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Old 09-25-2020, 04:15 AM   #1
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Default Inexpensive way to stay warm while asleep this Winter ...

This is a No-Brainer.

https://electrowarmth.com/

Some of you probably already have one.

Now the company has morphed in size with many different sizes - from Foot Warming* units to King Size beds

These are what Truckers use & now I believe they have been making them for the RV Market since the last 10 years I owned one.

No need for a huge battery bank to keep warm with a furnace, etc.

If you have a modest battery bank, these are perfect.

If you already have invested in a big bank, these are highly effecient.

Its healthy to sleep in cold air especially if, you are warm under the blanket with an Electroblanket under your bottom sheet.

In answering a similar question for an OP recently I remembered the perfect, low energy foot warmer I purchased before I moved from a Camper Van to a Class B - I gave it to the new owner but I just ordered a new oefficient. I like to sleep cold but having my bed a little toasty before sleep, especially the feet - Perfection.

Plus they get rid of all the dampness!
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Old 09-25-2020, 12:54 PM   #2
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We use 20 F rated sleeping bags and just keep the van temperature at about 40 F when it is colder outside. Usually no heat if the lowest morning temperature stays above freezing. In warm weather we can sleep on top of the bags which serves as an added topper or just use traditional bedding sans the bags. I sleep better in cold weather than hot weather. Maybe the habits of tent camping for most of our lives have stayed with us and think of the Class B as just a steel tent. We most always crack open windows. Fleece blankets help. They are comfy and fold away compactly.
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Old 09-25-2020, 02:51 PM   #3
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Oh, for crying out loud. No, it is NOT a no-brainer, for these reasons:

(1) At 6.2 amps DC, that product draws more energy than our Vitrifrigo refrigerator. That makes the product a non-contender for many, if not most, boondockers. Couple that with dramatically lower solar recharge potential in the depths of winter and we have a big logistical problem for many vanners.

(2) In my extensive experience, much of the problem with staying warm in a van traces back to the approx. 60+ liters of air that a human inhales each and every minute. That air results in body chilling from the inside out, and can only get so cold before the human is uncomfortable no matter how much compensatory heat is provided from the outside in. This effect is particularly pronounced for smaller individuals who have larger-than-average surface area to volume ratios (e.g., women and thinner people).

I know that many people successfully camp in very cold weather, but if you look at who is represented in that cohort, I bet you'll find that the group is strongly young-skewed. That's because they are tougher with higher metabolic rates. They can compensate for physical challenges (like sucking in frigid air) more readily than us older folks.

Personally I use a lot of goose down in our van, but even with that, I have to run the propane furnace. I prefer to keep the air in the van above 50 degrees. But enter into this equation another consideration as well - I have spent decades living in the deep south. I'm acclimated to cope with high temperature extremes, not lows.

There are very few no-brainers in vanlife. Most decision trees are contextual.
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Old 09-25-2020, 03:45 PM   #4
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We have both an electric mattress pad and an electric blanket. These are our 'go to' stay warm systems when we aren't connected to shore power (when we are, we use an electric heater). We're not winter campers, but there are times when we've stumbled into sub-freezing temperatures (down to the upper teens where keeping our water system from freezing is the biggest concern). The problem is getting up in the morning - - but a few minutes of engine running cures these morning chills.
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Old 09-25-2020, 03:58 PM   #5
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The problem is getting up in the morning.
I was very careful to have our Espar's thermostat mounted within reach of the bed.
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Old 09-25-2020, 05:22 PM   #6
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As I stated earlier, its a No Brainer.

Of course each of us can do their research, for their own specific needs but first, this is an Open Forum designed to stimulate answers that various others have found & sometimes further questions until the answers pass muster.

If one is not willing to do their research, one should refrain from making comments.

It requires one to read the product specs.

I think you will find operating specs are different. Truckers use them so they don't have to have their engines idling. There is a huge demand for this product.

Otherwise you are doing a disservice to others.

Again its up to the individual poster, who has a need, to investigate further as to their individual needs, let them investigate.

In a few minutes I am going to call the company & get exact specs.

For me, I can only talk about the T54 which has now been replaced by the T60, 60x36 inch unit that is placed near the foot of the bed.

I myself, have a Novakool Fridge that uses 2.2amps & with my Victron systems can Gauge to a decimal point what each device uses upon start upad done some research last night when I rediscovered

*so glad the Vitrifrigo model that you suggested wouldn't physically fit without major cabinetry work - a peer put the same model & has been in heated conversation with Vitrifrigo since & the issue is not the rig.

