Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • Diesel air heater. Anybody got one?
  • Premier Icon Davesport
    Full Member

    In specific the 2Kw from Autoterm (formerly Planar). I’m think of fitting one of these as an additional heater to a 7m motorhome. The Truma Combi that’s there already is excellent and runs off of the refillable onboard gas bottles. The problem is that petrol stations that have an LPG pump are becoming a bit scarce. The station in Ft William has got rid of its LPG pump & I used this a lot. So, my thinking is if I can run most of my heating from diesel the gas will last an eternity as it’ll only be the fridge, cooker & a bit of hot water. The vehicle is well insulated & doesn’t require a lot of heat input as I don’t camp during the winter.

    From my understanding, these diesel heaters don’t like being run at the lowest setting for too long as they soot up. I’m stuck between choosing the 2 or the 4Kw version. Anybody got one similar care to comment on the heat output. It’s a bit subjective I realise but I’ve never seen one of these things in operation.

    Thanks in advance, Dave.

    Premier Icon NZCol
    Free Member

    Yeah I saw the RtTI station LPG pump had gone, that must have been the busiest pump in Scotland ! We’ve a Webasto for heating and log for cooking fridge etc. 11kg bottle will do us 4-5 weeks easy. But sorry nothing specific on your heater question !

    Premier Icon boxwithawindow
    Full Member

    I installed a 2kw Chinese one in my camper and its excellent.

    I built a bracket to hold the heater and a separate diesel tank which can be filled from the door.

    I would of thought the 2kw will be fine.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Plannar reportedly not too bad.

    But came here to say avoid the red/black cheap shit Chinese diesel heaters.

    I’ve got 2 . They don’t last worth a ****. It seems to eat a pump any time it’s not been used for 6 months or more.

    Coupled with noisy as **** and without a proper thermostat(cant get to temp and turn off to stabilise – just kicks back to low)

    Wouldn’t buy again.

    (Also have a truma which is silent by comparison.) ….

    Is fitting a second lpg tank an option ?

    Premier Icon yourguitarhero
    Free Member

    As far as I’m aware, there is no difference in any of the heaters no matter how many kW the ad says.
    They pump out loads of heat – had my uninsulated van up to 25c when it was freezing over outside. They also use very little fuel. Get up to temp in about 5 mins.

    Mine is an £80 Chinese one. Not noisy and thermostat control works fine. Had an issue with the glowplug that needed it changed (£10) and the fan motor (£20).

    They key is to buy two (so you have spares to hand) and run them up to temp once a month.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    thermostat control works fine

    By design it doesn’t so either your making that up. Or you dont know any different.

    If the op has a truma he will be in for a shock.

    And I’d certainly think twice before hacking up my van to fit one….. Mine were used in a garage.

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Eh?

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    By design it doesn’t so either your making that up. Or you dont know any different.

    But you’ve only had 2, how can you then know everything about every one that’s for sale? It’s not just one big factory, China.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    every one that’s for sale? It’s not just one big factory, China.

    Lulz. Done much research into black and red Chinese diesel heaters ? Large part of why they are 80 quid is they are missing the electronics to turn on and off on thermostat due to the cool down and start up

    Mean while the first line of my first post did say the planar ones are reportedly good.

    I wish I’d done more research before I bought them. The evangelists are everywhere ready to shout how good and cheap they are….then the same people are then telling you how to repair the common faults of which there are a few for such a simple machine.

    Quick look at some of their dedicated Facebook groups reveals I’m.not alone with them being pretty crappy nee landfill on the most part.

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Free Member

    There’s a FB group that is run by the UK distributor (I think), the guy is Owen Cox. Posts occasionally pop up from him and I do think he usually recommends the 4kw for anything high top / LWB / Actual motor home size. Best bet is probably to ask him on there, seems very responsive to messages.

