Tent heat exchanger
The harsh winter conditions make ice anglers wonder how to make their fishing more comfortable. Warm clothes are, of course, good, but only they are not enough to completely surrender to your favorite work, not paying attention to the frost and wind. Therefore, today many winter fishermen prefer to fish in a tent with a heat source that warms up the interior space.
When special tents for fishing in winter only began to appear, everything was used to heat them: paraffin candles, dry fuel, stoves, gas lamps, and so on. But each of these options has its drawbacks. For example, the bulkiness of some structures, low efficiency, the need to constantly be distracted from the fishing process. Again there is a high risk of fire, despite the fact that most tent manufacturers today use refractory impregnated materials. The problem remained unresolved for a long time, until someone came up with an excellent alternative to standard stoves – a heat exchanger for a winter tent, which provides a safe supply of heat and maintains the optimal temperature inside the temporary room.
What is a heat exchanger?
Unlike many other heating devices, this appliance removes combustion products outside, so there is no need to “let in” fresh air and lose the generated heat. For this, the tent must have at least one hatch in the upper part. In addition to the chimney, from the design features, it is worth highlighting the presence of air-heating pipes and a fan to enhance the effect (it runs on batteries or a battery).
How does the heat exchanger in the ice fishing tent work? A bottom-mounted burner heats the exchanger tubes through which air is drawn by a fan. Passing through them, it also heats up and gets into the tent. The gases resulting from the combustion of fuel go out through the chimney. As you can see, nothing complicated. This design is similar to the fire-tube heat exchangers used in solid fuel boilers, and it works on the same principle. The air passed through the fried tubes turns into dry heat and heats the inside of the tent.
Heat exchangers can have different thermal radiation. Some have stronger radiation, others weaker. This important technical characteristic depends on:
- thermal power of the burner;
- heated area;
- the material from which the device is made;
- heat exchanger shape.
As for the shape, the round version is more effective than the rectangular one, since there are no corners in it where heat could “stagnate”.
Benefits of fishing with a heat exchanger
Whatever dense fabrics the tent is made of, without additional heating it will be able to protect only from the wind, but not from frost or dampness. That is why the angler has to heat it. And if for a couple of hours you can still get by with a paraffin candle or a few tablets of dry alcohol, then for a long fishing you will need something more serious. Why choose a heat exchanger? This device has more than enough advantages. These include:
- the ability to heat up the tent in a matter of seconds;
- maximum efficient consumption of heat generated by the burner;
- the release of gases resulting from the combustion of fuel and oxygen;
- lack of unwanted moisture (the air inside becomes not only warm, but also dry);
- compatibility with any gas burners that are on sale today;
- the ability to use it as a tile (for example, you can warm up cooled tea);
- compactness (the device does not take up much space).
There are also disadvantages. The heat exchanger can only be placed in a tent with an opening for the chimney outlet. By the way, some ingenious fishermen improve (in their opinion) store devices and bring out the chimney from below – between the floor of the tent and its wall. In addition, for proper operation of the device, power is required, which means that you need to remove the battery from the car or carry another power source with you.
Another negative point is that the heat exchanger takes up a certain space. If two fishermen are caught in a three-person tent, then it will not create any discomfort, but it happens that more people than they should be trying to fit under one dome. In this case, there will be no room for the device, you will have to warm yourself with your own breath.
Gas or petrol?
The burners operate on different types of fuel, the most common are gas and petrol. The tent gas heat exchanger is perfect for both ice fishing and winter tourism. It is clear that such a device runs on gas.
If desired, it can be made more functional, namely, adapted for cooking. Gas is supplied to the burner from a cylinder, which sometimes surprises. The fact is that at low temperatures its contents can freeze, so many people prefer to use small gas cartridges that are placed inside the tent. Craftsmen go their own way. They wrap a copper tube or plate around the cylinder and lead the end to the burner. The metal heats up and does not allow the contents of the cylinder to freeze. The gas heat exchanger has no more serious disadvantages. It is an easy-to-use, reliable and durable device that has earned the recognition of many ice fishing enthusiasts. Its usefulness has already been appreciated by thousands of supporters of comfortable fishing.
Gasoline models are no less efficient, besides, they are cheaper and more compact (both the design itself and the container with fuel). But there is one caveat that makes fishermen abandon them.
A gasoline burner has one serious drawback – an increased risk of fire. It is because of the high fire hazard that the majority makes a choice not in its favor. In addition, there are cases when such devices exploded due to overheating, so they need to be operated with extreme caution.
Alternatively, you can purchase a device with an alcohol burner, but this one is more suitable for the off-season (spring, autumn), and in winter its effectiveness is minimal. It is unlikely that such a large tent can be heated.
