Feb 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm #1286346
The titanium version of the JetBoil Sol might have a problem. A potentially serious problem.
Please note that my concerns pertain to the titanium version of the JetBoil Sol only.
Please note that not all the facts are in and that this is a "caution" only at this juncture. The potential consequences of a failure are serious enough that I think a “caution” is warranted even though all the facts are not in.
Note: These concerns were broached by John A, a member of BPL. I've collected them up into a separate post here and on my blog in order to highlight them. Some people may have missed them since they were contained within a post on JetBoil modifications rather than their own post. I think they're important enough to warrant a separate post.Feb 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm #1846246
FWIW, the cases I've seen where that happened had to do with food spilling over and getting on to the heat exchanger. I'm not saying that makes things any less of a concern, but if you only boil water I wouldn't be too worried.
Disclaimer – there may be cases I haven't seen or heard about.Feb 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm #1846248
I think the thread that picture is from was a result of only boiling water and one bullion cube. I don't think it boiled over either but maybe the OP could comment. Regardless I think JB needs to address the issue somehow.Feb 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm #1846249
Looking forward to some objective testing and observations rather than all the speculation I've seen so far. Thanks for compiling the relavent data.
Have you been in contact with anyone other than John who has had the issue? What sort of events lead up to the failures of their stoves? Please forgive me if this is in the post, as I stopped reading the "other" threads after a while.Feb 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm #1846252
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
What is it about the Jetboil that would make the problem worse?
If your generic canister stove boiled over, the liquid would hit the canister, and then you could have a major problemFeb 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm #1846254
"A like it could blow up and you could die kind of problem."
I think that is exaggerating it a bit. There is not much mass in those aluminium fins and aluminium has a low heat capacity. This is partly why it melts so easily, but if it were to drip on your canister it would not impart much heat. I would not be overly worried.
But the expensive pot is well and truly trashed.Feb 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm #1846261
I read your blog post (subscriber) and in my professional opinon there's no way that could cause the canister to blow up. I've spent my life, well, mostly my younger years, burning things, blowing things up, etc, (I had a creative childhood- spent many years wrenching on cars, and moved into a welding career so I spent a lot of time with molten metal).
First off- that's some really thin aluminum. I'm more than willing to bet if it would be lucky to make a burn mark if that small amount of aluminum "dripped" onto a wooden table. Aluminum has a low heat capacity, so by the time it fell those couple of inches it would cool off DRAMATICALLY. Secondly- motlen aluminum in an oxygen environment oxidizes almost immediately. So, I seriously doubt any molten aluminum would even reach the gas canister. It'd be more like flakey white aluminum oxide. And third, which kind of ties into point number one- the drops of hot aluminum (or aluminum oxide) would just bounce off the canister. Even if it had enough btu's of heat in it to get the canister hot enough to blow, it needs to transfer those btu's into the canister. That takes time. Duration of contact. There wouldn't be enough to get the job done.
I mean no offense. Like I said, I'm a subscriber of your blog. You post interesting stuff. But I personally thing alarmist messages like "OMG YOUR CANISTER IS GOING TO BLOW LIKE A CLAYMORE" don't belong in a respectable media outlet. I mean, seriously, if Backpacker Magazine published your article for a magazine do you think the Jetboil people wouldn't sue for damages?
BMFeb 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm #1846263
"But I personally thing alarmist messages like "OMG YOUR CANISTER IS GOING TO BLOW LIKE A CLAYMORE" don't belong in a respectable media outlet. I mean, seriously, if Backpacker Magazine published your article for a magazine do you think the Jetboil people wouldn't sue for damages?"
Damn hilarious. ; )Feb 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm #1846273
BM you took the words right out of my mouth with the heat capacity of the small mass of aluminum. Would love to see someone compile some numbers for this type of stuff. I know 1000 degrees sounds like a big scary number, but needs to be taken in context.
NateFeb 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm #1846286
That's good feedback, and I appreciate it. I think I will modify the blog post, BUT I also read the original post from the John who reported the problem. His stove was shooting flames up high into the air. Maybe I haven't described the mechanism correctly, but something happened that caused the stove to roar out of control.
