Butane gas can stove, to Metho conversion, in minutes.

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by seasquirt, Jun 29, 2022.

  1. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
    Posts: 114
    Likes: 53, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: South Australia

    seasquirt Senior Member

    [ * There doesn't seem to be an appropriate place for this type of information, so I put it in here, to be shifted to the most appropriate place, wherever that is, (I searched and have no clue where it would fit comfortably).
    I suggest maybe a category for galley fit out / modification information, or a practical use and safety related info category. I know it's not exactly "design" but once something is designed and made, (for the galley for instance), it is often also used, or modified, or mis-used. Please remove this paragraph if/when sending this post to a new home. * ]

    Don't throw out your gas can powered mini exploder stove top when it is recalled, or if you think it's dangerous, or broken, just change it over to a safer fuel.

    My Gasmate single burner mini exploder developed a leak, in using new CRV safety cans of butane. I'm loathe to throw out something not completely broken and useless, but I don't want to die in a fireball either. I saw room for another flame in that handy stable stove top, if the canned gas system was removed; and my old basic camping metho burner looked like it might fit in there.
    I tried it on my old stove as a prototype, still covered in stir fry oil spatter, ready to throw it out to recycle if a failure. And it works a treat, so this is how you do it.

    Remove the gas can as per instructions, and give it away, or dispose of responsibly. No more explosive gas cans.
    You need a medium sized Phillips head screwdriver (probably, but there are many makes and models possibly different to my descriptions), and you will need a pair of pliers, and not much else.

    Underneath - upside down, and at front top by the controls, and at the tank side, undo all the screws holding the actual burner top and bottom, and also the gas valve assembly. Underneath with screws removed, slide the burner supports out of their slots to free it. Don't undo the stove's frame/body screws, or the bottom / burner support base plate from the stove body, unless you have to, or if you want to salvage bits undamaged. I was going to try to keep the starter electrics working, but metho is sometimes hard to ignite even with a flame, and the gas valve was part of that system, so I abandoned the idea quickly.

    Pull off the plastic knobs and bin them. Shake or pry the gas valve free from its corner, and cut through the igniter wire and the gas tube anywhere you can, to separate the valve assembly and burner, and then pull them out however you can. Be careful handling it all, because some metal edges and corners of the sheet metal assembly are sharp.

    Some models have the top pot supporting panel retained by twisted lugs underneath, which can be straightened, to be able to pop the panel out, for needed access to the burner support base plate from the top.

    With the top pot holder plate removed, and the gas burner gone, the burner support base plate had the slot/tabs visible, which held the burner support base, and there were also 4 small holes for screws, just off centre by a few mm, so to avoid drilling, I used them. Some stove models may need 4 small holes drilled to suit pop rivets of whatever size you have available, set at a diameter suitable for retaining your replacement burner snugly. More than 4 rivets can be used.

    In the 4 small holes supplied, and from the stove's top, I put in 4 of those really thin pop rivets you get in a variety set, you know the ones that never get used because theyr'e too thin, small, and weak for a proper job. They were just right. The holes' Pitch Circle Diameter was perfect for my old cheap rusty methylated spirit burner, and likely equally a good size for an expensive brass one. I carefully pulled the pop rivets up firm with the popping tool, so they didn't wobble anymore, but don't pop them, leave the pins standing firm, you need the pins to cage in your burner on the base plate. I used pliers to bend the tops of the rivets outwards to make it easy to drop the burner in. If the bent rivet pins rotate, they will further prevent the burner from coming out. It's safer and easier to fill the burner when it is removed.

    The bottom of the stove is well ventilated, so little chance of anything going wrong unless you have a fuel spill.
    Depending on what rivets you use, metal types and contacts with the rest of it, and operating conditions, the stove could corrode quickly with electrolysis - dissimilar metals, so I suppose a splash of cold galv zinc paint on the base plate, rivets, and elsewhere, could aid its longevity in a marine environment. Or use stainless rivets if you had an all stainless stove.

    I assembled, and tried it with just a little metho, and it works fine, boiled the kettle, it put a little bit of soot on the underneath of the kettle, but you get that.

    My backpacking metho bottle fits in the side can closet perfectly, so with a cig lighter and/or matches included, (No piezo starter now), it is a safe stove ready to go, again, fitting back in its plastic brief case, and not in land fill. A plastic spray bottle of water will instantly quell a metho fire, making much less mess than a dry powder extinguisher. Of course if you have electricity near the flaming out of control stove, Don't use water.

    The removed bits from my stove will be recycled, but I'm keeping the screws and the small copper gas tube - that will be handy for something one day.

    Attached Files:

  2. seasquirt
    Joined: Dec 2015
    Posts: 114
    Likes: 53, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: South Australia

    seasquirt Senior Member

    I went to my camping store last night to get a new cheap metho burner, to stay with the re-birthed cook top, and get a backup for a future 2 burner version, but they only wanted to sell me expensive brass ones, so I declined their offers. Home on the internet searching for a cheap steel one, - home made metho burners made of aluminium drink cans - many designs and methods, basic tools needed, easy.

    Seconds later, Jacks and cola cans are fished out of the wheely bin (recycling), and given a wash. Selected a middle of the road design using 2 cans, but made it taller to take lots of metho, to do long time cooking, and also to bring the jets up closer to the pot level, avoiding packers underneath. I didn't cut myself, but the thin aluminium is very sharp, and you can make thin sharp needle like splinters, so thin light gloves are recommended if you don't have tough calloused hands.

    I did a rough job of it, not wasting time being neat, and not looking like the immaculate works of art displayed, but with gaps and jagged edges. Jet holes punched in with a scriber, unevenly. I left the outside can a few mm taller than the inside can, to make a metho trough for start up, unlike the example. The drink can diameter is a little smaller than the stove rivet pins' PCD, but it won't tip over, or escape in normal circumstances. Easy to wrap it in alfoil if it looks sus, or bulk up the pins.

    I expected stinking burning paint and flare ups etc, so put a little bit of metho in, and fired it up outside, no smoke seen, and it worked very well. Took 2 goes to get it working, just like a bought one on a cold day. And it coughed on startup just the same.
    It cools down quickly to re-fill.

    Back in the kitchen, I put in a bit more metho, boiled the kettle like normal, and the coffee I'm drinking as I write this is very good. Just the usual slight metho cooking smell in the kitcken, no worse than usual, no burning ink / paint / sugar residue.
    Operationally Excellent, as far as non adjustable metho burners go.

    For 20 cents deposit lost on the cans, (South Australia), and 15 minutes with scissors and a sharp pointy blade, (be careful), the kitchen is now open ! But stove top camping ovens are scarce in the shops at the moment for some reason. Any home made designs for one ?
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