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#95039 - 04/23/08 09:08 PM alcohol stove fizzling out...
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
I finished my alcohol stove, using the instructions found in this video:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/839102/cool_little_miniature_stove/

I finally purchased some denatured alcohol from the store and tonight I got to try it out! I filled the stove's "cup" 1.5 times, pre-heated the bottom of the stove with the lighter, and lit the stove...
and nothing happened. (There might have been a small flame, but not visible without me standing in the way of the background light.)
After a couple of tries, I was able to get a flame going, but it would burn out after a second or two. I refilled the stove and tried again, with the same results.

I am curious is maybe I fiddled with the cans too long, so that the fuel cannot pressurize? Or perhaps I used the wrong kind of insulation (I just grabbed a handful from the attic)?

I'm going to get some more cans and try another one, but I'd love to know what I'm doing wrong with this one!
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#95040 - 04/24/08 03:52 AM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
Not sure, you might have cellulose rather then fiberglass...
Anyway, after having fiddled with that type of stove I found that the cat (Supercat) is easier to make and works better for me.
Another easy one is the Tea Light stove, slow but very economical. Works well if you have the right windscreen. Today I tested my version ( I use part of an above stove filter, thin aluminum mesh, instead of the fiberglass) with the Caldera Cone. 1/2 oz, 14 min to boil 500ml and three to five minute boil after that . You can make your cone as well
The Supercat is twice as fast but uses about twice as much fuel.
Cone at
http://www.kolumbus.fi/antti.lusila/models/laskekartio.html
See Zen Stoves for Tea Light and Cat stove and search for the Supercat.
Franco

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#95041 - 04/24/08 06:16 AM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
Paddy_Crow Offline
member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
If the insulation in your attic is loose, it probably is cellulose.

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#95042 - 04/24/08 06:45 AM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: Paddy_Crow]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
It was the stuff that you put in the walls, with the "aluminum paper" backing. I had to sort of tear off a handful. The attic's just the only place where I have access to it. It's an older house, though.
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#95043 - 04/24/08 06:46 AM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: Franco]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
I am actually planning to get this stove working, then move on to make a penny stove.
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#95044 - 04/24/08 07:38 AM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
ShadeDog Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Minnesota
I think you are not priming the stove long enough for the volume of of alcohol you are using. Try a priming pan underneath (cut down cat food can) with a few drops of alcohol or wrap a wick around the stove body with a few drops there. I think it will work better than the pre-heat method.

On the trail I prime from the top (my filler hole is sealed with a screw or a penny) but I sometimes use a few bits of "fire starter material" (wax mixed with lint and saw dust) along the side of the stove to guaranty a good start.

Use a windscreen. It not only blocks the wind but radiates heat back to the stove.

You didn't say how much fuel you poured into the stove. Only use an ounce to start. If you add more than that it will take to much heat to vaporize the liquid alcohol.

Try it without the inside insulation as well.

There are a lot of variables with such a simple stove. You can really personalize them.

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#95045 - 04/24/08 10:07 AM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
froldt-

Before you decide your stove is the culprit, look at the surface that you have below it. If you have a cold tile surface, cold concrete, whatever, then your stove is sitting on a giant heat sink.

Find a piece of cardboard roughly the size of your pot and wrap it in aluminum foil. Get another piece of foil a bit larger than your stove and bend the edges up to form a small lip. Put the stove on the lipped foil and place both on the wrapped cardboard. Put fuel in the stove and several drops on thet lipped foil. With the windscteen in place and the pot ready to go, light the alcohol in the lipped foil. Let the flame pre-warm your stove, then, if necessary, light the stove, placing the pot and stand over the flame.

If your stove still doesn't work, maybe it is the stove, but try it with different amounts of alcohol before tossing it.

Regards,

CM

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#95046 - 04/24/08 12:55 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
hootyhoo Offline
member

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 686
Loc: Cyberspace
Good video. That would work. How could your stove not be burning? Try more pre-heat. Use the bottom of a peanut can as a preheat dish. Pour some fuel in the stove - spill some on the dish - light. The only drawback to that design that I have found is if your pot overboils (like with macaroni noodles) or if you spill water on top of it - once water gets in it there can be problems, but otherwise they work good. Attic insulation is the right stuff in most cases - what color was it? Post a video of your efforts and let the experts evaluate.

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#95047 - 04/24/08 03:34 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: CamperMom]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
Good catch Camper Mum
I tend to forget that bit,
A small piece of plywood is also good for that
Franco

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#95048 - 04/24/08 05:20 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: Franco]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
I lit it out on the back porch, so it was sitting on a wood railing. I couldn't tell that it was that windy, so I don't think that wind was the problem. I'll adjust the windscreen more next time.

