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Old 03-04-2016, 18:27   #1
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Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

First--the decision to buy a 2 KW diesel heater.

For years we have used an LPG heater in our 30-foot wooded cruiser. It's an 8 megajoules (7500 btu) unit, and after a few minutes one of the two burners on is sufficient for warmth.

If we have the generator running we'll use a 2-bar halogen heater instead.

But not liking the additional space they take up in the cabin, and the LPG risks, we decided to buy a Planar diesel heater kit and utilise the abundant fuel for our Lehman 120 engine.

This is the Planar kit:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ayysblrr7e...20kit.JPG?dl=0

Research took several months, reading web reviews, looking at installation videos, noise levels, rival brands, costs.

We are in Australia, and Planars are Russian, with the only apparent sources being in Russia and Canada, with a cost approaching $AU 1000.

We looked at Snuggers, Wallas, Eberspachers, Webastos, Dometic, and Belief. Wallas was too expensive. So were Eberspachers, Webastos/Dometics. The Belief was very tempting, as it is available here and with a backup service.

But the Planar reviews were comforting and after much, much exasperating deliberation, confusion and outright misinformation, Planar won the day. We also like its digital controller --some of the others have a knob and diodes only.

We took a chance and bought on Ebay from a Russian supplier. He has virtually no selling history, so it's very much a gamble. But the special price offer, along with a free stainless steel through-hull exhaust fitting, was too tempting.

He has supplied a tracking number, and we see it has cleared Russia Post and gone through customs there.....a promising sign the sale is genuine.

We also needed a stainless steel bracket to sit it off the floor, a heat-proof 60 mm hot air duct and vent. Those we ordered cheaply from another Ebay shop, in Turkey.

So now we wait for the shipments to arrive.

The heater is tiny, 320 mm long by 150mm wide. It will go in a spacious rear locker. The exhaust will be exit close by through the wooden hull. Air for the burner, and to be heated, will be taken from the locker.

Heated air will be directed via the 60 mm duct through a bulkhead, into a dining seat/locker and directed out into the cabin.

Diesel fuel will be tapped from a spare nipple off the CAV main filter to the engine. Should be simple and straight-forward.

An old pic of the filters:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/33g85i885m...lters.JPG?dl=0

The control unit/thermostat will be mounted a couple of meters further into the cabin, about head height seated. Wiring hopefully will be a breeze.

Whether we'll need an exhaust and other mufflers remains to be seen. The heavy 19mm solid hardwood floorboards should insulate the tick tick tick of the fuel pump.

When everything arrives later this month and the installation begins, I will post pictures and details of the process...should all be just in time to enjoy the heater as winter approaches.

Bye for now.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:28   #2
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

I put my Planar in last fall. Seems great so far. It has cut out with a high temp error code a couple of times, running it on high. But I've only been testing it, not really using it, since the boat is on the hard. I have the 4KW version. I think the 2KW you have would have been sufficient.

One thing I learned is that the exhaust gets HOT! Keep the run as short as possible, and away from anything flammable. I ended up buying high-temp insulation like they use on the headers of race cars or something.

You might consider keeping the air runs as short as possible, too. The fan seems a little weak. It's only 12V, so compared to a 120VAC reverse cycle, I suppose that's expected. But given the overheat issue, I'm thinking you want to avoid restricting the flow too much. Maybe they make 12V booster fans, that might help.

I used the fuel tank that came with it, and I'll pump diesel from my mains (after the Racors) into that. I've heard clean fuel is important. Some say to use kerosene instead of diesel to keep it clean. Also, they say to run it for a few minutes at least once a month, even in summer. I plan to use diesel only when it's in regular use, and kero for the maintenance runs in the summer.

One thing I didn't do, and now need to retrofit: They say to mount the fuel pump above the top of the fuel tank. That way, if the internal seals fail you won't get unrestricted flow.

The pump does make a clicking sound that some will find annoying. For me it's just another boat sound to monitor.
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Old 04-04-2016, 16:50   #3
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

CaptTom,
Thanks for the response and good to hear from someone with first-hand experience of the heater.

I have wondered just how hot the exhaust will get. Thanks for the advice. Insulating tape is definitely on the to-buy list. Thankfully the heated air run will only be about 2 ft long.

My pump will be mounted in the bilge below the fuel tank, but the fuel tap is always shut off while we are away so unfortunate spills from seals should not be an issue. I have read about wrapping foam insulation around the pump to deaden the noise.

Kerosene here is prohibitively expensive: about $US 11 per gallon or $3.75 a quart. And I don't want yet another type of fuel on board. (Diesel, petrol for the generator, LPG (propane) for the stove)

Planar does say to run it once a month--which will be a problem as months may go by without us getting to the boat. Maybe I'll get my buddy to go round there and warm himself up now and then.

Have you looked into the parts situation? Where to get glow-plugs etc?
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:19   #4
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

Quote:
Originally Posted by starcruiser View Post
Kerosene here is prohibitively expensive: about $US 11 per gallon or $3.75 a quart. And I don't want yet another type of fuel on board. (Diesel, petrol for the generator, LPG (propane) for the stove)

Planar does say to run it once a month--which will be a problem as months may go by without us getting to the boat. Maybe I'll get my buddy to go round there and warm himself up now and then.

