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Old 07-04-2010, 10:18   #1
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Challenge: My Boat's an Alcoholic

Ok, I am WAY confused!! We bought our DownEaster 38 two years ago. We moved aboard 1 year ago. When we bought her the last owner told us that the stove ( Galley Maid Pressurized Alcohol) did not work due to problems with the two switches in the safety toggles. For this reason, we never looked at fixing it. However, after using the outdoor stainless grill in the wind for a year I got tired of it and fixed the wiring on the safety toggles. Turns out, the stupid thing was simply unplugged... lol
So, I got the new attachments to convert the lines for a new style propane tank. I did not know that it was alcohol yet!! We noticed that while using it we got a bit of soot on the pans. We figured out that lowering the flame a bit was all it needed. We had been using it this was for the last month or so. We decided to do a complete cleaning job on it. Thats when we saw the little placard that said: FUEL --- ALCOHOL.... I looked up online and the alcohol stoves that I saw do not look like ours?!? Here is a pic of the inside...
Click image for larger version

Name:	<a title=Stove.jpg Views: 128 Size: 324.7 KB ID: 15190" style="margin: 2px" />
Yes, it is still being cleaned.. lol
Notice the pipes here on the top... Those go to the propane tank out on deck through the safety toggles. My only question about all of this is: What am I hurting, if anything, by burning Propane??
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:26   #2
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you've got a pressurized alco stove. there's nothing you're going to "hurt" by using propane, if you really feel up to it you could re-size the burner orifices to be correct for propane though.
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:46   #3
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Awesome!! Thanks for the information. After cleaning it up, she looks gorgeous! I sure did hate the idea of getting rid of her... lol

... btw ... You mean make the holes bigger, right?.. O.o
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Old 07-04-2010, 11:23   #4
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OK, I had a galley maid alcohol stove (two burner). I never had safety switchs and my burner had cups under them to to prime the burner. I think your stove was converted to propane. Those burners do not look like alcohol types.
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Old 07-04-2010, 13:11   #5
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Yeah, it looked weird to me too. After cleaning it up we tested it and it works WAY bettter! I may try bigger holes later. If you turn it way up you get yellow flames. Right now, she works just fine at a lower heat!...
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Old 07-04-2010, 13:35   #6
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Yeah, it looked weird to me too. After cleaning it up we tested it and it works WAY bettter! I may try bigger holes later. If you turn it way up you get yellow flames. Right now, she works just fine at a lower heat!...
I don't know about gas stoves, but with gas fires and gas burners yellow flames are a warning of incomplete combustion and may indicate CO problems. "Good" burning is with a blue flame.

Maybe older and wiser heads on the forum would comment?
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Old 07-04-2010, 13:37   #7
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If your getting soot then your useing too much fuel (not enough air). I would not make the holes bigger. If anything I would turn down the regulator.
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Old 08-04-2010, 20:51   #8
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or restrict the total amount of fuel able to enter each burner (smaller orofice)
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Old 08-04-2010, 21:13   #9
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Maybe the stove's burners have been replaced. To me, those don't look like the alcohol burners I've seen. Looks like gas lines, not skinny alcohol liquid tubing. Alcohol burners have pre-heat pans under them...along with hardware to heat and vaporize the alcohol before it exits the orfice into the burner....

??
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Old 29-04-2010, 14:27   #10
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Jets are to large. You might be jetted for butane. I have that issue on my boat. European speced boat that originally ran on butane. We run propane and get some soot. Devil of a time finding the right jets. Haven't found them yet in fact.
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Old 29-04-2010, 18:18   #11
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Have not thought of Butane...?!
I have no idea where to get the tank filled with that...? I turn the burners down. That seems to work the best. No soot!... :-)
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Old 30-04-2010, 01:37   #12
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In my opinion, I would be very very carefull fooling around with gas! Butane as well as propane are heavier then air. Therefore leaking or not fully burned gas sinks to the bottom/bilges of a ship and will form a highly dangerous mixture of air and gas. Accumulating as time goes by. It just needs a spark or so to ignite a very hefty explosion. Much like gasoline! Your vessel will cease to exist, you wo'nt be able to tell us about your experiences when you were aboard when it happened! As you do not know exactly how this stove is operated, I would advise you to get rid of it. In any case, since it is giving you yellow flames, be aware that it is not functioning proper! Butane and propane are much alike. Propane should be used in lower temperatures; it will not freeze so easy. Butane is useless under +5 degrees C. You should have a blue flame. The gas should have a pressure of 300mb. Use a gasdetector constantly! If possible, ventilate the bilges now and then, by force, The burners don't look familiar to me! I'm using propane for cooking on board all my life. It is certainly safe and without any soot with the proper equipment. Nevertheless, accidents happen very often, due to wrong pressure, old tubes, bad fitting, and so on! Don't fool around!

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Old 01-05-2010, 06:56   #13
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Thank you for your concern... It's folks like you that make cruising a better life. It reminds me that even though we are far away from our own families, there are folks like you that still generally care for others! Bless you, my friend!
On the safety note: We have two cut off switches. The propane is hooked up outside. When we get to the last bit of cooking we ALWAYS turn the gas off and burn off the remainder of the gas out of the lines. We then disconnect the line from the tank and stow it away. We also have a CO2 detector and test it frequently. I have me, my wife, my son, and two daughters aboard. I am also a former soldier. Safety is our number one priority aboard Faith's Wind!
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:12   #14
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We also have a CO2 detector and test it frequently. I have me, my wife, my son, and two daughters aboard. I am also a former soldier. Safety is our number one priority aboard Faith's Wind!
Hi,

Just one more remark; Allthough I'm not absolutely sure, I am in doubt wether a CO2 detector is adequate! Does it detect propane? To be honest, I think not! Anyway a gasdetector should be placed as low in the bilges as possible, as propane or butane, is sinking to the bilges!

Take care! Fair winds!

Jan
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Old 29-07-2010, 06:55   #15
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They do make propane detectors that one may put under the stove or in the bilge to make the presence of propane known. I have a couple of friends that have done that. The jets to convert the stove should not be to hard to find. A lot of camping stores and or RV places might be able to help. Also any place that fills propane bottles, that is not a gas station but a regular propane filler and distributor will know where to find jets for propane use.
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