Nov 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm #1295821
ADVISORY – 15 photos imbedded
Background & Request
My environment is 4 season pacific rainforest, boil-in-bag cooking, often on windy and exposed shorelines. I like the Micron Ti 2.5 canister stove. I use it with a ti mini solo pot and a myog windscreen, made a few years ago from some sheeting I got from Ti Goat (see pictures below). I’ve just built a couple of smaller windscreen designs, and I’m unsure about how to compare the three systems. My request is: given that I have no instruments, limited time and skills, and no testing experience – is there a straightforward way to measure the performance of three competing windscreens?
Current Windscreen – The Adjustable Original
This windscreen was designed work for a variety of pot sizes, and so has an oversize reflector disk that supports an adjustable cylinder above. The cylinder is a simple rectangle, with a cut-out for handles, which is rolled to the desired diameter and set on top of the disk. The system heats all the way up the sides of my pots, the upper wall of a half filled pot gets so hot it vaporizes splashes and the front of the “pouring-out” stream. If I’m out solo I use a low flame and get a gratifying number of boils per fuel canister. If I’m out with others it gets red hot cranking out pot after pot of hot water. Paper clips suspend the lower disk and are used to hold the cylinder together. I’m still using the original paper clips from three years ago. (see pics below).
I’ve been happy with this windscreen system, but feel there is room for improvement. My experience has been that when I pick a pot to pack, I almost always reach for the mini solo, so the benefit of a screen that adjusts to differing pot sizes is not being realized. The goals I have set for a new system are:
a) I’d like it simpler – fewer parts, faster setup, less overall “fuss factor”
b) I’d like it lighter – the current disk, rectangle and paper clips weigh 56 grams
c) I’d like it smaller – the adjustable windscreen is 3.6 centimeters taller than my mini solo.
d) I’d like calories/gram of fuel efficiency to stay close to current levels.
Screen Idea #1 – The Three Point Shield
I couldn’t think of anything simpler than a curved barrier facing into the wind. A paper prototype sorted out some details.
At this stage the ti was too springy to stay on the rear stove struts if I gave the stove a shake. Rolling the screen tightly gave it increasing curvature, until it was slightly compressive on the struts but still expansive in the pot. Attachment slots are at 35% of screen height
There is ample room to work the stove valve, with or without the pot. So far, the lower part of the windscreen has been cool to the touch during operation.
A minor feature is that the screen can be inverted. I thought this might provide some radiant or reflective heat to help vaporize butane in colder conditions. Testing required.
Screen weight is 20 grams; setup is basically snap on / snap off. The screen stows in a few seconds and takes almost zero volume in my pot. The picture below is not an empty pot; there is a windscreen in there.
Next I made a small heat reflector disk. Slips on and off easily and weighs 4 grams.
Screen #1 ready for testing. If results show that the reflector disk is the way to go, I’ll trim the bottom 2 centimeters off the windscreen and save 3.6 grams. Adding back the 4 gram weight of the reflector means system weight would see a small increase to 20.4 grams.
Screen Idea #2 – The Ringer
During development of Idea #1 (the Three Point Shield); I used a scrap strip of ti to prototype the attachment slots. The result turned out well, so I decided to make an additional screen to compare and test against the other two systems. A couple of 3 millimeter folds fasten the ends of the strip into a circle. The Ringer weighs 9 grams and works with or without the heat reflector disk, exactly the same as Screen #1.
The picture above shows fuel canister, micron stove, folding spoon, lighter, myog ti pot lid, three point windscreen and heat reflector disk, with room for a towel. (n.b. I usually keep my spoon in my food bag)
1) Adjustable Original
(cylinder and supporting disk both required)
Weight = 56 grams
Height = 15.6 centimeters
Fuss Factor = moderate (to me, at least)
2) Three Point Shield
Weight = 20 grams
Height = 11.2 centimeters (fits inside pot)
Fuss Factor = low (no paper clips to worry about or lose, “snap on” ease & speed)
3) The Ringer
Weight = 9 grams
Height = 4.5 centimeters
Fuss Factor = low
4) Heat Reflector Disk
Weight = 4 grams
Fuss Factor = low+1 (because it adds a second piece to the new windscreens)
I’d like to end this post by asking for help from the collective smarts of our myog wizards – my problem is that I have no equipment, little experience with testing, and only a few vague ideas on how to collect useful data. My goal is to determine unit weight of fuel consumed for calories transferred into water. I see comparing, in windy conditions:
a) No windscreen at all
b) Adjustable Original windscreen
c) Three Point Screen without Heat Reflector
d) Three Point Screen with Heat Reflector
e) Ringer Screen without Heat Reflector
f) Ringer Screen with Heat Reflector
Does anyone have a “close enough for horseshoes” testing technique to suggest? Should I use two reciprocating fans, on different swivel speeds, to simulate gusty winds? Can I just weight the canister after each burn, or should I buy six new canisters and rotate them during the tests? Is humidity a factor? What else don’t I know? Etc.
