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Truma Blown Air Vs Alde Wet System: Surprise Test Result

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I've just read quite a surprising article. . Hobby took two virtually identical 560 WLU models up to the Arctic Circle in Finland in the middle of winter, opened all the windows and door until the caravans were -21C inside (a freezer is -18C) and then closed everything up and put on the heating.

 

The caravans are obviously identical in terms of insulation, double-glazing etc. The only difference is one had the Truma 5002 "ordinary" blown-air heating system (plus the electric Ultraheat element). The other had the far more expensive wet water radiator central heating system from Alde. Both will be familiar to people on this forum.

 

After just two hours the blown-air system had raised the temperature a staggering 40C to over 20C, at four measuring points throughout one of the Hobbys. The centre of the van was registering 22. 3C, the shower room was 21. 5C, and the "coldest" corner of the seating unit was 20. 5C.

 

At the same point the Alde wet system had only raised the middle of its Hobby to a distinctly chilly 13. 8C, the coldest corner of the seating was at 9. 9C, and the washroom was at 7. 2C. That's not much warmer than the interior of a fridge (5C). It took a full extra hour to reach the 20C average temperature inside the caravan and even then the shower room was still far cooler.

 

Blown-air systems are noisier than wet systems, but they're also lighter and apparently work far faster. Why then do the Scandinavians prefer them, and why are they considered a "top end" option in the UK? Is it to do with running costs when the temperature is reached (something that this test doesn't address)? The blown-air system output is 7. 5KW and the Alde is 6. 4KW, so I'm guessing the actual power consumption is not that vastly different. Or is it that we just assume the more expensive system must be better, when perhaps it really is not.

 

The report is here - sorry, it's in German again, but I promise I've taken the salient points and not distorted anything!

 

 

 

 

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Having lived with both I would agree the Alde takes longer to heat up but once there gives a more even heat. We will be sticking with Alde.

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It's all a bit academic really, when buying a van you are buying a package and the heating is only one aspect of that package. You cannot normally choose one heating system over another without also getting the rest of that package.

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It's all a bit academic really, when buying a van you are buying a package and the heating is only one aspect of that package. You cannot normally choose one heating system over another without also getting the rest of that package.

 

Ah really? I'm much more familiar with German caravans, where Alde is offered as an optional extra. So you genuinely can choose. Hadn't realised it was different with UK caravans, so thanks for pointing that out!

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I've just read quite a surprising article. . Hobby took two virtually identical 560 WLU models up to the Arctic Circle in Finland in the middle of winter, opened all the windows and door until the caravans were -21C inside (a freezer is -18C) and then closed everything up and put on the heating.

 

The caravans are obviously identical in terms of insulation, double-glazing etc. The only difference is one had the Truma 5002 "ordinary" blown-air heating system (plus the electric Ultraheat element). The other had the far more expensive wet water radiator central heating system from Alde. Both will be familiar to people on this forum.

 

After just two hours the blown-air system had raised the temperature a staggering 40C to over 20C, at four measuring points throughout one of the Hobbys. The centre of the van was registering 22. 3C, the shower room was 21. 5C, and the "coldest" corner of the seating unit was 20. 5C.

 

At the same point the Alde wet system had only raised the middle of its Hobby to a distinctly chilly 13. 8C, the coldest corner of the seating was at 9. 9C, and the washroom was at 7. 2C. That's not much warmer than the interior of a fridge (5C). It took a full extra hour to reach the 20C average temperature inside the caravan and even then the shower room was still far cooler.

 

Blown-air systems are noisier than wet systems, but they're also lighter and apparently work far faster. Why then do the Scandinavians prefer them, and why are they considered a "top end" option in the UK? Is it to do with running costs when the temperature is reached (something that this test doesn't address)? The blown-air system output is 7. 5KW and the Alde is 6. 4KW, so I'm guessing the actual power consumption is not that vastly different. Or is it that we just assume the more expensive system must be better, when perhaps it really is not.

 

The report is here - sorry, it's in German again, but I promise I've taken the salient points and not distorted anything!

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing against owners with Alde but I cant understand the Alde benefits against the blown air Truma . . For me all your doing is over complicating a system that works, with the added weight, expense and cost of maintenance. . . Just my opinion :rolleyes:

 

Ah really? I'm much more familiar with German caravans, where Alde is offered as an optional extra. So you genuinely can choose. Hadn't realised it was different with UK caravans, so thanks for pointing that out!

