The paper* describes the design and operation of a laboratory combustion chamber used to study the energy released during the premixed burning phase of diesel combustion. The flow apparatus operates at atmospheric pressure and has the means to provide near quiescent air at temperatures in the range between 800 and 950° K which is the typical temperature range at the end of compression stroke in a diesel engine. A rotary injection pump with a trigger mechanism delivers equal amounts of fuel to an injector, which sprays it into the constantly replenished supply of fresh, hot air for combustion. An infrared radiation detector and a photodiode sensitive to radiation in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum monitor the events taking place inside the combustion chamber through a sapphire lens. A beam splitter permits simultaneous observation of the combustion events by both sensors. The difference in response times between the two sensors offers informations about the non-luminous premixed combustion. The initial test results for four fuels are presented together with the analysis of what parameters have a statistically significant effect on the energy released during premixed combustion.