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Old 17-08-2012, 05:29   #16
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

Here was a discussion going about Dickinson vs Sig Marine Heaters;

Dickinson vs Sig Marine Heaters
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Old 17-08-2012, 09:35   #17
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
The solution to the annoying, and not terribly reliable, pulse fuel pump is a gravity tank - it only takes a couple of inches to provide the flow needed. I put a day tank in for the engine, and use it to directly provide fuel to the heater. No tick-tick-tick... Heaven.

Greg
My setup will be a small manual transfer as well as a small switched auto fuel pump to a five gallon gravity tank. I want to be able to run the system with no electric if required, no expensive pulse pump and no electric draw. I have a small oil filled electric radiator that can be set on a timer and initially plan to have that run for an hour or two in the main saloon before returning from work to take the chill off and may eventually work up to full time burn if required.

re: Full time electric heat I have a pal who lives aboard in the marina nect to mine and he is running over three hundred dollars a month to heat the boat. By my calculation I should be able to heat my boat for much less.
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Old 09-01-2013, 19:41   #18
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

Hi Chris,

I am in a W32 as well, and thinking about roughing it on the hook next winter. I was specifically searching this forum for this question. I don't want to come home to a cold boat, was thinking of the pros/cons about leaving the furnace running all day/night. It would definitely be cheaper than moorage to pay for the fuel. Plus it would rotate the stock, as it were, as the diesel I have is over a year old.

Being on southern Vancouver Island, when the temp dips below zero (Celsius) it makes the front page, i.e., it doesn't happen often, but it can be cold and damp.

I have had smoke filling the cabin when sailing with the furnace running, even though I have one of the H-shaped chimneys, which I have heard are the best. I'd hate for that to happen one day when I wasn't around to deal with it.

Decisions, decisions...
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Old 10-01-2013, 18:22   #19
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

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Hi Chris,

I am in a W32 as well, and thinking about roughing it on the hook next winter. I was specifically searching this forum for this question. I don't want to come home to a cold boat, was thinking of the pros/cons about leaving the furnace running all day/night. It would definitely be cheaper than moorage to pay for the fuel. Plus it would rotate the stock, as it were, as the diesel I have is over a year old.

Being on southern Vancouver Island, when the temp dips below zero (Celsius) it makes the front page, i.e., it doesn't happen often, but it can be cold and damp.

I have had smoke filling the cabin when sailing with the furnace running, even though I have one of the H-shaped chimneys, which I have heard are the best. I'd hate for that to happen one day when I wasn't around to deal with it.

Decisions, decisions...
Can you tell me what type of heater you are using???
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Old 10-01-2013, 19:35   #20
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

I've got an older model Dickinson Antarctic.
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Old 10-01-2013, 20:09   #21
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

We ran Dickerson diesel heater 24-7 heating both the saloon and the rest of a 42ft steel boat with water heated in the diesel heater in coils inside it ! we had a 40 gal remote tank, that we filled with a engine room fuel transfer pump. We never had a problem at sea or at anchor or dock!! no smoke, but we did have pleanty of chimmey, with a proper top! and we were in Alaska! so ya can heat with this style heater if ya take the time to get the system right !!
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Old 10-01-2013, 23:53   #22
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

ALL, May I suggest to anyone operating a combustion heater in their boats that they acquire a battery operated carbon monoxide detector and test it frequently. $15 at SAM'S! Beats not waking up some morning. gts1544
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Old 11-01-2013, 01:49   #23
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

I really hate to say this, as I am a Dickinson owner and long time fan.....had the local fire chief over to my boat the other day lending a hand, and he asked if I'd be using a Dickinson - when I said yes, he asked if I ever left it running when away - and yes, in my last boat during really cold periods, we would leave the Dickinson running while we were away - it was an awesome, reliable heater. Tugs and fishboats run them 24/7 for months on end.

Then he told me about investigating 3 Campbell River boats in the last 10 years that burnt badly due to run away diesel stoves (most recent 2 weeks ago) - and the follow up conversation he had with the Vancouver Island surveyor who had 20 documented cases.

