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Generation 4-1 Pajero NS Model 2006 - 2009

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  #31  
Old 20-07-18
kiwi1973's Avatar
kiwi1973 kiwi1973 is offline
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After several test runs around the house over the past few weeks I finally had opportunity to give my new heater build a 'real world' test run. I set up the tent in a wild camp spot on the shores of Lake Pukaki, with a view of Mount Cook, in very cold South Island NZ winter conditions. The missus and kids stayed in the car until the tent was set up and heater operating.... and I was frequently reminded that if it failed to work, or cut out during the night, that I would be in big trouble....

But it worked perfectly! The missus still complained - apparently she was too hot in the night, notwithstanding the freezing conditions outside. The heater has 7 heat output levels (7 being highest) and she found it too hot at level 2 (though one daughter in a lower rated sleeping bag had been slightly cold on level 1 and preferred level 2). In the morning, when we emerged from our sleeping bags, I wound it up to around level 3 or 4 (half power so probably around 2kw) and this easily produced t-shirt temperatures inside the tent. Running all night the heater consumed approximately $3 worth of diesel, so it is very cost effective. With the exhaust muffler it is not overly noisy.

In the photo of the heater you can see that two things go into the tent - (1) the ducting and (2) the remote control lead. The red and black wiring extending out the other way has an Andersen connector that plugs into the car and is supplied from the 120 amp/hr auxiliary AGM battery. For transport everything stores inside the toolbox, including ducting, which makes it compact and robust to throw up on the roof rack.

The toolbox the heater is built into is made from extremely robust plastic - yes plastic - I seriously considered whether building it into a metal toolbox would be more appropriate, but the plastic toolbox was much stronger, came designed with an integrated rubber waterproof seal, and the heat issue around the exhaust outlet was easily accommodated within my design (exhaust passes through a large hole in the plastic, which is overlayed with the riveted aluminium sheet visible in one photo).

The all up cost of this build has been around $1,000. You could build something similar for about half this cost using a much cheaper unbranded heater unit, as sold on Ebay. Or you could spend up to four times as much using a premium German branded heater unit (it's hard to see what you really get for the several thousand more you could spend). The Belief Tuite model I bought claims to have only half the power draw of the cheap Ebay models and this is an important consideration for anyone planning a similar build, as whilst a 10 litre jerry of diesel will keep the heater running for a very long time, the availability of 12 volt amp hours is a separate restraint. I did perform a test run of the system with an ammeter in series to establish whether the low power draw claim from Belief (Chinese manufacturer) is true or not, and I concluded it was genuine.

I have eliminated all cross contamination between exhaust and air intake through careful design and sealing. As such I believe my heater is perfectly safe to leave running all night long. This is extremely important - if you get this wrong you risk ducting potentially harmful exhaust fumes into your sleeping chamber! Be sure to understand what you're doing and test extensively.
These heater units are intended to be used in vehicles, caravans and motor homes so are inherently capable of being safe in enclosed spaces, but this is dependent on competent installation and ducting. This is a longer post than I intended to put up, but hopefully may help someone else considering building something along these lines in future.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tent heater.jpg (199.7 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg P1040156.jpg (201.5 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg P1040155.jpg (191.7 KB, 28 views)
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  #32  
Old 20-07-18
craka craka is offline
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Very nice Kiwi.

I probably won't be building one similar anymore, was made redundant, have another job in the same industry but will be in a little bit of a different working environment where I won't be in the back of a van for very long.
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  #33  
Old 24-07-18
wanderay wanderay is offline
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Nicely built unit Kiwi, and a good write up, thanks.

We have added a carbon monoxide monitor to our kit just to be sure we don't pump noxious gasses into the camper, all clear so far.

We have been using our Belief 2kw unit while camping last weekend, half power is heaps for warming us up in morning and evening but the weather was mild. Depending on the wind we sometimes get a waft of diesel fumes inside as it starts up then all clear from then.

Looks like many are adding the cheap units to campers here, time will tell which are reliable.

Ray
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