Works As Advertised – Just Not Well

I had my reservations, but was curious. So I got this adapter that turns a regular 1 lb propane cylinder into a Lindal fitting of the kind for butane or butane / propane mix camp gas stoves.

This isn’t exactly the one I bought, but the same thing in design and function. (I got a cheaper one)

So it screws onto the propane tank and does not leak, as advertised. The stove attaches and gas comes out, as advertised. The stove even lights and runs, sort of.

As I’d thought might happen, the gas mix is just a bit too lean. At low flow rates it would be workable, but as the flow rate goes up, the flame separates from the burner head and floats higher and higher away from where it ought to be.

In an emergency it would be OK, I guess. A little bit of aluminum foil made into a strip and used to partly occlude the air input ports ought to make it work as usual with a proper mix.

So I’m not happy with it as it really is selling something that is highly unlikely to ever work well with any appliance that uses mixed gas and air. On the other hand, I’m not unhappy with it as it does just what I expected and does it as you would expect it to. I’ll get my $6 (for the cheapo one) of value out of it by playing with stove air mix holes just as entertainment value. Just don’t expect it to let you run the butane camp stoves on a cheaper fuel source.

There is a little butane ‘candle’ lantern like device for the Lindal valves. Basically a direct very small gas port, surrounded by a glass cylinder, with air flow. Since the gas doesn’t have a mixing stage, it just burns like a candle. I’d been thinking of getting one, but using that expensive butane fuel canister for a “Tech Candle” isn’t all that appealing. (They advertise them to campers as a way to use up the dregs in the canister when it gets too low to drive a stove at full power). Well, using one on the Propane would be Just Fine. So I’ll likely get one at some point.

When in college, in the ’70s, during the hippy movement; there was a fad of all the “earth first” types to have all sorts of candles in their room. In the dorms, they would put various pillar candles and such in the window, and walking down the hall you could see them if the door was open. Well, I took my propane torch, removed the burner head and the jet, and then just opened the valve a crack and lit the gas. Made a dandy “candle”. In a tech / Engineering kind of way. Well, I’d set that up on the window ledge and leave my door open. Folks (in tie-die shirts, long hair, smelling of ‘herbs’…) walking down the hall could be heard commenting on different candles. “Oh, natural bees wax!” “Oh, hand made!” “Oh, look at the colors!” then my door “Oh, look at the… what the… MURF!…” and I’d grin 8-)

So I could just get my torch out of the tool box and use it… ( Still have that valve body / stem…) But now I’m a bit more safety conscious and having a glass globe around it would be a feature. Run as a candle, I expect a can of propane would last on the order of a month… of full time use…

In Conclusion

So there you have it. Works exactly as you would expect and does what they say it will do; but not very useful.

Subscribe to feed


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Emergency Preparation and Risks, Energy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Works As Advertised – Just Not Well

  1. Sera says:

    If you have a lantern mantle, try wrapping it around the burner head. Did you try both of your mini stoves?

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    I have some mantle lanterns, even a very nice Primus one for Propane. The idea of buying the “candle” lantern is for the ambiance effect … and the “strain” between industrial hardware and “candle light” ;-)

    Besides, putting a mantle on a cook stove is kinda not meeting the goal of cook stove ;-)

    The Primus is in a can in the garage in the “deep quake” box. Protected by wooden outside shell (a cupboard hanging on the wall) and inside a “coffee can” surrounded by packing. The idea is that even if the house comes down, it ought to be intact in the rubble. It’s about the size of a fist , screws directly to the propane tank, and makes about 50 W light bulb equivalent of very nice light. Extra mantels are in the can with it..

    So while I could stretch a mantle over my stove or torch head, it would be better just to use my purpose made lantern…

    I’ve not (yet) tried the titanium micro-stove. It’s in the pack out in the back of the car and I’ve been too lazy to go get it. Sometime when I’m coming this way from the car AND think about it I’ll give it a try. But really, most any jet / orifice air mix based stove is going to have an optimal fuel mix for the design fuel and “lean mix” issues moving from butane to propane. So I’m going to do the test someday, but it’s a low priority given that it’s unlikely to vary.

  3. Sera says:

    Lantern jokes aside- when I first received my mini-stove it was tested in the kitchen, and I could see the flame. Since then I have only used it outdoors where you can not see the flame (daytime). So now I have to adjust the flame according to the hiss/sounds it makes.

    So how about something for the backyard patio table: Mini stove with lantern mantle and pot of mosquito repellant liquid on top? Resource substitution run amok?

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    The problem with the mantle idea is that it is a VERY fragile ash structure so would literally be just blown away by the stove gas volume. My cheap butane stove has the igniter wire and tips of the pot holder in the flame path, so they glow orange and visible in daylight.