Thanks for any observations shared or advice offered.
P.S. – I can spend 30 or 40 bucks on thermometers and such as needed, just tell me what to buy.Nov 5, 2012 at 11:08 pm #1926614
If you have a new line between each picture, and between text and each picture, it makes it easier to read on the web page.
Standard experiment would be to do a number of runs with different windscreens. For each run, measure the same weight of water, same temperature change, measure weight of canister before and after to determine weight of fuel used.
Get one of those probe temperature sensors from cooking store. But then you can't easily hit the same temperature for each run. But, you can get close, stick the probe in and record the temp, and then normalize between the different runs – just multiply the weight of fuel used by the actual temperature change.
Do your 6 cases several times and see if the results are repeatable, or just random difference between runs.
Yeah, you could put up a fan to get a consistent wind.
Wipe off any condensation off the outside of the canister before you weigh it – that can effect the result.Nov 6, 2012 at 1:01 am #1926625
Good chance of elevated levels of carbon monoxide with the first version. Dangerous. Needs lots of air flow from underneath.
CheersNov 6, 2012 at 1:23 am #1926626
Those are some classy windshields! What thickness Ti are you using? How did you make the required cuts, particularly in the bottom reflector? I really like your design which allows all of the windscreen to be stored inside the pot; Ti screens stored elsewhere I have found difficult to protect.Nov 6, 2012 at 6:54 am #1926640
Daryl and DarylParticipant
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
What are you using on the pot handles for insulation…the pinkish stuff?Nov 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm #1926781
Thanks for the feedback everyone.
@Jerry A – the formatting tip is appreciated. Have made changes as suggested, really helps, thanks for that and the testing setup ideas. Followed by more thanks for the excellent point about wiping condensation between tests – it would have been really annoying to learn that the hard way.
@Roger C – I’m happy to say I've never used a stove inside a tent. Your 2007 report “Stoves Tents & Carbon Monoxide – Deadly or Not?”, showed the Micron had second rate emissions (40/low, 90/high). A question if you would, please – all my screens have the heat reflector disk mounted well above the air inlets of the Micron – does that not ensure the burner is getting about the right air supply? Or does the burn need significant air in addition to what comes up the central tube? FWIW, the flame looks completely blue, I can’t see any difference with or without the screen. Much thanks.
@Jim – Thanks Jim. I used .005” thickness titanium foil from Ti Goat. They advertise the stuff as “very durable by foil standards” and that has certainly been the case for me. I used a removable hole punch and scissors to make the cut-outs.
@Daryl C – the handles are covered in Imperial Hi-Temp Silicone Sealant, rated to 316*C or 600*F. I could not find silicone tubing, unfortunately. The sealant was finicky to apply, and I made a minor mess of it, but it insulates quite well. Here is a picture of the product:
As for simulating wind, I was wondering if two reciprocating fans, positioned maybe 15 degrees apart, might reproduce swirling/gusty wind conditions? Anyone had luck with that approach?Nov 7, 2012 at 1:29 am #1926787
> all my screens have the heat reflector disk mounted well above the air inlets of the
> Micron – does that not ensure the burner is getting about the right air supply? Or
> does the burn need significant air in addition to what comes up the central tube?
Yeah, the flame usually does need to draw in extra air from the sides. Good to let it do so.
> FWIW, the flame looks completely blue, I can’t see any difference with or without the screen.
Ah, well that is good. Don't want any funerals.
It's just that some of your photos looked as though the flame had almost nowhere to go. Imho, there needs to be at least 10 mm or 1/2" clearance around the side of the pot.
