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Old 27-11-2012, 15:12   #1
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Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

I am finishing building 34ft steel sailing boat, and time to choose best heating system. Iím in dilemma: from one side I like air forced heaters like Wallas 30 DT, from another side Ė traditional diesel heater Dickinson Newport. For me both of them have their own pros and cons. I do not have my own experience in those heaters. On my previous boat I have used electrical fan hooked to the shore which is not working at all when you sailing.
On your opinion which system is better as for living aboard? Air forced or traditional ?
Thanks
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Old 27-11-2012, 15:24   #2
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

I'm in the same boat My previous boat came with a new uninstalled Dickenson, so I installed it. It was a pain to install, I could never really get it to burn how it should, it would soot up the glass and put soot on deck. In retrospect it was probably low-sulfer diesel.

So now I know a lot more and I'm still on the fence about it. My boat is going to be simple, but not really minimalist. But I'm a big woosie about being cold too. I am really attracted to the idea of heat with no power if something went really, really wrong.

Then again, forced air or hydronic would be so very very nice. Sorry I've been of no help at all but I look forward to the discussion.

I will say the dickenson was very aesthetically pleasing and even 'romantic' the pretty girl is always worth a little drama, right?
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Old 27-11-2012, 15:37   #3
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

By far the best diesel heating stove out there is the Danish Refleks stove. Not only beautiful but has the reputation as the easiest to repair and to do PM,s on.

Pricy yes but if you are living on a boat year round in cold damp weather spend the extra money and enjoy life.
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Old 28-11-2012, 01:09   #4
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Can't claim any knowledge on diesel heaters..

But my boat came with ac and hydronic heat using a common forced air.

The heaters are plumbed into the primary side of the hot water system.
The water is heated by the engine or generator or diesel cooker. The hot tank buffers the heat.
There is a small 12v circulating pump.

When on shore power / or if there is enough sun and wind the hot tank is heated by an immersion heater and the hydroponic heaters draw their heat from that.

What I like..
it provides mobile and static heat.
The air return is through the bilge and the flow seems to keep them fresh.
System seems to work well. Though the boat is moderately insulated. Had some -2deg c days this year.

What I don't like..
The air fans are noisy.
High number of failure points - I'm working to add isolation to allow me to take sections off line.
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Old 28-11-2012, 03:46   #5
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

Hello Mub,
I am curious about your system. Is it on a sail or motor boat? Do you have any schematics for your system. It sounds prettin interesting especially using the bilge for return and hot water from both diesels engines.
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Old 28-11-2012, 05:06   #6
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

Look into the Espar Hydronic heating system as well. Forced air would be my second choice followed by the Dickinson heaters.
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Old 28-11-2012, 05:59   #7
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

We've had great success with Webasto Air Top (forced air) heater. We've never been able to turn it more than halfway up, at full blast it makes it Sahara desert HOT aboard. Burns about 1/2 gal (2 litres) overnight on a cold night.

Important caveat: these diesel systems were designed for European fuel, which is cleaner than fuel in the U.S. If you're burning diesel from our side of the pond you need to periodically burn kerosene thru it to clear out the accumulated carbon.

If I had it to do over again I'd probably look at the Wallas, the idea of only one fuel and one appliance appeals to me.
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Old 28-11-2012, 06:57   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northwestsailor
Hello Mub,
I am curious about your system. Is it on a sail or motor boat? Do you have any schematics for your system. It sounds prettin interesting especially using the bilge for return and hot water from both diesels engines.
Thanks
The system is on a sail boat and I have no schematics - but I am documenting as I go through and refit.

A little more detail... There are 2 air handelers one for the v berth and one for the cabin and master. Refrigerant and warm water are run forward through the head liner. The rear handeler draws air in from the bildges.

There is also a air condensate line which is pumped and runs to the grey water system.
Not sure that if we were well healing that they would work.

All the plumbing is in pex. With copper close to the heat sources.

As an experiment I shut off power to the 20 gal hot tank over night. The outside temp is on freezing and 6 hours later we still have some heat coming out . Inside temp is 19C . Perfectly comfortable.

But my morning shower took the last of the warm water.

Insulation and controlled ventilation are the key here.

Oh I'm in the Seattle for a weather reference.
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Old 28-11-2012, 07:06   #9
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

I would avoid hydronic , ie water based solution, Ive had too many issues with both Ebespacher and Webasto. The Forced Air solutions , are simpler and bring the boat up to temp faster. They are of course that bit noisier. I have no experience of teh Wallas 30DT, I did sail a boat with their diesel stove, which was not to my liking.

