Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Alcohol heat

My goodness, turns out I have yet another heater lying around. This is the "HeatPal 5100". It's basically an oversized alcohol burner. 1.2. litres of spirit (0.3 US gallons) last about five hours (5 US hours), and gives off approx 1500 watts (enough for a largish tent or small yurt).

Denatured alcohol is not cheaper than kerosene, but this little thing does have some things going for it. Made of aluminum, it weighs almost nothing and as opposed to my kerosene heater, is not equipped with a silly battery powered igniter or other unnecessary parts. I bought this for use in my Sami-style lavvu (a tipi, for all practical purposes) for use above/ north of the tree line or in festivals. I don't know what I was thinking, it's not as if I ever go such places.

That "5100" in the name is typical branding nonsense. The company that made this, now defunct, certainly never made 5100 different models. But they liked the way the number looked.

Three paint cans, some rock wool and an old tuna fish can for the regulator and a similar contraption could be made by a handy fellow. And mushers do make similar types of heaters for the dog feed. In competitions dog drivers often are allowed caches at check points, where they stock up with fuel for kibble & melted snow-soup.

Hermit's verdict: Perfect for groups on mushing/paddling/bicycling expeditions who share a large tent. Also handy for kotasu-style heating. But for roadless, off-grid purposes wood, as always, makes more sense.

There are more interesting ways to use alcohol to increase the feeling of comfort.


Oldfool said...

A possible explanation of the name.
1500 watts is approximately 5100 btu. To be more exact 5120 according to my conversion table.

Northmark said...

Excellent proposition. Medieval scholars have nothing on us.