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Old 12-04-2021, 15:53   #1
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Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

Hope this is in the correct sub forum. I have a 2 burner Hillerange pressure (has manual pump like a Coleman on the front) stove. I know the last owner never used it and I donít think the previous owner did either as it looks like new (itís the original stove in Ď85 Oíday 28). In researching I see quite a bit of negative regarding the safety. Can I learn to use it safely and can anyone offer specific instructions or links to do so? Iíd rather give it a chance before looking at replacement options. Thanks for any help!
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Old 12-04-2021, 16:28   #2
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

Quote:
Originally Posted by michigander View Post
Hope this is in the correct sub forum. I have a 2 burner Hillerange pressure (has manual pump like a Coleman on the front) stove. I know the last owner never used it and I donít think the previous owner did either as it looks like new (itís the original stove in Ď85 Oíday 28). In researching I see quite a bit of negative regarding the safety. Can I learn to use it safely and can anyone offer specific instructions or links to do so? Iíd rather give it a chance before looking at replacement options. Thanks for any help!
I got used to the pressure alcohol stove in my C&C while I still had that.
The biggest problem is flare ups. Keep a spray bottle with water handy. If the alcohol is diluted enough, the boiling water as it burns will cool it down and you can control the flare ups. If you add about 1 part water to 4 parts alcohol it will cease to burn entirely. This makes it easy to put out in an emergency.

Ideally youíll never have a flare up, but you have to start it right. Get a separate container for alcohol that you will use for preheating. I used a small stainless oil spray can. I sprayed about a tablespoon of the fuel alcohol into the preheating cup below the burner and then used a long butane jet lighter to ignite the alcohol. I waited until the flames were nearly dying out, then put the burner on low with a pot over it (mostly to shade the flame so it could be seen).

If the preheating flame died out before I got it lit, I would add a little more (less than a teaspoon) of alcohol to the preheating cup before lighting it.

Some people use a propane blowtorch to preheat, but keep in mind that whatever the choice... The burners stay off until individually preheated and lit.

If you donít preheat a burner, alcohol will spill of the burner head, then out of the preheating cup. At this point it will really flare up, and cover your whole stove top with flame. If the burner still hasnít been turned off it will continue to spill and possibly youíll loose control of the flame. Itís just a race to figure if itíll overflow the oven too, start a fire, or heat the burner up enough to start working.

For small flare ups, where alcohol was beginning to spill out of the cup, I would simply turn the burner off and spray off the cabin walls above the stove to prevent it from heating up and warping. If the flare ups made me uncomfortable - my only choice was to douse the flame.

Sometimes smaller flare ups would occur if the tank was running out. So be vigilant.

The flames are impossible to see in bright sunlight. So shading the area is vital for safety.

My wife was able to light the stove well after being shown 2-3 times and freaking out slightly the first time she messed up.

The flames made the boat a bit damp in winter, but thatís not unique to alcohol.

Finally a note about stove fuel. Methanol is toxic to some degree and is used in stove fuels. Avoid breathing excessive amounts of it. Keep the galley well ventilated until the range is up to temp. The fumes can sting your eyes. Granted there is a wide variety in quality of fuel alcohol. I think having it to do over again thatís the only thing I would change - I would get better alcohol with less methanol.

If my boat had an alcohol stove in it now, I would not replace it. After getting used to it, which takes some practice I think itís inherently safer than propane. Thatís definitely an unpopular opinion these days.

Theyíre difficult to use, and I think most of the safety issues are user error.
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Old 12-04-2021, 18:48   #3
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

Thanks for the response and helpful information Orin! Just what I was looking for.
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Old 12-04-2021, 19:43   #4
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

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Thanks for the response and helpful information Orin! Just what I was looking for.
Happy to help!

By the way, the whole preheating thing isnít unique to alcohol, kerosene burners will soot up something nasty if not preheated. Dickinson (I believe) and wallas stoves/ovens have glow plugs to do the work for you, but nevertheless require preheating.

Problem is, the vapor burns - not the liquid. The burner head has to be hot enough to boil the fuel into a vapor before flowing through the burner ports. This will be true with any fuel thatís a liquid at room temp.

I have a feeling like if pressure alcohol or kerosene stoves came with glow plugs and some sort of igniter to make them as brainless as propane theyíd make a comeback.
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Old 12-04-2021, 20:03   #5
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

Orin's explanation is excellent. I won't add more. Just to say that it's not that hard to use once you get use to it. Just keep in mind that what you're doing is heating the burner enough so that the alcohol vaporizes before it comes out at the head. Once the burner is hot enough this happens naturally. The preheat just starts the process.

I used a pressure alcohol Kenyon oven/stove for many years without a problem. You'll probably hear a bunch of negative words about how scary these stoves can be, and Orin's advice about the water bottle is wise, but used properly there's nothing inherently dangerous about these burners.
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Old 12-04-2021, 20:35   #6
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

Quote:
Originally Posted by michigander View Post
Hope this is in the correct sub forum. I have a 2 burner Hillerange pressure (has manual pump like a Coleman on the front) stove. I know the last owner never used it and I donít think the previous owner did either as it looks like new (itís the original stove in Ď85 Oíday 28). In researching I see quite a bit of negative regarding the safety. Can I learn to use it safely and can anyone offer specific instructions or links to do so? Iíd rather give it a chance before looking at replacement options. Thanks for any help!
Here's a link to the owners/ operating manual
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...=1618284861015
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Old 12-04-2021, 21:13   #7
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

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Here's a link to the owners/ operating manual
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...=1618284861015
Worth reading, but doing this will 100% cause flare ups. You don’t have much control of how much alcohol ends up in the preheat cup as it boils out of the filled up heater head if you do it this way.

