Submitted: Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 01:16
ThreadID: 122079 Views:3942 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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I notice that Webasto heaters seem to be popular amongst comments on the forum but I am wondering about air conditioning.

If a BT had reverse cycle air conditioning would it not be excessive to have a heater as well (extra expense, fuel etc) or is the advantage in not having to have power supply to run the air con?

Or is it a case of reverse cycle air con for powered sites and webasto for bush sites. I appreciate that being comfortable in cold weather would extend the usefulness of the van.

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Reply By: TripnTaps - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 01:37

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 01:37
I believe it has only been recently (approx last two years) that Webasto has been on board with BT.

Your right that the Webasto diesel heater is great for those of us who prefer bush camping. It is efficient, very warm with thermostatic control and if ducted to the ensuite can dry clothes/towels ect. And we have had the need to use our Webasto much more than either function on the air conditioning unit.

On the other hand cooling with the reverse cycle air con has been available for Caravan installation for some time. I believe Webasto now have a cooling system available which was on display at Copeton last year. From my recollection this was pretty new technology then in 2004 and I have not heard of any new vans being fitted with this equipment. Can't personally give you details but no doubt Webasto being our BOG site sponsors could fill you in.


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Reply By: F Troop - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 02:22

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 02:22
Hi Alan,
We have a Webasto heater and the reverse cycle air con unit. The Webasto is the preferred heater though - by a long shot. I dont believe that the air con unit does much more that take the edge of the cold in the van, where as the Webasto can have you stripping off the layers in no time. And that wonderful little indulgence of having a vent in the ensuite is just heavenly on a crisp winter morning, although I have been known to spend more time than necessary in that little room as a result. After the initial expense of having the Webasto fitted, the running costs are next to nothing for diesel. A lot of people also argue that they don't camp in the colder areas of Oz, but the first time we used our Webasto in earnest was at Benaraby (on the Bruce Hwy, near Gladstone) in sunny QLD, where the outside temp was down in the minus range. I can highly recomend it.
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 06:05

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 06:05
Hello Alan,
I also have the Webasto in our van.... You hit it right on the head, it is about power, and I am usually out somewhere with horses, away from 240 v power... Not only is the Webasto about twice the heater of the reverse cycle air unit, but also runs away from power, using 12v, where in the bush you would have to fire the generator for the 240v heat..

The other thing to consider, is the invention using the ensuite as a drying locker... And if you get the extra outlet with a closing vent, in the shower area, crack open the window, and you have a drying closet for wet coats or whatever... I have seen frost on the ground so heavy it bowed over the grass looking like snow.. And we are in shirtsleaves in the van... I also came up with the idea to put the thermostat near the bed, so we could leave it off at night... Turn it on in the morning, about 10-15 minutes and you are nice and toasty to get up.... At least for me I sleep better without it running at night, but it is nice to have it in the morning: Major luxury...

They burn about 1 litre per hour, seems to be the average.

Regards, stg
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Reply By: Cowcockies - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 08:23

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 08:23
We have had two trips of two nights, one to the Cathedral Range State Park the other to Murrindindi Senic Reserve, with our 20ft BT to watch the Lyre Birds, which are at their best now.The maximum day temp. on both trips was a drizziling 7deg.
The Webco was on except when we were in bed.We turned it down at times because it was too hot. On each occassion we only used about half a tank of fuel.
The only 'problem' was the ageing hippie on the ajoining site. who packed up and left because he did not like the start up fumes or the noise.We did not enjoy his loud music.
As users of this new technology, we should try not to park too close to campers in state and national parks, as we don't want them banned like generators.
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 18:00

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 18:00
One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the FUEL.

Last Year in July, We filled up our Diesel fuel container for the Webasto in Derby and travelled down the west coast and across to Victoria. While doing a free roadside overnight camp in sub zero temperatures near Ballarat, we woke to find that the Webasto had stopped.

I found that the Diesel had changed from fluid to jelly due to the cold so naturally the heater stopped because of lack of fuel.

If you are going to be in very cold areas, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE COLD CLIMATE DIESEL not some that has been sold in the warmer Northern parts of Australia.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 23:29

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2005 at 23:29
Little bit of kero, something from 10% up to 50% or Alpine Diesel, even works with Citronela Oil, per Tip # 52 on the Private Forum... So far three have reported the super cold weather diesel gel problem where the pump quit... Hense the Tip.. Seems that minimal kerosene in the diesel works well with this new Euro 3 rated clear diesel... Cheers, stg
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Reply By: Kalgoorlie Escapee - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:58

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 19:58
Correct me if I am wrong. But the A/C fitted to most BTs (at least mine) is not a true reverse cycle A/C. The heater in theses units are a seperate electric element type. The heat produced merely takes the chill of the air.

A true reverse cycle A/C would have no difficulties heating the van and is one of the efficient forms of heating (albeit noisy).

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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 22:00

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 22:00
I agree with you Bo, they appear to be only a heating element, much the same as a blow heater only not as efficient.
We have true reverse cycle air conditioners at home, and they are the only source of heating we have, but fortunately we live in a climate where we don't need heating very much.
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 22:34

Sunday, Jul 03, 2005 at 22:34
Hello Bo and Brian,
You are both correct. This is a misnomer in Australia, and nine out of ten that make enquires to us on airconditioning seem to mean "produces heat" when they call it "reverse cycle".... In true engineering terms, the real reverse cycle units actually run in reverse... In otherwords the condensor becomes the evaporator and visa versa... This means some extra solenoids and relays and controls... It is also a bit slow to begin to work, but it does work well and is the basis of most home units in colder climates... However the added components to run in reverse means an added factor of unreliability, in that there is more to go wrong... We have tried those units, even though they are bigger and bulkier, but it has not proven to be a success in a mobile setting just because of the added controls and components on board. In the heat mode the air units are rated in similar BTU's in cooling and heating, and unfortunately are limited by the current draw.. And I agree, it is only a real heater in a temperate climate.. It is not very good in the extremes of really cold weather. But if you were using 240 volt alone it is a simple fix and you might as well add in a small 240v ceramic or other style of room heater, and then the job is done. But it is away from 240v, where the diesel forced air Webasto unit shines...

We have been experimenting with all styles of heaters for 30 years, and the Webasto is a breakthrough... A lot of work to build it in and install it correctly, but a real joy to live with... And extremely economical on fuel for the heat it developes..
My congratulations to Roger Phair for such a great product. I am looking forward to testing his diesel water heater combination room heater, when it comes out...

Kind Regards, from the Ranger..
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Follow Up By: Freewheelers - Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 19:27

Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 19:27
stg is the diesel tank i saw at bti on the front of some vans near the gas bottles fixed or removable is it mounted there to comply with safety regs??? cheers
Stephen & Deborah

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 22:16

Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 22:16
Hello Stephen and Deborah,
It is not designed to be removable... And that is the safest place for it... There are some regs if it was going to be inside the van. I came up with that mounting spot to be accessible for filling from outside, near the tow vehicle, in as convenient of a protected spot as possible, so when you topped off the vehicle you could top it off as well... There are a couple of variations possible, that has proven the most successful.. OK?

Custom tank variations in different spots proved not to be worth the cost or bother...
Kind Regards, stg
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