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Aux heater : olympian wave 3 vs. Mr. Heater buddy ?
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Joined: August 24, 2007
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Location: So Cal
PSquare is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:58 pm    Post subject: Aux heater : olympian wave 3 vs. Mr. Heater buddy ? Reply with quote


We have been trying to decide which auxiliary heater to get for our vanagon and wonder if some of you have either option and can comment on how it works for you.

for the moment we want an easy solution for heating, no complex installations like the propex.

Also for now we are thinking on using 1lbs propane bottles and maybe in the future try and get a T fitting to get propane of the vanagon tank.

Olypian Wave 3
small and quiet but expensive and requires accessories to run
$195 total around $250
5"X 12" X 15"
1600 to 3000 BTU (which I think would be plenty for the vanagon?)
apparently very quiet?
Requires regulator and hose to run even on disposable LP bottles Ad $19
requires legs to stand on the floor ad $11 x2

Mr. Buddy heater
14.8 x 8.8 x 15.5 inches ; 10 pounds
4000 to 9000 BTU

can use 1lbs propane bottle, making it a simpler solution.

It is bigger, which is a main drawback (with the grill, tools, hoses cables etc, under the rear seat, the dimension count for a lot!)
But at the same looks to be more stable when standing...

it seems like we do not need that many BTUs in the vanagon, and it would consume more LP than needed during the night?

I think the Mr. Heater looks like the better option overall, but I wonder if it is more likely to break? less safe? and also it is bigger.

If the Olympian was a better option, in terms of safety and quality, I would not mind to pay the higher ticket price.

I am undecided... any comment/ experience would help!

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Location: Portland, Oregon
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the wave is only rated at 3000btu's it wouldn't be enough to really keep you warm if it got below 35 in a Westy.
I use the Buddy heater and wouldn't recommend that for below 30
Heater buddy works fine in Texas with the top open, but it's gotten cold enough were it was just keeping up, (would have been fine if we shut the top).
How well your Van is insulated helps, Vanagons don't have any insulation, Westys have some.
The small propane bottles are ok, but you really want to get the hookup for a 17lb tank.
a fresh 1lb. can will last till about 4:00 in the morning, and screwing a new one on in the dark, cold, cramped Van is a real treat.
Getting up when the heater quit and it got cold was always a task for dad to.
Dad's savior:
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Location: Englewood, FL
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

look at the "big buddy" by mr. buddy, will run about 125 has built in circulating fan. Used one a few years back with just one side running and the circulating fan, kept the van pretty nice with outside temps in the 30's. we go to sleep usually past midnight so they run through the night for us.

I just bought the coleman procat which is the larger 3000 unit with the circulating fan. I like it and I don't. I think it will be fine for the few times that it gets cold enough to warrant a heater here in FL but I don't like that allthough it looks like it has flow adjustment, it does not, plus it does not have shut down saftey like the buddies but it is more stable the way it sits than others.

Also picked up a carbon monoxides alarm from the RV store to go along with
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We use the Mr. Buddy heater and it is handy and works fairly well, but we do not leave it running all night for safety reasons. We use the 1 lb. cannisters but would like to plumb into the van's system for primary fuel source and then have a bottle for backup supply.

Note of caution with placement: in the photo in the second post the heater is on top of the kitchen unit. Be aware that the heater can generate enough heat to damage things above it, like plastic light fixtures. Don't ask me how I know this.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use the big buddy heater in my 72 Sportsmobile and it works very well, Actually will run you out when it is on HI. Mine being air cooled needs all the heat help it can get.

Slept with it on all night long with no problems
1989 VW White Star
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My brother turned me on to the Mr. Buddy and Big Buddy heaters. He and his wife are pretty hard-core campers/skiers/bikers/river rats. They recently completed a year on the road circumnavigating a good chunk of this continent in their Eurovan MV. They use the Mr. Buddy for mild winter camping and the Big Buddy for the extreme stuff.

I bought a Big Buddy for early spring camping and auxilliary heat for the shop. For the price I love it. It will shut down if it's jostled too much or tipped over, unlike the old catalytic heaters I used to use. It will also shut down if the oxygen level gets too low so it shouldn't asphyxiate you (a CO detector wouldn't be a bad idea as a backup). Along those lines, one thing he says they've run into is having it shut down after awhile when they're doing high elevation winter camping... I think he said about 8000' or 9000' feet it gets a little touchy.

A hose and adapter for a bottle is worthwhile. It will burn through the small bottles... literally. I run mine off of the BBQ size bottles because that's what I had, but he's got a smaller one that doesn't take up as much space in the van.

I don't know about the Olympian heater, but I'm pretty pleased with the Buddy system. There are knock-offs that look like they're pretty good, but I don't think the price of the Mr. Buddy or Big Buddy is out of line with the quality so I went with the original.
1988 Wolfsburg Edition, 2001 Subaru EJ251
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My van came with the Olympian heater installed in the back of the front passenger seat pillar. It was connected to the propane tank by a tube that ran down through the floor and tee'd into the propane line. It looked like a pretty sweet set up. I never had the opportunity to use it but it looked like it would do the job pretty well.
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