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Vesta 'Camping' - manufacturer FJ, Paris

Discussion in 'France' started by presscall, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I've greatly enjoyed reading @z1ulike (Ben's) hugely entertaining and informative posts on the Vesta:

    At Santa Barbara beach

    Vesta restoration

    Vesta rice cooking episode ...

    ... and like a phoenix, arising restored from the flames

    Vestas ahoy!

    Vesta wick discussion

    Vesta instructions and sectioned drawing/schematic

    Ben's excellent series of posts surely and inexorably sowed the seed to acquire one myself but I waited patiently until a clean example cropped up at a good price. Glad I did, it's a very likeable, usable and robust stove, just as Ben has described.

    IMG_3500.JPG


    Some minor fettling was required before I fuelled up and fired up the stove, the fuel filler cap seal was rock-hard and the cork 'pip' in the safety (pressure) release valve built into the fuel cap was suspect, so I replaced both seals with viton ones.

    The cork SRV 'pip'

    IMG_1102.JPG


    Replacements installed.

    IMG_1103.JPG IMG_1104.JPG


    Tool made from a spade drill to undo/tighten the SRV cap

    IMG_1106.JPG IMG_1107.JPG


    I didn't pull the wick, deciding that with the fuel cap/SRV fully functioning that the stove was safe to fire up and were the wick in poor shape I'd soon find out with poor performance and a reluctance to prime (the woven cotton rope wick contains a brass wire core to transfer heat from the burner to the fuel).

    IMG_3461.JPG


    Here's the wick - this example from a double-burner 303 Vesta I've yet to restore.

    IMG_3507.JPG

    ... and here's how it's installed in the burner, other end dunked in the fuel tank of course. As well as conducting heat from burner to fuel to initiate and maintain self-pressurisation, the downward curve of the wire core usefully diects the wick to the lowest point of the tank to scavenge fuel.

    IMG_3506.JPG


    Metal disc on the control spindle acts as a heatshield for the control knob.

    IMG_3462.JPG IMG_3464.JPG


    The set screw in the base screws into the burner, clamping pot rests, priming cup, burner and fuel tank assembly firmly in place in the stove case.

    IMG_3489.JPG IMG_3486.JPG


    The stove lid with model name and manufacturer's logo stamped in it.

    IMG_3488.JPG


    Ben's advice about orientating the pot rests with the frame bar along the length of the stove is sound. Easier access to prime and more clearance to prevent the pot rest snagging slightly when closing the lid.

    IMG_3490.JPG


    The wadding in the priming cup ensures an effective, lengthy prime to achieve vapourisation of the fuel.

    IMG_3491.JPG IMG_3492.JPG


    Here I've opened up the regulator and the burner flame is beginning to develop.

    IMG_3493.JPG


    Gets going ...

    IMG_3494.JPG


    ... and intensifies.

    IMG_3503.JPG

    IMG_1109.JPG

    IMG_1111.JPG


    Kettle set to boil.

    IMG_3495.JPG

    IMG_1108.JPG


    Simmer is reliable, by which I mean it can be easily set and doesn't peter out, but asymmetric. I can understand why Ben went down the route of using a burner plate, which probably would have worked fine without the drama if he'd not allowed himself to be distracted!

    IMG_3504.JPG


    Getting the single burner Vesta going was a doddle. I've a bigger challenge on my hands with the dual burner type. Complete but for pot rests, which I've to fabricate, but in need of renovation.

    Stove tank suffers from surface rust merely, otherwise sound - dual and single burner stove tanks are of heavy-gauge seamless steel pipe with end caps, filler cap and burner connection bosses welded in place.

    IMG_3509.JPG


    Thankfully, both burner jet needles are in good shape.

    IMG_3510.JPG


    Priming of the dual-burner is a longer process, as is evident from the increase in size of each of the burner priming cups in comparison to that on the single burner.

    IMG_3511.JPG


    Thanks again Ben. Good call.

