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Old 25-07-2013, 08:02   #16
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Re: Alcohol Stove

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Originally Posted by ShaktiGurl View Post
They do have non pressurized alcohol stoves with oven. My hunter has an origo two burner with oven. I like the alcohol stove ok. It takes longer to boil or cook anything. Not sure my oven ever made it up to cookie baking temp but it is easy to use and fuel is easy to find.
Well, I stand corrected. I should have said I have never seen one.
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Old 25-07-2013, 09:05   #17
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Re: Alcohol Stove

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
I used an unpressurised one in a cruising boat many years ago.

It worked great, but as others have said suitable fuel is very expensive in some countries.
Data:

In Australia (reportedly a first world country) denatured alchohol runs 4 to 5 AUD per litre. It is readily available, even in supermarkets. LPG runs 1.2 to 2 AUD per litre and is readily available. The energy content of alcohol is slightly lower than LPG in BTU/litre.

In recent years LPG has become available even in small South Pacific island nations. There can be complications with filling one's own tanks, but it is always possible to do so by decanting. Alcohol is often simply not available at all.

Other areas may differ. Make your own choice...

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 25-07-2013, 09:29   #18
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Re: Alcohol stove

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... If you are doing a lot of cooking on board an alternative would be a Coleman stove...
A portable propane stove is the most dangerous possible option. They leak. And if you remove the bottle in an effort to prevent leakage, you are releasing a bit of propane into your bilge each time you disconnect or reconnect the bottle.

On the other hand, an alcohol fire can be readily extinguished with water, unlike a fire from any other kind of fuel.
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Old 25-07-2013, 09:49   #19
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Re: Alcohol Stove

The pressurized alcohol stoves are faster than the non-pressurized (more fuel per minute).

One tip: be sure to use the suggested amount of alcohol to preheat the burner. otherwise it can flare up for a little bit.

I have used propane, butane, alcohol (pressurized and non-pressurized). Each has it advantages and disadvantages. The pressurized stoves are best for cold weather.

I currently use a two burner pressurized alcohol stove and I love it, but then again I would be happy with any other stove if I read the instruction manual first (except non-pressurized stoves in the cold weather, AKA winter).

Alan Gilmore
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Old 25-07-2013, 09:54   #20
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Re: Alcohol stove

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Originally Posted by Eumelia View Post
A portable propane stove is the most dangerous possible option. They leak. And if you remove the bottle in an effort to prevent leakage, you are releasing a bit of propane into your bilge each time you disconnect or reconnect the bottle.

On the other hand, an alcohol fire can be readily extinguished with water, unlike a fire from any other kind of fuel.
On the other hand, an alcohol fire can be readily extinguished with water, unlike a fire from any other kind of fuel.[/QUOTE]
This seems like a random statement. Can you show situations where a portable propane stove is the most dangerous? Or where removing a bottle from one has caused a problem? There have already been posted 2 incidences in less than 20 posts of problems with alcohol.
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Old 25-07-2013, 10:16   #21
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Re: Alcohol stove

Originally Posted by Eumelia
A portable propane stove is the most dangerous possible option. They leak. And if you remove the bottle in an effort to prevent leakage, you are releasing a bit of propane into your bilge each time you disconnect or reconnect the bottle.

On the other hand, an alcohol fire can be readily extinguished with water, unlike a fire from any other kind of fuel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
This seems like a random statement. Can you show situations where a portable propane stove is the most dangerous? Or where removing a bottle from one has caused a problem? There have already been posted 2 incidences in less than 20 posts of problems with alcohol.
I will add a third incident. I had a burner on an alcohol stove blow out and the alcohol kept flowing and collected under the stove top. Didn't realize there was a spill and tried to relight the burner which lit up all the spilled alcohol. Well wisdom was, safe alcohol fires could be dowsed with water. We didn't want to spray messy powder everywhere so threw a little on the fire. Since it was inside the top of the stove that didn't work so tossed a pot full of water on the flames.

Instead of dowsing the flames, that washed burning alcohol off the stove, all over the floor and into the bilge. Major freakout! Then we got the extinguisher out and put out the fire with the resultant huge mess. A year later we were still finding powder in nooks and crannies.

So based on my personal experience, alcohol fires might be extinguished by water in theory but I would never say readily. In practice water will just spread the flames at least if it there's much alcohol involved.

