- Aug 29, 2017 at 3:36 pm #3487745
Some interesting quotes from this thread concerning the safety of the Starlyte type burner/stove:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 6:09 PM
To: FS-Public Affairs
Subject: WWW Mail: alcohol stoves
Can I please have some clarification about the definition of “portable stove?” I have a small spill-proof alcohol stove (it has carbon mesh over the top that does not allow liquid to escape) and is contained in a stable titanium cone the pot fits in securely. Anyway – Yosemite National Park tells me I am free to use this along the whole length of the JMT. Inyo and SEKI say the same thing; what are your regulations for such a stove?? Can I bring it or not?? Thanks! jen.
(Jenmitol) – M
Here is my email exchange from Sierra National Forest:
Dear Valued Member of the Public,
Thank you for your email, that is exactly what we are looking for, and that is more than okay with us for you to bring it along. Thank you for checking before you go and have a safe trip!
Sierra National Forest Public Affairs,
1600 Tollhouse Rd,
Clovis CA 93654
firstname.lastname@example.orgAug 29, 2017 at 3:46 pm #3487750
I’d rather tip over a burning Starlyte than a burning BRS. ;^oAug 29, 2017 at 3:56 pm #3487752
That is good work, Bob. I admire your thoroughness and your artistry. Dan and I (and likely many others) are anxiously awaiting the results of your upcoming tests. Our thanks go out to Zelph, who has enabled these efforts.Sep 9, 2017 at 11:38 am #3490078
After performing a lot of tests, comparing a straight sided (cylindrical) pot support/screen to a cone-shape support, trying different stoves with each support/screen, testing in varying temperatures and windy/breezy/calm conditions, and using a pot cozy vs. no cozy, I believe it’s now time for me to post my results. I think I pretty much know how things work with the blasted Sterno Inferno pot.
The following photos show the components that I’ve settled upon:
What you see is the Inferno pot with the cozy I made for it, a 2-3/8″ tall cylindrical pot stand/support (left), a 2.0″ tall cone support (right), one of Dan’s original Starlyte stoves (on the right) and my carbon felt version of a similar stove (on the left), and a titanium base disk in the foreground.
The next photo shows the pot on the cylindrical pot stand, the base disk, and a mini windscreen to be used in the event of a stiff breeze. I haven’t actually needed to use it yet, but during prior tests a significant breeze did in fact play havoc with the flames, making them dance around wildly. With air intake holes placed around the entire periphery, there will need to be a way to block the breeze.
Now, the evolution of my pot supports. My first rounds of testing were done with a 3″ tall cylindrical support like Bob made, using Dan’s Starlyte XL-3 burner. I used Klean Strip Green alcohol, which is what I had on hand. I only had air intake holes around 2/3 of the periphery, so that I could place the hole-less side into the wind for flame protection. The results were consistently poor – Lots of soot on the pot, wildly dancing flames, and 10-11 minute boil times. For starters, I bought a quart of Klean Strip regular denatured alcohol, which I think used to be called SLX. I then made the cone, which was 3″ tall and also had air intake holes on just 2/3 of the perimeter. The results were pretty much as before, although the cone seemed to be an improvement. At least the soot problem was eliminated.
I decided that there were several things wrong with what I’d been doing so far. First, I felt that the XL-3 burner was too large (in diameter) for such a small diameter pot/screen. There was just 3/8″ between the wall of the stove and the screen. It seemed that this might impede the airflow getting to the top of the stove. The XL-3 worked a bit better with the cone since it had more room at the base.
Next was my concern that the stove-to-pot distance was excessive. I also thought that I probably needed more air intake holes, to extend around the entire periphery. Finally, I felt that a smaller diameter stove would be better, so I ordered an original Starlyte from Dan. I had decent luck with a wedding tin filled with disks of carbon felt that I’d made, but I figured that Dan’s Starlyte might work better. In fact we both used identical wedding tins to make these stoves, but I think Dan’s wicking material (ceramic?) is superior to my carbon felt.
I cut the cylindrical pot support down to 2-3/8″, which decreased the Starlyte-to-pot distance by 5/8″, to 1-15/16″. I also cut the top of the cone support a bit so that the Starlyte-to-pot distance became 1.5″. I also placed air intake holes all around the periphery of both pot stands.
