Camco Olympian Catalyst heaters vs Mr Buddy - Fiberglass RV

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Old 04-12-2015, 11:50 PM   #1
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Johnny M's Avatar
Name: John
Trailer: '71 Boler, '87 Play-Mor II
Deep South
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Camco Olympian Catalyst heaters vs Mr Buddy

Okay, I realize it is going into summer time but I am planning ahead. So we are restoring our 71 Boler and plan to camp in it year round...we are considering heating options for no hookup sites...I really don't want to use a furnace for fear of co dangers even with a co detector..but I was reading that the Camco Olympian catalyst heaters don't give of co...but did read that you must keep a fresh air source as it uses up oxygen

so how does everyone here feel about the safety of these heaters in a small fiberglass trailer like the 13' Bowler?

how well do these heaters work? and if you have a window open for fresh air how much does the in rush of cold air affect the efficiency of these heaters?

how does my buddy compare to camco olympian brand?

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Old 04-13-2015, 05:48 AM   #2
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Name: p@
Trailer: Casita
South Carolina
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i use a wave3 in my 16' casita. works great...simply sips propane, puts out a ton 'o heat and uses no battery power. mine is mounted on the bathroom door. i do keep a window and the roof vent slightly open just a bit to replace oxygen. i have a little buddy also but, it's limited to the one pound disposable containers and i'm not crazy about it sitting out in the floor making you dance around it...


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Old 04-13-2015, 06:07 AM   #3
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Name: john
Trailer: 30' jayco & 1974 Boler
Posts: 38
new suburban furnaces draw air for combustion from the outside & exhaust to the outside . There is no threat of CO2 . They use an electronic ignition system , so no pilot light . they do require 12V DC to run the blower . I have been useing one for permanent heating through out cold Canadian winters for 18 years , without inccident . I am also installing one in my 13' Boler . It's a no brainer !
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:10 PM   #4
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One thing you need to be conscious of is something like a pillow or other item falling in front of the heater.

Years ago I had a self contained slide in truck camper with a catalytic heater and in the middle of the night a pillow fell down in front of it.

I awoke to the fire alarm, jumped out of the overhead bed and grabbed the 2 grand kids and left in a hurry.
Without my keys and it was about 25 degrees.
We all froze until I could get the smoldering pillow out and air out the camper.
I know many who use them and are entirely satisfied with them.

I've used them since but I much prefer a forced furnace.
The big advantage to a forced air furnace is you have a thermostat.
I have a digital programmable thermostat.
In cold weather I set it a 55 for sleeping and program it to come on about 6:30 am.
Nothing better than getting up in a warm trailer in the morning
I had a 13' Scamp with a Wave 3 and on low it was to warm with the outside temps in the upper 30s.
Have fun with you project,
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:08 AM   #5
Name: George
Trailer: 1997 16' Scamp
Posts: 61
catalytic heater

We did some camping out west last fall and winter. We spent most of the winter in California. We generally used the electric heater but the National Parks had no electricity. The parks are often at higher elevations. We had a few nights with lows in the 30s and lower 40s degrees. We use a coleman blackcat catalytic heater. It uses the 1lb canisters and we get about 2 days to a bottle using it about 6-7 hrs a day on low. The instructions call for 6 sq inches of opening for outside air. We would fire it up for 2-3 hours before bed and then shut it off while we slept. Then run it for a couple of hours in the morning. In about 130 days of camping we used the heater maybe 8-9 days which worked out to 4-5 canisters.
The heater is such that we could push the canister right up to the cabinet without concern of fire or damage to the cabinet. Walking around it wasn't a problem. One little trick I learned for a really cool night was to wear a hooded sweatshirt to bed with the hood covering my bald head. It made for a good nights sleep
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:40 AM   #6
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Name: Don
Trailer: boler
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Hi, we installed a Heater Buddy in our 13' Boler about 14 years ago and it has given us great service. We don't run it at night .but it warms the little egg up fast in the morning. I bolted it to the wall under the closet and piped it to the trailer propane system so you wouldn't have to mess with the little bottles. It's not a tough job, just remove the Heater Buddy regulator and replace it with the proper fitting to fit the pipe. Open a couple of windows slightly to vent moisture.
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:52 AM   #7
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita 17 ft DLX SD
NW Wisconsin
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I have a Mr Buddy heater (4500/9000 btu' s ) The only place I have ever or ever will use the Mr. Buddy heater is in my deer stand which only has 3 ft walls and a roof at 8 ft. Any kind of non vented heater/furnace that consumes fossil fuel ,has no place in an enclosed space occupied by humans or pets IMHO
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:46 AM   #8
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
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My brother was using a Mr Buddy style heater in his cube, (8' x 8' x 7' box). He has a CO detector. When the heater was running his CO detector would read about 10 to 20 ppm. He was not concerned. I suggested that he try my 3000 btu Coleman catalytic heater. His CO detector now reads zero ppm.

