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Trangia Alcohol Burner/Stove evaluation

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by WolfBrother, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. WolfBrother

    WolfBrother Active Member

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    I first posted this on another Forum in 2007

    Trangia Westwind Alcohol Stove Evaluation.


    Short version:
    IMNTBHO - This is a VERY GOOD BOB burner/stove. Using either Ever Clear grain alcohol or Denatured Alcohol from a paint store, it raised a quart of water from 69 degrees F to a rolling boil in 15 minutes. Packs light, small, and if using Ever Clear - you can drink the fuel.

    Long Version:
    Evaluation consists of Trangia alcohol burner and Westwind "stove".
    https://www.amazon.com/Trangia-Westwind-Stove-with-Burner/dp/B0055EBPSC
    Trangia burner is about 3 inches in diameter and is about 3 inches tall.

    The Westwind "stove" is three flat shaped pieces of thin aluminum that hooks together to form a triangle that has a place to put the burner and put a pot on top of.

    Testing conditions:
    1 1/2 quart covered pot, slightly wider than tall - at room temperature.
    1 quart of water - temperature measured after sitting in the pot for 5 minutes. Pot was covered during heating tests except for 30 seconds every 5 minutes for temperature check.
    3 oz of alcohol in trangia burner positioned in Westwind stove.
    Time check - to fully vaporized flame and then
    Every 5 minutes until 30 minutes or rolling boil

    Tested fuel
    70 % Isopropyl Alcohol - purchased at a local Walgreens
    70 % Ethyl Alcohol (ETOH) - purchased at a local Walgreens
    Denatured Alcohol - purchased at a local Paint store
    190 proof Ever Clear - purchased at a local liquor store

    Test Results

    Time to heat stove before a fully vaporized flame appeared varied from 10+ minutes with the isopropyl alcohol to 8 minutes with the ETOH to less than a minute with either one of the other two.

    Isopropyl Alcohol - 30 minutes - 69 degrees to 197 degrees. Significantly noticeable fume smell
    ETOH - 30 minutes - 70 degrees to rolling boil. 25 minutes to 197 degrees. Significantly noticeable fume smell

    Denatured Alcohol - Ever Clear - identical results. No real noticeable fume smell
    5 minutes from 70 degrees to 100 degrees.
    10 minutes went from 100 degrees to 150 degrees
    15 minutes rolling boil.

    The Westwind triangle is not a good wind break. To effectively heat/cook with the burner, you'll need to provide a wind break or a lot of heat will blow away.

    Why do I think it should be in the BOB?

    1. In wet or cold or wet/cold weather the ability to have a warm to hot cup of water/tea/soup/whatever could be the difference between just being miserable and dead. Plus the occasional hot drink/food is a significant moral booster.
    2. It packs small and light.
    3. Most any alcohol will work in it - including whiskey/vodka/rum. It takes longer to get a fully vaporized flame but as it's getting going, you can too with the same alcohol.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  2. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    Being able to use different fuels is a definite bonus with these types of stoves. Once a propane or butane canister is used up that's the end of that.

    Thank you for a good review.
     
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  3. WolfBrother

    WolfBrother Active Member

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    Of course, an alcohol stove only works if you have alcohol. You always have to have a fuel. The nice thing about this is if you have access to the contents of an automotive store any and all alcohol based fuel additives/water absorbing additives will work. As well as the third squeezings of your Grandpappy's still
     
  4. Jerry D Young

    Jerry D Young Active Member

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    If you get a chance could you do a trial with HEET?

    I have been intending to get either the Trangia or the Esbit alcohol burner and an appropriate folding stove that can also use twigs and such. I need to measure and see if my water bottle/water bottle cup stove will accept the burner. It works great with just about any burnable material. I use a bit of the military gel fuel in a small screw top tin to get the wood (or other items) burning in the stove and then just keep feeding the wood in.

    Your review came at a great time, WoflBrother. Thank you.

    Just my opinion.
     
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  5. WolfBrother

    WolfBrother Active Member

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    Of the 4 forums I originally posted the review in only this one:
    https://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/index.php
    is still an active forum.

    There were a number of "I just use HEET" comments.

    Looking up HEET ingredients - it's made of methanol.

    Methanol is a methane molecule (CH4) with one of the 4 binds being OH not H (CH3OH)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanol

    Ethanol is an ethane molecule (C2H6) with one of the 6 H binds being OH not H (C2H5OH)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol

    Isopropyl is a propane molecule (C3H8) with one of the 8 H binds being OH not H (C3H7OH), the OH is shown to be bound to the middle C not either end C. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isopropyl_alcohol
    The bind location may have some physical chemistry effect on why it burns not as hot as Ethanol. (Denatured alcohol/Everclear)

    The big thing to worry about are what appear to be BLEVE type flare ups. The current logic is a drop or so of water or other liquid is on the inside, flashes to steam, and WHOOOOOOF you have a big flare up and possibly damage to the burner. Most folks say to prevent that, always start with a dry stove and fill it fresh. YMMV

    I will have to give HEET a try - I don't think I'd use it as a first choice - you can buy denatured alcohol where paint is sold pretty cheaply.
     
