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Installed a propane heater using the fridge connection
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FreewheelinWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:36 pm    Post subject: Installed a propane heater using the fridge connection Reply with quote

This is my first post here on The Samba, and today I finished my first install without the help of online resources.

So pretty much, I bought a Mr. Heater Big Buddy for the winter months of camping, along with that I bought the special connect hose that goes with that unit and allows me to use larger propane tanks. On that special hose it came with a regulator, I took that off and installed a 3/8th (I think) thread which matches perfectly with the threads on the copper tube that attaches to the back of the fridge (mine doesn't work at all). with everything all installed I can disconnect the hose from the unit whenever the warmer weather rolls through.

I am very happy with the way this whole thing came together, I spent a total of about $160.

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Last edited by FreewheelinWesty on Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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newfisher
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Propex air heater and a catalyst heater are 2 very different heaters. Good job on DIY, but also read up on safety tips with the Buddy
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should edit the title to remove propex (it has nothing at all to do with a propex) and to add Mr. Heater Buddy.

'Installed Mr. Heater Buddy' would be perfect and fit right in with the other Mr. Heater Buddy threads.
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photogdave
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

newfisher wrote:
A Propex air heater and a catalyst heater are 2 very different heaters. Good job on DIY, but also read up on safety tips with the Buddy


Yes, be careful and also watch for condensation. After a few hours without enough ventilation you'll feel like you went through a car wash with the windows open!
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snwbrdr435
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watch the condensation as others have stated. I used a MR Heater once and two weeks later there was still condensation in the walls.
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FreewheelinWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew A. Libby wrote:
I think you should edit the title to remove propex (it has nothing at all to do with a propex) and to add Mr. Heater Buddy.

'Installed Mr. Heater Buddy' would be perfect and fit right in with the other Mr. Heater Buddy threads.



good call, changed it to something a little more appropriate. I just wanted my heater installation to differ from most of the installs here (most of them being propex heaters)
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FreewheelinWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

photogdave wrote:
newfisher wrote:
A Propex air heater and a catalyst heater are 2 very different heaters. Good job on DIY, but also read up on safety tips with the Buddy


Yes, be careful and also watch for condensation. After a few hours without enough ventilation you'll feel like you went through a car wash with the windows open!


snwbrdr435 wrote:
Watch the condensation as others have stated. I used a MR Heater once and two weeks later there was still condensation in the walls.


do you think having the skylight window open would be enough ventilation to avoid that? I planned on having it open just to keep fresh air coming in.
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Syncro Jael
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used a Mr. Buddy for some time in my old bus. Condensation was always an issue, along with my wife never liked the smell of unvented propane heat. There is 0.81 gal water per gallon of propane as you burn it.

That is a great way to use your onboard propane tank for the Mr. Buddy. Just keep it well ventilated and you will enjoy some warm radiant heat. Wink
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?Waldo?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Water vapor will condense in locations where warm moist air can cool below the dew point. I believe there is a natural convection current that causes condensing of water behind the fridge if it is not running. The warm moist air cools a little at the driver's side windows, drops down behind the cabinet, cools more and water condenses out getting that seam wet and assisting with the prevalent rust issue behind the kitchen. The cold air then goes under the fridge and returns to the main air mass in the van. Instead of just the moisture from breathing mammals, you're adding a massive amount of water vapor as a combustion byproduct.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used the Mr. Buddy Heater for many years without any condensation issues, but it takes a little common sense to abort the interior sweating.

Crack open the skylight, and run a small 12 volt oscillating clip on fan up front.

It'll not only distribute the heat within the cabin of the van, it'll cut down the interior condensation to a dull roar.

No big deal---
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Popsvan
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it! Is that a galvanized piece in the middle?
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The union is galvanized pipe.

He should have used a brass union to the copper tubing--
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JudoJeff
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

x2 on the brass connection. You need to add a filter on the propane line at the heater, otherwise the Mr. Buddy won't run right. I have the same setup.

Edit 10-21: Here's a photo of the filter. Mr Buddy runs fine on the 1 pound bottles, but seems to choke if you try to use the larger bottles. The filter solves that problem, well documented elsewhere. Don't want you to freeze on a camping trip!

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Last edited by JudoJeff on Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A black pipe fitting would be ok, but I doubt there is enough moisture to make galvanic corrosion and issue.

Whats more important is to have all those fitting mechnically mounted so they are not subject to stress and strain. When we move a gas joint in a house, we look back at least 3 joints and 10 feet to make sure nothing loosened up and leaks. In a car, these joints have constant bumping.

At the least, leak test each joint before use.
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newfisher
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a previous thread with good info:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=485591&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder why he decided to go from brass & copper to galvanized pipe.

That coupler is too heavy to be swinging in the breeze.
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FreewheelinWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
I wonder why he decided to go from brass & copper to galvanized pipe.

That coupler is too heavy to be swinging in the breeze.



It is simple why i went with the setup that i did; ignorance. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to use a brass on brass connection. Today I ran it for a couple of hours while at the beach with some friends and I'm happy to report that there was no condensation problem with the skylight open. I think i'll be alright on that part.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get some one to look over your Setup before you use it again, please.

You can kill yourself with propane.
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fxr
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And get a carbon monoxide alarm. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually a three way CO, smoke, and Gas alarm

About 60 bucks at Lowes.
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