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Old 05-04-2006, 09:53 PM   #1
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Question Anyone using the Olympian ODS catalytic heater?

I am considering replacing the Carlson furnace in my Globetrotter (19') with an Olympian catalytic heater. I do have concerns about this style of heater but they offer a model with an oxygen depletion sensor that is supposed to shut down in a defficient atmosphere so it looks like a good choice. Anyone know how this sensor works since the ads say no electrical hookup is needed? Also which size should I get the 6100 or the 8100?
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:57 PM   #2
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I happen to have a trailer with an unvented precursor of the Olympian with an oxygen depletion sensor. These work fine as long as you crack a window at either end of the trailer. Read the specs, not all Cats work above 5000ft. Buy the largest, you are replacing a much larger heater than any of the Cats. I also have a trailer that I installed
the vented "Platinum Cat"in. It does require 12 volts (not very much) and is a great heater, but more expensive.
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:10 PM   #3
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Platinum Cat

I will buy a platinum cat for my 63 Overlander next season.
The advantages are that the plat cat is vented, no danger of asphyxiation.
Also, there's a wall thermostat, which is great. The perceived performance of the platinum cat is much better, since it does not require open windows that let in cold air.
The startup electrical draw is higher than the actual draw while it is running, which is very low.
I have a catalytic heater in my Overlander now, instead of the furnace, but will not run it while we're sleeping. I have read terrible stories of people dying in their sleep because of a catalytic heater depleting the oxygen inside a tightly closed trailer.
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:14 AM   #4
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I have to wonder about the oxygen sensor setup. I have a small conventional portable propane heater with an oxygen sensor and I assure you that if you are within a days drive of a mountian you will not keep it lit more than 5 minutes. If you are wanting this heater for boondocking and you camp in the mountians it may become an issue.
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:19 PM   #5
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this thread inspired me to poke around for more info on the catalytic heaters....hard to find specifics. And there seems to be some rather "alarming" caveats, but I suspect that there is some inaccurate info being passed about and repeated from various sources on what these things are, how they work, and what the hazzards are. "catalytic heaters are ____" well...some are, some aren't, some do, some don't. Some of these things that get repeated only apply to the very simple devices that attach to a propane bottle, and are meant to keep you warm in your chair when you're sitting outdoors at your booth at the flea market. they have no safety devices on them...when you light them, they just burn, until someone shuts off the propane.

anyway, what I found was that these heaters do emit CO; but not much. teeny tiny insignificant amount. UNLESS...the O2 source gets low. then they start emitting more, due to incomplete combustion. Which, of course, is a "double-whammy". Low O2 and +CO are bad enough alone, but combined? yikes.
However...I really doubt that most RV's are tight enough for this to pose a significant threat. Even so, there's a possibility, so crack a window. It won't negate the heat output.

The thing I'm not entirely sure about, though, is the safety devices installed on the RV models, that are "supposed" to be ok to use indoors. This government article I was reading mentions that these devices should have a thermocoupled pilot, which will extinguish in the event of oxygen depletion. pilot goes out...thermocouple cools, gas shuts off...no more problem. My old catalytic (therm-x) heater in my trailer has a pilot w/ a thermocouple. is that what this is for? am I "covered"? now that I think about it, I can't figure out another need for this device, as the thing doesn't turn itself on and off to regulate temperature, and it doesn't need a flame to run...just to start. so why else would there be a "pilot"?

for 63air: I'm not sure of the btu output on mine, but its probably one of the smaller ones...and on its lowest setting, its almost too much heat. I've only used it a few times...one weekend when the temps were down around 40f, I heated up the trailer with it, but shut it off before bed. woke up frozen. So the next night, I left it on all night. woke up sweatin'. Regulation would be nice...but that takes electricity.

anyway, I'm wondering...just how much O2 does it take to run a pilot? The models that have "ODS" say they shut down at somewhere around 18% (21% is normal atmospheric O2 at sea level). Thats way beyond the limit where anyone (other than the extremely infirm) would notice any hypoxic effects. But a pilot must be able to run on less than that?
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:47 PM   #6
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oh, and here is a link to an interesting article...(if you can stand it)

http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia05/os/CO03.pdf

"If the catalytic heater is to operate at an energy-input rate greater than 1,220 Btu/hr, but not deplete the O
2 concentration below 16 percent, then the heater must incorporate some mechanism to shut heater off when the O2 concentration starts to be depleted. One such mechanism is an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS). An ODS consists of a thermocouple, a pilot flame, and a solenoid gas valve. pilot flame is used to heat the thermocouple, which then generates a current, sufficient enough to keep the solenoid gas valve open. When the oxygen level drops below 18 percent, the pilot flame selfextinguishes, causing the thermocouple to cool and the gas valve to close. Some manufacturers of infrared radiant heaters have incorporated an ODS on their heaters (Tucholski, 2002). CPSC staff is also aware of one catalytic heater manufacturer that incorporates an ODS on high-end catalytic heaters designed for use indoors, such as in mobile homes, cabins, and boats."

