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Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter?
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Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:18:16 MDT Print View

I'm a diehard Alky stove user going between a Whitebox and a Trangia depending on conditions. I use white gas stoves when car camping. Lately I've been seeing videos promoting the old Svea123R but what I haven't seen is anybody melting snow with one. Just wondering - they are kindof cute.

Is it a competitive stove nowadays or is it a toy for backyard Youtube videos?

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:20:39 MDT Print View

Ha ha ha!! This is gonna be good.

(There are two kinds of people in this world: one type that appreciates the SVEA for all it's wonderful aspects and another that sees them as heavy, brass incendiary devices. Prepare to meet them.)

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:35:42 MDT Print View

You might be right about the two groups. The biggest complaint I've heard from 123-haters is relating some story of fireballs - always due to misusing the stove. I did read one story where the person waited until they were on top of Mt.Rainer to try their 123 and couldn't get it to light - which I chalked up to noob ignorance.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:39:51 MDT Print View

"Ha ha ha!! This is gonna be good."

Okay, I love my 123's (not the R version). But I rarely use them... maybe once a year, they are too heavy. But still my favorite stove.

Winter in the mountains and melting a lot of snow, then no. Get an MSR WG stove or WindPro II (invert the canister).

BTW, none of my WG stoves have ever turned into a bomb. Read the instructions and follow the instructions. Do the required scheduled maintenance and you will be fine.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 13:51:23 MDT Print View

"I did read one story where the person waited until they were on top of Mt.Rainer to try their 123 and couldn't get it to light - which I chalked up to noob ignorance."

Uh oh - that's about my story - except it was at Camp Muir at 10,000 feet in the snow - I couldn't get it to work - definitely noob ignorance

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 14:00:10 MDT Print View

They can put some heat out, but not up to speed I'd say for melting snow. As it is, winter gear is heavy enough. With that said, I collect stoves and have so many, I have to bring at least two to get some use out of them. Can't recall their btu rating, not that high, under 10,000, maybe 8,000?
Duane

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 14:03:42 MDT Print View

They ARE cute. I look at them on ebay sometimes, but I'm not a collector, and being realistic with myself, know I wouldn't actually use it.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
"too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 14:10:35 MDT Print View

I've heard the "they're too heavy" complaint too. But then I watched a YT video where a fellow showed that the SVEA123 was actually lighter than one of the popular white gas MSR stoves.

BTU output might be an issue, but I've no experience using a 123 at all (certainly no experience melting snow with one).

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 14:27:14 MDT Print View

OMG, you totally want one.

Don't waffle around, just buy the SVEA and don't come back here complaining about the herniated discs and third degree burns that are sure to follow. Polish it, nightly, with Brasso cloth and bring a bota bag on the trip. Live it!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 15:29:41 MDT Print View

Svea 123 at around 18 oz has a built in 5.6 oz fuel tank.

An 11 ounce fuel bottle (need for MSRs) is around 3 ounces.

Approx weights w/o fuel bottles

Whisperlite Intl = 11
XGK = 13
Dragonfly = 14

So, yes the MSRs WG are lighter than the 123, even with the small fuel bottle that carries double the fuel.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 16:00:45 MDT Print View

The Svea 123 is a great stove, but it works by thermal feedback. The heat from the flame warms the gasoline in the tank which then vaporizes, pressurizing the tank and forcing fuel up the burner column to the burner. It can be hard to get them to good operating pressure in cold weather. They used to sell a small pump which could assist in such conditions, but those pumps were discontinued long ago. In addition, the Svea 123 has a little bit lower BTU output than pressure stoves like a Whisperlite, Nova, Simmerlite, XGK, Dragonfly, or Omnifuel/OmniLite.

All that to say, the Svea 123 wouldn't be my first choice for snow melting.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 16:20:10 MDT Print View

Watch this YT video - skip ahead to 3:40 where he weighs a Whisperlite and a 123 - the 123 is lighter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUihCydKhBQ

"Heavy" is the most misused term when referring to the 123 - it isn't heavy at all compared to the popular white gas stoves.

Like I said in the OP, I'm an alcohol stove fan. And the Trangia burner works very well in the cold. But I suspect that the 123 puts out a lot more BTUs than any alky burner and therefore should be better for snow melting. Other than being cute, I really like the apparent simplicity of the stove design - nothing to break. But I don't have any 1st hand experience with a 123 - so talk is cheap.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 16:22:08 MDT Print View

I've still got a bota. I would imagine it is still good.

Michael Ray
(thaddeussmith) - F
Re: Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 16:26:17 MDT Print View

I carry a Dragonfly and cut my weight elsewhere. Mostly, I do it to make gram weenies' heads hurt.

"He uses a small sleep pad and cuts his toothbrush, but carries a Dragonfly???"

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 17:12:28 MDT Print View

"Watch this YT video - skip ahead to 3:40 where he weighs a Whisperlite and a 123 - the 123 is lighter."

Not comparing apples to apples. Looks like a 20oz fuel bottle on the MSR. Also don't need the repair kit. He didn't include the MSR windscreen and base either.

My MSR Whisperlite WG with 11 oz bottle, pump, windscreen, and jet cleaning tool weighs right at 16 oz.

My 123 weighs 18 oz including the cup/cover. This includes the jet cleaning tool/wrench.

