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Old 12-01-2012, 07:10   #16
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency?

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... odorless
LPG stinks plenty (as sold). If you have mice, rats and nasty bulkheads you have more than just exploding to worry about
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:27   #17
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency?

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I also have a non-pressurized stove but my flame is "mostly" clear when I have no cook pot over it. Once the flame strikes the pot it becomes visible. I'd like to have a flame that is more visible, what brand do you use? I buy my denatured alcohol from Home Depot.
I also use HD brand.

Here is a video showing how simple it is light and regulate the flame...Note: there's a good breeze coming into the companionway, and also the flame is a bit smaller than normal because that canister is running low on fuel. It gets up to standard size within a minute. I just boiled my morning coffee and oatmeal water on this very flame this morning... took about 15 minutes.

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Old 12-01-2012, 07:37   #18
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency?

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I also use HD brand.

Here is a video showing how simple it is light and regulate the flame...Note: there's a good breeze coming into the companionway, and also the flame is a bit smaller than normal because that canister is running low on fuel. It gets up to standard size within a minute. I just boiled my morning coffee and oatmeal water on this very flame this morning... took about 15 minutes.

Thanks for posting the video. That surely is visible alright. Maybe the difference is in the design of the burner? I don't have a picture of mine, but I have a "Little Cod" stove with the drop in alcohol burners. Your setup is much more user friendly.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:16   #19
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency?

I'm glad this discussion came up as I have been looking at stoves. Contoure claims their alcohol two burner recessed stove will boil a quart of water in eight minutes. For comparison, I boiled a quart of water last night on my natural gas stove at home. I set the flame between medium and high, like I usually do, and timed it. It took over nine minutes to boil, which seemed about normal, I just have never timed it before.

Can anyone who has a Contoure (or Origo) speak to this eight minute claim? If it will do that, it will put out more heat than I would normally use to cook anything.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:25   #20
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency?

I think 8 minutes is reasonable for a quart (or less) of water, but probably more like 10-12.

My experience is only with the origo shown above, but I believe contours are the exact same design (with better control knobs). I've also used those tiny alcohol camping stoves quite a bit. I used to boil exactly a quart with one of those in about 7 minutes. And i never had an issue with the flame even in outdoor conditions.

I'm usually using about 2 quarts in the kettle in the morning, takes around 15 minutes. Not quite a full boil either... Definitely slower than a gas stove, but it's really only a few minutes, so it's not such a big deal as people like to say...

As far as I know, the Origo was designed specifically to correct most of the known problems with previous alcohol stoves. They work quite well, but alcohol is not exactly cheap at $15 a gallon. I cook a minimum of once a day, and usually twice a day. Dinner usually takes no more than 15-30 minutes for me, and I go through approximately 1 gallon every 2 months. I have no issues with adjusting the flame for a simmer or full boil. I got those 'simmer ring' flame spreader things when I first bought the stove, and took them off within a week because they don't actually help anything.

I got a silicone baking pan from the thrift store (for about $1) and cut circles out of the bottom. I use them to cover the canister to prevent the alcohol from evaporating. BUT, I've only been using one at a time, since I only use one burner at a time. They help conserve alcohol considerably, but it's fairly inconvienent to replace them everytime I cook, so I just don't worry about it.

If I had the choice, I'd still go with propane just because the fuel is cheaper and would last several months with the way I cook. But there's certainly nothing wrong with an origo(style) alcohol stove.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:39   #21
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency ?

I'd never actually timed this before, and suddenly I needed a coffee, so, on my Origo 6000 it took exactly 9 min to boil 4 cups of cold water with the dial on 2 (50%) at 96m above sea level
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:55   #22
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency ?

FYI, note that denatured alcohol is not as harmless as we all would like to think. Make sure your stove doesn't leak when it is not being used. Methanol, MEK and acetone can be added to denature it and industrial labs require a ventilation hood for all.

