[Public-List] Re Cubic Mini / heaters

Kurt R sailnsc at gmail.com
Sun Dec 1 18:28:58 PST 2019

Hello all -

I've been living aboard 15 years or so, and used a Cubic Mini for the last
3 years on both my A30 and on an Islander 36. For a wood stove, it is a
fine product. It is cute, engineered, built, and priced well, but it is a
hungry little beast with a small stomach, and it doesn't mind making a
mess. It'll rust in a skinny minute, and most wood produces a ton of ash
you'll have to scoop out every 3 or so full-chamber burns.
My experience has shown me that the best bang-for-buck and time of burn
fuel is provided by the compressed sawdust 'logs' you can buy at Tractor
Supply for $3-4 per 6 pack, which makes 12 full-chamber fires. Use a saw to
notch the bricks deeply in their middle, and snap them in half to make them
a perfect size for the stove. You'll get ~2 hours of burn from one of them,
and best of all, they produce almost no ash and little in the way of the
gunk which bogs up the flue. You MUST keep them dry - if/when any water
gets on them, they expand like something from a fable.

OK, that said, I've found a much better alternative in what is known as a
"Chinese Diesel Air Heater". Six or so + years ago they were only made by
one (I think German) company and cost near a grand (in $US), plus shipping.
Thensome Russians cloned the things, and you could get one of those clones
for just $600 from eBay. Just a couple years ago the Chinese got into the
game, and now you can pick them up from eBay or Amazon for as low as about
$115. That's what I did about a month ago, and this thing is the bees
knees. No ashes, *lots* of dry heat, little fuel usage, low DC current
draw, needs not much more space than the Cubic. There is a Facebook group
of about 28K members where you can ask questions, get "support", research,
see mods, etc etc. You can also check them out on any one of many YouTube
videos, just search the name. Quick stats for my 2-5KW unit: it uses most
amps at startup, I've read 8-10 amps, but only for/under 10 minutes, then
drops to 1-2 amps/hour. Fuel burn is along the lines of 0.2 liters per hour
or less. It is loud at startup until the glow plug has things going nicely,
then it throttles back to being just fan noise, and metronome-ish clicks
made by the fuel pump.The 10 liter tank (or 2.6 gal) supplied with the
heater should give you ~50 hours of burn, and is about the same size as 4.5
full-sized sawdust bricks (providing ~18 hours of burn). You can plumb it
off of your main diesel tank if you'd like. For right now, I've just
removed the Cubic and stuffed the diesel heater exhaust tube up into the
stove stack, packing around it with aluminum foil 'stuffing' and finished
with aluminum foil tape to seal it up. I have placed my CO detector just
under that area, gotten no alerts as yet.

Hope that helps

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