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  #1  
Old 12-08-2022, 09:38 AM
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avrojockey avrojockey is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Appleton, WI
Posts: 557
Default Cordless Preheater - Test In Progress

Normally I have oil sump heater plugged in to smart outlet at the hanger. However there are times when I need a preheat away from home and the FBO charges $90 to plug it in.

I played around with the MSR camping stove and that worked OK but setting up with proper ducting was lees than ideal.

I stumbled across another bush-pilot thread that used a diesel heater common in the boat/camper van world. Original US design was expensive, but the patent ran out and China has taken over. You get these for about $150 at the usually online suspects.

I'm still working out the ducting options but I can tell you that these put out considerable heat...like a little Herman Nelson, but it's clean and dry air as it's has a separate exhaust, so you can duct to the cabin for heat as well.

It runs on 12V so I plug it into an SAE plug I have hooked up to battery for charging/power supply. It pulls about 3 amps. I testing it on a health PC680 for 1 hour and though a little slower, started engine just fine. Heated oil from low 30s to 70 and CHTs to 55-65 in said hour

I'll post some picture when I finalize my ducting.
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Tim Holmes
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2022, 09:55 AM
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wirejock wirejock is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
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Default Diesel heater

Keep us posted. I know several off roaders who use that in the 4x4. They say it will roast!
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Estes Park, CO
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I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2022, 02:29 PM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
 
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Location: LSGY
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by avrojockey View Post
...
It runs on 12V so I plug it into an SAE plug I have hooked up to battery for charging/power supply. It pulls about 3 amps. ...
This looks like a great solution, but kind of curious where the 3 amps are going - most 12v DC muffin fans are less than 1 amp.

https://www.mcmaster.com/muffin-fans...ing-type~ball/

There are a few youtube videos discussing these heaters, and they seem to be quite positive. Can't say I'm too excited about having any kind of open flame just under my fuel tanks, but I guess if you watch it closely...
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2022, 02:47 PM
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Untainted123 Untainted123 is offline
 
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Location: Azle, TX
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Default

If you read some of the other airplane forums, it seems there has been a cottage industry pop up for these heaters.

They have a smaller version (5kw) that people are stuffing into a plastic toolbox, sort of like those toolbox vacuums you see people have. With or without the battery as part of the unit.

I'd be afraid to use my airplane battery to drive it on a regular basis, and people have reported that motorcycle/ATV batteries run it just fine (obviously you need to recharge that battery). The main power draw is when the glow plug is running on initial startup, then the amps drop down to about 1.5 (on the 5kw version).

It's not really an open flame per se, any more than any radiator heater is. The flame is completely contained within the unit, and the exhaust is separate, much more like the (propane) heaters they have used for eternity on travel trailers etc.

It's only a matter of time before someone makes a nice complete package of these with custom cowl inserts or whatever for each model plane and charges double for those that don't like to get their hands dirty
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  #5  
Old 12-09-2022, 01:29 AM
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From what I gather from YouTube the one I have (8kw) is drawing just under 3 amps. The fan motor is quite a bit more robust...like the size of a cordless drill motor, so makes sense. It drives two fans...one for the heat exchanger and one for combustion air. It does draw about 9 amps during start up with the glow plug on...this lasts about 2 minutes. None of this I've measured...just what I've seen others measure on YouTube. Still testing the use of ship's power. May be better off with it's own battery pack I can charge in flight. Though I probably don't need to run it for a full hour like I did in this test. If I can get the oil up to 50-55 and CHTs at over 40 I'll be happy.

The combustion process is completely internal...extremely safe with some build-in protections. However the exhaust pipe gets very hot. I'm actually thinking about routing this exhaust for engine preheat only. It burns clean enough that my CO detector doesn't register any PPM when I hold it up to exhaust.
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  #6  
Old 12-09-2022, 05:07 AM
bobnoffs bobnoffs is offline
 
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why not buy a stick on heater or 2? and a nice little generator. you could the generator in the off season a lot more than the heater?
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  #7  
Old 12-09-2022, 08:08 AM
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I have one of these heaters I got last year for the same purpose. After some fiddling and fixing mine works ok at the lowest manual setting as it runs too rich at higher settings and will smoke. There are some variations to the controllers and the one I have with blue digits for the temp display do not allow changing the calibration settings for the pump as do other variations. Thought about getting another but an Amazon $20 500W heater plugged in has been working extremely well and would work well with a small generator.
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  #8  
Old 12-09-2022, 12:04 PM
bobnoffs bobnoffs is offline
 
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also, isn't that outfit ''red dragon'' still in business? i think they still make the propane unit for less than $150. had one once and it worked perfect.
i have a knock off now of the red dragon. after i got rid of mine i bought one on craigs list, i think $50.
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n. wi.
dakota hawk/jab 3300 built and flying. sold 6/18.getting serious about the 12. in the hangar now as of 10/15/19
RV-12 kit as of 9/13
RV-12 airworthiness cert. 11/30/2021
first flight 7/25/2022
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2022, 01:13 AM
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avrojockey avrojockey is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobnoffs View Post
why not buy a stick on heater or 2? and a nice little generator. you could the generator in the off season a lot more than the heater?
I considered that option but finishing a work trip I don’t care to wait a couple hours before I can start…I’d like to have it preheated in 30 minutes. The diesel heater can do this. There’s also the possibility to turn it on remotely…have it all set up, when I land crank it up from my cell…by the time I get from the terminal to the FBO pay my bill, it’s ready to go. these units are designed to run unattended, or while your sleeping, for heat in your camper.
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Last edited by avrojockey : 12-10-2022 at 02:14 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2022, 02:12 AM
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avrojockey avrojockey is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobnoffs View Post
also, isn't that outfit ''red dragon'' still in business? i think they still make the propane unit for less than $150. had one once and it worked perfect.
i have a knock off now of the red dragon. after i got rid of mine i bought one on craigs list, i think $50.
Goal is to remain as self-sufficient as possible when away from home. Propane is much more expensive per kWH than diesel, and maintaining a propane tank away from home doesn't seem the least bit practical. I'm not sure I like the idea of carrying a propane tank with me.

These units are highly portable, will burn diesel, jet or kerosene, and are marginally good at burning petrol if needed in a pinch. So, you can transport empty and fill with a little fuel at destination. I don't really see a better solution that doesn't require AC power.
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