Svea 123 v. Optimus 99

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by Haggis, Aug 22, 2021.

  1. Haggis

    Haggis Subscriber

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    These last 14 weeks I’ve been using a different stove each week, 7 mornings, for getting up my morning bowl of porridge oats,,, and taking a few notes on each stove… Last week it was the Svea 123, which also went with me on a camping trip during its week a bat, and this week it was the Optimus 99…

    The Optimus seems easier in the area of keeping the heat down, but I was really surprised when I recorded myself cooking my breakfast, and then compared the times; from priming to finished cooking…

    Some places I’ve read that the BTU ratings on both stoves are similar, and there seem always to be comments that the Svea burns hotter… All I know is start to finish, the Optimus 99 was a 13:10 minute project, and the Svea did the same in 7:28! After recording these 14 stoves, all doing the same chore, 13:10 is quite a long time… None of this makes any difference I suppose, as they all have done their job, it’s just that I was very surprised at the difference in these two very similar stoves…




     
  2. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Howdy, @Haggis ,

    The BTU rating for each stove is as follows (this is from the older Optimus catalogs, by the way):

    SVEA 123 stoves = 4,700 BTU'd

    Optimus 8r, and 99 = 3,300 BTU's.

    My own experience with both stoves seems to easily show the power difference between them. As for regulating the flame, I like both stoves. But, the older SVEA 123's get the nod. No internal cleaning needle, though, whilst the 8R and 99 both have that feature. All good stoves, but for me, I'll take the SVEA 123, both older, and "newer" R version, over either the 99 or 8R. Just my opinion. Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
     
  3. ArchMc

    ArchMc SotM Winner Subscriber

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    This also matches my experience.

    I wonder if you could get better performance from your 99 with a more effective wind screen for the burner. You would have to be careful to not shield the tank too efficiently, though, as overheating would be a problem.

    ….Arch
     
  4. Haggis

    Haggis Subscriber

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    Thank you for the numbers @Doc Mark,,, certainly a clear difference at that low end of the BTU scale… It is pretty difficult to find a legitimate grumble with the Svea 123(r)… As small gas stoves go, it’s a dandy…

    There’s a part of me @ArchMc, that tries to appreciate a thing for what it is, and tries not to imagine what it could be… The 8r may not throw out a bunch of BTU’s, but maybe that’s not so bad… I was surprised at the time difference, as I mentioned, but the little stove is still a pleasure…

    Thank you both for your responses…
     
  5. Larry_R United States

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    @Haggis Thanks so much for this useful information. I'd be very curious about how your results might change using a mini-pump with the Optimus 99. I've always used one, even summer backpacking. And in the winter on snow, to my mind it's a necessity. With just a modest number of pumps (depending on the temperature) the increase in heat output of my 99 is huge. Maybe I can post some boil times with and without the pump for a given quantity of water.

    Larry
     
  6. Yun124

    Yun124 Subscriber

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    Hello, I am so sure Mini/Midi pump makes a way higher output even in summer season.
    But I think, during the summer season, Only 2-3pumpings are very enough, otherwise should consider the overpressure...
     
  7. Majicwrench

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    I have always wondered if my something was wrong with my 99, so thank you for the post and the BTU numbers @Doc Mark , sound like mine is just running as designed.

    I do have a Stansport 99 copy that, despite the crappy machine work, is hot little stove!
     
  8. Daryl

    Daryl United States SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Glad to see you are eating healthy and using your stoves. I see by the BTU numbers Doc posted the optimus is the under dog. Would expect to see a longer cook time, but 13:10? Seems like your svea is operating correctly. After pre heat stove was ready to cook at 2:00. On the other hand your optimus took to the 5:30 mark to get going. During pre heat you were opening the fuel valve with no flair ups. I could not see or hear if burner was going or not. Granted not all stoves operate the same and one may take longer to get going than the next. Seems like 5 min is a long time for a 99 to get going?
    I believe in science, the numbers say the svea burns hotter, but I think if you replace that optimus with a different one your oats would cook faster. Thanks for sharing your project and keep eating them oats!
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
  9. Haggis

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    Opening and closing the valve was/is now a display of impatience on my part,,, both my 99 and 8r seem a bit lethargic during their warm ups… In a world full of instant on and instant access, patience can often be in short supply…

    My goal 14 weeks ago, was to give each of my stoves a week on my “back porch kitchen”,,, have a look at how they performed cooking up my morning porridge oats… This is a dish that wants to begin at a boil and to finish at a very slow simmer… It has been interesting…

    This week will be the Optimus 8r, and comparing it to the 99 of last week is a surety…