I had a van for camping from 2004 - 2011, a 99 GMC that only had one batery, a Blue Top Optima just around the time they were purchased by Johnson Controls & moved their manufacturing operations to Mexico.

While I typically only used the mattress pad to warm the bed for 30 minutes before climbing into bed & going to sleep, maybe for 15 minutes in the middle of the night & maybe for 15 in the morning, I had a paltry battery compared to the 2 Lifeline AGM's I have had for a total of 7 years.
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Old 09-25-2020, 05:50 PM   #7
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We have two 30x60(?) mattress type heating pads. They each draw 3-3.5 amps. They also came with an automatic shut off gizmo that shuts them down after 30 minutes.

One issue with them is that they plug in to a 12 volt ciggy lighter socket. If while jostling overnight and the connection separates and reconnects, the 30 minute timer does reactivate. I actually ordered up a PWM controller for each one that would enable the setting to be cranked back and provide heat all night, bypassing the automatic shut down. I have not gotten around to doing the install yet as things seem to work well as they are. It is lovely to crawl into a pre warmed bed.

BTW, a brother hooked me up with them from somewhere for about $15 ea.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:02 PM   #8
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In the interests of a robust conversation, with all the technical soecs at hand & the interest of sharing, I have left a message with the company.

Will get the operating specs for all the units, note the small, 12 volt T60 is the only unit, that hasn't been approved by the ETL (Electrical Testing Labs).

Just noticed that they have been in business since 1939.

Owned by only two family's in 81 years, the Crise Brothers until 1997 when it was taken over by the Grindle Family for the last 23.


I does say "low amp draw, 6.2ampps maximum when the Confort Control is cycled on, actual amp draw is estimated at 50% of maximum, no starting problems with your semi truck.

Again, for me years ago, the no longer available T54 which is not the T60, worked surprisingly well & I am probably going to purchase this model (I only prefer the heat in my lower extremities & I remember, that was enough, or a Full Sized unit.

NEVER had a problem with a single, sub optional Optima that was the only battery for the entire camping rig I once owned & that had Zero zinsulation.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:20 PM   #9
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We have two 30x60(?) mattress type heating pads. They each draw 3-3.5 amps. They also came with an automatic shut off gizmo that shuts them down after 30 minutes.

One issue with them is that they plug in to a 12 volt ciggy lighter socket. If while jostling overnight and the connection separates and reconnects, the 30 minute timer does reactivate. I actually ordered up a PWM controller for each one that would enable the setting to be cranked back and provide heat all night, bypassing the automatic shut down. I have not gotten around to doing the install yet as things seem to work well as they are. It is lovely to crawl into a pre warmed bed.

BTW, a brother hooked me up with them from somewhere for about $15 ea.
The only number published for the product cited by the OP is about 6 amps. Whether it's two similar products combining to demand 6 amps, or one cited in about that range, that seems to be about the right working number. And it's more than my fridge.

The points you make are good observations and add to this discussion. First, 12 V plugs pull out of the socket. Second, most such devices, whether 12 V or shore current, usually have a time-out mechanism due to liability concerns on the part of the manufacturer. Even if I had an energy budget sufficient to include a DC option, I would not bother working around these obstacles.

Big freakin' news flash here - off-grid vanners are not equivalent to OTR truckers in either behavior or infrastructure. Truckers move daily while on the road, thus recharge their batteries for long intervals. I might not move for 2 weeks.

I scanned multiple threads on 3 different trucker forums (Trucking Truth, Class A Drivers, and The Truckers Report) for opinions on this topic. I did not identify a single thread where an electric product was preferred by the majority of posters, or even enthusiastically preferred by anyone. Most of them stated that they preferred higher-end clothing and sleeping bags to accomplish the warming goal.

I'm sure that there is someone out there besides the OP who is a fan. But to suggest that this is a "no brainer"? I see no evidence that this viewpoint is widespread. Everyone should do their research.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:35 PM   #10
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The only number published for the product cited by the OP is about 6 amps. Whether it's two similar products combining to demand 6 amps, or one cited in about that range, that seems to be about the right working number. And it's more than my fridge.

The points you make are good observations and add to this discussion. First, 12 V plugs pull out of the socket. Second, most such devices, whether 12 V or shore current, usually have a time-out mechanism due to liability concerns on the part of the manufacturer. Even if I had an energy budget sufficient to include a DC option, I would not bother working around these obstacles.

Big freakin' news flash here - off-grid vanners are not equivalent to OTR truckers in either behavior or infrastructure. Truckers move daily while on the road, thus recharge their batteries for long intervals. I might not move for 2 weeks.

