After seeing the Swiss Room Box I knew there had to be some means of getting hot water into the small space of the caRV. Before I could finish a design and start building this was something that needed to be figured out.
I researched several possibilities.
In the end there were many options that seemed reasonable but I chose the EccoTemp L5 instant water heater.
There were numerous videos demonstrating the EccoTemp L5 in use with a battery powered pump setup like I intended to use and for the price it seemed to offer the most professional highest temperature instant hot water. I was definitely influenced by videos showing it in action and people saying that it was really hot water. I figured there would be an equal amount of complaints otherwise. So I dove in and ordered one.
Unfortunately I couldn’t test it when it arrived because I didn’t have the propane and hose setup complete. And somehow I waited until the last minute before leaving to do my first test.
After a bit of fumbling with my setup I managed to get it to work once. I then turned it off and ran to get my roommate Amanda shouting with joy that I had portable hot water! When I attempted to demo the setup it wouldn’t work. The ignition would click-click-click then it would fire, burn for a second and then go out. It was a horrifically windy day and I convinced myself this was the problem along with water pressure issues I was having with my my temporary connections.
In the end I decided to leave a couple days after anyway thinking I would just finish properly connecting it when I got to San Francisco when I did the wood working build-out on the trailer. But somehow I thought I would be able to make it work on the trip to San Francisco still believing it was mostly a wind issue since it worked once. I was wrong. Other than the one time it worked perfectly for about 5 minutes until my water storage was empty, it hasn’t worked since.
There are troubleshooting tips I haven’t gotten around to trying yet as they involve opening the unit. Hopefully the quality of the EccoTemp L5 wasn’t a lie and between my plumbing and a mildly sensitive unit that merely needs a couple of adjustments it will all work out. It has been nearly two months since I first purchased the unit and I am only now getting around to the troubleshooting. If I can’t get it to work I hope the company will help me out.
I will update this page when I get more info.
UPDATE 2011-07-17: I have done everything in the troubleshooting guide to resolve my problems with no success. While testing I made sure there were no leaks, we had gas, and minimized the number of points of failure since my final plumbing has more hoses and interconnects. I purged the propane tank to make sure there was no air. I made sure all the wiring seemed to be connected intact. I made slight adjustments up and down on the suggested parts making sure they were perpendicular to the back wall and at various minor height adjustments. And I put everything back the way I found it. There was no change in the functionality at any point. Click, burners fire for less than a second, and out. Thought I did try to convince myself that the burners stayed lit for nearly a whole second after one minor adjustment. In the end I am pretty sure it was wishful thinking. I am sending an email today (Sunday) letting them know about my problem and we’ll see what they suggest. But I am a little bummed it didn’t just work.