The Newport is a completly different type of solution , so I dont know why you are comparing them.

Dave
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Old 29-11-2012, 10:52   #10
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

Thank you for all your inputs
Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
The Newport is a completly different type of solution , so I dont know why you are comparing them.

Dave
Yes, Dave, they are belongs to different types of heaters, but they do same job- heating the boat. And my main question which system is better. Names Newport and Wallas 30dtm I used here as a sample. At present I want to make design (with you help )to what system to move, and after that I will decide particular model (Wallas, Webasto, Airtronic,, Dickinson, Refleks, Taylors etc etc). Numbers from companyís website easy to compare, but numbers is nothing to human experience.
I will not going to install hydronic system. It seems too complicated with more maintenance later. I trying to keep things simple, not minimal ( as says Xymotic and most of us)

To jacob30:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob30 View Post
Forced air would be my second choice followed by the Dickinson heaters.
Why?

As I told before on my previous boat I had electric fan. The problem with it was it eats oxygen and after running few hours in cold weather I had headache. Air forced heaters does have this issue?

How fast they heat the boat?
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Old 29-11-2012, 11:21   #11
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

I used a heater core and fan from Red Dot. It is a school bus heater. Cost @$100 plus parts to install. Use it while running the engine and doesn't cost anything to operate. When engine is not running I use my Honda 2000 to run a $30 cermamic two heat setting 750W and 1500W heater from Walmart while charging batteries at the same time.
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Old 02-12-2012, 18:28   #12
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeborahLee View Post
I used a heater core and fan from Red Dot. It is a school bus heater. Cost @$100 plus parts to install. Use it while running the engine and doesn't cost anything to operate. When engine is not running I use my Honda 2000 to run a $30 cermamic two heat setting 750W and 1500W heater from Walmart while charging batteries at the same time.
Interesting, and may be a very good solution.

I'm confused on "why not" hydronic? It seems to me that forced air is by far more complicated and hardest of all to install?

Then Hydraulic, then radiant like a newport.

I will say that the difficult part of my previous newport install was the hydronic heater coil and sourcing a low amp magnetic pump that could deal with hot water.
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Old 02-12-2012, 18:49   #13
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

I had a Wallas cook-top and Espar forced air heater on a prior boat. The Wallas never worked well. The Espar worked very well when it worked. Neither were reliable and both needed to be sent back for expensive service (hundreds of dollars each) within the 3 years I owned the boat. The dealer who serviced the Espar said it's necessary to clean or replace the glo plug every once in a while, so if you own one you should learn how to do that or you'll be without heat while the unit's being serviced, and you'll be without money before it comes back.

If you read the specs for heater electric power requirements; forced air uses one to three amps per hour (for fan and diesel pump) and hydronic uses a lot more than that. If you are on shore power or have a genset that's no issue, but if you're anchored out it's a major consideration.

OTOH, if you're on shore power or have a genset you can also consider electric heat as mentioned by others above. If I were going to be off-grid without a genset I'd look at the fireplace types (Dickinson, Refleks, etc.) for their reliability and low-amp overhead..... If you have easy access to propane tank refills you should consider that option also. LP gas is cleaner burning and doesn't gum up or go bad.
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Old 02-12-2012, 19:12   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xymotic
I'm confused on "why not" hydronic? It seems to me that forced air is by far more complicated and hardest of all to install?
I had a hydronic system on my last boat, but switched to a forced-air system on the current boat. While the hydronic systems are superior in terms of installation and the ability to heat water, they actually increase boat humidity. The forced air systems have two advantages: (1) they dry the boat out, and (2) they head the boat much more quickly when you turn them on.

As a liveaboard who cooks and showers aboard, we had huge moisture problems during the rainy season back in our hydronic days. Not only did I have to install a hard-wired and hard-plumbed dehumidifier, but I'd have to declare a "pasta moratorium" on rainy days. Ultimately, this is why we switched to a forced-air system made by the same manufacturer as our previous hydronic system.
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Old 02-12-2012, 19:12   #15
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Re: Diesel heaters: Wallas vs Dickinson

Aaa, Dickerson and other diesel fired stoves, have water heating coils that they offer for there stoves!! with them and a insulated tank, a couple of bus heaters and some hose and ya have a heating system!! Ive done this on both a 42 ft steel sailing boat and a 70 ft power vessel! They work well enough that we used them in Alaska in the winter time ! and were comfortable !! Ya don't need plans for a system like this ! Ya just need to remember hot water rises !! Just a old idea that works well !!!
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