Alcohol-burning cooker development.

  • 08 May 2020 09:11
    Reply # 8955156 on 8955015
    Anonymous wrote:

    Wow, that's good news, Mark! At least, for those of us who are of the metho persuasion ;-)

    Yes, it's now appearing on Whitworth's site again, after disappearing for a long time. I think the original story was that they were made by a small subcontractor who got a more lucrative contract and didn't want to make these anymore. Here's hoping there's a new source of supply.

    https://www.whitworths.com.au/maxie-double-burner-mb2

    Replacement burners are listed, too, which are good for incorporating into a gimballed Seaswing-style setup or a setup with a remote tank, as I prefer.

    It used to be the case that Whitworths would only ship to the South Pacific area; I don't know if that's still true?


    That is interesting.  I saw one on the shelf at Whitworths last year but not recently and it does not appear in the catalogue I have which was published about four months ago.  So maybe a new development.  Unfortunately, they still only ship to the South Pacific region.  I would be happy to act as an agent for JRA members but you'd have to send me money to cover my costs before I purchased, since I operate on slim finances.  Burners would be no problem to send through Australia Post.  The stove would be expensive to post but I think its size and weight will be within limitations.  Otherwise someone like DHL Couriers might be an alternative if they will accept items without having an account.

  • 08 May 2020 07:21
    Reply # 8955015 on 8947729

    Wow, that's good news, Mark! At least, for those of us who are of the metho persuasion ;-)

    Yes, it's now appearing on Whitworth's site again, after disappearing for a long time. I think the original story was that they were made by a small subcontractor who got a more lucrative contract and didn't want to make these anymore. Here's hoping there's a new source of supply.

    https://www.whitworths.com.au/maxie-double-burner-mb2

    Replacement burners are listed, too, which are good for incorporating into a gimballed Seaswing-style setup or a setup with a remote tank, as I prefer.

    It used to be the case that Whitworths would only ship to the South Pacific area; I don't know if that's still true?

  • 08 May 2020 03:56
    Reply # 8954783 on 8947729

    OK I won't mention kero stoves again though I still don't like Alcohol stoves (called metho stoves here). However the Maxi is still for sale in Oz I just looked it up on Whitworths, its the Maxie two burner metho stove its not cheap but is available. Don't know if they have lots of stock or if it is still in production. Hope this helps.

    Last modified: 08 May 2020 04:00 | Anonymous member
  • 07 May 2020 11:00
    Reply # 8952383 on 8947729

    The camping stove on Mathews link looked more promising, and simpler.  It showed a nearly all blue flame, so should be burning very efficiently.  
    Putting a shield around the pot, with a gap for the hot gasses, would do wonders. 
    I use a Stormin Norman stove for camping, on this principal. Great for short trips, for longer ones the fuel weight becomes an issue. Of course on a boat not so.  
    I must say that I am in favour of alcohol, it is perhaps the safest liquid fuel, and no horrid smells.  It is available at a reasonable price online and at B&Q, used in those fake fires.

  • 06 May 2020 09:16
    Reply # 8949842 on 8947729

    David W,

    That's what I've been working on for months.  A major difficulty is that height is necessary, and height is not a good thing in a boat's cooker. The perforated chimney/wick burner style of cooker and heater has been known technology for a very long time (ever since they used to burn whale oil - I've seen fine examples in museums in Iceland). However, it is better for kero than it is for alcohol, because the differing evaporation rates mean that with alcohol, the wick would have to be capped when not in use. I can't think of a sensible way of doing that.

    As for involving a commercial company, I just can't see enough throughput for anyone to want to invest in the tooling. There is enough throughput for camping stoves to justify investment, but even there, my guess is that Origo/Dometic weren't selling enough to continue with marketing them. Let's face it, for onshore use, propane is fine, safe enough and more convenient, and that's where the mass market is always going to be.

