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Bio Lite Stove 4753

Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,822 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Bio Lite Stove
« on: September 08, 2014, 04:54:18 PM »
A while ago I was asking about portable power options, and I eventually ended up getting a solar battery and a Bio Lite stove.  The solar batter smurfed the bed a couple of weeks after I got it, but the Bio Lite seems to have worked out so far.  I had a couple of chances to use it over the last couple of months, but I hadn't managed to put in the time necessary to post it here until now.  Sorry about that....

For those not familiar with a Bio Lite Stove, it's a little doodad that turns wood into electricity while making your lunch, and honestly I think everyone needs one.  :P



My first test with this was to see how well it charged things, and I had some twigs in my yard that needed to be disposed of, so the first test was just to see how much power it put out.  I decided to use my Google Nexus 7 as a guinea pig.  You'll notice the charge is at 92% at 2011hrs in the evening.



I dropped some dried twigs into the Bio Lite, lit some tinder, dropped that in and switched it on.  The fire inside started quite quickly and easily- much more so than I was expecting!



Within minutes I had a significant flame coming out of the top of the unit.  The Bio Lite website says that you can boil a liter of water in about four minutes, and I believe it- the flame was quite large.



What happens with this thing is that it uses a small battery to run a fan which creates a vortex inside and allows the wood to burn very quickly, reaching very hot temperatures very quickly.  Then it uses the heat generated to recharge the battery.  Once the battery is full again the LED turns green and you can then use it to charge any device that can be charged from a USB port- cameras, phones, flashlights, GPS and so on.



As you can see, after almost a half hour of continuous use it didn't charge my tablet, but even with the screen and wifi on, the Nexus 7 didn't drain the battery any either, so if nothing else, the Bio Lite produces enough power to run a tablet.  If I'd shut it off I imagine it would have charged but holding it's own is not too bad either.  I have a feeling I'd have run out of twigs in my yard before I'd need to worry about the tablet- this thing is hungry and goes through wood like a starving kid at Baskin Robins.



When you stop feeding it wood it will end up burning itself out in 5-10 minutes, leaving behind a very fine ash.  While the photo above looks like there are some lumps of wood, it actually burns quite efficiently, and the ash coming out of it was very similar in texture to talcum powder.  the lumps you see crumbled at the slightest touch.  Throughout the whole burn the outside of the stove warmed up, but was still cool enough to handle.  All in all I was very happy with the stove.  Of course, how would it work for cooking was the next question, and one that I found out a little while later.

A few weeks ago my friend Megan and I embarked on a long kayak trip.  We knew it was going to be a long day, as we were estimating about 30-35kms with numerous portages as we made our way from Lake Banook in the heart of Dartmouth to Grand Lake, which is out near where Derek Mac lives, using an old trade route called the Shubie Canal.  I've talked about the canal a lot and paddled it even more, but this would be the first time I'd attempted to paddle all seven lakes and the canals that connect them in one day.  The day would start on Lake Banook, then Lake MicMac, followed by Lake Charles, Lake William, Lake Thomas (where we planned to find a spot on an island and have lunch) then Lake Fletcher and into Grand Lake.  We'd portage at least once between almost every lake, and more than usual since we have had very little rain this year and the water was low.

We had a great time kayaking, although we did fall short of our goal.  It was still a very long day, but we did stop for lunch as planned, and the Bio Lite performed excellently.  Megan is going to kill me for posting this, but here she is being very skeptical of the stove:



That ended quickly once we got food on the stove- in fact, it was burning so hot that it was searing the food rather than cooking it.  Pictured here is the potato/onion/orange pepper mix that we started with.  I didn't get any pictures of the steak we threw in afterwards, but it was a cut about 3/4" thick, and it also cooked extremely fast.  The steak was then cut up and put on top of the veggies making for a very nice lunch.



Detail oriented members will have noticed the reference to Scotia Biomass on my tablet screen above- well, according to the folks at Bio Lite you can use any biomass in this stove, so I tried using some wood pellets left over from that job.  I think this might have accounted for the excessive heat coming out of this stove, but they worked amazingly well- at least until I dropped too many in at once and smothered it.   :facepalm:

The stove however performed excellently, and I can highly recommend this thing to anyone interested in keeping a device powered and who wants to eat lunch, all while away from home.  The stove packs up very compactly and while the battery is a bit heavy, the rest of the unit is very lightweight.  The only down side to this stove is the inability to regulate the heat output- you can't really turn it up or down other than adding more or less wood, but that's a small price to pay to keep your devices charged.  As most of you know I am a huge advocate of cell phones on excursions as they are the best safety device you can buy, but they aren't much good when the battery dies.  This is another way to stay safe as you will always be able to keep your battery charged, especially as fuel is available almost everywhere, provided you aren't trapped in Antarctica or the Gobi Desert.

