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Old 12-20-2012, 10:51 PM   #15
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Hermit

I just love the challenge and independence of boondocking.

I have a "little buddy" portable cat heater. It only puts out about 7,000 btu/hr. I use it but I am a little uneasy about sleeping with it operating.

I recommend operating your furnace and having a small 1k or 2k jenny to charge up the batteries.

I recommend keeping your trailer cool at night and sleeping in a down sleeping bag with a knit hat. 40 degrees won't bother you at all. Then in the morning turn on the cat heater.

A 12v mattress pad heater would be nice, but that will kill your batteries in no time.

Sound like you have some great camping adventures planned. Have fun!

Dan
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:02 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve View Post
I have long thought of buying a Wave 6 but have been deterred because of reports of catalytic bed (or mat) contamination called poisoning which is not covered in warranty.

This occurs after a year or two use perhaps in normal conditions. I am concerned that the useful lifespan may not be that great.

I'd like to hear from owners whose experience may verify/ deny this.

Your comments....
Steve
It is important to cover the pad when the heater is not in use so that dust doesn't accumulate.

There is progressive degradation in performance but in typical camping use patterns they last around 5-10 years.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:40 AM   #17
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Slow deterioration of Cats..over time

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It is important to cover the pad when the heater is not in use so that dust doesn't accumulate.

There is progressive degradation in performance but in typical camping use patterns they last around 5-10 years.
Thanks Jammer,
That is the tenor that I got from reading over the years about cats. I guess it bothers me that it lasts a fairly short time. I was aware about the need for a dust cover that helps.

Someone has said that using an inline fuel filter for the propane makes a difference too. I'm not sure if commercial propane has 'trash' in it or not. Perhaps it does and it doesn't bother regular gas flames like stoves & water heaters.

Do you have a take on that?
10 years would be OK, but I don't like the slow deterioration....
Steve
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
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It is important to cover the pad when the heater is not in use so that dust doesn't accumulate.

There is progressive degradation in performance but in typical camping use patterns they last around 5-10 years.

How can one tell if the pad is bad?

We are the third owner of a ~12 year old heater. The trailer was never used all that often. Heater probably even less. It does light up and work fine. Not overly impressed with the output, but it does give off good heat. How do I know if I'm missing out?
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:11 PM   #19
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Good Question.. Anyone try fuel filters inline?

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How can one tell if the pad is bad?

We are the third owner of a ~12 year old heater. The trailer was never used all that often. Heater probably even less. It does light up and work fine. Not overly impressed with the output, but it does give off good heat. How do I know if I'm missing out?
It heats what is directly in front of the heater. That's why people put them on a side hinge (when mounting by the front door) so it can be directed other places. I too wonder how much contamination would reduce output by say 50% (significant).

Anyone try fuel filters inline? Since there is no real way to know, seems like a logical approach in addition to a cover when not in use.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:53 PM   #20
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Guys, this is really helpful information. Thanks very much!
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:25 PM   #21
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my old therm-x catalytic still works fine. I don't really know how old it is...but its a lot more than 10 years. It was probably installed in the 70's.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve View Post
Someone has said that using an inline fuel filter for the propane makes a difference too. I'm not sure if commercial propane has 'trash' in it or not. Perhaps it does and it doesn't bother regular gas flames like stoves & water heaters.

Do you have a take on that?
That is pure unadulterated bunkum.

Inline propane filters are only useful for liquid propane. For vapor withdrawal, which is what we do on RVs, any suspended particulate matter stays in the tank because it won't vaporize.

I used to have a grain dryer with a 1,000,000 BTU burner on it that ran on liquid propane. It had a strainer and was somewhat more susceptible to contamination than equipment that runs on vapor.

The degradation of catalytic pads occurs because of contaminants in the atmosphere, not because of anything in the propane.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:09 PM   #23
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How can one tell if the pad is bad?

We are the third owner of a ~12 year old heater. The trailer was never used all that often. Heater probably even less. It does light up and work fine. Not overly impressed with the output, but it does give off good heat. How do I know if I'm missing out?
The CO emissions increase gradually and there's more of a visible blue flame rather than just the lower-temperature catalytic combustion that makes everything glow a cheery orange.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:53 AM   #24
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I have no experience with catalytic heater but suspect that there must be a method that could be used to remove the contamination on the pad. Obviously the dust is covering the platinum coating that makes these things work properly.
I would try a soft brush and vaccuum cleaner and see if it makes any difference.
We have a small portable one that we use for construction sites on occassion and it is over 30 years old and still works. It gets used in very adverse conditions.
By the way this is the first I heard of this problem.
Al
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:51 PM   #25
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I have a Wave 8. It died after 2 months due to contamination of the pad. I didn't have a dust cover. That unit died again one month later even though I bought the dust cover. Olympian replaced that unit with a new one. That unit is still working after 2 years. I keep the dust cover on when its not in use.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:38 PM   #26
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Makes sense to me...

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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
For vapor withdrawal, which is what we do on RVs, any suspended particulate matter stays in the tank because it won't vaporize.
The degradation of catalytic pads occurs because of contaminants in the atmosphere, not because of anything in the propane.......

The CO emissions increase gradually and there's more of a visible blue flame rather than just the lower-temperature catalytic combustion that makes everything glow a cheery orange.
Now that I think about the mechanism this makes good sense, I just didn't know about whether evaporating propane would carry contaminates.

And now I have some idea of how to tell when they start to go bad. Would vacuuming help EVEN IF you do religiously use a cover?

Thanks for the explanation! Steve
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:43 PM   #27
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This is a link to the owners manual:

http://vagabonders-supreme.net/Wave_...User_Guide.pdf

On page 8 Camco recommends that the pad be replaced every 7 years at the factory or by a qualified tech. Pad "Poisoning" is discussed on page 9.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:04 AM   #28
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I have no experience with catalytic heater but suspect that there must be a method that could be used to remove the contamination on the pad. Obviously the dust is covering the platinum coating that makes these things work properly.
I would try a soft brush and vaccuum cleaner and see if it makes any difference.
We have a small portable one that we use for construction sites on occassion and it is over 30 years old and still works. It gets used in very adverse conditions.
By the way this is the first I heard of this problem.
Al
The pads are delicate and can't be cleaned without being damaged.
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