CheersNov 7, 2012 at 6:58 am #1926809
Great! I now have the patience to look at all your pictures, nice
I don't think you need the bottom reflector. The wind doesn't blow in there. Maybe if it's really windy it would be good? But I try to find sheltered places. It would be interesting to see if you could measure a difference in fuel consumption.
If you're in cold conditions, heat down to the canister is a good thing.Nov 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm #1927010
Looks like I missed: "e) I need it safer…"
(Thanks Roger, I'll add a few air holes)
For testing, I'm going to buy a signaling digital thermometer and then copy the approach Will Rietveld used in his BPL report "Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Canister Stoves: Controlled Data Evaluating Key Variables of Temperature, Wind, and Windscreen Use". I hope to calibrate my results to his.
I'm at sea level, and Will was at 6,650 feet (2,027 m) – anyone know if denser air (at the same windspeed) will have a material impact on the outcomes? I plan to avoid the lower boiling point issue by measuring gr/fuel needed to increase from 20C to 70C (68F to 158F)
The testing will likely take me some time to accomplish, it might be December before I'm done and can write up the results.
Best regards till then.
Rod.Nov 8, 2012 at 12:51 am #1927013
> if denser air (at the same windspeed) will have a material impact on the outcomes?
Well, yes, but I doubt it would be easily measurable without an awful lot of effort. In which case, it probably won't matter.
CheersNov 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm #1928608
I have the same stove and can't tell from your photo how you get the disk over the top or bottom o the stove. Have you another pic or an explanation how? Which one of these screens do you like the most? And which the easiest to make? Nice post! Very helpful.Nov 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm #1928621
Rod, I did something similiar a couple of years ago, and I posted an MYOG thing on BPL. Here's the thread, which includes a lot of good comments from the members:
I am thinking that you could achieve your desired goals by just sticking with your Adjustable Original, but by cutting the height down so that the screen fits your pot. I think that you don't really need the whole pot to be cloaked by the wind screen.
My design is quite similiar to yours. I did notice that the canister can get warmed up if I turn my flame up moderately high, which is a bit handy in below-freezing temperatures, but pretty dangerous when it's warm out. I don't tend to use my reflector at anything over +40* F for this reason. But I get really efficient boils with minimal flame, although it take a couple extra minutes to achieve a boil. I am impressed with how efficient my stove is during windy conditions.
I admire what you have come up with, Rod. Your setup looks a lot more professional than mine. Good luck with your quest, and please report back to this thread when you've compiled results of your tests. Oh, one more thing–don't blow yourself up by overheating your canister. Roger Caffin just hates it when that happens!Nov 16, 2012 at 9:09 am #1928901
@qiwizLocale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
At the request of some WhiteBlaze canister stove users, I have been working on a project to develop a windscreen system that would adapt to just about all brands of canister stoves. If I am successful, it might eventually be another QiWiz UL Gear product.
Anyway, I think I have a workable concept, yet to be tested. Stay tuned. I agree with comment that the base circular plate may not be necessary if the ring of windscreen is far enough below the level of the burner. Not sure I have the answer for how to test your various models, but I look forward to your results with great anticipation.Nov 16, 2012 at 9:13 am #1928904
What I don't like about wood stoves is
I want to use my pot as my cup to drink coffee out of
The outside of the pot gets sooty from wood stove
This is obnoxious to drink out of – I don't want to put my lips on soot
I could bring along a seperate cup, but I hate to add weight and volume. We quickly lose any advantage to using wood stove over alcohol or canister stoveNov 16, 2012 at 9:37 am #1928916
Won't elimination of the disk exposé the canister to overheating and possible explosive consequences?Nov 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm #1928964
"Won't elimination of the disk exposé the canister to overheating and possible explosive consequences?"
Depends on how the heat reaches the canister. If it is infra red radiation yes the canister could overheat. But if it heat from the hot burner being conducted down through the metal tube to the valve and caister, no eliminating the disk would not cause overheating.
Infra red is generated mainly by the flames. Most stoves sold don't have reflectors and most don't get how due to the infra red released by the flames. So in my opinion infrared is a minor contributer to canister heating. Conduction of heat through the metal is in my opinion is the primary cause of overheating. If the burner is entirely enclosed it could get extra hot causing the valve and canister to get hoter than normal. If the wind screen also blocks flow of air around the valve and tube more heat would reach the canister.Nov 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm #1928965
> Won't elimination of the disk expose the canister to overheating and possible explosive consequences?
