View Full Version : Torpedo shop heater adjustments

01-09-2006, 12:33 AM
I recently bought one of those torpedo shop heaters from home depot.
I wanted to use B100 in it.
When I turn it on, it fires right up, gets all hot and cozy, then shuts down after about two minutes.

I'm assuming that it doesn't like the B100. The B100 must not be burning completely or something and the photo sensor picks up the exhaust and shuts it down, as it is suppose to to prevent CO poisoning.

The directions for the heater tell you how to adjust the flow for various fuels using a vacuum a special vacuum gauge. I'm wondering if I can adjust without the gauge?

Has anyone done this? Which way should I turn the adjustment screw? Anyone using B100 in there shop heaters?

01-09-2006, 12:42 AM
I'm currently having the same issue with my Reddy Heater. I don't know if mine is adjustable or not but I'd sure like to find out.

As far as making the adjustment, I would just turn it a little, see if it improves and keep going that way until you see no more improvement. If that direction yields no improvement, go the other way.

Where on your heater is this adjustment? My guess is that it would be in a similar spot on my heater.


01-09-2006, 01:05 AM
I have the 60K BTU 'torpedo' model from Home Depot. It is the All-Pro brand from Desatech, although I read on this forum that they are all made by the same company and sold under different names at different stores.

The adjustment is on the back. There are two screw like things on the back. The left one is a port for a special gauge that reads the fuel pressure (NOT vacuum, as I mistated earlier) and the right one is the adjustment.

Several people on this forum have stated that they are using B100. I just wasn't sure which way I should try to tune it. So.... I dug into my stack of papaersa and found the instructions manual. It say to turn the screw to the right to increase pressure.

Am I suppose to increase or decrease the fuel pressure to get my BioD to burn properly? I assume increase, but am not sure.

Tim c cook
01-09-2006, 01:49 AM
I am assuming this is a standard "syphon" style heater. If so, you are actualy measuring and adjusting AIR pressure. The hockeypuck sized device that your adjustment screw is part of is a vane type air pump, it is mounted directly on the back of the electric motor, the other end of the motor has a fan that blows air over the fire box. Air is supplied to the fuel nozzle under some small pressure, 2-10 pounds, This air blows across the top of a tube that runs down into the fuel tank, this causes a vacuum and the fuel is drawn up the tube and is mixed with the air, no actual fuel pump or fuel pressure involved. the design and size of the syphon nozzle (in G/H of fuel) deturmines the amount of fuel and the fuel/air ratio, this deturmines the general amount of heat made. This fuel/air mix foggs through a tiny nozzle into the burn chamber where it is ignited and burned.

By increasing the air pressure you increase the amount of air and fuel being burnt so you get more heat, unfortunatly the fuel/air ratio does not change much so this adjustment does not have much of an effect other than balancing the flame for best combustion (least amount of smoke, most reliable ignition) in the specific size and design of the burn chamber.

Another recent post (here, go to last post and click on the "GC heater thread" link, then go about 1/2 way down that discussion) (http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/159605551/m/3781015911)) about burning biodiesel in a torpedo heater someplace on these forums indicated that he was setting the entire heater on top of an electric hotplate to heat the tank of biodiesel, worked fine once the fuel was warm. Pretty brute force but simple.

01-09-2006, 04:20 AM
I was running 100% BD in mine til it got really cold. Even then it would run but when it sat overnight it wouldn't lite in the morning and would cough up a butt load of smoke.

Now I run 80% BD 20% PD and it works pretty well flawlessly.

There was some one on another thread that couldn't get his to run any BD. If I'm not mistaken it was a Home Depot deal as well.

The hot plate trick is actually a good idea. I'll have to try that.


01-09-2006, 07:49 AM
So I take it that the fuel delivery system works on a venturi effect, similar to an oldschool perfume bottle.

Tonight I messed with the air adjustment screw and got it to burn for more like 10 minutes before it went out.

I think I might try applying some sort of heat to the tank. But, most likely, I'll just get some kerosene and experiment with different mix ratios untill I feel it is burning properly.