So there are several factors, aside from ambient and starting water temperature, as well as wind, that enter into maximizing the efficiency of this Inferno concept:
- Using the proper alcohol fuel (I actually prefer Klean Strip Green, but it doesn’t work well in this application for some reason. It boils comparably, but it is very sooty).
- Using the right stove.
- Optimizing the correct stove-to-pot distance; it does appear that there is a fairly wide range where it works OK. Still, there must be an optimal distance, right?
- Having plenty of air intake holes that are placed all around the pot stand periphery.
The past several mornings, conditions were right early in the morning to run a bunch of tests with my ‘final’ versions of pot stand/screens, using the Starlyte and comparing it to my MYOG felt wedding tin stove. The ambient air temperature was between 55-60 degrees F, and the water was the same temperature (I leave the jug outside all night).
The results were that every single 2-cup boil using either stand with the Starlyte was 8:30 minutes. Talk about consistency! The felt wedding tin stove was marginally less efficient, averaging 8:50 minutes.
Now, another test was done during all of this. I monitored the performance with using a pot cozy vs. not using one. The results were identical – every boil was achieved in 8:30 minutes whether a cozy was used or not. This observation differs from the one test that I had reported earlier. But after doing 10 tests now with, and without, a cozy, I am pretty convinced that there’s no loss of heating efficiency while using a cozy.
But this $25 steal of a pot became considerably more expensive as I got more into it. 2 quarts of alcohol, a fair amount of titanium foil, the fishing gravel gaiters to make the cozies, mailing one each to Dan and Bob, and the Starlyte stove brought the total to over $80. Not a cheap pot now, but it has been hours of fairly cheap entertainment. Still, it came with a heck of a lot of frustration and failed attempts and re-dos. And I haven’t even matched Bob’s excellent results…
If I might say so, this has been a program of passionate (if pitiful) persistence, akin to pensively perching precariously atop a proverbial pile of petrified putrified Pakistani poodle poop (alliteratively speaking…).
But it’s all for stove science, right?Sep 9, 2017 at 6:23 pm #3490118
Thank you so much Gary. Stove Science has advanced to the next level. :-)
Did you try the Starlyte XL3 with the original pot support that comes with the Inferno Kit? It worked well for me in my initial 3 tests.
Glad you got the results you were looking for with the cozy, no cozy tests.
I won’t be able to do testing until I relocate to my southern campground for the winter months.Sep 9, 2017 at 6:37 pm #3490123
Gary, just some quick observations because I’m getting ready for a trip to Maine, leaving tomorrow morning.
With those consistent boil times of 8:30 have you also done before/after stove weights to determine fuel consumption? I usually note the boil time but am far more interested in fuel consumed. Since we’re using the same fuel you can also use the 0.798 specific gravity to calculate volume, but I’ve done enough tests now to understand what is good/not-so-good gram-wise… 10.5-12g good, 15-20g not that good. ;^)
One big difference between your “lab” and mine is elevation and I’m thinking that might have some effect on efficiency. Yes, I’m getting boils in around 8:30 but those are 212°F boils and yours are around 202°F or so. How does a mile of elevation affect the whole setup? (Rhetorical, I don’t know.)
I won’t be back until next weekend and after that I can concentrate on the cozy testing and maybe test some shorter windscreens and hole patterns etc.
I’m taking this setup with me for the Maine trip so I will be able to test it in the field to see if there are any practical problems. I will be using it around 2500-4000ft elevation and hopefully will get the same results I have been seeing at sea level with good fuel economy. I wish I could take a digital scale with me, lol.Sep 9, 2017 at 9:00 pm #3490132
Yep, Dan I thought I’d already told you about using the XL-3 with the Sterno stock support – very bad results, with both fuel types. 11-12 minute boils. I think that the height of the stock pot stand is partly to blame here. Like I mentioned above, I think that the XL-3 is too large in diameter for this particular application. The smaller diameter original Starlyte seems much more efficient here.
Bob: I don’t measure the fuel like you do. I always use .75 fl oz of fuel for every burn that I do. Maybe a bit wasteful, but I’ve been caught with my pants down at times, where the stove went out before the boil happened, and I hate when that happens. I usually have an extra 2 minutes of the stove burning after I’ve achieved a boil. I am also surprised that I couldn’t out-do your results, considering my benefit of a 5440′ altitude (my boils happen at 202* F). The only thing I can think of is my windscreen/pot support design. Of course, there’s always that possible karma thing, where the cosmos is getting even with me for having too much fun in the ’80s. Who can really say?
