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Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Kovea Booster+1 – Multi Fuel or Just Dual Fuel?

The Kovea Booster+1 stove is advertised as running on white gasoline (e.g. Coleman Fuel) and canister gas only – but I keep hearing that it can be run on other fuels like kerosene. I've even read reviews to that effect.

UPDATE 21 February 2017:  I have completed my full review of the Kovea Booster+1. My full review includes further information on alternative fuels (fuels other than canister gas and white gasoline).
The Kovea Booster+1 Dual Fuel Stove
So, I thought I'd try it.

I took my Booster+1 out the last three weekends and ran it on kerosene. Here's a video of one of my tests:































As I think you can see from the video, the Booster+1 can run on kerosene, but not as well as with fuels for which it was designed.  However, it's good to know that, in a pinch, one can run on kerosene.  To do so, one should be aware of a few things such as:

Priming
As with most liquid petroleum based fueled stoves, one must "prime" the stove, that is, one must burn something in the burner of the stove to preheat the "generator" before running the stove.  The generator is that portion of the fuel line that passes through the flame of the stove. The heat of the stove causes the fuel, as it passes through the generator, to turn from liquid into a vapor.  It is the vapor that is burned.  If the fuel enters the burner still in liquid form, you'll get a big sooty mess.

With white gasoline type stoves, one can prime with the stove's regular fuel.  White gasoline, when used for priming, does leave a bit of soot, but it's not too bad.  Kerosene is another story.  Kerosene is a big sooty mess to prime with.  One really needs to bring a little squeeze bottle of alcohol for priming.  One can use pretty much any clean burning alcohol for priming including ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol (methanol), or denatured alcohol.  Do not use isopropyl alcohol such as HEET brand sold in the red container (yellow container is fine) or the alcohol sold in drug stores as "rubbing" alcohol.  One doesn't need a lot of alcohol for priming, maybe 5ml (for white gas) to 10 ml (for kerosene) per prime.  Priming with alcohol is actually a good practice even with white gas since alcohol is so clean burning and is easier to control in terms of amount dispensed.  If you've ever allowed too much fuel to flow into the priming area of a stove, you'll know exactly what I mean by that last remark.

Get your stove good and hot before opening up the valve to let kerosene flow through to the burner.

Moderation
Once your stove is good and hot, you can open up the valve, gradually, and let kerosene start to flow to the burner.  Be ready to quickly turn off the flow if large yellow flames spring up.

Even when fully hot, one has to run the stove at a moderate level.  If one opens up the valve too far with kerosene, one will start to see little droplets of un-vaporized (i.e. liquid) fuel shooting out of the jet.  There just isn't enough thermal feedback in the stove to vaporize large amounts of kerosene.  One has to keep the stove turned down a bit for good operation.

Conclusion?
The Booster+1 is really a white gasoline and canister gas stove – but, with proper technique, kerosene can be made to work in a pinch. One must however have some kind of priming fuel in order to properly prime the stove.

Thanks for joining me,

HJ

4 comments:

  1. This stove looks very similar to the BRS-8.I can't see enough detail to make out whether it has a priming cup or not. I've got a couple of Optimus kerosene stoves and the instructions say to wait for the alcohol to almost burn out before starting the main burner. Even so, it takes a bit for the kerosene to really warm up the stove.

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  2. Hi, Bill,

    The BRS-8 appears to be a clone of the Kovea Booster+1. I've even seen BRS-8 boxes on the internet labeled "Booster+1". They clearly were not the genuine Kovea product.

    The (genuine) Booster+1 does have a priming cup. Basically, the bottom of the burner bell acts as a priming cup. There is a priming pad located there. I used a generous amount of alcohol in the prime, and I let the stove run for quite a while. It never completely eliminates the yellow tips to the flames. It's just not designed for kerosene. It'll do if that's all that is available, but you have to keep it set to a moderate level, and you can't simmer.

    HJ

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  3. I don't know if it matters, but there is another fuel that is somewhere between naptha and kerosene, paint thinner. Mineral spirits is less volatile than naptha, but more volatile than kerosene and it doesn't have much in the way of waxes or varnish in it. I wonder how it would do in a stove that isn't designed for kerosene, but kinda, sorta works with it.

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    Replies
    1. Bill,

      Thank you for the suggestion of paint thinner as a potential fuel. Someone else also pointed out that paint thinner would be in between gasoline and kerosene in terms of its characteristics.

      Based on your suggestion, I have revised the Alternative Fuels section of the main review. See https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2017/02/review-kovea-booster1-dual-fuel.html.

      HJ

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