Digital Heater Thermostat? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-26-2014, 11:17 AM   #1
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Digital Heater Thermostat?

We find it hard to figure out the right temp to set our heater at. I was thinking a digital thermostat might work better. Can I just install something that I pick up at Home Depot or does the camper have different wiring?

We've got a 2013 Scamp with the propane heater package. Not sure what the model is off-hand.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:53 AM   #2
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Most residential digital thermostat require 24 VAC power to charge the thermostat's internal battery . The battery powers the display and is used to retain internal memory during power loss . A mercury thermostat (T87F) would give you better ,more accurate control (+ or- 1 1/2 Deg F). requires no power, but would require your trailer to be perfectly level to operate properly. Your present thermostat is not real accurate (temp setting controlled by spring expansion ) but it does not have to be level to work properly , takes the vibration of travel , has a detent off positon and consumes no power. There was at one time a battery only powered digital thermostat with isolation designed for power pile furnaces which would work but I have not seen one available since the 80's. Some of the early digital /setback thermostats would back feed 9 VDC from its' internal battery circuit into the gas valve circuit and if used with a millivolt gas valve , would destroy the gas valve..
The thermostat you presently have was supplied by the furnace mfg and initial cost not accuracy was a driving factor in its' selection
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:32 PM   #3
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Chris, no problem with using a digital thermostat. I put one in last year, and wish I had done it earlier. Much easier to read where it is set at, and be consistent with whatever setting you prefer. All the thermostat does is to make contact when the temperature drops to a set value, closing the circuit, and calling for heat.

For whatever reason, our old mercury switch made a loud 'ping' sound when making contact. To me, as much of a bother as the noise of the furnace.

Settings we use are;
- 9°C (48°F) at night (we have lots of cozy blankies)
- Most off during the day, but set to 15°C (59°F) when inside workingduring the day
- 8-20°C (64-68°F) on the rare occasion we are relaxing inside during ugly weather.

I bought the White Rodgers 1E78-140. It is heat only, and not programmable, just what I wanted. Works great for us.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:06 PM   #4
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Jim .What is the power source for the digital display?
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:35 PM   #5
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The Honeywell digital thermostat(s) I installed in both a Scamp and a Lil'Bigfoot both used 2 AA batteries for power. My Hunter now has a Honeywell CT-31A1003 mechanical thermostat and it works just fine as well.

If you get one and can't figure out the wiring, just call the customer help line they all have and they will tell you what jumpers to install and which terminals to use. I did, and they both worked perfect.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:49 PM   #6
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I switched out my original Atwood bi-metal strip thermostat with a Hunter digital thermostat, model name is "Just Right" which I got from Lowes, and should be available from other places. It's powered by 2AA batteries and has been going on 3 years on the same set. Works much better than the old thermostat. If you google the name/model you'll find many RVers have used it with success.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:54 PM   #7
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Thanks Bob for answering my question . A battery powered thermostat with a isolation contact to control the furnace . In standard residential construction in our area using a thermostat that depended solely on a battery to function was not allowed due to the chance of freeze ups . It is similar to smoke detectors where they must now be fed with line voltage plus have a battery back up to help insure they work when needed. Please excuse my not keeping up with all the technology.
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Jim .What is the power source for the digital display?
Bob covered it, a couple AA batteries.
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Please excuse my not keeping up with all the technology.
What, that isn't priority #1?

I do very well know what you mean. I got a good deal on a used GoPro camera, and used it mountain biking, and the resultant video took my WAY to long to get up to my hosting site. That, and no nice music, or time editing. Some day, maybe.
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
What, that isn't priority #1?

I do very well know what you mean. I got a good deal on a used GoPro camera, and used it mountain biking, and the resultant video took my WAY to long to get up to my hosting site. That, and no nice music, or time editing. Some day, maybe.
Jim ; I took a class a couple winters ago at our union hall in renewable energy / green building protocol / energy codes. In less than 2 years ,technology had advanced so far that half of what I learned was outdated . Now if I want to maintain my certification ,I have to retake the class . I retired , it was a lot easier than taking another 80 hour class
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:38 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the responses. I just picked up the cheapest digital honeywell unit that Home Depot had in stock. I'm going to play around with it this week and see if I can get it working.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:59 PM   #12
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Again, contact the customer service number on the instruction sheet and they will tell you exactly how to hook it up to whatever you have.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:32 PM   #13
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I installed a regular digital thermostat last week. Used it this weekend in near freezing temperatures at night and it worked much better than the old one. The furnace ran for much shorter intervals and kept the temperature where it was supposed to be. Thumbs up to this mod, wish I did it sooner.
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Old 06-09-2014, 01:27 PM   #14
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I got the Honeywell from Home Depot installed. There are only two wires. Just mark them before detatching and connect to the same inputs on the new unit. I tested it with a few cycles but since it's in the 80's now I won't be able to truly test it until weather cools down. I'd also like to move the thermostat someplace that gets a little more air flow. I just don't know how I'm going to route the wires.
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