not have an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS), so I went hunting for an oxygen monitor/alarm that might address my concern, and while I was at it I came across the patent application information for the ODS system my Portable Buddy must use. Here's what the patent application abstract says:

<blockquote>An oxygen depletion sensor relies on the shift of a pilot flame away from a nozzle as the oxygen content of the combustion air decreases. A thermocouple is positioned so as to be in the flame during combustion at acceptable oxygen levels and in the unburned zone when the oxygen content is below an acceptable level. The large voltage difference between conditions of high and low oxygen content provide for a more reliable sensor.</blockquote>That exactly describes what was happening in my trailer at Yellowstone. So my problems with my Portable Buddy were due to the ODS system, what Mr. Heater calls a "nuisance shutoff."


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One more update on our Portable Buddy. We got a chance to use it again at the Fall Northern Oregon Gathering (NOG) last weekend just to see whether it was working correctly. We had it set on "low" (which kept our 5th wheel plenty warm, even though it was freezing outside) and it burned through the whole 1lb cylinder in 5-6 hours without stopping. That's a little fast on the burn rate, which should be closer to eight hours, but it did not die on us like it did at 7500 feet in Yellowstone.

So I'm calling our Yellowstone malfunction an altitude-related failure, which is good news if you have or are planning to buy a Portable Buddy and don't camp high up in the mountains . . . just remember the manufacturer says it only works up to 7000 feet, and they mean it!
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:28 PM   #50
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So do you think that the problem was one of different air pressures at higher altitudes or lower O2 levels at higher altitudes?

Is this an example of the system 'working' as it was designed, or a flaw in the system?

Are you otherwise happy with your Buddy?
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:00 PM   #51
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So do you think that the problem was one of different air pressures at higher altitudes or lower O2 levels at higher altitudes?

Is this an example of the system 'working' as it was designed, or a flaw in the system?
No, it wasn't oxygen-depletion. Not with the window and overhead vent open as wide as they were. these problems appear to be altitude-related, and that my Portable Buddy was working as it was designed to (see below).

Now we've figurewd that out, are we happy with the Portable Buddy as a heating solution? Not really. There are a lot of places we want to visit that are above 7000 feet elevation, and since many of those places are boondocking-type locations we need a heater that doesn't draw a lot of power and will keep running when we go camping. This substantially limits the usefulness of using the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy.

Last weekend I went out to buy a used, 3000 BTU Wave 3 catalytic heater. At 3000 BTUs it might not have enough "oomph" to keep our Scamp 5th wheel nice and toasty on a really cold day, so I'll keep our existing Suburban furnace, too.

The idea will be that Wave 3 can provide most of the heat we need, but if the furnace can kick in and get things toasty on those rare occasions when the Wave 3 can't keep up.

This from the Mr. Heater website:

Question:
Why is the Buddy not recommended for above 7000 feet altitude?

Answer:
The Portable Buddy uses an Oxygen Depletion System (ODS) which is a safety device used to light the heater as well as shut it off if Oxygen levels drop to between 18% and 19%. The Buddy should operate without any problems up to 7000 FT above sea level. At higher altitudes, the ODS may cut-off prematurely resulting in what we call a nuisance shut-off. Also, if you have a change in weather and the barometric pressure drops, this could also cause the heater to shut down prematurely.
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:57 PM   #52
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BatteryMINDer makes a grand claim on their website that their charger can restore a sulfated battery to near-new condition. I was pretty skeptical, but I did some reading on boating and telecommunications/computer websites (large computer and communications installations use lead-acid batteries to provide power to their equipment when a storm hits and the electricity goes out) and found a lot of people who did very careful testing to see the BatteryMINDer claims held up. The news was good, so I gambled and bought one for $50. I'll report back and let you know how well it works.
Peter, I don't recall seeing an update from you on this... how did the BatteryMINDer work out for you?

Mike
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:56 PM   #53
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Peter, I don't recall seeing an update from you on this... how did the BatteryMINDer work out for you?
The people I ordered the BatteryMINDer from don't seem to have processed our order, and because one of us is in school for a career change and the other is working somewhere where some big layoffs are in the works we decided not to press the issue. I'll post something once I've had a chance to buy one and do a couple rounds of testing.
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