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Alcohol Stove Efficiency

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Re: Alcohol Stove Efficiency

Postby freestone » Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:08 am

I am a Trangia affectionado, actually more like a junkie. I own all three models. I also own a Svea 124R, Sierra Zip, and a canister stove (uh oh, stove junkie!). My former hiking partner had a Whisperlite so I used that a lot also. I started to make a cat stove but I felt like I was trying to reinvent the wheel that would never be as good as the Trangia burner, the simmer ring and O ring cap are two big reasons. Two factors control the efficiency of alcohol stoves, breathability and distance of the pot to the flame. If the windscreen is too tight, then the stove will not burn poorly. The Mini Trangia is my choice for solo trips but is marginal in a strong wind so I set up a wind screen. The 27 Series is heavy but the windscreen is a work of engineering art and simplicity, stable, fun, and easy to use. It's efficiency actually improves with a wind. On all the Trangia sets, the burner to pot distance is perfectly set so that the pot sets at the hottest part of the flame. As soon as my water boils, I put the pot in a cozy, and throw on the simmer ring to extinguish the flame. On cold mornings, I can fill the stove with fuel and put it in my pocket to warm it up. It is however, proven science that the canister stove is the best for longer trips but I have issues with canister disposal, so I go for the alcohol on my trips. Off topic, Hetchey, are you going to journel your PCT trip on Postholer or Trail Journels? It would be fun to follow you on the trail!



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Re: Alcohol Stove Efficiency

Postby Hetchy » Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:58 am

There you go Freestone! Now you've got me re-thinking again!
No actually it's a good thing, Thanks.
Last night after about the millionth experiment my home made Heinekin can stove failed me.
Like I said it was an experimental design.. obviously a bit too experimental! I should just follow directions and make the design like everyone else does, but that ain't my style.
So at the moment I am back to being a Trangia Boy.
I still can't get my brain around the whole fuel weight versus stove weight versus efficiency. I think I am going to just breakdown(and cry..NO!) and bring the Mini-28.
Haa! I though of a funny thing! When I began to plan this PCT hike I needed extra cash to update my gear. So I sold my Ruger Mini 30 rifle.. so I could buy among other things.. a Trangia Mini 28!
I think it's funny :retard:
My base weight is 10.5 lbs at the moment. The trangia only(ONLY!) adds 3 ounces. But like you pointed out the o-ring sealed cap and the ability to completely control the flame ie. simmering/snuffer, are not to be overlooked. And it gets 3/4 ounce fuel to 2 cups H2O boil economy. And it is made by fellow Swede's! :cool:
"Hey Swede's!...There Norweigians Mac." (The Thing.. Kurt Russel) :D

I am on Postholer.com
My journal is under: Matt Edwards
My Journal is called: Matt's Pacific Crest Journey

I am planning to update it from the trail towns(libraries,trail angels etc) though I do not think I will carry a cell phone for this purpose.
But who knows?
A smartphone or Blackberry could be in my future. But knowing they way I destroy electronics.. I dunno! :D
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Re: Alcohol Stove Efficiency

Postby freestone » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:37 am

I wrote

If the windscreen is too tight, then the stove will not burn poorly.


but meant to say "the stove will burn poorly" :retard:

One time, in an effort to save grams, I tried putting the burner straight on the ground, then placing part of the windscreen from the 27 series over it. The results were disapointing. It took twice as long to boil water even though it appeared as if the burner was fired up to the max. My conclusion is that air flow is a calculated design function for any stove to operate efficiently, and twicking original designs is a waste of time.

Hey, I am a fellow Swede also (Axel Johnson!). Good luck on your thru hike. It's my goal to do it at least once before I start pushing up daisys.
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Re: Alcohol Stove Efficiency

Postby Hetchy » Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:07 pm

My mom's side is Swedish. They are the Pearsons. My Dad is from Cornwall England. Tin mining country for ages. They say if there is a hole in the ground you'll find a Cornishman at the bottom of it! Indeed I became a plumber and I am(was!) constantly crawling around under houses repiping etc.
I will need to be Stubborn as a Swede and as Hard working as a Cornishman for this hike! Not that Swede's don't work hard or Cornishman aren't stubborn. Oh well.. You get my drift!
In my testing of both the homemade and Trangia stoves I found the base to be a factor in the quality of the burn. If I set the stoves flat on the cold countertop(Not Recommended!) they took longer to reach full steam than when I put them on an overturned pie pan. I think the counter top insulated the stove better than the pie tin but drew more heat out the bottom of the stove so less was left for vaporization. In the front yard at the ranch I have been propping up the Trangia base on twigs to keep the conduction losses down.
One of the best tricks, and I think I posted this elsewhere, is to preheat the fueled up but unlit stove body on the inside of the thigh before use. I sit Indian style so it is a simple action, if a little startling! No need for caffeine! The trangia takes off in no time when this preheating is accomplished. The homeade Alc preheats(on skin) quickly but has less heat capacity so I think that is why the effect is less apparent on it.
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