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Thread: Baseboard heat or other radiant heat with no fan using espar for heat source.

  1. #1
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    Default Baseboard heat or other radiant heat with no fan using espar for heat source.

    Seems that people mostly use a small radiator with a fan to heat their campers when the heat source is hydronic. My camper is rather small and I am thinking that baseboard heater pipes would work well enough and require no fan. I could install them along the edge of the floor in my camper. That would be about 15 feet of tubing. Or even double stack them for 30 feet. That or I had another idea to use an old intercooler for a turbo engine with no fan. I feel like placing the intercooler facing up would create a convection current and naturally draw cooler air from below it and heat the entire camper. This would also be a more compact and cheaper option with less plumbing.

  2. #2
    Great idea but it didn't work for me. I had 25" of 3/4 copper tubing coiled into a spiral - it was in a box containing the control manifold, 5gal heater tank with 4 computer fans blowing out virtually silently. Heat is a webasto 17000 btu coolant heater. Idea was for silent heat - the silent part was a great success but the heat produced was a bad match for the capacity of the webasto, it would run, heat the system then shut off for 20 or more minutes while the heat slowly distributed into the camper. I changed it to 10x14 radiator type heat exchanger. That works very well - still, I'd need another of the same size with fans to effectively pull all the heat the webasto is capable of putting out. Floor radiant is IMO the best solution for utilizing the available heat produced if you want quiet even heat - I have both - the air heater reacts faster. Only downside to the floor radiant is the sound of the pump circulating the floor circuit. If I did it again I'd go to the trouble of putting the pump outside the camper. It's not loud by any definition but when camping in the silent vastness back of beyond it's annoying...In practice over night I run just two of the fans to keep the cabin around 45-50 degF.

    Maybe if your baseboard was the finned type & ran full length it might work (IMO not very well but certainly enough to keep the cabin comfortable for sleeping) it would be an interesting experiment but I think you need fans or an awful lot of passive surface area (that you'd have to find a place for...) to warm up the cabin fast enough to be useful ...Moe

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/14x10-Water-...1%26rkt%3D1%26

  3. #3
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    Great response! thank you. I was thinking finned 3/4" baseboard tubing.. http://www.slantfin.com/wp-content/u...atings-107.pdf

    According to that chart it's 578btu/hr per foot that 17,340 with 30 ft. The dimensions of that stuff makes me think that I don't have room for all that. I may just do the intercooler plan and add fans if I have to.

  4. #4
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    I have 2 radiators, a towel rail and a calorifier on my Webasto Thermo 50 and it doesn't have enough area to use all of the heat from the Webasto. It also doesn't heat the camper enough when outside temps are really low. At some point in the future I'm going to try and retrofit a fan matrix heater somewhere.
    http://jimthetruck.blogspot.co.uk/
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  5. #5
    I have 2 radiators, a towel rail and a calorifier on my Webasto Thermo 50 and it doesn't have enough area to use all of the heat from the Webasto. It also doesn't heat the camper enough when outside temps are really low. At some point in the future I'm going to try and retrofit a fan matrix heater somewhere.
    Without adding floor radiant (ah...that's a project...) I think a fan matrix heater is only practical cost & space effective way to extract all that Webasto heat. I've got 4 fans @33.5 cfm (134 cfm total) sucking through a 10x14 radiator. A "typical" marine type hydronic heater - a Red DotR290 rated @ 20,000btu blows 220 cfm. My system is adequate to at least 10degF (lowest I've camped in) but as I mentioned I'd like add another fan/radiator to speed the morning warm up. The Red Dot has 3 speeds & isn't too loud...

    Basically - when I built my system I underestimated the Webasto output & over estimated the heat extraction ability of my passive systems. In a do-over I'd double my floor radiant, put in a RedDot and use my existing (very quiet!) fan/radiator as my "hold this temp" heater. Moe

  6. #6
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    Floor radiant..... a potential easy way to do this is a false floor with the tubes attached to surface of real floor underneath. Something like a nice looking lattice floor the dirt can fall into and disappear till you get the hankering to tilt up the sections of floor and vacuum it all out.


  7. #7
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    For me I have a hard time figuring out what I need to shed all the heat that the Espar provides. Maybe I should consider in floor heat to go with the radiator? I guess for a cold night, I don't want the Espar short cycling but I also don't want it too hot. My camper is fairly small. I've been discussing this with an hvac friend of mine and he was suggesting zone valves with thermostatic control that could bleed off hot coolant into the engine circuit as a heat sink to prevent short cycling the Espar.

  8. #8
    I'd put radiant floor heat at the top of cold weather camping must haves. The whole purpose of having a big camper was to have something comfortable enough to enjoy waiting out bad weather. The experience with my Alaskan was in very cold weather the floor would roughly be at the outside temp and no matter how much warm air I blew around the cold would radiate off the floor & make it pretty much necessary to sit up off the floor. With the floor @ 110deg the comfort level is great & I can work inside without fighting the cold.

    I solved the short cycle issue by having a 5 gal insulated tank in the system - the webasto runs & heats the tank up then the circuits bleed off the heat so the heater comes on every 30 minutes at most - much less when just heating for sleeping. Moe

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by fluffyprinceton View Post
    I solved the short cycle issue by having a 5 gal insulated tank in the system - the webasto runs & heats the tank up then the circuits bleed off the heat so the heater comes on every 30 minutes at most - much less when just heating for sleeping.
    Exactly. The spec sheets for most hydronic heaters will list the minimum system volume required to reduce or eliminate short cycling. Usually adding in the calorifier in the same loop as the matrix heaters will do just as Moe mentions. Not only that, the calorifier also provides the obvious benefits of on board hot water.
    1986 U1300L Unimog Expedition Camper

  10. #10
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    Well I've got a whale marine hot water heater. Was planning on that being first in series with the radiator then in floor heat. I don't think I'll have a problem getting the recommended system volume

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