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Old 12-30-2015, 06:18 PM   #1
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Default Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

I wanted to share some knowledge, as I spent quite a bit of time researching and had trouble finding any definite direction regarding using the high alt pump full time (even at low altitude). Several techs at Espar confirmed this does NOT cause any damage and "blow-out" will not be an issue.

The heater works fine at sea level with the high altitude pump. I actually considered the 15% reduced output a benefit, as I understand these heaters ideally run on high more often to mitigate any carbon build up. With that said, I did find the limit of this setup.

While parking at a ski resort (Red Mountain, BC) at about 3,500 feet, the heater had trouble keeping the van 70* F when it got below 15* F outside. It could get to 65* or so, but that was about the limit. After swapping the low-altitude pump back in, I could easily keep the van as warm as I wanted.

I still do think it is a good option for some people, especially if you never get into this cold of weather, but wanted to share my experience in case this comes up for anyone in the future!

After you swap the pump once, it's really a less than 5 minute job. With that, I will just keep both on board and put the high altitude pump in before the rare case of camping above 5,000 feet.

Last edited by Pnwsquid; 12-30-2015 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 12-30-2015, 06:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

Thanks for the report.

A tech at ThermoKing once told me that there exists an Espar kit that let's you wye in both pumps at the same time. That way, you can select which one to use electrically with a simple switch. This would also be useful for a setup that could be fed either from the diesel tank or a day tank containing kerosene. That way, one could use kerosene when it was available, with diesel as a backup.
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Old 12-30-2015, 06:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

Since all of these pumps have a check valve, I believe they can be plumbed in parallel. All that is needed is a SPDT switch to flip between them. It is important to use rigid fuel lines with no air pockets on the outlet side of the pump(s).

2. As an alternative Airtronic D2 and D4 heaters of any generation may be equipped with the high altitude pump kit p/n 24 0222 00 00 00. This kit contains extra pump used on high altitudes, manual switch and necessary wiring/piping parts. Can be used on altitudes of up to 3000 meters (9840).


Here is the approximate de-rate value if using the altitude sensor. I am guessing the high altitude pump would be about ~15% lower output than the standard (same as Pnwsquid indicates).

With the optional height kit an operation of the heater in regions up from 1400m (4600) until 3000m (9850) are possible. After starting the heater the height sensor which is enclosed with the kit measures the atmospheric pressure and communicate it to the control unit. The control unit adjusts then the frequency of the metering pump. Because of this the heating power in height operation will be reduced by approx. 9% per 1000 m (3280). In regions below 1400m (4600) the heater works in normal operation with the full heating power. Example: at the Airtronic D4 (4000 watt max. heating power) the heating power will be reduced by 360 watt per 1000 metres above 1400 meters.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf High altitude options 11-2012.pdf (529.1 KB, 25 views)
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Last edited by Midwestdrifter; 12-30-2015 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 12-30-2015, 08:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

I doubt anyone wants to wait around, but I'm in process of building a high altitude fuel compensator with an arduino board and barometric pressure sensor for d5 heaters. I'm sure the d4 is just a small adjustment to the compensation equation. I don't know how long it's going to take as I'm having to learn some new things. So far everything looks 100% possible and actually pretty straight forward. I even know which hardware components to use. I just need to write the code loop and conduct a test.
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Old 12-31-2015, 08:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

Vanski,

That sounds like a great project. Wish I'd thought of that before I bought my High Altitude Compensator!
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Old 12-31-2015, 04:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

Thx GJG; I've been struggling with how I'm going to test seeing as the last thing I want to do is remove my metering pump and even if I do remove it, how do I mimic the ecu of the espar??? I may have come up with a good test bed... I'm going to model and apply the compensation arithmetic to my heartbeat and monitor the output signal from the processor. We'll see. I'd like to get it done prior to a trip I have planned in February.
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Old 12-31-2015, 04:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

A common trick when installing Espar units is to use an old-school automotive blinker relay to make the pump operate in order to prime the system. That might be easier than your heartbeat.
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

Thanks Avanti.. Wondering if an old-school AB would vary in frequency and strength (period and amplitude) like the signal from the ECU does. Or perhaps only the period changes. Need to figure that out or just build it in regardless which was what I was planning on doing but I would need to have a varying sine wave to see if everything is working properly.
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

Quote:
Originally Posted by vanski View Post
Thanks Avanti.. Wondering if an old-school AB would vary in frequency and strength (period and amplitude) like the signal from the ECU does. Or perhaps only the period changes. Need to figure that out or just build it in regardless which was what I was planning on doing but I would need to have a varying sine wave to see if everything is working properly.
I am pretty sure that the pump is a binary device, i.e., the only thing that matters is the off-to-on transition. I don't think that the amplitude of the signal is modulated. Only the frequency matters. Could be wrong, though.
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Old 01-05-2016, 04:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: Espar D4 High Altitude Pump

Seeing that the High Altitude Compensator is wired between the Heater Control Unit and the pump, my guess is that the Compensator is only modifying the duration of the pulse, not the frequency. It does have a little light on it that blinks every pulse. If it would be useful, I could record it in action.

Here's a link to a PDF that describes it.

It is literally a little black box.

Perhaps after you get this working, you can build an Arduino pacemaker?
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