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  #1  
Old 09-27-2010
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Converting alcohol stove to gas.

I didn't want to hijack that other thread, but is it possible to convert my old Hillerange pressurized alcohol stove to gas? I tried to light the burner on the original and almost set fire to the boat. Since then the stove has been in my garage. Replacement is way out of my budget. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-27-2010
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You mean propane? I think it will require all new burners with thermocouples. Probably cost almost as much as a new stove, definitely more than a used one.
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Old 09-27-2010
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Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
You mean propane? I think it will require all new burners with thermocouples. Probably cost almost as much as a new stove, definitely more than a used one.
I'm votin' with Brian.
A few boaters have indeed converted their CNG stoves to LPG, but that was because they were evidently only having to change burner tops.

If your boat now has pressure alcohol, best save up some B.U.C.'s for a used Origo 6000 range. We have used one of these for 15 years. No other plumbing or hoses. No Pressure !, so no uncontrolled flare ups.
Steady supply of rolls and chocolate chip cookies in the mornings when we are cruising.

If you have only room for a cook top, find an Origo 3000 model.

L
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Old 09-27-2010
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Small boat and only limited use of the range?

A lot of folks have solved that problem for $20-25 by using a single burner portable butane range, sold in oriental grocery stores and discount shops. Uses inexpensive cans of butane (sold in the same places) and for $20...it is hard to go wrong.

On the down side, if course everyone will remind you butane is an explosive gas that can build up in the bilge, some practical sense and caution should be used in the handling and storage. But having used them and knowing other folks who use them...it makes a very good solution if you just need occassional use and pay some attention to the "explosive gas" considerations.
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Old 09-27-2010
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I converted two alcohol stoves to propane on a couple of our previous small boats. I pulled the pressurized alcohol tank off and plumbed in connectors for propane. I popped off the little metal cups off the top of each burner and doubled the number of holes with a drill. I went to the local hardware store and bought a small Coleman propane regulator for those small propane bottles and I had a functioning propane stove. I never regretted it. They both worked great. I have no idea if it met coast guard safety standards, as I didn't care at the time, I just didn't want to deal with those alcohol stoves anymore.
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Go with the Origo. It is safe, easy to use and almost as fast as propane. Doing a propane installation that doesn't have an outside supply tank that won't vent into the cabin, a selenoid and themocouples on the burners is asking for trouble. You can make something that will burn out of an old alcohol stove bu you can't do it both safely and economically.

I have used the Origo that came with the boat (a '78 Tartan 30) for five years and it has worked very well.
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From the frying pan into the fire?

Why replace one dangerous fuel with a more dangerous one?

Convert your pressurized alcohol stove into a kerosene stove. You only need to change the burners, everything else is the same. MUCH safer and the only inconvenience is that you have to preheat the burner. Takes a total of 2 minutes. Much better than going BOOM.

And you get kero everywhere in the world. No problems with different valves, butane vs propane vs LPG vs ...

Much more shippy, too.

A no-brainer, really.
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Old 09-27-2010
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Originally Posted by erps View Post
I converted two alcohol stoves to propane on a couple of our previous small boats. I pulled the pressurized alcohol tank off and plumbed in connectors for propane. I popped off the little metal cups off the top of each burner and doubled the number of holes with a drill. I went to the local hardware store and bought a small Coleman propane regulator for those small propane bottles and I had a functioning propane stove. I never regretted it. They both worked great. I have no idea if it met coast guard safety standards, as I didn't care at the time, I just didn't want to deal with those alcohol stoves anymore.
I did the same thing on our boat. Pulled all the stuff out of our Princess, bought a camping stove from Walmart that had the same dimensions on the burners, replaced the guts of the Princess with the guts of the camp stove. I now run a hose from the stove connection to a bottle in the cockpit when we're cooking. Works great. Not dead yet.

Less than $30.00.
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Old 09-27-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niebur View Post
Why replace one dangerous fuel with a more dangerous one?

Convert your pressurized alcohol stove into a kerosene stove. You only need to change the burners, everything else is the same. MUCH safer and the only inconvenience is that you have to preheat the burner. Takes a total of 2 minutes. Much better than going BOOM.

And you get kero everywhere in the world. No problems with different valves, butane vs propane vs LPG vs ...

Much more shippy, too.

A no-brainer, really.
To each their own, but the only times we've had fires in the galley was with a kerosene stove and it happened twice. The wife refused to cook on it. If it wasn't scaring the bejeebers out of her because of flare ups, it was burning dirty and sooting up the headliner. That was the second time I converted an alcohol stove to propane was to replace that kerosene stove. Got the second alcohol stove for dirt cheap and made a propane stove out of it.

As far as the danger goes for using a propane stove, I figure I have a greater chance of being hurt on my way to the boat on our public highways. But like I said, everyone has to weigh risk/convenience factor for themselves. To me, it's just not that big of a deal to "sniff" before lighting the stove.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
To each their own, but the only times we've had fires in the galley was with a kerosene stove and it happened twice. The wife refused to cook on it. If it wasn't scaring the bejeebers out of her because of flare ups, it was burning dirty and sooting up the headliner.
...
Flare-ups are always due to user error (usually not enough pre-heating). The flame may appear impressive but it is really not that dangerous, turn off the fuel and it goes out. Assuming you don't have curtains over your stove which is not a particularly good idea with any stove.

And you have soot/dirty burning only during a flare-up. During normal operation, pressurized kero burns without any residue, exactly like gas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
As far as the danger goes for using a propane stove, I figure I have a greater chance of being hurt on my way to the boat on our public highways. But like I said, everyone has to weigh risk/convenience factor for themselves. To me, it's just not that big of a deal to "sniff" before lighting the stove.
And for me, it is not a big deal to do the 2 minute preheating thing. Actually, I kind of enjoy the little ritual, reminds me that I am actually cooking on my boat!

But I agree with you, as long as you are very careful to obey all rules without fault, gas is a perfectly safe fuel, too. It is just that if you DO make a mistake, with kero you may have to wipe off some soot from your headliner. With gas, they may have to wipe YOU off whatever surface you splatter onto after the explosion (sorry for the graphic image)
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