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Old 01-10-2012, 09:19 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by vswingfield View Post
Marshall Brass makes a remote changeover indicator for its auto regulators. When it switches, a LED flashes on the inside of the trailer. I've had one for about a year now, much easier to spot. Of course, you do have to remember to watch its batteries. When the LED looks anemic flashing, time to check.
I installed one last summer in our TT, and I love it. It is good to know the instant the changeover happens rather than having to continually check the regulator.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:12 AM   #16
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My lesson learned: Next time, I'll just winterize it again. We were camping in it over Christmas, and we're going to Florida (leaving in a couple days), so I decided that I'd just keep the furnace on, at a low level, for the three weeks or so. Unfortunately, I've spent far more time worrying about it and checking it (not to mention refilling the propane tank) than I would've just winterizing it.
Depending on your storage situation, consider
a) Electric heat
b) A (possibly larger) propane tank at your storage location so you can keep your travel tanks full.

Winterizing and de-winterizing is time consuming to do well. It's easy to make expensive mistakes.
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:20 PM   #17
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Depending on your storage situation, consider
a) Electric heat
b) A (possibly larger) propane tank at your storage location so you can keep your travel tanks full.

Winterizing and de-winterizing is time consuming to do well. It's easy to make expensive mistakes.
Electric heat was a possibility but I wanted to be sure the tanks got heat, too, which is why I stuck with the furnace (remember, I wasn't keeping it at a 70 degrees - I was keeping it above freezing).

I considered the larger propane tank option, but for ~3 weeks, it didn't seem worth the hassle.

When I winterize, I just blow out the lines really well, and I don't bother with the pink stuff any more (well, it's in the traps and gray/black tanks, but not in the fresh system). I got tired of smelling it well into the camping season when I did use the antifreeze. It's especially bad if you don't flush the water heater well enough! (The B190 did not have a bypass, and I couldn't install one easily because it had that gray '90s-era plastic tubing.)

Because we camp over Christmas, I'm already used to winterizing twice a year - once around Thanksgiving usually, then again after Christmas. I did this with the B190 for two or three years. I've only winterized the trailer once so far, but now that I've done it and figured out where the drains are (the manual is wrong...), I'm fairly sure I can do it inside of a couple hours, including the time getting all of the freezable supplies out of the camper. De-winterizing, when you don't use the antifreeze, is just a matter of re-loading the freezable supplies. (Obviously I don't need the antifreeze for our winters. If I was farther north or something, then I'd use the antifreeze.)

Conversely, I've spent more time than that checking the propane levels and going inside to verify the thermometer readings (lowest is 28.9 degrees, right under the water heater) and spot checking the temperature. And just in general worrying about it when we had a cold snap, like last week when it was down to 17 degrees one night. Add in the time I've spent getting propane refilled, and it's like, "Ah."

Additionally, because yesterday was much colder than predicted, we used a lot more propane than I expected - I thought we'd have 1.5 tanks or so when we left, but now I think I'm going to want to fill a tank before we hit the road, so that's one more thing to take care of.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:44 PM   #18
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I've never had the furnace on anything as long as that. Do you get 3 weeks out of a pair of tanks in Maryland? I'm guessing 30-lounders?
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:15 PM   #19
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I can go through a pair of tanks in three days if the weather isn't unseasonably warm (as it is now).

Hence the suggestion that maybe getting the local propane dealer to bring out a couple of 100# tanks might be the cheapest and least hassle. The ones around here do that routinely for construction and don't charge for the tanks themselves, just the propane.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:50 AM   #20
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I've never had the furnace on anything as long as that. Do you get 3 weeks out of a pair of tanks in Maryland? I'm guessing 30-lounders?
Yes, these are 30 lb tanks.

Here's the story: We were camping over Christmas, and both tanks were full when we started. The left tank was nearly empty at the end of that weekend, and I set the thermostat to its lowest setting, ~50 degrees, when we got home.

I filled the left tank one day that week (probably Thursday or Friday - I don't remember). I filled the right tank Sunday. Last night, the left tank was down almost halfway again.

So at this point, ignoring the time we were actually using the camper, we've used about 1.5 tanks of propane since December 26th. This included a cold snap of a couple days, including one night where it was down to 17 degrees. It also included two days over the weekend where it was up to 60 degrees (the truck and trailer got washed...not something I expected to do in JANUARY!). The rest has been fairly seasonable for the DC area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I can go through a pair of tanks in three days if the weather isn't unseasonably warm (as it is now).

Hence the suggestion that maybe getting the local propane dealer to bring out a couple of 100# tanks might be the cheapest and least hassle. The ones around here do that routinely for construction and don't charge for the tanks themselves, just the propane.
Yep, this probably would've been the best solution, if I did want to keep it warm - and one 100lb tank probably would've done it, too. If this situation comes up again, I'll probably just winterize it, though.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:28 AM   #21
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Skater,

Here's a mod I did, primarily to utilize electric heat more and supply some of that electric heat to the tanks in below freezing weather. I don't know why you couldn't do this if you think you'll store often w/o winterizing.

If you didn't want the fan to run all the time, I suppose you could rig up a timer as well as a speed control....or instead of a speed control, for that matter.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ase-74624.html
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:21 AM   #22
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Skater,

Here's a mod I did, primarily to utilize electric heat more and supply some of that electric heat to the tanks in below freezing weather. I don't know why you couldn't do this if you think you'll store often w/o winterizing.

If you didn't want the fan to run all the time, I suppose you could rig up a timer as well as a speed control....or instead of a speed control, for that matter.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ase-74624.html
Interesting idea, thanks. I'll go through the entire thread later, but I see where you're coming from with the idea.