    Click -> https://www.facebook.com/groups/156548108133334/?ref=share

    The other thing that catches my eye is there are a few posts from people complaining that the temperature control isn’t very progressive, but there is a new controller out which I think is supposed to be better.

    (I joined the group when I was building my van and researching heaters, in the end I fitted the Truma Combi Diesel which is excellent).

    I’d consider a Chinese heater for a secondary heater like you’re looking at, you have a backup if it packs up. Plenty of people rave about them, some hate them and some find them value for money but you might have to tinker with it or replace bits to keep it going. I wouldn’t be brave enough to use as my only source of heating.

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Free Member

    I fitted a Planar 2D (D2?) 2kW heater to out van conversion 2 years ago now – no problems at all. I previously had an Eberspacher 2kW one on our boat.

    The Planar is easily on a par with the Eberspacher for build quality – I was very impressed. I think it’s also quieter than the Eberspacher was (but the installations are very different) and definitely has a greater output range than the Eber did (it will turn down lower).

    I think you would be OK with a 2kW heater, but if you’ve got a big, boxy coach-built with multiple heater outlets, a garage, etc. that you want to heat, you might want to look at a higher power one. 2kW gets our (fairly well insulated) van toasty warm in no time, and then drops to low power.

    I got ours from PF Jones who are also UK agents for Planar (despite what Messrs Cox used to imply) and would heartily recommend them.

    https://www.pfjones.co.uk/autoterm-heating-systems.html

    Whatever you so, don’t get the PU22 digital controller – it is incredibly un-intuitive to use (from someone who has programmed microcontrollers!) PF Jones were good enough to exchange it for the simple ‘turn the knob’ PU-5 controller FOC, several months after I originally bought it. I’ve no experience of the “new controller”

    I went for Planar over Chinese as I just wanted it to work without hassle, which (so far) it has.

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    At risk of sounding daft, why not either convert the one you have to propane and carry a 4kg bottle or fill up at gas depots (I realise that’s not anywhere near as convenient). I’d be pretty surprised if the conversion would be any more involved than changing the burner tips and plumbing in the bottle (stored and secured in a suitably vented locker) which gives you the advantage of keeping the existing heater.

    Premier Icon alpin
    Free Member

    Currently in the process of installing a Planar /Autotherm 2D.

    Despite having the biggest and longest Ducato we went with the smaller of the two. The thinking being that its better to have the heater on full so as to burn off the soot than running one on low temps for longer.

    Mate of mine took apart a 4 kw (the bigger one?) to clean off all the soot that had accumulated due to being run at low power all the time. He’s fitted several four friends over the years

    Premier Icon Davesport
    Full Member

    Yeah I saw the RtTI station LPG pump had gone, that must have been the busiest pump in Scotland ! We’ve a Webasto for heating and log for cooking fridge etc. 11kg bottle will do us 4-5 weeks easy. But sorry nothing specific on your heater question !

    During the cooler months I’m getting 6 days to a week out of 11 Kgs. During the summer with no heating on I can get two weeks. So plenty of duration but I’m trying to future proof myself a bit in case I can’t get gas.

    I installed a 2kw Chinese one in my camper and its excellent.
    I built a bracket to hold the heater and a separate diesel tank which can be filled from the door.
    I would of thought the 2kw will be fine.

    Aye, 2Kw & a separate tank was my plan.

    Plannar reportedly not too bad.
    But came here to say avoid the red/black cheap shit Chinese diesel heaters.
    I’ve got 2 . They don’t last worth a ****. It seems to eat a pump any time it’s not been used for 6 months or more.
    Coupled with noisy as **** and without a proper thermostat(cant get to temp and turn off to stabilise – just kicks back to low)
    Wouldn’t buy again.
    (Also have a truma which is silent by comparison.) ….
    Is fitting a second lpg tank an option ?

    Yes, there’s no free lunch despite the hype on the internet about the cheap Chinese heaters, hence thinking about the Planar. The also now include a “silent” fuel pump in the kit to eliminate the noise. It’s an A class Hymer so plenty space underneath for an additional LPG tank but I’m trying to find an alternative to gas.

