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Camping Gear – Optimus Nova Multifuel Stove

Stove
Stove

For as long as I can remember I’ve been using Trangia-type alcohol fuelled stoves when I go camping, even though these have served my needs well they’re very limited & tend to waste fuel. I did some looking around for Paraffin/Kerosene fuelled stoves instead, as I already have this fuel on site.
I found very good reviews on the Optimus Nova above, so I decided to go for this one.

This stove can run on many different fuel types, “white gas” (petrol without any vehicle additives) Diesel, Kerosene & Jet A.

Burner
Burner

Here’s the “hot end” of the device, the burner itself. This is made in two cast Brass sections, that are brazed together. The fuel jet can be just seen in the centre of the casting.

Fuel Pump
Fuel Pump

The fuel bottle is pressurised with a pump very similar to the ones used on Paraffin pressure lamps, so I’m used to this kind of setup. The fuel dip tube has a filter on the end to stop any munge gumming up the valves or the burner jet.

Pre-Heating
Pre-Heating

As with all liquid-fuelled vapour burners, it has to be preheated. There’s a fibreglass pad in the bottom of the burner for this, and can be soaked with any fuel of choice. The manual states to preheat with the fuel in the bottle, but as I’m using Paraffin, this would be very smoky indeed, so here it’s being preheated with a bit of Isopropanol.
The fuel bottle can be seen in the background as well, connected to the burner with a flexible hose. The main burner control valve is attached to the green handle bottom centre.

Simmer
Simmer

Once the preheating flame has burned down, the fuel valve can be opened, here’s the stove burning Paraffin on very low simmer. (An advantage over the older alcohol burners I’m used to – adjustable heat!)

Full Power!
Full Power!

Opening the control valve a couple of turns gives flamethrower mode. At full power, the burner is a little loud, but no louder than my usual Paraffin pressure lamps.

Flame Pattern
Flame Pattern

With a pan of water on the stove, the flame covers the entire base of the pan. Good for heat transfer. This stove was able to boil 1L of water from cold in 5 minutes. A little longer than the manual states, but that’s still much quicker than I’m used to!

Fuel Jet
Fuel Jet

The top of the burner opens for cleaning, here’s a look at the jet in the centre of the burner. The preheating pad can be seen below the brass casting.

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nb Tanya Louise – Compressor Install

Compressed air is a rather useful power source, especially when all maintenance is done by the on board crew instead of by boatyards.

Screwfix had a good deal on a 50L 3.5CFM air compressor, to save space this has been permanently mounted in a free space & air will be piped to where it is needed from a central point.

Because of the total height of the machine, the compressor itself has been unbolted from the tank, a copper line connecting the two back together at a larger distance.

Bearers
Bearers

In one of the very few free spaces available, under a bunk. A pair of timbers has been screwed to the floor to support the tank.

Tank Installed
Tank Installed

The tank is strapped to the wooden supports with a pair of ratchet straps, the compressor itself can be seen just behind the tank. The copper line on the top of the tank is going back to be connected to the compressor outlet.

Air Fittings
Air Fittings

Compressor control remains on top of the tank, the pressure switch & relief valve centre. After an isolation valve, the feed splits, the regulator installed will be feeding the air horn with 20PSI, replacing the existing automotive-style 12v air pump. The currently open fitting will be routed to a quick connect on the bulkhead. This will be accessible from the front deck, an air hose can be fitted to get a supply anywhere on board.

More to come when the rest of the system gets installed!

73s for now.

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DIY Valve Amplifier – Part 1 – Amplifier Section

Components
Components

Here are a few details of a valve amplifier I am building, using the valve related parts from a 1960’s reel to reel tape recorder.

This amplifier is based on an a Mullard ECL82 triode/pentode valve, with an EM84 magic eye tube for level indication.

Beginnings Of The Amplifier
Beginnings Of The Amplifier

Here the first components are being soldered to the tags on the valve holder, there are so few components that a PCB is not required, everything can be rats-nested onto the valve holders.

Progress
Progress

Progressing with the amplifier section componentry, all resistors are either 1/2W or 2W.

Valve Sockets Fitted
Valve Sockets Fitted

Here the valve holders have been fitted, along with the output transformer, DC smoothing capacitor & the filament wiring, into the top of the plastic housing. At this point all the components that complete the amplifier section are soldered to the bottom of the right hand valve holder.

Wiring
Wiring

Starting the wiring between the valves & the power supply components. The volume control pot is fitted between the valve holders.

Valves Test Fit
Valves Test Fit

The valves here are test fitted into their sockets, the aluminium can at the back is a triple 32uF 250v electrolytic capacitor for smoothing the B+ rail.

Amplifier Section First Test
Amplifier Section First Test

First test of the amplifier, with the speaker from the 1960’s tape recorder from which the valves came from. the 200v DC B+ supply & the 6.3v AC filament supply is derived from the mains transformer in the background.

Magic Eye Tube Added
Magic Eye Tube Added

Here the magic eye tube has been fitted & is getting it’s initial tuning to the amplifier section. This requires selecting combinations of anode & grid resistors to set the gap between the bars while at no signal & picking a coupling RC network to give the desired response curve.

Final Test
Final Test

Here both valves are fitted & the unit is sitting on it’s case for final audio testing. the cathodes of the ECL82 can be clearly seen glowing dull red here.

 

In the final section, I will build a SMPS power supply into the unit to allow it to be powered from a single 12v DC power supply.