Here's the original post:
I looked over at my jetboil and all I saw was this massive flame. The flames were probably three feet in the air. I ran over and dumped the last of my water on it (and thus went that night and the next morning w/o water) and when everything cooled down, there was evidences of some serious super heating. The little 'flux rings' ended up super heating and they were just going ballistic. The flux ring material got so hot that it started dripping down onto the ground (which did not go out when my threw my water on it, that stuff was crazy hot) and the drops of super heated metal were all over the canister – which scared me the most. A few of them actually melted/welded onto the canister of gas. The stupid orange thing was completely melted (I had to take a dremel to cut it off when I got back home – which is where I learned how easy it was to take them off). The bottom of the pot (not the flux, the bottom) as you can see in the photos above suffered major heat damage – and remember, titanium has a melting point of 3034(F).
If the temperatures got up to the point where titanium suffered heat damage, that's potentially very serious, and that kind of heat can cause a canister explosion even if the mechanism I described cannot.
Am I missing something?Feb 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm #1846299
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
What would happen if boiling water ran over the canister?
Would the pressure increase to the point where the rate of flow of isobutane would dramatically increase, which caused the ball of flame, which then caused metal to melt?Feb 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm #1846303
– -K.T.- –Participant
Has anyone asked Jetboil anything at this point?Feb 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm #1846316
+1 Jerry – this was my thought as well.Feb 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm #1846323
> Has anyone asked Jetboil anything at this point?
Here is a link to the original post here on BPL that prompted me to put up my "caution."
In that post, John describes a conversation with JetBoil. Now, this was just one person at JetBoil, a person who didn't seem to be aware that the heat exchanger was aluminum. I doubt that this one person was acting as the official spokesperson of JetBoil, but at the same time, JetBoil has been made aware of the issue. I don't know if JetBoil regards these problems as occasional flukes or a serious problem.Feb 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm #1846346
– -K.T.- –Participant
I mean since then, to a person with clout at Jetboil. Not just the nice lady who answers the phone.Feb 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm #1846354
Jerry Adams wrote: > What would happen if boiling water ran over the canister?
Would the pressure increase to the point where the rate of flow of isobutane would dramatically increase, which caused the ball of flame, which then caused metal to melt?
It's not completely clear that a boil over wasn't involved.
However, there are a lot of cases where no boil over happened but the heat exchanger either melted or had pieces fall off.Feb 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm #1846357
> Has anyone asked Jetboil anything at this point? I mean since then, to a person with clout at Jetboil. Not just the nice lady who answers the phone.
Not to my knowledge. I'm working on something along those lines. Got a name and an email or phone number?Feb 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm #1846358
"However, there are a lot of cases where no boil over happened but the heat exchanger either melted or had pieces fall off."
Lot of cases? Where? Honestly. Where?Feb 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm #1846364
I just checked out your blog. Seems that's what you want right? Do you even own a jetboil? I didn't see any reviews for one on your blog. I understand your concern about the jetboil but dude I feel like you're just trying to get publicity for your blog.Feb 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm #1846383
Hmm. OK, that's fair criticism. "Lot's" wasn't a good word choice on my part. I know of two failures reported here on BPL, one on an Australian website, one on YouTube, and one more on another blog. That's a total of five failures. I haven't done an exhaustive search. I'll look and see what I find.
The reason I wrote something up is the potential severity of what was being reported. Maybe these are just QC rejects — rejects that could occur in any manufacturing process. However, do note the use of words like "might" and "potential". I issued a "caution." I didn't do a full review and say the thing is a dangerous fire bomb.Feb 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm #1846390
Phillip Colelli wrote: > I just checked out your blog. Seems that's what you want right? Do you even own a jetboil? I didn't see any reviews for one on your blog. I understand your concern about the jetboil but dude I feel like you're just trying to get publicity for your blog.
Of course I want people to read my blog (why else would I write it?). But, would I try to conjure something up just to generate traffic? No.
Here, I'll even quote from my blog, which will reduce traffic not increase it:
Note: I own several JetBoil products. I am super happy with every JetBoil product I own. I have used JetBoil stoves at altitudes above 11,000 ft/3300m without problems (well, except for the piezoelectric ignition, but that's a known and pretty minor issue). Many people have used the titanium version of the JetBoil Sol without problems and are completely satisfied with the product. I think JetBoil is a good company with a good product.