01-09-2006, 09:53 PM
I thought I had posted about this a few weeks ago and I'm sorry if I didn't. That photo cell is looking for a certain "color of excitement" in it's burn, which it is not getting from B100. When it is lacking this input in the photo sensor, shutdown will occur. My best buddy and myself did all the adjustments and such to no avail. Buy tossing about 4 onces of kerosene in to the 5 gallon tank of BD, we have our reddy heaters running extremely happy on this mix of about B95. I think this will solve ya'lls problems.


01-10-2006, 04:04 AM
4 ounces to 5 gallons? Thats more like B-99.5 LOL

That's awsome. My reddy heater puts out a lot of smoke at anything above 85%.

But I use diesel fuel or fuel oil. I've messed with kerosine and it didn't seem to help any more than diesel. So I spend a little less on diesel and drop the percentage a little. It could be because my reddy heater is about 25 years old. I'll bet that photo eye thing is sooted right up. I guess it's about time to take her appart and give a good cleaning.


01-10-2006, 07:41 AM
4 oz. to 5 gallons. WOW!! I was thinking of trying 50%, then 25%, then 10%. Thinking that would be about as far as it would allow me to go. But, .5% would be great.

01-10-2006, 02:40 PM
Wayne -If your heater is an older unit, it may not have the glow bar ignition. Maybe that's why it smokes a bit more, ya think? I've never tried diesel in my heater even though it's multi-fuel, thinking once I had a problem with BD, I'd jump right to the kerosene. It's a good thing that it doesn't take much kerosene since I almost had a stroke when paying over $7 a gallon at my local home center.
When I was having the staying lit problems, along with messing with the settings, I removed the in line fuel filter. My settings did return to as close to factory settings as possible, but I did leave the in tank filter off. The way we all filter our fuel, I wasn't to worried about it.


01-16-2006, 01:36 AM
Here is something else you can try: Block off 1/2 to 3/4 of the air intake. Once I did that my reddy heater quit shutting off prematurely. It also greatly reduced the amount of smoke on startup. I used packing tape to block the air flow.

02-09-2006, 10:39 PM
I just picked up a 55,000 BTU Reddy Heater at Lowe's for ½ off ($99.00). They also had several 125,000 Btu models for about $187.00.

I put a piece of paper over half the intake fan and it has been burning for about 45 min without ant disruption. It also stared the first try with virtually no smoke. Cross you figures. Maybe it will even work without restricting its airflow.

I just turned down the thermostat, waited 3-4 minutes and turned it back on. This time it smoked a tiny bit but nothing excessively.

02-10-2006, 06:02 PM
Somewhat off topic, but a friend of mine who's a mechanic just bought a small torpedo heater at one of the chain stores and it's marketed as "multi-fuel".

The sticker says it'll run on D1, D2, fuel oil, kero and even jet fuel. I gave him five gallons of bio and he said it performed very well. He said it produced somewhat less heat than PD, but I didn't get the chance to feel that for myself.

When he was testing, I believe he said he got it to run on B100 most of the time, but that it ran consistently on B95 or so.

I'll try to get the make and model...apparently it wasn't very expensive.

All these torpedo's mentioned above are all the "conventional" kinds, right? Not multi-fuel?

Jim D
02-10-2006, 07:48 PM
My torpedo is a multi fuel. Just not multi enough for biodiesel all the time. The problem is that biodiesel's flash point is 260+ deg F. Kerosene is 140 deg F. As long as the chamber is nice and hot it will burn biodiesel. If you preheat the biodiesel it burns better. There is a guy in west Tennessee that puts heat lamp up to the cone on the front of his heater when he shuts it down at night. In the morning the chamber is still nice and hot. He runs on B100. I want to put a little T in the fuel line above the tank to allow it to start on kerosene and then switch to B100.

