Posts Tagged ‘camper heater’
This is a very strange year with cold temperatures and no end in sight. It has been cloudy and raining for the last 5 days now and it looks the same for the next ten days. I am using my fireplace constantly but I am having a lot of trouble with the boiler spurting out water all over the place. What a mess.
Last night was in the high 30s with a high today of maybe 50, if it gets that high.
I am burning some of my broken pallet wood in the fireplace. It burns hot and very well. Almost too hot. The wood is very dry and well seasoned. I think that due to its being heat treated, it burns nicely too.
The only problem is my limping along boiler heating system. It keeps spurting out water on me. I urgently need to change the system over but I am constantly using it. How am I supposed to tear down a system and rebuild it when I am using it all the time?
Tonight is supposed to be below freezing. In mid May. That is crazy. My plants need to be covered or I will loose them.
I got a care package this weekend from Geraldine, who follows my videos on youtube. She sent me a long power cable to a camper, which I can use for my survival camper solar power connections. It is a heavy gauge wire, which makes it good for solar. She also sent me a bunch of alcohol wipes, some almonds (yum), a pack of bungee cords which are very useful and some other things.
Thank you very much Geraldine for the useful items and the special gift.
I have been watching my Kill A Watt meter all the time now to see what kind of power I am using in here. So far I had used about 300 watts total by Sunday morning. It is good to know what I am using all the time.
Now I need to find the same thing for my 12 volt side. That would be great to see my total power usage each day. Wonder if they make those meters for 12 volts.
Last night I had to wrap up the windows with blankets and reflective film again due to the extreme cold. It was very cold again last night. Just like winter again.
I use car sun screens, the stuff with foil on one side, to cover the windows. It reflects the heat back into the camper.
This morning my fireplace boiler was dumping water all over the place. It just seemed to be emptying itself and there was nothing I could do but let it burn out and freeze. Tonight is going to be below freezing, so it is going to be a rough night if this things does not stop dumping all the water out.
I need to rebuild this system right away, but I need the heat all the time.
Yesterday I decided to work on my lawn mower to combat ticks out here. After removing multiple ticks from myself and two from inside my camper I decided to cut the grass down low in the meadow. Ticks love to sit on high grass and wait for something to brush up against the grass. Then they hitch a ride and look for nice place to dig in and bite.
Sometimes they fall off and look for another perch to wait for a victim. Two of them were in my camper this weekend. They must have fallen off my clothes inside the camper.
I found a free lawn mower in the road side a couple weeks ago and brought it home. I pulled it out and poured out the bad gas. It was a dark yellow. I pulled off the spark plug wire and pulled the starter rope to see if the coil was good. I saw a nice spark.
Then I removed the air filter and sprayed a bit of carburetor cleaner into the carb and let it sit a few minutes. I followed this up with a bit of gas in the carb and pulled the starter rope. The engine fired up and ran a few seconds.
I pulled the spark plug and gave it a cleaning. Shot a bit more carb cleaner into the carburetor and poured in some good gas. The machine ran well. After putting it all back together I went out and cut the grass in the meadow around my garden and the solar panels. Short grass does not give ticks a place to wait for you to pass by. They love the taller grass. This does not totally eliminate the ticks, but it helps some.
So now I have a nice running lawn mower, for free. It looks like it was hardly used. There is no rust and the pain is nice and new looking.
Now I need to get that generator running while I am in engine repair mode.
It never got above the 40s yesterday. It was a cold, dark and damp day with some short bits of rain now and then.
We had a freeze warning for last night so I got two dollar store drop cloths. They were labeled as “Tarps” but they are thin like a drop cloth. Never, never buy these junk things. Look at the video below and look at the label. Do NOT ever buy this junk. It took me 30 minutes each to open them up. They were stuck together and tore easily as I tried to coax them apart. What a stupid job.
I finally, after an hour, got my garden plants covered with somewhat tattered drop cloths and left them for the night, hopefully protected from the freeze to come.
I got a very large, heavy box from a company called Mr Beams and opened it up. To my delight, I found a box packed full of LED lights for my off grid camper. Plus inside were two solar battery chargers for all types of batteries. That is awesome!
And they sent me some very high quality rechargeable batteries to power the LED lights with.
I got a few motion sensing stairway lights, some motion sensing under cabinet lights, a couple ceiling lights, and three outdoor motion sensing spot lights. Two of them come with a remote control. This means when that nasty raccoon comes hunting my chickens, I can just push a button and have a spot light out there to see him.
It will also be nice to have light in the forest when I come home late at night. In the forest at night it is really dark. These lights will really improve my off grid living environment.
