Jump to content

Diesel stove regulator needs attention


Mike Tee
 Share

Featured Posts

I have a diesel stove that doesn't want to play after a summer of resting. Anybody recommend someone professionally able around Milton Keynes area that I can contact. I've checked the obvious things - filter cleaned, diesel in pot, floats not sticking but that's my lot! I'm not too good with small things that need a delicate touch, I'm better with a hammer. Burner pot is free from slag after use of said hammer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

I have a diesel stove that doesn't want to play after a summer of resting.

 

 

Can you be more specific? You mean it randomly goes out perhaps?

 

Curious because I've never had a diesel stove but thinking of getting one, and want to understand them a little better...

 

 

Have you taken the chimney cap off? 😃

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, MtB said:

Have you taken the chimney cap off? 😃

 

Although I said this in jest, chimneys can easily get partially blocked with spider webs and dust over the summer, and this an easily affect combustion. Did you run a brush down yours before trying out the stove? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure the regulator is blocked and it is too fiddly for my ham fisted DIY skills. I've checked all the obvious bits - fuel is getting to the regulator, but just will not drip feed into the burning pot. Which makes me think the little slot that allows fuel into the burner is blocked. Really frustrating, but when these stoves are working (and they rarely break down) they give clean controllable heat, and don't use huge amounts of diesel. Not the first one we have had, and I highly recommend them. Chimney clear, but as there is not even enough diesel to attempt to light, that is not the problem. In the past (not this boat) in the deepest winter when we were frozen in for around six weeks (2001'ish) just left it on 24/7 on the lowest setting, and the boat (60') was kept really warm.

MtB - if you do go for one, avoid the one's with a back boiler that are not gravity fed (ie need a pump to circulate the hot water to rads), having the pump on all the time is a real pain. My choice would be the Reflex without back boiler - simple and been around for years. But not cheap - but it is a boat after all!

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure this helps, but we have a Refleks 66 and have had the regulator apart more times than I care to remember. We have individually pricked out all the little air vent holes with a small needle at least half a dozen times, and have polished the inlet tube, and fed tiny little jet cleaning wires through the slit and the nozzle as an almost inevitable part of the start-up routine, which is about a 3hr clean each time before trying to light it. We actually can't turn up to the boat on a Friday and expect to have heat, but have to delay until the Saturday to give ourselves time to clean it, or turn it off early enough to get it cool so that we have 3hrs of cleaning time before we go home. It is not yet in its permanent location and I am hoping that it's the moving around which upsets it, but it blocks, goes out, cokes up etc. almost every time we light it at the moment. We have come to accept 'still burning' as success - forget a steady blue flame - this is alternating between blue and yellow with a periodic 'whumph' - anything better than that is utterly unachievable, so it doesn't vaporise and therefore also makes the whole boat stink of half-burnt diesel. Getting it to burn all night is a cause for celebration and there was one occasion last February when I turned up to the boat in the evening in the ice and the thing completely refused to light, leaving my only heating as a single oil lamp. That was a new level of basic.

 

If I hadn't currently got COVID then this weekend I would have installed the stove. I like the theory of it; easy lighting and controllable heat. In practice, if it doesn't start to work with at least some reliability then it will be straight out and a Davey hot-pot or similar will go in instead as life's too short.

 

Alec

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, agg221 said:

If I hadn't currently got COVID then this weekend I would have installed the stove. I like the theory of it; easy lighting and controllable heat. In practice, if it doesn't start to work with at least some reliability then it will be straight out and a Davey hot-pot or similar will go in instead as life's too short.

 

 

Throw in in my direction, would ya.😄

Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, agg221 said:

I'm not sure this helps, but we have a Refleks 66 and have had the regulator apart more times than I care to remember. We have individually pricked out all the little air vent holes with a small needle at least half a dozen times, and have polished the inlet tube, and fed tiny little jet cleaning wires through the slit and the nozzle as an almost inevitable part of the start-up routine, which is about a 3hr clean each time before trying to light it. We actually can't turn up to the boat on a Friday and expect to have heat, but have to delay until the Saturday to give ourselves time to clean it, or turn it off early enough to get it cool so that we have 3hrs of cleaning time before we go home. It is not yet in its permanent location and I am hoping that it's the moving around which upsets it, but it blocks, goes out, cokes up etc. almost every time we light it at the moment. We have come to accept 'still burning' as success - forget a steady blue flame - this is alternating between blue and yellow with a periodic 'whumph' - anything better than that is utterly unachievable, so it doesn't vaporise and therefore also makes the whole boat stink of half-burnt diesel. Getting it to burn all night is a cause for celebration and there was one occasion last February when I turned up to the boat in the evening in the ice and the thing completely refused to light, leaving my only heating as a single oil lamp. That was a new level of basic.

