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Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:27 am
by PV1
In the US, there is an act that states that unless it can be proven that a modification caused the issue trying to be claimed under warranty, they can't deny warranty coverage, but when troubleshooting, any modification is usually the first candidate as a cause.

Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:29 am
by databeestje
It probably will void some of the warranty, but it's not so uncommon for parking heaters (in any car) in the area where Ben lives. And unless the garage or dealership is a dick, I don't think they'll really mind.

Parking heaters are well understood. Well, if the electric heater would brake, then yes, they would probably attribute that to the parking heater, but I doubt it will ever happen.

Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:14 pm
by bennelson
Don, I was going to ask what error code you got when you had that problem!

(1E13 which is "heater did not start on second try")
These heaters don't have an error code for "out of fuel". I got 1E13 when I ran the fuel tank dry. Looks like that's just a general code for "it won't start for some unknown reason."

Looks like being out of gas OR just NOT getting fuel, due to some sort of blockage might do it. On mine, I ran the heater hoses off to the drivers side of the car and the fuel line around on more on the passenger side.

Using "waste heat" from the hoses to keep a fuel line from freezing sounds like it might be a good idea. Too bad I just did all that work insulating my hoses!

PS: Don, did you check the fuel filter or other locations for a bit of debris in the fuel system? I know that since it stopped and then worked again later, some sort of a freezing issue seems likely, but it may still be worth checking. I know that the inside of the gas tank I used to get fuel from the station was NOT perfectly clean....

Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:07 pm
by bennelson
I did a little fuel economy testing today. The weather was a bit less than 20 degrees F, and the sky was overcast, so no heat from the sun. Pretty typical winter weather in my area. I needed to go to a store about 17 miles away. I figured that's within my range, and it wasn't crazy cold, so I could do some testing without risk of not getting home or other problems.

I pre-heated the car from the wall power with the pre-heat feature for about 10 minutes before I left.

I was wearing "normal" winter clothing - coat, hat, gloves, but NOT an extra sweatshirt, long underwear, etc. The type of clothing a person would expect to wear while going in and out of buildings from a car, but not spend an hour outdoors in. During the trip, I wasn't cold. I certainly wasn't sweating either. The heater was doing it's job of making me not freeze, and allowed me to keep the electric heat off.

Also, the trip to that store takes about 30 minutes, and that's the default run time on the fuel-heater controller. I ran the fuel-burner and set the fan to blow with the temperature control set to neutral. When I got to the store, the heater had just stopped running. I popped the hood and took a photo of the gas tank. It was a little more than half-full. I don't remember my exact battery charge, but it was definitely more than half full.


In case it's a little hard to see, here's an image with a red line added at the level of the fuel.


I did some shopping for probably 45 minutes, then returned to the car, fired up the heater, and headed home. I also had to stop at the bank (where I let the heater keep running,) and the 30 minute timer on the heater was up as I arrived at another store, just a couple miles from home. Again, I lifted the hood and took a photo of the fuel tank. This time, the fuel was much lower, so I took the photo at more of a side angle.


Again, if that's hard for you to see, here's one with a red line added for your viewing pleasure.


And yes, that is a zip-tie, and yes the fuel tank IS secure. I did NOT have an accurate way to measure what fuel is left. Potentially, I could have just run the heater again and set a timer, and checked the timer when fuel ran out. At least that way, I would have a known total run time based on that one liter of fuel.

As it is, the second photo shows how much fuel was used up after an hour of heating (two 30 minutes heats.)
The manual says that on gasoline, the heater uses 0.69 liters per hour in the HIGH mode. I don't think that the heater ever swtiched down to the low power mode while I used it today. Also, it looks like I used more than .69 of a liter. My best guess looking at the fuel tank it that I used closer to .85 or .9 liters in that one hour burn time. I was running E85, and I know that when used to power an engine, fuel economy usually drops about 20-25%.
E85 has about 71-72% the theoretical heat energy content compared to gasoline.