The 123 is the pre "R" model. The MSR circa 1980 has the yellow pump.

I still like the 123 better, even if it is heavier. FIW, I usually use a Caledera Cone system or a WindPro II.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 17:40:09 MDT Print View

Get one and try it out. They are still pretty popular and have the cool factor with the brass. If getting one, be sure it says "made in Sweden". The external pumps can be bought on the bay of evil or aftermarket pumps (not as nice) thru A&H Enterprises in southern Calif. There is the mini pump, a straight pump, then the angled one called a midi, it will work on the 123 when the windscreen is in place. The midi may only be available if in stock from Basecamp in the UK.
Duane

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
How to keep the brass from coroding? on 05/02/2013 18:12:37 MDT Print View

Is there something special you must do to keep the brass from corroding? I live in a moist climate.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: How to keep the brass from coroding? on 05/02/2013 18:31:06 MDT Print View

The brass doesn't corrode, it just gets tarnished at least in the 4 decades I've owned mine. Maybe it would corrode if exposed to salt water. I've never used the pump, don't see the need -- even in cold weather -- just takes practice.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: "too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 18:54:48 MDT Print View

Too heavy?? Well, it might be an ounce heavier. Generally it is comparable to any white gas stove on the market after a week of running it. It is lighter than Alcohol and canisters at about two weeks. It runs at about 3x the efficiency of a Whisperlite. Someone said it has a 5.2oz fuel tank. You should NEVER fill it that full or you won't get it to run very well. Fills should be done to the bottom of the fill cap while level. Otherwise expansion, due to heating, may be too touchy to regulate properly. It makes for a very noisy stove. Even the manufacturer says it is a 4oz tank. Since it eliminates the pump, and associated mechanism, there is only 3 moving parts: valve, cleaning needle and fill cap. Very low maintenence with high reliability.
Specs from Optimus:
Average boil time for 1 L of water
~ 7 min/1 l water, depending on climate, altitude etc.
Average burn time
up to 50 min on one filling (0.12 L/4 fl. oz) at maximum output
Dimensions (cm)
10 x 13
Dimensions (in)
3.9 x 5.1
Fuel type
White gasoline
Output (BTU)
4780
Output (W)
1400
Weight (grams)
550
Weight (oz)
19

Note that the weight includes a ~2.5oz cup.

I have tried many stoves, commercial stoves and home made ones. Tuning is important on a SVEA. I use a ~40 year old 123r. It has a self cleaning needle so it maintains a clean jet under most conditions. Maybe a teaspoon full of sand in it could clog it, but it does not clog up easily.

For winter use it totally depends on the size of the group. For one or two people, it is perfect. Back in the 70's we used it for ice fishing in our little pup tent shelter (Covered with a sheet of plastic.) We could hold 50F with it on med/low at temps of -10F. It would burn about three-four hours on low. My brother and I would typically drink hot coffee laced with Drambui from snow melt since we were often too lazy to hike a 100yards to the nearest hole to get water.

The pumps are almost manditory in temps much below 20F. Though, a double prime works to get them going. It helps to put a pad under them. On HIGH, you get about 8L per 4oz. On low, you get about double that.

Depending on how many people (I had a family of four) it can be a bit too small. But I have cooked breakfast (bacon, eggs, and fried bread, in lieu of toast.) It will handle a 12" frying pan full of trout, but the flame spread is fairly narrow. An 8" pan works better.

You can adjust the flame from around ~500BTU to ~4700BTU. Simmering and cooking are fairly easy with this stove. It makes an excellent heat source for simmering.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
"too heavy" is a funny notion on 05/02/2013 19:38:59 MDT Print View

I've only been collecting stoves the last three years and used a 123 in the field maybe 3 times now. Nick is correct, the pump may not be needed, I haven't used the pump when out, just a few times on my 8/8R's. They will take off (pressurize) on their own within a few minutes after being primed and started, I've never used one at altitude or in the cold. One of my 123's was used a year ago snow camping close to home, ran fine, temps were mild. The stove seems to fetch a higher price when teamed with a pump, especially a Optimus pump.
Duane

Don Morris
(hikermor) - F
Svea123 and snow melting on 05/02/2013 20:05:35 MDT Print View

I always learn something when I drop in to this forum. Wish it had been in existence years ago when I met my first Svea/Primus gas stove to tell me that the stove is not good for melting snow. We were melting snow on a winter attempt (which didn't get very far) of Longs Peak. I continued to use it for that purpose for several more winters. If I had only known.......

I will admit that more recent stoves are superior. I remember when I met my first MKG (the first assault stove).

Edited by hikermor on 05/02/2013 20:06:56 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/02/2013 22:34:09 MDT Print View

Oh, they really do have a following. And thye are so shiny.

Limitations: rather low in power compared to modern stoves. The Optimus 8R, another classic, is the same.

Cheers

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"TRUE" SVEA 123 users on 05/02/2013 23:41:27 MDT Print View

"True" 123 users own a SIGG TOURIST cook kit/windscreen. Most of us also own a pump & mating fill cap.

1. pump it up
2. crack the valve until the circular depression around the stem fills with white gas and TURN OFF THE GAS
3. light the white gas
4. when the flame is nearly done quickly turn the stove on and VOILA', a nice flame
5. wait until the flame turns blue and roars - now cook yer food

Hell yes it will work, noisily but very dependably.