You are correct though that even though I own several JetBoil products I have not specifically reviewed them. I do not have a JetBoil Sol Ti but I do have two JetBoil Sols (the aluminum version in other words) in my JB collection.Feb 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm #1846392
That video you posted on your site seems to be caused by a poor weld/soldering job and has little to do with the issue of exploding canisters. The air temp was 10degrees (I'm assuming F, not C???). If so then the aluminum would cool rapidly and shrink in size. If the fin attachments to the pot were weak then they could crack and cause the failure seen in the video. There was no melting of fins from what I could see.
As for damage to the titanium pot itself, most of the picture looks like solder residue and some titanium oxidation. Titanium oxidizes at room temperature (albeit slowly). Even if the pot warped, there is little evidence to suggest that the pot "melted" as implied.
This looks like an isolated incidence caused by inattention with confirmation bias from unrelated failures to create a media frenzy built upon fear mongering. I'm not saying that was your conscious intent HJ, but some due diligence before "reporting" this issue should have been taken. An orgy of information often obscures the truth more that illuminating it.
I want to make a statement along the lines of why blogs are a mediocre source of information, but most media has become susceptible to knee-jerk reporting of any issue instead of actual journalism.Feb 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm #1846401
I'm just sayin dude, BPL doesn't even have ads the last thing I want to see in every single one of your posts is an ad for your blog. You have ads all over your blog, you're obviously trying to make money. I have a blog too, one I actually host myself on a website I pay for, and you don't see me or anyone else with blogs around here trying to link to the darn thing in every single post. Seriously dude lay off if your blog has good content people will discover it on their own.
There's a specific forum to let people know about your blog. Use it.Feb 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm #1846403
After reading a bit from the other thread, the owner was boiling beef bullion, which is not plain water (A LOT of electrolytes). The instructions clearly state that damage to fins can occur if low heat and constant stirring does not occur. The owner said he was hanging his platypus. This salty liquid most likely boiled over and had a corrosive reaction with the heated aluminum fins.
Jetboil warns against this carelessness. There seems to be no issue other than negligence on the operator's part.Feb 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm #1846434
Dustin Short wrote: > That video you posted on your site seems to be caused by a poor weld/soldering job and has little to do with the issue of exploding canisters. The air temp was 10degrees (I'm assuming F, not C???). If so then the aluminum would cool rapidly and shrink in size. If the fin attachments to the pot were weak then they could crack and cause the failure seen in the video. There was no melting of fins from what I could see.
Well, actually I think it is related. Here's what I think is happening:
In order to conduct heat, they attach an aluminum heat exchanger to the bottom of the titanium pot. Hmm. Two different metals. Two different rates of expansion. Every time the pot is heated, the two different metals will be "pulling" at one another.
Now say a weld fails or somehow pulls apart. The aluminum heat exchanger, the one that's absorbing all that heat, is now separated from the pot. Where does all that heat go? Nowhere. In other words, all that heat has got nowhere to go and that thin aluminum heat exchanger is going to get hot, really hot.
So you've got this very hot metal underneath the pot and surrounded by the bracket that connects the burner to the pot. That's a lot of heat confined to a fairly small space. Some of that heat is radiated back to the canister. As the canister heats, the pressure inside the canister increases, as the pressure increases, the flame increases. As the flame increases, the temperature under the pot increases, and yet more heat is funneled back to the canister of gas. What you've got (I think; admittedly this is somewhat speculative) is a runaway feedback loop. One would hope that the regulator valve would compensate some for the pressure increase, but judging by what has happened, the pressure becomes so great that the regulator valve does not impede the pressure and the runaway feedback loop continues. Things get really hot. Hot enough apparently to melt aluminum.
So, I suspect the underlying issue in both is in fact related. Given the severity of what happened to the one stove (three foot flames), I think saying something is worthwhile.
The thing that nags at me is David Ure's question about how many time something along these lines has happened. I've got five cases that I've seen. That's actually not all that many.
Perhaps I am guilty of "knee-jerk reporting" (sigh). I'm going to re-word things, but I think it's still worth keeping an eye on. My own personal opinion of what I will do for me remains unchanged: I'm going to wait and see on the Sol Ti. If there's a pattern of problems with the welds in the Sol Ti, then we'll know soon enough.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.