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ivan&alice

Eberspaecher or solid fuel stove?

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The cold is drawing in and as usual I'm leaving everything to the last minute...

 

We have an Eberspaecher D5 Hydronic water heater. It was connected to one of the two coils in my calorifier and two rads inside the boat, a towel rail in the bathroom and a rad in the bedroom (around 2kW if I recall correctly). There is a room right at the stern (my office) which has no heating whatsoever and is unusable in winter - not to mention it has my lithium batteries in it now and they need to stay above 5 degrees when charging!

 

When we started living about 2 years ago the Eber was working - kind of. The bedroom rad would get warm but never really hot. The bathroom one didn't really work at all - I think it needed bleeding or it was blocked by crud or something. In any event, we didn't use the Eber because the Morso squirrel was way more effective and I think cheaper to boot. When the bedroom radiator sprung a leak I took the whole thing out.

 

 

Last winter I purchased a second 4kW stove for the other end of the boat. It also has a back boiler. I haven't installed the stove yet because I'm concerned that it might be too hot in that small space (around 12m^3) and a stove takes up a lot of space. I'm now rather considering getting 4 new rads and reinstalling in all 4 rooms on the boat, because the office and bathroom are far from the Morso and get chilly. Especially for keeping the batteries happy and pipes unfrozen, I don't necessarily need a roaring fire. Besides, I like to have some redundancy on heating in case (the stove breaks / I run out of coal / I'm too lazy to make a fire). 

 

Firstly, I think the Eber might not be performing to its spec. It probably hasn't been serviced in a decade and that's the first thing I would like to do - I know I could order the parts and do it myself, but being that it wasn't really working in the first place I'd like to get a professional to check it over and reassure me that it's working as it should. I have got one quote for 115 GBP to service if I bring it in to J D Boat Services in Gailey, Wolverhampton - that would entail me de-installing it but I think that should be fine. 

 

Secondly though, I'm not sure the Eber is actually up to the task. I saw in another thread someone recommended https://marineheating.co.uk/, (though they are Webasto rather than Eber) and they have a section on their site that says:

Quote

Is a Diesel Heater Right for Me?

Generally, these heaters are designed to be used for short periods of time, perhaps a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. The exact time will depend on your model, our engineers will be able to guide you. These heaters offer fantastic convenience when used correctly. They benefit from professional installation and servicing as they are complex pieces of equipment. You should factor in the cost of this when budgeting for your marine heating system.

Now, we're year-round liveaboards and in February there will be times I want our heater going pretty much non-stop to keep the office above 5 degrees and preferably closer to 18 degrees when I'm in it.

 

If you were in my position would you go for the Eberspaecher, second stove or both or something else? And if Eberspaecher, would you go and get it serviced to see if the performance can be improved - do you have any other recommendations for professionals? I'm in the West Midlands at the moment but can travel anywhere there's a canal :)

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This isn’t going to be hugely helpful because I can’t remember the details but someone ( @Alan de Enfield? ) recently mentioned a new model of Webasto (?) that functions just like a domestic boiler. You just set the thermostat and it switches on and off as required to keep the heat where you want it. Whoever it was will probably be along in the morning. :)

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My boat had both. The Eberspacher would suffice until outside temperature dropped to about 5-6°C. When it was really cold I'd use both, otherwise alternate between the two throughout the day. 


I previously had a 15 year old D5 Eberspacher which stopped working 2-3 times a year, on paper it was overpowered for the boat though you wouldn't have noticed it in its latter years. I replaced it with a new & smaller D4 and it was much more reliable and heated up quicker. The idea was that it would have to work harder than a D5 and in theory less prone to coking up inside which can be a common complaint if they are underworked. 

 

Not sure if Gloucester is too far from you but I very much recommend Dale at AC Automotive who specialises in Webasto and Eberspacher heating systems. When my original Eber developed a fault, he would loan me another while he repaired mine. I thought this was great. 
https://www.ac-automotive.co.uk/canal-boats/

Edited by RichM

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5 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I have one of these, sort of portable, except for the exhaust.  Very cheap, its a planar heater inside.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5KW-12V-Air-Diesel-Night-Heater-4-Holes-LCD-Monitor-Remote-Trucks-Boats-Car-home/254729265140?hash=item3b4f0c1ff4:g:a78AAOSwEnJfbbJG

That does look interesting. Thanks for posting. How does it sit with the Boat Safety stuff and how do you have in installed given the exhaust requirement?

