Author Topic: Warmer box for van  (Read 5360 times)

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Offline EA Custom Millwork

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Warmer box for van
« on: October 24, 2015, 10:05 AM »
I live in New England and in preparation for another winter, I want to make or buy a box to keep items from freezing so I don't have to move these items in and out of the van on a daily basis.  It will need to hold 6-8 tubes of caulk, 6-8 batteries,  wood glue, etc.
My 2015 Transit 250 has dual batteries and lots of dc power available.  Does anyone have experience with such a device?

Offline Tayler_mann

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2015, 10:13 AM »
They actually make a heater they put in freight liner vans that runs off of diesel. A contractor I work with quite frequently had one and it runs all day and he claims it might use 2-3 gallons a week when running. Also remember we are North Dakota where -40 with 50 mph winds is not uncommon mid winter. Not 100% sure if they can go in any van but I don't see why they couldn't.

Offline travisj

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2015, 11:42 AM »
@Tayler_mann is probably referring to a Webasto heater.  They run on diesel and keep the engine coolant at what ever temperature you set it for.  I know people who use them, but it only keeps the engine warm to reduce wear on startup and reduce idle time for warm ups.  I don't see a benefit to this situation.

I know at a cabin we had when I was a kid, we had an electric well pump away from the structure.  To keep it from freezing, my dad built a plywood box lined with rigid foam insulation and we left a 75 watt incandescent bulb on throughout winter.  I was amazed as a kid, how warm it would be in there when I would go check it.  As odd as it may sound, I wonder if a somewhat similar idea may work for you.

A nicer heavily insulated cooler should be enough of a barrier.  If you were to use a microwaveable heating pad (the kind for muscle aches - ours have corn or beams on them) and nuke it for a minute or two when you get home, then toss it in the cooler.  That combination should be more than enough to keep the contents of said cooler warm.

On milder nights, the cooler alone would be enough.  I almost think that some form of heating medium, aforementioned heating pad or even a bottle of water, on the floor near your heating ducts, could get hot enough to do the job as well.

Offline thedude306

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2015, 11:50 AM »
You can get a webasto cab heater (just air) as well as separate units for coolant.  We have one in our semi and in our roof top tent.  They work great but need a diesel supply.  They are also expensive at around $1000. 

How about an electrical pet mat in the bottom of a cooler.  You would need AC power but it would be cheap and easy.
Brad T.

Offline EA Custom Millwork

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2015, 11:50 AM »
Thanks for the replies.
I'm thinking a cooler or insulated box with a small dc bulb would do.  It only needs to stay 60 degrees or so.  Wondering about a thermostat to avoid overheating.

Offline BMAC

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2015, 12:16 PM »
Here in Alberta, Canada our winters are cold and sometimes severe. In 2013 we had a really bad winter with lots of blizzards with windchills down to minus 41 C due to wind gusts up to 90 km and I too store caulking and paint in my truck.

I keep a vehicle cab heater plugged in the winter. I have a 'little buddy car heater' and it works great as it's fan forced heated air. Problem is, that this heater does not have any thermostat to regulate the heat. It's on full time until you unplug it. I've tracked down on-line an electrical 'cube' that gets plugged into the wall receptacle and there is an internal thermostat that turns on the heater at +1 C and off at +7C so that should save some electricity costs.
Bruce
BMAC Construction & Consulting Ltd.

Support services for the Fire and Flood Restoration Industry. Specializing in custom cabinetry restoration and millwork.

Offline sae

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2015, 12:24 PM »
I've tracked down on-line an electrical 'cube' that gets plugged into the wall receptacle and there is an internal thermostat that turns on the heater at +1 C and off at +7C so that should save some electricity costs.

ooh neat!

I was going to suggest a PID controller, but that's probably less fuss.


Offline BMAC

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Bruce
BMAC Construction & Consulting Ltd.

