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question Replacing alcohol stove with propane (scalliwag27)
Posted: 11:39:30 am on 9/22/2004 Modified: 11:40:27 am on 9/22/2004
 

After several flare ups my wife has told me that she has had it with the alcohol stove.  A friend has suggested replacing the original stove with propane.  Has anyone attempted this project or have any advice on the matter.

Thanks

Bruce Peever

  Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (davidww1)
Posted: 1:14:00 pm on 9/22/2004 Modified: 1:24:19 pm on 9/22/2004
 
If you'd asked me that question when you were at the island, Bruce, I could have shown you my conversion (done approximately for the same reasons you want to do yours). I'm going to describe it in numbing detail, mostly to hit safety points (marked as ) that were impressed on me by a friend who manufactures propane appliances.

I replaced a kerosene Kenyon stove with a Princess propane stove, a dual-sensor propane detector/tank solenoid and stern mounted bottle. I chose the Princess because it has a sensible number of safety interlocks , looks nice and is well-made and I got a good deal on it (reasons not necessarily in the order given). It didn't fit in the original hole, so I made a stainless steel plate to fit over the original hole and cut a Princess-sized hole.

I ran a well supported propane line from the galley to the stern with all mounting points protected from chafe , through a gas and water-tight gland to the solenoid/pressure gauge mounted on the pushpit stanchion (gland, line, solenoid, pressure regulator and joint sealing compound from Marine Gas Components. Originally, the gas bottle was permanently mounted on the stern with a Sunbrella cover (I didn't want to go to the trouble and expense of a proper vented internal locker), but it interferes with the backstay, so I only put it back there when it's needed. Normally, it lives in the anchor locker, which is vented overboard .

I mounted an ElectroSystems detector under the bridge deck, wiring it to the solenoid and to 2 gas detectors, one beside the engine and another in the locker under the stove. I chose this because it not only checks for propane in the boat before allowing you to turn on the gas, it monitors the areas continually and will turn the gas off at the bottle if it finds anything while you're cooking. They have one slightly less expensive that only sounds a horn, but having the gas off instantly is worth the extra $70 to me.

When the installation was finished, I had it inspected by a licensed installer who sent a letter to my insurance company. You have to tell them or they'll void your insurance and they are really twitchy about propane. I think the whole thing cost just over C$1,000, with the stove being the biggest piece at about C$500, followed by the detector at about C$350. This sounds kinda pricey, but it cuts away a lot of nervousness around lighting the stove, plus it does a first-class job.

David Weatherston
Towser, Toronto
C&C 27 Mk IV
  Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (Aragorn)
Posted: 11:59:10 pm on 9/27/2004 Modified: Never
 

To me , the safer, easier, cheaper alternative to propane is to convert your pressure Alcohol burners to pressure Kerosene burners. The change can be easily done with just a few basic tools, doesn't require a whole mess of sensors and detectors etc, and will probably produce about the same number of BTU's as propane.The tank, pump, etc. in your stove remain the same.
    Granted. you still have to use Alcohol to pre-heat the burners before lighting the Kerosene. but there is a very small amount of alcohol (~2 tsp.) involved in this operation so the safety issue isn't big.
    We converted our pressure alcohol stove to pressure Kerosene about 9 years ago and, at about $90 for the two new Kerosene burners, it looked like a bargain to me when compared to Propane @ $1000 !!!

  Clare Jordan - Aragorn

  Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (davidww1)
Posted: 9:47:40 pm on 9/28/2004 Modified: Never
 
It didn't seem relevant in the context of the original query, but we converted from kerosene, not alcohol (the difference between a pressure alcohol stove and a kerosene stove is in details of the burners plus the need to pre-heat the burners with a small quantity of alcohol before letting the kerosene flow; other than that, the stoves are indistinguishable). When the stove worked properly, it was great -- it actually cooked, rather than merely warming things up the way alcohol does.

However, despite careful maintenance of the burners and attentive pre-heating, we often found ourselves enduring kerosene flare-ups that, while not as dangerous as alcohol flareups, fill the boat with oily black smoke and demand a prolonged cool-down before you can try again.