Common issue - occasionally the regulator fuel float fails, sinks, the fuel supply increases, and the fire starts running away. Happens with both hollow and foam floats.
- If anyone is onboard, it makes significant noise, and the stove gets shutdown manually with no damage.
- If no one is onboard, there are instances of the fire getting so hot the unshielded pot metal carburetor melts, the fuel is dumped wherever, and ultimately the fire dept gets called.

His solution was 1) shield the carburetor 2) stick a heat detector with auto shut solenoid (shades of propane detector) on the fuel supply line.

Apparently Dickinson itself is un-responsive to the request for a redesign, quoting proven design with very low frequency of issues.

Love my gravity fed Dickinson, but will be shielding the carb, and won't be walking away with unit running any more - value the boat too much.
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Old 12-01-2013, 21:27   #24
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

We have a Dickenson Adriatic in our hunting cabin. Here is what I have noticed, but I may be wrong, so take my words with a grain if salt, or two.

It strikes me that different fuel will react differently in the heater. It may run hotter or colder.

When we come to the cabin and it is cold the stove takes a good while to heat up the cabin. But as the cabin warms the stove seems to get hotter and hotter. Eventually we have to turn it off. Worse with some fuels than others.


I THINK that as the cabin warms, the fuel in the feed line then warms by running under the stove. The hotter the fuel the more easily it runs and thus makes the stove hotter, and so on.

12 by 24 cabin with an 8 by 8 mud room. We had over 50 degree temperature rise over outside.

I am going to try to adjust the metering valve so that I can turn the flow down lower. But that won't happen for a good while now.

Just a thought.
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Old 18-01-2013, 15:34   #25
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

I have had a Dickinson Newport Heater on my boat for over a decade - good kit.The design as has been stated incorporates a fail safe device - if heat on the carburettor exceeds the pre-determined temp it dumps the fuel through the drain rather than keeping feeding the fire. The theory is that an errant fire will then go out eventually. As far as keeping it burning when not onboard or when asleep I don't think the manufacturers are just scared of litigation - I think it is primarily because they do not want boats or their crews burnt to death - shockingly bad for business - could suffocate souls and sales very easily!
If you contrast all the safety devices built into a home domestic boiler for example - they are on balance safe enough to leave on without worry. A drip fed oil fire is however an entriely more precarious device - there is simply far too much potential for a runaway fire- through mechanical failure, the fire blowing out then re-igniting, fuel line feed failure etc etc. Those that leave their Dickinsons running 24/7 are far braver souls than I - leaving my lovely boat for any time at all with a fire burning away on her always makes me worry.
Far safer to just leave a couple of 8 hour candle T lights housed in metal lamps - as safe as houses. They will give out enough heat to keep the interior well above freezing and keep damp at bay. On returning to the boat light a couple of oil lamps and get the kettle on - she will be as warm as toast in a while. If it is cold wet and windy outside I find that as soon as I slide the hatch shut and snuggle down the boat warms my soul!

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Old 19-01-2013, 08:24   #26
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

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Originally Posted by nofacey View Post
I really hate to say this, as I am a Dickinson owner and long time fan.....had the local fire chief over to my boat the other day lending a hand, and he asked if I'd be using a Dickinson - when I said yes, he asked if I ever left it running when away - and yes, in my last boat during really cold periods, we would leave the Dickinson running while we were away - it was an awesome, reliable heater. Tugs and fishboats run them 24/7 for months on end.

Then he told me about investigating 3 Campbell River boats in the last 10 years that burnt badly due to run away diesel stoves (most recent 2 weeks ago) - and the follow up conversation he had with the Vancouver Island surveyor who had 20 documented cases.

Common issue - occasionally the regulator fuel float fails, sinks, the fuel supply increases, and the fire starts running away. Happens with both hollow and foam floats.
- If anyone is onboard, it makes significant noise, and the stove gets shutdown manually with no damage.
- If no one is onboard, there are instances of the fire getting so hot the unshielded pot metal carburetor melts, the fuel is dumped wherever, and ultimately the fire dept gets called.

His solution was 1) shield the carburetor 2) stick a heat detector with auto shut solenoid (shades of propane detector) on the fuel supply line.

Apparently Dickinson itself is un-responsive to the request for a redesign, quoting proven design with very low frequency of issues.