    There’s a FB group that is run by the UK distributor (I think), the guy is Owen Cox. Posts occasionally pop up from him and I do think he usually recommends the 4kw for anything high top / LWB / Actual motor home size. Best bet is probably to ask him on there, seems very responsive to messages.

    Click -> https://www.facebook.com/groups/156548108133334/?ref=share

    The other thing that catches my eye is there are a few posts from people complaining that the temperature control isn’t very progressive, but there is a new controller out which I think is supposed to be better.

    (I joined the group when I was building my van and researching heaters, in the end I fitted the Truma Combi Diesel which is excellent).

    I’d consider a Chinese heater for a secondary heater like you’re looking at, you have a backup if it packs up. Plenty of people rave about them, some hate them and some find them value for money but you might have to tinker with it or replace bits to keep it going. I wouldn’t be brave enough to use as my only source of heating.

    I might have to drop Owen an email as I’m not on FB but that would probably be a good start. The Idea of having a diesel heater as a backup does have appeal. My Truma has broken down once at the start of a week long MTB trip in the highlands. I was at Comrie Croft & the red LED of death illuminated meaning no hot water or heating for the rest of the week. (PCB had died) The diesel Truma would be a great replacement if the original LPG unit wasn’t worth keeping.

    I fitted a Planar 2D (D2?) 2kW heater to out van conversion 2 years ago now – no problems at all. I previously had an Eberspacher 2kW one on our boat.

    The Planar is easily on a par with the Eberspacher for build quality – I was very impressed. I think it’s also quieter than the Eberspacher was (but the installations are very different) and definitely has a greater output range than the Eber did (it will turn down lower).

    I think you would be OK with a 2kW heater, but if you’ve got a big, boxy coach-built with multiple heater outlets, a garage, etc. that you want to heat, you might want to look at a higher power one. 2kW gets our (fairly well insulated) van toasty warm in no time, and then drops to low power.

    I got ours from PF Jones who are also UK agents for Planar (despite what Messrs Cox used to imply) and would heartily recommend them.

    https://www.pfjones.co.uk/autoterm-heating-systems.html

    Whatever you so, don’t get the PU22 digital controller – it is incredibly un-intuitive to use (from someone who has programmed microcontrollers!) PF Jones were good enough to exchange it for the simple ‘turn the knob’ PU-5 controller FOC, several months after I originally bought it. I’ve no experience of the “new controller”

    I went for Planar over Chinese as I just wanted it to work without hassle, which (so far) it has.

    One of the things that steered me away from the German heaters was that they won’t run at a low output if the ambient temperature is climbing above the low set point. They switch off and wait on the temperature dropping then go through the start up cycle again which uses about 10 amps whilst the glow plug is on. The Autoterm will run at a lower setting and doesn’t keep switching off. I was going to go with the PU5 controller which runs the heater at a constant output.

    I’ll pop over to PF Jones’s site for a look.

    Cheers for the insight. Keep the replies coming :o)

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Free Member

    The Autoterm will run at a lower setting and doesn’t keep switching off. I was going to go with the PU5 controller which runs the heater at a constant output.

    I forgot to say that I added an external temperature sensor so the PU-5 acts as a thermostat. The Planar temperature sensors aren’t expensive, but if you fancy DIY, the sensor chip is dirt cheap (~£1) which is what I used. You can choose whether you want it to turn off when it reaches temperature or whether to keep running on low power – The start-up / cool-down cycle uses about 2AH of battery capacity (roughly the same for all diesel heaters), so it is best avoided, as you say.

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Free Member

    The Autoterm will run at a lower setting and doesn’t keep switching off.

    My Eber D2 with an 801 controller in my last van would do this. With it switched on it would sit ticking over / barely running until the temperature dropped again and then it would ramp up.