And, in keeping with the multitool-ness of the forum, we ate our lunch with Eat'n Tools!



:D

Def
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 05:04:17 PM by Grant Lamontagne »



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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 17,436 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over.
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2014, 05:36:38 PM »
Glad the stove is working out for you.

Nate

Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,822 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2014, 08:30:17 PM »
I see now they have the larger one available- the Basecamp version.  It won't fit in my kayak but it sure does seem like it would charge everything a lot faster!

Def

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No Life Club Posts: 2,771
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2014, 09:29:52 PM »
If weight isn't an issue that stove looks like a good investment. The only part I don't like is the inability to quick change the heat. Otherwise it is definitely more than a gadget and could be great for emergencies in my opinion.
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 19,999 I may get older but I refuse to grow up.
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2014, 09:34:01 PM »
Good write-up boss. And nice pictures too. :cheers:

Have you timed how long it would take you to charge a cell phone battery with it?
No Life Club Posts: 2,669
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2014, 09:34:47 PM »
I haven't read this all the way through, but I do like the 'eat'n'tool' model  ;) quite a babe. can see why you go Kayaking now  :drool:
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,822 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2014, 10:26:04 PM »
I haven't read this all the way through, but I do like the 'eat'n'tool' model  ;) quite a babe. can see why you go Kayaking now  :drool:

She's very upset with me for posting photos in which she looks "rough."

Good write-up boss. And nice pictures too. :cheers:

Have you timed how long it would take you to charge a cell phone battery with it?

Nope.  That is something I'll probably do at some point, but my new phone uses different cables than my old one and I didn't have one of the new ones with me when we went kayaking!

If weight isn't an issue that stove looks like a good investment. The only part I don't like is the inability to quick change the heat. Otherwise it is definitely more than a gadget and could be great for emergencies in my opinion.

Not being adjustable is a bit of a pain in the arse, but it does do an excellent job of cooking, and while the battery does add to the weight it is offset by the fact that you don't also need to carry fuel with you.

Def

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No Life Club Posts: 2,669
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2014, 10:33:37 PM »
I haven't read this all the way through, but I do like the 'eat'n'tool' model  ;) quite a babe. can see why you go Kayaking now  :drool:

She's very upset with me for posting photos in which she looks "rough."

well tell her we need to see a few pics of her at her best, just in the interest of being fair, and we'll make the judgments !
(I think she's hot..... hotter that that stove  ;) sadly she probably young enough to be my daughter but cute as ....)
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 31,695
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2014, 10:43:13 PM »
Hey Megan, don't worry about Taxi Dad, when push comes to shove he'll beeline for kirky.
No Life Club Posts: 2,669
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2014, 10:45:00 PM »
I said she was cute, not Kirky cute  :twak:
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 31,695
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2014, 10:45:51 PM »
Could you not turn off the fan to slow the burning? Can the orange bit be taken off?
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 31,695
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2014, 10:48:33 PM »
I said she was cute, not Kirky cute  :twak:

 :facepalm:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 17,436 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over.
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2014, 01:05:48 AM »
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,822 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2014, 01:30:01 AM »
Could you not turn off the fan to slow the burning? Can the orange bit be taken off?

You can probably take the orange bit off, but then it basically is just a coffee can fire, not terribly hot or efficient.  You can't actually turn the fan of when cooking as it will start itself back up again to keep from overheating the battery and other electronic gizmos. 

I forgot to mention though, there are high and low settings for the fan, so I suppose there is some adjustment available.

Def

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Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 29,769 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2014, 07:03:49 PM »
Great review boss. :tu:  Seems to be tailor made for what you are doing.

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,456
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2014, 07:58:47 PM »
Nice review!
Now I want one too... :twak:


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 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,822 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2014, 08:09:12 PM »
I haven't used it that much yet, but so far I really like it. I'll have to try both the charging function and cooking function at some point.

Def

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Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,202 SAK Surgeon
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2014, 02:47:33 AM »
I really dont camp enough to justify one, but I really want one anyway :D  Geek factor and utility.  I'd love to figure out how many sticks to charge my phone.

PM me or email sakmodder [at] gmail . com if you are looking for custom SAK work.

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Sr. Member Posts: 349 Outdoorsy type and over-opinionated buffoon
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2014, 08:57:36 AM »
Thanks for posting - I've been thinking about maybe getting one of these for a while, but have hung back as I have had numerous solar gadgets over the years that have mostly let me down (I was attracted tot he biolite as it feels more like a proactive gadget).

