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Old 02-03-2014, 07:45 PM   #15
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Good luck in getting it to work on a GFI protected power source.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by wb7auk View Post
Good luck in getting it to work on a GFI protected power source.
Typically, 50A outlets are not GFCI protected. If it is, it will still work.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:40 PM   #17
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the forced air heater I have on the way puts out 5,600 watts at 240v
That much power would be enough to convert your furnace and heat the entire coach and an insulated skirt underneath.

Would your generator support that, if needed?
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:56 PM   #18
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Are you sure your generator supplies 240?
Mine is a Onan Quiet Diesel and it only outputs 120V at about 50 amps...
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:01 AM   #19
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That is a lot of heat. how close is that going to be to the floor of the coach. Also since you are going to use the 50 amp receptacle for your power what are you going to plug the coach into. Personally I am curious on how this is going to work. Enclosing the bottom of your coach is going to be an interesting task. then putting a high power space heater in there is going to be even more interesting. I think you are looking at the potential for some serious problems. Before you do all of this get a thermometer with an outside remote sensor. Put the sensor in your bay. Put a 100 watt bulb or a heat lamp in the bay and see how warm it will keep it. These are not very big spaces and not hard to heat.
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Old 02-04-2014, 12:53 AM   #20
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I agree that's a lot of heat .. Way too much in my opinion .. Your not trying to keep it 80 down there just not freeze. Don't overthink the problem , a incandescent light bulb in a closed even uninsulated space should work !! But certainly a small ceramic 110 heater !
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:03 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the replies. I've done some more testing with a remote thermometer and have found the holding tank bay isn't the problem. It is 8 out as I write this and it's maintaining 48 in the large bay.

The problem is the smaller bay that holds the water filter and what I take to be a captive air tank. Yesterday afternoon that compartment was at 32 with an outside temperature of about 19.

I think I may be able to get an old fashioned drop light or a light of some sort stuck in there.

Any thoughts on one of those 200 watt magnetic or flexible silicone block heaters? I think I could wedge either of those in there.

On a different tack, I know I have room to put a hand-held hair dryer in there but those aren't made for continuous duty. Maybe a commercial heat gun set on low would work?
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:08 AM   #22
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That is a lot of heat. how close is that going to be to the floor of the coach. Also since you are going to use the 50 amp receptacle for your power what are you going to plug the coach into. Personally I am curious on how this is going to work. Enclosing the bottom of your coach is going to be an interesting task. then putting a high power space heater in there is going to be even more interesting. I think you are looking at the potential for some serious problems. Before you do all of this get a thermometer with an outside remote sensor. Put the sensor in your bay. Put a 100 watt bulb or a heat lamp in the bay and see how warm it will keep it. These are not very big spaces and not hard to heat.
Thanks for your reply. The park I'm in only has four other RVs in it for now. I could use an adjacent pedestal but as I wrote above I'm going to go a different way.
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:17 AM   #23
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I agree that's a lot of heat .. Way too much in my opinion .. Your not trying to keep it 80 down there just not freeze. Don't overthink the problem , a incandescent light bulb in a closed even uninsulated space should work !! But certainly a small ceramic 110 heater !
Unfortunately that's my nature. Genetics and 34 years in the nuclear power business have made me that way.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:18 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by airduds View Post
I think I may be able to get an old fashioned drop light or a light of some sort stuck in there.

Any thoughts on one of those 200 watt magnetic or flexible silicone block heaters? I think I could wedge either of those in there.

On a different tack, I know I have room to put a hand-held hair dryer in there but those aren't made for continuous duty. Maybe a commercial heat gun set on low would work?
Thoughts:

Many people just use a light bulb successfully, but a single bulb may not be sufficient in the super cold going on up there. A 150 would work better than a 100. Be careful where you leave the bulb. It's a lot of concentrated heat and could melt plastic that it touches, including your water line.

One of those low wattage engine block heaters looks like it would be a good option. They are built to do exactly what you want. The silicon mat looks easy-peasy, almost like a heating pad but with longer service intended. A magnetic one may need contact to work (just guessing about that). Be sure to read and follow the instructions.

