Sail Life - Dometic Proheat X30 hydronic heater on a boat, part 3 of 3 - DIY project

Publicerades den 20 dec 2020
I've finally got heat aboard Athena! 🔥 It's glorious! If you want to learn more about the Proheat X30 here is a link:
00:00 Introduction
01:08 Proheat marine installation kit
02:38 Fitting the exhaust thru-hull
02:54 Fill&drain contraption
04:40 Modifying the manifolds
05:42 Carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm
06:53 Fitting the exhaust
09:34 Filling the system with coolant
12:55 Wiring the Proheat X30, thermostat, and PFC
16:54 Starting the Proheat X30
18:21 03 Error code
20:12 Sound of the fan heater (REAL 6400)
20:22 Sound fo the Proheat X30
22:10 Hydronic heating vs. Dickinson/Refleks
25:46 Next week's project
26:50 Cya!

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  • That sleeve keeps you from leaving a chunk of skin on the pipe should you come in contact while it’s “insanely hot”

  • “Air Bleed Valves”

  • Just curious, with the hydronic heater would it be possible to add a radiant towel heater/dryer? One issue I’ve had as a live aboard is the towels never dry after a shower.

  • I was watching a couple who were shopping for a boat. They had interview clips from wise old sailors that they'd throw in here and there. One of the wise men is their go to guy for all kinds of questions, and he said something that I actually wrote down in my "cool quotes" file. He said cruising isn't about how much you can fit in your boat, it's about learning to live with less." I thought that was cool. Sometimes, very respectfully, I wonder if you'll ever get out of that harbor. The debug of all those systems separately would be crazy, put em all together and it's gonna be like bringing Frankenstein to life! I'm an engineer, I design build debug improve machines, then hand them off to production people. Have to create full "owners" manual, troubleshooting, setup, changeover, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, manuals also. If I were you I'd be working on that as you go along in the process. A lot of stuff is available online so you don't have to keep everything, but the custom work you've done, the awesome custom work like plumbing, the way you ran electrical, I'd try to get a start on it minimally!

  • Isolating all possibe vibration sources from the resonating hull makes a huge difference. Axial fans are noisy by design. Reducing air flow resistance make it possible to reduce fan speed and thereby sound. Centrifugal or Cross flow fan types generates more air flow and are relatively less noicy. Tiny ventilating holes and short circuited inlet next to outlet make the design inefficient resulting in unnecessary noice, amperage consumption and inefficient heating. Also, please filter out unnecessary information and replace it with calming pauses of not speaking 100%

  • You and Teal of SV Basic have more in common than Thickened epoxy. You both have skills well beyond the norm. Much respect for you both. Thanks for sharing. Cheers

  • Cheapest noise reduction, earplugs.

  • Mads Any updates on the performance and modifications made to your hydronic system? I Changed out the fans on my Sure fan coils and the difference in heat output was FANtastic (pun intended). My new fans are 4A PWM controlled which gives me from near silent .4A to bring-your-earphones VTOL 4.0A . Also the muffler really quiets the beast down.

  • That is really loud.

  • I can't imagine any reason why that pump needs to be or is that loud. If it uses an impeller similar to a marine intake impeller then it might quiet down over time. But..if it does use that type of pump...I don't know why. It should be whisper quiet. Why are they shutting down everything in your country?

  • If you can possibly install the coolant system bleeders at the highest possible point in the system it would be beneficial. Not totally necessary but will reduce the time to bleed the system, create less mess when bleeding, and ensure that ALL the air is out:) You're doing such incredible work on everything, Athena will be worth a lot more due to a future buyer being able to see all the impeccable work and know that you cut no corners! And I'm sure you'll have every expense captured in an excel file too! Have you thought of creating an owners manual? I would! Have chapters or sections broken out by system such as your solar and charging systems, and have a troubleshooting section for things like the solar panels if they stop working, winterizing section and a summerizing section! And similar to an airplane, you could have cheat sheets for certain common procedures such as coolant system flushing, oil change, transmission oil change, and wiring diagrams. I'm a manufacturing engineer and I design machines. Part of that responsibility includes creating such manuals for operators, setup and maintenance people. P.S. I absolutely love the look of the all white boat! Looks incredible! But I'm sure it will look even better with stripes and whatever else you decide to do to her!

  • 3 way valves SUCK ! You can never find one when they go bad... you made a good call

  • I wish you a merry christmas a happy sailing new year!!!!

  • Of course, you can always have both - a system heater AND a bulkhead heater. That’s what I would do if I lived aboard. I installed a forced air system for the drying effect and the quick heat and it is awesome for both but the little jet engine running at the back of the boat does get a tad annoying after awhile and then there’s the power consumption. Having both would be nirvana. The forced air to get the boat warmed quickly in the morning and the bulkhead to sit quietly around once the boat is up to temp. I know - there’s the extra space but in these colder climes (I live in British Columbia), I’m pretty sure it would be worth it.