Jim D
02-11-2006, 03:25 AM
Um...My heater was having a problem. It would start and fire up fine (sounded good, lots of heat) but would then shutdown. I figured that the Photo cell was dirty. I took it apart to find that the problem was exactly that. Easy fix. I just cleaned it off. While I was there I also found lots of damage the I had caused a couple of weeks earlier.
I had been running it on B-really-close-to-100. I shut it down for the night, and then tried to start it the next morning. Well it wouldn't start. After a few tries there was a nice pool of biodiesel dripping out the front. Me, being the Einstein that I am, put a piece of paper in it and lit it up. Since the flames were not going back into the can like I wanted them to I put a fan in front of the heater. It worked great! The insides of the heater got nice and hot. It lit up just fine after that.
Well, it turns out that I melted the protective grate at the back of the heater. I melted a ground wire for the igniter. I melted the supply wire to the igniter. And I melted a wire going to the photo cell.
I cleaned it all up, taped up the wires, and put shrink wrap on what I could.
The moral of the story is that these heaters are designed for cool air to come in the back and hot air to go out the front. Not the other way around. I was lucky.

girl mark
02-15-2006, 12:37 AM
can we add this to the 'best of the forums' thread that Rick started? i don't remember the name of that thread and it's been a while since it's been active.


02-15-2006, 01:32 AM
Originally posted by Houndog:
It's a good thing that it doesn't take much kerosene since I almost had a stroke when paying over $7 a gallon at my local home center.


One of the truck stops right by me has a kerosene pump and they are getting just over $3 a gallon right now .

Jim D
02-15-2006, 02:30 AM
$2.99 for undyed K-1 at the pump.

If you are buying in Walmart or any home center you will pay through the nose, but you get a nifty container out of the deal.


Jim D
02-15-2006, 05:11 AM
Quick question for everyone as they post in the future...

What kind of ignition system does your heater have?

It seems to me that they may behave quite differently with biodiesel. It could help with troubleshooting.

Mine is a champion spark plug. The manual says that 'It never needs to be adjusted.' I'm having a hard time buying that. I sanded both surfaces and brought them a little closer together. It lit MUCH faster than before. Less than a second to light off on mostly kerosene (80%?) with a cold heater. Unfortunately I still can't get it to light off B100 when it is cold.


can we add this to the 'best of the forums' thread that Rick started? i don't remember the name of that thread and it's been a while since it's been active.


I don't have a problem with that, just point me in the right direction.

-Jim, again

Jim D
02-15-2006, 05:15 AM
The hot plate trick is actually a good idea. I'll have to try that.
Well, I can tell you that a hot pad (the size of a place mat) set on high is just not enough.

02-17-2006, 07:33 PM
I have also had good luck with injecting propane into the chamber until the heater is hot. I injected it on the right side because the propane flame slightly charred the flame igniter when injecting from the opposite side. Be very careful not to let the fan hit your propane torch. The fan was really turning when I took the picture.

http://img124.imagevenue.com/loc288/th_06945_propane.JPG (http://img124.imagevenue.com/img.php?loc=loc288&image=06945_propane.JPG)

I am at a disadvantage here in TX because it just doesn’t get cold that often. I also have been making bio from Hydrogenated oil. When it does get cold enough to really test my ideas the fuel gels up in the orifice and delivery line. Even this cheap torch has allowed me to start the heater after it failed to start on it’s own. A high flame or high velocity torch should work even better.

I was in a local auto parts store and saw a 90-watt oil dipstick warmer for about $14. One idea would be to fill the tank and place the dip tube into the biodiesel. This dipstick would have to be removed after starting the heater since it must always be immersed in liquid.

Here is a pic of a piece of cardboard covering most the air intake. As has been stated in earlier posts this also seems to help keep the flame going.

http://img16.imagevenue.com/loc178/th_07009_shield.JPG (http://img16.imagevenue.com/img.php?loc=loc178&image=07009_shield.JPG)

One last idea. (and perhaps the best idea)

The two blue wires are from the photocell. According to a Tech at DESA (manufacturers of the Reddy Heater) the board is looking for an impedance of 20,000 ohms or less to stay lit. Mine tested at 15,500 Ohms. It was explained to me that if you put a flashlight directly into the photocell you could then test the impedance. If it is less than 20,000 ohms the cell is good. If you test it in complete darkness it should read above 50,000 ohms.

http://img145.imagevenue.com/loc43/th_07064_photcell.JPG (http://img145.imagevenue.com/img.php?loc=loc43&image=07064_photcell.JPG)

A double throw double pole switch should work. A 15000-ohm resister could be placed on the one set of the terminals. Once the heater is warm enough to keep the flame nice and bright the switch could be changed back to the photocell. If this idea works I would like to find a momentary switch. Once you let go of the switch it would go right back to the photocell.

