Furnace Help - How to Operate - Old Catalytic Heater - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-13-2012, 10:12 AM   #1
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Furnace Help - How to Operate - Old Catalytic Heater

Hello -

I have an old 'ThermX Caravan Mark IIA' catalytic heater in my '81 burro that I have no idea how to work. I turned it on a few weeks ago and got some action out of it so I believe it is functioning, but I was wondering if someone with some more experience than I could give me some pointers.

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Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:05 AM   #2
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A catalytic heater just requires gas, and something to light it. Cheep tent units require you to light them with a lighter. More expensive ones have a pizo igniter. The igniter is the push start button. When you push it you should hear a snap sound. These sometimes wear out, so you may need to use a lighter. It will make wouf sound, and you may see some flame. Then it starts producing heat.

You should be aware that these do consume air from inside your trailer, so leave a window open a crack, or something.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:47 AM   #3
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theres this slide on the bottom, and i slide it over and light it, but when i release the slide the furnace goes out?

do you know why that is happening?
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by wklose99 View Post
theres this slide on the bottom, and i slide it over and light it, but when i release the slide the furnace goes out?

do you know why that is happening?
The gas valve is likely waiting for a thermocouple to indicate that the furnace is running. Try sliding it for about a minute after it lights. If this doesn't work, you may need a new thermocouple.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:15 AM   #5
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Ah I bet that is it, i figured something needed to warm up. Ill try that, thanks David!
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:17 AM   #6
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The closest I have ever came to dying was in an overhead camper with a catalytic heater.
A pillow fell from an overhead bunk and landed close enough to the heater that it smouldered and filled the camper with dense smoke.
If the smoke alarm hadn't gone off myself and 2 of my kids wouldn't be here today.
In the first pic I see what appears to be a comforter touching the heater.
My advice is to not use the heater until you move it away from the bed or anything flammable.
John
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:32 PM   #7
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If it doesn't have a low oxygen automatic cut off, I would not use it.
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