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Old 05-05-2006, 03:40 PM   #7
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I have a Wave 5 and have used it often. I have a CO2 sensor and have never seen the level increase with the heater on. I like it.
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:03 PM   #8
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I had a Olympian Wave 6 in my 31' Excella and it did an excellent job. I left a roof vent in the mid bedroom cracked and a side window cracked in the front of the trailer. I never woke up with a headache nor did my CO detector ever go off.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:09 AM   #9
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Hiya,

And I have been using a Wave 8 almost exclusively to heat a 31-footer, with only the little round vent cracked in the bathroom — during three cold winters in Indiana. I also installed a new suburban furnace at the same time, and only used it for about a dozen times over the three years.

The catalytics have a lot going for them, and are safe. I have had three of them over the years, and have never replaced the elements — even one that served well over ten years.

I prefer, of course, to be some place warm for the winter — but the catalytics sure give you that toasty radiant heat feeling that forced air can never provide, and the LP usage is much better.

Mine have all been mounted by the front door.

Seeya in the neighborhood,

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Old 05-06-2006, 08:07 AM   #10
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I use a Wave 3 mounted in place of the magazine rack at the front door of my 29' 1972 International. This is Olympian's smallest model, but it puts out plenty of heat for comfort on most cool Texas nights. I would want to crack the windows in any case, because the water vapor output of these little heaters is significant. If it gets REALLY cold, I can use the furnace--but why not drive south?
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Old 05-08-2006, 09:55 AM   #11
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What size furnace

My current furnace is an 8000 BTU I never used it so I don't really know how good it worked. The reason for replacing is I had water leak from the bottom during a storm and it is supposed to be a sealed unit. Looks to me if it leaks water it must have a hole in the heat exchanger.
My Gobetrotter is 19' do I need the 6000 or 8000 model . It can get pretty cold on the drive to the Keys in February.
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Old 05-08-2006, 11:14 AM   #12
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Olympian Wave 6

Quote:
Originally Posted by 63air
My current furnace is an 8000 BTU I never used it so I don't really know how good it worked. The reason for replacing is I had water leak from the bottom during a storm and it is supposed to be a sealed unit. Looks to me if it leaks water it must have a hole in the heat exchanger. My Gobetrotter is 19' do I need the 6000 or 8000 model . It can get pretty cold on the drive to the Keys in February.
Hi 63air:

Last year I removed the original convection air heater from my 1964 19' Globe Trotter and converted its "end table" housing, at the front end of the gaucho, into a total storage area. I installed an Olympian Wave 6 near the door, at the front end of the galley adjacent to the fridge. Sitting lengthwise in the dinette opposite, I can warm the soles of my feet.

The 6,000 BTU Wave 6 works fine to heat the Globe Trotter in 30 degree weather. I love the fact it does not have any oxygen depletion sensor because Denver is at 5,280 feet and any heater with an oxygen deplection sensor would shut down automatically at this base elevation. My favorite camping is in the mountains at even higher elevations, where the Wave 6 will continue to operate (up to about 12,000 feet elevation). Lack of a ODS is a positive selling point for me.

The hole in the trailer floor for my refrigerator vent is about 10 inches square, and the backs of my galley cabinets are all open, so by cracking a roof vent I get more than adequate air circulation. The small amount of moisture generated by the Wave 6 combustion process is welcome in our dry Western climate.
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Old 05-08-2006, 11:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 47WeeWind
Hi 63air:

I love the fact it does not have any oxygen depletion sensor because Denver is at 5,280 feet and any heater with an oxygen deplection sensor would shut down automatically at this base elevation.
does it have a pilot?
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Old 05-08-2006, 11:51 AM   #14
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No pilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
does it have a pilot?
Hi Chuck:

No, it does not have a pilot light. Unlike most of today's "modern" and "convenient" applicances, when it is off it is fully off, not in idle or stand by mode waiting to be turned on. To turn on the Wave 6 you must push in and hold the heat adjustment knob in its "Start" position and click the piezio ignitor a few times. Once the pad it lit, keep the knob pushed in for 20 or 30 seconds until the thermo couple warms up to keep the gas flowing, then set it at your choice of Low, Medium or High. Turn the knob to "Off" to turn the heater completely off. It's very simple: no batteries, no circuit boards, no electricty, not much to go wrong. I love its simple, wholly mechanical operation and limited choice of only 3 settings instead of, say, 25 possible programmable settings. Simple is best!
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