 

If I hadn't currently got COVID then this weekend I would have installed the stove. I like the theory of it; easy lighting and controllable heat. In practice, if it doesn't start to work with at least some reliability then it will be straight out and a Davey hot-pot or similar will go in instead as life's too short.

 

Alec

I put an inline filter in my Reflex and have not had an issue. Is yours fed from a separate tank and how clean is it? If the tanks clean and the diesels good once the regulators clean there shouldn’t be an issue. 

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Chris John said:

I put an inline filter in my Reflex and have not had an issue. Is yours fed from a separate tank and how clean is it? If the tanks clean and the diesels good once the regulators clean there shouldn’t be an issue. 

We bought the stove around a year ago, secondhand from Lockgate, and it wouldn't run; we had it apart multiple times to get it right, including eventually finding one problem was that the pipe from the regulator to the feed in the side of the pot was heavily coked up so had to rod that through with scrapers until it was clean. We finally got it running consistently so put it on the boat and within two trips we were were stripping it fully again. At present it's on a totally separate 5l tank, gravity fed, although I want to connect it to the engine day tank (with inline filters). We haven't had it alight yet since the spring, but all the issues were on fresh, clean diesel with no contamination. We actually had it on road diesel, as we got the stove set up at home first. We have used manual cleaning as the deposits we get are too hard and block it too solidly for tablets - we did try one at one point while it was still running, which created some nicely coloured flames, and put the thing out by the morning. The air feed holes in the pot generally block so solidly that you can't even see where they are - you have to know how many rings of them you are looking for and poke them all out with a needle.

 

Alec

Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, agg221 said:

We bought the stove around a year ago, secondhand from Lockgate, and it wouldn't run; we had it apart multiple times to get it right, including eventually finding one problem was that the pipe from the regulator to the feed in the side of the pot was heavily coked up so had to rod that through with scrapers until it was clean. We finally got it running consistently so put it on the boat and within two trips we were were stripping it fully again. At present it's on a totally separate 5l tank, gravity fed, although I want to connect it to the engine day tank (with inline filters). We haven't had it alight yet since the spring, but all the issues were on fresh, clean diesel with no contamination. We actually had it on road diesel, as we got the stove set up at home first. We have used manual cleaning as the deposits we get are too hard and block it too solidly for tablets - we did try one at one point while it was still running, which created some nicely coloured flames, and put the thing out by the morning. The air feed holes in the pot generally block so solidly that you can't even see where they are - you have to know how many rings of them you are looking for and poke them all out with a needle.

 

Alec

What you are describing is, as I'm sure you are well aware, not normal. Having to clean it every time you want it lit is so far away from normal as to be ..... don't have the words without getting a ban. These stoves are used all over the world, both marine and land based, and if even 10% of the owners experienced your problems, Refleks would be out of business.

Have you tried getting Lockgate to come and have a go? (For my own reasons, I'd be interested in their reaction).

 

eta- Have you considered a new regulator - bloody expensive for a small  thing, but maybe the answer

https://www.toplicht.de/en/cabin-comfort/stoves-heaters/exhaust-gas-regulatos-spares-accessories/refleks/4734/oil-metering-regulator-refleks

 

Edited by Mike Tee
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

What you are describing is, as I'm sure you are well aware, not normal. Having to clean it every time you want it lit is so far away from normal as to be ..... don't have the words without getting a ban. These stoves are used all over the world, both marine and land based, and if even 10% of the owners experienced your problems, Refleks would be out of business.

Have you tried getting Lockgate to come and have a go? (For my own reasons, I'd be interested in their reaction).

 

eta- Have you considered a new regulator - bloody expensive for a small  thing, but maybe the answer

https://www.toplicht.de/en/cabin-comfort/stoves-heaters/exhaust-gas-regulatos-spares-accessories/refleks/4734/oil-metering-regulator-refleks

 

Yes, I'm aware it's not normal, although judging by the Refleks forum on Facebook, the issues with mine are more severe than others but not unique. I haven't yet decided what to do with it as a new regulator might fix it, but it doesn't feel like throwing another £400 at it is a good move for that level of uncertainty. I want to know what's wrong with it, rather than throw parts at it and hope. One option may be that they don't like being shut down and started up - I know most people who have them tend to leave them running for extended periods of time whereas we will tend to be on the boat for a weekend and also shut it down when the engine is running as that keeps the boat warm on its own so it only really gets lit overnight.