Propane more dangerous? Well if you aren't careful it can explode and kill you instantly. However with a little care it is as safe as any fuel of any kind on a boat.

And if your propane stove leaks, then you need to fix it. Just like anything on a boat care and maintenance is required. And, your propane tanks should never be stored inside the boat or any locker that is not sealed and vented overboard. So any leaks when disconnecting the tank will not be an issue.
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Old 25-07-2013, 10:22   #22
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Re: Alcohol Stove

Not to minimize the potential danger from propane, if you are careless IE don't maintain your equipment, don't have external storage, leave the valves on, etc. and generally ignore half a dozen safety rules.

Here's a video of a propane explosion staged by Yachting Monthly.
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Old 25-07-2013, 10:47   #23
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Re: Alcohol Stove

Most accidents with alcohol stoves are operator error.

Most accidents with propane stoves are poor maintenance.

Most accidents with alcohol stoves are due to fire

Most accident to do with propane are due to explosion.

Most accidents with alcohol stoves are mild

Most accident to do with propane are severe

The safest alternative would be an alcohol stove with a large area of non combustable (such a SS) material around and above it, but don't let guests use it.
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Old 25-07-2013, 11:30   #24
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Re: Alcohol stove

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Originally Posted by Eumelia
A portable propane stove is the most dangerous possible option. They leak. And if you remove the bottle in an effort to prevent leakage, you are releasing a bit of propane into your bilge each time you disconnect or reconnect the bottle.

On the other hand, an alcohol fire can be readily extinguished with water, unlike a fire from any other kind of fuel.



I will add a third incident. I had a burner on an alcohol stove blow out and the alcohol kept flowing and collected under the stove top. Didn't realize there was a spill and tried to relight the burner which lit up all the spilled alcohol. Well wisdom was, safe alcohol fires could be dowsed with water. We didn't want to spray messy powder everywhere so threw a little on the fire. Since it was inside the top of the stove that didn't work so tossed a pot full of water on the flames.

Instead of dowsing the flames, that washed burning alcohol off the stove, all over the floor and into the bilge. Major freakout! Then we got the extinguisher out and put out the fire with the resultant huge mess. A year later we were still finding powder in nooks and crannies.

So based on my personal experience, alcohol fires might be extinguished by water in theory but I would never say readily. In practice water will just spread the flames at least if it there's much alcohol involved.

Propane more dangerous? Well if you aren't careful it can explode and kill you instantly. However with a little care it is as safe as any fuel of any kind on a boat.

And if your propane stove leaks, then you need to fix it. Just like anything on a boat care and maintenance is required. And, your propane tanks should never be stored inside the boat or any locker that is not sealed and vented overboard. So any leaks when disconnecting the tank will not be an issue.
Thanx for the example. I have had a leak on my propane, Shipmate. I bought new valves and solved the problem. I even vacuumed the bilge. It's an old stove and I know it needs to be replaced with a new propane stove with more safety features. I always whine when I see the price of a new stove but know that most of the cost is probably their liability insurance costs.
If you own a boat, you can't be in fear of systems onboard. they are only systems. You need to be proactive in keeping them in proper working order. Propane is almost odourless and I have been told that garlic is added to give it, it's unique skunk smell.
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Old 25-07-2013, 11:38   #25
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Re: Alcohol stove

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
I even vacuumed the bilge.
Not to get rid of the propane I hope.
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Old 25-07-2013, 11:40   #26
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Re: Alcohol stove

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Not to get rid of the propane I hope.
Uhhhhh...yes....I put the vacuum outside with a 10ft. hose in the bilge. Was I just hoping the motor wouln't ignite?...maybe.
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Old 25-07-2013, 12:04   #27
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Re: Alcohol Stove

