RV - Fatsco Charcoal burner install

doodle1

New Member
Dec 4, 2019
9
33701
Im one of the crazy variety that has decided to install a solid fuel heater into a moving vehicle. After a lot of reading and pondering I know there are many advantages to this (and many disadvantages) but it will be done. The question now is how to put together something safely....thats why i'm here!

I've looked up residential woodstove clearances and they are very large....like 18" for single wall pipe. On the other hand Marine solid fuel installations seem to be much tighter....granted the smaller btu output of stove probably plays some factor in this. But dickenson deck fittings for example have single wall pipe connected to a deck fitting with one inch clearance and I have seen dozens of installations some older than 10 years that havent had a single problem.

I will be installing a Fatsco Midget in my rig and hope to achieve around a 6 hour burntime with charcoal....enough to get me through the night. My space is quite small...approximately 600 cubic feet (15 x 7 x 6.5) I have sufficient ventilation and outside air for combustion. I will be using the stove in potentially very cold climates (up to -20) and calculated a need for around 10k btu at most which stove should provide.

My attention now is turned to installing all of this safely yet not having to cut an 18" hole in my roof!

My rig is all aluminum so the roof at least is non combustible. Here is a rough drawing of what I was thinking.

IMG_20191204_101458976.jpg

I have a number of questions other than does this sketch look like something safe enough?

1. Do I need an internal damper or will a barometric damper be fine? Stove is almost airtight, but not completely. Im trying to figure out how to turn things down to a simmer. Will barometric damper allow me to do this by reducing draft and pulling air into flue above pipe? Or should I skip barometric and get internal damper?

2. Will a 55" inch approximate flue length stay warm enough with single wall to avoid creosote? I will ocassionally burn wood but predominantly charcoal. Finding double wall class A pipe in 4" flue size isnt easy and none of it mates up with marine deck fitting. Single wall seems to work in marine application, but granted temps arent probably dropping to -20. I was wondering if using some kind of insulating wrap around flue pipe would work....like the kind used to wrap exhaust manifolds in cars?

3. Does pipe need to be fastened together in anyway. Ive heard people screw them together but not sure how this works with single wall pipe...
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,659
South Puget Sound, WA
Follow the stove manufacturer's guidance to make sure the stove is approved for this application and go by its installation instructions. There are many tiny house sites and youtube videos of different installations. View them with a skeptical eye as some are done with a goal of safety, but many are just being cheap and often are unsafe. There are several tiny home threads here and a couple on putting a wood stove in an RV that may be helpful. Contact the folks at Dickenson for instructions on the proper use of their products. They usually respond quickly and are very helpful. Be sure the stove is solidly mounted to a proper hearth.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,659
South Puget Sound, WA
For wood, I would also suggest considering a different stove, one made by Navigator Marine or by Dickinson. They are purpose-built for a moving vessel and have complete systems for installation. And last, instead consider a Suburban or Atwood propane gas or diesel system by Espar or Webasto for something that is thermostatically regulated and will be able to provide much more steady heat.
 

doodle1

New Member
Dec 4, 2019
9
33701
Thanks for responses. Yes, this would be easier with one complete package but that unfortunately is not what I have. The dickenson was attractive but a bit small on the BTUs....the navigator would cost me an arm. I know there is a risk to this, I don't have a whole lot of experience in these matters so am wondering if I'm overlooking something in my sketch. How does one go about installing an old timey stove that doesn't come with an installation package? Is single wall through roxul with an airgap sufficient to guard against heat from potential chimney fire? There must be some way of linking my old-time stove with a flue safely
 

doodle1

New Member
Dec 4, 2019
9
33701
Also, this is a charcoal burner...I'm assuming there are some differences there compared to how wood burns. I imagine creosote being a smaller issue and flue temps being less?? Anyone have experience with charcoal burning stoves? Sorry for all the rapid succession questions...I'm in crunch time mode. Need to have stove installed and ready in about 30 days and still haven't ordered flue...yikesss!!!
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,659
South Puget Sound, WA
Besides safety risks I’d be concerned that it won’t work well and will be a waste of money. The expectations seem unrealistic.
 

doodle1

New Member
Dec 4, 2019
9
33701
Maybe I'm underestimating the complexity of this?