    Oats for breakfast these last several lustrums,,, only very rarely a deviation…
     
  10. Daryl

    Daryl United States SotM Winner Subscriber

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    @Haggis, Thanks, very interesting project you have going, good for mind, body and soul. Good way to start the day, thou would rather be flyfishing with @Majicwrench and eating mac & cheese! Hope it will be done in less than a lustrum. I tend to be impatient during pre-heat also. Cooking oats can be a challenge even on a regular indoor stove. If your 8r can get to full steam at the 2:00 mark you will see how lethargic your 99 is. I am hoping for a less than 10:00 cook time. Keep eating those oats, good nutrition is key to good health.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
  11. BradB

    BradB United States Subscriber

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    I have had good luck increasing 8R or 123 output by setting the wick about 3mm short of full insertion. I think it allows optimal fuel delivery. It is a Bernie Dawg trick. Brad
     
  12. Haggis

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    @BradB I probably should try to rebuild all of my wick type stoves… There is no way of knowing how long it has been for any of them…

    And I will remember the Bernie Dawg trick…
     
  13. itchy

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    I have successfully scorched my dinner on both my 8R and 123R. :content:

    @Haggis How the fires around your area? We got out of the BWCA last week ok after dealing with high winds and a lot of smoke. But at least we beat the closure and were out before we got chased out.
     
  14. Alcoholic Australia

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    @Haggis - I know you are also a fan of Trangias. Can I ask how a Trangia spirit burner compares with these numbers on the same task? What about with a burner that is already hot?

    I’m trying to work out if there is really any need for me to move away from my trusted Trangia solution.

    I tried Coleman stoves for awhile but the fuel is very expensive here, the priming wastes a bunch of it and between the priming and pumping I don’t think I was really any faster, unless cooking a very large meal. In which case two Trangii would be a more flexible option.

    Added to that the pot / windscreen packing solution was much less elegant, more bulky and heavier. I am wondering if kero versions of these stoves would be much better?
     
  15. Haggis

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    We had a local grass fire a day or two ago, but so far the big fires have been 40 or 50 miles east of us… With the high winds and lack of rain this summer, things might have been much worse…
     
  16. Haggis

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    Trangias are definitely going to be somewhere on my list to try,,, have to be, given as much as I enjoy them,,, just haven’t gotten there yet…

    My notes are sketchy, my opinions of what is good or bad have evolved,,, but I’ve at least written something as I’ve gone along… One thing certain with these self pressurizing stoves, a heat diffuser is a must… Very low simmering push the stoves’ abilities to stay lit… Seems they all work well when allowed dance to their own tune, but start shutting them down, and they develop an attitude in a hurry… Each model has a personality, as I’d wager most any two identical stoves might have…

    2021 stove use/rotation

    Wk. #1 - May 17 - 23, Monitor 17B Tourist Stove… Functioned perfectly,,, Scale of 1 to 10, definitely a 10 when boiling water tea, frying eggs, or making porridge…

    Wk. #2 - May 24 - 30, Optimus 00… Functioned perfectly,,, Scale of 1 to 10, give it a 9,,, It boils water quickly, but doesn’t want to stay lit at very low simmering temperatures…

    Wk. #3 - May 31 - June 6, Primus 210, with Radius silent burner… Works well, turns down nicely, boils water very quickly, will simmer fairly well… Scale of 1 to 10, at simmering temperatures, give it a 9.5…

    Wk. #4 - June 7 - 13, Burmos 21, early model… Boils water quickly, burns at a fairly low setting, with the addition of a heat diffuser it really shines… Impossible not to like the ease with which this stove operates… Still, even at its lowest setting porridge oats push the limits of the old stove’s abilities…

    Wk. #5 - June 14 - 20, Optimus 96… It would seem, based on the 1/2 pint stove/lipstick burner natural limitations in heat production, that these smaller stoves seem to lend themselves more easily to cooking at lower temperatures… The heat diffuser so needed on the pint stoves, sits idle whilst my morning porridge simmers on the Optimus 96… Easily another 10 out of 10…

    Wk. #6 - June 21 - 27, Primus 96,,, 1936… No issues at all, and is a great small stove of sorting out my porridge oats… Definitely 10 out of 10…

    Wk. #7 - June 28 - July 5, Radius 20… No issues, easy to control the heat at lower temperatures…

    Wk. #8 - July 5 - 11, Radius 21… Heat diffuser needed,,, as with the pint stoves, does not like being run at low temperatures…

    Wk. #9 - July 12 - 18, Manaslu 96… Best choice for porridge thus far… Really surprised me given its pint stove type burner…

    Wk. #10 - July 19 - 25, Primus 51… Nice cooking stove,,, really nice… Surprised again…

    Wk. #11 - July 26 - Aug. 1, Primus 96,,, 1929… Stubborn to light and to control at first, but easy to cook on, as the 1/2 printers have been, and easy to control at lower temperatures,,, a heat diffuser was still needed…

    Wk. #12 - Aug. 2 - 8, Optimus 111,silent burner… Very nice stove to work with,,, turns down quite low without going out…

