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Old 12-18-2010, 04:58 PM   #15
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Mr. Heater Portable Buddy plumbing question

I'm bumping this thread up to ask for some help on plumbing for a Mr. Heater Portable Buddy catalytic heater in 1968 24' Trade Wind. Directions and caveats first, then some explanations, then 3 questions:

The manual reads, on page 4, "LIGHTING / OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS
FOR USE WITH HOSE CONNECTED TO A REMOTE CYLINDER, MAXIMUM SIZE 20
LBS ..."

I picked up a 12' hose that connects the heater to a "throw-away" canister.

Wait a minute, I'm trying to cover all the safety concerns: I only intend to use it when awake -- before bedtime and upon waking, and if it's cold and we're stuck indoors -- and I only intend to use it with proper ventilation, approximately 1 cubic inch per 1000 BTU, so about 7 sq in, bottom and top -- so, a bottom opening for oxygen and a top opening for venting. I only intend to use it when adults are on hand, since it gets hot and I don't want any accidents due to playfulness with the youngsters, and will keep it away from the pets' level (mini dachshunds). OK continuing ...

So, has anyone plumbed for using the propane supply inside the airstream? Currently, our furnace is out for repairs, and we do have an oil-filled electric heater. But, we will have some dry-camping and non-electric nights on our trip to Florida.

Generally, it would be nice to have the propane option for when I'm working inside the Trade Wind in winter, and need to have electricity off. (Water is already off.)

So, question: can a Portable Buddy (the smaller Mr. Heater option, 6000 BTU) be plumbed to use the interior gas supply coming from the outside 30 lb. tanks?

Second and 3rd questions: if we want to use the Portable Buddy inside, we intend to bring one of those tanks you can drop off at hardware stores, using the 12' hose. Has anyone done this, and how has it performed? Did you use a filter?
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:21 PM   #16
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I just realized post #13 below from 64Airstream says it is possible to connect to the 11fc lines for furnace and stove. Answer to my question -- sort of. I don't understand the terms, and maybe some photos could help.

I'm looking at the manual online to see the exploded view of all the parts. Maybe that could be a good place to start.

http://www.mrheater.com/upload/newsl...20MH9B_eng.pdf

"It also has a quick disconnect fitting that bypasses it's built in regulator and you can run it from the normal 11 inch Water Column pressure that is supplied to your existing furnace or stove. That's how I hooked mine up. I put in a separate isolation valve at the normal furnace connection and hooked up the other optional 12 ft quick disconnect hose."

What is this "quick disconnect fitting" that "bypasses its built-in regulator"?

And, what is a "separate isolation valve" at the furnace connection?

Can I get these at Menards/Home Depot/Lowe's?

Thanks!
Anne
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:53 PM   #17
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Anne,

My son uses a Mr. Buddy in his hunting trailer all the time. He does have the 12' hose exit the trailer through a hole in the wall out to a 20lb. propane tank outside. I don't know anything about using the furnace line to hook up to the Mr. Buddy. The furnace line has a regulatory already.
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:22 AM   #18
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We use the large Mr. Buddy (18,000 btu) with the 12 ft quick disconnect hose. Our trailer has 20# tanks. The large unit has a small blower that operates on 110V AC or batteries (if you're boondocking). I plumbed the hose directly to the furnace propane with a shut off valve (our furnace has been out for repairs forever). With our layout, the 12 ft hose permits the Buddy to sit on the kitchen counter or on the floor. We follow the same precautions, you mentioned with the addition of a CO detector (also AC or battery). I've used a small Coleman a couple of times in the fall or spring, just to take the chill off in the morning. I tested the big Buddy in the driveway last winter (on a cold day - no wind) and brought the temperature from 0 F to about 60 F in two hours. Probably would have gotten up higher, but I ran out of time for the experiment.

Roy
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Old 12-19-2010, 08:37 AM   #19
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Found a photo from initial renovation that might help. The hose simply connects to the flared fitting on the left and remains coiled while in transit.

Roy
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:02 AM   #20
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Roy, so you now have 2 regulators in operation? One on the tanks outside that regulate pressure to the furnace line and then one on the Mr. Buddy also? No problems doing this? That makes a Mr. Buddy an excellent back up if unexpected furnace problems.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:14 AM   #21
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Hi, Tim, Thanks for posting back to the thread.

If you check out the manual, pages 6-7, item 13, is this the regulator? If so, is this needed when connecting to the furnace line?

Does the regulator bring the gas pressure down to the same as the other gas appliances (water heater, oven, cooktop, refrigerator, furnace, probably forgetting something)?