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8 hours ago, WotEver said:

This isn’t going to be hugely helpful because I can’t remember the details but someone ( @Alan de Enfield? ) recently mentioned a new model of Webasto (?) that functions just like a domestic boiler. You just set the thermostat and it switches on and off as required to keep the heat where you want it. Whoever it was will probably be along in the morning. :)

Morning.😀

 

 

  • Happy 2

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1 hour ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I have one of these, sort of portable, except for the exhaust.  Very cheap, its a planar heater inside.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5KW-12V-Air-Diesel-Night-Heater-4-Holes-LCD-Monitor-Remote-Trucks-Boats-Car-home/254729265140?hash=item3b4f0c1ff4:g:a78AAOSwEnJfbbJG

That looks great as a temporary/emergency solution! Thanks for posting. Isn't there any CO / fire / ventilation risk from having this running inside the cabin? Do you just connect the exhaust to a skin fitting, fill up from a can of diesel and away you go?

9 hours ago, RichM said:

The idea was that it would have to work harder than a D5 and in theory less prone to coking up inside which can be a common complaint if they are underworked. 

It sounds like that might be what is up with mine. That would simply reduce output right?

 

Can you run an Eber perpetually or is there some reason to only run a few hours at a time?

 

9 hours ago, RichM said:

Not sure if Gloucester is too far from you but I very much recommend Dale at AC Automotive

I'll at least give him a call, thanks!

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10 hours ago, WotEver said:

This isn’t going to be hugely helpful because I can’t remember the details but someone ( @Alan de Enfield? ) recently mentioned a new model of Webasto (?) that functions just like a domestic boiler. You just set the thermostat and it switches on and off as required to keep the heat where you want it. Whoever it was will probably be along in the morning. :)

 

@WotEver I haven't mentioned a new Webasto, but, that is what we do with our Eber.

 

 

27 minutes ago, ivan&alice said:

Can you run an Eber perpetually or is there some reason to only run a few hours at a time?

 

Our Eber goes 'on' when we get on the boat, and is not turned 'off' until we leave the boat.

I have never subscribed to the oft quoted "you must turn it off before it drops to 'low'", and I have just controlled all my Ebers (both 'water' and 'hot-air' types) simply by using the thermostat.

 

Wake up in the morning and its a 'bit cool' just click the overide and 'instant heat'.

 

A solid fuel fire is very nice and a great 'heat' but it can take hours to warm up the water and radiators. Eber / Webasto is almost instantaneous.

 

Probably tempting fate but in (at least) the last 20 years of Eber/Webasto ownership I have never needed to have a unit serviced.

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2 hours ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I have one of these, sort of portable, except for the exhaust.  Very cheap, its a planar heater inside.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5KW-12V-Air-Diesel-Night-Heater-4-Holes-LCD-Monitor-Remote-Trucks-Boats-Car-home/254729265140?hash=item3b4f0c1ff4:g:a78AAOSwEnJfbbJG

I have installed one of those on my little Norman.The one hole model.They are cheaper than having an Eber or Webasto overhauled.

A couple of points regarding boat installations.They are designed for trucks and motorhomes so on a boat need to have the exaust and combustion air inlet outside the boat.A proper insulated hull fitting for the exhaust.

The plastic fuel pipe needs to be replaced with metal brake pipe to comply with BSS.

Even on the lowest heat setting,my little cabin is toasty.

If it hands it's dinner pail in,they are cheap enough to not bother having them overhauled,but to simply bin it and buy another.

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This morning I removed my Eber.  First important thing I missed is that it is a D4SWC (4.3kW) model.

 

While in the engine bay, I wondered if perhaps I could relocate the calorifier to the engine bay. If it would fit (it's tight) are there any reasons not to do this? It would mean I have a lot more space in my office and could more easily fit the stove.

 

2 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Our Eber goes 'on' when we get on the boat, and is not turned 'off' until we leave the boat.

I have never subscribed to the oft quoted "you must turn it off before it drops to 'low'", and I have just controlled all my Ebers (both 'water' and 'hot-air' types) simply by using the thermostat.

 

Wake up in the morning and its a 'bit cool' just click the overide and 'instant heat'.

 

A solid fuel fire is very nice and a great 'heat' but it can take hours to warm up the water and radiators. Eber / Webasto is almost instantaneous.

