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  #1  
Old 02-13-2008
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Force 10 Diesel Cabin Heater

My boat came with a Froce 10 diesel unit; it was non-op when I purchased the boat because the pressure tank looked like it was in need of replacement. I got a new tank last weekend and would like to get it running soon. I don't have any owner's instructions for the heater so if someone out there has the owner's manual could you repost or email me a copy?

I have some specific questions that would be helpful on getting it running.

How is the best way to plumb it? The old pressure tank had a shutoff valve, was plumbed to the heater with a rubber hose. The fitting on the unit is a hose-barb. The new diesel tank has a 1/4" compression fitting; indicating that it should be plumbed in copper tubing to the heater.

What fuel do you use and how do you refill? I assume that you need to either plumb something off of the main diesel tank and then pump it in via 1/4" tubing or have a separate filler hose that you attach to a funnel?

What is the best fuel to use? The tank indicates that it can use either diesel of kerosene; I'd assume that kerosene is a cleaner burning fuel. If I use diesel do I need to be concerned with algae growth in the pressure tank? What about bio-diesel?

When lighting; how do you prime it by burning alcohol? Tank says to use alcohol to prime the burner; but I don't know how and it seems like a potentially dangerous operation. Do you carefully pour some alcohol in the pan beneath the burner and light it? Seems like a syringe dedicated to doing this would be a good way to "pour" some alcohol onto the pan.

How hot does the exhaust get? The charlie-noble is a small deck mount; PO had a teak riser and between the stainless cap a layer of heat-resistant material (looked like a fire heat resistant material). I fab'd a new riser out of seaboard; but don't know if it needs heat protection on the ID or if the exhaust is cool enough to not worry about it. The exhaust tube is 1" and the ID of the hole through the deck and the plastic is 2".

Thanks for any info...
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Old 02-13-2008
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http://www.sigmarine.com/support.htm has a list of manuals - while not Force 10 - it goes through the basics of the questions you asked and may be of some value
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Old 02-13-2008
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These early Force 10 heaters are, I believe, non-vented heaters that tend to put a lot of moisture into the cabin, and may allow the products of combustion to collect there as well. The open burner design tends to draw heat up the flue making the heater less efficient. I've had experiences with a kerosene version that stank badly and actually made me nervous while below with the hatches closed. These heaters also use cabin air to support combustion.

Preheatng this type of burner wtih alchohol is also a recipe for hard-to-see flare-ups and fumes and bad burner behaviour if the preheat is unsufficient.

There are better vented heaters with dual flues and sealed combustion chambers - much safer and more efficient.

I'm sure you don't want to hear this since you already replaced the tank. But Dickenson makes a nice safe heater that uses propane and is not outrageously expensive (around $600-750 complete w/flue and charlie noble depending on size) This heater draws combustion air from outside and vents all products of combustion safely too.

If you already use propane in the galley or for a BBQ this type of heater may make sense for you. It wouuld fit in the same area as your current heater.
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Old 02-13-2008
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Guys-

I thank you for your replies; but what I'm looking for is some specific info about this unit. If anyone out there owns or has owned/used a Force 10 Diesel cabin heater; please put a post here or send me a PM with some info.

I don't want to debate pros/cons etc; It's what I've got and I don't know if it works properly or what to look for or how to adjust it if it does not. If I can get it working properly with the help of someone here; that would be great. If I can't get it working I will save the tank for use with another heater or put it back up on CL for the $50 I paid for it. I will look at the Sigmarine manual but the design is quite different so it appears that most of the operation instructions will be different from my heater.

If you smell or have products of combustion entering the cabin it is not running/venting properly; and that's the first sign of a problem. I am going to be VERY careful with it's use; it definitely will only be used to take the chill out of the air and never used while sleeping, or unattended. The boat will be well vented in addition (and have CO detector); I know venting conflicts with heating efficiency but hey oxygen is more important than warmth. We use the non-vented LPG stove and vent the cabin; it warms the place up and we don't have exceedingly low oxygen levels.

I have an LPG stove; but I'm even more afraid of it because of the possibility of a leak which would put LPG into the boat. We religously switch off the solenoid and close the valve at the deck mounted tank when it is not in use.
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Old 02-13-2008
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Keel...have you tried here or calling them?
http://www.force10.com/faqs.html
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Old 02-14-2008
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I looked through the website Cam and it appears that they only market ranges and cooktops now? Last year's WM catalog only showed the Force 10 Propane heater; now there is no listings for Force 10 heaters.

I'll send an email to Force 10 tonight; and give them a call tomorrow since they have an 800...
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Old 02-14-2008
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I've got a force 10 diesel heater on my 29' sloop. I installed it myself, so i should be able to answer most, if not all, of your questions.

> How is the best way to plumb it?

