Jump to content

Bilge Heater.


Kirk Peterson
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello, 

Carrie and I end up in cold weather camping multiple times a year.  We are in weather in the low teens or colder. The nidus that initiated selling our current camper (HQ15) was a desire for a true 4 season camper. I have been reading the many excellent threads on this topic. My question is in regard to peoples experience with the Xtreme bilge heater. For people not familiar with this product it is a low watt bilge heater for smaller spaces. It is a 300 watt heater with a 15 foot 3 prong power cord and the unit measures 6 x 4 x 5.1 inches, weighs 5 pounds, puts out 1023 BTUs. It has an automatic thermostat and is set to turn on at 40 degrees and off at 55 degrees with a differential of +/- 3 degrees.

It sounds like two of these could be used in the two problem areas. How many of you all have one or two of these installed? There is obviously plenty of room in the basement area but where do you have it installed under there, directed toward the external shower? The other on is installed in the forward trailer. My notes on this topic are at work and I can’t remember the exact location but, is there enough room in this second location to install the bilge heater with the mounting bracket? 

We boondock a lot and we are going to get the largest lithium battery and solar set up. When possible, we would try to plug in very cold weather. We also already have 400 watts worth of portable solar panels to supplement the one that will be installed on the top. 

Thanks for any information!

Kirk

Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, 8 foot bed with overland conversion.

Elite 2 before the end of 2022!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder what percent of the time it would tend to be on. That could chow down the charge of even a big lithium battery setup fairly quickly especially if you don't have great solar gain.

  • Like 1

Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another possible solution...

A pair of 300 Watt heaters would draw about 50 amps when on (12V), so it's pretty easy to do the math and figure out how long they could run on batteries.  I have 400 Amp hours, so I could theoretically run these bilge heaters for 8 hours with nothing else running.  However, the cabin needs to be heated (if you use the furnace, that's taking more battery power to run the fan) and other small things need battery power as well. 

I came to the conclusion that heating the bilge electrically was not feasible with 400 Ah batteries, so I started looking for options to leverage the propane furnace.  I chose a "smart" fan that I put under the front dinette seat with a vent (AC Infinity CLOUDLINE T6).  I can run that at various speeds and it pulls cabin air through the heat vent in the back and pushes it back out the front.  I've used temperature sensors to ensure cabin air is moving around the bilge.  I have also found the bilge helps control the very high humidity in the bilge during summer months.  In addition to this fan, I have run some extra heat ducts on the street side and pump a little furnace heat into the bilge as well as a few heat strips on the fresh and city water check valves (prone to freezing and cracking).

I liked the bilge smart fan so much that I bought a smaller one (TerraBloom ECMF-100) and I use that to push cabin air through my sealed and insulated battery box to keep the battery temps moderated during both summer and winter.

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 4

States Visited Map

2020 Elite II, Hull 688 --- 2021 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6L Duramax Diesel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks NCeagle! I might end up going that route. With your set-up, I’d have to cut cut two circular holes for the vents, one for the battery, and one for the larger duct fan, and that covers the main problem areas.  Is that correct?

Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, 8 foot bed with overland conversion.

Elite 2 before the end of 2022!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kirk, I took a slightly different approach, look at this thread. I never camp in single digit temperatures, not intentionally, so it probably isn’t valid for your needs, but it does warm the under floor area and battery compartment through mostly passive air movement (natural convection) with the assist of a very tiny fan (70 MILLI amps DC).

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/5301-how-to-lithium-battery-powered-vent-system/

If you cut a hole in the battery box, be very aware that the bottom floor has an imbedded 1/8” aluminum plate in it. The sides are easy to drill. To get circulation you should have holes on both sides to provide a way for movement. It is a dead end box, once you seal the door holes.

I am curious, how do you plan to clean your Ollie after winter road trips? Do you have access to a heated indoor space for these arctic air intrusions? Got studded tires?😳

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Thanks 1

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kirk

I will give you another option to consider, the method I used was to add two additional heat runs from the furnace with out cutting holes or adding fans. I believe the furnace also runs a little quieter because the fan is not fighting to push air through only two heat ducts. I tested this modification in subzero weather for 2 1/2 days with full water tank and water pump on. The trailer temperature was more balanced with the bathroom staying cozy warm and the street side wall along the bed was not chilly. The coolest area in the Oliver was the closet.     