I scanned multiple threads on 3 different trucker forums (Trucking Truth, Class A Drivers, and The Truckers Report) for opinions on this topic. I did not identify a single thread where an electric product was preferred by the majority of posters, or even enthusiastically preferred by anyone. Most of them stated that they preferred higher-end clothing and sleeping bags to accomplish the warming goal.

I'm sure that there is someone out there besides the OP who is a fan. But to suggest that this is a "no brainer"? I see no evidence that this viewpoint is widespread. Everyone should do their research.
As mentioned in other posts, the NEXT Button is a Tool for propelling the Rigid forward.

Some great ideas already.

In the meantime, its Saturday afternoon at Electrowarmth who cannot keep up with demand & I will probably get some answers for EVERYONE OF US, on Monday.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:38 PM   #11
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Could you please get a manufacturer & model # for the PWM Controller?

And possibly a source.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:15 PM   #12
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I use the AC mattress pad heater through an inverter. It works very well, uses less power than a furnace and is my choice for cold weather. I wake up with 400AH batteries at 85-90%.

I do use a generator and begin the evening at 100% charge. Certainly recommended.

Each to his own. Propane conservation is certainly a benefit.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:37 PM   #13
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I use the AC mattress pad heater through an inverter. It works very well, uses less power than a furnace and is my choice for cold weather. I wake up with 400AH batteries at 85-90%.

I do use a generator and begin the evening at 100% charge. Certainly recommended.

Each to his own. Propane conservation is certainly a benefit.
I have a 2000 rt200 with suburban furnace. I read the amp draw is around 2. Is this correct? Also we will be using it to keep the dogs warm over two 4 hour ski sessions.

We will head out late on Fri, overnight ski 9-12lunch with the critters then ski 1-4. Probably head off to dinner with the van and critters then return for the evening and ski 9-12/1 on Sunday. Then return home.

The blankets would work perfectly for the dogs I think but I would like to keep the van air temp no lower than 65 for them and us at night. During the day the CO sun will probably keep the van warm but at night it will be cold cold cold.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:52 PM   #14
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I have a 2000 rt200 with suburban furnace. I read the amp draw is around 2. Is this correct? Also we will be using it to keep the dogs warm over two 4 hour ski sessions.

We will head out late on Fri, overnight ski 9-12lunch with the critters then ski 1-4. Probably head off to dinner with the van and critters then return for the evening and ski 9-12/1 on Sunday. Then return home.

The blankets would work perfectly for the dogs I think but I would like to keep the van air temp no lower than 65 for them and us at night. During the day the CO sun will probably keep the van warm but at night it will be cold cold cold.
On Monday I hope to have some exact figures from Electrowarmth - as it is, maybe its only the 12 volt unit that cycles on at 6.2amps but then runs 50% of maxium & has a 7 stage/level thermostat.

Maybe the other units that have full ETL Certification use less power upon cycling on.

Company has been around since 1939!
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:09 PM   #15
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We have the original 30x60 pad. I don’t think we have ever run it higher than its lowest setting and sometime during the night it gets unplugged because it starts getting too warm. Its niche is bitter cold at high altitude where we'd rather not risk coking the Webasto. It doesn’t get much use, but it’s there if we need it. Roughly speaking, its power usage is offset by the lack of fridge cycling.
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:18 PM   #16
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I have a 2000 rt200 with suburban furnace. I read the amp draw is around 2. Is this correct? Also we will be using it to keep the dogs warm over two 4 hour ski sessions.

We will head out late on Fri, overnight ski 9-12lunch with the critters then ski 1-4. Probably head off to dinner with the van and critters then return for the evening and ski 9-12/1 on Sunday. Then return home.

The blankets would work perfectly for the dogs I think but I would like to keep the van air temp no lower than 65 for them and us at night. During the day the CO sun will probably keep the van warm but at night it will be cold cold cold.
The furnace draws about 3 amps for the fan and board, add about another half amp for when the burner is engaged.

Quote:
Could you please get a manufacturer & model # for the PWM Controller?

And possibly a source.
Last I looked, it was discontinued at Amazon. Any PWM unit will work if the specs cover the usage. There are some with remote knobs that can make the install quite discreet. Some in a plastic or ??? case. Look around and see what you like. They have a gazillion of them.

Another source could be digi-key out of MN. They have lots of different electronic stuff and, at least used to, shipped onesies and towsies.
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:34 PM   #17
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The only number published for the product cited by the OP is about 6 amps. Whether it's two similar products combining to demand 6 amps, or one cited in about that range, that seems to be about the right working number. And it's more than my fridge.