    The Truma doesn’t do it and shuts down when the temperature is reached and does a full restart each time, which as you say, is a slight down side.

    My Truma has broken down once at the start of a week long MTB trip in the highlands. I was at Comrie Croft & the red LED of death illuminated meaning no hot water or heating for the rest of the week. (PCB had died) The diesel Truma would be a great replacement if the original LPG unit wasn’t worth keeping.

    Having a separate diesel heater would be the way forward, I could happily manage without hot water but no heating would potentially be the end of the trip. I was warned by one of the dealers that if the Diesel Truma ever breaks it can be a bit of a problem as it needs Eber diagnostics for the burner side and Truma diag for everything else, which if true could be interesting trying to sort it! We were at Comrie for a couple of days the week before Christmas 🙂

    Premier Icon piemonster
    Free Member

    I’ve nothing to add beyond I have a Webasto and it’s brilliant, it was a long way from £80 mind you.

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    I’ve nothing to add beyond I have a Webasto and it’s brilliant, it was a long way from £80 mind you.

    I have one slung on the bottom of my C8/807/Ulysse, god knows if it works or not but they all have them, petrol and diesel. Frequently see wrecked autos going for not much money if you wanted to take a punt (the heater function can be checked with a 12v direct feed).

    Premier Icon welshfarmer
    Full Member

    I fitted a Planar 2KW to my T5 about 4 years ago. Observations:

    1. It has been generally very reliable as a heater unit
    2. The rubber fuel pipe supplied in the kit disintegrated withing 18 months and had to be replaced with Gates hose. If fitting yourself bear this in mind!
    3. The digital controller is complicated and flimsy. If you have the option, change for the rotary dial as suggested above.

    I have built a small snug next to my workshop and plan to fit another of these as a heat source.

    Premier Icon Hob-Nob
    Free Member

    As far as I’m aware, there is no difference in any of the heaters no matter how many kW the ad says.

    Maybe true of the cheap Chinese tat, but certainly not true of Eberspaecher / Webasto. All you have to do is look at them side by side to see the difference.

    Have seen a scary number of them leaking CO too, coupled with the average ‘hobby’ van converter, doesn’t really instil confidence.

    There is a reason why there are 20 year old Eber/Weba systems still selling for good money on Ebay, for the sake of a few hundred quid.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    I know nothing about diesel heaters but:

    if I can run most of my heating from diesel the gas will last an eternity as it’ll only be the fridge, cooker & a bit of hot water.

    That sort of usage in our caravan gets through 6kg of propane in about 2 weeks.

    Premier Icon surfer
    Free Member

    I fitted a £100 Chinese one in my van 2 years ago. Works a treat and although only used in anger a handful of times seems reliable. Thermostat seems to work fine as well although they are very powerful so I dont leave it on all night because even the lower settings get very warm once you are in bed. I run mine every few weeks or so for an hour.

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    I went cheap Chinese.

    For the money very impressed.

    It has a form of temperature adjustment but its more just a flat out to ticking over scale. It doesn’t kick in and out at temperature.

    I tend to use it and knock it off when I’m asleep and have it start up on a timer ready for getting up.

    They ain’t as solid as an ersbacher but they’re cheap.

    I’d have another.

    However if I was building a big new shiny van I’d not fit one I’d go gas but I’m not and in my my T4 it’s Ace.

    Premier Icon Davesport
    Full Member

    @alpin

    Currently in the process of installing a Planar /Autotherm 2D.

    Despite having the biggest and longest Ducato we went with the smaller of the two. The thinking being that its better to have the heater on full so as to burn off the soot than running one on low temps for longer.

    Mate of mine took apart a 4 kw (the bigger one?) to clean off all the soot that had accumulated due to being run at low power all the time. He’s fitted several four friends over the years

    Have you got this heater of yours up & running yet? I’m wondering how the 2Kw is working out in your van output wise. IE is it emough?

Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)

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