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  6. WolfBrother

    WolfBrother Active Member

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    Ask and you shall receive:



    I re-created my alcohol burner experiment using the following:

    Self Reliance OutFitters - Stainless Steel Alcohol Stove w/ Flame Regulator
    https://www.selfrelianceoutfitters....he-best-backpacking-stove?variant=24816830657

    Self Reliance OutFitters - Stainless Steel 25 oz Cup & Lid Set
    https://www.selfrelianceoutfitters....s-steel-25-oz-cup-lid-set?variant=24816802369

    A meat thermometer
    Denatured alcohol – from the paint section of a big box store
    70% Ethyl rubbing alcohol – from a chain drug store
    Yellow HEET – from a local autoparts store.
    Red HEET – from a local autoparts store
    70% and 91% isopropyl alcohol – from a chain drug store.
    An empty 16.5 oz Diet Coke Bottle
    The timer on my cell phone.

    I filled the stove with which ever liquid I was going to burn, leaving about 3/8” from top.
    I filled the Coke bottle as close to level full as I could get it and poured the water into the stainless steel cup.
    I suspended the thermometer in the water using clothes pins.
    Put the wind block on the stove and lit the stove and started the timer.
    I wrote down the beginning temperature and after a minute pre-burn put the pot of water on the wind screen and reset the timer.

    Once the water temp reached 100 degrees, I reset the timer and timed how long it took for that particular liquid to heat the water to a full rolling boil and noted the time converted to seconds.

    I did that for all 6 of the alcohol fuels being tested.

    I conducted the test in the master bathroom of my house with the exhaust fan running and the door opened about 1 inch.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Test Results from fastest to rolling boil to last.

    Denatured Alcohol – 11 min 42 seconds
    70% Ethyl Alcohol – 14 min 05 seconds
    Yellow HEET (Methyl Alcohol based) – 14 min 19 seconds
    91% Isopropyl Alcohol – 15 min 44 seconds
    70% Isopropyl Alcohol – 18 min 30 seconds
    Red HEET (Isopropyl Alcohol based) – FAIL – set home smoke alarm off after about 8 minutes.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Denatured Alcohol – Burned with a clear blue flame with occasional flicker of yellow flame, no soot, very little fume smell.
    70% Ethyl Alcohol – Burned with a clear blue flame with flickers of yellow flame, no soot, very little fume smell.
    Yellow HEET – Burned with a clear blue flame with flickers of yellow flame, no soot, very little but noticeable fume smell.

    91% Isopropyl Alcohol – Burned with about a 50/50 clear blue flame and yellow flame, significant soot on bottom of water container, noticeable fume smell.
    70% Isopropyl Alcohol – Burned with about a 50/50 clear blue flame and yellow flame, significant soot on bottom of water container, significant fume smell.
    Red HEET – FAIL – set home smoke alarm off after about 8 minutes. Burned with a yellow flame, significant oily soot on water container, fume smell enough to make me open the door after a minute and then even with exhaust fan on set off the hallway smoke detector.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    I did not test with Everclear this time because the ONLY difference between Everclear and Denatured Alcohol is the slight amount of volatile alcohol soluble chemicals added to make the Denatured Alcohol poisonous. The makes the BATFepqrstuv whatever its name is now happy. Both are 95% Ethyl alcohol

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    This was simply an exercise to determine the fuel rankings by timing how long it takes to heat a specific amount of water from 100 degrees F to a Full Rolling Boil.

    To make this more accurate, the water would have to be weighed not measured, the temperature would have to be take with digital equipment with a tie in to a timer to precisely determine the elapsed time from 100 degrees F to 212 degrees F.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    I believe the test, as conducted, is accurate enough to show that Everclear/Denatured Alcohol (95% - 190 proof) is the overall best fuel. Everclear is not poisonous so if it gets on your food, you can still eat the food.

    Also with ONLY a 14 second difference either 70% Ethyl Alcohol or Yellow HEET (Methyl Alcohol based) make good #2 choices.
    The remaining 3, not in my BOB.
     
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  7. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    Excellent test. Thank you.
     
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  8. Jerry D Young

    Jerry D Young Active Member

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    Thank you, WolfBrother. Certainly answered my questions on fuel. I will have to look at red Heet. I did not even know there was anything except the yellow bottle.

    Any comments on the stove?

    Thanks again.
     
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  9. WolfBrother

    WolfBrother Active Member

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    It seems to take the stainless steel burner longer to get to full heat output than the brass ones.

    The stoves are made up with a center section that’s open where you pour the due in. The other section connects to the center section along the bottom and had burner vents at the top. As the burner gets hot more fuel is vaporized in the outer chamber and the vents release the vapor. After a while it looks like the jets on a gas range - you’re at max heat at that time.

    It also seems to take the stainless burner longer to get back to finger touch coolness.

    Other than that they’re about the same. The stainless burner seems to hold a little more fuel than the Trangia.

    In a long term PAW where soot and fume smell is not an issue most any alcohol will work.
     
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