Propex HS2000

Discussion in 'Van Accessories' started by Birdy, May 20, 2012.

  1. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

    Propex HS2000 heater. Various stockists. £440.00 rrp. 8/10. (2012 prices)

    Having had a fit of fed-up-ness from being cold while camping and the lack of anything that looked like summer this year l bought a Propex HS2000. I've not always been a fan of these devices but having taken a look at Mr and Mrs Majorhangovers and the [glow=red,2,300][glow=red,2,300][glow=red,2,300][glow=red,2,300][glow=red,2,300]FACT[/glow][/glow][/glow][/glow][/glow] their bus at winter camp 2012 was the only one not to have ice on the inside of the windows or water freezing inside l thought they must be worth another look.

    The worse part was actually trying to find a location for it that wouldn't get in the way, take up too much useful storage that our VW buses don't have and having it in a location that makes it easy to service or remove should you have to. And also bear in mind that anything that blows has also got to suck so you want a suitable location so that you can periodically hoover out the unit. Thankfully they are designed for quite small spaces and on the Westfalia Berlin there is a suitable space in the small cupboard. All you have to do is make sure there is around 25mm or space to the sides and top for venting the unit.

    The instillation isn't that daunting. The worse thing is drilling holes into the floor for the inlet and exhaust for the combustion chamber. 40mm minimum. Doesn't sound much but when you start drilling you start to wonder if this is the right thing to do?? Thankfully the kit comes with a cut out template. Drilling a pilot hole is highly recommended to make sure where you drill is suitable. I'd also recommend you look under the bus and study it properly to make sure it is a suitable place first. I'm also happy with this cupboard location because there once was the water tank drain hole in there that I'd left uncovered so the unit itself has an air hole should there be a leak at the main union.


    The second worst part if finding a space for the bottle. Most campers with a gas hob/grill will already have this in place so taking a feed from that won't be a problem. For me however l needed to find a separate location for the bottle and the only suitable place was under the rock & roll bed. A 3.9kg propane bottle 'just' fits once you cut a hole in the wood base. Remember butane freezes when really cold so try and opt for the propane. I've also found propane to be a cheaper gas too.


    As you can see, my original place would have been better but there is a lip in the floor of the bus preventing me from gaining that extra inch l needed for the bottle. A butane bottle is smaller. It all depends on what gas you want to use. l have also been told that it is good practice to try and limit the amounts of joins you have so also bare that in mind. My system runs with just 6 which is about the least you can get including bottle regulator.

    Then there is the wiring which is all taken care of for the unit itself. All you need to do is trim the 2 wiring harnesses. One for the power supply (fused) and one for the thermostat and switch. The instructions talk about finding a suitable location around shoulder height. l don't knows whose shoulders they were thinking off but for me that would mean somewhere on the pop top :) So l went for a suitable location opposite the blower on the sofa and easily reached while in bed.


    In operation the unit itself is amazing. It does blast out a good amount of hot air. The thermostat does actually cut in and out quite well despite it looking incredibly cheap and maintains the set temperature. It's power draw isn't that much. 2 nights camping, stereo on for most of the first night, heating on for 2 nights and still lots of life left in the leisure battery. The thermostat itself encloses 2 LED's that when they start flashing in certain sequences will let you know about a problem like lack of 12v power of no gas. I also found that my inlet and outlet vents being as close as they are not causing a problem at all.

    The problems I've had in its first outing are that it isn't as quiet as l think they would have you believe but this could well be my instillation with the outlet being just over 3 inches long. Also the exhaust is rather noisy when on and you know when its on when outside. Thankfully you don't hear that inside. And speaking of exhausts, the stainless steel pipes are held in with jubilee clips. They are not really the best things at clamping down an non-climbable metal pipe so a good smear of exhaust paste is advisable to help seal it. I'm not saying that they don't clamp it but you really have to go at it to get the exhaust one to hold the pipe. And because it's the one taking away the carbon monoxide you want it good and tight and sealed. l would also like to see the thermostat have a flip panel to stop the switch being accidentally knocked on. It's got many failsafes built in but this is quite a simple one l would have thought it would have had.

