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Author Topic: 12 volt heater  (Read 3313 times)

ruthandken CDN

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12 volt heater
« on: February 11, 2010, 06:25:02 PM »
I have noticed in some MH's in the basement, the one that holds all the water connections, there is a 12 volt little heater, apparently factory installed.  In my water compartment there is a 12 volt connection outlet.  I've looked but can't seem to find 12 volt heaters.  Is there such a thing that I can install in there and plug it into the outlet?  How hot would it get?  I checked Camping World, and Canadian Tire (Canadian) but..nothing.

Ruth
Ken & Ruth,
fur kid, Jackson(golden retriever)
2013 Jayco Pinnacle 36 REQS
2011 F350 Ford Super Duty Dually with crew cub
Dogs are not my whole life but they made my life whole.
http://fivejustrolling.blogspot.com/

Jammer

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2010, 06:28:14 PM »
Watts  = volts  X  amps

At 12 volts it takes a large number of amps to get a useful amount of heat.  More amps than you can get from a lighter socket.  Ligher sockets are maybe good for 12 amps, if that.

There are direct-wire 12 volt heaters out there...

http://www.sportsimportsltd.com/us-made-polymer-composite-12-24-36-or-48-volt-quartz-heater.html

...but they still don't have very high wattage and they will drain your battery in a few hours, maybe less.

The best solution is usually to route part of the furnace ducting to the plumbing area, which is what Airstream does.  I imagine that many other builders do the same thing.  Since the furnace runs mainly on propane, the batteries last a reasonable length of time.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 06:30:15 PM by Jammer »
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

ruthandken CDN

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2010, 06:30:37 PM »
Would it drain the battery even if I'm connected to shore power?.  I want this just when it's cold and we're either going down the road or camped at a campground.
Ken & Ruth,
fur kid, Jackson(golden retriever)
2013 Jayco Pinnacle 36 REQS
2011 F350 Ford Super Duty Dually with crew cub
Dogs are not my whole life but they made my life whole.
http://fivejustrolling.blogspot.com/

Jammer

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 06:42:17 PM »
If you have shore power you would be far better off to use a 120 volt heater.  Much cheaper and more reliable.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/viewCatalogPDF.shtml?CatPage=459

Going down the road?  Usually only the really big coaches try to solve that one, usually with an big onboard generator that they run while driving.

There are also products that you can wrap the pipes with, that run on 12 volts and require considerably less power.

Pipes freezing while underway is usually only a problem in extremely cold climates (like mine) and for people who are making longer trips, several hours or more.
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

Jammer

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 06:44:33 PM »
I see you're in Ontario.  Cold, yes, but not like Winnipeg...

Long trips in winter weather with the plumbing "wet" aren't practical.  Most people who run the RV in cold winter temps either stay in one spot ... or drain the plumbing and just treat the RV as a big tent.  It's still heated and you can bring along milk jugs full of water.
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

ruthandken CDN

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2010, 06:48:51 PM »
Yes, we're in Ontario.  Don't plan on using it here, but heading south and with this weather, it will take us a few days before we get far enough south not to worry about freezing at night.  Don't plan on hooking up the first night, bringing water in jugs.  It's still winterized.  But after that would certainly hope that we can hook up.  Just worried about the water compartment as Fleetwoods tells me the rest is ok if the furnace is on.  The guys here say just stick one of those utility lights with a 60 watt bulb in there and that should keep it warm enough.  For now I think I'll just do that, and unhook the water at night.
Ken & Ruth,
fur kid, Jackson(golden retriever)
2013 Jayco Pinnacle 36 REQS
2011 F350 Ford Super Duty Dually with crew cub
Dogs are not my whole life but they made my life whole.
http://fivejustrolling.blogspot.com/

Jammer

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2010, 07:01:27 PM »
There are two problems with the 60 watt bulb modality:

1) fire safety

2) 60 watt bulbs burn out.  Then what.

The old farmer's trick was to use two smaller bulbs with one of those Y shaped two-bulb adapters, which addresses item #2 but not item #1.

Problem #1 is due to 60 watt bulbs getting much warmer than most people realize.

You could consider a small piece of electric baseboard which would have some thermostatic protection against overheating and be able to be securely attached, unlike the trouble light.

http://www.pexsupply.com/Qmark-2512W-2-Electric-Baseboard-Heater-120-volts-400-watts-8308000-p



Be careful.
2004 Suburban 2500 4wd 8.1 / 2010 Airstream Classic 30' /
1997 K2500 regular cab long bed pickup / 1971 Cayo C-11

bigskymt

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2010, 10:36:05 PM »
  Most people seem to have good luck with a 60watt bulb in a protected housing.

