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Author Topic: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?  (Read 615 times)

rodentraiser

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Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« on: October 22, 2019, 08:52:10 PM »
Hi everyone! I'm back and (maybe) looking to get another trailer to live in for the next couple of years. I had bought one and it was such a mess, I ended up selling it. There was no physical way for me to do the work on it myself.

So now I'm looking at a trailer (hopefully in much better condition) that is a mid-90s 21 ft Mallard Comfort? trailer. I haven't seen it yet but may be able to look at it on Thursday.

One of the things the owner is telling me is that although the heat is propane, it needs an electric ignition to turn it on. That doesn't sound right to me. If you're taking a trailer out on the road, shouldn't you be able to turn on the heat without electricity?

Thank you in advance to anyone who can give me info on this!

Great Horned Owl

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2019, 09:49:08 PM »
There are two types of propane heaters that are common in RVs. the first is the standard RV furnace. It needs 12 volt DC operate the thermostat, control board, and fan, and to  ignite the propane.

The second type includes a large variety of either blue flame or catalytic, non-vented heaters. These are not hooked to a source of electricity, but generally have a push button electric spark igniter, similar to those found on mote propane grills.

Joel
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SpencerPJ

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 06:47:48 AM »
One of the things the owner is telling me is that although the heat is propane, it needs an electric ignition to turn it on. That doesn't sound right to me. If you're taking a trailer out on the road, shouldn't you be able to turn on the heat without electricity?

He might be implying that the electric ignition is broken (or it least does not work).  There can be a variety of reasons that it does not work from bad connections to control board.  It will get it's power from a 12 vDC battery source.  You must have a working battery for the RV appliances to work, and as an FYI, the 12vDC battery will also run the heater fan, and that can deplete the battery fairly quick if not getting a charge from a power source.
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Utclmjmpr

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 06:58:20 PM »

 My take-a-way was that it needed a battery installed to use the heater.>>>Dan
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Carrrver

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2019, 09:53:01 PM »
One of the things the owner is telling me is that although the heat is propane, it needs an electric ignition to turn it on. That doesn't sound right to me. If you're taking a trailer out on the road, shouldn't you be able to turn on the heat without electricity?

I have a small solar gen and folding pannel, it's always enough for ignition.

Lou Schneider

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2019, 09:59:54 PM »
One of the things the owner is telling me is that although the heat is propane, it needs an electric ignition to turn it on. That doesn't sound right to me. If you're taking a trailer out on the road, shouldn't you be able to turn on the heat without electricity?

Electricity in this case means a 12 volt source of power like the trailer's battery to run the ignition board and the furnace fan.

You should be able to run the furnace and your house lights on battery power for at least a few hours before you'll have to recharge the trailer battery, either by plugging into 120 volts or towing the trailer several hours to let the tow vehicle recharge the battery.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 10:04:58 PM by Lou Schneider »

rodentraiser

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2019, 11:44:20 AM »
Electricity in this case means a 12 volt source of power like the trailer's battery to run the ignition board and the furnace fan.

You should be able to run the furnace and your house lights on battery power for at least a few hours before you'll have to recharge the trailer battery, either by plugging into 120 volts or towing the trailer several hours to let the tow vehicle recharge the battery.

I won't have any electricity for at least a year and I have no way of towing the trailer, so I might have to look for alternate heating sources.



The solar thing might be an idea. I had planned to get something like that to charge my phone.

Anyway, I'm going to see the trailer today. The owner is willing to rent it to me if I don't want to buy it, but I'd really rather buy it than pay every month. So today I'll see if it's worth what he's asking. So far he hasn't given me a firm price, so that might be one warning sign.

I didn't know all these things. Thank you, everyone!
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 11:48:00 AM by rodentraiser »

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2019, 12:06:24 PM »
A good-sized solar panel and a modest battery would seem a viable solution for you, but only if there will be adequate sunlight year-around.  Winter climate or cloudy weather could make it problematic just when your need for heating and lighting are the greatest. A small inverter-generator may be needed as back-up.

