DIY HAMZ Starlyte Alcohol Stove

Posted by: Fotofisher

DIY HAMZ Starlyte Alcohol Stove - 08/03/15 10:16 AM

I live at 4,800 feet and regularly hike to 12,000 or higher here in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Now, I am not a scientist, but alcohol stoves DO perform less efficiently at higher altitudes, burning more fuel to boil water compared to lower altitudes, even though the water boil temp is less, around 192F at 11,000 feet. (the reduced oxygen levels has something to do with it!)

So, I've tinkered with dozens of alcohol stove designs and permutations to minimize fuel consumption and minimize the 2-cup water boil time. I have long been a fan of pressurized alcohol stoves, but have found the wicking types, like the Zelph Starlyte alcohol stove, work well and are far more easy to construct, using less parts, etc.

So, after 2 years of tinkering, I decided to make a YouTube video of my design, the HAMZ Starlyte, optimized for higher altitude performance. I’d like to think I am the originator of this design, but I’m sure there are some other really smart tinkerers out there that have blazed this trail before me – I just haven’t found the info on their designs yet.

Hope y’all find the video useful. If you build one, your observations and feedback are quite welcomed.

High-Altitude Modified Zelph Starlyte alcohol stove -
The HAMZ Starlyte alcohol stove:

Posted by: Spherical Cow

Re: DIY HAMZ Starlyte Alcohol Stove - 10/06/15 11:10 AM

Nice design. It looks similar to mine, but I don't use a wick, but rather metal wires that conduct heat from the flame down into the fuel reservoir. I use narrow pots, so I do the inward pointing flame. Great job!

My stove (shameless plug):
ETF Stove
Posted by: CamperMom

Re: DIY HAMZ Starlyte Alcohol Stove - 10/08/15 07:27 AM

Interesting video. Why the steel and fiberglass mesh materials?

Also, insulating your stove from a cold surface, such as a granite countertop or rock should improve stove performance. A small piece of corrugated cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil should do the trick. That countertop was a huge heat sink!
Posted by: Jim M

Re: DIY HAMZ Starlyte Alcohol Stove - 11/23/15 10:24 PM

I will need to think about that a while: Alcohol stoves not as efficient at altitude. it seems to me the vapor pressure of the alcohol would higher and that might make it burn fuel faster, but shouldn't reduce the boiling time. If anything reduce the time it takes. The air is thinner, but how much that affects a stove with plenty of openings for make up air...I just don't know. And wouldn't that be the case for any stove? Thin air would reduce the efficinecy of a gasoline or kerosene stove just as much wouldn't it? And I know from experience at least at 10,ooo feet those types work fine.
Maybe someone who knows more about Chemistry can answer the question why your alcohol stoves did not performe as well at altitude.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: DIY HAMZ Starlyte Alcohol Stove - 11/23/15 10:55 PM

I'll bet this question has been answered at some time or other by "Hiking Jim" on his "Adventures in Stoving" blog. It seems to contain everything you ever wanted to know about various kinds of stoves!