    Speaking of the combustion exhausts you need to be mindful that they are not pointing to each other and near each other. The best way is to have them facing different directions. The instructions are quite comprehensive on this. Mine comes out under the rear pop out window. Is that safe?? It does make you ask the question but them again how many people would sleep with a window open?? And if l was it wouldn't be the pop out. Likewise it exhausts to the side and out in the open and away with any form of breeze. But that's just me and my bus. It's something you need to consider.

    For added precaution (and this goes for any gas appliance in a bus) l highly recommend that you shut the gas off when not in use.

    Over all l'd give it 8/10. It is good. It's not a 10 and it hasn't been cold enough ironically for me to really test it to give it a 9. That said this weekend was the first time I've camped with my feet out of the end of the bed and not bothering with a blanket so it must be good. You see l like my bed cosy and snug. With regards to efficiency l don't think it's that bad. According to the website a 3.9kg bottle will last about 27 hours with continued use. l estimated that it was on for about 3 hours every night. That would last me over weeks worth of camping which can't be bad. Out of interest l looked at the gas/electric heaters Propex do. They retail at £640. My rough guide: That to me is 13 bottles of gas. That's 117 nights of camping. On top of that you then have to find a site that has hook-up. If you add the £3-5 extra they usually charge for EHU that is?? It's a lot and it's not worth bothering with is what l am trying to say :lol: If you are going away when it's really cold, take an oil filled heater and use that.

    Out of interest l have seen these used as the main heating system fitted to various modified bus that have lost the heat exchangers etc etc. I have not had the benefit of trying these but if l am honest l don't think it will be that effective unless mounted close up front. Even as a supplementary heating system fitted in conjunction with VW's own l wouldn't rate it. It probably can be fitted and work but you would have to make sure that your VW system is leak free, 100% working and that hot air wouldn't actually run the wrong way into the heater outlet. Having seen the amount of fluffy stuff that has come from my own VW system it wouldn't take long for it to be filled with rubbish and make a mess of the propex unit.

    If l have to do it all again l would fit one to another bus. l really can't see me wanting to camp now without the luxury of this little box of tricks. It's not an espacher. It never will be as good as those but it works.

    And a big shout out to Majorhangover for helping me fit this in Barry.
    GONA66 likes this.
  2. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

    Did you get the gas checked or just do it yourself? i've fitted mine in the sparewheel cupboard and re-jigged the shelves under the sink to fit my gas bottle but i'm not sure on gas safety so i was going to get a man who can to check my work.
  3. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

    Dave and l checked it over with the leak foam.
  4. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

  5. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

    off the top of my head it said 25mm gap? it's tight on the left, probably only 20mm but on the right because of the curved indent under the seat there's a bit more, i drilled the holes though the template first then screwed down with a very long screwdriver.
  6. great write up and info Captain F.

    is the veneer you used a b & q one? also do the vents you have used, come with the kit? - looks like you have got 4? 2 on the sledge and 1 on the door? or did you find these somewhere else?

    Definately looks like the right place to put it - bang in the middle of the bus and low down.
  7. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

    Cheers my young apprentice. The vents don't come with it. The ones with the kit are directional. And big. The front panel is permanently attached with the sledge shelf being the quickly removable part.

    The veneered piece is from the big unit l chopped up to make my cooker unit.
  8. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

    The only change I need to do is have something to hold the curtain on the door closer because it looses heat through the massive gap.
  9. :thinking: Winter camp, snow, shelf - SLEDGE! (dual purpose) :D Yipppeeee

    Nice write up birdy me boy!
  10. Major Hangover and Birdie talking about Propex? Shock!

    Can I advise anyone camping near them to come prepared with ear muffs?! :)

    You know the sound an aeroplane makes as it accelerates on take off? That's what we woke up to!
    Andy m. likes this.
  12. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

  14. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

    Hi pHiL they are from B&Q and come in a pack of 5 for about £6 I think.
  15. I did not need Propex - sleeping next to a pregnant lady gives off enough heat to keep me warm ....
  16. Birdy

    Birdy Not Child Friendly

    I don't know what you'll be doing after 8 weeks time :lol: unless you plan on making another female propex??
  17. I may just buy the squeaker a propex as its first present
  18. Thanks for the awesome write up!

    Really useful
  19. dean_butler

    dean_butler TLB Design Guru

    Great info here. Does anyone know the measurements of the unit. I think I want to do it the same way Birdy has and this way its next to the gas bottle so not far to hook it up.

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