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Dickinson advice?

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Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:49 am

Getting conflicting advice on Dickinson stoves from long-time users. One says they only burn good with #1 fuel. I reconfigured the fuel arrangement so I can do that, and stove burns hotter and cleaner. However, still have problem on gusty days of downdrafts coming down the stove pipe. Putting a genuine H shaped stovepipe top on didn't help. One adviser says a barometric damper would cure downdrafts, but I don't really see how. Official manual calls for barometric damper, but previous owner did not run one for some reason. Same adviser claims a barometric damper allowed him to burn #2 fuel in his stove without problems.

Another fisherman says longer stove pipe above pilot house is the cure, but it's not easy to find good support for the extended pipe above the pilot house. I would say the stovepipe top is currently about the height of my ribs. This same guy did give me some good advice that the blower fan I was missing was important for helping stove draft. I got that working, but still has not totally solved the problem.

Not really easy to install barometric damper for trial, so looking for advice. Previous owner no longer available to talk to. Somehow he lived on this boat with no damper, no blower fan, and too short of stove pipe. I really hate it when I'm out in moderately crappy weather, and my stove blows out and the pilot house fills with smoke. Please help me fix this aggravation with some pertinent tips!
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby akfish1 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:04 pm

My overall stope pipe is about 6 ft from stope to the H fitting on top. I run only #2 and dont seem to have too many problems.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:50 pm

Only 6 ft. from the stove top to the H cap? So how far is your H cap above the roof, then?
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby curmudgeon » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:32 pm

The draft issue and clean-burning with the Dickinson are counter intuitive.
If the draft is too strong or if you use the fan a lot then the flame will migrate down into the pot area and quickly coke up all the burner parts in there with hard deposits that will both choke off the draft but also choke off the fuel coming into the bottom of the burner. You want a nice lemon-yellow flame that is almost all above the top burner ring at the top of the pot. The usual culprit is too strong of draft. Next culprit is too little fuel (warm summer day with carb turned all the way down...then in the evening when you want to cook, you end up with fly-ash all over the deck as the pot burner cleans itself (mostly)).

This is exactly why Dickinson insists on that barometric damper, so the draft is constant and predictable. Having the stove run away from you is caused by the draft getting stronger right along with the extra fuel you're adding with the carb turned up. Damper cures that too.

My boat has a fly-bridge so my stack is even higher than akfish's. I had a terrible time with the stove when I first bought the boat because someone had disabled the damper. Used to back-draft and soot up all the time! Now with new burner parts. and a properly working damper, we can bake anything we like and the only time it ever back-drafts is when we're bucking into it hard, and someone forgets and shuts the upper half of the dutch door! I never need to use the burner-fan.

Hope this helps!
Mike
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:05 am

Sounds like good advice. My first attempt will be a barometric damper then. Thanks!
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby joeman79 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:31 am

I had a lot of the same issues with my dickinson this summer as well. My question is where and what brand of Damper should a guy buy? I have not googled it yet thought I would get input first.
I just went to the Dickinson Site and answered my own question. I wish I would have done that this summer but did not have internet. My stove has the Barometric Damper but I believe it is improperly adjusted. going to print off manual and put in boat. Looks simple enough.
Love this forum.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby JKD » Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:01 pm

Dickinson sells stainless steel barometric dampers (for 3", 4", and 5" exhaust flue). Any marine supply store that sells their brand of stoves should also be able to get their stack dampers. In my experience I found the barometric damper to make all the difference in the world for allowing oil stoves [on a couple of different commercial boats] to work more efficiently, and burn with the appropriate mixture of fuel and air to burn #2 diesel cleanly. In particular, after being adjusted - they help prevent blow-back in windy conditions. As was described by curmudgeon above - on my last boat I had blow-back problems while running at higher engine rpms in windy conditions if I didn't leave my cabin dutch door top cracked open. In other words, the cabin was "too tight" and the stove was competing with the main engine and the genset for available combustion air. Installing a barometric damper initially corrected the problem. At a later date I ran an independent air vent line from the outside of the cabin to the rear of the fire box so the stove was getting plenty of its own fresh air.

The combination of a stack damper and a fuel atomizer in the firepot made my most cantankerous Dickinson (Atlantic) stove settle down and burn #2 cleanly. I took the stove completely apart and thoroughly cleaned off all carbon deposits inside the firepot, put a new layer of stove cement on top of the fire-ring plate, and re-sealed the gap between the stainless stove top and the body (sides) of the stove. When I was satisfied that I had sealed-out any possible air sources besides the firepot air holes I fired it up and had no further issues with it.

