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Old 10-31-2008, 10:20 AM   #1
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1968 24' Tradewind
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Clean, repair, reuse Therm'x catalytic heater?

I posted this on my remodeling project thread, thought I might get a better response here.

Photos of the catalytic propane heater from my 68 Trade Wind (JSOH) are here:

Picasa Web Albums - Indyanne - Catalytic Heater

I did not like the place where it was mounted before (just inside the door, on the end of one of the front twin bunks. It look a lot of abuse there in that location.

A new one is expensive -- any reason not to try to fix this one up and use it? It's pretty dusty inside, doesn't look like it's been used much. I think this would be just right for the extent of camping we do, nothing sub-zero.

Is getting this going again a matter of cleaning, replacing something, or is there more to it than that?

Or, if it would be better to replace it, can this old one become portable to use outdoors in my remodeling project on the TW?

I could put that welding class and my MIG welder to good use, make a frame and stand for a propane tank. I could wheel this around in the garage, under the frame of the TW, etc.

hmmm... anyone done this before? -- either one, the recondition and reuse, or convert to portable?
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Old 10-31-2008, 02:52 PM   #2
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I have tried on occasion to find information or support for the Therm'x and found none.
I think I recall that they were a French company (somewhere in Europe anyway). Not sure if they claim, much less still service that model but I found a website of the parent company. I cannot recall the name of that company though.Nor do I recall how I found it. If I find the link I will post it to this thread.
Don't know why they could not still be used but have doubts if parts would be available. Not much that should wear out cept for the fiber catalyst blanket, and perhaps another brands would work there...just do not know. Mine was never installed into my trailer. It was given to me by another Airstreamer. No reason IMHO that you couldn't make it portable, but not sure how much area it would heat.

dd
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:24 AM   #3
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Thanks, Drummer, any info would be a big help. I'll update with any decisions or progress.

Anne
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:39 AM   #4
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Catalytic Heater Photos and more

Here's another person's inquiry, about 4 years ago: http://www.airforums.com/forums/show...85&postcount=1

I'm posting some photos in case someone else can advise on updating and using this heater.
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:46 AM   #5
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Catalytic heater operating instructions

These instructions are on the label on the side. I'm going to clean the heater up, avoid touching anything on the pad, and see if I can get it working. I've been reading and finding that if ventilation is good, and you keep a CO monitor handy, this heater can do a good job for the three-season camping we do.
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Old 01-19-2009, 03:38 PM   #6
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2005 31' Classic
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ThermX Catalytic Heater

I acquired a model 635S from another airstreamer in our club last year. Thought I'd use it and maybe mount it in our 31'. But it burns kind of funny I think. On the other hand I've never seen another one working. Ours has a curtain of flame cross the pad and then it pauses and does the curtain thing again - bottom to top.

I wonder about using it. I need to heat our garage a bit for a construction project. So tomorrow I'll tinker with it. The pad seems to not be firmly attached, but bounces around behind the safety grill. That is the first thing I'll check out.

Is the propane supposed to pass from back to front of the pad and burn on the front?

All input welcome.

Dwight
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:17 PM   #7
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1979 31' Excella 500
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Therm'x Heater

I removed one from an old trailer that I had which had seen much better days. I now use it in my garage with a spare tank I have and a pressure regulator from a bar-b-que grill. I got a flex hose and quick disconnect made for propane from the hardware store.
It should not have any open flame after it warms up. I suppose you know that you must hold the lever on the left over until ti has a flame over the pad then release it and the unit should glow red. You may not see the glow unless it is dark.
I have been looking for information about whether it is possible to service the unit and get an even glow. Mine puts out heat over the entire surface but I cannot see any glow near the top. I am thinking that it may not be putting out the full amount of heat that it is capable of.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:07 PM   #8
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Cat Heater use

I have now used the heater to take the chill off our garage. It does indeed burn nice and warmly after the first few minutes of flaring. I notice the red glow in low light conditions.

I guess I would feel fairly comfortable using it in the RV - with ample ventilation. I may not mount it permanently tho'. If we do enough boondocking, I will probably get a new one mounted. Would feel better about a new one.

Dwight
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:06 PM   #9
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1964 22' Safari
Foresthill , California
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The Ol’Therm’x heater trick and you fell for it.

I asked about them 3-4 years ago. Got some good help here. I acquired 3 more dilapidated Therm’x heaters from other Airstreamers, one from an abandoned trailer in the Mohave Desert, mixed and matched parts, repainted housing and it now works great. Hard mounted it. I use it all night to keep chill off when below freezing outside, no battery drain, furnace kicks in when it gets really cold. Used it all night at Donner Summit in Sierra Nevada snowstorm last weekend. (I wasn’t stuck, Caltrans wanted chains on the trailer too).

The good news:
They can be repaired. And they do crank out heat. Carbon Monoxide stratifies higher than air….meaning it won’t creep up from the floor and kill you in your sleep if you keep rear roof vent cracked open.

The hardest parts to find were the metric tubing and fittings.
They are 5mm metric inside the heater and then adapt to the 3/8” propane line.
The adapter I found in France, the 5mm tubing and fittings in Argentina.

I have my left over spare parts (spelled mostly junk) if you want them.

New Olympic heater would be smart replacement.

If any one finds new catalyst pads that fit Therm’x I’d like one.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:48 PM   #10
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Instructions for Therm'x Mark IIA

I looked at my heater again - boy is this easy. There are 3 moving parts: the red button on the right that makes a spark, the center knob turning to low, high, off; and the lever on the far left that says "push to start."
When the knob is in the off position, then that allows the lever on the left to be pushed in the direction of "start". Propane starts flowing though the "pilot light" tube that also is a thermocouple. The tube goes directly into the catalytic mesh. Anyway then simply push the red button on the right to make a spark and you have heat. Set the knob to high or low and turn it off when your done.
There is no need for a pilot light, and because there is a thermocouple it is safe i.e your trailer wouldn't fill up with propane if you would spill a bucket of water on the heater and extinguish the flame.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:47 PM   #11
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Thanks, Kirk. I like the instructions you gave for lighting the heater, step by step. I will post again when I do a test, before reinstalling. And thanks to everyone for the ideas on fixing up and on using in different settings.
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Old 11-23-2011, 03:32 AM   #12
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I've got one exactly like yours in my '69 Overlander.
I pulled it out, cleaned it up (Don't mess with the catalytic pad), and connected it to a 20lb propane tank and regulator (from BBQ).
Attached it to a sawhorse, lit it and let it run for a few hours.
It worked flawlessly, so I re-installed it in the trailer.
Not much to wear out, and they hardly use any propane.
Adjust the knob to high/low if flames are visible after a minute. It should only glow a deep red. If you blow on it lightly, you can see the "embers".
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:15 PM   #13
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Thanks, Ed. I feel encouraged to give it a chance. I'll post some feedback soon.
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Old 11-24-2011, 05:01 PM   #14
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1974 27' Overlander
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As usual this is always a good site. I bought a cargo trailer with an Olympic Cat heater and just got if fired up. Ohwell now I have to see if I can get my Therm'x Mark V working now that I know how to start it. Almost sucess runs for about ten minutes then shuts down. Must be the thermal coupler. So my question is who knows where I can get one? Works great for like I said a few minutes and I can here the propane if listen real carefully. Hope someone can give me a suggestion.
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