Having run a Dickinson Adriatic for 20 years to heat my 60ft boat I'm very interested in all the comments in this thread many of which accord with my own experience. The fundamentals of the way the Dickinson pot burner works may (or may not) help to clarify some of the points raised.
i) the device employed to stop the diesel from overflowing the burner pot in the event of the flame blowing out, is a float valve incorporated within the metering unit.
ii) overheat situations where the fire runs away with itself are controlled by a fuseable link: in effect a bit of solder melts allowing the needle valve to close. Once everything has cooled down it can be re-soldered.
iii) my fuel consumption never varies far from 6 litres per hour and for this I can maintain the boat's temperature throughout, in pretty much any weather, at a steady 20 deg C. Of course Mr Smelly will appreciate that a thermo-electric fan is required to evenly distribute the heat!
iV) I also get hot water, a hot radiator in the bathroom and an oven and large hotplate to cook on.
v) my biggest revelation was the result of installing a barometric damper .......... having seen the price when I bought the stove itself, I instantly decided that it was an optional extra I could well do without! However, the stove tended to soot up quite quickly, the flame rarely burnt with Dickinson's recommended lemon yellow colouration and it also tended to climb out of the burner pot in anything stronger than a light breeze. Fitting the BD transformed the operating of the stove and everything is now as per Dickinson's spec. The biggest bonus is that I hardly ever have to clean the burner pot – certainly not during the winter's use which tends to be from October to April. The worst I get is a light residue which just brushes off the sides of the burner pot. The all-important holes around the circumference never block and there is no longer a hard layer of baked on crud needing chipping off the bottom of the burner on a regular basis where the superheater sits.
It's interesting that it has taken until fairly recently for Dickinson to post some really user-friendly operating instructions where they acknowledge such foibles of diesel fuel as the fact that it thickens significantly in cold weather and thins in hot. That means that needle valve settings are also a moveable feast and the closest I've ever come to the flame going out is not down to down-draught (pretty much a thing of the past since fitting the BD) but due to an unexpected cold night when I already had the valve set to the minimum!