Hi everybody, we're back with another really quick Chinese diesel heater post and this one we are covering something that a lot of people have asked for.
The controllers for these heaters can be very basic with basic functions that don't quite cut it for most people. So people are always on the look out for the best controllers with the best functions and quite often spend more on their heaters than they need to just to get the best controllers.
As these heater controllers have been built for a specific job they can be very basic in some situations and not work ideally for other situations. For example, as they are built for vehicles and most vehicles don't have a WIFI set up so... most controllers can't be controlled via WIFI.
But things have changed recently and with a mixture of people having better technology in their vans or wanting to heat something other than a vehicle with their heaters and now the basic functions just aren't good enough for a lot of people.
There are three main functions that people find lacking with the basic controllers and these are what we are going to cover today.
When it comes down to the most basic units on the market they literally have one set of timers, this will let you set it to come on at a certain time, go off at a certain time or come on at a certain time, stay on for pre set amount of minuets and then turn off.
The heaters don't have a memory though so if you wanted it to come on and go off at the same time each day, you would need to set the timers every day.
This can be a problem for a lot of people as they like to set it to come on for an hour or so and go off a few times a day just to keep the chill out of the area. A lot of people use it to heat their workshops etc and would like to set it to come on for an hour before the go in everyday, this means they need to remember to set it everyday or go in to a cold workshop.
There are loads of reasons why people would like to set more than one timer per day so I will leave that to your imagination. The most annoying thing about these timers by far is the format of them and they can be quite confusing.
They are countdown timers... This means you don't actually set a specific time you want the heater to come on, you need to count how many minuets away that specific time is and set it to that, then you set the amount of minuets you want it to be on for. This can be really annoying and requires a lot of maths and confuses even the smartest of people. For more info on how to set the confusing timers please check out this video...
So when it comes to timers the two most useful changes would to be able to set specific times for the heater to come on and go off and to be able to set multiple timers or even a full heating schedule.
AUTO ON/OFF THERMOSTAT
An auto on/off thermostat is actually just a thermostat as thermostats turn on and off by nature, we just need to call it auto on/off so we don't confuse people as the basic heaters do have a thermostatic mode but doesn't turn on and off.
Because these heaters are built for vehicles that use batteries to power them, most of them do not have an auto on/off thermostat as that would use a lot of extra battery power heating the glow plug again every time the heater turns back on.
On basic heaters in thermostatic mode you set the target temperature and the heater will work at full power to reach that temperature and then turn down to its lowest power to maintain the temperature. It never turns all the way off unless you turn it off yourself. For more info on this please check out our video here...
As we mentioned above heating the glow plug takes a lot of power and when you are powering the heater from a battery it can drain it much quicker than just leaving the heater running. The problem with this is if you are trying to heat a well insulated area like a room in a house or a well insulated van the area you are trying to heat will just keep getting hotter and hotter.
The extra power draw isn't a problem at all though if you are running your heater from 240v in one way or another (transformer or battery & smart charger) be it on hook up in a van or in a building.
So in these situations a lot of people would like them to work more like their house thermostats and turn off at a certain temp and not turn back on until it drops below it again.
So an ideal extra function for these controllers for most people would be the ability to set their heaters to come on and go off at certain temperatures.
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL FOR LOTS OF AWESOME VAN LIFE AND DIESEL HEATER CONTENT
WIFI is one I don't really need to go in to too many details about as you can all pretty much guess what that allows you to do. As mentioned above it is very rare to find a Chinese diesel heater controller that has wifi, I know of two at the moment and one isn't even on the market yet. There are a few about now with bluetooth but that is only really useful for lazy people as it doesn't have a very long range. So it isn't like you could switch your heater on before leaving work with it so your house or van was nice and toasty when you got home. Bluetooth can be useful if your heater is heating a workshop in your garden or if your van is parked on your drive and you want to defrost it from your bed as you can see that it is working unlike with the hit and hope remotes. Or if you are heating your home with it and the controller is in another room and you are comfortable. But for a lot of people having the ability to control their heaters via WIFI on a smart phone would be a huge plus.
You could turn your heating on before leaving work, turn your workshop heater on before going into work, turn it on from a pub to scare the person looking through your van windows... The possibilities are endless.
The solutions for all three of these problems can all be found in one place and it couldn't really be any easier if it tried. You don't need to be an engineer or have a degree in IT or coding to do it either. All you need is one of these...
BROADLINK RM4 PRO & TEMP SENSOR COMBO
BUY FROM AMAZON - https://amzn.to/3uhKJCk
BUY FROM EBAY - https://ebay.us/OtxWzS
This one little bit of kit will allow you to do everything mentioned above. It will let you set an unlimited amount of timers or a full heating schedule, with the temp sensor attached your can set it to come on and go off at certain temps and it will let you control your heater via your phone from anywhere in the world.
If you don't already have a heater and need one, please check out our Chinese diesel heater buyers guide for some decent quality heaters that will work with the RM4 PRO...
HOW DOES IT WORK
It is actually quite simple really, it clones the remote control that comes with the heater.
Once it has been cloned the RM4 Pro then has the ability to turn your heater on, off, up or down either automatically in a schedule or when the temp sensor says it is too hot or too cold or when you physically tell it to. It doesn't really get much simpler than that, does it?
If you are really lazy you can even set it up with Amazon Alexa, Home Assistant etc and just tell them to turn your heater on for you. And as it is a WIFI remote you can also use it to control other things in your van or house etc like your TV, air con, Maxx Air etc as it is not diesel heater specific. It can clone most remotes. (RF 433MHz)
AMAZON ALEXA DOT
BUY FROM AMAZON - https://amzn.to/46fPFoY
So there are a few limitations, the first is the obvious one. You need to have WIFI near your heater or in range of your heater. So if you don't have a WIFI connection this isn't an option for you. It doesn't need to be a complicated WIFI set up though, you could just use an old phone with a sim card and create a hot spot for the RM4 Pro to connect to. Then just leave the phone on charge near the heater and make sure it has data on it and boom your done.
Another limitation is the remote that comes with your heater, the majority of remotes that come with the heaters are compatible however there is one popular one that doesn't work with this set up and that is this one in both Red and Black. The remote below however will pair to the same controllers as these remotes so you can just get a different remote and you are good to go...
Pretty much all the other controllers and remotes on the market it will work with including the ones supplied with Maxpeedingrods Bluetooth unit and the Hcalory Bluetooth unit. We are pretty certain it can work with the Lava Max, it works with the Lavaner Pro and it will also work with any other heater no matter what controller, motherboard, brand, shape or size it is as long comes with this remote control in silver or blue (the blue is just a protective film)
BUY FROM AMAZON - https://amzn.to/3FSzFhL
BUY FROM EBAY - https://ebay.us/jRDKzn
HOW TO SET IT UP
We're not going to go into any details about this as they have a Youtube channel and can explain it a lot better than us. They have full tutorials and explanations. We think that you will find these two videos very helpful...
It really is a very simple solution to three really annoying little problems and with full step by step guides like that it would be very hard to go wrong.
And if you get stuck you can always join our Chinese Diesel Heater facebook group by clicking HERE and we will be happy to to talk you through it.
Ok, that is about it for this post, we hope you all found it helpful and can now use your heaters to their full abilities. See you next time
As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases “When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.” PLEASE CHECK OUT OUR RECENT BLOG POSTS BY CLICKING THE PHOTOS BELOW