Four weeks ago I became a full time live aboard. I have already weathered one of the worst hurricanes in New York history
and a couple of days later a raging Nor' Easter. Knowing full well the realities of our winters I fully investigated what the boats heating equipment
would be and settled on the Dickinson Newport diesel
heater. The cost of the equipment
was substantial and the labor, (I installed myself) was considerable.
I am going to relate my experience with the company and equipment. First and foremost the instruction manual for the heater is poorly written, vauge and contradictory. In spite of this I managed to do a beautiful installation
and it was with great anticipation of surviving cold New York
winters that I started using the unit. Basicly I am very disappointed with the heater.
1. The heater is absolutely filthy, it spews soot and carbon balls all over the cabin
top, sail cover
. This crap gets all over my beautiful boat and it stains what ever it gets on permanately, I have had to cover the mainsail
cover with shrink wrap as it was ruining the material. This morning was the final straw as the cabin
top looked like someone emptied a coal bin all over it. Had to get out on the deck
at 7:30 and hose everything down.
I am under the impression that I am not getting the heater burning efficiently
and the soot is a result of this poor combustion. While the height of my flu is within the companies specs for a good burn (5') the installation
would not accomidate the reccommended barometric damper.
2. When the new heater arrived I was shocked at how flimsey the construction appeared, very thin stainless sheat metal. The nice tile sailing ship on the front of the stove that I saw in so many of the adverts was no longer there, replaced by some crappy Dickinson
logo. So a couple of days after using the stove and with my lady friend on board the stove stops burning. Dickinson incorporates a fused link on the fuel
metering adjustment valve with the idea that if you get the stove burning to hot, low down in the burner the link melts and stops fuel
to the unit preventing a fire, a good thing right? So not wanting to freeze I get out the poorly written manual and fumble with trying to resolder the adjustment screw back together. I am unable to accomplish this and the next day am forced to contact the company. The young man I get on the phone
informs me that they use what is called a low temperature solder, melts at 105 degrees and is critical for the safety
of the boat to have this reapplied. When I ask him where I would get this solder he indicates that they usually purchase
it from hobby shops. I am dead in the water
with no heat and the company is actually reccomend that I go driving off in search of low temp solder at a "Hobby Shop". I currently have it soldered back in place with some electrical
solder, totally wrong but for the moment I have some heat. So a couple of nights later I come home from a hard day to a cold boat and go to start the stove and it won't light.
I take out my flashlight and inspect the front of the stove only to find that the fuel metering adjustment screw has fallen out and is laying on the floor, high quality product here or what. The lastest issue is that some of the sheet metal on the inside top of the stove has actually started to seperate and hang down from the top of the stove. It appears that it is not standing up to the temperature of the heater and has just started to warp.
Monday I will be calling Dickinson to see what can be done with all the problems.