Here is a link to Breaking Subzero Oliver Furnace Mod 

Paul

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

There have been a number of other owners who've made modifications to more efficiently heat the space between the hulls.

Here's  a link to one if Nceagle's discussions:

Minnesota Oli documented his extensive mods really well in this thread.

 

 

  • Thanks 2

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I might still consider the electric bilge heaters an additional option. The furnace doesn't run continuously for us, even when it's in the 20s, so the bilge heaters should just kick on when you need them, at 40 degrees. Especially if you camp with electricity when it's really cold, it would be a nice alternative.  The xtreme is pretty quiet, imo. 

As I said, we've only used ours once or twice, but they're really well built, above uscg specs, and very well regarded on boating forums. The price tag is kind of painful, but so is plumbing repair.

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

The price tag is kind of painful, but so is plumbing repair.

That is so very true. I tell my daughter that it is a false economy to not have fresh snow tires, no more than three years old, since the alternative is a multi-car accident, lots of cash expenditure and possibly death. At least a pipe freezing in your Ollie won't kill you, but it sure would interrupt your travel plans.....

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Like 2

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Kirk Peterson said:

Thanks NCeagle! I might end up going that route. With your set-up, I’d have to cut cut two circular holes for the vents, one for the battery, and one for the larger duct fan, and that covers the main problem areas.  Is that correct?

Hi Kirk, actually I cut 5 holes.  Once you've gotten the nerve to do one, it becomes less painful! 🙂  One (6") hole was required for the bilge fan and it's under the front dinette (which is detailed by the post SeaDawg shared above). 

The battery compartment ventilation took four (4") holes.  It's a different topic / problem altogether, but in a nutshell, my solution included a hole under the street side bed for intake and a hole under the dinette seat for exhaust in the cabin, and the battery compartment and smart fan are both "inline", so there is also a hole on each side of the battery compartment itself.  I never posted pictures of my solution, but if there's interest let me know and I'll add some pictures and more detail in John's existing post as it's another approach to solving the same problem.

  • Like 3

States Visited Map

2020 Elite II, Hull 688 --- 2021 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6L Duramax Diesel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, NCeagle said:

I never posted pictures of my solution, but if there's interest let me know and I'll add some pictures and more detail in John's existing post as it's another approach to solving the same problem.

I'm interested!  Visual learner, here, so pictures are worth 1000 words.  🙂

  • Like 3

MaryBeth
Boulder, CO

2022 Elite II #953
TV: 2021 Ford Expedition Max Platinum, Max Tow Package

COKSMONESDTNUTWYmed.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! So many ways to approach this problem. Thanks everyone for the replies.

I like it that Minnesota Oli"s  method doesn't require drilling through the hull and that it has been tested. Also, I appreciate SeaDawg's advice on having the 300 w bilge heater either way.  

I am going to have to ruminate. 

  • Like 1

Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, 8 foot bed with overland conversion.

Elite 2 before the end of 2022!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Drilling holes does one other thing, it vents the trapped heat from that rear street side inverter compartment. In summer it gets very toasty in there. So does the battery box. With NCeagle’s design, you could run that bilge fan in the summer if you are OK with the current draw. Simply adding extra heat with extra ducts or bilge heaters in the winter is fine, in the cold weather, but it doesn’t help at all in the summer.

My original intent was KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid - and to design the air flow so that it would move naturally, with no fans needed except in extreme outside conditions. Mine works perfectly in summer, I have never tested it below 30 degrees F. In 110 degrees outside temp, with the AC going and the cabin at 75, the batteries are around 80..In cold weather the batteries is typically slightly cooler, within 6 or 8 degrees of the cabin temp, even when turning the heat down far at night.

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Like 2

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Pre installation of my 300W bilge heaters, I was stuck camping with electricity at 6 degrees for three days straight. (not by choice) in my 2008 Elite. The water pump line froze and remained so for twelve hours until my small ceramic heater thawed the line to the galley sink. That same year, two members (Mountainborn and Technomadia) camped for a long time in sub freezing temperatures and each had leaks occur in the vicinity of the external shower.   I now have an Xxtreme Heater near the water pump and one on the other side, near the external shower / battery area.  Yes, they draw power, but at very cold temps I strive to have hookups.