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2010, 09:39:35 AM »
Just make sure the bulb is not resting against something, or very close to it (an inch or so) and it will be fine.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

ruthandken CDN

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2010, 09:53:02 AM »
Thanks for everyone's input, most helpful, as usual.

Ruth
Ken & Ruth,
fur kid, Jackson(golden retriever)
2013 Jayco Pinnacle 36 REQS
2011 F350 Ford Super Duty Dually with crew cub
Dogs are not my whole life but they made my life whole.
http://fivejustrolling.blogspot.com/

John From Detroit

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2010, 10:24:22 AM »
I see several folks have explained the problem (The amount of current a 12 volt heater takes)

Many auto parts stores, epically in the north, will have a small 100 watt or so 12 volt forced air heater.. I have one in my towed, it helps to defrost a window or 2 on occasion but only with engine running.

Also Camping World and many RV dealers sell peal and stick tank heaters,  These are like the peal and stick rear window defrosters, some run on 12 volt. some on 120 and some on either.

Finally... What I use is light bulbs.. YOu can get those in 12 volt or 120 volt.. I need to replace some of mine.

I use 120 volt.. A string of C-9 Size Christmas tree bulbs, 3 of the still work.  and a 100 watt regualr bulb

NOTE: those are going to get to be hard to find soon so stock up.

I have a thermostat type outlet (Designed to be used with heat tape or a tank heater to keep the cattle tank from freezing) and this morning I "Felt" an operating C-9 bulb, it was perhaps 70 - 80 degrees to the touch (Held hand on it for over a minute)  I'd not wish to do that with the 100 watt.. it is in a "Trouble light) shield tough so it does not melt the plastic around it.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 10:26:19 AM by John From Detroit »
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Howard R

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2010, 11:25:44 AM »
Ruth,

I see you have a Southwind .... while ours is older (01 35R) I would think they would be basically the same.

All of our fresh and waste tanks are in the enclosed basement area.  While not as cold as you folks get, we have been hanging out in the Denver CO area since early December.  Spent one night at Cracker Barrel without any hookups when it got down to 4*F.  Another night with electric hookup it was -4*F. 

On our unit the furnaces also heat the basement areas with the tanks, the rear furnace takes care of the utility bay/waste tanks at the left rear.  The front furnace takes care of the center section with the fresh water tank.  I have wireless remote thermometers in each bay to monitor the temps. 

For example, last night the lowest outside temp was 18*F; fresh water tank bay lowest temp was 47*F; utility/waste tank area lowest was 38*F; furnaces were set for 65*F.  And that 38* could have been while I was hooking up after we pulled in last night.

The manual says something like 10-35 degrees outside set furnaces to 65*.  For every degree colder set furnace 1 degree warmer ... ie 5* outside, furnace set to 70*

The only two times I had a problem with freezing up was when I let the low temps get ahead of my getting the furnaces cranked up.  As a side note, it appears that when this happens obviously applying heat but also driving will get things flowing again. 

So check your manual and/or crank up the furnaces for a while and then check the temps in the critical bays ... I would think you would have heat down there.

As long as I don't let the cold get ahead of me, I'm comfortable with temps down to 0 or a little lower ... it does stay nice and toasty inside as a result and you will use a lot of propane at those low temps, but certainly workable for what you want to do.  (on those cold days noted above we used 8.6 gallons of propane in 2 days  :o, while normal useage tank will last about a week or so - ie 16-18 gallons of propane.  This is without any add ons such as reflectex or bubble wrap for the windows, etc ... that makes a huge difference we found)

And we do run the furnaces as needed while traveling, also hot water tank.

So hope this helps ... fire up those furnaces and check those bays.   ;D

Howard
2001 Fleetwood Southwind 35R
V10   F53
Colorado

ruthandken CDN

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2010, 02:35:50 PM »
Howard, thanks so much for the input, it's great coming from another Southwind owner.  I searched my manuals through and all they say is that the tanks are heated.  I called Fleetwood and they said the same thing yes, they are heated.  But the explanation you gave me was so informative.  Guess they must have put a lot more information in the Owner's Manual a few years ago.
Again thanks so much.  And thanks to everyone who responded to my query.  Much appreciated.

Ruth
Ken & Ruth,
fur kid, Jackson(golden retriever)
2013 Jayco Pinnacle 36 REQS
2011 F350 Ford Super Duty Dually with crew cub
Dogs are not my whole life but they made my life whole.
http://fivejustrolling.blogspot.com/

Howard R

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Re: 12 volt heater
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2010, 02:39:05 PM »
Ruth,

well to know for sure, turn the furnaces on, wait a bit and see if the temps come up.  You can usually feel the heat when you open the bay doors.  If nothing else stick any old thermometer in there and give it a try.

Howard
2001 Fleetwood Southwind 35R
V10   F53
Colorado