  • We are ready Mads ; )

  • I was all excited to buy in to this product but I think I'll stick with a diesel stove; that noise is not great.

  • Put it this way sleeping mite be a challenge lol merry Christmas and a Happy New year to you all.

  • Wow thanks for that detailed review and installation how too!!

  • Hi Mads. I’ve spent the last few weeks binge watching every single video of yours since you bought Athena. Great work you have done! Now very much looking forward to Sunday pm each week! Good luck and keep smiling. 👍

  • Loved this video! So glad you have heat now!

  • Someone on my channel recommended your channel to me! Nice videos!

  • When you first started up that heater I was looking around for the bright blue jump grid forming about Athena... Damn! that thing is loud.

  • I think that Stainless support tube would look much nicer clad in a split and hollowed out wooden pole. Stained and varnished to match the interior, it would blend in much better, plus give a more substantial hand grip... 8P

  • I think you won't mind the heater's noise once you start your generator :P

  • Would vibration isolaters help with the noise?

  • Merry Christmas buddy!!!

  • Hi, my sincere thanks. I m in the path to restore my Maxus 33 and thanks to your videos (I saw most of them..) my task will be much easier.. . "YOU MADE MY SEASON".. Wish you all the best for Christmas to you and to Athena. Best Regards, Fabrizio

  • Looks great . Insulated box over heater . Add make up air pipe out side. Should low sound. Merry Christmas.


  • Sorry dude , but those air valves are useless , they are mounted too low to get the air out. Your return tank will remove more air if the pump os fast enough

  • .........better 120mm fans

  • Great video! Thanks!

  • Like most heating systems, you may always have to run the pump to take heat away quickly enough. Especially with such a small heat exchanger. The heater itself won’t want to store excess heat. I would run the pump while ever the heating is in operation.

  • Great and thorough discussions of the various systems. On one boat we have in Tromsø we have two coils in the Refleks and with the help a circulator pump provides hot coolant to three radiators. Very nice and quiet. But I will say adding a boiler to augment that heat in real cold weather would be nice. Your installation of the Proheat is certainly more sophisticated than mine but that is OK if not a bit of overkill. We use our Proheat every night during even here in San Diego. We will see if it is needed further south into Mexico. Enjoy the holidays and we look forward to your next episode.

  • I can't emphasize enough how much I appreciate the details of your preparation and assembly/construction procedures! I know from experience how difficult it is to do any thing complex for the first time, and watching your videos removes that 'unfamiliar' factor from the equation! We can all tell that Athena is going to be a real 'looker'! I wonder if you didn't have to document your renovation, you might be in the Caribbean by now! Are you still living on your 30' boat in that same marina? Didn't you just say the water is turned off on the docks for the winter?

  • Hello from Ontario Canada! Definitely need to insulate for sound around that heater Mads, there’s a company called sounddown ltd. who make marine acoustic insulation.

  • Can the nozzle size on the heater be throttled down so it doesn’t burn as hot and produce that overheat error? It might also reduce the roar and noise at the exhaust.

  • There is definitely no such thing as too many pumps in a boat. When the front crash box wall is cracked (and full of water) and all the old pumps died it feel very surreal to have a little inner sea slushing and flushing away the floor panels.

  • Maybe Noctua make some fans that are suitable for your needs, they are bound to be at least less loud :)

  • Have a happy and warm Christmas Mads. I got my Sail Life sock hat and it is keeping me warm out here in Minnesota.

  • Here is a link to a short video of my Espar with the same type of SS marine muffler that Mads is planning to install. My boiler was almost as loud as his without it.

  • Great video. What happened to the hydronic boiler you built earlier?

  • Don’t need heat in the tropics

  • Glædelig jul Mads! What happened to the DIY heater you and cement boat guy was building? And yes, I know you’re probably a bit tired of “defending” your choice here, but I would be very interested in if you ever considered a Refleks/Glembring with internal coil? Combining hydronic and drip heater with perhaps a Webasto/Eber inline with the system for summer hot water and during sailing. I’ve always seen that as a dream setup, but perhaps I’m missing something? God jul!

  • The dickenson diesel bulkhead with a single water coil will allow you to have one or two separate plumbed heated zones.

  • Based on the harmonics I can hear from your recording, it sounds like a big chunk of your noise is low-frequency transmissions that are transferring to the cabin wall. There is a high-frequency whine, but that is easy to eliminate with a shroud or loose dampening. In order to eliminate the low frequency, you will need to work on decoupling the heater mount. If you use a meter on your phone to measure the low-end frequency you can look up the vibration decoupling material/durometer that will work best for that frequency.

