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Touring Caravan Heating Systems and Water Heaters

Alde Heating and Hot Water System

The Alde Heating and Hot Water System is found in many modern and high spec caravans.  Very different to the Truma system, the Alde system works very much like a closed home central heating system and includes a pump and boiler, convector panels, radiators, towel rails and a digital control panel.  The system uses a mix of glycol (automotive anti-freeze) and water, which can be topped up at the expansion tank.   The system is fully controllable and can be set to operate on different days and times.  Some systems have the optional extra of being controllable from an app on your smart phone!

Alde Heating and Hot Water Set Up Guide

Caravan expert John Wickersham explains how the Alde central heating system works

Leigh Marsden of Alde talks through the basic operation of the Alde Heating System in a 2011 Bailey Unicorn Madrid.

Video made by Alde, demonstrating how to use all the functions of the control panel including day/time and Auto Night settings.

How to Set Up The System:

1. Connect 230v electrics or turn gas supply on.

2. Inside the caravan, locate the yellow drain tap and make sure this is in the closed (horizontal) position, to fill the hot water tank. Connect the water supply as for any other caravan, i.e. using an Aquaroll and external pump, and then bleed the air out of the pipes in the usual way by turning on the taps until the water runs clear, then turn off the taps. 

3. Switch on main Alde Water Heating isolator switch so that the Orange Neon on the switch is lit.  A 'plug' icon should show in the top right corner of the Alde control unit, showing that the electric supply is connected.  

Using the Alde Control Panel to operate the system:

1.  Press the 'On' switch to turn on the panel. 'On' display should flash, indicating that the boiler will be turned on to heat the water.  Press 'Store' and the water will heat to 70 degrees (not adjustable).  No heating will be provided at this stage. 

2.  Use the left/right navigation arrows to move to the 'Thermometer' icon.  This sets the desired thermostatic temperature of heating in the caravan and switches the heating pump on.  The 'Pump' icon (circulating arrows) should be displayed in the top line of the control panel.  Use the +/On button or the -/Off buttons to set the required temperature of the caravan and then press 'Store'.   In warm weather, if heating is not required, set the temperature to 'below' the shown ambient temperature of the caravan, and press 'Store'.  The 'Pump' icon should then turn off.

3.  The next icon on the top row is the 'Tap' icon which is a hot water booster.  The Alde system supplies plenty of hot water for a shower but if more is required, use the navigation arrows until the Tap icon is flashing and then press the '+/On' button.  The system will increase the boiler temperature to supply additional hot water for 30 mins only and will automatically switch off.  Note that heating will NOT be provided when boost mode is operating. 

4.  The next symbol along is the 'Flame' icon for Gas. To run the system on gas instead of electric, move the navigation arrows until the flame icon is lit, and press the +/On icon.  The system will then run on gas.  It is possible to run the system on both electric AND gas at the same time which will heat the water very quickly if required.

5.  The next icon along the top row gives the option to change the amount of power being drawn from the campsite.  Use the navigation arrows until the box is flashing and then use +/On or -/Off to choose the amount of power from 1kw, 2kw or 3kw, depending on the campsite. 

6.  The last icon on the top row is is the 'Plug' icon which shows the boiler is connected to the electrical supply.  If this is not showing, the system will not work, and the hook up cable connection and main isolation switch should be checked.  

Using the Advanced Settings on the Alde Control Panel:

There are a number of useful advanced settings which are displayed on the bottom line of the control panel and the icons are as follows:

1.  Use the navigation arrows to select the Sub Menu icon in the bottom left hand corner of the control panel and press +/On.

2.  The first icon is a 'Clock face' which allows you to set the day and time for the heating to operate, similar to a domestic central heating timer.  Use the navigation arrows until the clock icon starts flashing.  Press +/On to select the day.  Scroll across to select the hour and minute.  Once the day and time has been set, press 'Store'.

3.  The next icon on the bottom row is 'EXT'.  This is an optional extra which, if fitted, allows the system to be controlled from a smartphone, using an Alde app.

4.  The next icon is the 'Auto Night' icon, which allows the heating system to operate within two set times and two set temperatures.  The heating will come on between two times e.g. 10.00pm and 07.00am, and between a lower and upper temperature, set by the user.  Use the navigation arrows until the 'Auto Night' icon is flashing and then press +/On to access the settings and once set, press 'Store'.

5.  The next symbol along is the 'Auto On' icon, which provides the option of setting the system to operate on a certain day and time.  This is particulary useful if the caravan is being stored on a seasonal pitch as it will 'air' the caravan. 

6.  The next symbol is an 'AMP' icon. This is an optional extra which, if fitted, allows the boiler to self regulate by monitoring the level of available power from the site. 

7.  The menu icon, at the very end of the bottom row, is for engineers only and should not be accessed. 

Expansion Tank

The system uses a mixture of ethlyne glycol and water at a ratio of 50% ethylene glycol to 50% de-ionised water, which ensures the correct level of anti-freezing, anti-bacterial, coolant, and anti-corrosion for the system.   The expansion tank is usually located in a cupboard and provides a visual level of fluid in the tank.  This will rise when the system is operating but when cold, the fluid level should be 1cm above the 'minimum' marker.  The tank can be topped up if necessary using the correct ratio.  Alde recommends using only G12++ or G13 anti-freeze and says the fluid in the system should be replaced every 2 years.  If you are unsure about which antifreeze has been used in your caravan, drain and replace all the fluid.