P.S. -> I've read some other posts below and it seems they didn't bother to look at my STEP #2 and #3 or they would not have asked the priming questions.

Edited by Danepacker on 05/21/2013 15:55:18 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/03/2013 05:25:54 MDT Print View

For overall efficiency, you want to maximize heat transfered to the pot. The most efficent I could ever do was about 4quarts per ounce. But, this typically took more time and strong winds would interfere. Field conditons are MUCH different. I expect closer to 3quarts per ounce in the field at about 13 minutes per quart. On HIGH you can expect 2 liters per ounce. I will note here that these specs are under rated by at least 20% or are WORST case tests, indeed 90% of campers will do better out of the box. (I bought three of the newer verions for the kids, all did better.)

Heating Power vs Efficiency is a typical trade off. Higher powers, such as with the XGK, will boil quicker, but the efficiency suffers. (Liters and quarts are very similar in size.)
http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/stoves/rapid-cooking/xgk-ex/product
The boil time is WAY faster at 3.5 minutes per liter. BUT, you only get 1.5 liters per ounce! These are true ratings but are BEST case tests, typical for MSR products. I used this stove a couple times, but like the old Simmerlite, Nova, and Whisperlite, could not cook on it, it burns too hot and went through a LOT of fuel.

Note that these have similar burner styles. Again, for winter use, I would choose the SVEA for groups of two. For larger groups, up to four, I would choose the XGK or similar higher output stoves. Don't get tied up thinking I am married to a SVEA. I have been searching for a replacement since I got the bloody thing. It alwys struck me as being rather primitive. But, it is just the lightest stove for the cooking I do, the lenghth of trip I am usually on, and has a small volume including fuel. Even esbit does no better, and fares MUCH worse in colder conditions. Alcohol is just hugely inefficient with fuel. Canisters fare no better than alcohol, except for the on/off valve. Being carefull with fuel, I can make a 10oz weight of fuel last 2 weeks with the SVEA, boiling water twice per day and cooking. The STARTING weight is all I am interested in, because my weight invariably reduces as I go. It has low emmisions, does not soot up pots, and, has super reliability and durability.

Having high power outputs I see as a detriment. Others feel differently. I don't consider waiting an extra 4 minutes for coffee that important.

For winter use, yes. It is still a viable stove. It depends on your group size, though.

It does polish up very pretty, but I havent done mine in a few years. I'll have to do it before tommorrows trip... It makes a good reflector for the tea light candle when filling out my log.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/03/2013 08:58:12 MDT Print View

Good points. I'm not looking for efficiency when snow camping, burning a little extra fuel is no big deal as most trips are one night, out solo. Good point also about not being in a hurry for water to boil, that's why I make coffee now the last couple years, to slow myself down, I don't need to get home so fast. The 123 is pretty, even without being shined up. Winter is time for a roarer burner when solo at least. The old MSR's throw the heat out, and I love that noise.
Duane

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Heavy on 05/03/2013 09:07:25 MDT Print View

I don't use mine any more because of the weight. The fact that there are other stoves that are as heavy or heavier is moot to me since I consider them too heavy as well.

I may use it again sometime, but more for sentimental reasons.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: How to keep the brass from coroding? on 05/03/2013 09:08:59 MDT Print View

The Trangia burner is brass. I have one that is pretty badly corroded and I don't understand why exactly. Seems like I must've stowed up against something moist. Some pretty heavy, deep, green crud formed that pitted the metal pretty bad.

I was wondering if there was some special way folks kept their 123's pretty for 40+ years.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Svea123 and snow melting on 05/03/2013 09:38:16 MDT Print View

When I first started pondering a 123 it was more of a curiosity. I remember folks having them back in the 70's, but I'd never played with one myself. I'm starting to get interested in winter camping again and started thinking about picking up a white gas stove.

I'm really hooked on simplicity. I've had my fill of iced-over burner rings, frozen collapsed pump cups, fuel caps that cant be removed without a visegrips, broken plastic thingys, parts lost in the snow, etc. The 123 is appealing to me precisely because of the simplicity of the design.

If a guy doesn't mind carrying a truck-load of yellow HEET bottles, a suitably sized alcohol burner would work fine as a snow melter.

I dunno, maybe I'm over-thinking this. Maybe I should just buy one and start posting YouTube videos :)

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Svea123 and snow melting on 05/03/2013 11:04:21 MDT Print View

Well, if simplicity is what you're after, the Svea's your stove. It has very few moving parts.

It doesn't have the best wind resistance, and as I say it works by thermal feedback and can therefore struggle in cold weather, but it's a great design and a fun little stove.

Here's a video I shot of me priming/operating mine:
Svea 123 Demo

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Svea123 and snow melting on 05/03/2013 11:32:08 MDT Print View

I have an old 123 and an 8R hunter (got the 8R real cheap at an attic sale.) I typically used the 123 with the pump for most of my multi-night backpacking trips back in the 80's/90's, but would use a kerosene flavored XGK for my winter trips. I also remember always using the little pump for the Svea and "Fire Ribbon" for the XGK. Pump was great because it not only pressurized the stove a bit, but nicely fed the white gas up into the lip for an easy prime.