  • 06 May 2020 08:51
    Reply # 8949825 on 8947729

    Hi David Tyler, ( too many David's around here!!) when I was a lot younger and resident in England I owned a Valor paraffin heater. this gave off a good heat and was clean burning, it could be used for space heating or cooking. It was based on a wick feeding from a tank at the bottom, the long chimney was, I believe, the secret to its clean burning and good heat output. Rippingilles made a similar heater which was mentioned in "The Riddle of the Sands" by Erskine Childers. Could this form a basis for experimentation for an alcohol stove?? I think the long chimney may be the secret to its clean burning. I believe spares are still available for these heaters and the Valor company is still in existence but mainly produces gas heaters now. They also have a research department and may be interested in a new line of business in alcohol based Marine stoves, if approached by an organisation such as the JRA who see a need for such a product.

    Just a thought.

    All the best, David.

  • 06 May 2020 07:26
    Reply # 8949716 on 8947729

    Oh dear, Mark, where to start?!

    You are happy with pressurised kero, and that's fine, but I cooked with it for three or four decades until I could stand the dirt, smell and constant maintenance no longer and turned over to the safer, cleaner, more easily obtainable fuel - ethanol.

    The Origo is the safest cooker I know of, but you're right, it's not the best for cooking on, and is now out of production.

    I'm surprised that being an Australian you don't have more confidence in the Maxie alcohol burner which works better than the pressurised Primus and Optimus but is gravity fed - but again, it's out of production, and the burners didn't last forever anyway (though they were maintenance-free, unlike kero burners).

    So there is no longer a good alcohol cooker, suitable for boat use, to buy. The German HPV is still available, but is small, slow and not made of marine grade materials. So we  sailors who favour alcohol, being well aware of how suitable a fuel it is for our use, have to develop our own, and this is what this topic is about. I would be obliged if you didn't try to derail it with comparisons to kero, because that is not what is under discussion. Thanks.

  • 06 May 2020 03:18
    Reply # 8949341 on 8947729

    Why do people continue to hope for miracles with alcohol stoves they are dangerous, not very good for cooking and expensive. I used a pressurised kero for years from Sweden a Primus. Once I got used to it by trying it out on land before putting it into my then boat it worked perfectly for ages provided I followed the strict starting procedure of plenty of warming good pressure and good kerosene with is still much more available than Alcohol. Yes it did mean carrying two fuels & being careful but did it cook in half the time of any alcohol stove. Just prick the fuel injector before using & away it went. Even its occasional flare up & it did happen let you know it was time to give it a bit of TLC.  Why for god's sake did alcohol become the norm its lethal

  • 05 May 2020 14:41
    Message # 8947729
    Matthew wrote:

    However, along with others, I am keen to see a better system for burning alcohol. I'm experimenting - but lack of time etc......

    Here is a link to a site with a backpacking type of burner - but tank fed. Looks promising but I'm not sure of the tank is double skin or not. Any views on whether this is the way to go? 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqLoMGuYsi0

    Perhaps we should have a separate thread on stove development? 

    Matthew

    I'm still experimenting, too.

    I couldn't make a Maxie-style burner, neither could I succeed in making a natural draught Origo-style burner that satisfied me. So I've turned my attention to more of a fluidised bed kind of approach, in which air is bubbled up though the fuel to be burned. I'm having moderate success with an aquarium air pump, pushing air up through a small container of alcohol. It's based on a 54mm x 15mm copper pipe reducer.

    Included in this photo is a snuffer made from a 54mm end cap, to douse the flame and prevent evaporation between uses. The control of heat output is by adjustment of the airflow alone.

     There must be some kind of medium that stops spurting and splashing of liquid fuel. I've tried ceramic fibre (thanks, Jan), and chopped strands of glass fibre, and neither is totally satisfactory. The ceramic fibre seems too dense, it doesn't allow enough air through and holds onto the alcohol too well, not allowing fast enough evaporation. The chopped glass is not much better. Maybe something granular is needed. I'm waiting for some medium vermiculite, which will hold a lot of fluid, or perhaps coarse sand or fine gravel, as used by model railway builders, might be the thing. This medium must be topped off with mesh or perforated metal with the right size of holes. I'm leaning towards grains 1 - 1.5mm and mesh with 1 mm holes.

    I bought an adjustable 2-outlet air pump of 6 litres/hour total capacity, not knowing how much air would be needed. It's about right at full throttle, using both outlets, but won't reduce the air flow enough. I have a 2-way valved manifold on order, to be able to adjust through a wider range.


    Last modified: 05 May 2020 16:56 | Anonymous member
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