My issue with portable propane stoves is the inevitable leakage. I had one for a while on my boat. Then I got lazy about taking it off the boat when I left. The next time I went to use it, the bottle was noticeably less full. Of course, I didn't dare so much as even operate a flashlight until I had aired out the boat in a stiff breeze for a couple of days.
The problem with unscrewing the bottle is that every time you screw or unscrew it, there is a little "pfffitt". That's gas that is escaping. That might not be so bad in the cockpit (depending on your boat) but below deck the propane sinks to the bottom of the bilge and stays there. Repeated over time, a lot of gas can accumulate. It won't dissipate by itself. It's so heavy that a pretty stiff breeze through the boat is needed to get it out. If you run a fan or vacuum (especially a vacuum with a brush-type motor) you are creating sparks that could really cause an explosion.
How would you know for sure if it's leaking? I guess you should at least have a sniffer. The trouble with that is, it doesn't give an indication until there is already some accumulation.
If you know for sure that your Coleman portable is leaking, how do you fix it? I suppose you could try to get the store to take it back, but they are going to say "it's designed to be used outdoors, not on a boat".
So, no, I don't like portable stoves for the boat. Their valves and components are designed to completely different (much lower) standards from marine equipment.
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Old 25-07-2013, 12:10   #28
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Re: Alcohol stove

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Propane is almost odourless and I have been told that garlic is added to give it, it's unique skunk smell.
Actually the additive is ethyl mercaptan. The odor is somewhat like garlic but they use the mecaptan because it is detected by human smell at extremely low concentrations.

I only know this because I'm in the chemical business.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
If you own a boat, you can't be in fear of systems onboard. they are only systems. You need to be proactive in keeping them in proper working order.
Excellent way to put it. No only the systems on board but weather, running aground, pretty much everything associated with sailing could be dangerous and why do it at all if you're afraid of what might happen.

Respect the risks and dangers, educate yourself on what they are and how to deal with them. Properly managed, sailing, including propane stoves, is a very safe sport.
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Old 25-07-2013, 12:16   #29
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Re: Alcohol Stove

A thought: while it is possible that alcohol initiated fires are easy to extinguish with water (but as above example, not always the case) the secondary fires that may soon evolve from the initial flare up (curtains, joinery, cooking oil, etc) are not so easy. Flare ups are the commonest reported problems with both alcohol and kero stoves...

I've used propane stoves for the past 27 years of full time cruising and have not yet had any problems. I think that the fear of propane is propagated by the scare stories that abound, originated by the very rare explosions that have occurred and amplified by repetition and exaggeration (on forums like this and elsewhere). Countless thousands of boats now use LPG fuel. The number of authentic LPG caused fires/explosions is pretty small

I don't much care what others use for cooking, but I think it to be a disservice to newcomers to continue the spreading of unwarranted fears.

Cheers,

Jim

To add to the above post: one can detect the smell of the mercaptan WAY below the lower explosive limit...
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Old 25-07-2013, 12:18   #30
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Re: Alcohol Stove

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eumelia View Post
My issue with portable propane stoves is the inevitable leakage. I had one for a while on my boat. Then I got lazy about taking it off the boat when I left. The next time I went to use it, the bottle was noticeably less full. Of course, I didn't dare so much as even operate a flashlight until I had aired out the boat in a stiff breeze for a couple of days.
The problem with unscrewing the bottle is that every time you screw or unscrew it, there is a little "pfffitt". That's gas that is escaping. That might not be so bad in the cockpit (depending on your boat) but below deck the propane sinks to the bottom of the bilge and stays there. Repeated over time, a lot of gas can accumulate. It won't dissipate by itself. It's so heavy that a pretty stiff breeze through the boat is needed to get it out. If you run a fan or vacuum (especially a vacuum with a brush-type motor) you are creating sparks that could really cause an explosion.
How would you know for sure if it's leaking? I guess you should at least have a sniffer. The trouble with that is, it doesn't give an indication until there is already some accumulation.
If you know for sure that your Coleman portable is leaking, how do you fix it? I suppose you could try to get the store to take it back, but they are going to say "it's designed to be used outdoors, not on a boat".
So, no, I don't like portable stoves for the boat. Their valves and components are designed to completely different (much lower) standards from marine equipment.
First problem is keeping a tank in the boat or in a locker open to the boat.

Number 1 safety rule for propane. NEVER store propane except on deck or in a sealed locker that is vented overboard. That means never have the tank inside the boat or a locker, never!!!

So yes, if you are violating basic safety rules for handling and storing propane you need to get it off your boat permanently and switch to another fuel.

Number 2 safety rule. Attach a valve to the tank (the tank that is stored outside) and turn off that valve except when you are using the propane! If you use a remote, solenoid operated valve you have a switch inside the boat that only opens the valve when you turn on the switch. Lose power, the switch is off so fail safe.

If you store the propane outside then you can't get lazy about moving the tank.
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