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Old 01-03-2014, 23:52   #76
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

Vino, I did something today with my furnace that I have never done before. I think it might be a good clue for your problem.

I opened the door of the furnace about 15 minutes after lighting. The flame was already above the burner ring and just starting to put out heat. As soon as I opened the door, the flame recessed below the burner ring. Also, for the first time ever, I could smell diesel fumes as the flame imediatly started to emit visible smoke (something I have not seen previously). I closed the door within a few seconds but the smell lingered for quite a while. I am sure that had I left the door open longer I would have got some of that soot coating that you describe. BTW, I have never had any soot in the boat anywhere. I do not get soot inside the stove either except for a tiny residue on the viewing window that I occasionally wipe off with my finger (this is why I opened the door).

So, what I am thinking is that you may have some kind of an air leak in your stove above the burner ring. If this is the case, it would explain why you are having trouble getting you flame high enough and also the rich fuel/air mixture and associated soot.

It was pretty easy to see that with my door open, much of the negative pressure created by chimney draft was eliminated. The air flowing through the door did not aid combustion because it entering the burner above the flame.

This may all be pie in the sky but you might try sealing up any gaps in the sheet metal with some high temp RTV. If it makes no improvement the stuff peels off easy enough. Not sure how your door seals (mine is metal to metal) but perhaps some sort of packing material needs to be added if your door is warped or otherwise ill fitting.

Good luck

Steve
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:29   #77
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

Try:

1) Alcohol for start-up. Do not even turn on the diesel until the alcohol has heated up the burn chamber. One way to achieve this without burning down the boat is to get a syringe 20 ml or so and fit it to a long 1/8" copper tube. Fill the syringe with alcohol. Dribble alcohol into the chamber, use a long BBQ butane lighter to ignite, and feed the chamber with the alcohol. When you are half way done (10ml) with the alcohol turn the diesel on to the lowest setting and keep feeding the alcohol which will keep the diesel mixture burning hot to keep it from sooting.

2) Consider burning kerosene or Jet A until the stove is cranking hot. Burns cleaner without soot. Can still be used with the alcohol start-up. Once the stove is burning hot you can run whatever you want (Diesel) and it will be unlikely to soot up.

3) Your pipes need to be tuned better. You're not producing a steady draft. You're gonna have to get a fan/damper set-up tuned.

4) Aerogel for the areas to close to stuff that burns. (Ebay $5 sq ft.)

Give it a whirl
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Old 02-03-2014, 17:16   #78
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

Due to some similar temp issues I installed a Waldron feed pump wth a Holly pressure regulator.

That helped but did not completely solve the problem.
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Old 02-03-2014, 21:00   #79
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

Today, checked fuel flow rate again and it still showed OK. Pulled the carb apart anyway to clean, but it appeared OK too. Then went over my notes on burn characteristics over the past weeks looking for patterns. Comparison showed all fan use drew the flame down into the pot at higher fuel settings. None of the experiments worked on higher settings, none of the flue extensions made any positive difference. Improvised superheaters did make a noticeable difference, sometimes one better than the other.

One thing stuck out - at all settings above 3, the flame would burn high for a while, then draw down into the pot. That made me question if the drip test for fuel flow was a reliable test. If fuel coming to the carb was restricted, possibly the carb bowl would fill enough to show a positive fuel flow, but at high settings, the bowl could drain, starving the fuel momentarily until it built up again enough to flow, repeat pattern again and again. If this is what was happening, it could also prevent the combustion chamber from getting hot enough to maintain steady draft.

So I pulled the fuel line off coming to the carb. It flowed, but not as high a rate as I expected. Then pulled it off BEFORE the filter, which appeared to be OK, and blew it out with air, stuck in a new filter anyway, and tested back at the carb end. Better flow!

Now, it is up and running with better burn than I have had for quite a while. Not confident that was the whole problem, but certainly making progress. Will report after a day or two leaving it on.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:28   #80
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

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Sorry, DIck, you lose my support unless you can show me how I may be wrong.
I say that to my dick all the time...
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:02   #81
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

I have a Dickenson in my hunting cabin, but the boats have Espars. I'm not allergic to Pot burners, in the right application.

I don't know of anyone who runs the Dickenson on a sailboat under sail. There are issues with the amount and duration of heel a sailboat develops. To me that seems a significant disadvantage.

I find the Espars pretty darn reliable. If seriouly concerned you could buy an entire spare burner. Not cheap but pretty easy to swap out, they work on the broken unit in the warmth of your cabin.

I find the arguments against the Espars unconvincing.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:37   #82
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

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Originally Posted by Vino the Dog View Post
Today, checked fuel flow rate again and it still showed OK. Pulled the carb apart anyway to clean, but it appeared OK too. Then went over my notes on burn characteristics over the past weeks looking for patterns. Comparison showed all fan use drew the flame down into the pot at higher fuel settings. None of the experiments worked on higher settings, none of the flue extensions made any positive difference. Improvised superheaters did make a noticeable difference, sometimes one better than the other.

