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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a used Origo 1500 on eBay and timed it while heating some water last night.

I'm calling these results preliminary for a couple reasons. I didn't repeat the tests, so it's not terribly scientific. I only compared the Origo to my home stove, which probably isn't fair. And I think the Origo might not be burning quite right…

There's an odd alcohol smell when it's burning, and the flame is a bit orange. I've never heard anyone else mention a smell from an Origo, so I'm wondering if there's some dirt or something that's causing incomplete combustion. Here's what it looks like:


Does that look normal? How about the smell?

Anyway, my testing protocol was to bring a saucepan with 2 liters of water at 15ºC up to 95ºC. I used a standard cooking thermometer to measure.


I placed the probe so that it's about an inch off the bottom of the pan.


Hoo boy, the water is getting hot!


And only TWENTY-NINE FREAKING MINUTES LATER the water was up to 95ºC. Yikes.

So I did the same test on my Frigidaire stove on the 9500 BTU burner (I thought using the over-sized 17,000 BTU burner would be cheating).


The stove finished the test in 16:30.

Using my stove as a benchmark, the Origo is performing more like 5400 BTUs, rather than the 7000 BTUs they claim.

Again, this is preliminary. I'll clean the Origo up and see if I can get it burning cleaner, and I'll repeat the tests and get a camping stove into the mix too.
 

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I'm just not a fan of alcohol for lots of reasons you've already heard. That said, for your test to be valid, I assume you used the exact same pot? I'm not surprised by the results, however.

BTW, in real life, the only way to boil water is with the lid on. Makes a huge difference in time to boil.

I also don't think a higher BTU gas burner is necessarily cheating, it simply demonstrates how one can put more power to the job vs. alcohol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm just not a fan of alcohol for lots of reasons you've already heard. That said, for your test to be valid, I assume you used the exact same pot? I'm not surprised by the results, however.

BTW, in real life, the only way to boil water is with the lid on. Makes a huge difference in time to boil.

I also don't think a higher BTU gas burner is necessarily cheating, it simply demonstrates how one can put more power to the job vs. alcohol.
I did not use the exact same pot. I have two identical sauce pans and since I did the tests one right after the other I didn't want to use a pan that was already heated, so I switched to the other.

Agreed about the lid! The only reason I left it off for the test was because it didn't quite sit right with the temperature probe in there. But now I'm having second thoughts, without the lid the air movement in the kitchen could affect heating time. When I repeat the tests I think I'll try it with the lid on.
 

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Looks like you're got some incomplete combustion going on there Minnesail, as indicated by the orange flame. Could be a blockage, or perhaps the air mix is not right, or perhaps you've got some junky fuel? I bet you could improve on your test by getting a complete burn on the alcohol.

All that said, alcohol has a significantly lower energy density than all other cooking fuels. And b/c it is liquid, it takes a lot more storage space compared to propane. This was one of my reason for wanting to move to propane (I happily used a pressure alcohol stove for years).

Boiling a big pot of water is likely the only time you'd notice this lower energy density. Most cooking does not require this kind of sustained heating.
 

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I think the yellow flame is created by too much fuel. Try closing the port a little and see if you can get the yellow out. Then conduct the test again making sure:
1 same pot with lid.
2 start temperature of the water and ambient air is the same.
3 the thermo probe does not touch the bottom of the pan.
4 Don't use too large of a pan as the origo is intended for smaller quantity cooking on a sailboat.
I would be interested to see revised results.
John
 

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I think that you have gotten old fuel that may have picked up moisture as alcohol is prone to do. My results with the Origo is that it is pretty comparable to the normal marine propane stove burners (rather than the larger burner that is on some). We had done a similar comparison some years ago that I put up the results on one of the threads here at the time.

If you good fuel grade alcohol there is no smell at all.