Best factory heat exchangers
This equipment appeared on the fishing market relatively recently, so you won’t see a wide variety in stores. But from what they offer, you can choose a device that meets all the requirements of harsh winter fishing. Let’s list the most popular models:
- SIBTERMO ST-4.5 – a product of Omsk craftsmen, which is now called a hit of sales. The heat exchanger is made of an aluminum alloy with good thermal conductivity. Due to natural convention, it is able to heat not only a winter tent, but also a small living space. Absolutely harmless to health, exhaust gases are discharged outside. Air supply is carried out by three fans operating from 12V voltage. The body of the device is covered with heat-resistant paint. The kit includes an infrared gas burner, but pipes and a gas cylinder will have to be purchased separately. The total weight of the device is 7.4 kg. SIBTERMO ST-4.5 costs a little more than $ 200, but the price justifies itself. Especially when fishing in extremely low temperatures.
- DRY – an excellent stainless steel heat exchanger with aluminum tubes inside, which provide good heat dissipation. Equipped with a fan with the ability to adjust the power (there is a dimmer), the maximum number of revolutions per minute – 3100. The fan is protected from overheating by a special obstruction curtain. The outlet pipe of the device is located in the lower part of the housing, which significantly increases the efficiency due to the retention of hot gases. The developers recommend using a 2.3 kW infrared burner for this heat exchanger. It is not included in the kit, therefore DRY is half the price of the model described above. If we add insignificant weight (only 2.9 kg), reliability, durability and ease of use to the democratic price, then we can safely say that this is one of the best options.
- DESNA BM – another good device with one, but large cooler, which provides air circulation in the tent. This device can operate in two modes: automatic and turbo. The power source is a 12-volt battery or a set of batteries. The heat exchanger starts up simply, you just need to install it over the burner, put the chimney, connect the fan, light the burner and check the draft. Ensure good ventilation when starting up for the first time, as odors are possible. After half an hour of work, they will disappear. This heat exchanger is believed to be more efficient than most competitors. That is, it quickly heats up the air to a high temperature, but at the same time, unfortunately, it heats up itself. Accidental touching of a body heated to 130 degrees will cause severe burns. It is absolutely impossible to install such a device near flammable materials. And even after turning off the gas burner, it cools down for a long time, even if the fan is left on at full power.
Both the listed factory heat exchangers for winter fishing, and those that were not included in the list, cope with their task in about the same way. Therefore, when choosing, in addition to the ability to “produce” warm dry air (level of thermal radiation), it is worth considering other characteristics of the device. For example, its dimensions and weight. It should not be too heavy, take up a lot of space and interfere with the fishing process.
DIY tent heat exchanger
Today, a heater for a winter tent can be purchased everywhere, even in a small regional center, but for some reason, some restless craftsmen are not satisfied with factory products. Even the most successful options are not to their liking. Someone feel sorry for money, but someone just got used to doing everything himself, and this is how new “versions” of heat exchangers are born. In fact, making the device is not difficult. Anyone who sometimes holds tools in their hands can handle it. So, how to make a heat exchanger with your own hands.
The ideal material for making a do-it-yourself heat exchanger for winter fishing will be thin stainless steel and aluminum tubes. If there are no such on the farm, ordinary sheet metal and scrap metal pipe with a diameter of 0.15 or 0.20 mm will do. To build a heat exchange structure out of all this, you will need a drill and a welding machine. First, you need to cut two identical rectangular pieces of sheet metal and drill holes in them for the pipes. It is clear that the holes must match in height and width, if you put the segments one opposite the other. Then the tubes are welded in turn to both pieces.
When the heat exchanger itself is ready, you can start assembling the body, having previously cut out four more rectangular pieces of a suitable size from sheet metal. In what will be on top, you need to cut a wide hole for the chimney. And in the lower one, drill several holes through which the inner tubes will be heated. First, the side covers are welded, then the bottom and top cover.
Since the heat exchanger will stand above the burner, it needs legs of the appropriate length. They can be made from any metal rods or wire with a diameter of 0.5-0.7 cm. By the way, if the legs are folded, and not just welded, the structure will be much more convenient to transport.
In principle, the device is ready, all that remains is to equip it with a fan for air circulation. An almost silent cooler from any old computer will perfectly cope with this function, you just need to figure out how to fix it in the back of the structure. You can weld on the sides of the “ears” and screw the fan to them.
Well, that’s it! You can connect a gas cylinder, light a burner, turn on a fan and enjoy the heat. The air temperature in the tent is regulated by reducing / increasing the burner fire. When the metal is burnt, the product can be painted with heat-resistant paint to give it an aesthetic look.