 

Truma Blown Air Heating

The Truma s3002 blown air heating system is usually found on caravans from 2002-2012 and runs on both gas and electricity.

Truma Trumatic S3002 - Operating Instructions

Your Truma heating unit is responsible for the heating of your caravan. It is a duel fuel unit, which means that it runs on 240v mains electric and gas. The Ultra Heat is equipped with a fan that allows the warm air from the heater to be passed around the caravan via a system of pipes and the warm air is released through ‘butterfly’ vents in key areas of the caravan. This allows the whole caravan to be heated quickly to the temperature you require, minimising the chance for any cold spots.

240 Volt Operation: The heater has a mains switch, which has to be switched on before operatingthe other functions of the heater system. The location of this switch varies depending on the make and model of caravan you have.When running on mains 240v, there is a dial which enables you to select 500w.1000w and 2000w. This is the maximum amount of power that will be used toheat the caravan at each setting. A green light will indicate that the power is on,the dial indicates which power output has been selected. On the 2000w setting(which the majority of people will choose) be aware that using other 240v appliances (particularly heat generating items such as hairdryers or toasters)atthe same time as the heater may trip the RCD in the caravan or on thecampsite.The separate heater controls also have a thermostat setting dial which, like thethermostat in your central heating system at home, sets the requiredtemperature for the heater to operate at. Usually found in the middle of theWattage selection dial, it is a dial with numbers from 1 to 9 1 through to 9 on itin the centre of the power selection switch.The 240v heater can be used as a convector heater, like a standard electric heater, or it can be used with the fan to blow the warm air around the caravan through the ducting and out through the butterfly vents in the living areas,bedroom and washroom. The individual vents can be opened and closedmanually.

Fan Operation: The fan is operated from a sliding switch, which is located onthe top of the space heater. There are three settings: manual, off and auto. Off off position is in the centre, the manual setting is to the left, and the auto settingos to the right. the left is manual and to the right is auto.On the Manual setting, the fan is controlled by the numbered dial, from 1 (slow) to 5 (highest speed.)

On the Auto setting, the fan is controlled by the thermostat and will only operate work when the 2KW power output has been selected. Piran’s Top Tip: On Auto setting, the fan operation is dependent on the amountof heat output detected by the sensor, controlled by the chosen temperature atthe thermostat control.

Gas operation: On gas, the system works just like any other portable gas heater. To operate the gas burner turn the gas control knob to 10 and depress fully and hold in this position until you hear a clicking noise, which is the ignition operating. you will need to keep the control knob pushed down until the pilot burner lights and the clicking stops. You will then need to keep the control knob depressed for a further 10 seconds before slowly releasing which will light the main burner. There is a small window in the front panel of the heater which allows you to view the pilot light but you have to look down through the hole to see it. If you have a heater with a manual igniter, depress the control knob for 5 seconds then, keeping the control knob pushed down, press the manual spark button until it clicks repeatedly until the pilot light can be seen through the viewing window. Once lit, keep the control knob pushed down for a further 0 seconds then release, the main burner will light. Choose the desired heat

Trumastore Water Heaters

The Truma Ultrastore has been used in most caravans from 2000 onwards and is a tried and tested system for heating the hot water in your caravan, supply in hot water to the kitchen and washroom taps and showers.

Truma Ultrastore

230v Operation:
 The tank must be full of water before the the heater is turned on by the main 230v switch. If the heater is switched on when empty, the thermal cut out device will trip. If this happens, the unit will need to be reset. This is done by disconnecting the 230v supply at the heater (removing the plug from the socket) for 5 minutes. Before filling with water from an aqua roll or standpipe, make sure that the drain tap is in the closed position (horizontal, not vertical), turn on a hot tap and switch the water heater power switch to on. Although usually clearly marked, the location of the main water heater switch varies greatly and there are several different types of switches. Leave the water to run from the tap until it stops spluttering and runs in a steady stream which indicates that the water heater tank is full.

Once the heater is turned on, the water in the tank will heat up to a pre-set temperature of 65 degrees in about 30 minutes. The temperature cannot be adjusted when using 230v. The tank holds 12 litres so mixing with cold makes it last longer. Be aware that the hot water supply pipework in the caravan is much shorter than in a domestic home, so the water will run hot in the tap almost immediately.

Gas Operation: To operate the water heater on gas the external flue cover on the outside of the caravan has to be removed, and remain unobstructed as the heater will not light with it in place. Go to the ultra store switch/dial (usually next to the Ultra Heat dial) and turn the grey switch to the flame position, a green light will come on and the heater will attempt to light. If it fails to light, a red warning light will come on. if this happens, wait for a few seconds and try again. When the heater has lit, the green light will remain on. There is a thermostat in the centre of the gas control knob, which allows you to select the required water temperature from 30 to 65 degrees. The gas system needs to be used from time to time to ensure all the working parts stay in good condition. The most common reason for water heaters and fridges not working on gas, is because of lack of use and build up of dust etc.

Using 230V and Gas: It is possible to use the water heater on both gas and 230v but the flue cover must be removed. The gas will maintain the water temperature at the desired setting on the control knob.

Piran Caravan Storage Cornwall
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