Jeff
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think that you have gotten old fuel that may have picked up moisture as alcohol is prone to do. My results with the Origo is that it is pretty comparable to the normal marine propane stove burners (rather than the later burner that is on some). We had done a similar comparison some years ago that I put up the results on one of the threads here at the time.

If you good fuel grade alcohol there is no smell at all.

Jeff
The fuel is a brand new can of denatured alcohol "marine fuel," however the stove is used. Perhaps the stove came with some moisture in the fuel area? Or some dirt or something?

I'll fiddle with the stove to see if I can get it burning clean, and then post some more results.
 

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The fuel is a brand new can of denatured alcohol "marine fuel," however the stove is used. Perhaps the stove came with some moisture in the fuel area? Or some dirt or something?

I'll fiddle with the stove to see if I can get it burning clean, and then post some more results.
Yeah the Orange flame and odor indicates less than optimum performance. I love my Origo, I have both now propane and alcohol (two boats) and I have not noticed an appreciable difference in time to boil a kettle of water.
 

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I think that you have gotten old fuel that may have picked up moisture as alcohol is prone to do. My results with the Origo is that it is pretty comparable to the normal marine propane stove burners (rather than the later burner that is on some). We had done a similar comparison some years ago that I put up the results on one of the threads here at the time.

If you good fuel grade alcohol there is no smell at all.

Jeff
Had a free moment, so did some searching...

From http://www.sailnet.com/forums/194875-post8.html

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
Note that a rolling boil is probably a better threshold for accurately measuring performance.

There are a lot of threads here on alcohol stoves, like this one: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/5335-origo-stoves.html

It's fairly straightforward to search Sailnet using Google. Just use terms like this:
alcohol propane water site:sailnet.com
comparison alcohol propane site:sailnet.com​

Regards,
Brad
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Had a free moment, so did some searching...

From http://www.sailnet.com/forums/194875-post8.html

Note that a rolling boil is probably a better threshold for accurately measuring performance.
A rolling boil is a terrible threshold for any sort of scientific testing, because there's no definition of what a rolling boil is. You're not going to find a textbook saying it take X joules to bring Y grams of water to a rolling boil.

Jeff's method of waiting for five bubbles or one bubble to burst is better, but still not terribly accurate as it relies on nucleation points and so on. As he said:
This probably was not the most scientific experiment.
I'm trying to be at least semi-scientific about the testing (Do real scientists drink beer while working?), that's why I established a protocol of raising 2000 grams of water from 15ºC to 95ºC in a particular vessel.

Some people feel that Origo stoves heat slower than similarly rated propane stoves. Other people feel there's no difference. By testing a few different stoves under controlled conditions I hope to find out if Origo underperforms its BTU rating compared to other stoves.

There are a lot of threads here on alcohol stoves, like this one: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/5335-origo-stoves.html

It's fairly straightforward to search Sailnet using Google. Just use terms like this:
alcohol propane water site:sailnet.com
comparison alcohol propane site:sailnet.com​
Thanks for the remedial Google ;) Before I bought the stove I did search around a bit. I found lots of posts of people saying "Seems about the same to me" and lots of other posts saying "Nope, those Origos take forever to make coffee" but the closest to a semi-scientific analysis is that post by Jeff. I'm just hoping to get a bit more accurate than his test. Heck, I think half the reason I bought the thing was just so I could compare it to other stoves.

As I put in the subject line, this is just preliminary. I've only done one test on the Origo and one test on propane. So far it shows the Origo underperforming, but thanks to the Sailnet community we've determined that my stove isn't burning correctly, either from fuel contamination or something else. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold, windy, and cloudy. Sounds like a good day to stay inside listening to NPR and fiddling with water and stoves and temp gauges and timers! I'll report back with more definitive results.
 

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The reason I said I don't think it would have been unfair to measure against a larger propane burner is that one has limited choices to create more BTUs with alcohol than they do with propane. If you want more BTUs, faster boil times, etc, get a bigger propane burner.
 
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