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Old 10-03-2006, 02:47 PM
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Default boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

If one is trying to keep the engine room warm during the course of winter and the boat is stored in the slip, what is the difference in the above mentioned heat sources other tahn the price? Why would I spend $400 for a Boatsafe heater when a fuse protected heat lamp or ceramic heater placed in the engine room can do the same job? What is so unique or different abot Boatsafe heaters?
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Old 10-03-2006, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

You can do what you want it's your boat. Burn it down and the insurance company's FIRST job is to figure how NOT to payoff.
The Boatsafe has all the labels and product libality insurance to satisify the insurance people. The boatsafe does not get hot at any external point. Your heaters have very hot spots that can be touched by something and therefore start a fire. You know you boat still continues to move around even after you tie it up and leave.I don't think a boatsafe cost $50 dollars to build; but that is the price you pay for the product liability these days. Oh by the way a heat lamp is just plain stupid. They can pop and really start something on fire. My neighbor burnt a boat and his dock down with a heat lamp. The State Police almost arrested him for doing it on purpose. Seems a "lamp in the bilge excuse" is a common way to try collect on insurance. In New Jersey
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Old 10-03-2006, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

CB-

I should have predicated my original response by saying "even though I would never put a 150watt heat lamp in the bilge, what is so uniquely different about a Boatsafe heater as compared to other heat sources". With this said, I'm not certain I still appriciate the difference between a low voltage/low output ceramic heater (fuse protected) and a Boatsafe heater. My diesel engine room reaches temperatures above 160degrees everytime I head out of the harbor (3-5x/week from April - Decemember) and I know that ceramic heaters don't reach this temperature on any external surface -- so what's the difference? Is product liability the only difference here? Have the wonderful litigation lawyers saddled the boating community with $400 engine room heaters when $20 ceramic heater does the same thing? There has got to be additional differences. I hope anyway. Anyone?
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:07 PM
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Default RE: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

I generaly agree with CB. I have used a 100 watt light bulb, but it was in an industrial "explosion proof" rated fixture.

I built my own "low temperature" 250 watt heater that I feel is safe. If not for an extensive electronics "junque box", would probably cost more than the commercial boatsafe. Used a huge aluminum estrusion type power resistor mounted to a fan cooled heat sink. There are two (series redundancy) over temperature breakers fixed to the heat sink in case of fan failure/overheating. The heat sink reaches about 80 degrees over ambient (or less). Power to the resistor and fan is controlled by a solid state relay coupled to a temperature sensor. It turns on at about 39 degrees and off at about 43 degrees. Saves a bit of juice that way...

Since my boat is on a trailer at the house, I also have a wireless thermometer at the motor with the readout in the house.

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Old 10-04-2006, 11:27 AM
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Default RE: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

Quote:
Why would I spend $400 for a Boatsafe heater when a fuse protected heat lamp or ceramic heater placed in the engine room can do the same job?
Two problems with the heat lamp.
1 If it breaks, there will be a very hot filament for a few seconds and then a spark as the filament burns in two.
2 If the lamp becomes loose in the socket, it will create a spark.

Ceramic heater?
The fan and thermostat are not ignition protected.


There are two ignition protected marine engine compartment heaters on the market:

http://www.xtremeheaters.com/

and

http://www.boatsafeheaters.com/

Anything less is an invitation to a fire or explosion. If you build your own, it's pretty hard to make it truly "ignition proof". Thermostats, switches, sockets, etc. are sources of sparks. It's pretty easy to overlook a source of fire or ignition. The heaters from the links above have been tested and approved by the appropriate agencies.

If you value your boat, spend the money and do it right. Remember, you still have to worry about a power failure.
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Old 10-04-2006, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

To avoid the power issue, would there be a way to safely rig up a diesel burning engine heater? I've used them in automobiles but not boats. Something like this http://www.espar.com/htm/Specs/water/D4Wspec.htm
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Old 10-04-2006, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

I have block heaters on my Cummins. There is no condensation on the engines, easier starting, less smoke on start up. They not only keep my engines and engine room warm they keep the whole boat warm. If I'm staying on the boat I need to turn my heat on, but the block heaters keep it warm enough to keep mildew out of the entire boat. If you want to heat your engines and engine room get block heaters you will not regret doing it. Buzz
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Old 10-04-2006, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

Not trying to hijack the thread, but my question is along the same lines and expands the scope a little.