Support services for the Fire and Flood Restoration Industry. Specializing in custom cabinetry restoration and millwork.

Offline EA Custom Millwork

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2015, 12:33 PM »
Thanks, but I'm looking for a DC (low voltage) that will run on the battery. I'm going to check with an AC supply house.

Offline BMAC

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2015, 12:56 PM »
If you are going to stick with DC maybe what might be a good choice is a 12v DC cooler/warmer cooler.


I dug up some old pictures from the 2013 winter from heck here. We face North onto a prairie golf course that has a small hill near the fence that borders the golf course. The hill acts as a snow fence and the snow piled up to about 6-7 high and bent our chain link fence!

Bruce
BMAC Construction & Consulting Ltd.

Support services for the Fire and Flood Restoration Industry. Specializing in custom cabinetry restoration and millwork.

Offline sae

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2015, 01:18 PM »
Thanks, but I'm looking for a DC (low voltage) that will run on the battery. I'm going to check with an AC supply house.

Oh. Then get a PID controller.

http://www.amazon.com/s/url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=pid+controller+12v

Offline Cleg79

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2015, 03:43 PM »
What about the cooltainer, it's meant to keep your beers cooled but I would also stop things freezing. [emoji106]


Offline Peter_C

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2015, 04:06 PM »
A wood box with insulation is not a problem. A cooler is even simpler, and very effective. Yeti! There are other top notch brands too.

Electrical draws are a problem, and something I never recommend adding to a primary starting battery(ies). First of all a light bulb is not reliable. It will burn out. Also bulbs are a waste of energy as there are better ways to create more heat with less energy. Figure out what the electrical draw will be, run that against a worn battery(ies) ah rating, and you will quickly see there is not a lot of room for error. To me, my vehicle starting EVERY time is important, even if parked for a week or more. The cold cuts even the strongest batteries potential severely.

What about connecting a loop from the cooling system into the warming box? Then run a block heater near the loop, that is plugged in to your home at night, and should stay warm enough during the day. Would also be beneficial to the vehicles engine.

Of course you could just bring the box/cooler inside your house at night...and some mass that has been heated will help retain heat throughout the day, like a brick or rock.

Offline EA Custom Millwork

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2015, 04:42 PM »
Thats all true.....its brand new with dual batteries and I drive it 6-7 days a week.  The idea is to grab my lunch, work bag , and keys and head out early with the truck prepped the night before.  Trying to rely on memory and lists for more important stuff.  [big grin]

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2015, 05:39 PM »
I used to store partial paint cans for my customers.  I built a box out of 2 inch thick pink foam with a lid, placed a 5 gallon water jug in that and then dropped an aquarium heater in the jug.  Used duct tape to seal the top.  Set the thermostat to the temperature I wanted and slapped the lid on.

You could do similar with a cooler and a smaller water bottle.  Place something dense in there like sand or a couple of bricks,  If you wanted to get fancy you could install in the side of your van a receptacle like an rv uses.  Then you would just need to unplug before you drove away.

Just a thought.

Peter


Offline BMAC

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2015, 12:15 AM »
Now that's a really neat option! Now if one could find one of these fitted to fully enclose a systainer like a sys 5 as I store various smaller quart sized paint cans and caulk in a systainer.
Bruce
BMAC Construction & Consulting Ltd.

Support services for the Fire and Flood Restoration Industry. Specializing in custom cabinetry restoration and millwork.

Offline Holmz

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2015, 02:22 AM »
Water has a high thermal capacity.
There are some very good insulation materials.
Ideally if the cigarette lighter was only powered when the engine was on, then one could heat up the bottles and not worry about them being powered with the engine off.

Or get something like a block heater and run a cord to the van.

Offline EA Custom Millwork

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Re: Warmer box for van
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2015, 08:47 PM »
I bought a cooler and plan to add a thermostat-controlled 12 volt light bulb (one of the dome lights replaced by LED strips) as a heat source.