How to stay warm in the camper with a diesel heater

Our Diesel Parking Heater

A while ago we got a cheap Chinese diesel heater – it was called a Parking Heater and is similar to this.

A heater similar to ours

Ours is a 5KW model which I reckon is overkill so it should heat up the camper very well. They are available up to 8KW in the same packaging. We’ll just put the heater under the camper and run a length of heater duct into an unzipped corner of the rear window.

When we got it there were no instructions at all – not even Chinese. After much Googling I managed to find a manual online. The English was execrable and almost impossible to understand. My gibberish is pretty good but this was in some unknown dialect.

According to the gibberish there are two modes. Thermostatic or manual and apparently older people like the manual mode. Of course there were no clues as to how to change modes. Enter Youtube. A few videos later and I’d got it worked out. Disregarding age I wanted manual mode as the heater was going to be outside and thermostatically controlled means that it would try to heat the entire outdoors using the warm air blowing into the camper. The thermostat is in the heater control panel which will be outside. Manual mode meant that we could just set the heater to “High”, “Medium”, “Low” or some place inbetween.

After much experimenting and Youtubing I worked out that setting the maximum fan speed to 5,000 rpm and minimum fan speed to 2,000rpm with the maximum pump pulse rate to 5Hz and the minimum to 1Hz was just right although that’s subject to change when we use it in anger. According to various user groups running it at 1.5Hz is just right for a camper running it at over 3Hz will heat a camper up very quickly indeed. Once the camper is heated it can be turned down to 1.5Hz or so. The fan speed looks after itself.

The next adventure was getting the little remote, pictured with the heater and hoses, paired with the controller. More Youtubing and I had that done. I wonder how I would’ve got on without Youtube and the work that others had put in making the instructional videos. Thank you one and all.

Resource consumption is quite minimal. It draws less than 20 watts while it’s running but about 100 watts while it’s going through the startup routine and about the same when it’s doing its shutdown thing. It only uses about 100 to 150ml of fuel / hour so about seven to ten hours of heat per litre and about 1.5 to 2Ah / hour from the battery. Seeing as we have about 200Ah of battery capacity we’ll have over 100 hours of heating provided we can keep the fuel up to it. The inbuilt fuel tank and our batteries can easily keep it going for a whole day and night if required provided we don’t go overboard and have the camper at sauna temperatures.

The next thing I need to do is to get a silencer for the exhaust as it makes a howling whining absolute din on all but the lowest settings. The mufflers are cheap but they come from China so delivery will be a month or so away. Apparently it’ll be worth the wait as they are purported to be very effective.

That’s our heater. When our Land Rover has returned from the gearbox doctor and the COVID-19 restrictions have lifted we’ll be off and while we’re away I’ll take a few photos of the heater in operation and post them to this page as well as a report as to how effective it is.

3 thoughts on “How to stay warm in the camper with a diesel heater”

  1. Sounds like a ‘cool’ little heater, Mark! Looking forward to seeing pictures of it in use.

    1. We’ve done a back yar test with it, John. It seems really effective. We’ll see when we can use it in anger…:-)

  2. I hadn’t even thought of one of these. We used to use an lpg catalytic heater, but the floods swallowed it up. I have an Ebespacher on my boat, but can’t even figure out how to turn it on. No needed much in Queensland. I think I’ll look into one of these for our camping trips.

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