For those of you up north and who are using a lower gelling point biodiesel. Is my assumption correct in that igniting the fuel is not the problem, keeping it lit is?

02-17-2006, 07:59 PM
Reggie, yes and no. Though my salamander will often light sometimes it won't. What normally happens is that it will fire but barely. After about a minute it'll click off because the flame hasn't gotten hot or bright enough.

This isn't always the case though. When it's cold enough, the heater won't light at all. The fuel appears to be liquid but just won't light.


Jim D
02-17-2006, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by Reggie:
I was in a local auto parts store and saw a 90-watt oil dipstick warmer for about $14. One idea would be to fill the tank and place the dip tube into the biodiesel. This dipstick would have to be removed after starting the heater since it must always be immersed in liquid.

I LOVE that idea!!!!!

It could stay in there after the heater is up and running, you would just have to unplug it to make sure that it does not come on. But it is probably just as easy to pull it out and wipe it off when you use the heater. Making a modification to the tank or to the fuel cap so that it can stay in all of the time might be a pain.

For those of you up north and who are using a lower gelling point biodiesel. Is my assumption correct in that igniting the fuel is not the problem, keeping it lit is?

My problem is getting it to light off in the first place. It just sits there and makes a cloud of atomized biodiesel. I have the spark plug type ignition system. Which type does your heater have?


02-18-2006, 12:04 AM
I have a multi fuel Reddy Heater like those found at Loews. It has an igniter.

Propane sounds like a must in really cold weather. I have a really good one at work that I will bring home in the next couple if days. Even the cheap one will sometimes stay lit while it is being injected into the chamber. The one from work should do even better.One obvious solution is to keep the heater indoors and always warm.

The resister idea is not going to be as easy as I thought. I purchased a package of 10K Ohm resisters and tried crossing the terminals with both a 10,000 and 20,000 ohms resistance. I am not an electrical engineer nor have I had any training beyond what I have learned on my own. I know just enough to get into trouble.

Is there anyone out there with a solid understanding of how to use a multi function voltmeter (I’m not talking about a 10 dollar voltmeter)? Please email me and maybe we can figure it out together.

I suspect there is no single solution to get these heaters to work on B100. It may require several ideas to be successful in very cold climates.

Greasel Fuel
02-18-2006, 02:46 AM
I think I would run it with kerosene and measure the voltage drop across the sensor then replace the sensor with a potentiometer (variable resistor) and turn the pot until you get the same voltage drop using biodiesel. Feel free to PM me I have about 25 years as a electronics tech.

Jim D
02-18-2006, 03:59 AM
Originally posted by Reggie:
I have a multi fuel Reddy Heater like those found at Loews. It has an igniter.
Which kind of igniter? A spark plug or a glow bar?

The resister idea is not going to be as easy as I thought. I purchased a package of 10K Ohm resisters and tried crossing the terminals with both a 10,000 and 20,000 ohms resistance.
Earlier you said that when there is no flame (dark) the resistance is 50,000 ohms. When it sees flames the resistance drops to 20,000 ohms or lower. By placing the resistors in parallel (http://www.1728.com/resistrs.htm) with the dark photo cell you get 1/((1/50,000)+(1/10,000))= 8,333 ohms

Maybe that is too low. Maybe put a switch in line with the photo cell and a switch in line with the resistor. That way you can turn off the switch for the cell to remove it from the circuit and turn on the switch for the resistor to substitute it in as a dummy sensor.


02-20-2006, 09:24 PM
I have had success with these heaters and B100. The key is to increase the pressure a little. Also make sure that the B100 is warm. I keep a 5 gallon jug in the basement and pour in one gallon at a time when I use it.

Good Luck

02-21-2006, 12:04 AM
I have a glow bar igniter.

Each day I try different environments to determine different results.

1.Warm fuel will solve a lot of our problems (perhaps all of them). The warmer the better.
2. Covering the air intake (¾ is better than ½) will allow the heater to continue to run with a lower temperature fuel.
3. Cold fuel may never work without adding diesel or kerosene.
4. I have been able to run the heater in the high forties-low fifties with ¾ of the air intake covered (witout warming the fuel). It may work at a colder temp but not without tricking the photocell.

