The Alde hot water system on our teardrop trailers is great but the control panel can be confusing to some. The Alde provides two things: hot water for the shower and sink, and also cabin heat. There are three main components of this system:
1. the “electric cartridge”
2. the propane burner
3. the circulation pump
The Alde central heating system transports heat by circulating a glycol and water mixture. The heat source consists of a propane furnace and a 230 Volt electric element that heats the water/glycol mixture, which is then circulated through the system's convectors (like mini radiators) and pipes with the aid of a pump. Because of the glycol being pumped through the plumbing, you may hear a ‘bubbling’ sound coming from inside the bench seat when the Alde is running. This is normal, and means that it’s working. :-)
The round knob is your cabin heat temperature control. Start at the “o” setting between 3 and 4 (about 72 degrees F) and adjust up or down to your comfort level.
The most efficient way of heating up the system if you have hookups, especially if it´s cold, is to turn it on with propane and electric until it has reached the desired temperature, then turn off the propane and use electric to maintain the heat. Using both electric and propane? The heater always prioritizes electric over propane so if you activate both sources it will always try to keep the propane usage to a minimum.
The Alde control panel also has a little red LED light. Probably not surprising to you, if the red light comes on something is obviously needing attention. If you are dry camping, keep a close eye on that light! If it blinks red, the voltage on your battery has dropped below 10.5V. When that happens, turn off all things pulling power from the battery, or start your generator! You know what’s worse than a blinking red light? Letting your battery drop even further and hearing the smoke detector and CO2 detector chirping because of low voltage. If it stays constantly red, the propane line to the Alde has become blocked (check your propane levels and valve) or has the unit has overheated. You can reset the system by turning everything to off for a minute, and then turning it back on.
The digital display is supposed to be easier to understand. Turn ON the Alde system by pressing the power button on the left. The power button has a little green light just right of center but you may need to look at it straight on to see it.
The top line chooses cabin temp. Setting it very low will effectively turn off cabin heat.
The second line is hot water temp. You can choose between mid level (warm) and full (hot).
The lightning bolt is A/C power if you are hooked up to shore power 30A, a generator, or plugged into 110V. Your choices are either 1 or 2 which will choose how many heating elements to turn on (which will affect how quickly the water will be heated).
The gas symbol is propane. To light the Alde system on propane gas press the Propane icon "on", on the thermostat. The On icon will activate and changes color to green. To switch off gas operation, press the "Off" icon.
If the gas failure code appears, make sure the gas is connected and turned on. If this is the the first time you are lighting the Alde since connecting or turning on the propane tank, then the gas might not be at the Alde system yet as it takes a few minutes for it to flow through the regulator and to the appliances. If the gas failure code continues to appear, turn off the Alde system for a few seconds and then turn it back on.
Have fun, stay warm, and enjoy the Alde!
*For the curious, one BTU is the amount of work needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit