It's windy, raining and cold. Nothing else to do, so thought I'd reply to this thread and add my experience with a Planar heater on my boat.
I have had a Planar 4dm 12 installed on my Farrier Command 10 trimaran
for 2 years now. It is just out of warranty.
As I type I am sitting on my boat in Port Esperance, Southern Tasmania, Australia
. It is 10 degrees celsius outside with a 20-25 knot wind
My planar 4DM 12 is operating on half power and pumping warm air through 2 ducts into the main cabin and one into the aft cabin.
It is 21 degrees C inside and I can't describe how comfortable it is compared to the squally mess outside.
I bought the unit off ebay and knew I was taking a chance with a relatively unknown product (but $600 ?).
The Planar operates the same as the Webasto or Espar, produces more heat but draws a bit more power. The advertised specs on fuel consumption
and power draw are about right. It has a thermostat control option which I did not install because I didn't want it wasting power cycling on and off. I set the power to the level I want and can control heat to various areas of the boat by opening and closing vents.
For someone who had no experience with ducted diesel
heaters I found the installation
relatively straight forward but i got to say the translated Russian to English
instruction manual caused some anxiety at times.
My unit came with a fuel tank
(didn't use), fuel pump
hose. I had to spend another $200 on mounting bracket, ducting hose, mufflers, vent outlets.
I teed directly into my engine
fuel line as it exits low on the fuel tank
. This has worked fine.
Overall I am very positive about this heater but it hasn't been without issues.
I have had to replace the electronic control unit twice. Once after the first year and once again a month ago. These were covered under the warranty and a replacement was sent promptly, although it took a few weeks to arrive to Australia
via snail mail. So, I am very happy with the support. The unit really is easy to open up and the ecu plugs straight in. The heater needs to be mounted where it can be accessed easily and removed for maintenance
My boat is plywood
so vibration is an issue. When I first fitted it it sounded like a jumbo jet taking off. I installed a muffler
on the exhaust
but what really quietened it down was a muffler
on the air intake. All I hear now is a slight buzz in the main cabin which I think i could eliminate with some insulation
on the cockpit
locker bulkhead where it is mounted. In the aft cabin where we sleep, we hear nothing but a slight reassuring hiss from the air vent. We have installed 2 carbon monoxide monitors in main and aft cabin for safety
The flashing control panel
is a little complicated but we quickly got used to operating it.
From my perspective, I like that there is a company with a reliable, affordable product taking on the established operators. My experience with them has been very positive so far and i wish them well.
My unit is now out of warranty but I would be very surprised if i didn't continue to get support at a reasonable cost.
In terms of servicing and maintenance
in the long term there is no one in Australia to send it to for repair.
But as SailFastTri has said " These Russian units are 1/3 the price
of an Espar. You could keep an entire spare unit aboard and still be ahead."
So if i get to the stage where it is not cost effective to service or maintain the heater myself, I'll just buy another one.