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zack sc 01-05-2020 12:32 PM

Catalytic or Buddy portable indoor propane heater for Scamp 13
 
I am thinking about getting some sort of heater for a Scamp 13 that has no furnace built in. One possible option is a Mr Heater Little Buddy (or Big Buddy). Another I have seen discussed is a Catalytic heater like the Camco Olympian Wave 3. Is one of those options better than the other? How are they different? Can they used safely in a Scamp 13?

The main application would be cool nights and mornings, in California, where the low is like 40 or 50 degrees.

steve dunham 01-05-2020 01:07 PM

Recommendation = Neither
40 to 50 deg is not cold enough to risk using an unvented heater .

gordon2 01-05-2020 02:28 PM

One diff is the Wave has no low oxygen sensor / cut off, so its solely up to you to make sure there is enough ventilation and air supply.

By the way, I had no furnace and used a Wave a few times. I still have that option if I am low on propane or out of battery and off shore power.. 40 or even 50 degrees to me would be very uncomfortable.

However for regular use and to be more safe and warm while sleeping, I went back to Backus and had Evelands put a furnace in. It was a reasonable expense once I got there. Travel from NC was not cheap but it was a month long adventure with the furnace install only being a small part of it.

CA_hiker 01-05-2020 03:58 PM

I used Buddy heater in the 4 person Cabela's Alaskan Guide tent during winter desert camping and it worked just fine. I don't see why would it be unsafe to use in the Scamp with proper ventilation.
The biggest issue with ventless heaters is that they generate a good amount of moisture, so expect some condensation from prolonged use

floyd 01-05-2020 04:49 PM

I carry the Buddy heater with my retrieval kit, when I go to pick up a project trailer, because we often have to overnight at a rest stop on the way home.
A one pound can of fuel will keep a 13ft trailer with elephant hide liner warm for about eight hours in 35°F weather. Crack the roof vent a 1/4" to allow ventilation and prevent condensation.
Whichever one you choose , be sure it is stable upright in the place you run it and kept a few inches all around away from blockage or combustibles.

zack sc 01-05-2020 06:01 PM

venting
 
so all you need to do for safe venting is open the roof vent by 1/4"?


is opening the roof vent better than opening a side window?


Thanks.

slowpat 01-05-2020 06:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764472)
so all you need to do for safe venting is open the roof vent by 1/4"?


is opening the roof vent better than opening a side window?


Thanks.

I do both. I haven't died yet. I don't run it whilst sleeping and have restarted my little buddy in the middle of the night if I woke up cold. Then off and back to sleep.

To the OP, there is a tinier little buddy made for golf carts that might be good for a 13 foot trailer. Or not.

Glenn Baglo 01-05-2020 06:31 PM

Read the instruction manual for the heater.

floyd 01-05-2020 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764472)
so all you need to do for safe venting is open the roof vent by 1/4"?


is opening the roof vent better than opening a side window?


Thanks.

It is for both questions and for a couple of reasons...
1] A fiberglass trailer is not a submarine.
2] heat rises.

A person can exhale as much as a quart of water overnight.
The warm air rises and escapes through the roof, taking much of the moisture with it.

The trailer allows enough air in to be the equivalent of the required square inches of ventilation, take a look at such things as the vent behind the fridge, or even the gaskets on the doors and windows. if you think yours is actually air tight... crack the kitchen window a little.
A quarter inch opening on the vent is a S.W.A.G. but it does amount to about 10 square inches, so 3/8" would be 15.

It was not so long ago that home furnaces used inside air for combustion, the closed windows leaked enough to supply ventilation and replenish the oxygen.
Modern furnaces and RV furnaces use outside air for combustion so the exhaust does not draw outside air through the cracks and leaky windows.

zack sc 01-05-2020 07:50 PM

catalytic?
 
Is there are advantage to catalytic, like the wave 3, as opposed to the little buddy? Aside from price, which is better for Scamp 13 in 40 F weather?

gordon2 01-05-2020 08:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764472)
so all you need to do for safe venting is open the roof vent by 1/4"?


is opening the roof vent better than opening a side window?


Thanks.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo (Post 764477)
Read the instruction manual for the heater.

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764487)
Is there are advantage to catalytic, like the wave 3, as opposed to the little buddy? Aside from price, which is better for Scamp 13 in 40 F weather?

The Olympic Wave catalytic heaters require NO electric power at all, and are very efficient on fuel. You asked about the advantages and that is them. You did not ask about the disadvantages so I did not list them.

floyd 01-05-2020 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764487)
Is there are advantage to catalytic, like the wave 3, as opposed to the little buddy? Aside from price, which is better for Scamp 13 in 40 F weather?

