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Old 12-11-2017, 06:11 PM   #1
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Aquahot Hour Meter Mod

I wanted to measure the actual burner run time of the Aquahot so fuel consumption of the Aquahot could be measured and fuel consumption of the engine could be corrected for accuracy. Also it's just the kind of nerdy stuff I like to do.

So I figured out a way to wire in an electro-mechanical hour meter that counts time when the burner is actually consuming fuel. Knowing that and the approximate consumption of 0.41 gallons/hour provides a pretty good estimate of Aquahot fuel usage.

I haven't collected enough data yet to draw detailed conclusions, but I can say in the 75 days the hour meter has been installed, the Aquhot has run an average of 1 hour per day. Note that we leave the burner off except for morning showers in cool weather, evening heating in temps below about 45F, or full time heating when temps fall near or below the freezing point.

The mod is relatively easy and inexpensive. Full mod details are posted here. My Aquahot is a 400D but it appears that this mod should work just fine on the 450D or for that matter any model that uses the Webasto burner.
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Old 12-11-2017, 06:45 PM   #2
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Rob

I had previously published data on the typical cycle and time of each phase of my 450D in 40 degree outside ambient temperatures and again in 30 degree temperatures (I have a feeling we have similar “needs” to know how things work). I’ll try to find it as it’s about 2 years old. I left my AquaHot on all day, but my procedure was to time the blower phase before ignition, then the ignition phase, then the cool down phase and finally the inter-cycle interval. Given that, I calculated the burn percentage and the consumption. I will try to find it.

Appreciate your data....

Gary
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Old 12-11-2017, 08:05 PM   #3
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I pretty dumb when it comes to this type of thing, but if my goal was to measure the fuel consumption of the aqua hot, my instinct would be to look at putting a fuel flow meter in the supply line. Would that be a viable option?
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:35 PM   #4
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How about...fill the tank up park at your site, run the AH on gas/diesel full time for a month, then go fill it up. If you want the analytics, keep your thermostat settings, and then go to you friendly NWS for the daily high and low, or the daily average. That should give you an idea of how much you would use in a month typical for the type you just experienced.

I did something similar two Winters ago, except that I parked with slightly less than 1/2 tank. Then I used the AH a lot for the next 2.5 months. When it cam time to go to Quartzsite January before last, I had to get several 2..5 gallon cans of diesel and add some fuel...the engine wouldn't start because I was out of fuel. Oh well, so much for analytics!
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltdoc View Post
I wanted to measure the actual burner run time of the Aquahot so fuel consumption of the Aquahot could be measured and fuel consumption of the engine could be corrected for accuracy. Also it's just the kind of nerdy stuff I like to do.

So I figured out a way to wire in an electro-mechanical hour meter that counts time when the burner is actually consuming fuel. Knowing that and the approximate consumption of 0.41 gallons/hour provides a pretty good estimate of Aquahot fuel usage.

I haven't collected enough data yet to draw detailed conclusions, but I can say in the 75 days the hour meter has been installed, the Aquhot has run an average of 1 hour per day. Note that we leave the burner off except for morning showers in cool weather, evening heating in temps below about 45F, or full time heating when temps fall near or below the freezing point.

The mod is relatively easy and inexpensive. Full mod details are posted here. My Aquahot is a 400D but it appears that this mod should work just fine on the 450D or for that matter any model that uses the Webasto burner.
so basically you are using almost a half gallon of fuel per day based on this usage pattern?

so if a guys aqua hot was just kept on all day using it, you would look at your house meter in a 24 hour period which might say a total of 3 hours total of actual burner going which would equate
about a 1 and a half gallons of fuel used that day?
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltdoc View Post
I wanted to measure the actual burner run time of the Aquahot so fuel consumption of the Aquahot could be measured and fuel consumption of the engine could be corrected for accuracy. Also it's just the kind of nerdy stuff I like to do.

So I figured out a way to wire in an electro-mechanical hour meter that counts time when the burner is actually consuming fuel. Knowing that and the approximate consumption of 0.41 gallons/hour provides a pretty good estimate of Aquahot fuel usage.

I haven't collected enough data yet to draw detailed conclusions, but I can say in the 75 days the hour meter has been installed, the Aquhot has run an average of 1 hour per day. Note that we leave the burner off except for morning showers in cool weather, evening heating in temps below about 45F, or full time heating when temps fall near or below the freezing point.