 

Anyway - MtB, don't let me put you off!!!

 

Alec

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, agg221 said:

Yes, I'm aware it's not normal, although judging by the Refleks forum on Facebook, the issues with mine are more severe than others but not unique. I haven't yet decided what to do with it as a new regulator might fix it, but it doesn't feel like throwing another £400 at it is a good move for that level of uncertainty. I want to know what's wrong with it, rather than throw parts at it and hope. One option may be that they don't like being shut down and started up - I know most people who have them tend to leave them running for extended periods of time whereas we will tend to be on the boat for a weekend and also shut it down when the engine is running as that keeps the boat warm on its own so it only really gets lit overnight.

 

Anyway - MtB, don't let me put you off!!!

 

Alec

Well mines not been run since May I think it was and I lit it the other day without doing anything to it and it was fine. Also the air feed holes as you call them certainty should not be blocking. Mines as clean as a whistle except for some coke at the bottom which I scrape every year and hoover out. I think I’d  call Refleks for advice and maybe see if they know anyone who will overhaul the regulator. 
Lots of coke deposits certainly indicate it’s not burning correctly.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, agg221 said:

Yes, I'm aware it's not normal, although judging by the Refleks forum on Facebook, the issues with mine are more severe than others but not unique. I haven't yet decided what to do with it as a new regulator might fix it, but it doesn't feel like throwing another £400 at it is a good move for that level of uncertainty. I want to know what's wrong with it, rather than throw parts at it and hope. One option may be that they don't like being shut down and started up - I know most people who have them tend to leave them running for extended periods of time whereas we will tend to be on the boat for a weekend and also shut it down when the engine is running as that keeps the boat warm on its own so it only really gets lit overnight.

 

Anyway - MtB, don't let me put you off!!!

 

Alec

I have seen many oil burners, Reflex and Bubble etc. that are exactly as yours seems to be. I have seen more ripped out in disgust than installed and working properly.

The best advice I got from the various makers was to run them on kerosene rather than diesel, the same advice applies to Eberspaecher Mukinis and  Webastos.

The other thing that seems to work is long tall chimneys, the increase in draught makes them burn hotter.

I know of one that has an extra tee and tap on the fuel line that he can dip into a jar of paraffin occasionally which burns off the gunge before it solidifies and blocks the various small holes and tubes. 

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Mike Tee said:

I'm pretty sure the regulator is blocked and it is too fiddly for my ham fisted DIY skills. I've checked all the obvious bits - fuel is getting to the regulator, but just will not drip feed into the burning pot. Which makes me think the little slot that allows fuel into the burner is blocked. Really frustrating, but when these stoves are working (and they rarely break down) they give clean controllable heat, and don't use huge amounts of diesel. Not the first one we have had, and I highly recommend them. Chimney clear, but as there is not even enough diesel to attempt to light, that is not the problem. In the past (not this boat) in the deepest winter when we were frozen in for around six weeks (2001'ish) just left it on 24/7 on the lowest setting, and the boat (60') was kept really warm.

MtB - if you do go for one, avoid the one's with a back boiler that are not gravity fed (ie need a pump to circulate the hot water to rads), having the pump on all the time is a real pain. My choice would be the Reflex without back boiler - simple and been around for years. But not cheap - but it is a boat after all!

 

What exactly are the symptoms your stove is exhibiting?

 

I have a Kabola Old Dutch stove, which initially didn't work out (regulator gummed up as it hadn't been used for 7 years) and having  been unable to find anyone who could service or repair one, decided I would have to do it myself. Over the last few years I have become quite good at servicing it.

 

As others have said, it is usually the burner pot needing to be cleaned (don't forget the tiny holes on the lower edge, invisible unless you have a led lit mirror on a stick), the supply feed blocked (use the scraper or a bent instrument screwdriver to clear the feed hole) or the regulator needing cleaning or adjusting (easy with care).

 

I have been told that Toby Oil Control Valves for AGA's can be used are cheaper than Refleks, although the high and low flame setting may well need adjusting to suit.

 

https://www.heating-parts.co.uk/s-211672/toby-oil-control-valve-4-8cc-aga-don-manual-auto-ocv/?refid=2&gclid=CjwKCAjw-L-ZBhB4EiwA76YzOeFCLKGSlOFK5tySjMX5L9Pt5ycuT7x0erJA-6KgzMQ6o88yiotNCBoC3_4QAvD_BwE

Edited by cuthound
Link added and clarification
  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, cuthound said:

 

What exactly are the symptoms your stove is exhibiting?