Indoor /Outdoor test

Indoor Test with cold fuel

I brought the heater from out side (45 degrees F) into the house (62 degrees F). I covered the air intake about ¾ with cardboard as show above in one of my pics. It fired up fine and worked flawlessly until the upper square piece of cardboard was removed. Even after three hours of operation and a 70-degree room. The heater would not stay lit without the extra piece of cardboard covering the air intake.

Outdoor Test with warm fuel.

I refueled the heater with biodiesel warmed in the microwave (100 to 130 degrees f). The heater easily started (outside temps 34 degrees f) with only half the air intake covered.
It has been running for about 40 minutes without disruption. The outside temp is now at 36 degrees. The biodiesel fuel temp is 83 degrees and the heater is still running.

Here is another idea for warming the fuel. Unfortunately they are difficult if not impossible to find locally. At 300 watts it doesn’t take long to heat 5 gallons of fuel.

http://housewares.hardwarestore.com/38-200-misc-applian...n-heater-105162.aspx (http://housewares.hardwarestore.com/38-200-misc-appliances/norpro-immersion-heater-105162.aspx)

I used to dry my biodiesel in a 5-gallon carboy and 55 gallon dry tank with one of these. It worked very nicely and fairly quickly. At least until I forgot to unplug it while draining my dry tank.

We need to think of a way to warm the fuel using the existing heat generated by the heater. Something that would not be destroyed even after the tank is empty.

What about a cheap aquarium bubblier returning warm air through the fuel? It may not be effective in warming the fuel. But it might keep the fuel from cooling to a point where the heater would not function.

I still haven’t given up on tricking the photocell. Give me a few more days.

Jim D
02-21-2006, 12:53 AM
Johno in Washington State was modifying his Turk (Truk?) heater to help it heat the fuel. Think of it like a cup of fuel with the vapor being pulled away at the top and all of the flames above the cup. He put pieces of steel up into the flames. The tips got how and conducted the heat back down their length into the pool of fuel. Maybe something like that would work for us. Maybe a plate of steel that the heater sits on with a couple of extensions that stick up into the flames/hot exhaust from the heater. The heat would conduct down the length of metal and heat the fuel from the outside of the tank. From the bottom up.


Oh, by the way, thanks for the tip using the propane torch. I did it yesterday and it worked great. Today I warmed the nozzle and area while trying to figure out how to reset the trip with the bottle in the wrong hand. I set down the bottle and pressed the reset and it lit right up. Maybe it just needed to be threatened!

02-21-2006, 02:51 PM
Another option would be to insulate the tank after the fuel is heated. This may not work well in really frigid weather but should be fine in Texas. I also have a cheap heating pad from Wal-Mart. Even the lowest setting should keep maintain the fuel Temp.

02-22-2006, 03:43 PM
This came directly off the Desa web page. This should be very helpful to those that have a spark plug igniter.


Question 7: If you are experiencing outages within a few seconds

Answer: If your heater is a HSI (Hot Surface Ignition) unit, check the photocell to see that it is clean and pushed all the way into the photocell bracket. If these were correct, check the safety control. On models using spark plugs, you can temporarily bypass the photocell by tying the blue wire from the safety control with all the white wires. On models using spark plugs, you can temporarily bypass the photocell by tying the blue wire from the safety control with all the white wires. With the photocell bupassed and the unit still shuts off, the control will need to be replaced. If your heater has a hot surface igniter, you will need an HA1170 flame simulator device to diagnose the safety control. Once you have this device, follow the instructions included with the package to test the igniter.

Jim D
02-22-2006, 04:14 PM
My trouble is not with it not seeing the flames. My trouble is getting it to flame in the first place. (Spark plug type.)


02-22-2006, 08:03 PM
Is this true even with fuel that has been warmed to at least 80 degrees F?

The newer units (glow bar Igniter multi fuel type) will ignite the fuel at reasonable fuel temps, say 45 degrees or so. Unfortunately, the photocell won't always recognize it.

Jim D
02-22-2006, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by Reggie:
Is this true even with fuel that has been warmed to at least 80 degrees F?

I have not tried it yet.