Nowadays, I use Jetboil and/or Coleman Powermax (sigh) more often than not, but I a get a nostalgic feeling with these old stoves. There are clearly many other snazzier stoves out there, but I only get the "classic car association" from the Svea stoves. And they still work quite well. The one that I'd always wanted to try out was the Optimus 00. I remember the "00" always had incredible specs listed on the REI stove cutsheets when I worked there, but it had not been sold there for years. If you are looking for something simple for winter, that one might be of interest.

I think it's awesome performance specs were due in-part to the kerosene it liked to consume, if I recall.

Good luck!

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: How to keep the brass from coroding? on 05/03/2013 11:41:21 MDT Print View

Bras is not corrosion proof, like stainless, for example. The green is usually caused by oxidation of the copper. The tin goes, too. Brass is highly corrosion resistant, though. Aluminum is far worse with salt & water. Even stainless will corrode with the right chemicals. Hard to tell what it was exposed to. Generally fresh water has little effect on it. I usually leave it tarnished a bit and wipe it off with a little olive oil (usually spilled) once or twice a year.

As I said, the bottom makes a fair reflector, so, this is usually polished clean.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: How to keep the brass from corroding? on 05/03/2013 14:52:24 MDT Print View

Get a big can of Brasso (brass polish) and an old polishing cloth.

The more you polish the brass, the more resistant to corrosion it becomes.

--B.G.--

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
OO on 05/03/2013 21:55:52 MDT Print View

I have a few of the 00 in my arsenal of stoves. Another nice stove. I think there has been an upsurge in collecting the old stoves, I have to pay quite a bit now to get a few more to fill in small gaps in my collection. Some I'm still missing they are so expensive. Just picked up a different embossed 8R today that I did not have, makes about 6 of the 8/8R's I have now, from the Hunter down to two 8's from the 30's.
Duane

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/04/2013 08:43:17 MDT Print View

Just one last question for 123 users - it is sensitive to the fuel used? Regular unleaded fuel will clog Coleman stoves - simply because of the generator (fuel vaporization method) design. It is just something you learn to fix when you get home. Coleman fuel runs about $13/gallon nowadays, so there is great temptation to use automotive fuel.

But the SVEA 123 vaporizes fuel differently (basically squirting it against a super-hot plate), so I'd think it would be fairly immune to all the funky additives in today's gasoline.

How about it 123 experts? Does the 123 digest unleaded gasoline?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/04/2013 16:21:44 MDT Print View

Modern UNleaded fuel is not as bad as the old leaded fuel, but there are other quite toxic additives in IC engine fuel. You would want to use the stuff outdoors, and stay upwind.

Cheers

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/05/2013 19:38:25 MDT Print View

But the SVEA 123 vaporizes fuel differently (basically squirting it against a super-hot plate), so I'd think it would be fairly immune to all the funky additives in today's gasoline.
Well, not really. The vaporization is occurring before it hits the jet, in the burner column. The unleaded gasoline will leave behind deposits in the burner column/generator and jet. With the "R" model of the 123 (with the built in pricker in the jet), you should be able to get away with it fairly well, but it's always cleaner to burn white gasoline, and the life of the components will be extended.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Fuel storage of Coleman fuel/white gas vs auto gas on 05/05/2013 20:04:33 MDT Print View

Another big concern is Coleman fuel will last for years if stored in a metal, sealed container due to the preservatives added to it. Stories are always being told about old gas appliances being fired up on old fuel after they had been put away for years. Auto gas will not last that long. Plus, as was mentioned, the noxious fumes auto gas would leave when burned.
HJ, I'm catching up to you on the # of stoves I have.
Duane

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/05/2013 22:16:10 MDT Print View

Um, that doesn't make sense. The SVEA vaporization has to take place after the jet - that's the reason you hear the pulsing. That is also the reason that people report being able to use auto fuel without problem - the fuel isn't being "cooked" in a generator tube (Coleman design flaw).

But I might be wrong..

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/05/2013 22:41:41 MDT Print View

Well, try turning one down really low some time after it's fully warmed up. You might have to have the original version of the Svea 123 (without a cleaning needle -- the original version had much better flame control). You'll see the flame diminish to nearly nothing and that the fuel isn't even striking the flame spreader plate anymore. The vaporization is accomplished in the generator/burner column, before it ever reaches the jet.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/06/2013 06:30:56 MDT Print View

My understanding for the pulsing is because the wick may be stuffed up in the end of the vaporizer too tightly, causing a lack of sufficient fuel being fed.
Duane

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/16/2013 15:37:50 MDT Print View

Well I've got one on order. It is going to seem strange with a little pulsing blow torch after so many years of nothing but Alcohol stoves.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/16/2013 16:19:14 MDT Print View

Hi Zorg

Sorry, but no.

Liquid fuel may come out of the jet when it is starting up (priming), but then the stove gets hot and it's all vapor coming out.
The pulsing is oscillation in the pipe leading to the jet. The wick should reduce that a bit.
And the fuel does not get 'cooked' at all - just vaporised.
Seems there may be some myths running around out there. Happens.

Cheers

Dan S
(nunyabiznes32)

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 05/16/2013 16:20:20 MDT Print View

Used a SVEA 123 for years, in all conditions. Never failed. Its biggest plus is that it doesn't require any pumping, like other white gas stoves. Everyone's already stated the specifications and there are trade offs for the convenience (BTU and weight). I've switched to a Jetboil for winter outings, but I still have fond memories of being in the mountains with the sweet sound this blast furnace makes.