Not saying it’s impossible to do right. It’s just much harder than using a separate alcohol container.

Contingent on any readers taking liability for their own actions, I would advise against following the lighting procedure in this manual. Picture related.

Though the 3/4 fuel part is fine there, just ample. Apply that fuel with a separate container and wait for it to [i] mostly [I/] cook off.
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Old 12-04-2021, 22:14   #8
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

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Originally Posted by Orin View Post
Worth reading, but doing this will 100% cause flare ups. You donít have much control of how much alcohol ends up in the preheat cup as it boils out of the filled up heater head if you do it this way.

Not saying itís impossible to do right. Itís just much harder than using a separate alcohol container.

Contingent on any readers taking liability for their own actions, I would advise against following the lighting procedure in this manual. Picture related.

Though the 3/4 fuel part is fine there, just ample. Apply that fuel with a separate container and wait for it to [i] mostly [I/] cook off.
And how many pressure alcohol stoves have you owned and used I currently have 3.
Procedure works just fine .
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Old 12-04-2021, 22:38   #9
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

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And how many pressure alcohol stoves have you owned and used I currently have 3.
Procedure works just fine .
Lived aboard using a single 3 burner hillerange daily for 2 years. Iíve been sailing since I was 14 and used everything from butane to diesel. Boats are my living and my passion. Yes, Iíve messed up plenty, no I donít know more than the tip of the iceberg.

Yes, with practice that procedure can work. Itís just not what I would ever recommend when the you have so much better control with a separate priming container.

It can be as simple as a water bottle with a knife slot in the lid.... itís not like weíre debating adding $5,000 for a new stove. I donít see what the issue is.

If you are using that method, especially before you are totally used to the stove, it is really easy to cause fairly significant overflows. I can see if you chose to always do it this way, it would become second nature.

Sailors sure do have their peculiarisms. Perhaps itís just one of mine, but I donít think itís bad advise.

I wasnít trying to attack you or your experience. My ex-girlfriend nearly burnt the boat down twice, fortunately alcohol is exceedingly easy to put out. I scorched a bit of the trim wood just above the stove when I first got the boat. In my experience, with the stoves Iíve dealt with, this works better for me.
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Old 13-04-2021, 04:17   #10
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

Orin, this is pretty much how I always did it. The only difference is that I usually filled to less than 3/4 for priming -- maybe 1/2 or less. It doesn't take much. But if you do add too much, then it just takes longer to burn down before opening the valve to start the stove. No biggy.

You can certainly add alcohol directly to the burner via an external bottle or whatever, or you can use an external torch to heat them up, but the approach described here works fine. Just don't over-fill. Observe the prime burn. After a while you'll learn you can start the valve just before the prime burn goes out, which avoids having to light the burner (again).

It's a skill, like anything else on a boat. But a little practice is all that is needed.
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Old 13-04-2021, 06:25   #11
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

The Hillerange alcohol stove is certainly a very workable unit when operated properly. The unit is self contained, the fuel is convenient to find, the operation is certainly doable. Apart from the flare up issues, there is little to go wrong. Just take care and be precise in the start up procedures and all will be fine.

The picture shows the Homestrand stove.

My opinion is that self contained alcohol stoves may well be the best stove on smaller sailboats in coastal US waters.

The fuel is available at any hardware store in 1 quart and 1 gallon steel cans.
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Old 13-04-2021, 06:27   #12
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

forgot the pictures
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Old 13-04-2021, 09:08   #13
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

You'll blow yourself up with it. Get a propane stove.
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Old 13-04-2021, 11:03   #14
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

Mac

I will agree that alcohol is not the hottest or easiest fuel to cook with but It will not explode under ordinary conditions. Propane, butane and natural gas certainly will if they leak out into the interior of the boat.

An alcohol stove can and will catch your boat on fire if precautions are not heeded.

Installing propane cooking in a 28 foot sailboat (one in which the storage compartment and the lines have not been installed) will be difficult. Obtaining a marinized cook top may well be a challenge

Alcohol cooking, whether pressurized or evaporative, is a good choice in these middle-smaller boats because they are self-contained USCG approved stoves. Perhaps a 1 pound bottle camp stove would work, but it is uncertain whether this stove is USCG approved.

All cooking sources have their pros and cons...the choice is which one best suits your cruising style and boat size.

My suggestion is to take the above mentioned stove off the boat and learn how to operate it without the fear of catching your boat on fire. Just learn how to use it safely. It will be capable of cooking any meal that any two burner cook top will.
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Old 13-04-2021, 11:46   #15
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Re: Hillerange 2 burner alcohol stove

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forgot the pictures
Ah. Neat! Would have been good to be able to get used to an alcohol stove like that camping before trying to light one on a boat underway for the first time.

The style of my hillerange was a bit different with a pipe going over the preheating/priming cup. There was a lot of fluid capacity in the head and porting of the tubing that was heated.

Judging by comments here, perhaps mine had other issues like clogged drain ports into the priming cup. What would happen was just that all that capacity would still be totally full of liquid fuel in the head and as it heated up and began to boil it would flare up huge while also dumping alcohol into the priming cup, which was not yet empty.

I doubt it will be easy to make out what Iím talking about in the pictures, but maybe itíll give an idea.
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