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Old 07-20-2016, 01:20 PM   #1
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Heat without running generator?

Can you operate the heat on a forester mbs without running the generator? I see it has a heat pump which would lead me to believe you need to run the gen to operate the heat. Just didn't know for sure. Also heard about something called the "little buddy" heater.

What do others do to boondock in colder weather?
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:41 PM   #2
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The main furnace in many RV's is propane with a 12 VDC fan and control board. The fan sucks quite a bit of juice if you only have one battery. So if you use this type of heat ... it runs off the house battery.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:25 PM   #3
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Can you operate the heat on a forester mbs without running the generator? I see it has a heat pump which would lead me to believe you need to run the gen to operate the heat. Just didn't know for sure. Also heard about something called the "little buddy" heater.

What do others do to boondock in colder weather?
Your furnace uses propane and 12v battery power, not 120v AC power.

Suggest you Google " The 12 Volt Side of Life " to better understand how RV electric systems work.

Your generator is for recharging the batteries and running 120v AC only items, like the a/c, outlets and microwave.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:50 PM   #4
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Thank you!
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:19 PM   #5
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Heat pump - option on the air con unit - requires 120 volts. Furnace - as noted above - runs on 12 volts plus propane.
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:15 AM   #6
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Heat pump - option on the air con unit - requires 120 volts. Furnace - as noted above - runs on 12 volts plus propane.
I ordered the optional 15k BTU a/c with heat pump. Do I still have the option to run my furnace on 12 volts?
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:20 AM   #7
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I use a ventless heater that I have plumbed into the coach LP system.
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:22 AM   #8
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I ordered the optional 15k BTU a/c with heat pump. Do I still have the option to run my furnace on 12 volts?
YES--they are separate and independent units that operate as described above--120V for A/C (heat pump) and 12V for furnace. As stated above, the furnace fan eats up your battery capacity so you'll need to recharge periodically. I'd be surprised if your batteries would run your furnace all night long if it's really cold.
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:28 AM   #9
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I ordered the optional 15k BTU a/c with heat pump. Do I still have the option to run my furnace on 12 volts?
Your heat pump option applies only to the AC unit, your main furnace runs off of 12V and propane and you can use it at any time.

AC heat pump requires 110V power either shore power or generator

Main furnace requires only 12V and propane.

hope that removes the confusion
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:40 AM   #10
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Thanks to all for your info.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:07 PM   #11
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YES--they are separate and independent units that operate as described above--120V for A/C (heat pump) and 12V for furnace. As stated above, the furnace fan eats up your battery capacity so you'll need to recharge periodically. I'd be surprised if your batteries would run your furnace all night long if it's really cold.
I've dry camped in below freezing temps, set the furnace temp at 63, and no battery problem in the morning. Solar panel starts recharging the batteries as soon as the sun comes up. Of course, I keep all windows and fan vents closed.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:42 PM   #12
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i'm not sure how big your unit is ... personally I'm not an expert ... But , I do own two buddy heaters . I have a little buddy heater that is about 9,000 btu on the high setting . It works fine , but , it has no thermostat . My trailer is 24ft and on high its plenty , actually , more than enough . What we do is , set it on low about 4000 btu , if it's really cold , it's not enough - but we set the campers thermostat to whatever temp we want to maintain , and let the two do their things . Our experience has been that the trailers built in heater uses a bunch of propane , eats battery power and is very loud ... so our goal is to use it as little as possible . The way I have described , will keep the temp pretty good and make it so you dont have to constantly mess with the little buddy , turning it up and down ( annoying ) .
2 IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
1 . THE BUDDY HEATER DOES HAVE A SAFETY SCREEN OVER THE FRONT OF IT . IT'S FINE FOR BIG THINGS SMALL THINGS CAN GET IN ... FABRIC MAY STICK TO IT ... BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU PUT IT ... IT CAN ( WILL ) CAUSE FIRE IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL !

2. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR CO/PROPANE DETECTOR IS WORKING ... we have had no issues with leaks or co ... but if we do ... we want to live to tell about it .

I said I have two buddy heaters ... we don't use the big one in the trailer , it;s too much .
One more thing , the buddy heaters are designed to be used with the little 1lb propane cylinders ... there is an accessory hose and filter you can get that will allow you to connect it to a larger tank . That's what we do .
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:25 PM   #13
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We frequently use our furnace on the road to "take the chill off"when we stop for rest or for lunch. With my single battery I can easily run it for an hour or two with no problem. However, I don't think it would last the night... Maybe with dual batteries.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:43 PM   #14
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Not the wisest thing to heat solely with heaters similar to Lil Buddies. They eat up oxygen inside your camper to make heat. You may not realize it till it's too late. Crack a window or vent at the minimum.
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:12 PM   #15
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There hasn't been a single night where I camp that I didn't run the heater all night.

A single battery WILL NOT last the night and it will quickly get damaged by being discharged below 50%.

2 Group 24 batteries on my last camper were barely enough and were discharged down to 40% but at least they weren't completely dead in the morning.

Current rig has 660 amp-hours of battery capacity in 3 battery banks. I use about 15% of the banks capacity and that is from other loads on the batteries to include the inverter.

Sounds like a battery upgrade to at least 2 or possibly 2 six volt golf cart batteries is in your immediate future.

Good luck!
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:21 AM   #16
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I have the stock dual group 27 batteries in mine and using the furnace to maintain the interior at 50 degrees overnight while camped at the local ski resort (end of winter/early spring) did not have nearly that level of draw. Between the furnace, led lighting and coach stereo I only consumed about 15% the total amp hours. So far, in milder weather I've used the furnace in the evenings and mornings, liberal led lighting usage, water pump, stereo and even the TV hasn't drawn below 15% either. I do however have 320w of solar on the roof, so the batteries easily restore to 100% by mid morning.
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