One thing stuck out - at all settings above 3, the flame would burn high for a while, then draw down into the pot. That made me question if the drip test for fuel flow was a reliable test. If fuel coming to the carb was restricted, possibly the carb bowl would fill enough to show a positive fuel flow, but at high settings, the bowl could drain, starving the fuel momentarily until it built up again enough to flow, repeat pattern again and again. If this is what was happening, it could also prevent the combustion chamber from getting hot enough to maintain steady draft.

So I pulled the fuel line off coming to the carb. It flowed, but not as high a rate as I expected. Then pulled it off BEFORE the filter, which appeared to be OK, and blew it out with air, stuck in a new filter anyway, and tested back at the carb end. Better flow!

Now, it is up and running with better burn than I have had for quite a while. Not confident that was the whole problem, but certainly making progress. Will report after a day or two leaving it on.
Sorry, I haven't read the entire thread, so this may have already been covered. I don't have a diesel stove but I do have the Dickinson Newport heater, which is used a lot during the winter.

Dickinson provide two 12V mini pumps for their diesel stoves/heaters, that supply a constant 3 psi. The simpler version just provides the constant 3 psi at around $160 and a more sophisticated version where you can dial in a figure to compensate for the varying temperatures of the diesel at around $230.

From experience, I notice a significant difference in fuel flow between autumn and winter and am considering fitting the more sophisticated of the two pumps. It makes sense to me that there are only three factors to consider: fuel flow, airflow for burning and airflow for the exhaust. All important factors but a constant pressure of fuel would certainly eliminate 33% of the problems. I also believe the automatic, barometric flue would probably eliminate the rest.
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Old 07-03-2014, 20:01   #83
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

I dont have the stove but I have the Dickerson heater. I have read that they make a ring that fits over the burner that is supposed to compensate for the low sulphur diesel fuel thats available now. I have been told to use a separate tank of kerosene for the heater. Next falls project.
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Old 07-03-2014, 20:54   #84
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

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Originally Posted by Knapweed View Post
Sorry, I haven't read the entire thread, so this may have already been covered. I don't have a diesel stove but I do have the Dickinson Newport heater, which is used a lot during the winter.

Dickinson provide two 12V mini pumps for their diesel stoves/heaters, that supply a constant 3 psi. The simpler version just provides the constant 3 psi at around $160 and a more sophisticated version where you can dial in a figure to compensate for the varying temperatures of the diesel at around $230.

From experience, I notice a significant difference in fuel flow between autumn and winter and am considering fitting the more sophisticated of the two pumps. It makes sense to me that there are only three factors to consider: fuel flow, airflow for burning and airflow for the exhaust. All important factors but a constant pressure of fuel would certainly eliminate 33% of the problems. I also believe the automatic, barometric flue would probably eliminate the rest.
The flow of fuel into the pot is not normally affected by the pressure of the pump. The float in the oil metering valve (this is what dickenson calls it) provides a constant height of liquid in the metering valve, supposedly providing a constant flow for a setting of the needle. Obviously viscosity changes make this not true.

The 3 psi pump is a low enough pressure to not overcome the float. If you put too much presssure the oil metering float opens when it isn't supposed to and overfills the metering valve which will then flow out the overflow port. This is a failure mode where the oil level in the oil metering valve is higher than normal, increasing the flow of fuel into the pot.

I assume the adjustable pump might be for pumping from a lower than normal depth from a deep keeled boat. You would set it to provide 3 psi at the heater/stove.
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Old 08-03-2014, 21:34   #85
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

Since my last post, have had a few days to run various experiments with this stove. I had hoped that finding restrictions on my fuel flow would prove to be "the problem", but, alas, was not to be.

While the restrictions in fuel flow, either from something microscopic in the metering valve, or a problem in the intake line, probably did contribute to the problem, cleaning it out did not provide any answer.

Since that cleaning, I have run the stove with each of the different configurations of "superheaters" and found each give different results, none of which ideal. The "superheater" gave a very hot, but very dirty burn. The simple version gave moderate heat and fairly clean burn but hard to fire up. The basic baffle that came stock with the stove gave clean burn, but very poor heat. The LSD baffle in conjunction with basic baffle provided very dirty start up, but good, hot, and fairly clean high end burn. At this writing, the stove is running on another modified superheater, which I will report on the next post

While I now have clear fuel flow that meets test specs and practical burn effectiveness, there remains a totally unreliable prediction of performance in any combination of flow rate and baffle configuration.