When we were camping over Christmas, I noticed we blasted through a good bit of propane in the first 24 hours. After that, I turned on the heat strip in the A/C, with the fan on low or medium during the day, thinking that it would help warm the air, but wouldn't be enough to keep the furnace completely off, and it worked perfectly - the furnace ran much less during the day, and the temperatures were high enough that I didn't have to worry about freezing tanks/lines. Then at night I switched back to furnace-only (our A/C is not good at getting air to the bedroom if the door is closed - the only flaw in the design of our trailer). Worked perfectly, and I think we saved a good bit of propane that way.

I don't think storing in winter without winterizing is something we'll be doing often. Additionally I only have a 15 amp outlet available right now, and that's a 100' extension cord from the camper, and there are a bunch of other things on the same circuit. Eventually I want to put a 30-amp outlet in for the camper, but we have to upgrade the house's electrical panel first.
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:17 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g
... Here's a mod I did, primarily to utilize electric heat more and supply some of that electric heat to the tanks in below freezing weather. I don't know why you couldn't do this if you think you'll store often w/o winterizing.
...
Is it possible to put a simple switch between the red wire +12V power tap and the red wire +12V motor tap on the control board to manually run the furnace blower to circulate air? Not for long term operation, maybe in the evening or morning?

The basic diagram shows that the sail switch and ultimately the ignition and gas valve get their power from the thermostat. I can't tell from the diagram if applying +12V to the motor would energize some back circuit on the board. It would seem that the output of the thermostat to the board would pick a relay to start the blower and the closure of the sail switch would energize the ignition and gas valve circuits.

The reason for my question is that the small electric heaters I've tried tend to warm the area close to the heater, even the ceramic type with a fan seem to generate a lot of warmth that remains concentrated in that area. Dyson has a good idea, but I can't justify that price for just the few times a year that we would use it. On my FB, the furnace intake is adjacent to the dinette where I would use the heater. If the blower could grab some of that and push it down to the other end which would bring some of the cooler air back to the dinette, this might accomplish what I want. I don't expect to heat the trailer this way in cold weather, but rather to find an alternative when it is 40° - 50° outside and want to keep the chill away without the noise of the heat pump or the cost of the propane. It seems do-able, but wonder about the practicality and certainly don't want to smoke the control board in an experiment. Does anyone know that this wouldn't work, or wouldn't move enough air to be useful? Any opinions are welcome.
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:06 PM   #24
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Is it possible to put a simple switch between the red wire +12V power tap and the red wire +12V motor tap on the control board to manually run the furnace blower to circulate air? Not for long term operation, maybe in the evening or morning?

The basic diagram shows that the sail switch and ultimately the ignition and gas valve get their power from the thermostat. I can't tell from the diagram if applying +12V to the motor would energize some back circuit on the board. It would seem that the output of the thermostat to the board would pick a relay to start the blower and the closure of the sail switch would energize the ignition and gas valve circuits.

The reason for my question is that the small electric heaters I've tried tend to warm the area close to the heater, even the ceramic type with a fan seem to generate a lot of warmth that remains concentrated in that area. Dyson has a good idea, but I can't justify that price for just the few times a year that we would use it. On my FB, the furnace intake is adjacent to the dinette where I would use the heater. If the blower could grab some of that and push it down to the other end which would bring some of the cooler air back to the dinette, this might accomplish what I want. I don't expect to heat the trailer this way in cold weather, but rather to find an alternative when it is 40° - 50° outside and want to keep the chill away without the noise of the heat pump or the cost of the propane. It seems do-able, but wonder about the practicality and certainly don't want to smoke the control board in an experiment. Does anyone know that this wouldn't work, or wouldn't move enough air to be useful? Any opinions are welcome.

The way it is wired, the PWM controller runs the blower independently of the thermostat. If the thermostat commands the furnace on, the blower goes to full speed (as long as set speed is below sail switch "on" point) and returns to the lower PWM controller set speed when the thermostat commands the furnace off. So , yes you can run the blower with the furnace off and just move your electric heat around the living area as well as the tanks. I set my 1500Watt heater by the intake under the sink and set the blower pretty low.

While you can't heat the whole trailer with a 1500 watt'er below 45* or so, this mod allows you to supplement your propane use and have the heat from the electric move around so your thermostat doesn't get "faked out" by the little heater.

This, in conjunction with Jammers duct mods keep the whole trailer EVENLY warm with gas supplemented by electric.

EDIT: BTW, if I want to concentrate a little more heat to the tanks, I also found a very small 200W electric heater which fits nicely under the kitchen sink, where my furnace intake is.
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:25 PM   #25
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WAIT Silver Goose, I never did post the revised wiring schematic after Jammer's suggestions. I'll go back to the thread posted above and add it. Thanks for reminding me!
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:41 PM   #26
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propain (pun intended)

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Okay, TBRich's description of how it works is how I understood it - your description makes it sound like it won't turn red until both are empty (which is kind of a useless thing to indicate...).



In any case, I saw no red or green at all... from the directions on the regulator, I think it should turn red when it flips to the second tank. I'll try to remember to take a picture of the regulator this week.

This isn't a huge deal for me, since both tanks have gauges, so it's easy enough to monitor what's going on even without the red indicator. But it'd be nice to have it working.



That looks interesting, but I'm not sure I need to go that far (plus I'm not sure if I have a compatible model).
I replaced the original one on mine today and the new one has auto switchover and will show red when the tank is empty, flip the valve to the other tank and it pops up green so you can remove the empty tank. It's a Marshall 250 unit and corrected the wavering propane pressure the old one had.
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