On another 'boat oil stove' topic - I understand that some local fishermen are using insulated (Selkirk/Metalbestos-style) stove flue on the top of their cabin so the draft in the stack is not affected by cold winter temperatures. This makes some sense to me - I have noticed that boat stoves don't work as well when the outside temps slide below 15 degrees.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:56 pm

What is this fuel atomizer of which you speak? Also, I have some kind of holes on the back of stove that may be some kind of problem because I can see a reflection of the flame on the stainless wall covering behind the stove. I scoped that out before and decided it was some kind of factory hole that was supposed to be there - so I didn't worry about it. Now it sounds like I should get those plugged up. One hole in each upper rear corner, as I recall.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby curmudgeon » Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:40 pm

I think the Atomizer he speaks of is what Dickinson terms a Superheater. That's the 3-level cylindrical thingy that fits into the center of the fire-ring in the middle of the burner. Those (and burner rings) get all twisted eventually after years of use/heat. And, yes there is supposed to be draft holes in the back and lower part of the stove around the pot. Those are okay, but as JKD says, any leaks around the top of the firebox/stove-top will mess with the consistent draft. Also, the barometric dampers need to be mounted vertically. so if you have a slanted section of stove pipe, try to arrange the damper so it can be as vertical as possible. They are also adjustable by moving the weighed knob in or out. Mess with it until you get that lemon-yellow flame above the pot burner ring in all your usual carb settings.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby carojae » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:54 am

Huh. Just realized I haven't had a back draft problem in years. Not sure why but I do remember them vividly.
I do burn #2 fuel most of the time - with winter months being the exception when I add a blend of #1 and #2.
I don't have a barometric damper, or a H cap. And, I never shut the cabin door completely when the engine is running.
Here's what I do have: Pacific Dickensen stove, 5" pipe with a 45ºx45º between the stove and cabin ceiling offsetting from the stove pipe to the ceiling. Two lengths of 2.5' pipe on the outside an a round cap with the baffle looking style.
One thing I did do was change the carburetor to the small oval carburetor made by American Controls Inc but I can't see this changing a back draft problem.

When I read the "subject line" I thought of my problems with Dickensen. Getting rid of the dangerous Dickensen carburetor being most important thing I did. The other being my stove wouldn't turn up to "hot" for a couple years after I bought it making cooking a challenge sometimes.
After taking things apart several times, I discovered that MY stove must be level to allow the carburetor to deliver fuel properly.
After I did this my stove has been what I expected it to be. It works fantastic now.

cap.jpg
Cap
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cap and pipe.jpg
12" above stove
cap and pipe.jpg (7.52 KiB) Viewed 27966 times
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:44 pm

So, Carojae, why do you call the Dickinson carb "dangerous"? What did you replace it with? Did you have to shim the new carb inside the stove to level it?

I had a cap similar to the one you show that I tried replacing with the H cap. The 45 degree offsets have more to do with getting stove outlet to line up with the hole in the roof than draft control, yes? But perhaps it offers some resistance to down drafts as well.

Thanks for all input!
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby JKD » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:20 am

Once & Future - I'm wondering if the holes in the back of your stove may be access holes for a water heating coil?
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:46 am

JKD: I don't think they're that big, I'll have to look at them again. Kind of hard to see back there, though.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby carojae » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:34 am

I simply put a block under the low side of the stove until it was level.
My stove came with a manual and they recommend a 45º. I'm telling what I have - but not sure if that is a reason for no blow back.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:14 pm

Update: JKD, you appear to be right about the holes being for a hot water heat coil. They are perfectly round holes, about 5/8" or so in diameter, and maybe 6 or 8" apart. I'm thinking these will need to be sealed up. HOWEVER, one thing leads to another. Taking apart the stove pipe to install the damper revealed the ring on the stove top that the stovepipe attaches to was not properly connected. Holes in stove top where the bolts go have rusted out.

So if I am to salvage my stove, a new top is in order. I was doubtful I could still buy a replacement, but in fact Murray Pacific and Dickinson were very helpful. My serial number shows my stove was built in 1978. And the new top and required parts will be $500, as opposed to a whole new stove being around $2,000. This weekend, I will take apart my old stove and see if it warrants a new top, or I should just replace whole thing.

