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Thanks Arkie,  will plan on leaving loose.


This arrived yesterday.  

Also have the pvc sweep and expansion joint.  

Need a pvc male threaded adapter, and 1 female.  1,   4" metal nut and 1 pvc nut. 

3 ground rods and bonding jumper. 1 for the pole RMC and 2 for the shop breaker panels.

Getting ready to order the unistrut for mounting the metersocket and will need some for inside too.  

Steve 2 questions. 1, the building has to be grounded (brand/type of connector?). 

Can I ground it to the same ground rods as the electrical  panels ? 






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Building ground to the electrical ground, Cad-weld (a type of braze) wire to heavy section of frame and run wire to electrical ground system and either another Cad-weld or use a split-bolt, your locals may have a preference, around here either are allowed.

- OR -

crimp an eye type connector to the wire or use a lug connector and bolt to building frame with 1/4-20 or larger bolts.  Either way use Nolox




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What bonding clamp do you recommend for the ground rods? 

I have a few of the bolt together ones that a mediocre at best. 

I have a 16ton crimper for lugs so will more than likely go that way then.  I can go from one of the "Irons" then.. 

I can not for the life of me remember the name of the unit, but it is a PVC piece put in just below the slip joint and the the ground is ran out of this? 


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Code is a minimum.  PLEASE dont use anything you are not comfortable with, you may always use a better connection  And ground rods are connected with an Acorn


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Steve, If never doing anything I was uncomfortable at was the key ingredient to :"Not doing"...  I wouldn't do anything.. 

I'm uncomfortable at everything I do, that is why I do it.   

Success is not measured in how easy it is, but by the amount of determination it takes to get where the object, project, skill takes ones self to finish.. 

Somewhere else in my life, I have stumbled into a group of " Don't do anything you don't want to do" people..    It seems a common theme today.. 

" I don't like the way it makes me feel"  so I'm not doing it.      "I don't enjoy it". So I'm not doing it.   

I'm not going to do it because you told me to.. Even though it's a suggestion..  Instead I'm going to do the same thing I have been doing until my head hurts..  Then I'll do it your way, but then it will be my way and only my way.   

" I won't commit to anything, that way I can do what ever I like"..  

"All real answers come from inside myself, even if I do see it on youtube"..  


I always try to do "Better" than code as code is only a minimum guidline. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, so it's been colder than normal and haven't had the gumption to get out there to do anything.. 

So, last week I went and dragged up the Forced hot air oil fired boiler to make an Indirect heater out of.. 

That way I can leave it outside the shop and still get hot air inside without having to cut a hole in a panel nor contact any inspectors. 

I priced out the heaters directly and they are between 1500.00 and the sky..   I'm feeling sheepish on spending money knowing I am coming to the point where I can get this buttoned up.. 

Luckily the garage door is paid for, as is 90% of the electrical supplies..   

So, here are some build photos of the heater..   Anybody who has input please share..  I realize the layout is not ideal but it has a thin heat mat inside so decided to leave it the way it is vs cutting a hole in the end and putting in a heat shield. 

I will use the propane tank as a fuel cell and will mount it under the heater unit.. It will have wheels to move around.. 

I have a draught fan if need be..  











that is not the stack complete.. I just put that on top because we are getting an ice storm. 

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I wish I could help but I can't tell anything from the pics. If I had to heat my shop in a hurry I'd I'd buy a large oil fired Herman Nelson like the first pic and duct it for forced air.

I've worked in many shops heated by Herman Nelsons. Not one propane fired one though, oil is so much more economical, a lot more BTUs/$. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I won't use torpedo heaters if I have any other options.   

I spent a few years with one and now I can't stand the fumes.


So ducting of a unit one can just move in the shop. 


The unit shown is an indirect unit.  As is the one I'm making. 


This means all combustion fumes are vented as conventional and only heat and fresh air enter the shop. 

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Approved or not if you can't tolerate the fumes they're out. I smoked for 20 years or so and am very sensitive to CO but my Herman Nelson doesn't effect me. Not that what effects me means anything to you of course, just saying.

By indirect is it a boiler or is there an air type heat exchanger I'm not seeing? 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I find the fumes comforting in a strange sort of way. To me it is what a garage is supposed to smell like in the winter. 

I heard them called something completely different again just about 2 days ago, war time heater. 

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It's not the smell so much of a clean burning torpedo unit..  it's the smell of diesel or modern smell.. 

I spent 2 years with my nose in a parts washer that the guy used diesel as the fluid..  That and he used a torpedo heater that was in need of a tune up.. 

After that I have a tough time escaping the waft that penetrates my nose..   I can nearly taste it on my tongue. 

Not only that by CO can be a problem for sure and since the new shop has the potential to be tight (lol) I'd just rather not do it.. 

Once this unit is made it can be located anywhere outside and with just an extension cord can have heat output..  110K BTU's..  Size nozzle is from .550-.850 per hour..   So if a 100lbs propane tank hold about 24gallons of fuel.  That will give me some decent run times.. 

I had the boiler guy we use come and clean the boiler in the house today and had him look at the unit as it currently stands..  

He thinks it should work fine..   I still would have loved to change the orientation some with the burner on the end and blower on the top but for now will leave it as is..  Should something need to change in future I'll address it when the time comes.. 

