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Old 09-10-2007, 09:51   #1
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dickenson diesel heaters

Before I put up an official review, I wanted to find out if anyone else had a similar experience.

I have a Dickinson Lofoten I recently ordered from Go2Marine. The store that sold it did a great job.

However, the heater barely functions at all. It has to be on 5 (its highest setting) to get the stove plate hot ehough to be uncomfortable to hold your hand on. You could *never* cook on this thing and it won't even heat a 7'x7'x16' area in 50 degree F weather! It's like a toy, not a heater. The chimney barely gets warm at all, and it takes you a half an hour to light the thing.

I have a call in to Dickinson (no return call yet) and hope to find out why this heater couldn't even be used to melt a stick of butter.

Anyone else have any issues like this with the Dickinson heaters? They mostly all use the same burner, so the issues would be the same on many models.

I'm thinking of returning it, but have no idea what I would use to heat the "land boat" without it. I can't emit woodstove smoke, or I'd be using that in a second. My choices are diesel and propane, but stoves that don't use electricity to any great extent.

Any input?
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:13   #2
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Yikes! Something is wrong. It should run you out of the room. I have a coal version that really gets hot. I was on a boat with the Lofoten and was uncomfortably warm on "2". T-stat working?
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:29   #3
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Check your fuel flow:
Heat output / Fuel Consumption: 6,500 BTU/ 1.29 gpd -16,250 BTU/3.2 gpd
Setting 1 - 1 teaspoon in 60 seconds (4 c.c.'s per minute)
Setting 5 - 1 teaspoon in 20 seconds (10 c.c.'s per minute)
If these flow rates are not correct the grade or viscosity of the oil will be the most likely cause.
Oil Flow Adjustment:
After removing the jam screw from the top of the valve nob , turn the allen screw clockwise to increase the fuel flow (no more than half turn adjustments each time until the desired flow rate is achieved).

The adjusting screw on the knob of the oil metering valve s fitted with a
fusible sleeve. This fuse will melt if the valve knob reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F. This will shut-off the flow of oil into the burner.
Under normal conditions the valve is at room temperature. If the high fire sleeve melts, it indicates too much heat in the valve compartment.
AFTER START-UP, THE FLAME MUST BURN ABOVE THE 6" BURNER RING AT ALL TIMES
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Old 09-10-2007, 15:15   #4
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You guys were right.


Here, then is the official review (sans the review when it's 10 degrees outside):

The Lofoten is a sharp looking heater. While it's terribly more expensive than wood (between $280 and $480 per month to run!), it seems to put out a good amount of heat once it gets going.

Getting it going takes longer than I'm used to (and I'm used to lighting kindling to get a wood fire going). However, once it's up and running and you have yellow flames flying above the ring, you end up with a reasonable amount of heat (still haven't seen how it does when it gets COLD out).

John (a guy at the Dickinson company) suggested that sometimes if a heater is not putting the right amount of oil through, it can be due to the float being stuck, like in any other carb. A few sharp raps on the side and the oil started to flow at its proper rate. Apparently, the carbs sometimes stick because they sit a while between manufacture and final destination.

Will post another follow up when the weather turns cold.
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Old 09-10-2007, 18:22   #5
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Quote:
Yikes! Something is wrong. It should run you out of the room.
Pretty much. I have a Sigmar and when it was almost dead it could clear below decks from the extreme heat. Mine died from the fuel pump going bad and leaking, but the stove has no mechanical parts. I assume the Dickenson is similar. You can have a clogged fuel pump if you don't have a Racor filter (I don't). All these stoves need preheat to get them going well.

I would double check the fuel pump as they don't last forever. For a small amount of money you can replace them.
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Old 09-10-2007, 19:32   #6
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Have a Dickenson Newport and have used it for years. It is never set above 2 or it runs us out and that was winter on the Chesapeake. We do use an electric assist pump but you need to pay attention to the pump PSI.
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:30   #7
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Aloha Chuck,
How do you light your Newport? I've got one that I haven't installed yet and the instructions talk about lighting a small piece of paper and placing it somewhere. It doesn't say exactly where. I need a little enlightenment!!
JohnL
P. S. Would a long match do?
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:49   #8
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I had a Dickenson stove and to light; drop a piece of TP in the burner turn the fuel on and when some of it starts to soak the TP then light the none soaked part of the TP. The fuel will catch on. If memory serves me correct when you light it turn the fuel off, till the fuel starts to light, 30 sec later and once the fuel begins to burn down, then turn the flow back on. You don't want to flood the pot. If you've a fan you can run that to get the fuel to atomize faster. Once your flame turns from Orange to Blue and floating above the fuel in the pot your home free.
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Old 10-10-2007, 05:07   #9
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Hi Guy's
How do we light them and do you get a deisel smell ??