0.69 l/hr divided by 72% = 0.958 liters per hour.

And all this time, I was just GUESSING about a liter per hour.

The trip was 35 miles total. I was using the freeway most of the that, going about 60 miles per hour. I did see a Nissan LEAF on the freeway on the way home, which was cool. Seeing a LEAF in my area is rare. I had 13 miles left on the range-o-meter when I got home. Actual miles traveled plus R.R. comes to 48 miles. I started with a full charge, but was mostly on the freeway, (and it's winter,) so numbers lower than the EPA 62 are expected. It always amazes me how driving on the freeway knocks the range down!

I have a feeling that my heater may not get as hot as the one running on diesel. I'll also have to try running the heater on straight gasoline and see how it compares for heat and fuel consumption.

Of course, the clerk at the gas station is going to look at me funny when I buy one liter of gas!

Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:11 pm
by bennelson
Also, I just realized that I can calculate the Miles per Gallon fuel economy of the heater.

Lets just say I used one liter of fuel to go 35 miles. There's 3.7854118 liters in a gallon, so multiply the 35 miles by that to get 132.49 miles. But it was just a little less than a liter, so divide that by the .958 to get 138.298 miles per gallon.
And that's just theoretical. Looking in the tank, it looks like I used LESS than .958 miles, so my fuel economy was better than 138 MPG.

If I drove twice as fast, half as much fuel would be used in the same amount of time, and I heater would get 276 MPG.
Of course, my car's battery would run down twice as fast too!

Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:03 pm
by Phximiev
I enjoyed your videos, but couldn't help notice on your last video that you had a big crack in your garage floor.

Thought perhaps your next DYI project would be something like this:

Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:10 am
by sandange
Hi Ben
Thanks for sharing the ethanol fuel consumption results.

To compare with my diesel fuel consumption experience.
I have a 1.85L tank and on average winter temperatures it'll run for around 3 - 3 1/2 hours.
I keep the fan on at a little over 1/2 way, &
full if I have freezing rain icing up the wind shield.

It'll usually start of running on high speed and eventually go to the slower speed.
On those really cold days it'll run for less time & on high much more frequently.

By the way - I had to cut the bolt mounting flanges for fitting my gas tank & used 3" industrial Velcro to attach it, (1 1/2 years now). Very secure and easy off/on to service the car.

Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:57 am
by DonDakin
Hey Ben,

You can check the water temp in canion with the latest version. The diesel one goes up to 80 deg c. The control is not as good as the electric heat it bounces between 70-80 deg but its hotter then stock.

I think you will find that a 1 litre tank is a little small. 2-3 liters would be ideal and should give you a couple of hours of heat in really bad conditions.

A 10 liter tank in the rear with a fuel gauge would be the best.

My results are consistent with sandanges.


Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 12:44 pm
by Phximiev
Saw this heater by Eberspaecher, who makes the heater for the Volt (I think). Its supposed to be high quality per ... aters.html

Wondered if anyone had considered this for their heater project?

Also, off the same site, has anyone considered an 'air heater', which is supposed to be independent of the vehicles heating system?

Seems like it would be easier to install perhaps? ... aters.html

Quote from their site: "Eberspaecher's air heaters are independent of both the engine and of the vehicle's own heat balance. They draw in cool room or outside air, heat this up and then deliver it to the interior of the vehicle."

Also, noted that DonDakin used a catalytic heater in his i-Miev at one time per this topic and one of his videos, which might be perfect for the occasional cold day here in Phoenix or elsewhere. Could you share the brand/model?

Re: Upgrading the heating system to bioethanol or Diesel fue

Posted: Mon May 30, 2016 2:03 pm
by DonDakin
My first attempt was a 1500 btu or 440 watt tent heater. The brand was coleman.

The only mod i did was add a fan to help move the heat off the heater. The heating plate gets very hot and the temp just above the plate is very hot like it would melt plastic. The fan moved the heat away from the plate quickly and helped with pushing it around in the car.

Don.... ... B0009PUPSI