I am a BAD Mommy - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-02-2011, 07:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Gina D. View Post
Peter, wasn't it you that had the wave not perform well at altitude? I never experienced it with mine, but the highest it ever went was 7500 feet.
That wasn't the Wave, it was our Portable Buddy "backup" heater. Its ODS feature failed us in Yellowstone, leading to some, er, amusing antics in the wee hours of the morning. We bought the Wave 3 as a result of that trip.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:53 PM   #16
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That wasn't the Wave, it was our Portable Buddy "backup" heater. Its ODS feature failed us in Yellowstone, leading to some, er, amusing antics in the wee hours of the morning. We bought the Wave 3 as a result of that trip.
Do you have pictures of it installed?
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:08 AM   #17
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Do you have pictures of it installed?
Oddly, no. Have pictures of just about everything else in the trailer, but not that. Now the interior of my trailer is pretty much finished, I figures my next Scamp project should be to re-shoot and post my trailer interior pictures when it comes out of winter storage.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:18 AM   #18
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Your story about the Buddy heater reminds me of the drawbacks of trying to boondock at high elevation. I regularly camp from 7000 to 10000 feet and am still looking for creative ways to heat the trailer without drawing down the battery. Like the Buddy, the blue flame heater that Gina bought apparently has high-elevation limitations. My Honda generator has reduced output at high elevation. Lack of sunlight in the spruce and aspen forests make solar charging a challenge, too. So that leaves the Olympian Wave heaters? I can't find an owners manual for these online, but do you know if the Wave has any altitude-related issues? In comparing them to the Pro-Com blue flame heaters, I can't figure out why they cost so much more and yet have much lower BTU output and no thermostats.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:10 PM   #19
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. . . I can't figure out why they cost so much more and yet have much lower BTU output and no thermostats.
There are really just two ways to build a ductless heater that delivers both heat and combustion byproducts into the room being heated. The Blue Flame units are open flame units that train the flame along an impermeable platen that gets hot and heats by convection (heating a surface within the heater that warms the air as it passes by). Buddy heaters bubble natural gas through a perforated ceramic plate that, instead of creating a traditional flame, creates a combustion face where small amounts of gas emerge from the perforations and burn, creating heat that is reflected off the ceramic face and into the room (radiant heat).

What these two methods have in common is they are simple chemical reactions: propane and oxygen combine and burn freely and randomly, creating a high-temperature flame as well as byproducts that can easily include carbon monoxide.

The Wave 3 heater doesn't create a flame. It uses a platinum catalyst (which is why they're spendy) that grabs a hold of the propane molecules as they enter the heater and holds them rigidly in a way that makes combining them with oxygen orderly and easy. The process releases the same amount of heat as burning with an open flame, but it does it more gradually over a wider surface area. Another difference between the two combustion methods is that open flame heaters can very easily create poisonous carbon monoxide, whereas catalytic systems will only create carbon monoxide ad oxygen levels in the room drop dangerously low.

Both open flame and catalytic heaters use a thermocouple that has to be heated so it will make electricity that keeps the gas valve open. In a catalytic heater the thermocouple is buried in the platinum-impregnated pad of the heater. In BlueFlame and Buddy heaters that thermocouple is placed at a specific distance from the pilot light gas jet.

The neat thing about placing the thermocouple a set distance away from the jet is, under low oxygen conditions, the gas isn't entirely combusted as it exits the jet, and the flame moves up and away from the thermocouple, allowing it to cool.

When you take the heater up to altitude, however, the gas jet emerges at a higher velocity, and the gas starts to combust past the point where the thermocouple is located, which, again, allows the thermocouple to cool.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:49 PM   #20
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So that leaves the Olympian Wave heaters? I can't find an owners manual for these online, but do you know if the Wave has any altitude-related issues?
I have an Olyimpian Wave heater and a pdf file on it so maybe this will help you.
Joe