Best regards

Steve
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Old 10-10-2007, 18:23   #10
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John, We turn the fuel on for a few minutes to allow some to flow into the bottom of the burner. Be careful not to let too much in. Light a small piece of paper and drop it into the burner chamber. It must fall into the fuel. We set the flow knob on 1 turn the fan in the unit on the second setting and let it fire up. Once the fuel starts to vaporize and burn above the fire ring, we turn the fan off. That's it.
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:36   #11
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I have a few more questions, because I have the stove working well, but am still not sure about the output or the flame's intensity.

It's about 40F degrees outside here right now, and it took a good hour to warm the place up 8 degrees.

Because I have used natural draft stoves (with wood as a fuel) for most of my life, I didn't have any trouble getting the flame "perfect" as quoted by the Dickinson employee when I described its behavior. However, this perfect flame was at the #1 setting. It was all blue and above the ring.

Now, on 5 it is slightly better - it is all blue above the ring with laps of yellow that shoot up about 1-2 inches above the "upper ring" or the top of the "superheater".

Still, this thing isn't putting out much heat at all. I can put my hand 1 inch above the cooktop and feel no pain. By contrast, I used to put my hand about 6 inches from the side of the Little Cod woodstove and feel extreme pain. You couldn't even think about putting your hand above the cooktop on the Little Cod.

On number 5 (max flow and $13 per day), should I be seeing more than 1-2 inch yellow licks of flame above the superheater? If that's all this thing can put out... I'm afraid I will have to return it, as it surely can't keep us warm this winter when the snow flies.

Should I be able to touch the black guard thing that goes around the stove and have it feel warm (but not hot) to the touch operating on number 5?

Thank you for all the input.

To answer some details and such, it is a gravity feed fuel line, being 4 feet above the stove through 3/8" line. It's installed exactly as directed in the manual without any deviation from the instructions. I light it exactly as Chuck describes, and it lights well. The fan assist isn't needed once it's lit and there is no diesel smell, except for maybe 10 seconds as you are lighting it with the stove open. There is less smell than using a wood stove, that is for sure. This is probably due to the small fan that pushes the initial smoke up the chimney assisting the draft.

So anyway, any input as to the intensity I should be getting? Should I be able to hold my hand 1 inch from the cooktop and feel no pain? Should I expect it to warm the room quickly? Should there be any radiant heat felt from 4 feet away? And lastly, should the flames be more than an inch above the "top ring" or top of the superheater?

Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:57   #12
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From my ownership of Dickenson products: 1) When you're getting yellow you're not getting the BTU's out of the fuel. If your getting yellow flame you need to increase the draft either by Fan or by making sure you allow more air into the cabin or both. If you don't have anough air to the burner you can end up with negative pressure in the cabin and then you've a real mess. I had that once and it was not fun. 2) On my stove I placed a fan in the cabin that actually blew over the flue. This helped to put much more heat into the cabin than just running the stove itself.

As far as how much heat this puts out and the radiant heat for your particular heater; I'll have to leave that to others.

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Old 11-10-2007, 11:39   #13
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Aloha Dave and Chuck,
Thanks for the lighting instructions. That clears it up. It'll be 80 here today so won't need it but it is nice to know I'll be able to get it started someday.
Regards,
JohnL
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Old 11-10-2007, 17:43   #14
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We find most of the heat comes off the stovepipe. We have a small variable speed fan that we run on a low setting that blows off the stovepipe at about a 45 degree angle,not straight across it, and spreads the warmth around. Works great.
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Old 14-10-2007, 15:38   #15
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Got the hang of the Dickinson, with help from some of the folks there.

Apparently, the secret was to get the superheater (that little removable rack thing you move when you light the burner) glowing red hot. Once the superheater is glowing red, it does a better job vaporizing the fuel and the stove burns hot.

Here is the REAL way to start the stove, even though the manual has a much more conservative approach probably designed to keep the faint of heart from having a huge fire the first time out.

1) Fill up the burner with the 2 tblspns of diesel.

2) Drop your paper in to light it up.

3) Replace superheater

4) Put stove on highest setting (#5) while the diesel is igniting and blast the fan on 100% or very close to it.

5) Keep stove in configuration described above in 4) until you see the superheater glow a bright red.

6) Use the stove normally after this, dropping it down from setting number 5 to whatever setting you want.

Doing this, I was able to obtain overfiring of the stove and now know where the top of the output is for the stove. I got the cast iron top and the sides glowing red (you shouldn't do this on any stove - this is known as overfiring), but then backed off to bring them back down to the appropriate temps (not glowing, but almost as hot).

Thankfully, the stove is cranking out a great amount of heat with this new lighting procedure and I have confidence it will keep us warm this winter. It has only needed to be on setting number 1 (lowest) when I leave it running overnight in 35 degree overnight low temps.

Thanks for all the input and tips.
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