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  1. #1

    Default What are you tips on lighting a liquid fuel stove?

    I have switched to using a MSR Dragonfly. I love it for day hikes and overnights. I will gladly take the hit on the weight.

    Anyhow it has a learning curve and I seem to be having a hard time getting the right about of fuel in the cup to preheat.

    I usually give it around 10 pumps open the bottle valve all the way and crack open the stove valve slightly.

    I always get a huge flame then when it tappers down to below the windscreen thatís when I start the fuel flow.

    Anyone have any tips?

  2. #2
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    It's been a while since I used my MSR white gas stove, so I can't say how much to pump it initially (the trick later is as the fuel burns and pressure decreases, trying to keep it pumped up).
    But as for priming it, you pretty much want to open the flame adjustment valve to let out as little fuel as possible. It just needs to burn for a short while to warm up the stove. Then before it burns out, open the flame adjustment valve and allow the new fuel to ignite from the dying pre-heat flame.

  3. #3

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7McMiGX9SY

    Can't be near as much fun as dealing with the SVEA 123 R

  4. #4

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    It sounds like you're leaving the flame adjustment valve open while priming. Don't do that. Instead, do your priming pumps then open the valve just long enough for a little bit of fuel to accumulate below the burner. Light that, then keep an eye on it and try to open the flame valve back up just as it's about to go out again.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Tango View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7McMiGX9SY

    Can't be near as much fun as dealing with the SVEA 123 R
    I carried a plastic medicine dropper that I used to transfer fuel from the tank to the Optimus 8-R Hunter stove pre-heat cup. Just before it burned out, I would open the valve and the stove would light right up. (BTW - make sure the stove is COLD before you open the fuel tank.)
    Last edited by atraildreamer; 03-19-2020 at 12:37.
    "Adam & Eve are the first two persons who failed to read the Apple Permissions & Exclusions."

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by atraildreamer View Post
    I carried a plastic medicine dropper that I used to transfer fuel from the tank to the Optimus 8_R Hunter stove pre-heat cup. Just before it burned out, I would open the valve and the stove would light right up. (BTW - make sure the stove is COLD before you open the fuel tank.)
    That's the right way to do it as I know an old person who thot he could improve the medicine dropper method by purchasing the new accessory pump and pumping the SVEA up like a bicycle tire.It was pyro technics night for a while after that!

  7. #7

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    Don't be looking straight down at it while lighting.

    Earplugs. (Dragonfly specific)

    On my Simmerlite, I look for the burner head to get a little wet. The number of times you pump is subjective to previous conditions and pumping. I feel for a certain level of resistance and that seems to be sufficient. How cold it is also affects it slightly. I too let it burn down and then right before going out open it up. Sometimes you miss though and have to light. If it is still burning orange, I turn it down to slow the fuel down. Once it's blue, life is good.
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  8. #8

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    I have a MSR Wisperlite, 30 + yr. old.
    Pump a few times. Open the valve slightly and WAIT for a few drops to fill the fuel bowl. Turn off the fuel valve. Turn away from your position with the stove and shake all the gas in the bowl off. Set the stove back down away from the area of the discarded fuel, and light the remaining fuel in the bowl. Open the valve slightly, flame will be controllable. I have the old fuel valve that is dial shaped, not the newer lever type, the dial is much more controllable IMO.

    In very cold winter conditions I carry a small dropper bottle, a repurposed coffee flavor bottle of alcohol and put a few drops of alcohol, in the fuel bowl, and preheat with that. A few drops on the burner works well too.

    The secret is patience.

  9. #9

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    I know people are crazy about their Bic mini lighters and I have some.But if you try a Crocs cigar lighter which weighs just a little more you might be glad you did.It has enough of a tube on it that your hand stays more clear of flame blowbacks when lighting most anything.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by psyculman View Post
    Turn away from your position with the stove and shake all the gas in the bowl off.
    Interesting - why do you shake the gas in the bowl off? I've never seen that done.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    Interesting - why do you shake the gas in the bowl off? I've never seen that done.
    My guess is to remove excess fuel (smaller flame ball) and only use the fuel soaked up by the wick that should be in the pre-heat cup.
    Slightly different procedure, but the concept is the same as mine... use very little fuel to preheat.

  12. #12

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    Makes sense. I forget that the newer ones have wicks at all. My Whisperlite significantly predates that (though given the timeframe psyculman mentioned, his ought to as well).

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Tango View Post
    That's the right way to do it as I know an old person who that he could improve the medicine dropper method by purchasing the new accessory pump and pumping the SVEA up like a bicycle tire.It was pyrotechnics night for a while after that!
    I had an accessory pump also. I over pumped it once.The stove sounded like the Saturn rocket when it lit up!

    (Yes...I know...the Optimus dates back to the stone age of hiking!)
    "Adam & Eve are the first two persons who failed to read the Apple Permissions & Exclusions."

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by atraildreamer View Post
    I had an accessory pump also. I over pumped it once.The stove sounded like the Saturn rocket when it lit up!

    (Yes...I know...the Optimus dates back to the stone age of hiking!)
    As I recall from that event which was almost 20 years ago,the key slipped off somewhere in the melee and it was a cheap thrill getting it back on to shut off the fuel.And I was somewhat amazed that it did not blow up.I love that stove though except for the weight of course.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    Interesting - why do you shake the gas in the bowl off? I've never seen that done.
    The fuel bowl will contain so much fuel that it will produce a larger and more long lasting flame than needed. Usually the residual will be enough. But a squirt of alcohol burns off fast too.

    One stormy night, a group of hikers were sitting around a table at the Craig camp but wrapped in down bags, and one of them put his MSR stove on the table over his lap to light it. The fuel from the stove's bowl over flowed a little onto the table. When he lit it, flame spread all over, including onto the bag on his lap. Fortunately the whole group sprang to action, and there was no damage. I was going for the fire extinguisher. Not a good situation being over 3 miles up Adams.

  16. #16

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    I can definitely see the argument against completely filling the bowl (and dumping it if you accidentally did so). And the image of trying to light one at a table while wrapped in a sleeping bag is definitely disturbing. Glad that didn't turn out worse. Being up by Adams is a long way from anywhere - not a place I'd want something like that to go wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    It sounds like you're leaving the flame adjustment valve open while priming. Don't do that. Instead, do your priming pumps then open the valve just long enough for a little bit of fuel to accumulate below the burner. Light that, then keep an eye on it and try to open the flame valve back up just as it's about to go out again.
    Yes, this exactly. I use my Dragonfly at least one weekend a month for the past few years. It is a work horse.

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    We used car gas stoves for all our motorcycle trips for many years and my friend used the gas to prime the stove, which always produced a more or less huge flame at the start, and he got kicked out of a (managed) campingplace once for doing this.
    I always used alcohol to prime the stove and this kept the stove clean and worked as low-key as I love it to do.

  19. #19
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    douse it with gas and light a match??

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    douse it with gas and light a match??
    ...and run for your life!

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