 

You now have the option of Alde or Truma with some of the 2016 Swifts

Edited by Silverback
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It's all a bit academic really, when buying a van you are buying a package and the heating is only one aspect of that package. You cannot normally choose one heating system over another without also getting the rest of that package.

When I buy a van (very rarely) the package has to include Blown air

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I'm an Alde wet system fan: I found with a Truma blown air system in our previous van (a motorhome) that the temperature appeared to drop very quickly when the system reached its required temperature; therefore, we went through a cycle of being cold; warm and noisy; then cold and peaceful; warm and noisy . ..

Edited by Despicable
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Have just crossed caravanning in Finland in winter off my bucket list.

Having had both systems I much prefer the Alde. Even temps with no cold spots. Does take longer to warm up though.

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It's all a bit academic really, when buying a van you are buying a package and the heating is only one aspect of that package. You cannot normally choose one heating system over another without also getting the rest of that package.

Not really academic. There are certainly swifts where it's optional.

 

Regardless of that you will find many people swear that the heading system is a deal breaker (see above) so will have their choice skewed by this rather than just accepting what they get.

 

To my untrained eye, the heating system is one of the main differentials between some mid spec and top end ranges any way. It gets very hard to see where the additional money goes on a Unicorn for example.

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I wonder how much weight wet heating adds to a van?if any

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Not really academic. There are certainly swifts where it's optional.

 

Regardless of that you will find many people swear that the heading system is a deal breaker (see above) so will have their choice skewed by this rather than just accepting what they get.

 

To my untrained eye, the heating system is one of the main differentials between some mid spec and top end ranges any way. It gets very hard to see where the additional money goes on a Unicorn for example.

 

I can't find the price on their website, but it is indeed an optional extra on Swift Challengers to add the ALDE system. On my Tabbert it's a rather substantial €2800 extra (£2000) and adds 34kg to the weight of the van. I certainly won't be going for it on the basis of the test report and I'm afraid I'm not entirely convinced by people's reports that it gives a more even heat, when the much more scientific comparison of two otherwise identical vans shows it doesn't. Interestingly the report was actually written by Hobby, who presumably have some kind of vested interest in people forking out the €2315 they charge for the wet system as an extra, too!

I wonder how much weight wet heating adds to a van?if any

 

Was just typing this as you posted - 34kg. That's a far old chunk of a Swift Challenger's 150kg payload.

Edited by PME

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They should of started the test as they have done and then ran the heating for a week and seen which was more efficient.

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I can't find the price on their website, but it is indeed an optional extra on Swift Challengers to add the ALDE system. On my Tabbert it's a rather substantial €2800 extra (£2000) and adds 34kg to the weight of the van. I certainly won't be going for it on the basis of the test report and I'm afraid I'm not entirely convinced by people's reports that it gives a more even heat when the much more scientific comparison of two otherwise identical vans shows it doesn't. Interestingly the report was actually written by Hobby, who presumably have some kind of vested interest in people forking out the €2315 they charge for the wet system as an extra, too!

I'm in a minority, but I prefer a well sorted Truma blown air system to the Alde.

 

IMO most people's view of the Truma is skewed by poor installation in so many models, specifically full insulation of underfloor ducting and remote positioning of the thermostat plus user error in selecting full power when lower power gives more even heating.

 

The Alde adds cost/weight to any caravan, is slow to warm up and very dependent on airflow over the convectors which is poor on certain layouts.

 

We supplement our Alde with a cheap fan heater !

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They should of started the test as they have done and then ran the heating for a week and seen which was more efficient.

 

Quite agree, that would have given a far fuller picture - but £2000 is a lot of gas, even assuming the Truma system is the less efficient of the two!

Edited by PME
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They should of started the test as they have done and then ran the heating for a week and seen which was more efficient.

How does that help if you're only away for the weekend - or are you suggesting that the caravan gets taken to site a week before needed ?

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I can't find the price on their website, but it is indeed an optional extra on Swift Challengers to add the ALDE system. On my Tabbert it's a rather substantial €2800 extra (£2000) and adds 34kg to the weight of the van. I certainly won't be going for it on the basis of the test report and I'm afraid I'm not entirely convinced by people's reports that it gives a more even heat, when the much more scientific comparison of two otherwise identical vans shows it doesn't. Interestingly the report was actually written by Hobby, who presumably have some kind of vested interest in people forking out the €2315 they charge for the wet system as an extra, too!

 

Was just typing this as you posted - 34kg. That's a far old chunk of a Swift Challenger's 150kg payload.

cant say ive been in a van with wet heating do they have radiattors like a house?