I already installed one of the motion sensing stairway lights under my fridge where I have all my electrical connections and fuse box. I am often working in there and struggle to get a flash light pointed in the work space properly. The stairway light now sits there and waits for motion. When I put my hand in there to work, the light comes on and I can work in perfect light.
These lights come with a couple switches inside to set some options. You can set a sort of night light, labeled “glow” which is always on and gently glowing. When you pass by, they light up fully. You can also set the time the light stays on. I left mine set to 20 seconds. When I am working in the electrical box, the light will stay on due to the motion. When I am done, it will shut off in 20 seconds to save the battery.
Thank you Mr Beams for these awesome lights, batteries and chargers.
Plus, Mr Beams has decided to pass on the kindness to all of you out there. You can enter this code for 30% off your purchase: OFFGRID30
Please donate to help keep The Off Grid Project going:
The Off Grid Project has begun. I am staying in a 32 foot trailer while working on projects to make life more comfortable, such as solar and wind energy, running water and heat. I will be staying in the trailer for the whole summer season, until the project is finished. Afterwards, I will write a book about how to get your home fully off the grid for under $5,000.
For now, I am working on getting some solar panels up and running. I am making a brand new 65 watt solar panel to add to the pitifully small 65 watt one I have now. There is currently enough power to run my homemade LED light bulbs, a couple computer fans and keep my laptop charged up. But I need more power to be able to have running water and some other comforts. Another two solar panels will be needed in order to have a small fridge.
I am waiting for funding to come through for The Off Grid Project as I live in the trailer out in the woods, fully off the grid and isolated from everything else. You need to drive 1/2 mile down a dirt road to even get to the property. After that it is a few minutes further into the woods to get to the trailer where I am staying during the project.
Follow The Off Grid Project and get your home off the grid: The Off Grid Project
Today I completed my fireplace water boiler heating system for the off grid camper. The wood stove heats up water, which is routed through PEX tubing to a car heater core. A homemade heater blower box pushes heat through the camper.
Below you can see my antique fireplace with the water fittings hooked up to it. It has a built in water boiler around the burning chamber. If you do not have a built in water heater, you can make one. By placing a closed container of water on top of the wood stove and attaching water fittings, you can get the same result. Or you can make a water boiler that hangs on the side of the fireplace. The form and shape of your particular wood stove will affect where you place the water boiler. Some people drill holes into the side of the fireplace itself and put an expensive commercial stainless steel water heat exchanger right inside the fireplace. You can also use copper coils around the chimney pipe to get the same results.
The wood stove alone heats up the camper ok, but the floor is normally quite cold. By using a car heater core as a radiator heat exchanger and the original duct work in the camper to push heat through, the floor can also be heated up even in the furthest room from the stove. The wood stove has a built in water boiler, which was connected using pipe fittings to bring the water away from the hot sides of the fireplace. Then PEX tubing was used to carry the hot water to the original heater box in the middle of the camper. The trailer came with no heater, so this area was empty. By building a new heater blower box around the car heater core, the heat can be conducted to the bedroom and bathroom floors where it is needed the most.
Below you can see the car heater core being assembled into a homemade heater blower box for my DIY camper heating system.
Below you can see the finished heater blower box. Plywood was used to make a box that perfectly fit the car heater core. Then the original duct work from the camper was attached on one side of the box and a computer fan on the other side to blow the heat throughout the camper.
Just for info, to keep this project fully off grid, only battery operated power tools were used in the construction of the homemade heater system. Here is a photo of my battery powered jig saw. (Of course, there is no other power available anyway out there).
PEX tubing was used to connect the fireplace water fittings to the car heater core. The PEX tubing was routed through the camper where the original heater duct brought heat from the propane heater in the middle of the camper to the living room. Since there is now a fireplace in the living room, that duct will no longer be needed. The PEX tubing passes underneath the dining room benches and table area, and into the original heater compartment of the camper.
The original RV heater was about 18 inches cubed and now there is a lot of space freed up for storage. The new heater blower unit goes underneath that where the wiring of the original propane heater went.
The new heater blower box was assembled into the small space underneath the original heater compartment and the original duct work that went to the bathroom and bedroom areas were attached to the new blower unit. Also there is a tube that blows heat into the fresh water storage tank to keep it from freezing. This will now allow me to have fresh water without the fear of freezing. Soon there will be an end to living out of one gallon jugs of water for washing and drinking.
In the image above you can see the storage space underneath the dining room bench seat. This is where the PEX tubing was attached to rubber car radiator hoses, which are connected to the car heater core, off to the right, inside the cabinet. In the foreground of the image you can see the duct that goes underneath the floor to the fresh water storage tank. This was later connected to the new blower box.
Time to get some more firewood cut and see how this new homemade water boiler system works in the off grid camper.
Check out our homepage for more do it yourself projects: The Do It Yourself World