Svea 123 Questions

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by rich p, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. rich p

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    Good day everyone. I hope to resume backpacking with my wife soon. She has an Optimus 8R from the 1980's and I have an MSR Whisperlite. I never liked the Whisperlite (nothing wrong with it, just don't "feel" anything when I use it). I was thinking of getting a Svea (we like to carry 2 stoves). I see that I can get a new one for about $95. Prices on Ebay are all over (some are asking $140!). I love the old stuff (I restored a 111B that I use for car and canoe camping), but I like the thought of having a new Svea age along with me. So - couple of questions:

    1) Are the new Svea's comparable to the old? I saw somewhere that the new ones are made in China and "not as good". (I have no problem with made in China, I do with "not as good").
    2) If I go for used, should I look for the 123R or the 123? I know the difference between the 2 just not sure if the "newer" R is more reliable or easier to use. As always, thanks for your help.

    Rich
     
  2. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr SotM Winner Subscriber

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    1) They are made in Taiwan as far as I recall. There have been discussions of issues, I do not know if the new ones are as good or not, personally.

    2) I only have 123s, and I really like them. The early 123s, under the Sievert name, are more valued as a collector item or for nostalgic reasons. I do believe they are a high quality stove. There were a couple of years that Optimus made the 123, before the 123R, and those can be purchased for less, or much less, than a new one. I have several of those, and am not sure they are a 'lesser' stove than the Sievert.

    There are those here that think the 123R is the better. They also are right. You can find them easily enough.

    Ken in NC
     
  3. Normo

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    I have two 123's, both R models. Both SVEA , one is Swedish made, the other is new and comes from China or Taiwan. The new one goes as well as the old and seems to be as well finished. The only comment with the new one is there is some VERY slight flame assymetry, probably caused by the jet. Certainly wouldn't stop me using it. Previous comments on this site seem to relate to occasional jet issues.

    As much as the 123 is an 'ikon', it has a small base and is quite 'tippy.'
    Have you considered another 8R or a 123R burner with an Optimus 88
    cookset?

    Norm
     
  4. bjorn240

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    I have a 1979 123R and a current one I bought just to see the differences. They are identical in function.
     
  5. pysen78

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    If you fancy a 123 I think a vintage 123R would be the way to go for you specifically. That way you have redundancy regarding spares since cap and gaskets, burner bell and plate, rinsing needles all interchange with the 8R. Maybe more parts than that. Between you, you'll always have a working stove!
     
  6. itchy

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    I'd also recommend a used 123R. While I like the 123's simplicity and dependability, I've seen little difference in performance of the 123 and 123R when it comes down to real-world use. It is very unlikely you would ever have to clean the jet on the 123, still, when really camping (no picnic table, lantern, etc) using the built-in cleaning needle is 10x easier than finding and using the pricker in the dark.

    I had a "Chinese" Svea 123 and it worked fine, but I got it a while ago when prices were competitive with used Swedish 123Rs. Today, you can get a couple of good used ones for the cost of the new one, and the the Swedish ones just look better -- like the workers cared about the product.
     
  7. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    I use the pricker on my Svea 123 each use, in camp, without fail and without difficulty. I keep it in the Sigg set with the stove.

    The same is true with the kero brassies, such as the 00 in my avatar.
     
  8. itchy

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    Another consideration is that while it is pretty easy to find a good working 123, they often are sans pricker. The original-style folding pricker can be hard to find and can be a significant added expense if purchased separately. The cleaning needle in a used 123R is usually intact, even if it is not set properly.
     
  9. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr SotM Winner Subscriber

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    @itchy that may be so, but I don't have a 123R, and I have a bunch of 123s. I've never considered the pricker a problem. But then I prefer a stick shift to an automatic.
     
  10. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    I don't have the folding pricker. I just have other prickers laying around, and I keep one in the Sigg set. As far as I can remember, it is the one I've used for several years, because I take care not to lose it. To me, a pricker is a pricker, though I suppose some may disagree. It works just fine.
     
