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Caravan Electric Heating.am I Expecting To Much?


secondopsman

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Hi

I have just upgraded from a 1996 compass van to a 2008 bailey pageant loire. The old van had the gas fire with blown heating but no electric. The new Bailey has the electric heating but when i switched it on i was a little disapointed to find that it doesnt get that hot. On reading the user guide it seems that the electric side of the heating is supplementary only. Is this correct?Have i got to go back to the old trusty fan heater from Argos?Or am i doing something wrong.

Pete

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HI Pete,

 

I find the Truma heater fairly efficient on electric. If your van is very cold then it could be worth warming on gas as well. Once the van is upto temperature then the electric element should be plenty to keep the van warm.

 

People often make the mistake of using the fan before the heater has warmed up. Before you switch the fan on you should run the heater on full 2KW until the heat coming from the fire is enough to burn you if you hold your hand very close for a few seconds. At this stage you should only then switch on the fan and keep the heater on full 2KW and full thermostat until the air from the vents is warm.

 

As a guide, I haven't used the gas element on our heater since March (apart from before servicing to check it was ok). I find the heat on gas to powerful and electric is fine.

 

Ian

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My thoughts are these;

 

The Ultraheat’s wattage settings are there so you can make use of low amperage hookups, ideally 500W for 6A, 1000W for 10A and 2000W for 16A hookups, their not there to adjust the temperature of the van.

(You could of course use 6A for 1000W and 10A for 2000W, however you will be very limited on what else you can use at the same time, remembering to switch down or off while boiling a kettle can help get the best use out of low amperage hook up’s)

 

 

The Ultraheat is thermostatically controlled, therefore the wattage used will simply mean the fire is heating for shorter or longer periods. Where the problems arise then is if the temperature control is not working correctly, this is often due to the heat from the elements directly affecting the sensor itself,. The sensor is within the control switch, depending then where the switch is installed, this means the heat of the fire can bring the temperature sensor up to that set on the dial directly and the elements switch off, you and the van are still cold but the sensors toasty and takes forever to cool before switching the fire back on!!

A few common bad places to find the switch are in the side of the wardrobe above the fire or in a bed box where blown air pipes run, or perhaps even behind where the TV sits so the heat from the back of the TV or it’s transformer warms it up!

 

Due to this and particularly overnight, it's become something of an urban myth to set it at 500w or 1000w, this or that number on the dial and fan speed setting. In truth what's happening is the available heat is not capable of reaching the set temperature so never switches off, it's a useful work around but not how it should work.

The real solution is to fit a ‘remote’ temperature sensor and attach it to the gas fires sensor, if a remote is already fitted, it to will usually react better if moved to this location.

 

Setting the fan on manual speed means the fan runs at this speed regardless of the amount of heat being produced, I would suggest manual fan is only for use without heat for cooling in summer, if infact it has a use?!

Setting the fan to ‘A’utomatic allows the heat produced to control the fan speed ‘up’ to the speed set on the dial, you can then, keep this set maximum low and therefore quiet, overnight perhaps?

Automatic means the fan will run slowly initially and speed up as the air passing through gets warmer, doing it this way allows heat and fan to be switched on together and doing away with waiting xx minutes as often suggested.

 

I would suggest as a start and during the day, the wattage selected is as high as the hook up allows and then fan speed set to maximum on Automatic.

This provides the maximum heat if required and the fans speed will respond to change in temperature, ie, fast when heat cycle is on and slow when heat is off.

After that you can fine tune to suit your own needs

 

Other heating problems concern the control board, the elements are switched on and off by relays and the contacts burn out, particularly the two 1kw relays. If this happens you may think you have it set to 2kw but only one element is working, finally perhaps leaving you with just 500w working when both 2kw and1kw settings no longer work.

(Note, relays will still be heard to ‘click’ but unless you have heat, their not working)

The 12v for control also comes from this board and the transformer sometimes packs up, apart from no heat, you will lose the green light in the switch if this happens

Also if no heat is forth coming, there are two safety thermostats which switch the power to the elements off if things to hot. The lower one set at 125C will automatically reset after cooling, the higher 175C stat will hold itself off until power is removed, you must then switch off the mains supply to the heater and then it will reset automatically after a few minutes when power can be restored.

The lower 125C stat can fail when hot but well before it’s set temperature, this will mimic a relay fault and the heating switch off before the set temperature on the dial is reached. However checking the stat for continuity when cold will show a perfect reading, only way to be sure is to change it.

 

Note; if either thermostat is faulty it won't be able to reset, if faulty it can sometimes show itself by the vans main RCD tripping, but not always.