While I was searching Yahoo! for info on dipstick heaters I came across some posts about heating motorcycle engines in the winter. Most found that placing an insulated box around the oil pan with a 60-100 watt lighbulb inside did at least as good of a job, was easier to use, and was cheaper than the dipstick heater. My heater is up on a couple of block anyway so I will try this first.


03-10-2006, 10:51 PM
I too bought one of these torpedo heaters. I found that when it started shutting off I took the top off and fired it up and it never shut off. Mine almost seemed like it needed more airflow and not less.

03-24-2006, 09:58 PM
by taking the top off you take away the channeled tube and so change the way the air flows. You may be reducing air flow even though you are exposing it to the air more.

11-29-2006, 04:09 AM
Just wanted to bring this thread to the top being winter and all. Fired mine up tonight shut down after a few minutes then I remembered the trick of reducing the airflow and added a little more K1 to the mix and it works great now.

11-30-2006, 01:44 AM
i have had luck with an old reddy heater that i was given. i found this thread last night, and played with the adjustment screw, and blocking off the air flow on the rear. really helps alot. i had flames shooting out the front of the thjing when i turned the air pressure all the way up.

so far, today was the coldest day i have used it. i run wvo w/ kerosene blended in. the most wvo % ratio i have run is around 50%
this is also using a 150 watt silicon pad heater(oil pan heater) that i picked up for under $20.

I am leaving the pad heater on overnite tonight, as it will only cost about $.50 a day to run. i will check it out in the morning- overnite lows around 5*F tonight.
it will be interesting how a cold start goes.

11-30-2006, 03:22 PM
well, she fired right up at 4* this morning. 50-50 mix, no problem. unlike my benz...starihgt diesel and still no go... so i put the torpedo in front of her and 2 hrs later, vroom.

12-10-2006, 08:52 PM
Just bought an All-Pro 60k btu unit, started tweaking the pressure screw after several shutdowns and after approx 3/4-1 turn in it has stayed running for 2 hrs and very little if any smoke on startuphttp://biodiesel.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

12-24-2006, 04:04 AM
I burned kerosene in mine until I started making home brew, and necessity being the mother of invention, tried a little brew in mine to heat the shop after it ran out of fuel.

So far I've not had any problems. However my shop usually doesn't get cooler than 45F or so.

What I've experienced is that even with a little bio mixed with the kerosene the "kerosene smell" is virtually eliminated, and it doesn't smell like french fries either, just clean heat!

Anyone had any problems with the bio destroying anything or is there any rubber type products in the fuel system?

Chris da Pirate
01-29-2007, 06:08 PM
For you guys looking for a way to heat up the biod, you might try a oil pan heater. You can get them from lots of places such as JC Whitney, etc. They stick onto the bottom of a oil pan and plug into 120VAC.

<A HREF="http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Product/tf-Browse/s-10101/Pr-p_Product.CATENTRY_ID:2005253/p-2005253/N-111+10201+600001648/c-10101" TARGET=_blank>JC Whitney Oil Pan

Moroso Oil Pan heater (http://spideraccessories.stores.yahoo.net/oilpanheater.html)


Jim D
01-30-2007, 01:27 AM
If you want one that you can move around (say to the side or bottom of a 55 gallon barrel of oil that is too thick to pump...) there are magnetic mounted heaters available.


I paid $55 for the one they sell for $40. http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif But I needed it right then and it was in stock at the auto block store (Auto Zone I think.)

You would need to put the heater up on two blocks to give you an open spot on the bottom of the tank, but it allows you to move and use the heater where ever you need it.


02-01-2007, 01:38 AM
Just got a SIP fireball 550 diesel/kero space heater spark plug type,still playing with it, currently running approx 70/30 bio/kero mix but having to block 3/4 of air intake off to get it to run without cutting out and spewing big palls of smoke,not got round to altering the inlet adjustment screw,but from what ive read so far i dont think this is gonna be as effective as manually restricting air flow so i can run it on as high a percentag of bio as possible?? any thoughts??

03-13-2007, 02:25 AM
I use one of those oilpan heaters for running wvo thru my reddy-heater. works good. 150 watt, picked it up for under $20 at fleet farm, on sale.

