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Old 12-11-2012, 09:23   #31
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

I think there may be some misunderstanding about simplicity/complexity with respect to the Dickensons. Sure, conceptually they are dead simple; and if you only consider what happens once the fuel hits the flame, that's still pretty simple.

Execution-wise, I can't think of a more Rube Goldberg mechanism than their fuel metering valve. The pin/float/spring thing is unnecessarily complex and prone to failure and is difficult to troubleshoot. I'm happy for folks who haven't had something go wrong with theirs, but if it jams, you're in just as much trouble as someone with a "complicated" forced-air system.

Mind you, I'm not saying the forced-air is necessarily a better alternative... I think they tend toward excess complexity as well. But I guess anything looks simple to anyone until you have to fix it...
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Old 12-11-2012, 14:10   #32
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

I also have a Dickinson Newport furnace. My successful installation/use of this furnace can only be attributed to luck. I have no prior experience with any furnace of this type.

The distance from the top of the furnace to the top of the stack cap is 4 feet. I experimented with a the stack extended to 6 feet and noticed no difference in operation. As can be seen in the pictures, there are no bends in the stack and no barometric damper is installed. I do not use the combustion air fan (have never hooked it up to 12V). I have used the furnace approximately 500 hrs. and have lit the fire approximately 150 times. I have never cleaned the stack cap. I mostly use the max heat setting and the control knob (that contains the safety solder link) does not get warm at all. I have never observed anything coming out of the stack except a little bit of dark colored smoke on start-ups.

I notice that the your stack cap is a completely different than mine. Perhaps your cap is somehow causing the problem.

Good luck solving your dilemma.

Steve
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Old 12-11-2012, 15:04   #33
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

Having viewed the pix of your soot discharge I can understand why you are distressed. But something must REALLY be wrong to generate such a mess... it's just off scale compared to any pot burner heater that I have seen.

The oily appearance of the soot is very different from that small amount that we get with our FabAll. Seems that there is a lot of completely unburned oil coming up the stack mixed with the partly burned soot.

One factor that hasn't been discussed is your fuel supply. How are you getting it from the reservoir to the heater? Pump? Gravity?. One possible cause of excess fuel would be excessive pressure at the "carburetor"... I know that on the FabAll they warn against having more than circa one psi IIRC.

Good luck with solving the problem.

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Old 12-11-2012, 16:25   #34
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

Dock head,

Much truth, one exception.

Assuming similar controls, all you have to do is remove power for a few seconds and it resets. Not in manual.

This guy claims to be the world expert on espar. Maybe not, but he's pretty damn good.

ACPL Heating Systems - Dealers for Espar Heaters, Serving Newfoundland & Atlantic Canada
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Old 12-11-2012, 17:32   #35
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Having viewed the pix of your soot discharge I can understand why you are distressed. But something must REALLY be wrong to generate such a mess... it's just off scale compared to any pot burner heater that I have seen.

The oily appearance of the soot is very different from that small amount that we get with our FabAll. Seems that there is a lot of completely unburned oil coming up the stack mixed with the partly burned soot.

One factor that hasn't been discussed is your fuel supply. How are you getting it from the reservoir to the heater? Pump? Gravity?. One possible cause of excess fuel would be excessive pressure at the "carburetor"... I know that on the FabAll they warn against having more than circa one psi IIRC.

Good luck with solving the problem.

Cheers,

JIm
Thanks Jim, I am gravity feeding the stove from a tank behind the bulkhead.
The thought has occured to me that the 3/8th fuel line is three feet above the heater and might be delivering to much pressure to the carb. The tech rep gave contradictory information when this was discussed prior to the installion to what the manual called for. I will revisit the specs.
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Old 12-11-2012, 18:36   #36
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

The pressure head (height of liquid) in the oil metering valve (carb) is held constant by the float valve. This means pressure on the needle valve is constant and fuel flow to the pot is not affected by where the fuel comes from. If you had too much pressure in the delivery system such that it would overcome the float valve the chamber would fill up and fuel would come out of the overflow pipe into the bottle that you're supposed to have under.

If I remember the manual correctly, the safety link melts when the fire is burning in the pot instead of up at the burner ring. OK I looked it up.

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

If the high fire sleeve melts it indicates too much heat is by the valve compartment. Overheating of this kind is due to burning the heater too lean with the flames burning down in the burner pot and should be rectified before the heater overheats again.

Manual also has pictures of what the flame is supposed to look like. Too lean also results in lots of soot it says.