Edited by nunyabiznes32 on 05/16/2013 16:23:29 MDT.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/16/2013 17:41:57 MDT Print View

Thanks for the explanation :)

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Does automotive fuel clog it? on 05/16/2013 18:11:09 MDT Print View

Yes. There are additives (octane boosters, oxygenaters, detergents) in Auto Gas that will eventually plug things up with "varnish." WG doesn't have any of that stuff in it. Using WG after autogas will clean it out, but it may take a full tank run through it to work at 100% again.

If you are using Auto Gas for long term, add a bit (~10%) methanol, ethanol, or isopropynol to help clean out stuff. Even the 123R version can get badly gummed up after a few tankfulls of regular auto-fuel. Using the alcohol in the autogas will insure that deposits are washed out as quick as they are created. 10% toluene, or acetone will also clean it out In the US, most autogas has 10% alky, anyway, so it tends to keep stuff a bit cleaner. In other countries, you may still find leaded, with no alcohol added, auto-gas. So, this is mostly for those that travel world wide, anyway.

I believe everywhere has auto fuel, with a few exceptions like antarctica.

Edited by jamesdmarco on 05/16/2013 18:19:18 MDT.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
A question about fireballs - overheating on 05/19/2013 11:19:32 MDT Print View

So there are a few stories on net of SVEA 123's overheating and blowing the pressure relief.

Is the stove really that sensitive or did these folks screw up?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on 05/19/2013 11:29:41 MDT Print View

If you put a wide pot on it and a closed wind screen around it you can create a mini-oven that will heat the tank. The pressure then overwhelms the valve, and the growing flames deter any further efforts to shut things down.

You can accomplish the exactly same result with a canister stove.

Common sense goes a long way towards prolonging one's lifespan.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on 05/19/2013 11:43:44 MDT Print View

Not disagreeing that common sense should avoid problem, but

with SVEA, the way it works is you heat up the tank to get pressure for it to work so may be more likely to overheat

with canister you normally do not heat it up

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on 05/19/2013 11:54:35 MDT Print View

I'll bet there a more than a few folks who have inadvertently had a runaway canister from to "to tight" wind screen...

It's the correlation between "normally" and "common sense" that is sometimes missing.

"I didn't do Anything different, but it just wouldn't shut off...."

Edited by greg23 on 05/19/2013 11:57:50 MDT.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on 05/19/2013 17:45:26 MDT Print View

Thanks - I assumed that if there was a real problem with the SVEA 123 it wouldn't be so darned popular after all these years.

I was just wondering if it was sensitive to pot width as I intend to use a wide tea kettle most of the time.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on 05/19/2013 22:13:32 MDT Print View

"Is the stove really that sensitive or did these folks screw up?"

Follow the instructions and maintain it and it will never fireball or overheat. Buy some gaskets for the cap and replace periodically.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on 05/19/2013 22:26:27 MDT Print View

The only Svea that I saw burst into a fireball was the fault of its owner. He had no idea at all of how to prime it. A little experimentation at home helps.

--B.G.--

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on 05/20/2013 06:42:10 MDT Print View

Well, this involves a piece of physics when you use the stove.

You do NOT actually apply heat to the tank, except as needed to prime the expansion chamber. The expansion chamber is the brass valve/burner assembly on top of the stove, there really is no expansion chamber, except in function. This heats the WG to evaporation (boiling.) The pressure sends the fuel out of the jet to be mixed with air & burned, AND, sends pressure back into the tank. Temperature and pressure are directly related in a closed system, so, the pressure is condensed in the liquid fuel, warming it. This supplies more fuel to the "expansion chamber." It sounds kludgey, but it works quite well. In open air, no pot, no windscreen, the tank warms as much from this as well as conduction through the metal parts (a given.)

This is the same mechanism as boiling water. Note that steam is created near the bottom, then, as bubbles rise through the water, they disapear and are re-absorbed into the water, releasing heat. Another, perhaps better example: The capuchino maker on many small expresso machines supplies steam to the milk. This will warm the milk simply by the milk absorbing some steam.

Anyway, it only requires a small bit of combustion to do this since the heat causes some expansion forcing raw fuel into the "expansion chamber."

Overheating is typically caused by large pots over a SVEA while using a wind screen. The simplest solution is to pour a bit of water on the stove. I know, this is counter to pouring water on oil flames, but we are not dealing with liquid fuel, here. Rather fuel vapour that is being vented. The water will simply reduce the heat in the tank, reducing the amount of vapour pressure, from overheating, being produced to vent out the safety valve. Hence, will pretty much reduce the stove output to normal conditions. The safety valve may stick, though. but it will eventually extinguish the stove, or, allow you to turn it off. Even the pot of water on the stove will be fine, boiling water is much cooler than the stove, IFF (if and only if) it overheats.

Did you ever boil-over a pot? It will put the stove out. I have done this several times, since I use a wind screen all the time. The stove will NOT explode. I recommend only low heat when using a wind screen. This is OK with me, since, lower heats are very efficient with fuel, anyway.

