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Rocket Heater for Full Time RV  RSS feed

 
James Huskins
Posts: 6
Location: Western North Carolina
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Although I've been vaguely aware of the the term "rocket stove" for a couple years, I only recently learned what that means. My wife and I live in a 40' commercial bus that we are converting. We heat with a small, custom-built wood stove, but the arrangement is far from satisfactory. One of the biggest problems is that we use far too much wood.

I'd like to build a rocket heater, but considerable research leaves me confused. Space is limited, of course, as are options for thermal mass. I weld, and I've considered several all steel possibilities, but that seems unwise for anything other than a temporary unit. I have a well-built, 6" insulated chimney exiting the roof.

I covet advice. I will consider any design. Does such a thing as a small, precast refractory core/heat riser exist that will stand normal motion in a bus? I am a competent builder, but I'd rather not reinvent the wheel.

TIA for any help.

Jim in NC

 
Steve Harvey
Posts: 99
Location: Ontario
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Even though it is a metal bus you should still strongly consider The clearances to combustibles like: Painted metal surfaces, and cupboards etc. Especially even glass windows. When it is cold outside and your hot barrel is close to your window it could shatter. If you could find a place in the bus that the barrel would sit 18" from anything. Then that is where I would put it. Also put some type of commercial fire barrier on the roof, above the barrel. essentially you are putting a barrel inside a barrel, the second barrel being the bus! And temperatures above the barrel will be the highest surface heat from the rocket.

If you can you should insulate and seal the bus, rocket stoves suck air out of the room when heating, and blow air in when cold. If the inside of the bus gets colder than the outside air which can happen during an initial burn on a cold rocket stove. You could end up with smoke back and in a smaller room like a bus that can be annoying, and also dangerous. I would consider having an external air intake. Also any cracks in the door seals or window seals will cause cold air to be sucked in by the rocket stove, and certain areas may feel draftier than others.

I found this video to be helpful in understanding why an external air intake is necessary in a small drafty place. I am not saying your bus is small and drafty, My imagination tells me buses are small and drafty from my experiences of sitting on a bus in my childhood. I am not sure what you mean by commercial bus? Is a Commercial bus like public transportation or a school bus? Those are commercial buses. Or is a commercial bus like a greyhound bus? All of these buses are used for commercial enterprise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DXp1G5DySE

Finally don't use metal use firebrick or castable refractory for your heater core.
 
James Huskins
Posts: 6
Location: Western North Carolina
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1999 Gillig H200LF. Looks like this:



Build thread is here: http://nomadicista.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2541

What I actually want is a Kimberly, but they are out of our budget. By a considerable factor.

Is the type of bus actually important, or were you just curious. It's a great bus. The only low floor conversion of which I am aware.

I ask again, is a brick or cast refractory core going to be motion stable?

Thanks for your reply.

Jim
 
James Huskins
Posts: 6
Location: Western North Carolina
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A dedicated air intake is not a problem. That was already in the plans. The current stove sits so close to an unsealed (temporary) door that it gets all the air it needs.



I can come through the wall directly behind the current stove with as much air intake as needed. This stove is built of 15" of 10" square tube and 12" of 6" square tube.

Here's a shot of my chimney. It's great for anything:



Maybe rocket is not the way to go, but I do not yet know that. We have independent solar electric and a small propane heater for backup. I'm currently rebuilding a ThermoKing Tripac APU that will eventually provide supplemental heat and cooling to the rear half of the bus (bedroom/bathroom/laundry), but I do not want to depend on any fossil fuel for primary heat. My original plan was propane fired radiant floor heat, but we changed our minds. A Kimberly seems just the ticket. but...$

Come on, Great Minds, let's hear from you.

Jim

P.S. We do not drive the bus with this stove setup. I was ready to start building the permanent hearth/heat shield setup when I started thinking rocket. As of now, we take the stove out before driving. Not convenient in winter.
 
Steve Harvey
Posts: 99
Location: Ontario
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Castable cores are very strong and should hold up fine, reinforcing a brick core like this one will be fine as well. Reinforcement is the key.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RyvsZD1_CU

That is a very cool bus, I would be concerned with the clearance of your current stove to the wall there. It is pretty close, and some paints are flammable.

I'm sure experts on this form can give you some good advise as well.
 
James Huskins
Posts: 6
Location: Western North Carolina
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Found this link on the wood stove forum on this site. Now I think I'm getting somewhere. With some size adjustment, it should be exactly what I need. I will certainly bring in outside air.

http://www.offroadfabnet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9391

Please feel free to offer additional advise.

Jim
 
James Huskins
Posts: 6
Location: Western North Carolina
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Steve, my existing stove is not as close to the wall as it appears, and the heat deflectors are not yet installed. I'm waiting now to see what final form the stove takes.
 
James Huskins
Posts: 6
Location: Western North Carolina
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Think I'm gonna buy a Morso Model 1410 Squirrel wood stove. Looks good, fits my space, has secondary combustion, locally available, cast iron and 1/4 the price of a Kimberly. Best of all, it will save many hours of scrounging pieces, researching details and fabrication. Then redoing some part. And again. Here's a link: http://rockymountainstove.com/morso1410woodstove.aspx

I've been poking around the larger site. Lots of neat info from what I thought was something devoted to non full-term infants.
 
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