JHCC, I love the smell of a wood stove, or fireplace cooking..   I actaully like the smell of a nice wood fire.. but you are correct when the smoke is overwhelming or when a room if filled with smoke it's a whole other thing. 

Billybones..      There are 2 different types that I have found..   direct (torpedo or Herman Nelson or Salamander) vents all the combustion products right into the building/space.. 

The Indirect type which is what I am making..  Is just like your normal home boiler, wood stove, forced hot air funace, etc.. 

It has a stack and all the combustion gases are vented outside..  So this unit has a smoke stack.. Which can be located away from the heater if need be..   Then there is a long hose anywhere between 5 and 12" in diameter X feet long that is fed into the building..   this is a forced hot air unit but they also my water units that use coils of hoses to transfer heat.. 

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Today I got the heater actually electrically live..   The burner starts (No fuel yet) and the blower fan comes on when the manual button is pushed..   It puts out plenty of air.. 

The tank is keeping at arms length.. I can't come up with a suitable design..   I have all the components now (filler neck, return fuel line, and the pipe needed to be welded into the tank for all connections.. 

My oil burner guy was here yesterday to clean the boiler in the house.. I asked him if he'd come back next week to fine tune the heater unit.. He said sure..    

I have never had it working and the place I bought it from never had it working either..  It was there when the bought the old farm..  

So, it sounds good and the ignitor works..   I think it should work wonderfully. 

I made a few box risers,  and need to install the on/off switch..  I was getting pretty cold so called it quits. 





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Just be careful to confirm the heat exchanger isn't leaking on the used unit.  That can be the first, and worst, thing to go on those old heaters.  Also be sure the orifice size matches you new source.  Used equipment ...

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Heat exchanger looks good.. Still has some areas without rust ( clean metal)..     The unit was original from what I understand..  What I mean by original I'm not sure..  But, Looks good so far.. 

My only real concern right now is the side draft both ways..  the main is on the side and the outlet is on the side.. 

I have a fan draught  assist if need be so will see. 

I'll have the oil burner guy do a tune up after it's together. Good week for working on it as it's supposed to be in the 40's a few days..  Even if it warms up considerably still be good to have for the time being. 

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So, today was a good day.. Got the heater mainly together..  Still have to put the filler neck, pickup and return lines.. But the design so far is on par with what I was thinking.. 

I'm still stuck wanting to go with my original design but will see how this works out.. I might have to move the temperature sensor for the blower fan.. it's mounted on the bottom now so might not be in the correct location to use it as it should work.   It's got a manual mode so can use it as is.. 








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Thanks.. I had it working yesterday.. Got it all plumbed, took the pump off and cleaned it, she fired right up..  LOL.. 

Worked mint..  the snow on the car about 10ft away started to melt.. Was a splendid moment..  (should have left well enough alone)..  LOL.. 

I then decided to add the shut off switch so took the side panel off to run the wiring, now I can't get the burner to have power though the blower motor works as it should.. 

So, today I pulled all the wiring apart thinking it has to be a problem in the junction box and ran a heavy cord with plug and ran good water resistant line and new wires inside to the junction box and cleaned and checked all connections in the box. 

They all seem ok..   

I don't know anything about burners and know even less about the electrics ..   I measured the voltage at the motor and it was less than 1volt. 

The blower motor spins up perfectly.. 

With this I'll delve back into it tomorrow.. The only thing I can come up with is a bad wire coming from the junction box to the burner..   It doesn't make sense that the hot wire to ground is only 0.90volts.. 

Here are some updated photos..  I'll take some tomorrow of the current setup..  Looking great.. Now only if the burner would fire up again..  Teething pains..  being able to stand in front of it with heat coming out was amazing.. 



Heres a video of it working just after cleaning the pump..

Here is the wiring inside the junction box.. It's kinda cluster.. But, it was working before I messed with it.. 



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I’m not an electrician or a hvac guy but Im wondering What if you returned the wiring back to its original set up when it was working and see if it does work agin then put your kill switch on the supply line? Also does it have any thermistors, thermocouples or fuses that might have blown like on a dryer? I know a dryer motor will still spin but if one of those things blows then the dryer won’t heat. If it does have one of those you could test them with your multimeter set on ohms and rule them out as a problem. Sorry I’m not much help. 

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I did reconnect how the wires were originally and no go..  

The blower motor is connected to the same wires as the burner motor..  And since it works the burner should work too.. 

But, there is no voltage at the burner motor.  This is where not knowing which does what takes me a little while to figure it out.  

In other words there is power to the junction box. All the wires are connected solidly, yet no voltage at the burner.. So I can only assume that there is a bad wire between the junction box and the burner.. 

It got cold and dark out there today so called it..  

I'm hopeful it's just a bad wire.. If that is the case thats a pretty easy fix, though it means taking it all apart again..  

Thanks for the help just the same..  :)  If the furnace was working today I was going to paint it..  but, that will have to wait. 

the Wiring schematics were on the side of the unit which was exposed to weather so can't read it anymore.. 

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It’s a really neat project and I hope you find your wiring issues without to much trouble or frozen fingers, I can’t wait to see your machine up and running again! You already got wheels turning in my mind about making something like that for my shop. 

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