Generally, on low, fireballs cannot not happen. Even on 100F days in the sun, the stove will not overheat on low before you are done heating water. I have never gotten the stove to overheat with only a pot on top. Using a windscreen can cause ANY canister type stove to overheat. Canisters of compressed gas are much more risky, since, they have NO safety valve, like a SVEA has. Compressed gas canisters under the same conditions can explode, the SVEA will simply vent excess pressure, preventing the explosion.



You have to really misuse the SVEA to vent the safety. It is not recommended to use a wind screen, I do anyway. Knowing the parameters for any stove is the key to safe operation.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
A question about fireballs - overheating on on 05/20/2013 11:29:13 MDT Print View

I've heard of one guy who primed his 123 by just pouring some fuel over the whole stove, of course after numerous times doing this, his stove was black. Like cold canister fuel, you can heat the tank/fount on the 123 to create some pressure, then light, or use the pressure to push some fuel out to use as primer.
Duane

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on on 05/20/2013 11:51:30 MDT Print View

There is a small indentation on the top of the tank where the stem to the burner connects (priming bowl). You need to put some fuel there and then light it. If your timing is perfect, when you open the fuel key just as the priming flame extinguishes, it will ignite the burner.

Some people carry a small eye dropper and pull fuel from the tank and place it in the priming bowl.

Some people carry a small bottle of alcohol and fill the priming bowl with this.

Some people place fuel paste in the bowl.

Some people light a few pieces of scrap paper and hold the stove over this until the tank builds pressure.

The instructions say you can cup the tank in your hands to warm the tank, then open the fuel valve and WG will dribble down into the priming bowl -- this has never worked for me.

And then there are those who douse the entire stove with WG, throw a match on it and run away :) .... probably the same people who light campfires by dousing the wood with fuel.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
wooo-hoo Buddy! This is fun! on 05/20/2013 22:33:11 MDT Print View

My wife told me my "weirdy stove" arrived (A little sooner than I thought). Way down in the corner of this big, lonely cardboard box was this little stove. Pretty un-exciting packaging and instructions - written in 4 languages all of which say the same: fill, prime, light, enjoy and don't burn up. I like that.

So I filled it, primed it by warming the tank with my hands until it gurgled up some fuel which I then lit and let it burn down. Then I lit it and away it went.

Not sure why folks say it is noisy - it isn't compared to other white gas stoves. Yes it is noisy compared to my alcohol stoves, but then so is most everything.

Boiled water like it is supposed to, and it simmers really well. I can get it down to below the level of boiling water and it stays there (it was pretty breezy). I'm going to use it with the Optimus Weekender HE .95L pot, (when it arrives), to make the most of the limited BTU output of the little guy.

The key is stupid, so I moved it almost immediately.

Cute little bugger - I can see how folks fall in love with them. It is so simple that it has just got to be reliable, and that is of utmost importance to me. I wanted white gas for the cold-weather BTUs, but the MSR stoves kind of turn me off because of the bits & pieces. There just isn't much to go wrong with the little SVEA 123R.

Wish I had picked one of these up earlier in life.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: wooo-hoo Buddy! This is fun! on 05/21/2013 03:12:57 MDT Print View

You just outlined why I use the stove: Reliable, durable, simple, and efficient.

The key is usefull for field maintenence besides controlling the valve. It is certainly possible to use it without, though...never had a problem in the field in more than 40 years of use.

It is a bit heavy for the BTU output, but, that also makes it very efficient with fuel. My thought was to revamp the old design using totanium for all except the valve/jet assembly. The weight would go down a LOT. But the origonal is a very compact heating system.

Add a wind screen, but be carefull with the heat radiated down to the can. It can get quite hot if you don't watch it. On low this is perhaps the most effecient stove available.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: A question about fireballs - overheating on on 05/21/2013 05:37:07 MDT Print View

> there are those who douse the entire stove with WG, throw a match on it and run away

And there are those who open the valve slightly and stick the stove in the campfire until it is roaring.
I kid you not. We stayed a long way away though.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Last Question - really on 05/21/2013 10:13:52 MDT Print View

Just one more question and then we can let this thread die. Do you need an insulating pad under the stove on the snow, or does it work better without one? I'm wondering if the little bugger will run if the tank is heatsinked? I.e. is it ok running on wet ground or does it need to be sitting on something dry? Thanks for your help folks and I hope this thread is helpful to someone else considering one of these stoves.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Last Question - really on 05/21/2013 10:29:58 MDT Print View

If the snow is cold, then it has the effect of slowing down the pressurization of the Svea fuel tank. A good platform can be fashioned from a piece of plywood or Masonite. It doesn't have to be a fantastic insulator, but a stiff platform like that is very helpful.

For wet ground, it will work without any platform. OTOH, a piece of aluminum foil underneath it might help.

--B.G.--

Paul Ashton
(PDA123) - F

Locale: Eastern Mass
snow use video on 05/21/2013 16:23:58 MDT Print View

This a good video of using a SVEA in snow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUihCydKhBQ

I have a SVEA 123 and think it is great for solo use in any weather. My work colleague who doesn't count any mountain under 6K metres, laughed when I showed it to him. He thought it "wimpy" and inadequate for snow melting for a climbing team of 3 or 4. He uses an MSR NGK.