I just had to pull out my nozzle and clean it up, after about 30 gallons of 70/30 mix, wvo/kero.it stopped lighting properly, so I pulled the unit apart, cleaned the plug, and took a old toothbrush and some brake cleaner to the nozzle.

while it did clean it up well, that didn't make the heater work, so after removing it again, I noticed that the air passage on the outside part of the nozzle was actually what clogged. A blast from the aircompressor, and she works great once again.

I just hate putting something away for the season without getting it working proper.

I did pick up another nozzle, but havent tried it yet. it is for a 100k btu unit, and mine is a 65k. maybe it will work better- more fuel= less air? dont know till I try it, and that prolly wont be until this nozzle clogs again.

04-12-2007, 08:28 PM
A good way to clean the nozzles is soak in 100% Lye for 30 min, rinse in hot water then blow with compressed air.

11-13-2007, 05:24 PM
Hi...I just became the proud owner of a 170000btu brand new torpedo heater. I just spent over 8 bucks for one gallon of K1 kerosene. I'm wanting to try out biodiesel and see what happens.

The heater a is a bit stinky when I use it in my garage.

Will the smell change if I use biodiesel instead of the K1 kerosene?

Will people think I work at McDonalds if they smell me?

11-15-2007, 03:35 PM
yes, it will smell way better.

$8/gal is ridiculous- are you in the US?

It should work fine with bio or wvo, if you make adjustments noted here..,

I blend (70/30)wvo and k-1 from the pump- not the stuuf the big box stores sell in the 2 gal jugs- in mine with air blocked off, nozzle pressure bumped up, and a 150watt heat pad on the tank.

imported_Mr Nelson
12-26-2007, 04:30 AM
Hey guys (and girls maybe?),
Anyways so basically what ive gotten off of this subject is to either try 5% kero or try and block off some of the air flow. Im trying to start a bio-diesel business in Va and NC where my Dad lives, I got a reddy heater and that will be the first thing ill try my diesel on. Ive made a couple of good batches so with me luck. (not that anyone here cares about anything I just said lol)

Your friendly neighbor the US Marine

01-21-2008, 08:41 PM
This has been a very interesting thread and I'm wondering how many of you have burned your garages or houses down while trying some of your ideas. http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Seems to me your time would be better spent looking for a place that sells kerosene at a reasonable price. I paid $3.53 a gallon for kerosene this morning ($19.02 for five gallons including California sales tax). I go to Interstate Oil where they have regular gas type pumps which dispense kerosene and solvent. By pumping my own kerosene into my own 5 gallon cans I save a bundle. I don't know what biodiesel goes for around here, but I'm betting it's more expensive than my kerosene.

I've seen 5 gallon cans of kerosene going for $39.95+ tax at a couple of the local farm supply stores but I don't need any more cans, so I just go pump my own.

By the way, I have a 110,000 btu Reddy heater with a thermostat hanging on the wall. If I were to let this heater run non-stop in my insulated garage it would be 100 degrees in here during the coldest days of winter.

01-21-2008, 11:03 PM
Seems to me your time would be better spent looking for a place that sells kerosene at a reasonable price. I paid $3.53 a gallon for kerosene this morning ($19.02 for five gallons including California sales tax).

Most people posting here make their own fuel I think and like to find uses for it. Some do it for the environment, some for other reasons. Regardless, seeing your heater fire up and run on your own "home brew" is in fact quite rewarding. Making your daily transportation run on your own home brew? Now that's priceless!

01-22-2008, 02:35 PM
I can understand people wanting to make biodiesel for their daily transportation but some of the guys on this forum are doing some really strange things to their torpedo shop heaters. A few of the posts give me the impression there are some rednecks on the forum who are competing for the Darwin Awards. http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I came to this forum with hopes of finding a cheaper fuel (biodiesel) for my shop heater but I think I'm gonna stick with kerosene.

For those who have had some success in running biodiesel in their heaters I get the impression that once they get the heater going they can't shut if off and on with a thermostat. It kinda sounds like they have to leave it on once they get it started. That wouldn't work for me because my garage is fully insulted and when I run my heater without a thermostat it only takes about 20 minutes for temps to reach 90+ degrees. Of course, I live in the Sacramento Valley of California where winter temps usually run in the 40s and 50s so I don't need the heat output that some of you probably need in areas where you get a lot of snow. I've lived here since 1953 and have only seen snow on the ground 3 times.