 

I have a Kabola Old Dutch stove, which initially didn't work out (regulator gummed up as it hadn't been used for 7 years) and having  been unable to find anyone who could service or repair one, decided I would have to do it myself. Over the last few years I have become quite good at servicing it.

 

As others have said, it is usually the burner pot needing to be cleaned (don't forget the tiny holes on the lower edge, invisible unless you have a led lit mirror on a stick), the supply feed blocked (use the scraper or a bent instrument screwdriver to clear the feed hole) or the regulator needing cleaning or adjusting (easy with care).

Are Kuranda still Kacola agents out in Whaley Bridge?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure that a longer chimney will overcome the instability issues. However, I think I also have a fuelling issue (apologies to the OP for the potential derail, but actually they may have the same basic problem).

 

The fundamental problem is that I haven't ever seen it running properly. That means I don't know what 'normal' means in terms of fuelling. Take a simple one - assuming I set the stove up and turn it on but don't light it (I know this isn't the correct procedure for lighting, this is a diagnostic question) - what level should the fuel reach before it cuts out on the regulator float? Similarly, if the stove is running, what level of fuel should be visible in the base of the stove, and would that vary with setting or should it be largely constant as the increased flow is matched by the increased burn rate? Should it basically be a bit damp, or should there be a shallow pool across the whole stove base? I have a thought that maybe the regulator is at the wrong height relative to the stove base, perhaps because it has been knocked and the pipe bent at some point before my ownership, meaning it is never getting enough fuel in before cutting out (nothing to do with the regulator itself, just relative positions). If that was the case, it could never fuel properly so wouldn't run right whatever I did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once you have established that you have a clear supply to the oil control valve (OCV), looking at the top of the valve, you will have the flow rates depicted in cc/min. Disconnect the outlet pipe, and check that the flow rate is at the prescribed levels. You can get a measuring cup/spoon from a chemists as they are within similar ranges. In checking this, let the fuel run on low for a minute or so and then check the rate. Repeat for the high flow rate. Ensure that the delivery pipe to the pot is clear, then reconnect to the burner pot. The fuel level into the burner will be approx 1/2"/15mm. so the level mark on the OCV will be at this level above the base. As the mounting plate for the OCV is a substantially fixed to the stove I doubt if this will need attention. You also need to establish that the burner pot to stove base plate is airtight. Any leaks here will impair the flue draught through the burner. Likewise, the door seal and top seal should be sound for the same reason. 

When lighting, place a piece of fire lighter or tissue screwed up in the centre of the pot, switch on the fuel to full and when the fuel reaches the tissue, light the tissue/firelighter, replace the catalysers and turn down the fuel to halfway. Leave the door ajar so that the combustion   for about 10 mins until the flame, although wispy, is established. Then close the door and you should see the flame turn blue with maybe some flicks of yellow at the tips. if the flame is still yellow and dirty, then you have either clogged up holes in the pot or a leaky combustion chamber or a totally inadequate flue. My Bubble works perfectly well with an internal 4" flue of 4ft and a chimney outside of 20". I use a piece of 4" s/steel pipe in the collar with a normal narrowboat chimney outside of it. I also have a swedish cowl fitted onto the 'inner' pipe of the chimney. I tend to scrape out the pot near the inlet port before lighting each time, takes about 1 minute, but I can leave it running for weeks on end if I so choose. 

They are simple appliances, and if you do the simple things right, they simply work.

The distributors of the oil control valves have been known to say the biggest problem they have with their products, the Toby valve, is the nut on the end of the screwdriver used to tamper with the flow rates. If you feel the need to fettle the flow rates whilst the burner is running, then be aware that nothing is instant. adjust by about 1/4 turn at a time and wait 4-5 mins between adjustment.

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that. Mine is a small Refleks so some details don't apply (no door, only a fixed window, and the burner pot is the stove base) but the principle makes sense. Flow rates are OK but if I light it on meths and then bleed in diesel as it gets going, there is never a lot of diesel in there. It just doesn't seem to flow into the burner pot and build up a layer in the bottom. Pretty much everything vaporises as soon as it reaches the pot, so any change in orientation such as rocking the boat means it temporarily flows more slowly and stutters as it runs out of fuel. If you turn it up it burns much hotter - the whole thing can glow red on the internal wall - but it won't ever build up a layer of diesel in the burner pot.