    I’ve been cooking breakfast / lunch on the patio the last week or so and have been reminded of the “joys” of camp cooking ;-) One of them being hard to see flames. Even the White Gas Coleman is hard to see once the flame goes blue (but put the tea kettle over it you can see it in the shade…)

    IMHO easier “fix” to seeing the flame would be a very open “loose” wire mesh stainless steel mesh. It would glow various shades of red / orange and various distances from the burner hub with variations in gas flow.

    As per mosquito boil / whatever: IF you ever find anything that actually works for area-denial for mosquitoes, let me know. Otherwise I’m going for the gazebo net tent thing…

    I’m happy enough with the adapter. In a real Aw Shit it lets me use found propane after the camping butane is used up. That’s good enough even if it must be used on low / medium at most. Using it to make a ‘candle’ is just playing ;-)

  5. Steve C says:

    Ha! I come back after a couple of weeks … “oh, good grief, a dozen posts to catch up with” … and get thoroughly bushwhacked four paragraphs into the first one!

    Saw the title, thought “OK, we’ve all had a few of those, what’s this one?”, then read “… as the flow rate goes up, the flame separates from the burner head and floats higher and higher away from where it ought to be” and instantly my memory snapped back to the early 1970s.

    Our student house at the time was a lovely, century-old place, which got so sadly run down by a crappy landlord by 1978/9 that it was demolished when the Council got the last of us (me) out. It didn’t have central heating (most places didn’t at the time), but instead had gas fires in all the rooms. Right. Hold that thought: a houseful of frequently-stoned students with good old-style gas fires to play with. Oh, and it was coal gas then, we hadn’t yet converted to natural gas.

    One day, one of us discovered (accidentally) that occasionally, his fire could light back and produce a distinctively pitched “song”. Over the next few days, several of us became pleasingly adept at orchestrating the gas tap, something to squeeze the pipe with, where to blow, timing, skilful use of a lighter, etc., to maximise our serendipitous enjoyment. With a bit of skill, we found, the average gas fire could produce a remarkable range of odd flutelike tones, and pops, and menacing roars from somewhere inside, and so on … and all controllable! Enough to say that we enjoyed many evenings of this improvised, er, music, through the winters. You could tell who was playing just by listening to it …

    Miraculously, nothing ever got damaged – the fires continued to work normally if used normally, and we never blew the place up or gassed anybody. (Of course. When you’re young, you’re immortal! ;-) It probably helped the cause too that, back then, “student” at least meant somebody with a high enough IQ to be careful whilst being stupid. Even so, it’s perhaps advisable in the 21st century to add
    [ Do Not Try This At Home ]
    Thanks for an unintended trip to a near-forgotten memory! ;-)

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    Fun story!

    FWIW, the propane conversion kit on the Coleman gasoline stove suffered a minor ignition of the gas mix inside the mixing port area. (The stoves sometimes do that). Made an interesting sound ;-) Kind a a whistley almost roar (well, higher pitched roar… it’s a small pipe ;-)

    Sidebar: If you have that happen, just shut off the gas and it goes out… or sometimes you can blow it out.

    Have you ever heard of Flame Speakers? AM Modulate about 400 VDC and put one electrode at the bottom of a flame the other at the top. Instant speaker. Small flame for tweeter, big flame for base… IIRC you use a yellow flame, not blue (but who knows, any might work). Also, IIRC putting a bit of salt on the electrode raises the ion levels and makes a more efficient flame speaker.

    Makes one wonder about God speaking from the burning bush…

  7. Steve C says:

    Glad you liked it – I chuckled a couple of times at the memory this morning, having not even thought of it for 30+ years. I wonder whether memories like that are part of the reason for the “past golden age” feeling we all get to some extent. When you’re young, you do feel immortal, and you do do all sorts of crazy things that, on maturer reflection, you decide against in later years.

    Heard of flame speakers? Oh, yes – also “singing arcs” (from which they partly derive, IIRC) and various other strange acoustic phenomena. Sound and acoustics were perhaps my main area of interest when I was younger, though sadly the sweet treble of a nice speaker now makes much less impact on my aging shell-likes.

    I do, though, fondly remember hearing at the audio fairs, ~50 years ago and with excellent teenage hearing, the commercial ionophone speaker made by Fane (the “Ionofane”). That goes (half a century on, probably ‘went’) one step beyond the flame speaker by modulating a plasma discharge, located at the small end of a horn, using a static DC bias of (IIRC) 5-6kV (to keep the discharge going) with several kV of audio similarly modulated onto it.

    It sounded breathtaking, the only speaker I ever heard with a treble response truly in the same league as electrostatics – possibly even better, as the ‘stats still have actual mechanical components to move. As with stats, beyond a certain quality point the speakers just disappear and leave the music (OK, not scientific, but I never heard a better description of the effect.)

