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Thread: Engine Pre Heaters

  1. #1

    Default Engine Pre Heaters

    What kind of pre heater is most useful to carry when it starts getting cold?

  2. #2
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    With access to electricity I prefer a Reiff hotband and hotpad system. If I'm staying local and space permits I'll carry a 1000w generator in the plane. This allows me to start the generator and leave the airplane unattended during preheat. If I'm away from electricity I made a heater box that operates like a Northern Companion and uses the same MSR stove as the heat source. If you want to just buy one and go, the Northern Companion is hard to beat. You get a multi-fuel cook stove with it, too. If you already have a stove, make your own heat collector and duct it with high-temp scat hose. Combustion heaters require attendance in my opinion.

  3. #3
    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Default stovepipe reducers

    If you already have an msr stove or any camp stove for that matter, you can get a series of stovepipe reducers from Lowe's and stack'em up to get to 3 or 4 " scat and they bust apart for compact storage. (and save hundreds) Mine stay in the acft all winter with the sleeping bag. I use a forced air like a red dragon (again a home-made unit...notice a trend?) for airport use. 12v powered from the truck.

  4. #4

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    Thanks, I was wondering if my msr dragonfly would be enough. I have an idea on how to do it, but if you have any pics it wouldn't hurt.

  5. #5
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    MSR's website says the Dragonfly and the XGK both boil the same amount of water in the same amount of time. My XGK does the job so your Dragonfly should be just fine. PM me an e-mail address and I'll send you a few pics of my home-made unit.

  6. #6

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    I use the Red Dragon in the backcountry or at an airport where power isn't available. I carry a 5 or 10 lb propane bottle and one of those little 12V auto jump start units as my power source - you know, the ones with the large alligator clips for your car battery? Certainly not as compact as the northern companion but puts out a heck of a lot more heat, with forced air to boot. The whole thing except for the battery and propane bottle fits in a little case about the size of a small airline carry -on.

    You wouldn't think that one of those little jump start packs would put out continuous amps but I've had mine power my red dragon for over an hour with no noticeable reduction in power, and is much lighter and smaller than a car or airplane battery. It is only running the little electric forced air fan.

    You can choose to use the airplane's battery but my experience in cold weather is you will likely draw it down enough during a long preheat that you won't have cranking amps left. You can always hand prop I suppose, but for me it is worth the secondary power source.

    When I'm near a plug in I have a little heater that I fit up in the cowl, that I bought in Canada, at Canadian Tire (kind of a combination of Wal Mart and Auto Zone ) It was designed to preheat the passenger compartment of an automobile. I haven't seen a similar model in the US, unfortunately (so small) In combination with an insulated cowl cover and about 8 hours it preheats as well or better than the Reiff or Tanis, in my opinion, you just need to make sure you plug it in WAY in advance so the heat penetrates the depth of the engine. Lessee, Reiff: $450.00. Little heater: : $29.99


  7. #7

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    The catalytic propane heaters work well, even in REAL cold, in conjunction with a GOOD engine and prop cover, to maintain heat. They will NOT heat up a cold engine. The drill is:

    Land at dark. Throw propane bottle under cowl, put covers on.

    9-10 PM: start and let everything warm up. Shut down, fire up heater.

    Early AM: start, let warm up.

    Daylight: pull heater out, go flying.

    The catalytic heaters make a LOT of ice - expect nothing to work ("what would I do if my mixture was frozen full rich and my throttle was frozen full open" is a valid question to consider!).

    Do not rely on propane as a primary hear source if it's cold (it's fine above maybe -25) - unless you have a clever way to preheat your propane bottle. Ditto for batteries of any sort.

    An MSR heater and whatever it takes to get it to scat hose (I use a cut-up soup can) is ALWAYS in my airplane in the winter. Make sure you have the kit that comes with them - 100LL can be pretty rough on the jets.

    For fall hunting, a good engine cover and the right oil is usually sufficient.

  8. #8

    Default Thanks

    Thats what I was after.

  9. #9
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    Cool Now you can operate your preheater via Cell-Phone using the new GSM-AUTO SYSTEM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskaflyer331 View Post
    I use the Red Dragon in the backcountry or at an airport where power isn't available. I carry a 5 or 10 lb propane bottle and one of those little 12V auto jump start units as my power source - you know, the ones with the large alligator clips for your car battery? Certainly not as compact as the northern companion but puts out a heck of a lot more heat, with forced air to boot. The whole thing except for the battery and propane bottle fits in a little case about the size of a small airline carry -on.

    You wouldn't think that one of those little jump start packs would put out continuous amps but I've had mine power my red dragon for over an hour with no noticeable reduction in power, and is much lighter and smaller than a car or airplane battery. It is only running the little electric forced air fan.

    gsm-auto have developed a new system for operating your pre-heater using your Cell-Phone.
    You just call the gsm-auto system from anywhere and it will fire up your pre-heater for any set perod you require.
    The gsm-auto system does not even charge you for the phone call.
    also the gsm-auto can be used for any electrical device as it has 2 30 amp relays on board.
    The link is http://www.gsm-auto.com

    You can choose to use the airplane's battery but my experience in cold weather is you will likely draw it down enough during a long preheat that you won't have cranking amps left. You can always hand prop I suppose, but for me it is worth the secondary power source.

    When I'm near a plug in I have a little heater that I fit up in the cowl, that I bought in Canada, at Canadian Tire (kind of a combination of Wal Mart and Auto Zone ) It was designed to preheat the passenger compartment of an automobile. I haven't seen a similar model in the US, unfortunately (so small) In combination with an insulated cowl cover and about 8 hours it preheats as well or better than the Reiff or Tanis, in my opinion, you just need to make sure you plug it in WAY in advance so the heat penetrates the depth of the engine. Lessee, Reiff: $450.00. Little heater: : $29.99

    gsm-auto have developed a new system for operating your pre-heater using your Cell-Phone.
    You just call the gsm-auto system from anywhere and it will fire up your pre-heater for any set perod you require.
    The gsm-auto system does not even charge you for the phone call.
    also the gsm-auto can be used for any electrical device as it has 2 30 amp relays on board.
    The link is http://www.gsm-auto.com

  10. #10
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I have a home made one that uses a camp stove inside a metal bucket.

    And I haver my favortite which is a RED DRAGON 12 volt propane burning turbine.... It is the cats pajamas...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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