In addition to re-charging your phone, what will you do for lighting and hot water (if anything)?  You need to sit down and think through your lifestyle and its energy needs and then work out how to meet them.   It may be that multiple batteries and a couple different ways to re-charge them may be needed. However, you may be able to use propane or kerosene light and/or heat as a primary source and really minimize electrical needs.    Perhaps something like the Olympian catalytic gas heater and propane lighting is the way to go.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=propane+lights

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Olympian-RV-Wave-3-LP-Gas-Catalytic-Safety-Heater-Adjustable-1600-to-3000-BTU-Warms-130-Square-Feet-of-Space-Portable-and-Wall-Mountable/29764634
Gary
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rodentraiser

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2019, 10:09:39 PM »
A good-sized solar panel and a modest battery would seem a viable solution for you, but only if there will be adequate sunlight year-around.  Winter climate or cloudy weather could make it problematic just when your need for heating and lighting are the greatest. A small inverter-generator may be needed as back-up.

In addition to re-charging your phone, what will you do for lighting and hot water (if anything)?  You need to sit down and think through your lifestyle and its energy needs and then work out how to meet them.   It may be that multiple batteries and a couple different ways to re-charge them may be needed. However, you may be able to use propane or kerosene light and/or heat as a primary source and really minimize electrical needs.    Perhaps something like the Olympian catalytic gas heater and propane lighting is the way to go.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=propane+lights

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Olympian-RV-Wave-3-LP-Gas-Catalytic-Safety-Heater-Adjustable-1600-to-3000-BTU-Warms-130-Square-Feet-of-Space-Portable-and-Wall-Mountable/29764634

It's a little late to think through my lifestyle. I'm moving out of here on the 31st and that new lifestyle will start in one week.

I'm not saying I can't do this. I lived out of my truck for 6 years, so I know what I'll have to deal with. Being in a trailer will be like living at the Ritz compared to the truck. I figure at my age I don't have to prove how tough I am, so I won't do things the hard way unless I absolutely have to. It's just that I'm an old fart now and looking for ways to make myself more comfortable. LOL

The trailer has a propane stove and oven. I don't know if the fridge runs on propane yet or not - I forgot to ask. I'm not sure solar is doable now that I think of it. My lot doesn't really receive sun all winter on account of the tall trees (which I am imploring anyone to take!) around the cleared area. The sun comes through where the driveway enters the lot, but any solar panels I put there can be seen from the road, so guess how long they'd last?

A catalytic heater I can get on board with, though. The only problem I have is money is going to be very, very, VERY tight for about 3 months, right up until it's spring. Naturally. I may try to get one by next fall, though. We'll see how it goes. I really wanted a propane lantern, but one that runs off a large propane tank like the stove. I don't want to be running around getting small cylinders of propane every other day. I'm in the PNW - in winter it's dark all the time, so I'm sure the lantern would be on a lot.

So thank you for those links! I saved them and I'll definitely be looking closely at them.

NY_Dutch

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2019, 10:22:43 PM »
RV absorption fridges run on propane or electric, but even on propane they still need 12-volt power for the control system and ignition.
Dutch
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2019, 11:55:55 PM »
RV absorption fridges run on propane or electric, but even on propane they still need 12-volt power for the control system and ignition.

Some older refrigerators have manual controls and a piezo electric sparker like you'll find on a BBQ so they don't need 12 volts to run in propane mode.

SpencerPJ

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2019, 08:15:13 AM »
Good luck with this adventure.  Yes indeed a trailer any shape, will be better than a truck, so major upgrade, congrats.  Do as you must, but please never consider heating inside with the stove, it will not end well for you. 
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Paul & Julie

"Never argue with stupid people. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" - Mark Twain

NY_Dutch

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2019, 08:44:40 AM »
Some older refrigerators have manual controls and a piezo electric sparker like you'll find on a BBQ so they don't need 12 volts to run in propane mode.

Yep, good point. I haven't seen one of those in years, so they slipped my mind...
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2019, 08:47:18 AM »
Quote
It's a little late to think through my lifestyle. I'm moving out of here on the 31st and that new lifestyle will start in one week.
I wasn't suggesting that you change your plan. What I have in mind is thinking about your daily activities and how each gets the energy it needs. Also where each gets water and disposes of wastes, where applicable.  Most people give very little thought to that because it's more-or-less automatic in a fixed house or apartment, but powering things and getting/disposing of water suddenly becomes paramount when you move into a trailer that isn't parked in a full service campground.