One source I was reading said that the Little buddy is a catalytic heater...??

David B. 01-05-2020 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764487)
Is there are advantage to catalytic, like the wave 3, as opposed to the little buddy? Aside from price, which is better for Scamp 13 in 40 F weather?

I have used both and the Lil buddy doesn’t work above 7000 feet, while the wave heater will still work. I now use a Propex furnace. Dave and Paula

zack sc 01-05-2020 10:25 PM

disadvantages
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by gordon2 (Post 764495)
The Olympic Wave catalytic heaters require NO electric power at all, and are very efficient on fuel. You asked about the advantages and that is them. You did not ask about the disadvantages so I did not list them.

I would love to hear the disadvantages as well. What are the disadvantages of a catalytic heater like the wave 3.

zack sc 01-05-2020 10:29 PM

preference
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David B. (Post 764498)
I have used both and the Lil buddy doesn’t work above 7000 feet, while the wave heater will still work. I now use a Propex furnace. Dave and Paula

I am mostly near sea level. Aside from the high altitude issue, did you have a preference? Did you tend to like the wave heater or the little buddy better?

k corbin 01-06-2020 01:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764499)
I would love to hear the disadvantages as well. What are the disadvantages of a catalytic heater like the wave 3.

First step when considering the Wave 3....

You need to talk to others who have the exact same trailer model as yours to see if there is a safe and viable location to put that model. If not then you need to quit right there and move on to some other way of heating the space.

gordon2 01-06-2020 07:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764499)
I would love to hear the disadvantages as well. What are the disadvantages of a catalytic heater like the wave 3.

1. If used in a closed in space it can use too much of the oxygen in the room (or camper) which you need to remain alive (ventilation requirements are described in the manual).

2. For reason #1, I would not recommend using one when sleeping.

3. It is a radiant type of heat (vs forced hot air). It heats things around it which then give off heat. It is like the warmth you feel when you step out of shade into the sunlight. And similarly, if you are not in front of the heater you will not feel much warmth until the entire camper heats up.

4. The radiant heating takes much longer to warm the entire camper than a forced air furnace does.

5. While it does burn cleanly when new, the catalytic pad must be protected from dirt and contamination since a contaminated pad can cause incomplete combustion resulting in the release of dangerous gases. Even with proper care, pad replacement is recommended every seven years but the cost is likely close to the cost for a brand new unit.

6. It will not work very well above 8,000 to 9,000 feet.

7. Required clearances can make it difficult to find a suitable location for installation is a small camper. Again, see the manual.

Further information on this topic can be found by skillfully searching the forum.

zack sc 01-06-2020 11:32 AM

wave 3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by k corbin (Post 764503)
First step when considering the Wave 3....

You need to talk to others who have the exact same trailer model as yours to see if there is a safe and viable location to put that model. If not then you need to quit right there and move on to some other way of heating the space.

I think I see what you mean. Is this because the wave 3 is larger and you would need a place to mount it? Where, on the other hand, the little Buddy is smaller and where you put it is less of a difficult issue? Am I understanding correctly?

zack sc 01-06-2020 11:38 AM

Which buddy heater?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by floyd (Post 764461)
I carry the Buddy heater with my retrieval kit, when I go to pick up a project trailer, because we often have to overnight at a rest stop on the way home.
A one pound can of fuel will keep a 13ft trailer with elephant hide liner warm for about eight hours in 35°F weather. Crack the roof vent a 1/4" to allow ventilation and prevent condensation.
Whichever one you choose , be sure it is stable upright in the place you run it and kept a few inches all around away from blockage or combustibles.

Which Buddy heater do you carry with your retrieval kit?

gordon2 01-06-2020 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack sc (Post 764518)
I think I see what you mean. Is this because the wave 3 is larger and you would need a place to mount it? Where, on the other hand, the little Buddy is smaller and where you put it is less of a difficult issue? Am I understanding correctly?

Per the Wave manual:

Clearances from combustible materials must be a minimum of:
• 4" from each side
• 4" from the floor (rug, tile, etc.)
• 18" from the top
• 30" from the front
• 0" from the rear

Wave 3 Dimensions are 10-1/4" long x 3-1/2" wide x 11-3/4" tall.

So you can make a cardboard cutout that size and go around you camper placing it in different places and checking clearances.

Since the distance between the side cabinets is likely 33 inches, mounting on either side cabinet would violate the minimum clearance by 1/2 inch.

You can use the optional legs to make it portable and that might be the better option than a permanent installation, especially if it is only used once in a while. Of course it will need a gas line also.

Also consider protection from burns, esp for children and pets.

All the above is part of what led me to get a Suburban furnace installed.


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