Some people swear by kerosene for just the reasons given by Clare Jordan, and I was very sorry that it didn't work out because it's so much simpler in many ways. However, kerosene's fans obviously have a knack for lighting the burners. We didn't and the mis-steps were spooking our children, so we went to propane.

David Weatherston
Towser, Toronto
C&C 27 Mk IV
  Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (scalliwag27)
Posted: 10:17:06 am on 10/2/2004 Modified: Never
 

After reviewing all the literature, entertaining the collective wisdom of the 27 community and reviewing the bank account, I decided to buy a hot plate from Canadian Tire and plug it in to my new AC outlet.  Thinking it over, we use the stove primarily at the dock. Those times I'm on a long distance race or we're tied up on a ball in the 1000 Islands, the alcohol stove will suffice; especially if I clean it this winter.

Thanks for the assistance.

 

  Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (rsengland)
Posted: 11:31:08 pm on 10/2/2004 Modified: Never
 

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the non-pressure alcohol stoves, such as the ones from Origo.  I've had those on a couple of boats and they seem to me to be the ideal solution.

 

  Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (CCliett)
Posted: 10:29:49 pm on 10/29/2004 Modified: Never
 

I'll add my support to the post that found the Origo non-pressure-ized alcohol stove more than satisfactory.  I also have used one on a couple of boats and have no accidents or flare-ups.  I make toast, burn eggs, and boil water for my tea in three-to-five minutes (depending on how cold it is down below).  I do admit to following the instructions quite carefully. 

MkV on Thurmond Lake
exclamation Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (wbsmith)
Posted: 12:19:13 pm on 10/30/2004 Modified: Never
 

I solved two problems with this issue.  Because we mainly use our stove to make coffee or heat up soup or food on infrequent local/overnight trips, I just did not feel like messing with the pressurized alcohol or doing a conversion.  Also, we find storage space to be at a premium on our boat.

I removed the Homestead two burner pressurized alcohol stove (it is for sale!) and built in a shelf under the counter approximately 24x25x7 inches high.  It is now our pantry and holds can goods, etc. The microwave and Mr Coffee fit neatly above, and access to the pantry is by a lift cover similar to what is over the ice box.  I removed the worthless wineglass rack or whatever it was that formerly occupied space on the rear of the counter top.

For a stove I purchased a Force 10 single burner propane stove (about $100 USD)that hangs off a bracket mounted on the front of the same cabinet.  When not in use, the stove slips off easily for storage and the disconnected propane canister goes in the gas tank compartment (a segregated, externally vented compartment holding the gas tank for the outboard).  Because it is fully gimballed, we can prepare coffe, hot soup, or whatever while under way or at anchor.

Most of our cooking needs are met by the microwave, etc. at the dock with the help of shore power.  We spend a lot of weekends on our boat at the marina and mostly day sail.

Warren Smith
Serendipity
Galveston Bay, Texas

  Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (colinambler)
Posted: 2:28:59 pm on 8/26/2012 Modified: Never
 
My pressure-alcohol stove hasn't worked for a while now.  Desperately desiring coffee in the morning, I'm considering making the replacement/upgrade to this propane stove:

http://www.seawardproducts.com/2423.htm

My question, where does the propane hook up?  It seems the slide-in gimbaled setup doesn't leave much room for a tank hook-up.  And being the enclosed by stainless steal housing, it doesn't seem like a hose connection would be the method either.  Has anybody made this installation?

Colin Ambler
C&C 27 Mark V
Chicago, Illinois

  Re: Replacing alcohol stove with propane (davidww1)
Posted: 11:35:39 am on 8/27/2012 Modified: Never
 
There is almost certainly a flexible hose that passes through the enclosure, to connect with a line to a tank that is housed on deck or in a locker that vents and drains overboard. Having an integral tank would never be countenanced by UL.

Having a tank below-decks may be okay for one of those little single-burner swing-stoves, but even the little propane-torch 1-lb tanks they use should be stored in a draining anchor locker when not in use.

People fret about gasoline engines, but when I started researching propane for our boat, a friend who makes propane appliances impressed on us that propane is a gazillion times more dangerous. A safe installation is neither cheap nor easy; cutting corners will void your insurance and may even kill you.


David Weatherston
Towser, Toronto
C&C 27 Mk IV