Sailed for years on a friend's boat with an old army surplus truck heater which was basically a Webasto style forced air heater. Sailed my other friend's OI 41 with a Newport. After pushing the button on the forced air for heat, going to adding just the right amount of oil to start, fiddle the oil metering knob and fan to get the flame right, and then the backdrafts in wind seemed a real pain. Bought my own boat which had an Antarctic (floor model Newport). Worked fine for this kind of heater after I mounted the oil metering valve in the fore/aft plane, but I never trusted it. I never had tar balls like yours, but even burning clean it leaves a little oily soot on the boat. The backdrafting under sail was really not fun. My wife would never start it, was afraid of doing it wrong. I put in a Webasto. Back to the easy life of turn the knob and have heat, and it circulates the heat on its own. Too bad I was spoiled early by that ancient army truck heater. I'm deprived of something to keep me busy while it's cold out.
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Old 13-11-2012, 13:50   #37
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

Hello All,

A diesel heater can be quite frusterating to operate if there is an issue causing the fuel to air mixture be unbalanced.

I would love to help anyone having issues to get their heater up and running to your satisfaction.

Please e-mail me at info@dickinsonmarine.com and we can work through any issues you may have
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Old 13-11-2012, 16:39   #38
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

I ordered the barometric damper, will have it installed soon and will keep all advised, thanks for all the help and support.
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Old 13-11-2012, 19:38   #39
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

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Originally Posted by DickinsonMarine View Post
Hello All,

A diesel heater can be quite frusterating to operate if there is an issue causing the fuel to air mixture be unbalanced.

I would love to help anyone having issues to get their heater up and running to your satisfaction.

Please e-mail me at info@dickinsonmarine.com and we can work through any issues you may have
Now that's customer service!
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Old 13-11-2012, 20:32   #40
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

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I would love to help anyone having issues to get their heater up and running to your satisfaction.
Welcome to the forum
This forum welcomes commercial members

Don't be afraid to post content here (we don't bite)

A bit of troubleshooting from your company will go a long way in the promotion of your company
Thats good for business

Being from BC I see your products on the majority of commercial vessels
And there are many users world-wide familiar with your Marine Barbecue's

We have an Beaufort diesel marine stove on one boat
It has worked fine (other than the time the crew replaced the corroded flue top with a turbine type cap)
That really fouled up the draft
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Old 14-11-2012, 11:53   #41
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

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I ordered the barometric damper, will have it installed soon and will keep all advised, thanks for all the help and support.

Currently allot of marinas are selling "low sulfer diesel" which seems to have a higher vaporization rate meaning the fuel must reach a higher temperature to vaporize making it dufficult to get the fire out of the burner and above the burner ring.

Low sulfer diesel is a more green to yellow color where as normal diesel is a more reddish brown color.

When using low sulfer diesel fuel, we have a baffle for the burner available to help reflect the heat back down to the fuel, helping the fire reach complete combustion. More air also helps when using this type of fuel. Using the fan on medium speeds as well as waiting closer to an hour per adjustment to the valve as it takes longer to effect the fuel.

This might be part of the issue with your heater.

Any questions in regards to using this type of fuel that is more and more being used out there, contact Michelle @ Dickinson
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Old 15-11-2012, 17:16   #42
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

There was a Dickinson on-board "Star" when we bought her, the largest in the range which I think is the Pacific, and we thought . . . great!

Well, our problem turned out to be one right out of the blue, the unit was simply far, far to big for the boat! We could heat virtually the whole boat on the absolute lowest of settings . . . but that meant we could never get the damn thing hot enough to either produce hot water - and worse - even cook on! Turn it up to do so and in mid-winter we had hatches open to stay cool!

Yet even when we reduced it's oil consumption to 0.81 Imperial gallons EVERY 24 hours we didn't have too much problem with soot, like all ranges they work best when on all the time. Some of our experience though might help you and others.

Our s/s flue system was 6" dia, went up through the wheel-house and in doing so heated it nicely, and ended 4' above the w/h roof in a louvered cowl. This remained pretty clean inside but we did notice that it often helped the draught if we turned the outer part of the cowl to use the louvres for maximum effect.

When starting the 12v fan was 100% essential in keeping it burning till it had enough residual heat and there was no doubt that getting the balance was tricky.

I don't think we EVER saw the perfect coloured flame above the burning pot . . . even when we could see it through the poxy little window!