 

Finally, the mains isolation ‘fused switch spur’ can loose it’s connection through the built in fuse, the fuse is not the problem but the fuse holders connections that seem to be the problem

 

The main control switch itself seems generally reliable but the odd one does fail, the fan control switch when set to ‘A’ should make a positive connection and not switch on and off at the merest touch.

 

The numbers on the dial represent roughly 4degs and 9 is 32degs or thereabouts, this in theory makes 6 or 7 'normal' but it's what feels comfortable that matters not the number.

 

Other problems not caused by the heater itself are long runs of un-insulated blown air pipe running outside under the floor, insulating this will improve matters considerable.

The kitchen cabinet is often fitted over a wheel arch, much larger than required holes for clearance over the arch are used, the resultant heavy draught coming from behind the fridge can be eliminated by simply sealing the gap on the fridge side of the centre

cupboard.

Any draughts coming from the front of the fridge should also be eliminated.

Fix bed models very often have large floor vents under the bed,these are only useful in storgage and are easily block with a towel while the vans in use,

 

It’s also known for blown air outlets to blow toward the fire and this will upset the temperature control, adjusting these to blow away or even blocking off completely can actually improve overall heating.

 

 

Everything installed and working as it should, there is no good reason why the electric heating should not work very well and keep an even temperature to suit your needs.

 

However, it must be remembered the van needs to be warmed through thoroughly, (not just the air), before the heating is turned down. While the vans cold it will constantly drag heat from the air and this in turn needs constant topping up or the van will always feel ‘draughty’. It's most useful then while particularly cold to use gas as well for the first couple of hours, also, if the heating is off during the day to turn it back on at the first sign of a chill.

gary1s.gif

 

Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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I know I am an idiot, I was born that way, but the first van I had that had electrical heating I found the same as Pete that it didn't seem to work and I was having to turn the gas on as well. What I hadn't realised was that the inner part of the control knob for 500w, 1000w and 2000w was a thermostat and mine was set at 1. Have had no further problem since discovering this!!!!

 

ElBeardo :)

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Very good post from ARC.

 

My TRUMA combi boiler is electric at 900 or 1800 watts for heating and/or hot water plus an extra 2000, 4000 or 6000 watts worth of power from gas. The boiler will run or gas, electric or both.

 

Electric is ok at this time of year - keeping the chill off etc and definitely good for hot water.

 

When it is really cold, a bit more power is needed.

 

I will add that on my boiler, part of the electric element had failed (twice) meaning that even though set at 1800 watts, it was only delivering half power. Might be worth running your supply through an amp meter thing and checking what power is being consumed.

 

Russell

Online blog and travels, although sometimes there is a lack of travel due to work!

 

It's an uncharted sea, it's an unopened door but you've got to reach out and you've got to explore.

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Very interesting gentlemen. I too have issuses, my old van Abbey Oxford - never a problem. My Abbey Vogue 495 takes ages to get warm on electric, and then it's not enough. A good idea Twostar about letting it warm up before hitting the fan switch. i will try that for sure!

 

Lots of interesting points there Gary, are things getting just too complicated? My Oxford was simple stuff compared to the Vogue, retro steps, forward forward side together- back back, ( ballroom dancing, sorry, i'll shut up) :)

 

I'm too tight to use the gas :P

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We have just come back from a very wet weekend. I deliberately opened all the cupboards etc and put the heater on 1kw. The next morning the van was at 26 deg C! I have cut it to 500w and opened a rooflight and the van was still cosily warm and dry this morning.

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Good post Gary

 

We use are heater on 500 and 4 on middle dial over night if cold Put it up to 9 before getting out of bed so its nice and warm everywhere

 

We also leave the loo door open at night as its cold in there if we don't

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Excellent post Gary

Loads of information & stuff that I was not aware of.

Keep em coming :rolleyes:

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Hi

I have just upgraded from a 1996 compass van to a 2008 bailey pageant loire. The old van had the gas fire with blown heating but no electric. The new Bailey has the electric heating but when i switched it on i was a little disapointed to find that it doesnt get that hot. On reading the user guide it seems that the electric side of the heating is supplementary only. Is this correct?Have i got to go back to the old trusty fan heater from Argos?Or am i doing something wrong.

Pete

 

 

Hi pete,

Your not doing anything wrong. I have had numerous new vans over recent years and the blown air system in all of them was basically poor. I always use a fan heater for quick warming as its the quickest method bar none.

 

 

peter.

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Agreed, a very good and informative post from Arc. What I would like to ask Gary is how difficult a job is it for the ordinary bloke to do or is it something to be done by an expert (remote sensor) and also if any diagrams are available anywhere for this.

