Saturday, November 29, 2014

MSR Windburner – Three Things to Note

Here are three things that you should know about with the Windburner.

1.  Thermal Trip Mechanism.  This is a safety feature – and an improved one at that.

If your stove overheats, a very dangerous situation could ensue.  Recall that there is a canister of highly flammable gas directly attached to the stove.  To prevent overheating, there is a Thermal Trip Mechanism that shuts down the stove if it gets too hot.  Once the stove cools down, the Thermal Trip Mechanism can be reset in the field, and the stove returned to operation.  Overheating is not a common occurrence, but you should familiarize yourself with the reset procedure just in case. The ability to reset the burner in the field (instead of sending it back to the manufacturer) is a major improvement in this type of mechanism.
An MSR Windburner
The procedure is outlined in the instructions that come with the stove.  I will summarize the instructions here.  If you need to reset your stove, follow the instructions that came with the stove exactly; do not follow my instructions over those that came with the stove.
  • Wait five minutes for the stove to cool (with the valve closed of course).  
  • Detach the canister
  • Open the valve two full turns
  • Insert the tip of one leg of the canister stand into the air inlet in the burner column until it stops.  The little plastic flange on the leg will stop the leg at the proper place (see photo below).
  • Rotate the leg clockwise until you hear a click.  Rotating the leg will depress the brass jet inside the burner column.  
  • Close the valve.
  • Reattach the canister
  • Restart the stove
The little flange on the tip of the leg is sticking up above the rest of the canister stand in the photo above.
If you have to reset your stove repeatedly, there's something wrong, something potentially quite serious.  You'd best contact MSR as soon as possible.  NEVER use any stove if you hear the hiss of gas and the valve is closed.

2.  "Loose" pot cozy.  Now, by loose, I don't mean it's going to fall of and dash you dinner to the ground.  Nothing like that.

The pot cozy of an MSR Windburner, shown on the pot.
But if the pot cozy doesn't firmly affix to the bracket, it can slide up too far.
The pot cozy affixes to this bracket on the side of the pot.
If the cozy slides up too far, then the cup/bowl also slides up too far and becomes a royal pain in the neck to get off again.  I mean it is really a nuisance.  If your cozy has a problem, contact the MSR/Cascade Designs Customer Service Center for a free replacement.

UPDATE 7 January 2015:  MSR says that replacement cozies are in stock.  Contact the MSR/Cascade Designs Customer Service Center and request a replacement if yours is faulty.  There should be no charge.  For contact information, see:  http://www.cascadedesigns.com/MSR
If your cozy doesn't secure properly to the pot, MSR will replace it for free.
To replace, simply lift up the tab as shown, slide off the old cozy, and slide on the new one.
3.  Underburn. This is not an issue with the MSR Windburner per se but rather a situation that has long existed with any stove with a cavity beneath the burner surface.  Underburn occurs when there is burning underneath the surface of the burner.

Underburn is rare, and you may never encounter it, but you need to know how to correct it:  Turn off the stove.  That's it.  That's the corrective action.  Turn off the stove, let it cool a bit, and then restart the stove.

How can I identify underburn?  The below video shows you what under burn looks and sounds like.  Underburn occurs at 0:35 in the video.  Note that I shut off the stove immediately.  Underburn does NOT mean your stove is defective.  It just happens sometimes, and it's nothing to get worried about.

If you do experience under burn, simply shut the stove off and wait a minute or so.  After a minute has transpired, restart the stove.  The stove should now burn normally.  I can't imagine that it would, but if the stove for some reason goes into underburn again, shut it off, but this time wait longer before restarting.  Underburn most frequently occurs when restarting a hot stove.  Generally, you can prevent underburn if you wait a minute or so before relighting the stove.  You should NOT allow the stove to continue to burn if it goes into underburn.  The stove is not designed to operate with the flame inside the burner.
UPDATE 6 Feb 2015:  Regarding underburn, I consider the possibility of this occurring to be extremely low.  I did a test recently where I deliberately set up conditions that would be conducive to underburn.  In fifty attempts to deliberately induce underburn, I got just one occurrence.  It's worth knowing what to do (turn off the stove), but, bottom line, it'll probably never happen to you.  The chances of encountering underburn may be further reduced by using a match or lighter instead of a firesteel.

I hope you found this post useful.


MSR Windburner Posts
The item reviewed here was provided to me at no charge for the purposes of this review.  I am under no obligation to review this or any other item.  I am not compensated for my reviews in any fashion other than in some cases I am permitted to keep the item reviewed.  Given that I have well over a 100 backpacking stoves, a free stove frankly isn't going to buy anyone a good review.  Stove companies must measure up if they want a decent review here.  I am an amatuer stove blogger; I make my living elsewhere, in the IT field.  I fit blogging in as time permits.  Inasmuch as my income is derived elsewhere, monetary issues do not influence the reviews on this blog.  Yes, I do have advertisements on the blog.  I typically derive about $1.00 USD per day from the advertisements (last I checked).  This is a mere pittance and does not influence my reviews in the slightest.  Revenue from the advertisements goes toward hosting fees, stove fuel, and the like.  The blog is self supporting in that sense, and my wife is quite happy that I'm not using the family's income to run the blog, particularly given how tough the economy is these days.


  1. Hello Jim, I have a different issue with the cozy. It simply does not lock into place and slides DOWN. It was quite annoying when the cozy would slide down during burning, I never felt ok with letting the msr burn by itself without constantly looking if the cozy is in place.
    I bought my windburner a couple months ago, so I would assume it is already the new cozy (although bought it in EU, so I do not know how new the stock is). Have you experienced this ?

    1. Hi, plasmation,

      Sorry I missed this question earlier.

      Your cozy should not be doing that. I would contact either your retailer or MSR/Cascade Designs directly. You shouldn't have to worry about your cozy like that.

      As an interim measure, I know some guys who have used pliers to slightly (carefully!) change the prongs on the side of the pot so that it grips better. I don't know if that would be helpful to you in your situation.


  2. Hello Jim,
    I have a problem. There is no gas transmission to stove. How can I solve this problem?

  3. Jim, I just had the first problem occur with the thermal safety tripping. One thing to note for me was that I could not get the thermal trip to reset with simply rotating the leg in the hole. I actually had to depress the brass jet by putting the leg at an angle. Only this way would I get the jet to reset and allow the gas to flow again. Not sure if anyone else has experienced this, but worth noting for those that do.

  4. Just had under burn today. Had no idea what it was until I read this. Reset as explained. Also had the cosy issue and had to cut the cup off on a camp to enable the use of the stove. Very frustrating but glad I found this post. Cheers.

  5. I just fixed the same problem, after lending my stove to three people with faulty cookers who then did three lots of consecutive cooking. I used my penknife to depress the brass valve as the stand has long since disappeared. It clicked into place just like the manual said it should - as with the others, an unnecessary and embarrassing trip to the store was avoided


My apologies to real people, but due to Spammers I have to moderate comments. I'll get to this as rapidly as possible but do understand that I like to hike and there's no internet in the wilderness. Take care and stove on!