    John
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  2. z1ulike

    z1ulike United States Subscriber

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    @presscall

    Ahhh [-o< FINALLY a convert after all my proselytizing. Welcome to the Vesta fold my son. Bless you!

    One quick update. I solved the rice simmering problem and ditched the burner plate. I did it by increasing the size of the jet hole just a smidgen. As I recall it was originally .23 mm and I ran a .25 mm drill through it.

    Once I get the rice and water boiling I turn the stove off. Then I open it a quarter turn or so and re-light it. The cleaning needle is still up inside the jet obstructing the hole. But, because the hole is enlarged, just enough gas escapes around the needle to support a perfect rice simmering flame. The simmer flame continues to burn low without any further adjustment until the rice is done.

    PB240694.JPG

    You might recall I'm using modified Quietstove 123 cap on my Vesta as described in this post. Here's a close-up of the simmer flame.

    PB240693.JPG

    Ben
     
  3. patatwin

    patatwin France Subscriber

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    When I was looking for a stove, I found some Vestas, but two things stopped me, and made me an Optimus owner :
    - the knob is outside of the box, non removable, and i was afraid of breaking or dending the spindle on the road,
    - the sellers often sell it too expensive (I see one, for sale for more than one year, at 100€).

    But one day, I'll have mine, for sure !
     
  4. z1ulike

    z1ulike United States Subscriber

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    @patatwin

    The knob firmly attached to the outside of the box is actually a good thing. You'll never lose it, it doesn't rattle around, and you don't have to fiddle with putting it on and taking it off each time you want to use the stove. Don't worry about breaking the knob or denting the spindle on the road. It is pretty tough and will withstand anything short of a direct blow with a hammer.

    Ben
     
  5. patatwin

    patatwin France Subscriber

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    OK, @z1ulike , the first point is clear ! let"s go to complete the second one : fond one, not sold for treasure's price !

    I like the clamshell design, that's why I have Opt. 8 and 111...
     
  6. z1ulike

    z1ulike United States Subscriber

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    @patatwin yes the clam shell design is outstanding. But the Vesta is more like the Finnish Velmet Erakeitin where the tank stays inside the case rather than the Optimus 8 or 111 where the tank swings outside the case. With the Optimus stoves you have to open the case, swing out the tank, and insert the key before operating. With the Valmet you only have to open the case and insert the key. With the Vesta you simply open the case. Another advantage of the Valmet and the Vesta is that both the tank and the burner remain inside the case so any fuel spilled while filling or priming is safely contained.

    O.K. on to your second point...price. I've purchased 6 Vesta stove all from eBay France where they come up for sale from time to time. Including shipping to the U.S.A. they weren't cheap but I don't think I ever paid over 100 euro. "Rechaud" is the french word for "campstove" and I simply set up an eBay search for "Rechaud Vesta" and I'd get an e-mail every time one came up.

    Ben
     
  7. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @z1ulike
    Updating you on achieving a reliable simmer too, Ben. I removed the jet pricker and spring and have been running the stove without them.

    IMG_3600.JPG

    True, not now 'specification' for the stove and there's the occasional requirement to manually prick the jet but the modification is reversible if required and the results are very pleasing.

    Smooth transition from simmer to maximum.

    IMG_3594.JPG IMG_3593.JPG IMG_3592.JPG


    Access is good for a manual pricker and the broad flat face of the jet makes locating the jet orifice with the pricker wire easy to do.

    IMG_3601.JPG

    IMG_3603.JPG

    John
     
  8. teckguy_58

    teckguy_58 United States Subscriber

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    Hi John,

    A very simple and ingenious fix for the simmer problem. Looks great and it is reversible.
    As usual, John, well done.

    Cheers,
    Norman
     
  9. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @teckguy_58
    Thanks Norman.

    Some more tuning completed.

    The heavy-gauge steel of the fuel tank is a poor conductor of heat and even though it permanently sits inside the stove case with no heat shield between it and the burner, a significant conductor for heat from the burner to the fuel to pressurise the tank is the wire core of the wick.