Burning charcoal doesn't seem all that complicated to me though...Weber grills aren't all that complicated after all which is all this essentially is.... with a flue pipe. There have to be some pretty standard parameters to how this goes....

I'm assuming charcoal burns cleaner and more controlled than wood...less to worry about with flue temps and creosote, chimney fires etc....is this correct? Wood seems like a lot more going on...variables etc.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,659
South Puget Sound, WA
By that logic a propane, gas or diesel heater is even better. That is what goes into most RVs.

Burning charcoal outdoors is one thing, it's a whole separate issue burning it in a tightly confined space and expecting many hours of even heat from it at -20ºC in a tiny stove. Whatever you choose, put in a good quality CO monitor.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,208
Downeast Maine
How much weight can you dedicate go heating fuel? Are you cooking? Do you need to heat water?
 

doodle1

New Member
Dec 4, 2019
9
33701
Begreen, yes...but those fuels come with other downsides that I didn't want to deal with. Transporting propane for example requires all sorts of other safety measures I didn't want to deal with. On top of that, worse case scenario with charcoal my CO alarm goes off or I have a fire that I need to extinguish...worst case with propane I have a compressed gas bomb explode inside my rig.

spacebus,

about 30 to 50 pounds...of fuel. Three big bags of charcoal in other words. I won't be using it to heat except at night. So that should last a couple weeks I imagine.

yes, I will be using stove to cook and heat water....another benefit to solid fuel.
 
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doodle1

New Member
Dec 4, 2019
9
33701
So fired the stove up a couple of times outside. Very pleased with it's performance. Can get about 4 hours of heat out of it with about a pound and a half of charcoal per fill. Only heating about 100 square feet so should be more than ample. Burns clean and controlled.
IMG_20191214_180053868.jpg


I'm looking forward to trying some real coal soon. Anyways, starting to prep cabinet for installation. Came across this picture of the stove installed. Does this seem safe? I was going to pretty much copy it unless someone sees anything glaringly bad here that should be altered.

image23 (1).jpeg
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,476
central pa
So fired the stove up a couple of times outside. Very pleased with it's performance. Can get about 4 hours of heat out of it with about a pound and a half of charcoal per fill. Only heating about 100 square feet so should be more than ample. Burns clean and controlled.
View attachment 253517


I'm looking forward to trying some real coal soon. Anyways, starting to prep cabinet for installation. Came across this picture of the stove installed. Does this seem safe? I was going to pretty much copy it unless someone sees anything glaringly bad here that should be altered.

View attachment 253516
What are the specified clearances for the stove
 

doodle1

New Member
Dec 4, 2019
9
33701
That's the issue...there aren't any. This is a 100 year old stove and it hasn't had any testing done that I know of. I think I'm going to end up just having to get an infrared thermometer and testing things but I was hoping someone with many years experience could chime in. I actually just went out to check on it and still have red coals glowing and stove is about 200 degrees now at 8 hours. I'm pretty thrilled with that. If I had to guess I'd say it is maybe capable of putting out 15k btu at full bore but not sure how to even guestimate that in a semi scientific way. The stove is tiny though...my hand nearly the size of the faceplate.
IMG_20191214_110410786.jpg


One other question about exhaust gasses. I'm burning charcoal in this thing and once going and up until the end there is virtually no smoke and despite how hot the stove gets the exhaust gasses don't seem that bad. Even if I don't maintain flue gas temps, I'm not going to have a creosote problem right? I'm assuming most all of the creosote comes from the volatiles sent up the stack from wood? Once a fire is in the coal and embers stage there isn't much to create creosote with...correct?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,476
central pa
That's the issue...there aren't any. This is a 100 year old stove and it hasn't had any testing done that I know of. I think I'm going to end up just having to get an infrared thermometer and testing things but I was hoping someone with many years experience could chime in. I actually just went out to check on it and still have red coals glowing and stove is about 200 degrees now at 8 hours. I'm pretty thrilled with that. If I had to guess I'd say it is maybe capable of putting out 15k btu at full bore but not sure how to even guestimate that in a semi scientific way. The stove is tiny though...my hand nearly the size of the faceplate. View attachment 253526

