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huffypuff

Basement Heater

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If you follow my topic last Christmas Holiday season http://community.fmca.com/topic/6353-our-holiday-travel-misadventure-so-far/, you would know about the basement heater failure and pipe freezing on the first leg of our trip dry camping in twin Falls, ID. No way to get a part quickly so I had to order from Monaco while at Las Vegas and have shipped to North Carolina hopefully before I arrive there. In the meantime I travel south to stay thaw out as I knew I was lucky not to have any damage.

Now I paid big money for that heater box (Cargo Heat) plus shipping and it worked when I first installed it for the few times needed on the east coast. Got chased from there by a blizzard. Then I cross southern California and up into Oregon and the basement heater failed again. Well I got no warranty on the heater just sorry but you must check the wiring in your coach. Finally last week I got one tech at Monaco to tell me how to bench test it.

I took them both in my shop and found that they both fail the bench test. No surprise there as I knew they didn't work in the coach and the wiring checked out. I first took the old one apart and remove the heating element and ohm it and it check out as well as overheat switch. I knew the relay worked as it kicked in with the 12 volt signal wire. I put it back together and it work like it's supposed to. I installed that one in the coach and tested the operation there and works OK so one down one to go.

I took the new one apart and ohm it out the same way and found one wire broken to the overheat switch and a bad diode. I fixed the wire but could only bypass the diode as I have nothing like that. I put that one to the side for a spare in case of an emergency.

The bottom line is that these basement heaters are not reliable as the should be and Monaco not offer a warranty even though I ask them for one. Instead the sent me on a wild chase testing wiring when all alone it was bad heaters. I even had to search and find the wiring diagram on the internet. So again with another new company owning Monaco/Holiday Rambler it's same old attitude of not caring.

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Huffypuff, do you know the wattage of the diode, I will gladly send you one. A small arc from the broken wire probably blew the diode. Hope you have better luck this winter.

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Carl when you call the toll free number you get something in between both places so I'm not sure where the part came from. I think the last person I talked to was in Oregon. He the one who told me how to bench check the heater and inform me that the Weldex monitor is a piece of c**p brand new. To sensitive to interference and the reason why the cameras take turns going out and coming back on. No fix for the monitor or replacement just replace the whole system. $$$$$$$$$$$$

Kay thanks for the offer but I set that one aside for emergency use only. Better yet I'm going to order a replacement heater from Camping World that has the built in thermostat and wire it in the same location. It only cost $50.00 and same 300 W about the same size. http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/12v-direct-hookup-ceramic-heater-fan/56984 I will be better prepare this winter when I go over the passes to try full time life for a couple of months in Southern California.

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I bought 2 quartz heaters at family dollar two years ago, put one in the plumbing bay, set to the lowest setting, works well. The engine is old 6v92 detroit, and block heater has failed, put the second under the oilpan, ambient temp at 6am was 12, cranked on third turn.

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I also had a failure of the diode in my heater. I took the old diode to Radio Shack and found a replacement. Replaced the diode and heater works fine. I also installed a switch in the heater bay that permits me to turn on the heater without the temperature being low enough to trip the disc switch. This allows me to test that the heater is in working order before a cold night. Otherwise, you turn the bay switch on inside, but you can't tell if the heater is in working order. I use this test procedure when I think the temperature may drop below freezing. Works well so far.

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The bypass switch is a good idea and I may install one. Yes when it fails you find out too late and frozen plumbing. Lucky we was at Walmart dry camping and used their toilets.

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Update: Back feeding the circuit that sets the relay in the heater can cause the 5 amp fuse to pop. No fun taking off the three wing nuts in left front panel outside compartment fuse box.

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The basement heater got a good testing last night and today as temperature stayed in the low 20 F. I caught it running giving out heat and later cycle off and on. I need it to work so we can make it over the passes in at the end of December.

I haven't installed the Camping World heater yet as I can't decide where I want to run the wiring from. Now it's too cold for me to get on it. :unsure:

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