Either way, I am well pleased that Dickinson will sell me a new top. The trend these days is definitely for companies to "obsolete" their old products to force you to buy new. So hurray for a company with some integrity! I almost didn't call on that, just didn't think there was much chance. If I do have to buy a new stove, it will sting a little less dealing with some good guys.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:49 pm

Stove is back together and working. Did not even buy a new top. Figured out I could put a backing plate under the stove top with a hole bored in it so a stainless bolt and nut could hold the stovepipe ring securely.

Haven't had a chance to see how it's going to do in windy conditions, but initial signs are encouraging. While I had the top off, I was able to clean out chunks of soot from under the oven that had completely closed the air space there. There is an air space between the oven and the stove exterior on the right side that was also sooted up.

My manual in-stove damper had fallen down inside the stove when the spot welds that secured one of the holding straps fell. No one seems to use these dampers anyway, but I couldn't resist fixing it while I had the top off.

I put the barometric damper in also. But with what I know now, I believe the poorly fitting top, together with the open water pipe holes at the back, were probably bigger problems than not having a damper. My stove top was warped about a quarter inch at the back, and there was not enough caulk remaining in there when I took it apart to compensate. Learned the barometric damper is to be mounted fore and aft so as to not affected by boat's rolling motion. I guess they figure we roll more than we plunge up and down.

Flame in pot is now burning above the ring, although some adjustments will still probably need to be made as flame flares up and down through the isinglass view port. However, my oven thermometer did register 400 degrees at a number 3 setting. Still have number 1 fuel in the tank. Am getting pale yellow flames above blue flames.

Got some good advice via private message from Captain Joe. Not sure if at liberty to reveal his secrets!

Oh, and one cool thing I had never seen before: On second lighting, as stove was still coming up to temperature, I opened the lid and saw little flame jets by each of the pin holes in the burner pot. I guess fuel was vaporized and hot, then the oxygen coming in the pin holes ignited the vapors. Previously had no idea how these burners worked!
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby JKD » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:46 pm

Once & Future - Glad to hear that you were able to work-out your stove problems. Air supply is critical with most oil stoves and it has to be controlled properly for the fire to stay at the top of the fire ring and burn with that pale-yellow flame. Sealing things up like you describe has probably resolved your stove problems.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Once and Future » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:12 am

My stove problems aren't over. Still "pops" and goes out when rough out. I believe now this is more due to fuel level issues related to rolling rather than wind and draft.

I was able to confirm when the stove was out and I was looking in the burner pot that moderate rolls (25 degrees or so) cause the oil down in the tube leading to the burner pot to go up and down an inch or more. Now here is the problem: The stove has been in place for over 30 years. It was mounted wrong. Dickinson says the stove should be mounted in the boat so the oven door faces forward or aft. Mine is mounted sideways to that. The proper transverse mounting places the carb in front of, or behind, the burner pot. So rolling wouldn't change the height relationship between the burner pot and the fuel bowl on the carb. When my boat rolls, the fuel bowl is being rocked repeatedly above and below the burner pot, causing the fuel level to surge in the tube leading to the burner pot.

What to do? Dickinson manual says if stove is mounted longitudinally like this, I must take carb out of stove and remount it on the outside of the stove and bring the fuel line in through a new hole. The goal is to get the carb positioned so it is forward of the burner pot. Problem: I do not have an open space along side my stove to allow me to do that.

How in the heck did previous owner (now deceased) work with this stove on the open ocean the way it is set up??? The repairs I did make at least allow me to have a stove that burns well under calm conditions. But I do not want to be messing with my stove and smelling fumes when I am in rougher conditions.
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Re: Dickinson advice?

Postby Furuno » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:47 pm

This has been a very informative topic! I've had the Dickenson Pacific for 20 years without the barometric damper and the stove works fine. In a strong westerly I make sure at least a window is cracked open to supply adequate air. Turning the fan on seems to help also. The only thing I haven't seen mentioned is to suck out (with a shop vac) all the accumulated soot between the oven and the stove bottom. Remove the plate under the oven after removing the door and check w a flashlight. I usually duct tape a small diameter hose onto the shopvac hose to get all the way in back. If this hasn't been done in several years it should improve the air flow. Good luck. I once tried to speed heat a can of Brown Bread in my oven. I promptly forgot about it until I heard an explosion and black smoke was poring out of the pilot house. Crawling on my hands and knees to call a Mayday I noticed the door of my new stove had completely blown off and the inside of my pilot house was covered with brown, sticky gooey s..t. Remember, whatever your problem, it can always be worse!
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