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M Stoves, Tents and Carbon Monoxide - Deadly or not? Supplement 1: The MSR Reactor

by Roger Caffin

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Article Summary:

In Part 3 of this series, a pre-production version of the MSR Reactor stove was tested and found to emit well over 1,000 ppm of carbon monoxide (CO) at low power. This is a potentially deadly rate of CO emission. In my opinion, the cause was that the air flow into the combustion space was being stalled, so that not enough oxygen was available for full combustion.

My results were sent to MSR shortly before the stove was to be released. At MSR's request, I sent the pre-production stove back to them so they could examine it. I was told by a representative from MSR after their examination that the pre-production unit I had been sent was not meant for actual use and testing: just for examination, and that the jets on it were wrongly set up. This had not been obvious when I inspected the jet region myself, but perhaps the design is very sensitive in this regard. I also have to question the whole idea of sending out slightly defective units meant just for looking at but not for testing: to me that is weird!

The release of the Reactor stove was then delayed while MSR considered the problem and what to do about it. Once they had decided on their course of action and implemented what MSR thought to be the appropriate modifications, the stove was released. In due course I was sent a production stove for repeat testing, and this testing of the production version is reported here.

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