My boat stays on a trailer all winter. I usually winterize the I/O sometime in early December and I dont get it out again until early April. The problem is that we have a lot of days throughout winter that would be great to be on the water.

If you put a heater, Boatsafe or otherwise, in the engine compartment and wrapped the outdrive with some sort of insulation, would everything stay warm enough to prevent freezing? Id like to think that if the engine was nice and warm (45-50deg?), the outdrive would conduct sufficient heat to keep any water in it from freezing. Id still winterize the baitwell & head plumbing, Id just like to be able to use the boat on the nice days without having to re-winterize it each time.

Ive thought about sitting down and running the numbers, but Im no thermodynamics expert. Does anyone know if Fourier's law and the heat equation would apply? I would think that, if you could assume the drive system is isotropic and homogeneous, you could get an idea of how much heat and insulation it would take to keep everything from freezing.


Any help appreciated.
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Old 10-04-2006, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

Chris my friend you need to take an IR heat gun and shoot the face of the ceramic heater. You will see temps in excess of 400F. My Pelonis get close to 500F and my cheap Holmes gets to almost 400F. Just about at this time I would tell you to get your head out of your a$$; but I am not. You are asking the right questions; just making some bad assumptions. The boatsafe is only warm to the touch. One end gets hotter then the other though. The boatsafe has slots so it can be bolted down. You boat does rock and roll when you are not aboard. Your ceramic heated can slide off a shelf or something can fall against it. Something getting that hot in a bilge is not a safe thing.
I keep hearing block heaters. While I nothing against block heaters for car and trucks. They have less importance for boats. You may try to start you truck at 10 below zero; but the inlet may be frozen when you get to your boat. Now some boat engines can really benefit from the heat like old 2 cycle DD's. 3208 Cats on the other hand do not . The other draw back with block heaters is most of them are at least a 1000W. Two motors and that is 2000W. Holy Cow man I don't to boil water I just need to keep the engine room warn. Warm is something like 35-40F. I don't need or want my engines kept at near operating tempeature.
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Old 10-04-2006, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

I've got block heaters on my DD 6-71's. They keep the engines approximately 150 degrees. They're meant for easier starting, not to heat the engine room. When I turn them on, the electric meter spins like a 45 RPM record! The money you save on the lectric bill will cover the cost of the boat safe heater.
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Old 10-04-2006, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

Quote:
Trey1096 - 10/4/2006 10:46 AM

Not trying to hijack the thread, but my question is along the same lines and expands the scope a little.

My boat stays on a trailer all winter. I usually winterize the I/O sometime in early December and I dont get it out again until early April. The problem is that we have a lot of days throughout winter that would be great to be on the water.

If you put a heater, Boatsafe or otherwise, in the engine compartment and wrapped the outdrive with some sort of insulation, would everything stay warm enough to prevent freezing? Id like to think that if the engine was nice and warm (45-50deg?), the outdrive would conduct sufficient heat to keep any water in it from freezing. Id still winterize the baitwell & head plumbing, Id just like to be able to use the boat on the nice days without having to re-winterize it each time.

Ive thought about sitting down and running the numbers, but Im no thermodynamics expert. Does anyone know if Fourier's law and the heat equation would apply? I would think that, if you could assume the drive system is isotropic and homogeneous, you could get an idea of how much heat and insulation it would take to keep everything from freezing.


Any help appreciated.
It depends more on the temperatures your boat experiences. Where do you live and how cold does it get?

You can buy a larger heater and that should help. Wrapping the outdrive in some sort of insulating blanket would certainly help. Covering the air intake and exhaust dicts to the engine compartment is important.

Keep in mind the danger of an unexpected power failure and be ready to winterize at a moment's notice.