Now, what y’all need to know – with my MYOG Titan kettle cone setup, I have consistently had 7:30 minute boils with the same amount of fuel, which seems to put the Inferno concept somewhat to shame. This, at nearly the same weight for everything but the alcohol. The Inferno cozy adds ~ 1/2 oz over the weight of the Titan cone setup, but it isn’t a bad trade off for the benefit of having a cozy.
Anyway, I will patiently await your future results, guys. Have a great time up there, Bob. And you as well, Dan, down in MS. Your timing seems great, with your dodging both of the hurricanes.
Sep 10, 2017 at 6:06 am #3490159
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Gary Dunckel.
Not my tests, buddy. I like to test things in ‘real world’ conditions, to get a baseline of worst-case performance. So I use 45* F water from the fridge, let my canisters cool down to ambient, and employ windscreens if needed. When I get an idea as to how things perform, I am quite confident using each system in the field.
And I will respectfully disagree with that bit about Jetboil – I think they solidly outperform most other systems. Whether it’s the cozy, the flux ring, or the combination of both, my JB cups work more efficiently than any of my other pots (when using canister fuel). My MSR Reactor is a solid windy day stove, but it uses more fuel than any of the JB pots.
Gary, your Jetboil seems to be the one for you.
Sell your Inferno to me and all will be well.Sep 10, 2017 at 8:59 am #3490169
I don’t get it, Dan. I really don’t get it. This morning I decided to repeat the test using the XL-3 with the stock red Sterno Inferno pot stand. Conditions were the same as the past few days at 7 AM: 59* F air and 61* F water. As usual, I put .75 fl oz of alcohol in the XL-3, lit it, dropped it into the pot stand and positioned it with a metal rod, then placed the pot. It achieved a boil at exactly 8:30 minutes, just like all the other tests with your original Starlyte. This was much, much faster than my 3-4 other tests done before, which took between 10:00 and 11:00 minutes. Like I said, I just don’t get it. The stove-to-pot distance in this case is 2.875″, which I’d assumed to be excessive. But apparently it’s not.
I also did a test with a a 1.5″ cylindrical screen with full perimeter intake holes. It positions the pot 1.125″ above the original Starlyte stove. It took 10:15 minutes to achieve a boil. I believe that this stove-to-pot distance is too little for this application.
So here’s what I think I’ve learned about the range of stove-to-pot distances: My 4 pot stands have these distances: 1.125″, 1.5″, 1-15/16″ (1.94″), and the stock Inferno pot stand 2.785″. So it appears that the acceptable distance is 1.5″ – 2.79″, which is a pretty wide range. So I will be sticking with my straight screen (1-15/16″) and my 2″ tall cone (1.5″), which both produce the same boil times. The straight (cylindrical) screen fits into the pot, whereas the cone must be disassembled to do so.
As for the Jetboil pots, I agree with you. Since I mainly use canister stoves while backpacking, and also truck camping, they are pretty hard to beat. My JB titanium Sol, with a BRS-3000T stove, a pot riser disk, one of Josh’s CF lids, and a full 4 oz canister weighs just 13.9 oz (which includes a cuben stuff sack). I think this is the lightest fuel-efficient canister stove setup that I know of. But for truck camping, I often use other stoves for their simmering capabilities since weight is not an issue.
Then there’s the issue of you buying my soot-ridden Inferno pot. You won’t be able to afford it, Dan. You see, it is destined to become a collector’s item, and it likely will soon be inducted into the Crappy Stove Pot Hall of Fame. I guess I could part with it though, but you would have to pay me many pieces of eight, several Spanish doubloons, and a few shekels of gold.Sep 10, 2017 at 4:38 pm #3490232
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
you would have to pay me many pieces of eight, several Spanish doubloons, and a few shekels of gold.
Would you accept some Shares in one of Trump’s Florida Resorts?
Now, stove to pot distances.
Yes, you certainly can be too close, so that the flames either don’t burn properly, or burn while they are going past and away from the pot.