The points you make are good observations and add to this discussion. First, 12 V plugs pull out of the socket. Second, most such devices, whether 12 V or shore current, usually have a time-out mechanism due to liability concerns on the part of the manufacturer. Even if I had an energy budget sufficient to include a DC option, I would not bother working around these obstacles.

Big freakin' news flash here - off-grid vanners are not equivalent to OTR truckers in either behavior or infrastructure. Truckers move daily while on the road, thus recharge their batteries for long intervals. I might not move for 2 weeks.

I scanned multiple threads on 3 different trucker forums (Trucking Truth, Class A Drivers, and The Truckers Report) for opinions on this topic. I did not identify a single thread where an electric product was preferred by the majority of posters, or even enthusiastically preferred by anyone. Most of them stated that they preferred higher-end clothing and sleeping bags to accomplish the warming goal.

I'm sure that there is someone out there besides the OP who is a fan. But to suggest that this is a "no brainer"? I see no evidence that this viewpoint is widespread. Everyone should do their research.
Interblog, I used to own my own truck and and drove it over the road.(Never again) back in the early 90's.

As I paid for my own repairs and fuel I found it quite advantageous to use an electric blanket. But like you say, multi day boondocking was usually not the norm, though weekend lay overs occurred occasionally. My truck was equipped with 4 group 31 commercial batteries, not deep cycle.

It's quite possible that today's "new breed" drivers can't be bothered with old ideas. Back in the 90's, a lot of the owner operators had and used an electric blanket. The alternative was basically leave the truck idle all night(common) and burn 5 to 10 gals of fuel and listen to the racket. Not good for my nerves, engine, or fuel budget.

Nowadays, a lot of over the road trucks are equipped with auxiliary diesel fired power packs that provide heat and A/C.

Have a wonderful evening, eh?
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:38 PM   #18
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As mentioned in other posts, the NEXT Button is a Tool for propelling the Rigid forward.

Some great ideas already.

In the meantime, its Saturday afternoon at Electrowarmth who cannot keep up with demand & I will probably get some answers for EVERYONE OF US, on Monday.
That's a bit of a rude way to treat anyone, let alone someone who has contributed a lot here, for quite a while.
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Old 09-25-2020, 09:58 PM   #19
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That's a bit of a rude way to treat anyone, let alone someone who has contributed a lot here, for quite a while.
We are talking about a possibility here, that some owners may already be using, or, that they didn't know about.

As I will repeat below, I don't work for this company but since 1939, they have been making truckers all over he world happy & now rv owners, especially those of is who jave upgraded to larger, more efficient battery banks.

These Civilian type minuate are not my forte but when it comes to helping other members, I do my best, since the moment I found out about this site in 2012.

To your statement:
Its a way of asking another member, who frequently has very stern & rigid opinions along with her posts (that do offer some good info along with her own due diligence I admire), as a way to stop hijacking threads, a couple of mine that I have conributed to, in a way that might deter others from posting.

If it doesn't work for you, say nothing.

Or couch the response in this context "they have been making these devices since 1939, maybe there is something to this & until I know ALL the facts, perhaps there is a logic behind this ..."

All of us below have contributed with our ideas without tearing into the logic, the specs, the concepts.

Many times when talking about electrical I have added posts that needed stern examination because we are talking about & using clearly defined metrics ie; amps versus amp hours.

I did run it through the roundtable of four not including me, beforehand. They suggested it was charitable, timely & on point because this entire forum exists for, to share ideas & then to have the members do their own due diligence because perhaps, there is a way that works.

I do not work for Electrowarmth.

I used their product & found it an excellent tool from i think 2007-2011.

It worked.

It didn't run down the battery.

The technology was older.

And it was their more crude model, just the bunk warmer, very little sophistication but highly reliable.

And while I wasn't able to get the answers today you know I will endeavor, to have ALL the answers by next week & to share them here.

I am mot a Civilian but I am not a Soldier, I go out of my way to offer ideas & opinions just like you & sometimes ignoring the attacks just encourages them.

After all, its only my viewpoint, at this moment.

It might change next week with the info I receive buy I already otlrdered the Bunk Warmer based on my past experience, for my needs.
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:22 PM   #20
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I have an open mind, Rlum just informed me about another new product here,

QUOTE=Rlum]It is the new Onan generator out now.

As I understand only OEM are getting them.

Probably available to public next year.

It is an inverter with EFI. Runs about 10 db quieter. EFI no carburetor to maintain. Her is a link to FIT rv reviewing it.

[/QUOTE]

As an alternative to a Generator.

Now I have to do my due diligence ...
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