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Several advantages for me with Alde over Truma

 

1) All round heat

2) Being a motorhome, we can drive with the Alde radiators being warmed by the engine heat.

3) When not on hook up, we need only a tiny amount of 12v power for the Alde pump. The Truma fan uses a lot more 12v power in comparison.

4) The Truma system repeatedly conked out in the last three motorhomes. The Alde, in the present van and the last, has been as good as gold.

 

Alde only for me now.

 

Russ

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cant say ive been in a van with wet heating do they have radiattors like a house?

 

Pretty much, yes!

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I think all that was discovered is that Hobby penny pinched and did not fit adequate radiators and or arrange them to effectively convect sufficient air to dissipate the 6 odd kws available from the boiler; just as many other van builders fail to fit the systems out correctly.

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I think all that was discovered is that Hobby penny pinched and did not fit adequate radiators and or arrange them to effectively convect sufficient air to dissipate the 6 odd kws available from the boiler; just as many other van builders fail to fit the systems out correctly.

 

I'm not sure you can draw that conclusion. I think I'm right in saying Hobby are still the best-selling caravans in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Finland and they're definitely no 1 in Germany, Iceland and Austria. If any manufacturer is going to have expertise in fitting heating systems properly in these cold-climate countries, where their market share is so large, it would be fair to assume Hobby does.

Edited by PME
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I can't find the price on their website, but it is indeed an optional extra on Swift Challengers to add the ALDE system. O

 

£750 I believe. It is probably important for Swift to offer it as there is a £5000 (min) price jump to the Conquerer. A Challenger with Alde comes in cheaper than its biggest rival.

 

I'm happy with blown air so far. Our current van has the old style system with space heater, so you can run it without the fan if needed. Be interesting to see how the new one works.

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I'm not sure you can draw that conclusion. I think I'm right in saying Hobby are the best-selling caravans still in Norway, Sweden, Finland and they're definitely no 1 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. If any manufacturer is going to have expertise in fitting heating systems properly in these cold-climate countries, where their market share is so large, it would be fair to assume Hobby does.

You might then like to explain to us engineers and physicist then how one system pumping 7. 5KW and one pumping 6. 4KW of energy into identical heat sink enclosures ends up achieving so different temperatures?

One is not provided with the heat dissipating system to do so, will be the only conclusion you could find to satisfy that outcome. Then who put the system in, chose the number of radiators, designed the furniture to achieve the requisite air flow to carry the heat away?

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Like Alfa mine my van has space heater along with the fan, I've just about got the hang of setting it now and can maintain an even heat a long the van. I also found last week whilst away that the 1kw setting worked just as well as the 2kw setting. Only a small portion of my ducting is outside so heat loss is minimal.

Whilst we were away we popped into Highbridge and looked at several 2016 models some with wet heating.

I'm more than happy with Truma so far and would be on the next van list, which is fortunate as the next van we would have is also fitted with the same set up but that's a few years away yet

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You might then like to explain to us engineers and physicist then how one system pumping 7. 5KW and one pumping 6. 4KW of energy into identical heat sink enclosures ends up achieving so different temperatures?

One is not provided with the heat dissipating system to do so, will be the only conclusion you could find to satisfy that outcome. Then who put the system in, chose the number of radiators, designed the furniture to achieve the requisite air flow to carry the heat away?

 

Well I'd kick off by pointing out that the blown air system is pumping in 20% more power for a start, which might partially explain why its heat up time to 20C is 2 hours rather than 3 hours. My next point would be that one system is perhaps simply more efficient at producing usable heat with the energy that is put in than the other one. Finally, if you're correct that the system hasn't been designed correctly, to then go on to conclude that this must be as a simple result of Hobby "penny pinching" doesn't follow at all. They are the world's largest caravan manufacturer. I worked in their marketing office, right next door to their engineering and design office: it was definitely not short of resources. It's perfectly possible to spend money and not get things right (not that I believe that would be the case, because as I've said, their heating systems are critical to their success in all these extremely cold-weather markets).

Edited by PME
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Quite agree, that would have given a far fuller picture - but £2000 is a lot of gas, even assuming the Truma system is the less efficient of the two!

Initial cost aside, as the van is already purchased, The alde also heats your water as well so always hot water at no extra cost when heating on.

 

How does that help if you're only away for the weekend - or are you suggesting that the caravan gets taken to site a week before needed ?

Certainly not, The Alde heating can be put on gas and a £10 2kw Argos fan heater could be used for the initial heat up if on EHU if required.

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