It should be noted that he has the vents open when his heater is on.
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:20 AM   #9
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Name: LKG907
Trailer: Casita 17'SD
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I have the wave 3 and love it. One advantage is that it can be permanently mounted if you have room for the clearance specifications. DO NOT be deceived on CO emissions. Catalytic heaters will give off CO if adequate air is not supplied. I experimented with mine. I gradually closed the windows a bit at a time. And you could see the CO reading increase on my alarm/meter. It finally alarmed at 70 parts/million.
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:33 PM   #10
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Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
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I'm from the NO catalytic heater camp. My Scamp came equipped with a Surban forced air furnace. I did a temperature test around the heater and could not any place hot enough to ignite paper or burn skin. One place was hot enough you didn't want keep your hand on it very long.
Pluses. It's built in. No fussing with it.
Electric ignition. No pilot light to go out.
Combustion chamber draws air and exhausts to outside, therefore no worries about oxygen depletion.
Negatives. Requires battery to run the fan, but not a lot.

Catalytic heaters..
Pluses. Battery not required..
Negatives... Combustion occurs inside the trailer which can deplete oxygen, put out CO, puts a lot of moisture in the inside air (one of the byproducts of propane combustion is water)

I think if you read the instructions on the portable catalytic heaters they'll tell you NOT to use them inside. A small trailer has a very low volume of air inside that can be used up quite rapidly if you don't have lots of ventilation.

That's my 2.5 cents worth.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:09 PM   #11
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Name: Ken
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I'm from the YES catalytic heater camp. Enjoyed one for years, search the truck camper forum at they are popular there.
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:53 PM   #12
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Name: Dave & Paula Brown
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
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We have used a Coleman Blackcat, and a Coleman Sportcat, a wave 3, and a Mr Buddy heater, all in different settings (ie: tent, 13' Scamp, 25' toy hauler, and 17' Lil Snoozy), and what I found was the Buddy heater did not work over 7000', as the O2 safety would shut it down. The Black cat was to hot for our 13' Scamp, and the Sport cat was just right (warmed it fine and used 1/2 the propane as the Black cat did, and worked just fine even up at 10,000' elevations). I believe the wave III would have the same elevation limitations as the Buddy, but I really can't remember, and it really would be way to warm even on low for a small trailer (we used it in our 25'). In all the Scamps we had, we had the Suburban furnace, but between the electrical draws & the noise while running (would wake me up every time it came on), I elected to use the Sport Cat and was very pleased with it. At some point in time I was going to run a line from the large trailer propane tank to it, but never got around to it prior to selling it for our Lil Snoozy. I carry the Black Cat with us as an emergency back-up heat source to our Propex Heat Source furnace while boon-docking, and an electric cube heater while on electrical grids. I hope this help answer your questions. Of note, the small opening of the window & vent to give O2 and vent moisture is not drafty.
Dave & Paula
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:19 PM   #13
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David, didn't your Black Cat have both high (3000 btu) and low (1500 btu) settings? Mine does. The low setting is the same as the Sport Cat, 1500 btu.

For those who would feel better having a vented heater, there is one vented catalytic heater that I know of, the Platinum Cat...
How to prepare Tofu
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Old 04-15-2015, 06:33 AM   #14
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Name: David
Trailer: Hunter
New Mexico
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Originally Posted by David B. View Post
I found was the Buddy heater did not work over 7000', as the O2 safety would shut it down.
Dave & Paula
The one you had must have been overly sensitive. We use them all the time over 7000' . We live at 7500' and I hunt up north at 8-10000' and have never had a problem. I'm super conservative in my use. Mornings and evenings for a few minutes to warm the place up. No one has ever died from sleeping bag emissions.

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