    Wk. #13 - Aug. 9 - 15, Svea 123, Excellent stove for cooking, though it wants a heat diffuser with porridge oats towards the last minute… Carried this stove this week on a 3-day BWCAW trip,,, used it for all cooking and for boiling our water,,, just an amazing wee bit of kit…

    Wk. #14 - Aug. 16 - 22, Optimus 99, Actually does quite a good job,,, seems slow to go, and not as hot as some,,, most certainly not as fast or hot as some,,, can stand being turned down a little, and with the addition of a heat diffuser, the wee stove simmers quite well…

    Wk. #15 - Aug. 23 - 29, Optimus 8r

    Wk. #16 - Aug. 30 - Sept. 5, Coleman 530

    Wk. # 17 - Sept. 6 - 12, Primus 71

    Wk. #18 - Sept. 13 - 19, Burmos 21, late model

    Wk. #19 - Sept. 20 - 26, Svea 123r

    Wk. #20 - Sept. 27 - Oct. 3, Coleman 500

    Wk. #21 - Oct. 4 - 10, Coleman 533
     
  17. Scrambler

    Scrambler Australia Subscriber

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    @Alcoholic , I'd suggest that real world you would find a Trangia slower but make some if the time back with not having to prime.

    I haven't cooked porridge on a camp stove, nor timed it in the kitchen. And I tend to use oats that take longer to cook when I do. So this task I can't comment on.

    But general cooking- I have recently done a multi-element meal on an MSR X-GK in a Trangia, and a similar meal later on a Trangia running alcohol. The two were interesting in that the Trangia burner took 2 fillings, so also some cooling down time. I don't think the time was wildly different. But perhaps time with family makes cooking time less relevant.

    I have a 99 and I've never been in doubt of whether it was running once the tap got opened. It's either roaring, or spouting flame.

    I have an Optimus 111, and that is a surprisingly adjustable stove. As, in a bonkers way, is the X-GK. The 111 you just turn the nob and it adjusts. The X-GK with Duraseal pump, you get it to heat then turn the nob off, and then back on by 1/6 of a turn, then it simmers. Fine adjustment but nearly closed does what is said to be impossible. If you look at the tap machining you will see this is designed in, not an accidental situation.

    So to avoid Shellite, I can recommend either of these stoves. My X-GK has a worn K jet/nipple and burns Shellite well but kero poorly. But the 111 is fabulous. 60 years old. Looks like scrap metal, runs like new.
     
  18. Haggis

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    I generally carry 2 Trangia sprit burners… I swap them out as needed so cooking need not wait whilst a hot/empty spirit burner is cooling…
     
  19. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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    Thanks to Haggis and all, this is a very helpful thread :thumbup::thumbup: .
    all, Haggis,
    You may have found difference surprising as the burner's internals & jets are interchangeable. When we get to later models (Optimus) 8R, 99, P71, Op80, Svea 123R at optimum performance, "the flame" generated would be the same (open burner, zero windscreen).
    Those (71, 80 & 123R) with direct vaporizer-to-tank connection get slight edge getting to full roar.

    You used 99 w/o windscreen. I'll not consider best-use or effectiveness of the 99's partial windscreen.
    I note:
    Running 99/8R w/o any windscreen, 8R/99 vs 123, the 123 flame benefits from much more shielding (ie less heat loss and more thermal feedback). The 123's integrated brass windshield being another compliment.

    Re 99/8R windscreen: consider the compatible windscreen in link. A functional equivalent of that windscreen for boil test times can be a quick simple wrap of the thick aluminum foil. You are not using oversized pan/pot, so less overheat concern. IF added foil is "too much" (re overheat), then
    add holes thru the foil.
    --------------------------------------------

    13:10 is quite a long time... comparatively speaking, for cooking oats, I'll take your word for it.
    To speed up times for ALL your boiling / cooking... use a pot lid. IMO, this requires a timer (basic cooking item). At start you have "some idea" once prime is done, how long it takes for boil to begin, set timer <-- for that time, at least, the pot can be covered. A timer is key, as there's "no peeking" to check status (defeats the lid's purpose).

    PS this is anecdotal but +1 w/Majicwrench, my 8R/99 side-by-side boil tests of years ago my Asian 99 copy was clear top performer. I had opinion then that 1 of my 8R's (2nd place) was giving all it could. The Asian 99 had larger/wider flame output, I did not/do not, know why specifically. A PT1 (said to be hotter than 8R) was not represented back then.
    ------------------------
    EDIT, re below: Yeah. and like he said vvv : )
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2021
  20. afoton

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    The power of the stove is dependent of pressure in the tank, and pressure is dependent on temperature. The tank of 123 getts hotter faster then the tank of the 99. That is the reason why 123 makes the water boil faster. A second boiling will be way faster for both stoves than the first boiling.

    I use to remove the heat shield of my Optimus 8 and 8R when starting up, and put it back when the tank is hot and the burner has gotten full power. As I understand it, this is not that easy to do on OP's 99.