 

Probably tempting fate but in (at least) the last 20 years of Eber/Webasto ownership I have never needed to have a unit serviced.

Thermostat you say? My Eber currently has just a pull button to set "on/off". There is also a box of electricals inside the engine bay attached to the Eber.

Edited by ivan&alice

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1 hour ago, ivan&alice said:

Thermostat you say? My Eber currently has just a pull button to set "on/off". There is also a box of electricals inside the engine bay attached to the Eber.

 

EBERSPACHER-Diesel-D1L-or-D3L-heater-switched-12v-thermostat-30100135

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Thanks - so that will turn on and off the Eber based on the temperature of the room.

 

What's the verdict on putting a (well insulated) calorifier in an engine bay under my stern deck? Is it possible? Is it a bad idea?

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13 minutes ago, ivan&alice said:

Thanks - so that will turn on and off the Eber based on the temperature of the room.

 

It does for me (on both water and hot air systems)

 

My current Eber is an 8Kw Blown Hot Air system via flexible ducting to 6 vents.

Switches itself on and off as the thermostat senses the room temperature. (just as per a domestic central heating system)

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41 minutes ago, ivan&alice said:

 

 

What's the verdict on putting a (well insulated) calorifier in an engine bay under my stern deck? Is it possible? Is it a bad idea?

Theres plenty of boats with them there already.

4 hours ago, Tonka said:

However, that's for the automotive version and may well not work properly, the one needed is the AfterMarket version.

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51 minutes ago, ivan&alice said:

Thanks - so that will turn on and off the Eber based on the temperature of the room.

 

What's the verdict on putting a (well insulated) calorifier in an engine bay under my stern deck? Is it possible? Is it a bad idea?

Lots of boats are built with the calorifier in the engine bay, the key as you have appreciated is to ensure it is well insulated along with the attendant pipework.

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11 minutes ago, matty40s said:

Theres plenty of boats with them there already.

 

Just now, The Happy Nomad said:

Lots of boats are built with the calorifier in the engine bay, the key as you have appreciated is to ensure it is well insulated along with the attendant pipework.

Great, thanks for that.

 

I am looking at a squat 600x450 vertical one that will fit on top of my swim (I don't have a good feeling about the horizontal ones). A happy advantage is that if the calorifier ever did burst or leak, it would end up in the engine bilge to be pumped overboard.

 

If I went this route, it would free up enough space in my office to install the stove.

 

Then the eber and rads I could install at my leisure (or not bother with at all).

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The downside of a calorifier in an unheated engine space is the risk of freezing pipework. If the temperature drops below freezing for any length of time and the calorifier isn't heated then insulation alone will just delay the pipes freezing it won't eliminate the risk. But as you say, if pipes burst at least it's easy to clean up the mess. Just make sure your fresh water pump is switched off and open a couple of taps to release the pressure in the system when you leave the boat.

Edited by blackrose

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On 26/09/2020 at 08:01, Tracy D'arth said:

I have one of these, sort of portable, except for the exhaust.  Very cheap, its a planar heater inside.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5KW-12V-Air-Diesel-Night-Heater-4-Holes-LCD-Monitor-Remote-Trucks-Boats-Car-home/254729265140?hash=item3b4f0c1ff4:g:a78AAOSwEnJfbbJG

Hi @Tracy D'arth, I decided to get one of these to tide me (and my lithium batteries) over until I have a proper heating solution. 

 

I installed this on Sunday and it worked very well for 2 days!

Today though it is giving me an E-10 error (Ignition Failure). The instructions say to "Check whether the oil way is blocked, or the oil is not smooth, the oil pump is stuck, the oil problem causes the volatile network to be blocked, and so on,m so that the 2 ignition fails to burn normally".

 

This sounds like a fuel problem but I can see the diesel fuel chugging through the clear plastic pipe. I can also see exhaust being emitted from the exhaust pipe. The blown air feels like it is starting to warm up but then the heater shuts down with this error (around 5 minutes after having started it up). 

 

 

Have you encountered an error like this in operation? 

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1 hour ago, ivan&alice said:

Hi @Tracy D'arth, I decided to get one of these to tide me (and my lithium batteries) over until I have a proper heating solution. 

 

I installed this on Sunday and it worked very well for 2 days!