Some examples: heated water for a shower,  flushing the toilet, heating or cooling,  lighting for early morning or evening, maybe some tv or radio for news or sports or simply entertainment, charging cell phone or computer, internet access, etc.  I'm not saying you must have/do all those things in a traditional manner, but you probably have some expectations or at least a desire to be a step or two above living in that truck.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 08:54:24 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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rodentraiser

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Re: Electric ignition on heater in travel trailer?
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2019, 06:39:56 PM »
Good luck with this adventure.  Yes indeed a trailer any shape, will be better than a truck, so major upgrade, congrats.  Do as you must, but please never consider heating inside with the stove, it will not end well for you.

Thanks, I wouldn't even consider heating the inside with the stove.


I wasn't suggesting that you change your plan. What I have in mind is thinking about your daily activities and how each gets the energy it needs. Also where each gets water and disposes of wastes, where applicable.  Most people give very little thought to that because it's more-or-less automatic in a fixed house or apartment, but powering things and getting/disposing of water suddenly becomes paramount when you move into a trailer that isn't parked in a full service campground.

Some examples: heated water for a shower,  flushing the toilet, heating or cooling,  lighting for early morning or evening, maybe some tv or radio for news or sports or simply entertainment, charging cell phone or computer, internet access, etc.  I'm not saying you must have/do all those things in a traditional manner, but you probably have some expectations or at least a desire to be a step or two above living in that truck.

Yeah, I understand, but the more I get now, the longer it takes me to get to the point where I will be one step above living in the truck.

And I apologize - I should have been more clear. I'll be moving out onto a lot I own outright. It's 1 1/3 acres, surrounded by trees, cleared and stumped in the middle and I've just had it leveled and terraced.

Once I have electricity brought in, the whole game changes. At that point I'll have heat, light, hot water maybe, a fridge, and internet. The only thing I have to keep in mind is that everything I buy to make it more comfortable for me now means that it takes longer to get electricity.

My original plan was to save through the whole year next year and have electricity by early 2021. But if I do things like spend $500 on a small wood burning stove, that just sets me back. In fact, buying this trailer sets me back a couple months as it is. So I have to decide: do I want to be comfortable now, but delay getting the electricity, or am I willing to put up with a few hardships now to get the electricity sooner. Much as I like my comforts, I'm personally not adverse to putting up with a few difficulties to save more money and get the electricity brought in as soon as possible.

As to the rest:

There's water on the lot. That's one of the reasons I waited so long to move out. There was already a well servicing the lots here, but I just needed to have water brought in. So now I have two spigots where I can get water for myself and my garden when I put one in next spring.

Garbage pickup has already been scheduled.

I finally got the mailbox up today.

Driveway is in. Still doesn't mean I won't be stuck in the snow, but I plan to buy some traction thingys, some cat litter, and a couple pairs of cables just in case. If it gets worse than that, all of us in the area here will be stuck and nothing but the snow melting is going to help us. In fact, if it really gets as bad as it did last February, no one is going anywhere even if we can get out of our lots because the main road to town will be cut off by fallen trees and slides.

The contractor sunk two large posts in on either side of the driveway so I can hang a cable or chain between them to keep out the curious. That also gives me a little bit of security, too.

Hot water will be had by heating water.

I can probably charge my cell phone in my car on the way into town and/or at the library. There's also a little fire thingy that burns twigs and converts the heat so you can charge small items. I'm not sure how well it works, but it's something to look into. And I could try the small solar panel to charge my phone, too. Not sure how well anything solar is going to work, though.

As to the toilet, it looks like I'll be composting humanure. Yeah, not my favorite thing, but I looked into renting a port-a-potty and the cost will run to $200 a month in summer. The reason I'm moving out on my lot is so I can save money, so I'll do that only if I absolutely have to.

What I'd like to do is get one of those small sheds, about 6 x 8, with a regular door (not a sliding door) and a window to do double duty as a sort of outhouse and a place where I can also store my gardening tools. Plus, I need to have a bale of straw to compost with and I think that would fit in there as well.

As for boredom, well, I've always been sort of a loner and am really good at finding things to do on my own.

I do plan to keep saving and improving. A year after electricity is in, I'll have a septic system put in - there's already a design on file. A couple years after that, I might be able to afford to have a used manufactured home put on the lot and that's what I'm really shooting for: a mortgage free place to live in my old age. If I can keep my health, I might be able to do this. If not, at least I'll have a developed lot to sell. It's a gamble, but then life's a gamble, too.

« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 06:58:02 PM by rodentraiser »