Edited by PDA123 on 05/21/2013 16:28:49 MDT.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Strange example of cold-weather capability on 05/22/2013 14:39:29 MDT Print View

The tank of the stove is frozen in a block of ice. The guy primes it and it lights right up. Interesting use of a wick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOdM5Ej-iZo

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Last Question - really on 05/22/2013 17:33:26 MDT Print View

> Do you need an insulating pad under the stove on the snow, or does it work better without one?

I always use a small bit of light 3-ply under my stove in the snow. It prevents the snow from melting and allowing the stove to fall over!

Cheers

Craig Rowland
(craigr) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 09/28/2014 17:19:51 MDT Print View

This is an old thread, but I was looking up what people were now using for winter camping and came across it.

First, I'll say I'm the guy in the videos that several people linked to reviewing the Svea 123R:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUihCydKhBQ

Just to clarify, I do use the Svea 123R for winter camping from time to time. It is plenty fine for melting snow for 1-2 people. Any more than that I'd want either a second stove, or something with more output. I also use canister stoves for winter camping as they tend to be easier/safer to use in confined areas vs. any whitegas stove.

All these stoves have pluses and minuses. For the Svea:

Pluses:

1) Extremely simple. It has one moving part: the valve.

2) The only part I bring for a repair kit is a spare cap in case the gasket on the operating cap is damaged or the safety valve were to activate. I also bring a wick, but I've never had to use it either.

3) The only reason the safety valve will activate is user error getting the stove much too hot. Don't surround it with a wind shield and it will be fine. If you can't touch the fuel tank without getting immediately burned, you are running the stove incorrectly and you should shut it off and allow it to cool.

4) Heat from the stove vaporizes the fuel. The fuel tank gets warm/hot during use, but should never be so hot that you can't hold your finger on it for a bit. The design is quite ingenious as it eliminates external pumps and maintenance.

5) It was made in Sweden where it's cold. So yes, it does work fine in the winter!

6) For an overnight or two, you can just use the built in fuel tank and not bring an external tank with you so you save weight/space
in your pack.

7) Very compact design and extremely rugged.

8) No heavier than an MSR stove when you include all the MSR extras you need with the stove like windscreen, spare parts kit, etc.

Minuses:

1) In very cold temps it can be harder to start. You need to give it a good hot prime to get it going. Maybe even two primes sometimes.

2) I carry a little 4x4" piece of foam I place the stove on if there is snow or a very cold ground. This foam weighs almost nothing and
can also double as a pot holder. The foam allows the stove to reach operating temperature and it will reliably burn even in cold weather no problem.

3) Heat output is not as much as an external pump stove like XGK. So if you are thinking very cold weather expedition or high mountaineering, the Svea may not be the best choice. Although it would still probably work, just slower.

4) I wouldn't use it inside a tent vestibule or near anything flammable just as I wouldn't any white gas stove. I also angle the release valve away from people just to be extra safe in case it were to activate.

Overall, I am drawn to simplicity of the Svea 123R when needed. Mostly I use an alcohol stove for three seasons and I'll even use alcohol for four seasons if I know I won't need to melt snow. Otherwise, I bring the Svea or canister stove.

But the Svea is not down and out and compares very favorably to modern pump stoves. In terms of weight, I think it is a wash once all the extra MSR bits are factored in. In fact, I trust the Svea more and unlike MSR stoves, I've never had the Svea spray fuel all over the place, throw a big fireball, or break due to a pump failure.

Hope that helps...

Edited by craigr on 09/28/2014 17:29:30 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 09/28/2014 17:35:34 MDT Print View

I agree with what Craig says about the SVEA 123 for winter use. It's viable for a 1-2 people. And/or as a backup or second stove in a larger group. I'll add that there is (was?) a little pump that aided priming it, especially in cold weather. Not necessary, but it made it all easier.

I also agree with Roger - a small piece of 1/8" / 3mm plywood makes a more stable and compact platform than a piece of foam. More heat resistant, too. PM if you need a piece sent to you, I keep a few sheets around at all times. It could potentially double as a handy cutting board (leave it home when in bear country in the summer).

A while back, we got into a discussion of a modern 123 from titanium. I looked at density, thermal conductivity, etc, and it appeared to be problematic - conducting enough heat downward while gaining the weight advantage of titanium. More likely to make aluminum work.

Craig Rowland
(craigr) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Gas canister folding legs work for the Svea... on 09/28/2014 17:40:36 MDT Print View

I finagled one of those foldout three legged gas canister stands to fit on my Svea. A little dremel would probably make it fit perfectly. So I carry that in my kit and it gives a 1/2" gap from the ground, stabilizes the stove, and lets it work on colder ground. Although the foam still works better directly on snow.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 09/28/2014 17:43:41 MDT Print View

"a small piece of 1/8" / 3mm plywood"

Another alternative is Masonite in this thickness. If you want to make the Masonite virtually fireproof, then cover it with aluminum foil. Then, even if you manage to dribble some white gas, it survives.

--B.G.--

Craig Rowland
(craigr) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Svea Pump on 09/28/2014 17:46:36 MDT Print View

Also, I did have a pump for my Svea 123R, but sold it as I never used it. I just carry a few coffee stirrers I use as fuel droppers. I dip them in the fuel tank and drop the fuel into the depression on the top of the tank. I then replace the cap and light the fuel. This always works for me to prime the stove even in some pretty cold weather.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
aesthetics on 09/28/2014 20:22:57 MDT Print View

I don't have once but find the 123 and Coleman all in one units (422 533 etc) to be strangely alluring due to their aesthetic qualities and drop dead functionality. I use mostly canister and alcohol stoves depending on the trip and have a white gas stove for cold weather (primus express lander vf) but would like to have a 123 and Coleman. I really appreciate the engineering and design even if inverted canisters arguably make them sort of obsolete.