Today though it is giving me an E-10 error (Ignition Failure). The instructions say to "Check whether the oil way is blocked, or the oil is not smooth, the oil pump is stuck, the oil problem causes the volatile network to be blocked, and so on,m so that the 2 ignition fails to burn normally".

 

This sounds like a fuel problem but I can see the diesel fuel chugging through the clear plastic pipe. I can also see exhaust being emitted from the exhaust pipe. The blown air feels like it is starting to warm up but then the heater shuts down with this error (around 5 minutes after having started it up). 

 

 

Have you encountered an error like this in operation? 

No.  Check that its getting full battery voltage under load, that's the usual reason for ignition fail.  Exhaust not too long? Kinked fuel line?

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Remember that Ebbers/webasto's take 10-15 amps for a minute to start and then about 3 amps continuously while running, on shorepower no problem, if you are not on shorepower where do you get that extra 72 AHrs a day from?  A Solid fuel stove with a backboiler ideally provides hot water and some radiators on a thermocycle system using zero power, at worst you can fit a small 12 volt pump taking 1 or 1.5 amps to boost the heat (possibly thermostatically controlled) by increasing the flow rate.

Any air heater will require the use of fans which always create noise which you cannot totally muffle and still get the warm air.

Several people seem to use soilwarming cables or propagator mats to warm their lithium batteries, waterproof and often 12 volt, so easy via a thermostat. 

Edited by Detling
more info

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28 minutes ago, Detling said:

Remember that Ebbers/webasto's take 10-15 amps for a minute to start and then about 3 amps continuously while running,

 

I know not many NB's have blown air central heating but mine is a continuous 10amps (115w) when running and 30amps (330w) on start up

 

 

Being as the one Ivan is having problems with is also a Blown-Air system voltage (consumption) may well be the problem

 

 

 

Screenshot (13).png

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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32 minutes ago, Detling said:

Remember that Ebbers/webasto's take 10-15 amps for a minute to start and then about 3 amps continuous while running, on shorepower no problem, if you are not on shorepower where do you get that extra 72 AHrs a day from?  A Solid fuel stove with a backboiler ideally provides hot water and some radiators on a thermocycle system using zero power, at worst you can fit a small 12 volt pump taking 1 or 1.5 amps to boost the heat (possibly thermostatically controlled) by increasing the flow rate.

Going by my experiences if you ran one for 24 hours a day (72Ah/day) you'd melt, so surely average power consumption would be much less than that?

 

In the end it comes down to cost, convenience, space, and modern vs. traditional. A solid fuel stove is lovely and cosy and relatively cheap to run (especially if you scavenge/season wood) but you have to find space for it, light/fill/empty/clean it, buy/store fuel/wood, and generally love it and pay it attention. A diesel heater costs more to run but needs less space (including for fuel) and is more convenient (warm just when you want it, just uses diesel from boat tank), and (arguably) does a better the job of warming the boat overall but in the end is just another soulless machine.

 

It's exactly the same tradeoff as gas CH in a house vs. a real fire or stove, or a traditional boat engine vs. a Beta or similar -- do you want something modern that just gets on and does the job quietly with the least hassle, or something more characterful/traditional that's often more enjoyable but needs more attention and hands-on effort?

 

Neither is "best" for everyone, it all depends what your priorities are. I've lived with real fires and gas CH in houses, and stoves and diesel heaters on boats, they're both great in different ways, and which is "better" isn't even always the same -- real fires/stoves are lovely to sit in front of on a winter evening, but not so lovely when you have to clean out and dispose of the ashes and sweep coal dust up, or have everything smelling of smoke when it blows back, or go out in the rain to bring fuel in, or wake up cold if it burned down too much overnight -- possibly because you forgot to bank it up nicely after too many beers/gins. CH is dead easy, getting out of bed to an already warm house/boat is rather nice, but nobody's ever going to go on about how lovely it is to sit in front of...

Edited by IanD

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1 minute ago, IanD said:

Going by my experiences if you ran one for 24 hours a day (72Ah/day) you'd melt, so surely average power consumption would be much less than that?

Mine (Eberspacher) is a continuous 10a if the heater is operating or not.

The leccy is used on the fan rathe than just igniting the fuel.

 

These are blown air heaters and use more than water heaters.

 

The D5 uses a mimimum of 2a (25w) on low and 7amps (85w) on high.

I don't know what the high / low split would be but (say) 1/4 high and 3/4 low the consumption would be around (42Ah + 36Ah) 78Ah per 25 hours.

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