    IMG_1205.JPG


    The woven cotton wick itself is a conduit for fuel by capillary action but being a thermal insulator does not contribute to heating/pressurisation of fuel in the tank.

    I decided that I could enhance the heat transfer to the fuel and retain the fuel transfer conduit of a wick by utilising 6mm outer diameter copper tubing with cotton wick strands threaded through it. I used a small pipe bending tool to create the bend in the tubing. Here's the tubing with the cotton wick (before trimming) threaded through it. Alongside it is the original wick.

    IMG_1203.JPG


    Here's the tube with the internal wick trimmed at the burner end ...

    IMG_1206.JPG


    ... and here it is inserted in the burner.

    IMG_1207.JPG


    Cold fuel, ambient temperature freezing tonight in my part of the UK but the Vesta's burner immediately leapt into life after priming, when it was much slower to get up to speed before.

    It's livelier too on max, but (with the jet pricker needle removed) retained the controllability of the flame down to a low simmer setting.

    IMG_1219.JPG

    IMG_1217.JPG

    IMG_1218.JPG


    John
     
  10. teckguy_58

    teckguy_58 United States Subscriber

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    @presscall

    Hi John,

    Brilliant what you have achieved with your Vesta. Well done John well done indeed.
    The flame is much more lively but still very controllable from high to simmer.

    The 6mm OD of the copper tubing must be a very close match to the burner tube ID.
    Hopefully there will be no chance of the copper tubing dislodging from the burner tube.
    But since the copper tubing is inside the fuel tank/fount there is nowhere the tubing could go except inside the fount.

    John, thanks so much for sharing your modification to your Vesta with all of us. It makes me want to find one also. The Vesta looks like a great little stove to have and with your improvement the stove runs much better.

    The Vesta may be a good candidate for a new silent cap out of South Korea. It is very similar to the one I featured, but it is the smaller burner bells. Optimus 8, 8R, 80, and the 99. Primus 71 and also the Radius 42 and 46. Also the SVEA 123.
    s-l16001.jpg s-l16003.jpg

    Here are the different stoves it was tested on.
    s-l16004.jpg s-l16005.jpg s-l16006.jpg

    Here is the link for this silent cap.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/222244313728?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    Here is the you tube video.


    All of this is just in case you might be interested.

    Cheers,
    Norman
     
  11. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @z1ulike @teckguy_58
    Your tests of Vesta output (the graphs) led to a deduction that radiant heat to the fuel tank contributed a lot.

    I don't dispute that at all, but you used some large-diameter pans which directed flames and heat at the fuel tank and I'm guessing that ambient temperatures for you were much higher than the icy outdoor environment I've been testing my Vesta in.

    In the cold and with a more typical camping pot there's very little radiant heat reaching the fuel tank during start-up and it's all been down to what heat's been conducted to the fuel by the burner feed pipe and the wire core of the wick.

    The copper tubing and inner wick core arrangement has really made the difference on start-up in cold conditions.

    You mentioned the 'fit' of the copper tube in the fuel pipe, Norman. I picked a diameter of tubing that was a close fit (to conduct heat efficiently) but not a tight fit.

    John
     
  12. janders

    janders Norway Subscriber

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    @presscall Any thoughts on the combination copper tube pipe installed and the use of a larger pot?
    As I read this
    • there is sufficient heat transfer with copper tube installed and a small pot
    • there is sufficient heat transfer w/o copper tube installed and a larger pot
    To me that seems to give the equation
    Sufficient + Sufficient = Too much.​

    Another scenario: Vesta with copper tube installed, a larger pot and a hot summer day... :-k

    Maybe it is just me, but I got a "Ranger 10 on gasoline with too much feedback"-feeling here...
     
  13. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @janders
    I guess that's why it pays to keep an eye on a stove in use and no manufacturer of camping stoves would advocate placing a large-based pot on it.
    So I'll drop one of your sufficients (radiant heat to the fuel tank from too large a pot base), leave the copper wick tube installed and even up the equation.