During the 6 degree days, water pressure was not restored to the bathroom until the outside temps rose.  The toilet was flushed using a bucket which I filled at a cattle water tank, after busting through the ice with a huge rock.   Fun times were had by all.

  • Like 5
  • Love 1

Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with MaryBeth, I would love to see photos, if not too much effort NCeagle! If I got brave enough I would love to add some vents. Who knows, might happen. 🙂

  • Haha 1

Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, 8 foot bed with overland conversion.

Elite 2 before the end of 2022!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, John E Davies said:

Kirk, I took a slightly different approach, look at this thread. I never camp in single digit temperatures, not intentionally, so it probably isn’t valid for your needs, but it does warm the under floor area and battery compartment through mostly passive air movement (natural convection) with the assist of a very tiny fan (70 MILLI amps DC).

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/5301-how-to-lithium-battery-powered-vent-system/

If you cut a hole in the battery box, be very aware that the bottom floor has an imbedded 1/8” aluminum plate in it. The sides are easy to drill. To get circulation you should have holes on both sides to provide a way for movement. It is a dead end box, once you seal the door holes.

I am curious, how do you plan to clean your Ollie after winter road trips? Do you have access to a heated indoor space for these arctic air intrusions? Got studded tires?😳

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, 8 foot bed with overland conversion.

Elite 2 before the end of 2022!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am curious, how do you plan to clean your Ollie after winter road trips? Do you have access to a heated indoor space for these arctic air intrusions? Got studded tires?😳

John Davies

Yes John, we are very lucky and have a heated and airconditioned garage the Ollie will fit in. We have 35 x 12.5 inch off-road tires with locker front and rear, a winch with 2 snatch blocks, a synthetic rope extender, and a land anchor. I have had chains for the tires before in different rigs and I never used them. No studded tires but, if I needed something more I would add a couple pair of chains. 

thanks, 

Kirk

  • Like 3

Kirk and Carrie Peterson

Twin Falls, Idaho

2018 Ram 3500, 8 foot bed with overland conversion.

Elite 2 before the end of 2022!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Kirk Peterson said:

I agree with MaryBeth, I would love to see photos, if not too much effort NCeagle! If I got brave enough I would love to add some vents. Who knows, might happen. 🙂

Ok, I did post some photos of the battery box design I used in John Davie's original how to post:  https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/5301-how-to-lithium-battery-powered-vent-system/

I also noticed that I never posted pictures of my bilge / basement solution.  It's pretty simple - bungee cord simple.  🙂  The fan only has a duct on the exhaust side so the fan pulls air from right under the seat and exhausts it into the cabin.  When everything is closed up and the fan is running, the cabin air is pulled into the basement (primarily) through the existing heat return vent under the curb side bed, so cabin air is circulated throughout the basement pretty well when this fan is running (all the time in my case).

Here's the 6" cabin vent under the dinette seat:

IMG_3270.thumb.jpg.ab5ce0f1731e0d2ed23b00cd7497b763.jpg

And here's the smart fan and duct under the seat:1698244689_IMG_3268(2).thumb.jpg.54bb6658a2a858286e7701f53a2adf61.jpg

I keep thinking I should make a more permanent mount for the fan, but it's held in there with bungees for over 5K miles without budging, so I've got that on the back burner.  I also tapped into the back of the 120V receptacle under the seat right next to the fan for the power.  

I put the controller for this basement/bilge fan in the back of the cabin out of the way next to my battery compartment fan controller:

IMG_3260.thumb.jpg.84c6fa025ed0b9d4f299bdb909c3d8c4.jpg

Here's the smart fan and vent I used for this project:

AC Infinity CLOUDLINE T6, Quiet 6" Inline Duct Fan with Temperature Humidity Controller - Ventilation Exhaust Fan for Heating Cooling Booster, Grow Te

HG POWER 6 Inch Round Air Vent ABS Louver Grille Cover White Soffit Vent with Built-in Fly Screen Mesh for Bathroom Office Kitchen Ventilation

 

  • Thanks 3
  • Like 1

States Visited Map

2020 Elite II, Hull 688 --- 2021 Silverado 2500HD, 6.6L Duramax Diesel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...