I have mine plumbed using the same 1/4" marine rubber fuel hose that feeds my engine, but i do not feed the heater from the same tank .. i have another 40lt tank specifically for the heater. I don't use a pump of any kind - i prefer a gravity feed. This does mean that on extreme heels i can lose the heat, and sometimes air gets in the lines and i have to either prime the syphon (mmm tasty) or bleed the air through the filter or by blowing through the hose to force air into the tank. This last step also creates a little bit of pressure in the system.

So, i don't have any hose clamps on the heaters fittings, so i can pull them off and check if the fuel is flowing, and take steps if it isn't.

> What is the best fuel to use?

We run our engine on 100% bio-diesel. For the heater, in the dead of winter we like to mix a little petroleum diesel as it burns hotter and doesn't coagulate. I have never tried kerosene, but i suspect it would be easier to light, if anything .

> When lighting; how do you prime it by burning alcohol?

You pour about 1oz of something flammable (Alcohol or camp fuel work well, gasoline will do in a pinch) down there. Never (well, use caution) do this when the unit is hot, as it will explode a bit and scare the hell out of you, if not injure and maim. Do not pour from the bottle, but rather a small container you keep specifically for this purpose. When you're poured, wipe the container with a tissue or some tp. You're going to light this tissue and quickly toss it inside.

Let it burn for 10 minutes until things are nice and hot, then turn the fuel on about 1/3 of full until the flame goes very yellow. Once it's all yellow and still burning, you're good to go. Crank it up and enjoy.

Be careful not to flood the thing with liquid fuel .. you want to be burning the vapours only. It's also important to keep the little hole in the center clear of soot and debris.

> How hot does the exhaust get?

Hot as hell, especially if there's a decent blow out. I've seen a full 1.5 ft of the exhaust glowing red. That said, the deck vent stays cool enough to touch most of the time. I've noticed that the deck area around the chimney has begun to delaminate a little, and i suspect it's due to the heat.

If you've got any more questions, i've gotten to know this little unit quite well over this last winter.

Cheers,

drewc
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Old 02-14-2008
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Thank You Drew!!

I am running 60% Bio-Diesel; so it sounds like any combo of bio will work on the heater also? Is it OK to use algae preventer in the fuel that goes into the heater? If it is I will plumb a line from the exit of the Racor filter over to the heater's tank. That way I can refill without any fuel spillage and keep the tank in a location that is not near the heater. It sounds like I will need to install a guard around the exhaust pipe to prevent hands from getting burned on it.

How do you control the flow of fuel to the heater? There is a small hex fitting beneath the burner; is that the needle valve or do you need a needle valve in-line from the tank?

When you de-pressurize the tank you just bleed it from the tank valve? How do you vent the vapours and is this an explosion concern if there is a source of flame? I don't like the idea of venting it to the cabin when I shut it down; but the instructions on the tank say to release the pressure when not in use. Do you do this?

Thanks Again!
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Old 02-14-2008
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Quote:
I have mine plumbed using the same 1/4" marine rubber fuel hose that feeds my engine, but i do not feed the heater from the same tank .. i have another 40lt tank specifically for the heater. I don't use a pump of any kind - i prefer a gravity feed. This does mean that on extreme heels i can lose the heat, and sometimes air gets in the lines and i have to either prime the syphon (mmm tasty) or bleed the air through the filter or by blowing through the hose to force air into the tank. This last step also creates a little bit of pressure in the system.

So, i don't have any hose clamps on the heaters fittings, so i can pull them off and check if the fuel is flowing, and take steps if it isn't.
Wait... I have a concern about this. You are gravity feeding liquid diesel to your heater? It seems that you would want vapours only going to the heater; but then maybe I don't understand how these units operate. Is the pressure tank designed to feed liquid diesel or diesel vapour to the heater? Maybe it's made for liquid feed; the person that sold me the tank also threw in some diesel pumps that he had for his Dickinson. He said that he was going to switch to the tank because the pumps were just too failure prone. He said they were not inexpensive; but they did not last very long either.
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Old 02-14-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
Wait... I have a concern about this. You are gravity feeding liquid diesel to your heater? It seems that you would want vapours only going to the heater; but then maybe I don't understand how these units operate. Is the pressure tank designed to feed liquid diesel or diesel vapour to the heater? Maybe it's made for liquid feed; the person that sold me the tank also threw in some diesel pumps that he had for his Dickinson. He said that he was going to switch to the tank because the pumps were just too failure prone. He said they were not inexpensive; but they did not last very long either.
Yes, liquid diesel must get as far as the regulator. Diesel fumes (especially bio-diesel) are not in the least bit flammable until things get very hot. The liquid diesel enters the burner apparatus through a regulator which ensures that the amount of diesel liquid that enters the stove itself is small enough that it will be immediately vaporised by the heat, and it is those 'vapours' that burn. This is unlike LPG or gasoline which are very flammable. Diesel is more like vegetable oil than it is like gasoline... it requires a lot of heat to get it burning at all.

I'm drewc _at_ tech _dot_ coop if you'd like to mail me, i check my email more oftehn than i check sailnet .
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