I will certainly seriously consider one now - thank you

Oh, and to join in with the general banter  - if it comes with a free Megan all the better  :D
No Life Club Posts: 1,405 Yersinia Pestis & Campylobacter Jejuni!
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2014, 01:12:38 PM »
I wonder once you used twigs to start up the fire, if you can drop in a few bbq charcoal pieces to keep it running. It would defo burn longer then some twigs.
If yes, It looks like I need to get me one of these for emergency use...

Things should be made as simple as possible, and not simpler.
If you can't be happy with what you have, you will never be happy.
No Life Club Posts: 2,669
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2014, 02:24:37 PM »
......I need to get me a 'Megan' for emergency use  :drool:
Sr. Member Posts: 349 Outdoorsy type and over-opinionated buffoon
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2014, 02:51:05 PM »
I wonder once you used twigs to start up the fire, if you can drop in a few bbq charcoal pieces to keep it running. It would defo burn longer then some twigs.
If yes, It looks like I need to get me one of these for emergency use...

Just a thought, would that possibly increase the fire's temperature and maybe melt the mesh?
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,822 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2014, 05:01:06 PM »
I wonder once you used twigs to start up the fire, if you can drop in a few bbq charcoal pieces to keep it running. It would defo burn longer then some twigs.
If yes, It looks like I need to get me one of these for emergency use...

Just a thought, would that possibly increase the fire's temperature and maybe melt the mesh?

From the FAQ section of the Bio Lite page:

Quote
Can I use charcoal in my Biolite camp stove?


You can, but we do not recommend it as an ideal fuel source. Charcoal will glow like embers but will not promote complete combustion and you'll be left with a lot of leftover ash and mass at the end of your burn. If you are looking for a standby fuel to have on-hand, we recommend wood pellets or wood chips which you can find easily at your local home improvement store.

However, for a quick tailgating hack, the CampStove is an awesome way to kickstart your charcoal for your grill.


I haven't tried charcoal yet.  I'll add it to the list of things to test.  :D

Def

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Marketing Maven Administrator No Life Club Posts: 1,155 Does your head look like a watermelon?
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2014, 05:03:59 PM »
I wonder once you used twigs to start up the fire, if you can drop in a few bbq charcoal pieces to keep it running. It would defo burn longer then some twigs.
If yes, It looks like I need to get me one of these for emergency use...

Just a thought, would that possibly increase the fire's temperature and maybe melt the mesh?

They say that you can use charcoal but that it isn't recommended. Because it's been pre-burned it isn't going to fully combust.
Plus the amount of ash causes an air flow issue. We used pellets at one point and the ash started to really build up- extinguishing the fire.

Oh, Hi.

-Megan
Would you like your review featured on http://Multitool.org? Do you have a suggestion to improve the forum or our sites?
Send me a message.

Head Turd Polisher Administrator He who has the most nuts, wins! Posts: 57,822 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2014, 05:06:29 PM »
You look strangely familiar....   :whistle:

Def

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No Life Club Posts: 2,669
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2014, 05:10:01 PM »

welcome Megan
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 17,436 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over.
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2014, 05:32:33 PM »
Hello Megan! Make sure you keep the boss in check for us will ya.

Nate

No Life Club Posts: 1,405 Yersinia Pestis & Campylobacter Jejuni!
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2014, 05:34:39 PM »
I wonder once you used twigs to start up the fire, if you can drop in a few bbq charcoal pieces to keep it running. It would defo burn longer then some twigs.
If yes, It looks like I need to get me one of these for emergency use...

Just a thought, would that possibly increase the fire's temperature and maybe melt the mesh?

They say that you can use charcoal but that it isn't recommended. Because it's been pre-burned it isn't going to fully combust.
Plus the amount of ash causes an air flow issue. We used pellets at one point and the ash started to really build up- extinguishing the fire.

Oh, Hi.

Hi back and welcome   :)
Thanks for clearing that up.

Things should be made as simple as possible, and not simpler.
If you can't be happy with what you have, you will never be happy.
Sr. Member Posts: 349 Outdoorsy type and over-opinionated buffoon
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2014, 05:54:05 PM »
I wonder once you used twigs to start up the fire, if you can drop in a few bbq charcoal pieces to keep it running. It would defo burn longer then some twigs.
If yes, It looks like I need to get me one of these for emergency use...

Just a thought, would that possibly increase the fire's temperature and maybe melt the mesh?

They say that you can use charcoal but that it isn't recommended. Because it's been pre-burned it isn't going to fully combust.
Plus the amount of ash causes an air flow issue. We used pellets at one point and the ash started to really build up- extinguishing the fire.

Oh, Hi.

Hi back and welcome   :)
Thanks for clearing that up.

Thanks - that makes sense  :)

Oh, hi too...
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 19,999 I may get older but I refuse to grow up.
Re: Bio Lite Stove
« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2014, 07:23:48 PM »
Welcome to the loony bin, Megan. :waving:


 

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