01-29-2008, 02:13 AM
Hi all, new here, & wished i'd found this forum a few years ago. I have a 110btu kero reddy heater, older model w/spark plug. Currently burning 45%rug 65%waste motor oil. Yes it does require a little ventilation.My redneck mod to make it light when cold, is a 3/8 hole drilled in the cover in line with the spark plug. I turn the switch on & spray a small shot of carb cleaner into the spark, instant ignition & it stays lit even in cold weather. SW Michigan temps can get well below freezing in my shop. The only issue i've had is with the air/lint filter for the pump, & I assume that would get dirty over time regardless of fuel type. I set the t-stat @ 55* & it lites back up fine. Burns clean once the temp is above 35* or so.I'm planning on going to wvo mix once i've gotten rid of the drain oil. Regards: dirtydog

03-07-2008, 06:06 AM
I posted about this igniter replacement awhile back.

http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/85410782...771078422#4771078422 (http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8541078231/m/4771078422?r=4771078422#4771078422)


I thought for fun I would try to fire up the multi fuel Reddy torpedo heater. It was a brisk 36 degrees F outside. I fully expected it not to light without helping it with the propane torch or heating the fuel. I did cover up part of the intake.

It took about 8-9 tries but it fired up and ran fine. That little igniter is much hotter than the original.

Directly wiring in 110 volts using a double throw switch would allow the igniter to glow for a longer period before the timer shuts it off. This should shorten the number of times it takes to light the heater.

05-12-2008, 03:06 PM
Most all of the torpedo heaters are made by Desa. They use either the hot-bar ignitor or a spark ignition. The hot-bar ignition is better for igniting B100 but the spark ignition systems can also be made to reliably ignite biodiesel. I've taken the entire nozzle assembly off with the spark plug still installed. The spark plug electrodes can now be bent, twisted and adjusted in relation to the nozzle. A little closer to the nozzle helps. Visualize the electric arc being blown from the electrode points by the intake air.

A couple of issues when using B100 -

First, you need good atomization of your spray for reliable ignition. The best way to do this is warm your fuel. I use a seperate pail for fuel next to my heater with an extended pick-up tube going down into it. Since the fuel is pulled up by a venturi try to keep the pail about level with the original tank - if its lower it can't pull the fuel up as well. In the bottom of the pail I have a cheap Wal-Mart aquarium heater which keeps the fuel warmed to 60-80 degrees. A heater in the original tank should work too but the pail lets me keep an eye on the fuel level a lot easier - not as portable though.

Second, B100 causes the flame to burn too blue, causing the flame sensor (which doesn't see blue-only yellow) to shut everything down. You need to cut back on the intake air to "yellow" out the flame. This can be done either by blocking off the air intake, or leaving the top cover off. I elevate the rear of my top cover so that some of the air from the primary fan "spills-out" and is not forced into the combustion chamber. This does not cause as much stress on the fan motor as blocking off the intake does.

The heater will require cleaning more often. The spark igniter gets gummy and won't ignite reliably - it can be cleaned by applying a propane torch to the electrodes until they are red hot, then wire brush. The nozzle's spray pattern also gets wierd after a while. Disassemble and clean the nozzle with carburator cleaner and plan on replacing the nozzle more often.

I have used these modifications on my Reddy Heater 155,000 BTU heater with good success. I use an electric heat thermostat with a plug and cord wired to it to turn the heater on and off. This keeps the room where I make my biodiesel (old uninsulated farm milkhouse) around 55 degrees through the past 2 winters.

Legal Eagle
10-17-2008, 11:51 PM
Bought a Reddy Heater yesterday, the glow bar type. It was marked down from $229.00 to $99.00 and was the last one.

Today I popped it open to do something about the CAD and broke the igniter in the process. Looks like I'll be ordering one of those guru deals (or two).

The work around for the CAD is to line the inside of the hood with aluminium foil so that it will reflect light better and that way "trick" the CAD into seeing a brighter flame. It works fine with the boiler we just set up for the greenhouse. It cycles perfectly on B100 now.