BTW: There's not supposed to be any water in the outdrive. If there is, you have something else to worry about.
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Old 10-04-2006, 09:20 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

I hear ya CB -- the problem is that my head is soooo hard and big that I have a hard time getting out of me small butt-hole sometimes. See I grew-up in one of those ol-time, salty watermen communities on the lower Eastern Shore of MD (we always capatilize the Eastern Shore to display is appropiate prominence) where hundreds of wooden boats (Chesapeake deadrises) lined the docks. Many (most?) of these boats kept a 100 watt lighbulb lit in the engine box of the deadrise throughout the oyster season to keep their DD warm. Nare a 1 ever caught fire. None!! A GE lightbulb cost 50cents and puts off a fair amount of heat. I also hear ya on the liability of boat explosions - lord knows that I don't want one in my own deadrise but I question the real risk of a lightbuld or ceramic heater in the engine box of a diesel. That's all. Thanks for ye input.
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Old 10-05-2006, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

Chris I hear you too. The boatsafe is way over priced for what it is. From what I can tell without taking it apart, it's pop rivited together, it has an enclosed heater in a big long metal enclosure with a "computer" fan at one end. A heater in a box inside another a box with a $5.00 dollar computer fan. Oh it does have a thermostat that kicks on and off around 40-50F. If you got yourself an aluminum plate drilled and installed 500W cartridge heater and thermocouple. Hook that to power supply and thermostat; mount that in an aluminum box with a small computer fan and you got a boatsafe. I have used the old 100W bulb in a drop light before in a gas powered Bertram; but you are asking for trouble if something goes BOOOOOOM
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Old 10-05-2006, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

My old boat had Detroit's, using block heaters made them easy to start. The side benefits was no condensation on the engines and less smoke at start up. It doesn't normally get really cold in SE North Carolina but I liked them so well I put them on my present boat to cut down on smoke at start up and stop condensation. A lot of my friends have their block heaters on timers and run them only at night. Of course how warm they keep your engine room depends on it's size and the wattage of the block heater. I can't remember but I believe mine are 750 watts each. Because I keep the boat behind my house I cut them off and on as needed. I do leave them on if I'm leaving town for an extended period of time during the winter.
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Old 10-05-2006, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

Quote:
CB Haws - 10/5/2006 10:44 AM

........ The boatsafe is way over priced for what it is. From what I can tell without taking it apart, it's pop rivited together, it has an enclosed heater in a big long metal enclosure with a "computer" fan at one end. A heater in a box inside another a box with a $5.00 dollar computer fan. Oh it does have a thermostat that kicks on and off around 40-50F. If you got yourself an aluminum plate drilled and installed 500W cartridge heater and thermocouple. Hook that to power supply and thermostat; mount that in an aluminum box with a small computer fan and you got a boatsafe. ..........................
Sounds like you should go into competition with them. You could either far outsell them or make a tidy profit on each sale.

I suspect there's more to it than what you see. The competition (see the link above) has similar prices for their comparable units. I suspect that if it was possible to make a safe and efective engine room heater and get it approved for less money, someone would jump into the market and make a killing.
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Old 10-05-2006, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

Sure rwidman I could make a huge profit if I have no added cost from product liability insurance, and other certifications or approvals. The whole point of this is the boatsafe may not do much more then a couple of light bulbs; BUT it is manufactured to some standards. I bet they pay a fair amount for product liability. Sorry this was all lost on you. There are folks who are ignorant because they have not been given information. Then there are the willfully ignorant. I am thankful for them that breathing is basically an involuntary process.
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Old 10-05-2006, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: boatsafe heaters, block heaters and plain old heat lamps

Quote:
CB Haws - 10/5/2006 3:52 PM

Sure rwidman I could make a huge profit if I have no added cost from product liability insurance, and other certifications or approvals. The whole point of this is the boatsafe may not do much more then a couple of light bulbs; BUT it is manufactured to some standards. I bet they pay a fair amount for product liability. Sorry this was all lost on you.
Not lost on me at all - I think you are wrong, that you have underestimated the cost and quality of the parts and materials required to make a reliable and safe marine engine compartment heater.

Note that Boatsafe has a competitor and that their heaters are priced at about the same level (they claim some improvements over the Boatsafe design). If it were truly possible to manufacture a comperable product using $50.00 worth of materials, there would be much more competition and lower prices.

You have a right to your opinion and I have a right to mine. I would just hate to see someone try to construct a homemade heater from surplus computer parts based on advice given in a web forum and have their boat go up in smoke.
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