Off-Grid Heating - need help!

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Cwinslow, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Cwinslow

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 18, 2017
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    Hi there,

    I am planning on living in my vehicle next winter in New England. I will have a solar array atop my vehicle, and hoping to utilize an electric heater to minimize my need for fossil fuels. Obviously I need a heater that will produce a substantial amount of heat for ~7 hours. I will have 2, 300W mono panels with a 480AH, 12v battery bank. Can anyone help me to identify if there is a high BTU heater available that could be powered via my solar setup? Thank you!
     
  2. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
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    Welcome to AAC!
    Average NE winter temperatures it seems are from 2C to -6C and you have only 600W max available (probably a good deal less in winter months). Assuming you could devote half of that to heating the vehicle, do you think 300W (irrespective of which heater you use) would really be enough?
     
  3. Externet

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 29, 2005
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    Forget about BTUs. You have 600W capability for ~7 hours. -say 6 hours- Storing with no losses 75% of the energy for the not sunny hours, and directly using 25% at all times will mean like having a 100W bulb to warm you at all times. You will desist quickly. Vehicles are not insulated to retain heat.

    Burning fossil fuels driving to Florida will do it.
     
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  4. Reloadron

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    I have a bad feeling we will be reading about you. New England has had some harsh winters with heavy snowfall. What does a snow covered solar array do with a few feet of snow on it? Fossil fuel means deadly carbon monoxide and every year we read about people using un vented heaters during winter, generally after they find their bodies. People die in their cars all the time as snow fall blocks tail pipes. Unless your "vehicle" is a fully equip recreational vehicle made for a cold climate I see living in a car or small SUV as a real bad idea. What is the plan for sanitary facilities?
    A roof top solar panel will never provide enough power to keep you warm. We won't even start with the lack of winter sun and limited daylight hours. To enjoy a warm winter I suggest Florida. Using solar arrays you simply can't make enough power to make this feasible.

    Ron
     
  5. AlbertHall

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    Jun 4, 2014
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    Three or four quilts should do the job.
     
  6. Reloadron

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    Jan 15, 2015
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    I gave some thought to low power electric blanket but even that would likely not work. Then a motorcycle winter electric suit was a possible but I doubt that would work. :)

    Ron
     
  7. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Converting solar energy to electricity when you need only heat, is a tremendous waste. State-of-the-art commercial solar cells are <25% efficient, so over 75% of your precious solar energy is thrown out at the first step. Passive or active solar can capture a much higher percentage of the available energy. I understand that your options are more limited for a mobile setup, especially since you need the heat at night, but I encourage some thought about how to convert the solar energy directly to heat.
     
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  8. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    100 watts is completely absurd to heat a vehicle, even if I was the person who designed and built it!
    But sending him to Florida? Are you guys angry with me today?
     
  9. Reloadron

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2015
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    No, but when I need warm in winter it becomes S. Cal or Florida with Florida being the closer of the two. You have plenty of room down there. :)

    Ron
     
  10. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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  11. AlbertHall

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    There looks to be plenty of space for a house boat?
     
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  12. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    Somewhere it the Everglades, I presume.
     
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  13. AlbertHall

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 4, 2014
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    Wonderful idea :)
     
  14. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Right. The pythons are running out of alligators.;)
     
  15. AlbertHall

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    Nearest I could get:
     
  16. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Taking the solar panels off the roof and replacing them with clear windows to allow the sun to directly warm the inside, would be more efficient. It wouldn't do anything for you at night, but neither would the solar setup (at least not for more than a couple hours).

    I think you need a new plan.
    Burn wood
    Burn fossil fuels
    leave new England.

    All 3 options are tried and true.
     
  17. AlbertHall

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    Caravan or motor home?
     
  18. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    Fossil fuel and an inverter generator. Trade or sell the solar panels. Radiant IR heater AND electric blanket.

    You'll need 1000 watts to stay alive at -10 C. and 1500 to 2000 watts to be comfortable.
     
  19. AlbertHall

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 4, 2014
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    But they manage trips to Everest, North Pole, and South Pole in tents without heating by just using insulation.
     
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  20. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    True but I doubt "they" are comfortable. They do that to prove something. I don't know if OP has anything to prove or not, but if just trying to live, I would suggest living somewhere more hospitable.
     
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