Once or twice when we turned it up in anger to boil a kettle - and forgot to turn it back down afterwards - we would find our white w/h roof had been spotted with soot . . . and it doesn't even wash off when it rains either as it's so oily!

"Star" is going through a total refurbishment and, not surprisingly, the Dickinson has come out . . . it's getting replaced with an Alde 3000, a gas oven and hob and a small log burner . . . all of which I genuinely believe will do the jobs they will have been bought for.

Your symptom is definitely one of burning the oil far too rich and therefore pumping unburnt oil up your flue . . . if only we had prices per litre here in the UK to be able to do that!
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Old 15-11-2012, 18:20   #43
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

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Hello All,

A diesel heater can be quite frusterating to operate if there is an issue causing the fuel to air mixture be unbalanced.

No where in any of your product advertisements was this indicated, had I knownl like many others that I would have been experiencing such difficulties I would have gone in another direction.

I would love to help anyone having issues to get their heater up and running to your satisfaction.

Please e-mail me at info@dickinsonmarine.com and we can work through any issues you may have
Currently allot of marinas are selling "low sulfer diesel" which seems to have a higher vaporization rate meaning the fuel must reach a higher temperature to vaporize making it dufficult to get the fire out of the burner and above the burner ring.Low sulfer diesel is a more green to yellow color where as normal diesel is a more reddish brown color. Again this would of been nice to know before I purchased your equipment, the state of New York has mandated only low sulpher diesel can be sold, no difference between number 1 and the so called number 2 and has been this way for a very long time. I am under the impression that many other US states have the same regulations. I don't think that is fair to assume that after a long hard day that a customer wishes to try and sort out the color of the diesel fuel they are purchasing. I also think that it fair to assume that a customer has a fair expectation that when they purchase a product that it should work. Considering that low sulpher diesel appears to be the norm rather than the exception in the US marketplace do you think there should be the baffle you've mentioned included as part of the heater package when it arrives. While your at why don't you throw in a couple of inches of the low temperature solder and some specs concerning the melting teperatures of that solder rather than having your customer service guy telling me to go to a hobby shop to try and find some.

When using low sulfer diesel fuel, we have a baffle for the burner available to help reflect the heat back down to the fuel, helping the fire reach complete combustion. More air also helps when using this type of fuel. Using the fan on medium speeds as well as waiting closer to an hour per adjustment to the valve as it takes longer to effect the fuel.

(QUOTE)

I just installed your barometric damper, while the stove appears to be drawing somewhat better, it is still showing the signs of smoking in the burner and a little sooting on the glass. I only have access to low sulpher diesel in our state, it would be appreciated if you could contact at my email: seaburger1@aol.com and make arrangements to ship me the "Special" baffle and a little low temp solder so I can repair my fused safety link.
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Old 15-11-2012, 21:22   #44
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The low sulfur diesel fuel needing more air and more heat for combustion in the diesel heaters has only started to be an issue. We have had a few customers running into problems with this type of fuel so we have been testing and sending out samples of baffles to customers for feedback.

Different types of fuels have different characteristics and depending on the fuel used will effect the burning characteristics of the fire. The way you operate your heater would depend on this. If the fuel doesn't burn off, there needs to be more air added to prevent overheating.

Not every sooting issue can be explained by 'using low sulfur diesel'. Soot is created with either too much fuel- not enough air, which usually collects on the window or on deck. Soot is also created by too much air- not enough fuel, which will usually creates hard carbon build up inside the burner pot, with a very small fire below the burner ring.

Sometimes fixing a sooting issue can be as easy as using the fan or opening the barometric damper. Under normal correct operation of a diesel heater, no soot should be created. This doesn't mean you can turn the unit on and walk away. One must monitor the fire to ensure complete combustion or soot can be created if the fuel and air are not balanced, not meaning 'our product doesn't work', just that not all factors are in place to work properly and that lies in the hands of the operator.

The low temperature solder melts at 165 F and is a safety feature for the valve so it will shut off before the fuel inside vaporizes. It can be repaired but if the solder is gone, it can be replaced as the unit has a 1 year warranty so a replacement can be sent to you, no problem.

Its unfortunate that you have been so frustrated over this matter. I will e-mail you tomorrow to arrange for you to receive these parts.
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Old 15-11-2012, 21:37   #45
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Re: Dirty Filthy Flimsey Dickinson Heater

And that ladies and Gentlemen is why Dickenson stoves are so popular
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