Have you looked into the parts situation? Where to get glow-plugs etc?
The only time I plan to use Kerosene is when I'm not using the heater regularly. My thought was that if I forget, or otherwise don't get around to running it monthly, it'll be less of a problem if it last ran on Kero. Used that way, even $11US would be cheap insurance.

I did see some vendors selling parts, but in the end I decided the heater was more of a nice-to-have than a critical piece of equipment. I can use the reverse cycle AC on the genset or shore power if it gets that cold.

Another option would be to buy a 2nd Planar as a spare. You'd still come out ahead vs. buying a similar name-brand unit.
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Old 24-04-2016, 23:00   #5
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

I have been tracking the heater's progress through the post...About a month passed and it hopped from one Russian post office to another...finally passed customs...and then?????

It is prohibited for export! And returned to sender.

Turns out the through-hull exhaust looked suspicious to the scanning equipment. So the seller has re-sent the heater in one parcel and the thru-hull in another with a detailed explanation about what it is.

So we wait....
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Old 25-04-2016, 08:35   #6
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

Oh, wow, sorry to hear. Mine came pretty quickly, covered in Russian Post Office stickers and writing. I had fun Googling the Russian city it came from.

I ended up ordering the through-hull exhaust fitting and hose from China tho

I'd be much happier going through a N. American supplier, but these things don't seem to be very common in this hemisphere.
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Old 27-04-2016, 01:16   #7
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

The deal maker for me was the thru hull included in the price. They can be ridiculously expensive at $150 to $300.
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Old 03-05-2016, 02:49   #8
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

Finally, the heater arrived...despite the tracking service giving no indication it had even arrived in Australia. Just that it left its country of origin, the Ukraine, 10 days ago.
Everything seems there as advertised. Now we await some more bits and pieces, on order from Turkey, and the thru-hull for the exhaust...then find time to go and install the lot.
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Old 08-05-2016, 22:20   #9
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

OK, now the thru-hull exhaust fitting has arrived too.
Still awaiting, from Turkey, the mounting bracket, hot air duct and a swivel vent.

The last three were due by Friday just gone, but so far not here.

As I wait I mentally confront possible installation problems. But with the boat berthed quite a distance away, it's not quite as realistic as "being there".

The flexible stainless steel exhaust tube I fear may not be quite long enough by the time it's bent into an "S" shape --the top part of the "S" will be a loop on the thru-hull so water won't enter it...and the bottom into the heater's exhaust port.

Will only know once I am ready to install.

Stay tuned.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:28   #10
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

I finally got a chance to use the Planar. I was working on the boat, and it's been a cool spring here in the NE US. It was a raw day, and I needed to test my new fuel transfer system, so I filled up the Planar tank and ran the heat on low (2 bars) for about 8 hours straight.

So far, so good! Kept it nice and warm; I was working in shirtsleeves while the other owners who had braved the weather to get some work done were bundled up.

If I had it to do over again, I'd make sure the exhaust hose was as short as possible, although I still think the loop to keep rainwater from getting in through the exhaust is a good idea.

BTW, I used roughly 1/8 of a tank (the plastic fuel tank that came with the heater) of diesel over those 8 hours. I forget what the capacity of it is though. Maybe 1.5 - 2 gallons.
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Old 11-05-2016, 21:06   #11
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

Nothing like working in comfort, Capt Tom.

...Meanwhile, my parts have arrived from Turkey. All I need now is some exhaust tube insulation wrap, and a little pigtail/reducer/adapter so I can plug the 5 mm heater fuel line into the CAV diesel filters which supply the monster Lehman 120 hp engine.

Then all I'll need is the opportunity to go down and fit everything together, with pictures of the process.
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:30   #12
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

I used this stuff from Amazon:


As for the fuel system, I'm using the tank that came with the heater. But buying all the fittings for that and the fuel transfer system I put in was an iterative process. And the tiny fuel hose that came with the Planar is smaller than anything they sell in the big-box stores.
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Old 29-05-2016, 23:21   #13
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

Capt Tom, I've been thinking a lot about the exhaust house insulating tape.

Do I really need it?

The exhaust pipe will be out of the way and unlikely to come into contact with anything including my hands.

Insulating the pipe will mean hotter exhaust gas out through the boat. So what?

Of course, if the heat given off by the uninsulated pipe in the locker becomes oppressive for the heater itself, then yes, I will insulate it....otherwise...why bother?

Just some thoughts.
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Old 30-05-2016, 05:25   #14
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

I had the same thought. Then I found out how hot that thing gets.

My concern is that anything withing 1-2 feet will burst into flames just from the radiant heat this thing puts off. I forget the exact number, but it was up over 700 F according to my laser thermometer.
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Old 18-07-2016, 03:13   #15
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Re: Planar heater purchase and installation (later)

It's been some time as we waited for an opportunity to come to the boat and finally install the diesel heater.

Today was the day and instead of being straight forward, it's proving frustrating--mainly because of the unclear, confusing and ambiguous instructions.

It took a while to decipher each wiring loom. Then some wrestling with the exhaust pipe. And seeing what sort of bends I could wreak from the hot air duct.

I mounted the heater on a stainless steel angle bracket on a bulkhead adjusting so the exhaust tube was not going to touch the plywood bottom of the storage locker where it's being installed.

Then with the largest hole saw cut a neat hole for the 60 mm duct. It was a tight fit so expanded the hole a little with a drum sander in the drill.

Then a similar hole in my dining seat where the hot air will exit.

....more tomorrow.
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