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Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

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  1. #1
    Member Jacon's Avatar
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    Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    There's no open flame! Argh. Below are some pictures of my prototype heat exchanger for the MSR Reactor. It doesn't work particularly well. Anybody got any ideas?




  2. #2
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    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    anyone ever try sticking an adhesive chemical foot warmer on the bottome of the cylinder? I have been thinking about this for short trips with my jetboil. Plus it's dual purpose gear, instead of lugging around a contraption.

  3. #3
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    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    Jacon - you'll want thinner bar stock that gets closer to the flame. You also don't want it buried in insulation - it can potentially ignite.

    Thin copper tubing (maybe 1/4&quot pounded flat, coiled around the canister, and then run across the heating "element" will probably function the best. You need to do some controlled testing, ideally with an infrared thermometer, to ensure that you don't have too much heating potential. An exploding gas canister will ruin your season.

    FWIW, I usually just hold my lighter under the gas canister for 10-15 seconds (always moving it around, never leaving it still at all) and that works a charm. It's great for brewing 1 or 2 pots at a time and relatively out of the wind. I've never had to brew up at a hanging belay in full winter conditions, but I'm pretty sure the lighter method would fail miserably.

  4. #4
    Member Jacon's Avatar
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    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    This actually was 1/4 inch tubing pounded flat... but I don't think running it across the heating element will work well. The fit between the pot and heating element is too precise. Anything in there will severely upset the balance of the pot of boiling hot water...

    And yes, good idea re: infrared thermometer and testing. Just did my first tests today, sans thermometer, and it just wasn't working well. Copper got decently hot, but canister stayed damn cold.

  5. #5

    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    Propane/butane stoves are useless in sub single digits, ditch that thing and get a good white gas stove. it will never let you down.

  6. #6

    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    I made a fast 1.5L of soup from snow with my Reactor in subzero temps at the lip of Huntington Ravine last weekend. But, as the canister cooled from leaving my pack and then being drained, the performance slowed down for sure.

    I was using a homemade heat exchanger, but it was cold to the touch and I'm sure worthless. I held my gloved hands around the canister and this helped keep it cranking.

    I'm still debating whether to leave my Reactor for high altitude and warmer temps, or keep using it in the cold - I've never had it not melt snow, so although I know I'm pushing the boundaries of what any canister stove can do, it's hard to give up. My Whisperlite is so heavy, clunky, and hard to use in the wind by comparison that I hate to go back for anything.

  7. #7
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    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    I thought all you hardcore NE climbers simply tore the rotting flesh off of lesser fallen climbers. Or slow skiers in the ravines...

  8. #8
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    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Sasquatch</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I thought all you hardcore NE climbers simply tore the rotting flesh off of lesser fallen climbers. Or slow skiers in the ravines... </div></div>

    We do... He wont't need that stove much longer...

  9. #9
    Member Jacon's Avatar
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    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    Take two. Soon I'll be able to remove the little &quot;Beta&quot; banner. This one is lighter and works better, though still not as well as I'd like. Hopefully I won't ignite the closed-cell foam.




  10. #10
    Member coryred797's Avatar
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    Re: Heat exchanger for MSR Reactor

    Will the stove not get hot enough to melt the foam or tape?

    Maybe to save weight you can make this the top half of your nalgene water bottle parka, and make another part for the bottom? This way it serves as a multi-functioning contraption.

    Why don't you also give the Primus Power gas stuff a try? It is a 4 season propane isobutane mix that is supposed to allow you to get to some cold temps with it. I have no personal experience using it since I go with white gas for winter trips, but theres good feedback on this stuff in cold weather.

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