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  #1  
Old 09-18-2007
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Using an alcohol stove

I recently acquired an older alcohol stove. I was told it was used in another Grampian 26. It's a Homestrand Model 126 I would like to see if it is still functional, but have no idea how it works. Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I will try and upload pictures, but I can't seem to get it to work correctly. Again, thanks!!
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Old 09-18-2007
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Homestrand was a model produced by Kenyon Stoves in Conn. - now Kenyon Marine. I had a two burner alcohol/electric model on a prior boat. It actually worked very well, compared to current wick type alcohol stoves.

But - several precautions need to be taken when pre-heating the burners - BEFORE use. This is very important. I had several operating manuals obtained from Kenyon (they were very helpful when I called, even though out of production).

Unfortunately, I passed all the material and spare parts on to the next owner. However, here's a cut and paste of some instructions and tips, which may be useful:

Quote:
Kenyon Alcohol Stove Instructions

source: Kenyon Marine

Operating Instructions
Before attempting to operate stove, please read these instructions carefully and become thoroughly familiar with the various parts of the stove and how they operate.

Theory of Operation

The burners use alcohol vapor for fuel. This gaseous fuel is produced by boiling liquid alcohol in the base of the burner by diverting some of the heat from the flame through the burner body.

In order to start a cold burner, it must first be heated above 180 degrees F in order to produce the required vapor. This is usually done by burning a small amount (about 1/4 oz.) of liquid alcohol in a special priming cup under the base of the burner. As the burner heats up, the liquid alcohol trapped in the burner boils, causing a flame to appear at the burner cap. If the priming cup is too full, the rising temperature also causes the priming alcohol to boil which produces a relatively high flame around the burner before it boils away. These conditions, usually termed "flare-up" are a natural consequence of the priming process and are usually not serious. A little practice will show the correct amount of alcohol necessary to produce the required temperature.

Too much alcohol will produce "flare-up" and too little will not bring the burner to a high enough temperature. A hot burner will produce a hissing sound when turned on. A cold burner will be silent or produce a squirting sound, and liquid alcohol will flow down into the priming cup. After priming, the burner must be lit before it cools off, or re-priming will be necessary.

Fuel

The burners are designed to use 95% denatured ethyl alcohol, which is commercially available as alcohol stove fuel. Satisfactory operation is also obtained with 91% isopropyl alcohol containing less than .003% by weight non- volatile material. Caution Do not use wood alcohol (methanol), rubbing alcohol, or ethyl alcohol with no-volatile denaturing additives a they will not burn satisfactorily and burners will become clogged.
Operating Components

The (model 206 & 209) Fuel Fill Nipple is located at the rear of the stove. Note that it has a special cap which includes a pressure relief valve which effectively prevents excessive pressure buildup in the tank. This cap must never be replaced by any other type. The Pump is located at the front center of the stove and is used to pressurize the fuel tank. Satisfactory operation of the alcohol burners is obtained with the fuel supplied at a pressure of 8 to 15 psig. An average of 15-20 strokes of the pump are required to obtain sufficient pressure, but this varies depending on the amount of fuel in the tank and more strokes may provide better burner operation.

The burner control wheels are located in the front flange of the stove. The control moved to he extreme right is the "off" position. The extreme left is the "clean" position. In this position the internal mechanism of the burner causes a small wire to be pushed thru the burner nozzel, thereby removing any dirt which may have lodged there. The full "on" position of the control is about half way between the off and clean positions or abut 3 pushes of the control wheel. The burner may be operated at lower heats by moving the control to the right toward close. Cleaning the nozzel is normally performed while the burner is operating. Move the control to the extreme left then back to the center operating position. Be prepared to relight the burner as the cleaning will often extinguish the flame.

Burner Operation

Fill tank approximately 3/4 full with denatured ethyl alcohol using a funnel. Replace cap and tighten snugly.

Pump 15 to 20 times to pressurize tank.

To operate, burners must be preheated. Open the burner by moving the control three pushes to the left. This will allow liquid alcohol to flow from the burner. Close the burner afetr about three seconds by pushing the control back to the extreme left. About two tbsp. of alcohol will have flowed from the burner and run down into the indentation in the cup at the base of the burner.

With the burner still off, ignite the alcohol in the priming cup.
When the priming alcohol is completely consumed, open the burner control and light the vaporized alcohol at the burner cap.

Caution: FLARE UP may occur during preheating and particlularly if burner valve is opened before preheating is completed, and burner is not hot enough. Follow starting instructions carefully. If flare up occurs, shut off burner , allow flame to go out, then preheat again following instructions above.

Do not put cooking utensils on stove until burners are functioning properly.
When finished cooking, turn off burners and release pressure in tank by loosening filler cap.

IN CASE OF FIRE--
USE WATER TO PUT OUT ALCOHOL FIRES. SMOTHER GREASE FIRES OR USE A CLASS B FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Quote:
Helpfull Hints for Operation and Maintenance of Your Alcohol Stove

1) To Obtain maximum performance from your new stove it is extremely important that you use a quality grade denatured (ethyl) alcohol free from impurities or 91% iso-propyl alcohol stove fuel (not rubbing alcohol) containing less than .03% by weight non volitile matter.

The majority of stoves returned to us for burner service are clogged from impure alcohol.

2) A properly operating burner will have a blue flame, with several rows of little flame tips. There should not be a yellow tip on the flame. The air-fuel ratio of the burner maybe adjusted for ost efficient operation. With burners lit, hold burner flange with a pair of pliers and rotate flange until the yellow flame tip is eliminated,see figure 1**

3) A Burner operating properly will boil two cups of water in a 2.5 qt (6.5 inch), uncovered saucepan in seven to nine minutes.