 

Our heater is mounted below the wardrobe and the control know is mounted into the side wall of the wardrobe, so I tend to think Im getting exactly the same effect as described. The heater is adequate but I have had better head output on other vans with the same system, so yes, it all fits.

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As my van is quite large, i normally start off on Gas to give the element a chance to get to temp. Then it's gas off, and 2000 watts of lovely warm air

2021 Swift Sienna Super 4SB

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Hi

Would like to say thanks for all the replies especially Garys very informative,I will try the stat housing first off all as its the easiest and it does have the warm air duct running right behind it under the seat. You would like to think that the caravan manufacters would have thought of this though.

Pete

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Brilliant, perhaps Truma should employ you to write their manuals.

 

Thank you, praise indeed! however, am I not writing their manuals? I'd like to think 'my thoughts' are read more than their manuals LOL,

Still, employ, ie, some money for it would be nice!!!!!

 

Agreed, a very good and informative post from Arc. What I would like to ask Gary is how difficult a job is it for the ordinary bloke to do or is it something to be done by an expert (remote sensor) and also if any diagrams are available anywhere for this.

 

Our heater is mounted below the wardrobe and the control know is mounted into the side wall of the wardrobe, so I tend to think Im getting exactly the same effect as described. The heater is adequate but I have had better head output on other vans with the same system, so yes, it all fits.

 

Being below the wardrobe makes things simple, generally the remote can be plugged in and working in about 20 minutes, I've even managed to fit one through a drawer by feel and this is quite simple if gas fires control rod is on the left, if not, then the flue pipe needs moving and means things get more complicated.

 

My remote sensors, (these are the ones that work, unlike the copies), come with instructions, only problems reported all come down to not being fully plugged in, the plug itself being a standard 3. 5mm jack plug.

 

 

Hi

Would like to say thanks for all the replies especially Garys very informative,I will try the stat housing first off all as its the easiest and it does have the warm air duct running right behind it under the seat. You would like to think that the caravan manufacters would have thought of this though.

Pete

 

Only real solution to this is to fit a remote, you can though prove the point by pulling the switch out of the wall and letting it dangle in 'your' space rather than storage space?!.

 

 

Update, the limit stats mentioned have been a right pain this year, changed a pair a few weeks ago and it appears the 175C has packed up again!

Whatever, if one seems to be causing a fault, change both.

 

One other thing, truma do state electric heating is 'supplementary', well yes it's 2kw against 3. 2kw on gas so obviously secondary on that score, however, it's quite capable on it's own under most conditions. ..provided it's installed and working correctly.

In point of fact, it's actually rated at 2kw at 230v, so at 240v+ in the UK is more like 2. 2kw and that bit closer to equal

gary1s.gif

 

Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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We have just come back from a very wet weekend. I deliberately opened all the cupboards etc and put the heater on 1kw. The next morning the van was at 26 deg C! I have cut it to 500w and opened a rooflight and the van was still cosily warm and dry this morning.

 

???? why did you not just turn down the inner ring,which is the thermostat??

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Hi TD. I was drying the van out and wanted a good air flow without breaking the bank.

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I have found to warm the living area quickly I turn the fan off, when your warm enough turn the fan on to automatic, the fan always seems to drag the heat Into the ducts and away from the livivng area any other way

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I made a post about this in a very old thread, which I can't find, about this:

 

I have a Truma S 3002 EL Space Heater. Does this have the facility for a remote sensor, and if so can someone post or send me a link showing where I can purchase one from.

 

Regards,

Steve

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To add to this, it seems in my Bailey I have the S 3002, and also an Ultraheat unit, but somehow combined, would this be the case?

 

If so, is this the remote sensor?

 

http://www. leisurebuy. co. uk/truma-ultraheat-remote-sensor. html

 

Where do I plug it in exactly? I can't seem to find any schematics which show where to plug it in, all I seem to be able to find on the truma site are the EC approval certs.

 

Regards,

Steve

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To add to this, it seems in my Bailey I have the S 3002, and also an Ultraheat unit, but somehow combined, would this be the case?

 

If so, is this the remote sensor?

 

http://www. leisurebu. ..ote-sensor. html

 

Where do I plug it in exactly? I can't seem to find any schematics which show where to plug it in, all I seem to be able to find on the truma site are the EC approval certs.

 

Regards,

Steve

 

It looks like the right one, the jack plug plugs into the Control box which on ours is bottom back left hand side of the fire and I had to take the cupboard top off to get to it from above and behind. There is one fitted on ours but shorter than the one in your link sits at the front of our fire and didn't seem to work. It does now because the plug wasn't pushed in the socket on the control box properly

 

The socket is just above the marker line 11 on the schematic in the link.

http://www. miriad-pr. ..Sec=272&xPage=1

 

Dave

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