Love my gravity fed Dickinson, but will be shielding the carb, and won't be walking away with unit running any more - value the boat too much.
Good interesting post. As a full time livaboard in the cold climes I have been using the Newport regularly but do not leave it burning when I am at work, that is left to a little oil filled radiator that keeps the boat warm enough, and I know that they can even be fire hazards. There is no perfect solution to anything in life and statistics are often funny things to interpret. How many houses burned over the same period as the twenty boats the chief mentioned? Pot burner heaters are not for everyone and my experience would not to recommend them for the casual user. It seems as every time I use the stove it requires a little different approach and I too have definitely noticed different heat outputs and burn characteristics depending on the fuel source. That being said I feel completely safe onboard with the heater and old the cold nights like last evening it is the only heat source. No problem sleeping with it running as the boat has much fresh air circulating, even open the forward hatch a bit directly over my head if it gets too warm and dry.

I would like to know how you shield the carburetor considering the air slots right behind it. I think this would be a very good idea as I have read a lot about this part being poorly constructed and it being a weak link. Would also like to learn more about how you plan to rig the temp sensing fuel line shutoff. Dickinson already sells something like this as an accessory so you may be reinventing the wheel.
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Old 19-01-2013, 08:44   #27
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

I think that shielding the carburettor would be compounding the danger - it has the fuel divert safety device for good reason and disabling any built in safety device could be deemed a tadge irresponsible -dumping the fuel has got to be safer than having it contine to feed the fire. An auto fuel cut off device in the fuel line further back away from the heater would add complexity and be potentially unreliable.
I think if one wants to leave any heater running better to go for a fully contained (apart from the flue) charcoal burner - with one of those the fuel supply is limited to what you put in it and it will assuredly go out when the charcoal is gone.
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Old 19-01-2013, 09:21   #28
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If as a fail safe the carb is to dump fuel, and this dumping its causing the issue, could some sort of secondary containment be added? Allowing the fuel to be diverted safely.
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Old 19-01-2013, 09:53   #29
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

As some others have pointed out, there is a low temperature melting metal part in the oil metering knob (fuse link) that when it melts the knob drops shutting off the fuel to the heater. The oil metering valve ( that many call carburetor) does not then overflow. The oil metering valve has an overflow port for when the float fails to close the fuel inlet valve. The float could sink or there could be crud keeping the seat from sealing.

The amount of fuel delivered is determined by the position you set of the needle valve (control knob) and the pressure head, height of liquid in the oil metering valve, relative to the pot, which is set by the float, and viscosity of the fuel. There is another problem with the height of the liquid in the oil metering valve relative to the pot. There is another set of holes in the Antarctic to mount the oil metering valve to make sure the height of the liquid in the oil metering valve is correct relative to the pot. You need to mount it in the fore-aft line of the boat. Mine wasn't when I started with my boat and the flame would go from minimum to too much on opposite tacks.

If the float fails to maintain the level in the valve and the fuel is coming out the overflow port, there is going to be a lot more fuel going to the burner. Maybe too much? I haven't experienced that failure.

I have experienced the change of fuel rate due to the change of viscosity of the fuel as it warms up because of the cabin warming. It also states this in the manual.

The manual says that the fuse link melts when the flame is burning below the burner ring, which is a too much air to fuel problem, so would seem to usually be a low fuel problem. When they talk about flooding the burner with too much fuel they say to shut off the fuel and monitor the heater. Does this mean the fuse link will not necessarily melt stopping the fuel since the fire is above the burner ring and therefore not heating up oil metering valve? Monitor the heater to my mind is code for it could cause a fire. If the float failed can this supply enough fuel to cause this condition?

I know I've read about many and have some friends who have run their Dickenson 24/7. My experience with the variability of the flame made me always monitor it, that and the manual saying you shouldn't run it un-monitored.
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Old 19-01-2013, 09:57   #30
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Re: Constant Burning of Diesel Heater

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If as a fail safe the carb is to dump fuel, and this dumping its causing the issue, could some sort of secondary containment be added? Allowing the fuel to be diverted safely.
Manual states that the overflow, which is a threaded port, must have a fuel line going back to a container or fuel tank. See details in the manual.

http://www.dickinsonmarine.com/Manua...ual-2011-2.pdf
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