Leland Fraser
(dgrman) - M
Old school cool. on 09/28/2014 23:51:18 MDT Print View

I'm just the same. I've got the Svea 123r, Coleman 550B and 533. Something about the look of these stoves drew me to them. Lovely combination of old school cool in the looks, simplicity and reliability. I'll acknowledge that a cold hard analysis of my needs would have me using alcohol or canisters, and I mostly this is what I do. But as you said there is something fascinating about these old designs.

Edited by dgrman on 09/29/2014 05:06:16 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Is the SVEA 123 still a viable stove option for winter? on 09/29/2014 06:52:03 MDT Print View

Yes, the SVEA 123r is a nice little stove and is especially usefull at higher altitudes. It works fine for solo or two person excursions. Dependible, rugged, and efficient. As efficient as any WG or canister stove on the market. (Typically, I get between 10-13g/L.) So far no one has mentioned the packing volume. It is very small to carry, about 2" less than a Nalgene bottle in height and around the same diameter, soo, it fits into a pack pocket easily.

I carry a small soda bottle for fuel. These come in several sizes making it easy to taylor them to the length of trip I will take. For short overnight trips, I often don't bring one, using a small straw(1-2g) to get priming fuel right from the tank.

A spare cap is made up from a piece of 12ga wire shieth or an empty pen ink casing. A small hole is drilled and the tube is warmed, then pushed into the cap. I used to glue it in but quit doing that because nothing really sticks to the plastic that well. The friction fit works as well. I leave about 1-1/4" sticking out to aid in priming and filling. I aim the tube down into the stove for priming. This also lets me recover extra fuel when I overfill it. It saves the mess and fuss of spilled fuel. A typical 12oz bottle of fuel, including the bottle and cap, weighs about 10oz.

The 123 works well at 10,000'. With the wind screen, it is possible to boil about 1L of water without popping the saftey. I use this all summer for my regular one and two week trips. (I'm retired so I get to go whenever my wife will drop me off somewhere, >60 nights so far...) I typically use about 10oz for two weeks at about 1.5-2L per day. I usually cook some sort of stew/soup/rice/pasta for supper. 29-30oz total starting weight for two weeks out. This is competitive with most at my usage.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
A wick around the stem improves priming on 09/29/2014 09:07:07 MDT Print View

I discovered that a short length of wood stove door gasket, (1/4" diameter from ACE hardware), really improves cold-weather priming. Tie it or wire it one at the base of the stem at the indentation. Use a straw to draw out some fuel and soak the wick.

And the stove definitely burns hotter if you keep the tank bottom off the snow. And if you are worried about popping the valve while using a big pot in the hot summer, let the tank sit in a pan of water, or in a puddle.

Love the simplicity. Love the shiny brass. But I've only used mine for 2 seasons, so I'll need to check back in 25 years.

Christian Edstrom
(bjorn240) - F

Locale: Westchester County
Svea 123/Snow Peak Trek 700 on 10/15/2014 06:36:05 MDT Print View

Quick SVEA 123 tip:

A Snow Peak Trek 700 mug fits directly over a SVEA 123 if you eliminate the supplied cup. This provides a compact, practical and self-contained white gas option for cold winter trips where canister stoves aren't ideal.

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
Re: A wick around the stem improves priming on 10/15/2014 17:05:48 MDT Print View

I got my Svea 123 in May of 1975... it's still going strong!

I just douse the spirit cup with fuel and light her up.

I've used it at -20*F and 100+*F and it's always worked, and worked well.

Not as light or convenient as my Jetboil Ti, or as stables as my MSR Whisperlite Int'l, but it's a wonderful little contraption that has the other two beat in terms of sheer simplicity and long-term durability.

Edited by bradmacmt on 10/15/2014 17:09:58 MDT.

Jeffrey Wong
(kayak4water) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
1.5 cents on 10/16/2014 01:13:13 MDT Print View

I used to carry an eye dropper with me when I camped with the Svea. I'd open the fuel tank, fill half the eyedropper, close the tank, put the cage back on the stove, fill the spirit cup with the fuel from the eyedropper, light the fuel and I'd have almost an instant prime. The eye dropper doesn't weight much compared to the pump, which I had once and never used--I didn't know how the cage could fit with the pump installed--maybe you had to cut away part of the cage to use the pump.

Nowadays, I don't camp much where I have to melt snow. Alcohol and canister stoves cover me.

Christian Edstrom
(bjorn240) - F

Locale: Westchester County
Svea 123 on 10/16/2014 04:31:17 MDT Print View

I do the same, but carry a cut-off drinking straw. UL and all that! :)

bradmac mt
(bradmacmt)

Locale: Montana
eyedropper on 10/16/2014 07:26:19 MDT Print View

Jeffrey, I still use an eyedroppper (albeit a slightly oversized one) to prime the Svea... never did the pump thing, and never had an issue getting the Svea roaring to life, despite the temperature.