Given the hundreds of thousands of upright canister stoves which have been sold and are used in the field without explosion, this does not seem very likely.
CheersNov 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm #1928970
BTW, those handles remain cool enough or cool down very fast if you keep them apart…
(without any coating)Nov 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm #1928977
Well, covering the top of the stove with a pot and surrounding it with a wind screen leaves little room for the heat to escape except down towards the canister interface where pressure from heat buildup is likely to release. These stoves usually come with warnings including one not to enclose it while in operation. I just assumed that the disk in the OP photos was there to protect against this risk just described while in operation with the windscreen? Sorry I am not understanding but it seemed obvious and thus the inquiry.Nov 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm #1928999
> covering the top of the stove with a pot and surrounding it with a wind screen leaves
> little room for the heat to escape except down towards the canister interface
Ah, OK. Well, you are right IF the windscreen is wrapped tightly around the pot. But that is a serious NO-NO! Yes, it could lead to serious overheat of the canister plus a high level of CO production.
You should always leave a gap between the pot and the windscreen all the way around. Say a finger width everywhere. That is enough room for convection to exhaust all the hot gas upwards, away from the canister. You should also leave a gap in the windscreen at the bottom for the air to get in. The gap is a good place to have the control valve of course.
Holes around the bottom of the windscreen? Yes, they work, but they tend to get damaged in the field – at least in my experience. I prefer a simple gap.
CheersNov 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm #1929014
O.K., this makes it much easier. Considering all of the admonitions in your explanation, I can do wo the bottom disk. It appears that none of the models in the OP create any concern for you, therefore take my pick. Thanks!! Appreciate it.Nov 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm #1929091
The post below is about a wind screen with a bottom disk that melted the lindal valve in the canister. Fortunately the stove didn't explode.Nov 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm #1929103
@John K – the disk for the new designs just drops onto the top of the stove, please find a trio of pictures below. You might also look at the thread Gary Dunckel has provided above, I found it very informative. The ring design was easy to put together, but the 3 point shield design was probably the simplest to make: a rounded rectangle with three small slots for the tips of the Micron’s struts.
I would note that the newer designs need a narrow pot; the diameter of the support struts must exceed that of the pot + air gap. I’m using a 95mm (3.7in) diameter Mini Solo pot. The Adjustable Original can accommodate up to a 150mm (5.9in) diameter pot along with a 15mm (.3in) air gap.
As for which system I like the most, I won’t know that until I finish testing.
@Gary D – nice! I searched the forums a for “canister windscreen” a number of times but missed your thread. Our designs are so close you could sue me for copyright:) Plus your system has convertibility to alternate fuels, wish I’d considered that before I got started. Cutting down the Adjustable Original would solve the height issue and contribute to reducing the weight, but the fuss factor would remain – I have to mess about with paper clip suspension (which also hampers ease of stowage in my pot) and make sure I’ve inserted the stove through the disk before I attach it to the canister.
I’ve not noticed issues with downward heat transfer when using my original. Like yours, my disk is mounted about 50mm (2in) above the canister valve ring. I wonder if the ti in the Micron stove might reduce the amount of heat that is conducted down the central tube? Also, the Micron has 4 large air intakes that reduce the amount of metal available for conduction.
I will heed all warnings about overheating, and monitor fuel temperatures carefully and constantly. I hope to report on whether my reflector disk increases or decreases the canister temperatures.
@Franco D – spreading the handles definitely works. I’m fortunate to have a family that sometimes backpacks with me, the handles are coated mostly for their safety.
Thanks to all for the information about the dangers of disks – the risk is certainly real. Roger and others seek to minimize the background level of dead hikers. This is commendable, and they have the thanks of many for that.
Progress note: My digital thermometer arrived today, I just need to sort out measuring windspeeds and I can start collecting data.Nov 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm #1929215
@qiwizLocale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
in an effort to develop a system for providing a windscreen that would work for many types of canister stoves. Pot shown is 700 ml. Materials are stainless steel (both the 1/4" mesh and the wires for the windscreen support) and titanium foil for the windscreen itself. Weight of both is 20 g. Feedback appreciated.Nov 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm #1929218
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
My 1st impression is that the arched opening for access to the fuel adjustment valve may have to be user-modified, depending upon their particular stove. Unfortunately, some of the older stoves use those knurled knobs and leave little clearance below the burner head.
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