/ Campervan heaters

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jon on 15 Nov 2017
Has anyone got any opinions or preferences between Webasto and Eberspacher?
Thanks
Heike - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

Well, we had a gas Webasto one in our last van, it worked fine, but it just guzzled gas and was a bit faffy to switch on. Now we have a diesel Eberspächer and it is very quiet, easy to use (i.e. press the on button) and extremely efficient. So, my vote is for the latter, but both are fine.
jon on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Heike:

Thanks. My only experience with these heaters is with a VW Cali and I've no idea what make of heater they install, but that was simply press a button. What do you mean by faff for the Webasto?

Edit: I've just notice you said Webasto gas. I wonder how much difference there is between the two diesel heaters?
Heike - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

By faff I mean this was a two step process and you had to turn a dial first to a certain point at which a light came on and then press the on button for a certain time and wait for it to ignite, but it was never the same time or point, so you sometimes had to try several times before it worked. And sometimes I got too annoyed and just didn't bother ;-)

Could well be that the diesel webasto one is a just press the on button job too.
jimtitt - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

I´ ve installed three or four in yachts (and repaired loads) and there´ s no real difference in the two except for cars Webasto are a bit further ahead in the electronic side (CAN Bus integration with the cars electronics, remote controls and stuff like that). There is also Planar who have a good reputation and are cheaper and for motorhomes/caravans the biggest supplier is probably Truma but they only do gas systems as far as I know.
MarkJH - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

The only other comment I can think of is that they both have relatively high current draw. I took one out (of a boat) a few years back and was thinking about reinstalling it, but the current draw on start up was around 6A, and 1-2A during use. A few years ago, this didn't seem much, but these days, with LED lighting and affordable wind/solar it becomes a very large proportion of the daily usage, and I have gotten used to not needing the engine for charging at all. I am now considering whether I actually need a forced air heater or whether a naturally vented diesel or solid fuel heater might not be more useful. Probably this will depend on how you use the van and the outside temperatures you are expecting to deal with.

I guess another way to look at it would be that a reasonable sized (100-200 Ah) domestic battery bank has far fewer demands on it now than it used to, so why not use the spare amps for heating.
richlan - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:
I have a Webasto diesel, its great, i don't think there is much to choose between them really, just go with whatever your local guys install.
Post edited at 12:13
jimtitt - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to MarkJH:

> The only other comment I can think of is that they both have relatively high current draw. I took one out (of a boat) a few years back and was thinking about reinstalling it, but the current draw on start up was around 6A, and 1-2A during use. A few years ago, this didn't seem much, but these days, with LED lighting and affordable wind/solar it becomes a very large proportion of the daily usage, and I have gotten used to not needing the engine for charging at all. I am now considering whether I actually need a forced air heater or whether a naturally vented diesel or solid fuel heater might not be more useful. Probably this will depend on how you use the van and the outside temperatures you are expecting to deal with.

> I guess another way to look at it would be that a reasonable sized (100-200 Ah) domestic battery bank has far fewer demands on it now than it used to, so why not use the spare amps for heating.

They do indeed, probably the second biggest problem we had with them was the voltage cut-offs would turn them off (the biggest problem is they lie idle for eights months of the year and then the fuel in the burner and pipes is so old they takes about 100 attempts before they start properly and don´ t fill the boat with stinking diesel smoke). Air systems have their attractions but pushing the air around is power-hungry (and the ducting a pain to install). Hot-water systems are far better but normally we´ d only fit them on 20-25m yachts though some of the Scaandinavian companies like Vindo used them even on the smaller yachts down to 8m. Quieter as well!
Dave - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

I have a Webasto in my Volvo V70 car which comes as standard in diesels in Scandinavia. It has worked perfectly the last two years. I have a 20 year old Eberspacher in my boat, which also works perfectly IF the battery is good enough to start it. As stated earlier the current draw on start up with these things is pretty high - mines draws about 17-18 A on start up for a few minutes, so fit a decent and large battery. I sometimes have to start my engine to charge the battery to start the Eberspacher.
ian caton on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

VW Cali T4 is eberspacher.
paul__in_sheffield - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

Very happy with the Eberspacher in our van. Had a few flaky experiences at the beginning, but this was solved with a new leisure battery as the old one was not holding charge. The new one resulted in perfect operation. Minimal fuel usage and toasty warm.
Billy the fish - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

I too have one on a boat. The Webastos and Erbers are sensitive to battery voltage and won’t work if that voltage drops much. IIRC, mine only draws about 5amps on start-up and gives plenty of dry heat using very little fuel.
Check the control unit as not all are thermostatic and some older units cannot easily be retrofitted with a thermostat.
jon on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

Thanks all. Sounds like not much to chose between the two. Think we're going with Webasto. It's more expensive but the place that will install it is much nearer and has a good reputation.
jon on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to Dave:

> As stated earlier the current draw on start up with these things is pretty high - mines draws about 17-18 A on start up for a few minutes, so fit a decent and large battery. I sometimes have to start my engine to charge the battery to start the Eberspacher.

A quick question here as I'm a bit clueless as to how these heaters work. Why is the current draw so high? There must be a fuel pump and a fan... What else?
jimtitt - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

Mainly it´ s the glow-plug which has to heat up until as the name says, it´ s glowing to vaporise and ignite the fuel. They are fairly brutal, around 20A, and then there is the fuel pump (which isn´ t a lot) the fan and then the little things that all add up like the control circuits, relays etc. If they cycle on and off a lot it starts to get bad because each time it has to purge the combustion chamber and re-heat the glow-plug so they are generally better if you keep them running at a lower setting (if they have this available) rather than the older systems which cycled more.
They are a bit sensitive to low battery voltage as well and turn off so often people fit an extra battery to cope.
jon on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to jimtitt:
OK thanks. So is it better to have the engine running during the heat up phase? We'll have a second battery - this is it: batterie auxiliaire AGM 100Ah / 12V + coupleur
Post edited at 09:30
jimtitt - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

Some do, some don´ t! The newer models aren´ t so bad, Webasto give 6-7A for the start phase which isn´ t that long but if your parked up for a few days it all starts to drag the batteries down and they really do like high voltage. The actual units draw min 1,3A up to 10,9A depending on which one it is and run for 24 hours it starts to take it´ s toll, the ones I´ ve worked on pulled around 2.5A all the time which makes your average car battery look pretty sad after a day. You can use them while your driving anyway to pre-heat the interior which helps a lot with a bigger camper.
gilesf - on 16 Nov 2017
In reply to jon:

I've got an Eberspacher in my camper, it certainly does the job, and would easily heat something four times the size. As you've probably already gathered though it needs the leisure battery to have plenty of life in it to fire up. Also the control panel is confusing to say the least, although different configurations are available.
I had a gas heater in my last camper, it was sort of like an old domestic gas fire, once lit you just relied on the heat convecting around the camper, so if you were near it, you got hot, if you were far away, you didn't.
Hope this helps.

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