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Old 12-30-2015, 03:49 AM   #1
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Default Truma Combi vs Seperate Propane Heater/ Hot Water Heater

Hi, I just purchased a Sprinter 2500 and plan to do a custom build.
I'm debating on two different hot water and heating systems and would love some feedback. Note that my build will have an interior sink requiring hot water and an outdoor shower. There is no interior bathroom or shower.

I'd like a system that has a digital programmable control. I'd also like it to monitor propane and battery levels. I'd like the system to run on either propane or electric or both, though I'll mostly be using propane.
I'd like the water to heat within 30-45 minutes.

The Truma Combi looks interesting. I have not seen any comments on any threads here on how long the hot water takes to heat when the air heater is also in use using propane only. One UK forum said 80 plus minutes.

I'm also concerned if either the water heater or air heater break you are S.O.L. versus if these are two independent systems.

Lastly how have the truma combis been performing in the U.S.? UK forums indicate a fair amount of breakdown.

The other system I'm looking at, a propex heater both the undercarriage and interior mount models along with either the Malga/Propex Hot Water Heater or an Atwood Hot Water heater. Water Heats in 30 min! Supposedly.

The downside with the latter set up is there is not a programmable thermostat. Whale Pumps in the UK makes a great dual touchscreen for both the separate hot water heater and heart but their products are not sold in the U.S. Is there anything like their intelligent control that could be used with the latter system in the U.S?

Thanks!
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Old 12-30-2015, 04:02 PM   #2
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I don;t know what your previous experience is- mine is limited to my 10 year old van which has a Suburban 6 gallon gas water heater.

it gets hot in minutes- it maintains hot water very well for shower or washing dishes.

we don;t use our van shower- just the outside shower wand- but I am on dish duty after every meal, and hand washing etc.

I turn on the water heater a few minutes before each task, and then turn it off after wards- essentially running it as an on-demand water heater.



no complaints.

gas use is very low.

Mike
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:33 AM   #3
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X2. On all counts. Keeping it simple sometimes makes sense. For me at least.
That said, there are probably some forum members on here who will be able to better answer your questions on the controls side, but I'm not sure about the actual water/air heating system choices. Those seem to be a matter of personal preference based on price, performance specs, and reliability, as you suggested. I agree that redundancy is your friend when it comes to bleeding edge, or newer finnicky systems or products.
I think Europe has the edge on available options for newer technology water/air heating systems, and there appears to be plenty of vetting online, after reading some of their experiences and reviews.
If I were in the market, I might also check with Sportsmobile, or another custom builder, or a marine supply shop, to see what they might be using or recommend, and their reasons why.
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Old 12-31-2015, 12:37 PM   #4
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Well those that aren't impressed with the Truma Combi are few and far between.
It works extremely well and addresses many of the issues for vans:

Uses around 1/2 the space of traditional furnace & water heater.
Has total digital control with timers.
Highly efficient - 97%
Near silent operation.
Heat is ducted, ducting is smaller that traditional furnaces.
Single gas line to device.
Single, small exhaust port on body
Dual energy sources - gas or 110v - for both water heating and coach heating.

So far I think it makes the van a lot more livable. It would be worth using, even if it was more expensive that the two individual devices because of the features I listed above.
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Old 12-31-2015, 01:44 PM   #5
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Like I said, there is a wealth of hands on experience and knowledge on this forum.

It's 59F in South Carolina right now.
Do you even need a water heater or furnace down there?

May the furnace be with you Obicrasher Winobie........
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Old 12-31-2015, 02:09 PM   #6
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Actually I'm in Florida right now. It's over 80 degrees this morning already.
Still need hot water though.
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Old 12-31-2015, 02:31 PM   #7
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It is 8 degrees in Minnesota.

If you have a Sprinter, another choice might be the Rixen's Espar diesel-fired glycol heat exchanger and hot water system.

Sprinter and Class B & C RV System Information
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Old 12-31-2015, 03:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
Actually I'm in Florida right now. It's over 80 degrees this morning already.
Still need hot water though.
Braggart!!!! It's 32F here.
(oh, and yes, I'm jealous)
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:34 PM   #9
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If you are going to look at all the options then there is also Webasto and Alde...
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