On the other hand, once the pot is far enough away from the stove that the fuel has burnt up properly, small changes in the distance are not going to make the slightest difference. The heat energy is in the extremely hot air from the flames and is not going anywhere (except into the pot). Variations of 10 mm either way won’t matter.
However, all this is in still air ! ! Once there is an opportunity for a wind to blow the flames and the hot air sideways, away from the pot, you will start to see massive drops in efficiency of heat transfer. To handle wind you need a solid HIGH windshield.
CheersSep 22, 2017 at 9:09 am #3492530
A little info on flames etc. Got photos from a mushroom growing forum and google
In the case of the Starlyte XL3 and the Inferno Pot the flame touches the fins/pot at it’s hottest point ;-)
Stove science “just HAPPENS”Sep 23, 2017 at 6:20 am #3492715
Gary, things are finally settling down here at my homestead so I can do some more tests.
I am encouraged to see that you got similar boil times with the XL3 and stock pot stand. I’d wager that fuel consumption was also very good as well.
After the cozy test I plan to cut down the height of the stainless steel pot stand to see how that affects fuel consumption and boil times. Even now, when I look at the XL3 flame height inside the taller pot stand/windscreen I am somewhat amazed/perplexed at the low fuel consumption… prior to this exercise I would not have thought it possible.
It wasn’t practical to keep precise track of fuel usage on the Maine trip, but I carried about 7.5 fl oz and it sufficed for a 5 night trip with about an ounce left over, which is pretty darn good considering I had an extra 2-cup coffee burn and simmered 4 “fun-size” Milky Way bars to make a hot chocolate drink one night.
Also, I have done many boils with this combo and there is still no discoloration of the pot stand.Sep 23, 2017 at 8:45 am #3492733
I suspect infra red radiation back to burner is at an all time low and the incoming cool air directed at the aluminum burner housing has some strong influence on the rate of vaporization.
I had an extra 2-cup coffee burn and simmered 4 “fun-size” Milky Way bars to make a hot chocolate drink one night.
Wow, dual purpose Milky Way Bars, whodda thunkitSep 23, 2017 at 9:59 am #3492751
Milky Way hot drink.
Recipe: 1 Milky Way fun size per 2 oz water. Heat ’til they melt, stirring occasionally. In-freakin-sanely yumm-May.Sep 23, 2017 at 11:50 am #3492767
Kevin BabioneBPL Member
Sounds pretty good Bob – I might have to pack a few of those “Fun Size” bars when we go in October. I’m also the proud new owner of an Inferno setup from Dan so I’ll be bringing it with me.
Have you figured out which alcohol mixes best with your Milky Way concoction? Rum, Vodka…Sep 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm #3492787
I think you’re going to like this setup.
A splash of rum would be cool with the Milky Way brew, I imagine!! Unfortunately for me, my gastroenterologist took a tour inside my gizzard in June and said I should not consume alcohol any more so I’m out. :-(
She said it’d be nice if I quit cigars, too, but I still sneak in one every 2 months or so.Sep 23, 2017 at 4:37 pm #3492814
If I heat 2 cups to about 160* and pop in 4 MW fun bars will that give me a good treat?Sep 23, 2017 at 5:28 pm #3492830
That might be a little thin… I’d start with 8 oz and add water a bit at a time to see what you prefer. May need to heat and stir some more.
It would also speed up the process to break the candy into smaller pieces before putting them in the water. The photos are from the first (and only) time I’ve tried this and I wanted to see how long it took just throwing them in whole. ;^)Oct 1, 2017 at 1:55 am #3494173
My wife tried 1 milkyway in 2 ounces of water heated in the microwave. Tasted good. Water needs to be hotter to melt all the chocolate chunks. As is, the chocolate flavor buds taste ok LOL.
This coming week I’ll be testing the Inferno with the XL3 and Ti windscreen. Cooler weather on it’s way finally.Oct 11, 2017 at 2:20 am #3495990
Bob, it’s been way too hot and humid here in central Mississippi to do any testing. The humidity is gross, dew point is at 75 yukk!!!Oct 11, 2017 at 3:56 am #3496014
I hate to tell you but it has been the same up here… incredibly warm for this time of year.
I’m also waiting for cooler weather for testing, which is on the way after the steamy/soggy weather of the last few days.
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