DO NOT even consider using a heat gun and leaving it unattended. That's asking for trouble.

JMO.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:41 AM   #25
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the forced air heater I have on the way puts out 5,600 watts at 240v and I'm pretty confident it would keep us okay down to the occasional minus 5 or 6. We're currently in Two Rivers, Wi.
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If you what to plug the heater directly into the 50 amp receptacle... change plug on the heater as has been suggested.

If you want to use the 5600W 240V heater in a 50A RV, a 30A NEMA 6-30 receptacle, (protected by a 30A circuit breaker), can be wired into the coach.

However, it would probably be less expensive (and certainly be less trouble), to simply buy 4 $30 1500W 120V electric space heaters.....(which will produce more heat than one 5,600W 240V heater), require no rewiring, and therefore cause no electrical safety question/problem.

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Old 02-04-2014, 12:30 PM   #26
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Are you sure your generator supplies 240?
Mine is a Onan Quiet Diesel and it only outputs 120V at about 50 amps...
HHIDan
Most, (if not all), Onan RV gensets output 2 separate, (180 degree out of phase), 120V legs/lines of power, (similar to the electricity from the power company), but not many RVs are wired to provide that available 240V power to anything.

However, (in most 50A RVs), it is possible to add 240V receptacles.... powered by:
1.) A 50A shore power receptacle, (when in a campground), and/or
2.) The genset, (when there is no shore power).

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Old 02-04-2014, 01:04 PM   #27
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I think the block heater idea is not workable for three reasons.

1. I believe most of those rely on the water around them to convey heat out and keep them from burning up

2. Too much heat from the heater. My pellet stove uses something very similar to a block heater to ignite the pellets. It is a 1000 watt 110volt element. It gets hot enough to ignite wood pellets which are not that easy to ignite actually. The element sets about two or three inches away from the chamber and a combustion fan blows over it through air holes in the combustion chamber. That gets hot enough to ignite the pellets. I shudder to think what would happen if that fell and hit plastic or wood etc.

3. I do not think it would hold up to constant use in an air environment.


The silicon mat is what they use to keep tanks warm. I do not know how much heat they put out in an open space but they might do the job. I would be curious to see how well that worked if you do that.

You are monitoring the temp now so buying a drop light is a cheap and easy test. The weather is perfect for it now. the problem I worry about with a drop light is usually they take an incandescent bulb and those are getting harder and harder to find. They no longer make incandescent bulbs in the US. I bought a working light with a metal reflector that clamps on to something to hold it in place. With that you can put a regular heat lamp or possibly a halogen in it. They have used the reflector and heat lamp to keep baby chickens alive for as long as I can remember. Again that is a cheap and easy thing to try. COOP or ATWOODS or most hardware stores can fix you up with that for about 20 to 25.00. I started to go that way and then decided to buy the smallest mini space heater Walmart had. Nice thing about Walmart if you buy it and it don't fit take it back. If I Remember right that heater was 11.00. Hopefully you will come up with a solution and like I said earlier this weather will give you a chance to test it. Please let us know what you ended up using
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:32 PM   #28
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Is it doable... Well, it should be.. HOW TO DO IT, that varies depending on your breaker box.. I have seen three or 4 layouts, Im going to lay the box on it's side

Mains L1-L2-L1-L2 This is, in fact how my Progressive Industries box is layed out

Square D, on its side is the same

Mains L1-L2-L1-L2
Mains L2-L1-L2-L1 as I recall

Push Matic
Mains1 1 1 1 1
Mains2 2 2 2 2

I have seen some RV's however where the box is done like this

1 1 1 1 1 mains 2 2 2 2 2

If you have one of those you have a problem

Else you need the proper outlet and box The proper wire (8ga is nice, 10 will do)
and a double ganged 240 volt breaker of the kind that fits your box.

That easy.

NOTE the heater will NOT work if you are plugged into as 30 amp outlet with a pigtail however.

IF you want to run the heater off a park pedistal you need

The proper outlet, and box (Weather tight) and a 50 amp male pigtail.. End of list.
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