  11. Majicwrench

    Majicwrench Subscriber

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    I can't remember ever pricking my 123, but maybe I have at some point. I do have a pricker (not the right one) in the Sigg set along with the potholder, cig lighter, etc.
    I have a set with a 71 that I need to remember to put a pricker in it just in case.
    Tho like was said, having prick jet with cold hands, in bad lighting, would be a chore.
    How many of you have to do the pricker thing on your 123??
     
  12. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    I do it routinely on every classic before I light it; just part of the lighting process. I had enough instances in the past where it was called for during operation that I just started doing it as a matter of course.
     
  13. ArchMc

    ArchMc SotM Winner Subscriber

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    I also prick my 123 every time before I start it. I've neglected to do it a couple times in the past 45+ years, and I don't get as good a burn. I bought my 123 new in 1969, and it didn't come with a folding pricker, but with a package of regular ones. I later bought the folding one.

    I honestly don't understand the problems mentioned with using a pricker. I've done it many times with cold hands and in bad lighting. In my younger days I used it on winter camping/climbing trips. I've found if you lightly scrape the pricker wire over the jet, it "finds" the opening pretty quickly. Practice in warmer weather is certainly helpful.

    ....Arch
     
  14. sa3spd

    sa3spd United States Subscriber

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    Hi,

    I have a Svea 123 bought new in 1971--its only claim to fame may be the Sievert box it came in, though all its bits are purely Optimus style--a 123R possibly from early in production, and a NIB 123R which I think is old enough to still be Swedish. It's buried somewhere "just in case" the other two fail! The way they're going, it may pass unused to someone when I go, which I hope is still a ways down the road.

    As for operations, before getting the 123R, I heard many stories of how the old 123s were "better" but I haven't noticed enough difference between my two "work" stoves to say it's worth worrying about. Both the 123R and my 8R came to me used and prior owners had maladjusted their cleaning needles, so maybe that's where some of the complaints came from.

    On the pricker, I used to use it every time I lit the stove. I still have the original folding pricker, and somewhere I've misplaced a pack of 3 non-folding ones that MSR used to sell. For a while, they lived in a Sigg Tourist kit, but the gremlins appear to have moved them.

    Today, I seldom use the pricker. The 123 has gone thru three fuel "generations": real white gas, purchased from a drum out behind the local gas station, unleaded auto fuel from about the time it became popular in the the early '70s until about 1980, then a strict diet of Coleman fuel or other brand camping fuel ever since. After giving the innards a good cleaning of old residue, the jet doesn't seem to require much attention these days.

    Rick C
     
  15. itchy

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    I don't mind being a little different. I think the built in cleaning needles on the 8R, 111 and 123R ususally work fine, and won't go missing if someone else uses my stove. Plus, they push the dirt out of the stove rather than back in -- it just makes sense.
    (They are vastly better that the silly and cumbersome magnetic needle-block Optimus now uses on the Nova burner.)
     
  16. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr SotM Winner Subscriber

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    @itchy you are absolutely correct.
    But, I like my truck to have a manual transmission.
     
  17. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Morning, Guys and Gals,

    I have to toss in with Mac, Ed, and all others who prick their jets before lighting their SVEA 123. I've done it that way ever since I got my first one, many long years ago, and it's always worked wonderfully for me. No trouble, and not a single problem to report. Even in the cold, and in bad light, it's a simple task, and easily done, once you get used to doing it. Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
     
  18. itchy

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    :content:@snwcmpr
    As do I, but I leave the shift-lever attached to the linkage rather than remove after shifting.
     
  19. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    Who knows where such a concept may lead? Gassie stoves, I suppose.....8)
     
  20. Majicwrench

    Majicwrench Subscriber

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    I can see where cleaning the jet before firing every time would be very good practice for finding that little hole, and for finding your pricker.... but I just light mine, and they soon roar proudly w/o pricking.
    When I first got my 8R I found it annoying when I turned the key far enough that I snuffed out the flame.......but I have figured that one out.