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Old 28-12-2015, 12:02   #1
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Planar diesel heaters

Let me apologize in advance if this has been discussed previously but I cold find no threads in my search. I am thinking of installing a diesel forced air heater like a Planar or webasto but I was curious as to if anyone has installed one of the russian made Planar heaters. If so what are your thoughts.
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Old 28-12-2015, 12:43   #2
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Re: Planar diesel heaters

The critical issue would be availability of service and spare parts.

The less critical issue, if not in a Russian Winter, is would it be putting out too much heat?

Bear in mind for most of Russia, reliable heat and plenty of it, is a matter of life and death.

For insight, around the late 1980's, with uncertainties over the impact on engines that unleaded petrol would have, as the local dealer was basically giving the things away, I picked up a new Lada Samara (unleaded fuel capable). It had the best heater I have ever had in a car, not just by a mile, but over the horizon ahead.

It was so hot, on long journeys, you could cook on the dashboard (luckily the temperature control did work when needed), and hot pies were a delight. Never had fish and chips get cold on the way home from the chip shop either.

But yeah, spares and service parts will be the issue. Get that sorted, and I doubt you would ever freeze (I think they use a lot of these Planar's in Russian Heavy Goods Vehicles don't they? If so, they have to be better than ok). If spares and service parts are Unobtainium, I'd pass.

Here's a dealer list on their website, I'd call one and ask:

http://planarheaters.com/t/dealers
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Old 28-12-2015, 16:29   #3
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Re: Planar diesel heaters

I just installed one. If it were critical, I'd have bought (for 3-4 times the price) a brand name. But this was more of a nice-to-have, so I gave it a shot.

I've only had a few chances to test it out. Some lessons learned:

The exhaust gets HOT. Keep it as short as possible. I ended up buying extra insulation (sold for exhaust manifolds on race cars.)

The manual is translated - poorly - from Russian. It's all there, but it takes some time to figure out. I re-wrote the section on using the controller, if anyone's interested in a native English-speaking version.

It came with a long fuel line, which helped, but placement of the fuel tank was still a challenge. I ended up using the tank that came with it, rather than trying to tap off one of the main diesel tanks. The solenoid-based pump makes a clicking noise that some may find annoying. The manual also suggests (in a round-about way) keeping it higher than the tank so you don't get any leakage if a seal fails. So mounting the pump also requires a lot of thought.

A couple of times, mine went into a cool-down mode with a code indicating the unit got too hot inside. But it'll run fine at a low setting. Perhaps it only works on high when fed Siberian air temperatures.

I'm not yet ready to recommend this as the only or even primary heating system if heat is critical. I haven't yet had to buy parts, so I can't help there.

I already have reverse-cycle AC and could even plug in a couple of portable electric heaters to run off the generator in a pinch. Better still, take the boat somewhere warm.

I'm hoping the Planar allows me to take the edge off the cool evenings when on the hook, and extends my season a little. If it does that even most of the time, I'll be happy.
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Old 28-12-2015, 16:40   #4
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Re: Planar diesel heaters

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
I just installed one. If it were critical, I'd have bought (for 3-4 times the price) a brand name. But this was more of a nice-to-have, so I gave it a shot.

I've only had a few chances to test it out. Some lessons learned:

The exhaust gets HOT. Keep it as short as possible. I ended up buying extra insulation (sold for exhaust manifolds on race cars.)

The manual is translated - poorly - from Russian. It's all there, but it takes some time to figure out. I re-wrote the section on using the controller, if anyone's interested in a native English-speaking version.

It came with a long fuel line, which helped, but placement of the fuel tank was still a challenge. I ended up using the tank that came with it, rather than trying to tap off one of the main diesel tanks. The solenoid-based pump makes a clicking noise that some may find annoying. The manual also suggests (in a round-about way) keeping it higher than the tank so you don't get any leakage if a seal fails. So mounting the pump also requires a lot of thought.

A couple of times, mine went into a cool-down mode with a code indicating the unit got too hot inside. But it'll run fine at a low setting. Perhaps it only works on high when fed Siberian air temperatures.

I'm not yet ready to recommend this as the only or even primary heating system if heat is critical. I haven't yet had to buy parts, so I can't help there.

I already have reverse-cycle AC and could even plug in a couple of portable electric heaters to run off the generator in a pinch. Better still, take the boat somewhere warm.

I'm hoping the Planar allows me to take the edge off the cool evenings when on the hook, and extends my season a little. If it does that even most of the time, I'll be happy.
That's kind of what I am looking for. Thanks.
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