For you who tuned into this thread recently, please look over the prior posts. I have posted the results of quite a few experiments and others have posted a lot of good information from their experience. Your comments are all welcome, as this is all about what we can realistically learn and expect from these pot burners

thanks for y9ur contribution.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:57   #86
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

As has been mentioned in previous posts starting the stove with methanol prevents sooting, I tried to save a couple of bucks and was starting the heater this year without the methanol as a primer and lo and behold heater went back to sooting.
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Old 11-03-2014, 22:34   #87
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

cburger,
I know that you, (and others) are totally correct about start up with a more volatile fuel, particularly in colder temperatures and with day tanks NOT in heated areas, like mine. That is consistent with the physics of atomization and flash point. Methanol, alcohol, and kerosene, all have lower flash point, thus will fire up at lower temperature, producing no soot. So does gasoline and several other fuels, but too low flash point to be safe. Firing up with diesel will always produce soot. More and longer the colder the fuel is.

I now have my stove working pretty good. Running clean all the way from setting 1 up to 5, but hottest setting is far less than old stove at 3+. Plus, it is warm now, and it worked OK when it was warm in the fall. Didn't have problems until temperature dropped below 30's at night, so still don't know how well it will work when it gets cold again.

But, now I understand how these things work.

I have a table of documented data under different conditions and three different versions of superheaters and baffles to choose from. Each produce different results under different conditions, and it is all recorded and photographed, so I can select during changing conditions.

I have tried extending the flue height, and changed the initial section to exceed minimum requirements, not just according to Dickinson, but according to flue gas physics. The only thing out of all those experiments than made any difference (and that somewhat negligible) was the first section to accelerate flue gasses before hitting resistance of an angle.

Also understand atomization of fuel, flash point, flow restrictions, and that the drip test on setting 1 is inadequate to provide sure evidence that flow is correct. Flow must be checked at both low and high settings to get it right.

Fan has never made any difference at all on mine, except for very few minutes at start up, and even that is sometimes counterproductive depending on temperature of the day.

I am not even close to being done experimenting with this thing or studying the physics of it, but for the time being, it is working OK.

Thank you all for your comments, and if you have any others, I look forward to hearing them.
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Old 21-03-2014, 17:08   #88
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

Spring is here. Temperatures warm enough to not need the Dickinson at all for heat. It takes too long to warm up to make it useful for cooking (thought that was what it was designed for?), and has no temp control to do any cooking other than heating up things that have no requirement for delicacy.

Now, I would love to hear how any of you use these things for cooking? I know you can heat stuff up, but is it possible to cook a prepared meal that requires temperature control? Please give me some hints if you know how to do that.

Also, further experiments are pretty moot at this point since it has been cold temperatures when the thing failed. Thus, I don't expect realistic opportunity to experiment any further. It seems to run OK now (as it did last fall, before it got cold), even though it still smells and makes my eyes ache.

I am thinking about writing up the results of my experiments along with comments from many of you, and formatting it into a .pdf to share with others (free) who may be interested. I think the Dickinson manuals are not adequate and others could benefit from the collective personal experience of those who have contributed to this thread.

Let me know if any of you think this would be a worth while thing to share.

thank you all.
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Old 19-04-2014, 18:24   #89
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

Wondering here. Have you tried using stove fuel? Instead of ultra low sulfer diesel. I noticed on dickens end site that they have a notice about ULSD in their heater section. It doesn't burn as well and they have a fix for it. This is with the. Heaters only and no mention of the stoves. May be worth a look at.
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Old 19-04-2014, 19:34   #90
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Re: Dickenson Cook Stoves

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Wondering here. Have you tried using stove fuel? Instead of ultra low sulfer diesel. I noticed on dickens end site that they have a notice about ULSD in their heater section. It doesn't burn as well and they have a fix for it. This is with the. Heaters only and no mention of the stoves. May be worth a look at.

Have not tried any other fuel. For me the whole reason for this stove is a single fuel system. From my experimentation, low sulphur fuel is far less a problem than location of the day tank, type of "superheater" and most significant, temperature.

During the time I was experimenting with this stove, I was in contact with Michelle Parry from Dickenson. Nothing she told me was anything other than reciting exactly what is printed in their manual or repeating what others who posted to this thread had already said, except for a couple pieces of information about the company and her personal experience. The original Dickenson company went bankrupt in 1984. The current Dickenson company(and Sigmar - Sig Marine) is owned by a sheet metal fabrication company, who bought the rights to the Dickenson name along with drawings dated back to the 1950". That company is owned by the Parry family.

When I asked Michelle Parry about her personal experience with these stoves, she replied that she is a "weekender" who has cooked on one. I personally do not believe the current manufacturers have any real knowledge, experience, or interest in these stoves other than making money off the reputation of the original Dickenson company. I think the opinions of the seamen who post to this thread is far more informative than anything from Dickenson.

Still have the stove in my boat. Got it working acceptably, but not well enough to recommend them to anyone, and use it as little as possible. If I find something better, will swap out. If not, will continue to figure how to make it work better next time it gets cold.
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