    The factor I've attempted to address is an overly-long start-up time but once up to speed the burner reached a thermal equilibrium that was below safety release valve activation level.

    If I were using the Vesta somewhere hot I'd consider re-installing the original wick.
     
  14. janders

    janders Norway Subscriber

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    @presscall I went back to the post by @z1ulike to check on the size of the pot/diffuser when his Vesta got overheated. It doesn't look too large to me, more the size of your kettle.
    +1 to that
     
  15. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi @janders
    I think you're referring to the rice-cooking episode. The cast-iron defuser he used was big enough, with pan on top, to deflect the flames at the fuel tank and he left it unattended.

    His reference to big pans and foot-high flames was in an experiment he drew graphs for, using a progressively larger range of pots.

    Your comment ...
    ... isn't really comparing like with like. Think 'steel scaffolding tube with welded steel caps and connection bosses' for the Vesta fuel tank and a burner with a 0.23mm jet and a fraction of the power of the Ranger's Cobra burner in a similar space. The Vesta is inherently much colder-hearted even with the wick 'tweak' but you certainly raise a useful note of caution.

    John
     
  16. z1ulike

    z1ulike United States Subscriber

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    The Vesta cleaning needles are fragile and several of mine broke. Gary (BernieDawg) Adams at Bluewater Stoves went to a great deal of trouble making some replacement needles for me. Running the stove without the cleaning needle never occurred to me but I'm going to give it a try. Drilling out the jet allows me to get a nice simmer but adjusting the flame size at other settings isn't as smooth as I'd like. I run my Vestas on Coleman fuel which burns so cleanly the needle probably won't be missed.

    The copper tube you made to transfer heat to the tank in cold weather is brilliant! Fortunately, it never gets cold where I live but you're right about the Vesta being cold blooded. It takes quite a bit of alcohol to preheat the burner and a few minutes of burn time before the tank is heated, pressurized, and the flame is running at full bore. When trying to make rice with simmer plate I had a problem with the paint not the stove. The stove can take the heat but the paint I used couldn't. I solved that problem by repainting with high temperature paint.

    You really have to hold a Vesta fuel tank in your hand to appreciate how thick the walls are and how heavily built it is. The tank can be heated so hot that it can't be touched and still the pressure relief valve doesn't go off and the stove runs great. It's not like any of the campstove tank most are familiar with.

    Ben
     
  17. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @z1ulike
    You make good observations Ben and I like your description ...
    ... exactly so, even after reading your posts and seeing the photos I wasn't prepared for the robustness of the components, particularly the welded-up fuel tank.

    Yes indeed, give it a go with the needle assembly removed. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised and as you say, with Coleman fuel and the filtering action of the wick there's little prospects of having to prick the jet. I've not needed to for a dozen or so firings since making the modification.

    John
     
  18. teckguy_58

    teckguy_58 United States Subscriber

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    @presscall

    Hi John,

    You've increased the efficiency for transferring heat and also a great heat output of the burner.
    I'm just curious since the jet orifice is .23mm along with your improvements would the Vesta be able to run on Kerosene/Paraffin?
    Again I'm just curious.

    Cheers,
    Norman
     
  19. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @teckguy_58
    Good point you make, Norman, but I doubt it. The kero wouldn't self-pressurise unless exceptionally hot and even with the copper feed tube/wick it just wouldn't get hot enough during priming.

    If a version of an Optimus mini-pump and cap could be fabricated to take care of the pressurisation of the fuel there's a good chance that vapourisation of the fuel could be maintained, I'd say.

    John
     
  20. teckguy_58

    teckguy_58 United States Subscriber

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    @presscall

    Hi John,

    You are correct because I wasn't thinking. I'm so use to my pressure stoves I just forgot this is similar the the 8R, but at least with the 8R there is a fuel cap and pump option.

    In my opinion if anyone can fabricate an Optimus type of fuel cap for this stove you can.

    Cheers,
    Norman
     

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