4) If you notice a small flame where the control stem enters the burner, tighten the gland nut slightly until the flame no longer appears. This adjustment may have to be made after a few hours of burner operation, but then should require very little attention. see figure 1**

5) If the pump bounces back when you try to pump,or if the pump handle is pushed all the way back out after a pump stroke, the check valve at the base of the pump (13B) is defective and should be replaced. Order Part No H-1332.

6) If you pump, and get little or no pressure in the tank, the pump U-cup needs to be replaced. Order part # H-1233

7) If the burner lights properly, but goes out after a short time, you did not pump enough or your fillercap leaks.

8) If no alcohol comes thru the burner when you attempt to prime, you have no pressure in the tank, or a filter cogged by dirty alcohol. The filter seldom clogs but when it does your stove must be sericed by trained personnel.

USE WATER TO PUT OUT ALCOHOL FIRES
SMOTHER GREASE FIRES OR USE A CLASS B FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Hope this helps - otherwise, I can answer any specific questions you may have.
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Old 09-18-2007
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Perfect! That's what I needed. Thank you very much!
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Old 09-19-2007
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Alcohol is expensive, relatively low in heat value, and creates a lot of moisture inside the cabin. While it can be used safely (particularly in the non-pressurized Origo type stoves), I am not sure it is ideal any longer in small boats. Can you tell I had a couple of nasty flare-ups?

One advantage, of course, is that unlike propane, the vapours don't collect in the bilge. That is why you can take two course if you find alcohol unsuitable: You can convert the Homestrands in many cases to propane using barbeque "side burners" of 10,000 BTU and a "to code" installation, or you can do what I did and use a folding Coleman stove in the cockpit on a plank.

This, plus a barbeque, met all my onboard cooking needs.
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Old 09-19-2007
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We ran an alcohol stove for many years, and after a season of flare ups and strong fumes during the preheat, we took to preheating the burners with a propane torch. We got the self lighting torch tips, and spent 40-60 seconds heating the entire burner with it, then slowly opened the burner valve til it caught. No fumes and no open non pressurized alcohol fires (which are very difficult to see/deal with in bright light)

Although it meant having the torch on board, it was worth it. Also came in handy lighting the BBQ, and for melting rope ends as well.

I realize this means having a propane source on board, but careful use and keeping things in good condition, we had no problems with that.
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Old 09-19-2007
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"It actually worked very well, compared to current wick type alcohol stoves."

TB:
I think you left out part of that sentence or have a mistaken impression. If I had to finish your sentence I would have ended it by saying compared to modern catalyzed alcohol stoves, the older stoves were harder, more dangerous and put out less heat.

Over the past 40 years, I have owned and used both pressurized and non-pressurized (Origo type) catalyzed alcohol stoves. By comparason the Origo style alcohol stoves are much easier and safer to use (I get a discount on my insurance for having an Origo over propane) and put out a lot more heat. The way the Origo burner aperature and heat disperser is designed at least part of the flame is shaded so that you can see if there is a flame even in direct sunlight.

Jeff
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Old 09-19-2007
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Jeff,

I don't have direct experience with catalyzed alcohol stoves, but have many friends who do. With respect to you and others, perhaps I shouldn't have compared my pressurized alcohol stove experience to what I have read and what my friends have told me, regarding the catalyzed stoves requiring much longer cooking times over pressurized. One would assume this is due to a lower temperature heat source.

Regardless, the OP wanted instructions on his specific stove and I fully expected it would result in posters suggesting that he toss the Kenyon pressurized stove overboard and replace it with either an "Origo type", or propane.

For what it's worth (and as you know), I have propane and wouldn't consider any other type on my boat.
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Old 09-19-2007
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You know I keep hearing people who have never used them talk about slow heating time on Origo vs other stoves. Over the course of the evening, we did an experiment at a recent raft up. Using the same pan, no lid, and measuring cup and water from the same water jug, several propane stoves and my Origo. Using full heat on all stoves, the propane stoves averaged to just over 7 minutes 30 seconds to heat the water (if I remember correctly we were using 4 cups of water) to boiling (defined as the point at which 5 bubbles appeared on the bottom of the water or the first bubble broke loose from the bottom or rose to the surface), and the Origo averaged well under 8 minutes. It should be pointed out that several propane burners were measureably slower than the Origo while one propane burner was very noticably quicker than the others. This probably was not the most scientific experiment.

As to the heat output issue, Propane does put out more heat per pound than Alcohol. There is no doubt about that. But what is almost always ignored in these discussions is that the design of the burners between catalyzed alcohol and propane stoves, or pressurized alcohol for that matter are very different, allowing the catalyzed alcohol burners to put out similar heat to a propane stove.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Thanks for your clarification Jeff. I'll keep an open mind to catalyzed alcohol stoves in the future.
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Old 09-19-2007
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Valiente-

I do believe that alcohol fumes have the same tendency to collect in the bilge that propane does. The primary ingredient of denatured alcohol is ethanol, orC2H5OH, which AFAIK is heavier than the primary components in air (N2 andO2). Might want to check your basic chemistry textbooks again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
One advantage, of course, is that unlike propane, the vapours don't collect in the bilge. That is why you can take two course if you find alcohol unsuitable: You can convert the Homestrands in many cases to propane using barbeque "side burners" of 10,000 BTU and a "to code" installation, or you can do what I did and use a folding Coleman stove in the cockpit on a plank.

This, plus a barbeque, met all my onboard cooking needs.
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