Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Testing the Refleks Diesel Stove

More than nine months have past since we last lit the Lockgate Refleks diesel stove and whilst it’s not yet sufficiently cold to start it, we decided to test the stove before the onset of the cold weather   This actually proved to be a good decision as the stove needed some minor maintenance before it started to run correctly.

We usually ignite the diesel with half a fire-lighter and that method worked today.  However after 15 minutes the stove went out and couldn’t be lit as there was no fuel.  It seemed obvious that we had burned the last of a small amount of fuel in the pipe before fuel starvation occurred.  I checked the two isolation valves hadn’t accidentally been turned off since we last used the stove (they hadn’t).  Then I pushed the small steel horizontal plunger in and out a few times to clear any potential blockage in the needle valve which feeds the stove.  That had no effect!  My next step was to thoroughly clean the base of the stove with steel wool and check if the diesel would then flow (it didn’t).  Then I unscrewed and removed the protective steel end cap covering the small fuel filter and removed it.  The filter was clean so whilst it was removed I opened the fuel valve to check that diesel was reaching the filter (it was).  This left removal, stripping, cleaning and checking the fuel regulator.  That’s a complex job and I’d rather find a simple solution.  The hole through which the fuel enters the stove is microscopic and it would only take a tiny amount of water or other impurity to block the flow of the diesel.  So I gave the side of the regulator and the pipe from the regulator to the stove several hits with the end of our metal torch.  Nothing too hard but sufficient (in my mind) to vibrate loose any impurities.  And looking into the stove the diesel had started to flow.  Beating things often improves the situation!  Worked with the children too!

Once the stove was hot I turned the regulator to maximum.

Too much yellow flame.  There is insufficient oxygen to fully burn the diesel.  We need to turn down the stove.

That’s better!  We left the stove running for a few hours in an effort to remove all/any further impurities in the system and then threw in a cleaning tablet.  This made the colour of the flames change to green and I assume it combines with any carbon residue in the stove before venting via the flue?

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