One other question about exhaust gasses. I'm burning charcoal in this thing and once going and up until the end there is virtually no smoke and despite how hot the stove gets the exhaust gasses don't seem that bad. Even if I don't maintain flue gas temps, I'm not going to have a creosote problem right? I'm assuming most all of the creosote comes from the volatiles sent up the stack from wood? Once a fire is in the coal and embers stage there isn't much to create creosote with...correct?
No no creosote with charcoal. But it's an unlisted stove so 36" clearance that can be reduced down to 12 with proper sheilding
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,659
South Puget Sound, WA
This is not going in a house or even a shed. It’s going in an RV. You are on your own for testing and shielding, especially for an antique. Test carefully and use the marine industry for guidance. And be sure everything is very well secured.
 
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Espartaco

Member
Dec 1, 2015
71
PDX
Begreen, yes...but those fuels come with other downsides that I didn't want to deal with. Transporting propane for example requires all sorts of other safety measures I didn't want to deal with. On top of that, worse case scenario with charcoal my CO alarm goes off or I have a fire that I need to extinguish...worst case with propane I have a compressed gas bomb explode inside my rig.

spacebus,

about 30 to 50 pounds...of fuel. Three big bags of charcoal in other words. I won't be using it to heat except at night. So that should last a couple weeks I imagine.

yes, I will be using stove to cook and heat water....another benefit to solid fuel.
I love cooking and smoking with charcoal but good luck getting 30 to 50 pounds to last you a couple of weeks when it's cold. I can keep my 18 inch Weber Smoker Mountain at 275 with a full load, for roughly 8 to 10 hours, depending on conditions. Using charcoal to great your space and cook...... You are looking at much more fuel than you want to carry. Maybe look at lump charcoal.
 

doodle1

New Member
Dec 4, 2019
9
33701
Lump charcoal is the hardwood stuff, right? I put about a pound and a half...maybe two pounds in last night at 530. At 930 it was still cranking out a lot of heat and I then went out and checked on it at 130 and stove was still about 200 degrees and had enough glowing coals in bottom for me to restart with another handful. I figure I'll only be using about 12 to 14 hours a day so approx 3 pounds a day x 14 days...ballpark 50 pounds. Not the cheapest way to heat but clean and convenient when in an RV....

I found this site for clearances so I'll go off of this.


What temperature should I look for on surrounding combustible surfaces to know whether they are getting too hot? Anything over 100 degrees? 200 degrees?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,476
central pa
Lump charcoal is the hardwood stuff, right? I put about a pound and a half...maybe two pounds in last night at 530. At 930 it was still cranking out a lot of heat and I then went out and checked on it at 130 and stove was still about 200 degrees and had enough glowing coals in bottom for me to restart with another handful. I figure I'll only be using about 12 to 14 hours a day so approx 3 pounds a day x 14 days...ballpark 50 pounds. Not the cheapest way to heat but clean and convenient when in an RV....

I found this site for clearances so I'll go off of this.


What temperature should I look for on surrounding combustible surfaces to know whether they are getting too hot? Anything over 100 degrees? 200 degrees?
Do you live in canada? That is where those clearances are for
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,659
South Puget Sound, WA
Lump charcoal is the hardwood stuff, right? I put about a pound and a half...maybe two pounds in last night at 530. At 930 it was still cranking out a lot of heat and I then went out and checked on it at 130 and stove was still about 200 degrees and had enough glowing coals in bottom for me to restart with another handful. I figure I'll only be using about 12 to 14 hours a day so approx 3 pounds a day x 14 days...ballpark 50 pounds. Not the cheapest way to heat but clean and convenient when in an RV....

I found this site for clearances so I'll go off of this.


What temperature should I look for on surrounding combustible surfaces to know whether they are getting too hot? Anything over 100 degrees? 200 degrees?
No higher than 150-160ºF.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,208
Downeast Maine
I look forward to seeing your final install, that's a neat little stove. I would like to put a marine wood/coal cook stove in my RV in a few years.