  • Airlettiauti 😅😂😂

  • Can you mix brass and stainless fittings like that? I thought galvanic corrosion would be a problem?

  • Thanks again for a great video. Merry Christmas!

  • By making the heaters mounting bracket "floating" you will avoid getting the bulkhead to be a base for resonance. Give it a thought.

  • Having run two different Espar heaters in vans, I can confirm the muffler is 100% necessary if you want your neighbors to like you. You can also look at swapping intake and exhaust tubing. I found that the internal texture of the tubing that came with my heaters was causing it to make a lot of high pitched noise. Mine looks exactly like the tubing you have, just a bit smaller. I found some different exhaust tubing with a smoother internal texture locally in the US that eliminated a lot of noise.

  • That looked awesome. I’m looking forward to the lithium battery bank . I’ll be installing them in our boat by April /May

  • I set up a larger scale version of this type of heater to provide hot water for field showers. works great.

  • You did not use any doohickeys in this installation 😷

  • how much cost per year a berth in that harbor for 10 m sailbot?

  • Another great video! Merry Christmas to you and yours. JC

  • the boat looks absolutely spiffy

  • I am happy to see you go with a hydronic system! I have a forced air system and having 4" tubes run bow to stern is not the best in terms of storage compartments. I also find that the forced air system seems to run much more than what a Hydronic heater would run, though maybe I'm wrong. I am looking to switch to a hydronic system. I would love your review video to contain some information regarding real world power consumption as well as timings for how long the heater runs!

  • A CO2 sensor will go off when your lead-acid batteries gas during charging and from many cleaning products used on a boat. Just saying. I have an Espar hot air heater that has kept me warm for 22 winters living on my boat in New England. The hot air heater is quieter, no fan noise, and drier. I don't get domestic hot water.

  • Merry Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year

  • Boat Yoga!

  • Great progress. Happy Christmas

  • I live in Seattle and am a regular customer at Sure Marine. I had no idea that they had such a wide reach. I do know that I sure appreciate that they are just down the street from my boat. They are definitely a great resource and have a VERY knowledgable staff that are happy to help.

  • I don't know. I do Autoterm heating systems and they are cheaper, syberia proof and easy to install.

  • Hey Have a warm n pleasant time this festive season, n entertain us with your THERMAL n FAN lovin humor. Happy Days , n warm nights 2 you. Cheers. Oh Glorious SANDING done.. PRETZEL wiring n routing is ON!!!

  • Awesome system, Mads

  • A little bit loud! Sound like an F16 about to take off :)

  • So glad you have Heat now, and a special thanks to the blue --doohickey. ⛵⛵💛👍👍

  • I wonder why they cant make the heater reclaim some of the lost heat from the combustion process like they do with household central heating systems.

  • Mads, when you put the high point vents in, you put the bleeder vent in the horizontal, so the manifolds still have air pockets trapped in the upper half section of the manifold pipe. The optimum configuration (when space allows) is to orient the tee fitting with the bleeder point oriented up so that the bleeder vent is above the manifold. That will allow all of the trapped air to be bled out. On the heater, adding the exhaust muffler and piping the intake will cut the noise level significantly. The industrial standard for prolonged noise exposure is 100 db at 3 feet, so you can use your phone to measure the sound level at one meter before and after each improvement. Gooseneck the combustion air intake above the deck to minimize water getting in. When you build a sound enclosure, it's best to leave yourself an air gap between the unit and the insulation to minimize localized heat buildups. (1-2" is usually enough) Rubber/elastomeric insulators at the mounting points can also reduce noise into the hull structure. Happy Holidays!

  • Sure it's loud but it's the glorious, glorious sound of HEAT.

  • Who makes the pump?

  • Hi, and a merry Xmas! I have installed in my campervan a 6kw Truma diesel water / heater with 4 ducted outlets👍🏻works great and delivers 10 Lts of hot water... it’s almost silent when it kicks in and sips diesel that hardly affects my mpg. Been all over Denmark 🇩🇰 Norway 🇳🇴 and Sweden 🇸🇪 late winter for two months and kept toasty warm! So my question is even though it’s a very nice boat (bravo/ kudos /respect) WHY have you installed this heating system?

  • An excellent choice for heat as well as providing hot water.

  • Glad you got the heater working and you will not freeze,have merry Christmas and happy new year from Australia

  • Mads, you're a multifaceted artist when it comes to über-DIY projects and solutions. I'd say you're a "tryldekunstner". But I could NOT find the term "resulate" in any of the online dictionaries I trust (Cambridge, Mirriam-Webster, Oxford, Dictionary, Collins, and more). It's 100% understandable what you meant, but why mix an obscure Thai site into all this (

  • Great hydronic series

  • will the insulation on the exhaust hose trap moisture?

