I go camping on a regular basis here in the UK, and often even in summer it’s horribly cold at night in a field somewhere in the middle of Leicestershire. This doesn’t go too well with my severe aversion to being cold.
For the past several years I’ve used a Tilley lamp for some heat & light while at festivals & general camping, but it’s heat output is less than stellar when used in a 6-man tent.
An Eberspacher diesel heater was what was required for the job. Above is the unit as it’s built at the moment – I’ve used an old D1LCC 1.8kW heater that was recently decommissioned from nb Tanya Louise, as it’s getting a bit funny about what kind of fuel it’ll run on in it’s old age. It’ll work perfectly well on kerosene though – a fuel I already take with me camping for the Tilley.
It’s mounted on a base box, which is a repurposed steel electrical junction box that saw a previous life containing a 3-phase fan motor controller.
Here’s the info on the heater unit itself. Drawing 22W of power at 12v I’ll be getting 1.8kW of heat output – sounds good to me.
Here’s a view into the base box before the circulation fans were fitted, in early prototype stage. I used a small toroid as a clunk on the end of the rubber fuel line 😉
After a few bits from the Great eBay arrived, here’s the internals of the base unit at present. The fuel tank is a repurposed 2L fridge water container – made of tough HDPE so it’s fuel resistant.
The fuel pump is mounted on the left side next to the tank – having been wrapped in some foam to deaden the continual ticking noise it creates. The exhaust & it’s silencer are mounted at the rear, the silencer being retained by a surplus rubber shock mount. Luckily the exhaust systems on these heaters don’t get particularly hot, so the rubber doesn’t melt.
The exhaust outlet is routed through the frame, to be attached to an external hose. I don’t want combustion gases in the tent with me!
Standard Eberspacher silencers also aren’t gas-tight from the factory – they’re designed to be used in the open on the underframe of a vehicle, so I’ve covered all the seams in aluminium tape to make the system airtight.
To make sure that the support components don’t get overheated with the exhaust being in such close proximity, and to pull a little more heat out of the system, a pair of slow-running 80mm fans has been fitted to the end of the box. These blow enough air through to give a nice warm breeze from the vents on the other end of the base.
The tank I’ve used just so happened to be the perfect size to fit into the base box, and to tap the fuel off a bulkhead fitting was put into the top of the tank, with a dip tube on the other side. The fuel line itself is tiny – only 4mm.
If the specifications from Eberspacher are to be believed, 2L of fuel on board will allow the system to run for about 8 hours on full power, or 16 hours on minimum power.
Being inside the base, refuelling is a little awkward at the moment, the heater has to completely cool before the exhaust can be detached without receiving a burn, so I’ll be building in a fuel transfer system from an external jerry can later to automate the process – this will also help to avoid messy fuel spills.
More to come when the rest of the system is worked out!
73s for now!