The mod is relatively easy and inexpensive. Full mod details are posted here. My Aquahot is a 400D but it appears that this mod should work just fine on the 450D or for that matter any model that uses the Webasto burner.
Rob,

Great detailed post, thanks. This type of mod would also be good for determining maintenance intervals for the burner nozzle and fuel filter.
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Old 12-12-2017, 11:22 AM   #7
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Where did you get the 0.41 gal / hour from? I thought the 400 series AH burned something like 0.31 - 0.35 per hour .
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:55 AM   #8
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Rob,

Great detailed post, thanks. This type of mod would also be good for determining maintenance intervals for the burner nozzle and fuel filter.
I would have thought so also, Don, but I am having trouble now with the Aquahot just quitting - Vegas Touch light goes off - basement panel is all green as normal, but no burner. When I called Aquahot for help their stand was, "did you do the annual maintenance - if not that's the problem and if you didn't use it a lot, then that's the problem". Still, a Hobbs is a great way to track what's happening.

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Old 12-13-2017, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowejug View Post
so basically you are using almost a half gallon of fuel per day based on this usage pattern?

so if a guys aqua hot was just kept on all day using it, you would look at your house meter in a 24 hour period which might say a total of 3 hours total of actual burner going which would equate
about a 1 and a half gallons of fuel used that day?
Yes that's the theory. I suppose it all hinges on the fuel consumption spec provided by Aquahot (0.40 gal/hr form my 400D) being accurate. Also depends on the rate of fuel burn being steady - I assume it is consistent as the burner seems to just run at a fixed output.

In any case it still gives me a better sense for how often the burner runs.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:14 PM   #10
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Where did you get the 0.41 gal / hour from? I thought the 400 series AH burned something like 0.31 - 0.35 per hour .
In the specs in the service manual for my 400D. http://www.aquahot.com/files/service...nual_Rev_D.pdf
page 8
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DSL417 View Post
How about...fill the tank up park at your site, run the AH on gas/diesel full time for a month, then go fill it up. If you want the analytics, keep your thermostat settings, and then go to you friendly NWS for the daily high and low, or the daily average. That should give you an idea of how much you would use in a month typical for the type you just experienced.

I did something similar two Winters ago, except that I parked with slightly less than 1/2 tank. Then I used the AH a lot for the next 2.5 months. When it cam time to go to Quartzsite January before last, I had to get several 2..5 gallon cans of diesel and add some fuel...the engine wouldn't start because I was out of fuel. Oh well, so much for analytics!
So does that prove there is no short pickup tube for the Aquahot like there is [supposed to be] for the generator?

We were at Quartzsite last year too. Filled up at arrival, drove to the same station in Quartzsite and filled up again when we left. Used 35 gallons in 7 days, but most of that was probably for the generator. Now, I'll be better able to estimate what was generator burn and what was Aquahot burn.

Good idea on the analytics, I haven't been tracking temps but will take your suggestion and see if I can backfill some of that info. We currently take the hour meter reading when breaking camp, but I think I will start taking it daily and recording the daily temps as well.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:26 PM   #12
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I pretty dumb when it comes to this type of thing, but if my goal was to measure the fuel consumption of the aqua hot, my instinct would be to look at putting a fuel flow meter in the supply line. Would that be a viable option?
Yeah for sure that would be the most accurate way. I just didn't want to get into that for potential warranty reasons and because I didn't know if it would affect the burner operation in any way. My electrical approach is 100% reversible, very simple and cheap to implement and should be close enough for my purposes. Good suggestion tho!
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:06 PM   #13
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Yeah, that makes sense. I did see a pretty good looking flow meter on line for $45. And you can pay a lot more than that if you want.

Of course the generator has a Hobbs, so you can use that to back into a fuel consumption number if you can land in an average factor.

Cheers!
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Old 12-17-2017, 06:43 AM   #14
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Rob, nice mod. I’m interested in it because of the maintenance potential.

We bought our coach in Aug. ‘16 and used it approximately 3 months out of the 10 months before it quit in June of ‘17. We didn’t quite make the “annual” interval.

I just serviced it at the 6 month mark from that first service in June, and we’ve used it quite a bit. The burner looked almost as bad as it did in June.

I suspect we put about as many hours on it in the 6 months as we did in the first 10. Your hour meter will help to determine that.

Franko Foto, our AH would simply quit, or not start at all. The burner switch would be ON, then extinguish after a few seconds. The AH tech I spoke to stated this was “lockout” mode, and we needed to service the unit. I did, and it has operated flawlessly since.

AH service is something anyone with even a small amount of mechanical aptitude can do. Aquahot has published a very good go-by on their website.

You can get the fuel filter at any NAPA, and you will need a fuel nozzle and burner gasket. Roger Berke runs a good business and he supplies parts as well..

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