    I think I’d do God with a couple of ultrasonic beams, one modulated, and targeted to cross and intermodulate where the victim, sorry, prophet is. Scare the bejesus out of him with a small incendiary in the bush, then … ;-)

  8. jim2 says:

    If you electrolyze water and catch the hydrogen in a test tube in the water, inverted over the electrode; you can light the hydrogen. It makes a “tone” as the flame front travels down the tube. I think this may be what you are hearing.

  9. ossqss says:

    @Jim2, I have done a similar thing, but by lighting a nearly empty Jack Daniels bottle :-)

  10. Larry Ledwick says:

    An oxy / acetylene torch makes a screaming sound if it tries to back burn down the hoses (very bad JuJu.

    That sound is a result of pulse combustion in the volume, you get a brief flash of the fuel vapors that are the right mixture to be flammable, which blows the combustion products out the opening and following reflection pulse pulls more air into the volume to mix with the fuel, so the tone is deterimined by things like volume, the flammable fuel air range and burn speed of the fuel air mix.

  11. jim2 says:

    @ossqss 2 May 2018 at 7:42 pm:

    Hydrogen is less dense than air, so it stays in place in the inverted test tube before I light it off. OTOH, when you invert the whiskey bottle, the alcohol vapor begins to flow out, and air flow in. You risk an explosion.

  12. ossqss says:

    No inverting that whiskey bottle unless your drinking it ;-)

  13. Steve C says:

    Acetylene is brutal stuff, and not to be messed with. I’ve mentioned Col. Shaw before, the University chemist who toured with his explosives lecture around Bonfire night. He had a splendid demonstration of how the energy you get out of the bang relates to the energy locked up in the molecules of the fuel.

    He took four one-pint milk bottles, telling us that these had been filled, before the lecture, with stoichiometric mixtures of oxygen with, in order, (IIRC) ethane (C2H6), methane (CH4), ethylene (C2H4) and acetylene (C2H2). The first three bottles were painted with black and white areas to show that progressively more oxygen (white) in each was needed to oxidise less fuel (black); the acetylene bottle was clear glass.

    In turn, the bottles were put in the middle of the bench, the bung loosened and removed as a lit taper was applied. The first was …. Satisfying. The neighbours would know you were up to something, but a milk bottle is just a milk bottle. The second made you sit up – that was quite a bit less gas using up more oxygen, too. The ethylene, with its double bond, made you jump. And now, he told us, you’ll see why the acetylene one is clear glass.

    The bottle was stood on the bench like the others. The Colonel then put a heavy steel tube over it, a little taller than the bottle, followed by a standard, tall square lab stool. The stool was used to support boards on the three sides facing the audience, the Colonel put on his full-face mask and gloves, then very carefully loosened the bung. When he applied the taper – this time, on the end of a long pole – the resulting explosion was ear-shattering, and left your ears ringing for ten minutes or more. (To be fair, the entire lecture had the same effect, for considerably longer … ;-)

    One memorable year, when he touched off the acetylene, the blast clove the lab stool cleanly in two, the halves falling neatly to each side as if choreographed. The wooden boards always got blown over anyhow (we realised later that they were there to catch any glass blown out of the top of the tube and stop it spraying the audience), but he got an extra round of applause that year. And to deliver the lesson, he then lifted the steel tube to reveal a neat pile of finely-shattered glass, all that remained of the bottle.

    God, that guy was an inspiration (and an inveterate showman!). And after a lifetime working with explosives, he died of old age, with all his fingers.

    Less happily, about a year before I started at my grammar school, some workmen had been building the facilities for the school’s new swimming pool on the far side of the sports field. The theory at the time was that they must have left the acetylene bottle too near the brazier, but the certain fact is that the explosion killed them both and broke most of the windows on that side of the school, several hundred yards away. That put a red flag on C2H2 for me aged 11.

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    My metal shop teacher did a similar demonstration “to get our attention” with balloons filled with O2, Acetylene and a neutral flame mixture of both. Each ignited with a red hot welding rod.

    The O2 of course just went ‘pop’
    The acetylene made this neat little fire ball that rose to the ceiling.
    The neutral mixture made a sharp and resounding bang.

    One time he used an oblong balloon instead of a round one and misjudged the volume, and the concussion cracked a window in the shop and left him bleeding from his gums.
    The next door wood shop teacher ran into the metal shop to see what had just exploded.

    Like any bright and inquisitive kid I immediately went home and replicated the experiment with my Dad’s torch. (memo do not ignite the acetylene balloon with a kitchen match it will leave a soot mark about your wrist from the fire ball, and burn all the little tiny hairs off your hand).

    I never got around to doing the neutral mixture balloon for some reason, but did play with a propane torch and a capped piece of 2″ pipe as a July 4th salute cannon.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    Risk an explosion? Nah… I risk a crook in my neck and a stuck tongue!

    Light whiskey on fire… the nerve…


    Ah yes, memories of welding class and fire with bang….

Comments are closed.