Thanks again,
Anne
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:16 AM   #22
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Roy, ignore my pp above. I got curious and took a look at my Mr. Buddy and wa la I see the quick disconnect fitting for a regulated line. With the right hose this really does make for a great emer. heater (with proper set up). Thanks.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:19 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkasten View Post
Anne,

My son uses a Mr. Buddy in his hunting trailer all the time. He does have the 12' hose exit the trailer through a hole in the wall out to a 20lb. propane tank outside. I don't know anything about using the furnace line to hook up to the Mr. Buddy. The furnace line has a regulatory already.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 64airstream View Post
We use the large Mr. Buddy (18,000 btu) with the 12 ft quick disconnect hose. Our trailer has 20# tanks. The large unit has a small blower that operates on 110V AC or batteries (if you're boondocking). I plumbed the hose directly to the furnace propane with a shut off valve (our furnace has been out for repairs forever). With our layout, the 12 ft hose permits the Buddy to sit on the kitchen counter or on the floor. We follow the same precautions, you mentioned with the addition of a CO detector (also AC or battery). I've used a small Coleman a couple of times in the fall or spring, just to take the chill off in the morning. I tested the big Buddy in the driveway last winter (on a cold day - no wind) and brought the temperature from 0 F to about 60 F in two hours. Probably would have gotten up higher, but I ran out of time for the experiment.

Roy
Hi, Roy,
The quoted post above and the next one with the photo are very helpful! I think I'm closing in on it. Thanks so much for posting.

Yes, we have detectors for CO, for propane, for smoke and fire. I have precious cargo. We use these all year round, any time, even when parked for a while. It's probably over-caution, but things happen to someone every day.

Again, thanks!
Anne
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:21 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkasten View Post
Roy, ignore my pp above. I got curious and took a look at my Mr. Buddy and wa la I see the quick disconnect fitting for a regulated line. With the right hose this really does make for a great emer. heater (with proper set up). Thanks.
Hey, Tim, if you get a minute, could you point me to the quick disconnect fitting on pages 6-7 of the manual? I'm not seeing it.

Thanks,
Anne
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:25 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64airstream View Post
Found a photo from initial renovation that might help. The hose simply connects to the flared fitting on the left and remains coiled while in transit.

Roy
Roy, my furnace gas line set-up looks just like yours. I see the fitting on the left.

If I opened up the Buddy Portable, would I remove the regulator and connect a hose to that fitting, or is there a separate line reserved for the on-board regulated gas line with an extension hose?

Anne
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:26 AM   #26
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Anne, I just realized that I have a "Big Buddy" Mr. Buddy heater and the quick disconnect is on the left side behind the swivel up regulator. I guess that is not an option on the reg. Mr. Buddy. Sorry.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:41 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkasten View Post
Anne, I just realized that I have a "Big Buddy" Mr. Buddy heater and the quick disconnect is on the left side behind the swivel up regulator. I guess that is not an option on the reg. Mr. Buddy. Sorry.
Tim,
It's OK. I am going to give some thought to exchanging for the Big Buddy. It would be nice to have more connection options and BTUs for short-term use. I have not hooked up the Portable Buddy yet, as my questions may reveal.

I can imagine other uses in cold weather, such as power outages in ice storms, garage heat, etc., besides boondocking in the Trade Wind.

A ThermX (not vented) was in the Trade Wind when I bought it, but it hasn't worked at all, so I removed it. I've heard it could be possible to have it refurbished, but I like the idea of the vented type. That looks like a more costly option, along with getting the furnace back in. Options are always nice to have.

All precautions considered, I think it would be worth testing out the catalytic heater before diving into a pricey permanent installation.

More rationalization: we decided on a camping winter trip to save on cost for a flight, resort, and all. Otherwise, we have not used the Airstream in winter before. Most years, I winterize it, maybe tinker with some inside projects, and save the big exterior work as well as camping trips for warmer weather. Still, when we start camping in April or May, mornings are sometimes too cool for the oil radiator. And, we don't want to be stuck needing 110v all the time.

OK, enough thinking out loud. Back out to get the water system back together. Oh -- wait -- it's going to be very chilly in there! Our White Christmas has arrived early, and it is supposed to hang around until after we take off for FL.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:46 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64airstream View Post
Found a photo from initial renovation that might help. The hose simply connects to the flared fitting on the left and remains coiled while in transit.

Roy
Roy two things wrong with this installation. 1) that shut off valve is for wtare not gas. 2) No shut offs are allowed inside a trailer- code violation.
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