As temperatures begin to nosedive this month, Dave King comes to the rescue and describes how to get to grips with ALDE’s Compact heating system.
Several caravan and motorhome manufacturers are fitting the Alde Compact 3010 boiler heating and hot water system in their top end models. This boiler is based on the same principle that is found in a modern home. The heating circuit has convectors and radiators that are located around the exterior walls below bunks and cabinets with vent panels at floor and backrest height allowing the cool air at floor level to be drawn in and heated so that it rises to ceiling height.
In a leisure vehicle it is powered by either mains electricity (230 V) or gas (LPG) with an optional engine heat exchanger for motorhomes. There are two different versions of the Alde 3010 boiler available, the only difference is that they vary in their electrical output; a 2kW model or a 3kW model and different manufacturers choose which one they fit. The control panel has many features; you can control all the functions of the boiler including choosing to use electric power at 1kW, 2 kW or 3 kW output (according to the model fitted) or LPG gas, or both, plus a few extra programmes designed especially for leisure vehicle use.
How it works
The principles of the system are to provide even heating throughout the vehicle and a hot water supply. The boiler design, well proven over many years, has been improved with advanced electronic controls. Its construction consists of three eccentrically-fitted cylinders. The centre cylinder is the heat exchanger (gas burner) the second cylinder is for the water glycol mixture for the heating system and the outer cylinder for the hot water. The electric heating elements are housed in the central cylinder.
Starting from cold
When heat is applied at start-up, the heating fluid is heated first which then in turn heats the 8.4ltr hot water supply in the outer cylinder by conduction; this means that when starting the system up in cold weather it can take some time to get to the required temperature.
The hook up amperage is critical
Check the mains amperage when hooking up as the available amperage will dictate the appropriate setting on the control panel. The minimum amperage required is; 6amp = 1kW, 10amp = 2kW and 16amp = 3kW.
Gas setting is automatic
The gas output, when switched on, starts at 5.5kW and reduces automatically to 3.3kW as the temperature increases and shuts down when the required temperature is reached, restarting automatically when heat is called for.
Auto default to electric supply
If electric and gas are used together the system default is electric. This means that when you have gas and electric on at the same time the gas will supplement the electric power until the required temperature is reached at which time it is automatically switched off. Depending on the available site amperage you can speed up the warm-up period by combining electric and gas providing up to a maximum of 8.5kW (according to the boiler model)
Be careful with your gas usage particularly in cold weather with either no mains or only using 1 kW, as at full power the gas burns 405g per hour; that equates to 9.72kg in 24 hours. Clearly this is a worst case scenario, but if you are running on gas alone do take into account the other appliances using the same supply.
Your vehicle should have been supplied with a quick start up guide for the Compact controller and it is worth spending a fair amount of time getting to know the features that will benefit you.
Control panel tips
Here are some to look out for. In the menu setting:
AutoOn This function allows you to program the heater to start at a particular time and run for 24 hours.
Auto ☾This function will automatically raise the water temperature at 2am to kill any bacteria.
The warm water setting (the tap symbol) diverts the heat to the hot water cylinder by turning off the circulation pump for the heating.
For further information. www.alde.co.uk
Have you any experience of the Alde Compact heating system? How do you find it to use? Is it even necessary in a modern caravan with Grade 3 thermal insulation?