13th Nov: Pan2000 heater maintenance

The CO alarm went off a couple of times last month which it hasn’t done before when using the Pan2000 heater with a butane stove. I decided to take it apart to check that corrosion or other debris was not blocking the flue. The heat exchanger consists of a stack of alloy plates separated by alloy rings which are about 5mm deep. top and bottom plates extend down each side to form a horizontal tunnel through which the air ito be heated is blown by a computer fan. The rings and plates form a central, vertical flue for the combustion gases from the stove.

Every other plate in the stack simply has a hole for the flue. However for the intervening plates the alloy has been cut and bent to form a fan shaped baffle to improve heat exchange from the exhaust gases. The top one can be seen in the photo which is looking down at the heater. The whole assembly is held together on top of the stainless steel “pan” by four rods which are threaded at either end. The dome nuts on these rods can be seen in the photo close to the sides of the central flue.

I removed the rods and took the stack apart. There was some white powder on some of the plates which seemed to have come from the flexible flue pipe which connects the heater to the outside chimney. Otherwise there was no significant corrosion within the heat exchanger. That was what I had worried about since the gases going up the chimney are not hot and condensation sometimes (often?) occurs. This could drip down into the heater flue. Indeed when I was first experimenting with the heater using a spirit stove for heat I’d even tried incorporating a condensation trap in the chimney. I brushed out the dust and powder and brushed and vacuumed the computer fan before reassembling.

Used with a butane type stove the heater really does work well and I can recommend it, particularly for a boat that is too small for a charcoal heater or larger stove. Maximum heat output is claimed to be 2kW which I can believe. Most of the time the flame only needs to be medium to low so when outside temperatures are in the 0C to 10C range I find one cartridge will easily last an evening and an hour or so the following morning. You do need to keep the cartridge warm overnight, I just put one inside and wedged at one side of, my sleeping bag. The heater plus chimney (which I got specially made) was quite expensive but similar to the cost of a small charcoal heater.