Alec

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, agg221 said:

Thanks for that. Mine is a small Refleks so some details don't apply (no door, only a fixed window, and the burner pot is the stove base) but the principle makes sense. Flow rates are OK but if I light it on meths and then bleed in diesel as it gets going, there is never a lot of diesel in there. It just doesn't seem to flow into the burner pot and build up a layer in the bottom. Pretty much everything vaporises as soon as it reaches the pot, so any change in orientation such as rocking the boat means it temporarily flows more slowly and stutters as it runs out of fuel. If you turn it up it burns much hotter - the whole thing can glow red on the internal wall - but it won't ever build up a layer of diesel in the burner pot.


Alec

Is it supposed to build up a layer of diesel in the burner pot then and if it is how do you know if it is or not! You have got the ring and the mesh in correctly I assume. The ring site halfway up the pot on the small protruding lugs sticking out. The ring has the centre tangs pointing downwards slightly . The cylindrical mesh then sits in the centre of the ring and on the bottom of the pot. It’s this setup that helps vaporises the diesel. If this is not correct the stove will smoke and soot up as it’s not burning correctly 

 

From Reflex 

 

The mesh cone has the disc at the top. The ring sits halfway in the burner pot and has three tabs pointing down ie concave underneath.

Edited by Chris John
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Chris John said:

Is it supposed to build up a layer of diesel in the burner pot then and if it is how do you know if it is or not! You have got the ring and the mesh in correctly I assume. The ring site halfway up the pot on the small protruding lugs sticking out. The ring has the centre tangs pointing downwards slightly . The cylindrical mesh then sits in the centre of the ring and on the bottom of the pot. It’s this setup that helps vaporises the diesel. If this is not correct the stove will smoke and soot up as it’s not burning correctly 

 

From Reflex 

 

The mesh cone has the disc at the top. The ring sits halfway in the burner pot and has three tabs pointing down ie concave underneath.

I don't know if it is or isn't supposed to have a layer of diesel present, only that it doesn't. You can tell it doesn't because you can see in through the window and also it doesn't slosh about. The 66 doesn't have a mesh, it has a coil. The coil assembly only sits on the protruding lugs one way up, so you pretty much couldn't get it backwards.

 

It's quite possible there is something wrong with the coil or the mounting, but if so I can't see what as nothing is bent or broken.


Alec

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, agg221 said:

Thanks for that. Mine is a small Refleks so some details don't apply (no door, only a fixed window, and the burner pot is the stove base) but the principle makes sense. Flow rates are OK but if I light it on meths and then bleed in diesel as it gets going, there is never a lot of diesel in there. It just doesn't seem to flow into the burner pot and build up a layer in the bottom. Pretty much everything vaporises as soon as it reaches the pot, so any change in orientation such as rocking the boat means it temporarily flows more slowly and stutters as it runs out of fuel. If you turn it up it burns much hotter - the whole thing can glow red on the internal wall - but it won't ever build up a layer of diesel in the burner pot.


Alec

I don't get how you can see the bottom of the burner pot when it is lit - it is normally obscured by the mesh that helps vaporise the hot fuel. Also, I don't think there would be any diesel puddle in the burner pot if it is up to temperature because as soon as it gets in the pot it is vapourised. The more fuel flows in. the bigger the flame because more fuel is vapourised and therefore burnt. However, I've not had experience of a Refleks, only Bubble and one Lockgate built before they did Refleks - maybe they are totally different?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Mike Tee said:

I don't get how you can see the bottom of the burner pot when it is lit - it is normally obscured by the mesh that helps vaporise the hot fuel. Also, I don't think there would be any diesel puddle in the burner pot if it is up to temperature because as soon as it gets in the pot it is vapourised. The more fuel flows in. the bigger the flame because more fuel is vapourised and therefore burnt. However, I've not had experience of a Refleks, only Bubble and one Lockgate built before they did Refleks - maybe they are totally different?

The 66 model doesn't have a mesh, it has a coil, so you can sort of see down past it if you squint at the right angle. Also, because with this one you light it by taking the hotplate off, when it dies you can take the hotplate back off again and see straight down to the bottom.

 

It makes sense that there shouldn't be liquid diesel present, but it needs to flow until it hits a 'hot front' somewhere in the pot and then vaporise. If it wouldn't flow in when not lit then there wouldn't be enough fuel coming through. It seems to stop flowing completely if there is the slightest trace of soot or coke in the burner pot - you pretty much have to keep it polished to keep it running, as though the float cut-out is too low relative to the burner pot.

 

Alec

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.