http://vagabonders-supreme.net/Wave_...User_Guide.pdf

A very thorough forum on olympian wave heater use

Woodalls Open Roads Forum: Tech Issues: Olympian Wave Heaters
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:38 PM   #21
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Answering the altitude question: There are two different lines of Catalytic heaters from Olympian, ones with an ODS (Oxygen Depletion Sensor) and those without (like my Wave 3 and Gina's former Wave 6). The Wave heaters without sensors work at any altitude you can drive a car to.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:55 PM   #22
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Thats the one i have without the ODS and it works really well even though i haven't had it much over 4000 ft.
That blue flame heater that gina has looks interesting.. Hope it works out well
Joe
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:44 AM   #23
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"Quartzite in a 40 year old stiky" I thought you were livin large in a land yacht in the great north. Maybe just your off season digs, kinda like a snowbird?
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:54 PM   #24
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Shane, no, thats a summer gig. I sold the motorhome a few months ago. Hated it.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:59 PM   #25
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Answering the altitude question: There are two different lines of Catalytic heaters from Olympian, ones with an ODS (Oxygen Depletion Sensor) and those without (like my Wave 3 and Gina's former Wave 6). The Wave heaters without sensors work at any altitude you can drive a car to.
do you think the sensor will awake you once your half dead from oxygen depletion? I dont.
Both of these heaters should only be on when you're awake and monitoring them.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:20 AM   #26
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do you think the sensor will awake you once your half dead from oxygen depletion? I dont.
Both of these heaters should only be on when you're awake and monitoring them.
The idea behind the ODS sensor used in the Portable Buddy and other ODS propane systems is that it'll switch off before oxygen levels fall below a 16% minimum. You never get to the point where you are half-dead from oxygen depletion with an ODS heater.

I have no such guarantee with my Wave 3, so must be careful to keep a window and vent cracked. with a window and vent cracked I have two powerful forces of physics working in my favor to keep the oxygen in my trailer at a healthy level: the laws of convection (heat rises, taking warm air out of the vent and sucking fresh air in the window) and the ideal gas laws (which are more difficult to explain, but basically force high concentrations of a gas, say oxygen on the outside of the trailer, into areas where the concentration is lower, like the oxygen inside the trailer).

Safe in this knowledge, I sleep soundly and wake hearty . . . assuming I remember to open the window and vent. This is an important and vital assumption, and I wouldn't recommend the Wave 3 to anyone who isn't absolutely sure they'll always remember to do this.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:28 AM   #27
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I have the older wave 6 without the ODS sensor and really like..... I keep it on the floor in front of the bathroon with a hose running to an outside tank. I get temped to sleep with it also ( by myself of course so not to put anyone else in danger) being the heater is on the floor and i open the bathroom window which of course is above the heater and the roof vent opened some is that still safe like that in your opinion?______ The link i gave above for this heater shows 24 square inches of open window space ( but not sure if they mean the Wave 3, 6 or 9) and not sure how much is enough?____.
You seem to really know your stuff in this area and any info would be helpful.
Thnx,
Joe
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:13 PM   #28
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What these two methods have in common is they are simple chemical reactions: propane and oxygen combine and burn freely and randomly, creating a high-temperature flame as well as byproducts that can easily include carbon monoxide.

The Wave 3 heater doesn't create a flame. It uses a platinum catalyst (which is why they're spendy) that grabs a hold of the propane molecules as they enter the heater and holds them rigidly in a way that makes combining them with oxygen orderly and easy . . . catalytic systems will only create carbon monoxide ad oxygen levels in the room drop dangerously low.
I need to correct an assertion I made about carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from catalytic heaters. Brian B-P pointed me at some research articles (which I had read previously, and should have remembered more accurately) that measured carbon monoxide emissions and other features of platinum catalyst camping heaters. Their research showed CO emissions were at their minimum as oxygen levels declined into the critical region (opposite of what I had said), but that as oxygen levels fall we absorb more CO gas, compounding its effect.

Buried in this report is information on how many air exchanges per hour are needed to prevent oxygen (02) levels from falling below the 16% healthy threshold (21% is normal, 12% is where low O2 levels start to impair function) and information on how long it takes O2 levels to drop below that threshold in a sealed 100-cubic-foot space. (The size of a 4'8" cube, about 1/3 the air space in a 13' trailer). They also show that O2 consumption is directly proportionate to the BTU output of the heater. It's interesting reading.

It takes a 3200 BTU heater (slightly more than the output of a Wave 3 heater) about 1 hour to drop O2 levels below 16% in a sealed 100-square-foot room. That would suggest that, if you duct-taped and tightly sealed every point where air could seep in and out of a 13' Scamp and set your Wave 3 on high, it would take three hours or more to deplete the oxygen inside the trailer below 16%.

Humans, of course, also produce heat and consume oxygen at an average rate of about 350 btu/hr, so you'd have to include that in your calculations. My guess is, if you duct-taped all your windows, doors, hatches, vents, and cracks where the shell meets the floor closed (because without this your trailer will leak air in and out) and sit inside to find out how long to collapse and die of oxygen depletion, I think you'd get a raging headache at 2.5-3 hours and loose consciousness at four or five. Set your Wave 3 on low (1500 BTU) and you'd likely double that time.
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