  • Thats the loudest heater Ive ever heard. I couldnt live with that daily.Lets hope it can be made quieter

  • What about an air conditioner - when your in the tropics you will to have cooling

  • Crikey, Athena really does look fabulous Mads. I'm not a big fan of coloured boats anyway, but your beautiful vessel proves that a simple all-white finish works best.

  • sounds like an aircraft's APU! haha :)

  • oi, I hope you can get that quieter. Such a cool system. I probably wouldn't have bothered with the filling system. It worked great, but saved very little effort over cycling the heater a few times. It might take decades to break even on that investment, and in the meanwhile you have another kilo of fittings taking up space in your bildge. Maybe if it had been a design goal earlier on... might have been able to implement it more elegantly. I'll keep it in mind. Big thanks for testing it out for us!!!

  • Fahrenheit....?

  • Hi, Smoke and CO detectors should be mounted in sleeping cabins and as high as possible.

  • i could have sworn refleks had a bimetallic mechanical thermostat... I'm trying to find a source for that, but in the meantime: am I the only one who thought that? You own one, you must know what you are talking about...

    • I have no idea why I thought that. I also find zero examples of mechanical fuel regulators with bimetallic strips anywhere. Theoretically possible, but it would probably be very difficult to make that work in an environment with lots of vibration using viscous fuel... Thank you for the clear presentation.

  • The Refleks heaters can have a fluid heat distribution system and radiators too. I’ve had that. About 70% of the heat output goes into this system and the remaining 30% is radiated directly from the heater, which is normally placed in the salon. With this system, a bit of electricity is needed for the circulation pump, but it’s far less than a hydronic heater needs. Refleks is also a far simpler contraption, with zero electronics, meaning way more reliable for running full time, and much easier to fix if it stops. The hydronic and air type heaters are not really meant for running full time during a winter. They’re developed for intermittent use in cars etc. Refleks is absolutely meant to keep burning non-stop. These are the reasons loads of fishing boats operating at the North Sea and further north along the Norwegian coast use heaters from I still have replaced the Refleks heater with a 5 kW hydronic system. The reasons: The hydronic heater can be tucked away outside of the living area, so it takes no interior space. The Refleks looks and feels nice in the salon, but takes space there the whole year, and it brings a diesel system into the living area. (Our engines are in outside compartments.) Igniting and maintaining a Refleks type oven is easy and not much work, but still more messy and hands-on than a hydronic system, which is controlled by buttons on a panel and mostly needs a yearly service, which is also fairly easy. We opted for an Planar S5. Quite a bit cheaper than the alternatives (one third) and working very well. It’s important to choose a not overly powerful heater. Otherwise it will just run in short bursts at a low power and soot up the combustion chamber. It needs to run for a while each time and frequently at full power to clean itself up. I think your heater is too powerful. Our boat is a 40 foot catamaran with 3 times as much interior volume. 5 kW is plenty powerful enough, even though our insulation isn’t very good, only the sandwich fiberglass/foam construction. We live aboard full time in chilly Amsterdam. As a backup and for quicker heat we also have a 4 kW Webasto air heater. If we decide to go arctic winter cruising, (I’m Norwegian and we have previously sailed in Svalbard) we have a total of 9 kiloWatt heating available. That’s enough to need a couple of open hatches even with minus 10 degrees C outside.

  • Very good set of videos and a professional installation. You have however convinced me that I would never install such a stove. Complicated, very labour intensive to install, noisy, expensive and high amp draw. Perhaps you could tell us the final price if one had to buy everything and the total amp draw when running full capacity. So many simpler systems in my opinion.

  • Holy shit fucker, that's loud!

  • Nice video

  • Great video Mads! Denmark is time zone UTC +1 (summer time is +2 but it looks like it’s definitely not summer :)

  • Sad, no more old glorious sanding.

  • Lovely install! Unit is quite loud though?!

  • Can you possibly create a hybrid system using a Refleks as a heat source, a copper heating coil and pump to circulate the antifreeze?

  • Morning Mads your looking a lot healthier this week i assume you have got over your virus 🦠 Steve aboard SV Cascade of Hamble

  • Hi, great episode as usual. @ 17.07 - time in Denmark is UTC +1, not +2 ;-)

  • Be quite is a computer fan and case manufacture they make fans that specialize in being quiet and efficient. Might be something to look into to reduce noise without sacrificing rpm

  • Well that was interesting but the result seems over-engineered and ridiculously noisy. Dom @ Sailing Cadoha just completed a heater installation on their Warrior 38 using a small, cheap diesel forced air heater and a ProHeat installation kit with inline exhaust silencer plus additional exhaust insulation. A much simpler system that seems to work very well ... and it runs whisper quiet. The only noise is a quiet clicking from the fuel pump. If you have time and haven’t already seen it Mads, check it out.

  • Doing a great job..glad you got heat!

  • Sounds like a 747 ✈️ starting up lol