From Wikipedia:
Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent and as fuel for spirit burners and camping stoves. Because of the diversity of industrial uses for denatured alcohol, hundreds of additives and denaturing methods have been used. The main additive has traditionally been 10% methanol, giving rise to the term "methylated spirit." Other typical additives include isopropyl alcohol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and denatonium.[1]
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:01   #23
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency?

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Originally Posted by virginia boy View Post
I spent five months last year living aboard and cooking with my non-pressurized alcohol stove. I loved the simplicity of it. No worries about leaking valves, regulators, or hoses snaking through my cabinets. Boiling a quart of water took a few minutes longer than with propane but so what?

No, alcohol is not as cost effective as propane but I can buy a years supply of alcohol for the cost of the equipment needed for propane and I don't need specialized compartments for fuel storage. I know propane explosions are rare, but with alcohol, I never, not even once, worried that leaking fuel was collecting in my bilge and plotting to blow my ass to smithereens.
I'll second that. The alcohol/propane debate seems to separate people into two camps... Neither is right or wrong, which is why you can still buy alcohol stoves. Just pick the one that feels right for you. I'm in the alcohol camp, but I've also got a little gimbal propane stove for cooking underway. Both have their advantages... just be careful with the propane fuel.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:21   #24
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency?

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I'll second that. The alcohol/propane debate seems to separate people into two camps... Neither is right or wrong, which is why you can still buy alcohol stoves. Just pick the one that feels right for you. I'm in the alcohol camp, but I've also got a little gimbal propane stove for cooking underway. Both have their advantages... just be careful with the propane fuel.

I'm sticking with the alcohol simply because it's what came with the boat, and the benefits of propane aren't worth the cost of switching over. I would have loved to find a boat that had everything else I wanted plus propane at that price, but it wasn't to be.

So I change how I cook some things. Not a big deal.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:30   #25
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Re: propane v.s. alcohol stove fuel/cooking/cost effiency ?

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I'd never actually timed this before, and suddenly I needed a coffee, so, on my Origo 6000 it took exactly 9 min to boil 4 cups of cold water with the dial on 2 (50%) at 96m above sea level
Thanks Red Sky. That helps a lot. Like I wrote before, if the alcohol stove will put out enough heat to boil water that fast, it is putting out more than enough BTU's for any meal I usually cook...and I cook a lot! I can't think of anything I would cook on "high" unless I was trying to boil a large stock pot of water. (Which I've never done on our boat, so I doubt I ever will.)
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Old 15-02-2012, 08:54   #26
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Re: Propane vs. Alcohol Stove - Fuel / Cooking / Cost Efficiency ?

We are replacing our propane stove with an induction cooktop on our Beneteau 310. It boils water almost instantly and uses a tiny amount of energy. I have one at my home and much prefer it to my commercial type gas stove.
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Old 15-02-2012, 09:00   #27
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Re: Propane vs. Alcohol Stove - Fuel / Cooking / Cost Efficiency ?

I replaced my whole boat with a house. No more problems with propane, electricity, or alcohol. No more pump outs. Plenty of standing headroom in all the cabins. Square bunks instead of those old fashioned triangle ones. Never drags even in the stiffest of blows. And best of all, half the price of my old boat!
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Old 15-02-2012, 09:05   #28
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Re: Propane vs. Alcohol Stove - Fuel / Cooking / Cost Efficiency ?

@ UV very neat blog. I did the reverse and happy to become free from the maintenance of a house.
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Old 15-02-2012, 09:12   #29
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Re: Propane vs. Alcohol Stove - Fuel / Cooking / Cost Efficiency ?

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@ UV very neat blog. I did the reverse and happy to become free from the maintenance of a house.
Thanks. Say, that's another advantage! No bottom paint, required!
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Old 15-02-2012, 13:53   #30
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We are replacing our propane stove with an induction cooktop on our Beneteau 310. It boils water almost instantly and uses a tiny amount of energy. I have one at my home and much prefer it to my commercial type gas stove.
Could you share some info on the brand & model you buying, also what stove do you currently have? Thank you
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