I will try the different pre-heat next time.
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#95049 - 04/24/08 05:23 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: hootyhoo]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
Quote:
Good video. That would work. How could your stove not be burning? Try more pre-heat. Use the bottom of a peanut can as a preheat dish. Pour some fuel in the stove - spill some on the dish - light. The only drawback to that design that I have found is if your pot overboils (like with macaroni noodles) or if you spill water on top of it - once water gets in it there can be problems, but otherwise they work good. Attic insulation is the right stuff in most cases - what color was it? Post a video of your efforts and let the experts evaluate.


The insulation was a pinkish-blackish. I'll have to make a pre-heater. No camera, unfortunately.
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More adventure in your life today.

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#95050 - 04/24/08 05:37 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
Even if you get it to work, you probably do not want to have to rely on a stove which is so finicky, When/if you determine the issues in the stove, try making another one. Maybe a new design? Have fun. Making stoves is a lot of fun.

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#95051 - 04/24/08 06:21 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Exactly what kind (brand, ethanol, methanol, rubbing, etc.) of alcohol are you using as fuel? It's important. Most alcohol stoves are simply 'burners'. You can saturate a pile of sand with denatured alcohol, light it, and have a 'stove'. It's just not that fussy of a fuel IF you are burning the right stuff. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
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#95052 - 04/24/08 09:30 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: Dryer]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
I waited to try it until I got some denatured alcohol from WalMart.
_________________________
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More adventure in your life today.

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#95053 - 04/25/08 05:53 AM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
After reading all the posts about your stove problem and making several of my own, I would try enlarging the fill hole. My best stove is very similar to the one in the video but without the fiberglass insulation. Make the hole about the size of a pencil. Let me know how that works.
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#95054 - 04/25/08 12:52 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: chaz]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Alcohol stove users, of whatever design, might benefit from careful reading of this link:

http://www.climber.org/gear/TrangiaStove.html

One interesting point among many interesting points, is that, if you can buy a Trangia unit for less than $15, then making your own seems only marginally interesting (to me).


Edited by johndavid (04/25/08 12:55 PM)

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#95055 - 04/25/08 01:25 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
froldt-

You still might want to lay something down on your porch wherever you place the stove. Once it gets going, it MIGHT leave a scorch mark or lift aint..

CM

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#95056 - 04/25/08 01:29 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: johndavid]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
Quote:
Alcohol stove users, of whatever design, might benefit from careful reading of this link:

http://www.climber.org/gear/TrangiaStove.html

One interesting point among many interesting points, is that, if you can buy a Trangia unit for less than $15, then making your own seems only marginally interesting (to me).


For me, the making of stoves (or other gear) has absolutely nothing to do with price. For those of us that are DIYers we know our stuff just "plain works better". (though it may look like crap) <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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#95057 - 04/25/08 03:29 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: DTape]
froldt Offline
member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Ireland
I definitely enjoy making my own gear. Plus, I don't have to pay for the cans, as my roommate drinks way too many sodas. Another friend gave me the sand paper (she bought a pack and needed one piece) and I've already got a pocket knife. So my stove attempts only cost me some fuel, which I would be needing anyway.
At this point in my life I need to save all of the money that I can (college student about to get married) so while I might have some free time, I definitely can't afford any extra cost.

Of course, going full circle, I love making stuff, so the DIY gear is for me even if money was no issue. I'd just start with nicer materials! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
www.Adventure-Some.com
More adventure in your life today.

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#95058 - 04/25/08 05:31 PM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: froldt]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee

Good luck to you with College and marrage. I enjoy making a lot of my gear and a lot of other stuff. Before long you'll be building kids play houses and fences etc.
Just try to leave time to get in the woods.

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#95059 - 05/18/08 10:53 AM Re: alcohol stove fizzling out... [Re: chaz]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee


Yes, I would definitely recommend that you increase the size of the fill hole on the top of your stove. It sounds like to me that it can not get enough air for it to pressurize. Also in the stoves that I have made I have a "wall" on the inside of the stove that all the fuel drains behind and it is a much smaller area to pressurize than the entire stove itself..I think that you are really close to having a working model any way...Hope that helps...Happy Trekking...sabre11004...

The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there !!!!!! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

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#95060 - 05/23/08 01:05 AM works great, but... [Re: froldt]
judach Offline
member

Registered: 04/01/07
Posts: 63
Loc: California, USA
I made this stove and it worked great! It boiled about 3 cups of water with only about 2 TBSP of HEET. I did not use any insulation on the inside though, I just left it empty when I put the two halves together. I reinforced the seal using shims I cut from the remainder of the can and lodging them between the two halves all the way around. Excellant little stove. I was wondering if HEET was the best fuel or if anyone has had the same or better luck with another kind of alcohol. My concern with HEET are the toxic vapors it creates as you are burning it off. Maybe it's nothing to worry about though. I don't know.

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