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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Primus AB ETA Multi Fuel Stove > Test Report by Michael Wheiler

PRIMUS ETAPOWER MF STOVE
Test Series
By Michael Wheiler

Initial Report: NOVEMBER 30, 2008
Field Report:  February 21, 2009
Long Term Report:  April 21, 2009

Personal Information:

Name:    Michael Wheiler
Age:   52
Gender:   Male
Location:   Southeast Idaho
Email:   jmwlaw AT ida DOT net

Experience:

I have about 40 years experience hiking, camping, and backpacking.  During that time, I have used a variety of different stoves.  I haven't really classified myself as having a specific backpacking style.  Prior to joining BackpackGearTest, my pack weight would frequently go as high as 65 pounds (29.5 kg).  Now, due mostly to lighter equipment, my summer pack is generally under 40 pounds (18 kg) and my winter pack is generally less than 50 pounds (23 kg).


INITIAL REPORT
Product:
 
Item:  EtaPower MF
Manufacturer:  Primus
Manufacturer's Web Site:  http://www.primus.se
Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price:  $190.00 US


Boxed Set
1.  The Boxed Set


Stove complete
2.  The EtaPower MF Stove/Pot Set-Up With Fuel Bottle


PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS PER MANUFACTURER UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED

Stove Type
Integrated cook system
Temperature/climate
Winter/unlimited cold
Weights
Listed:  32.8 oz/932 g (with fuel pump); 29 oz/830 g (without fuel pump)

As weighed by tester:

All parts in storage bag:  2 lbs 14.4 oz/1.32 kg 
Stove/pot with fuel pump but no fuel in canister: 33.9 oz/961 g
Stove/pot without fuel pump:  27.3 oz/774 g
0.35 L/12 fl oz fuel bottle:  3.1 oz/88 g
ErgoPump:  3.5 oz/99 g
2.1 L/2.2 qt EtaPower Pot with heat exchanger:  9 oz/225 g
Lid/frying pan:  5 oz/142 g
Frying pan handle:  1.6 oz/45 g
Burner base:  4.1 oz/116 g
Windscreen:  3.4 oz/96 g
Stove, fuel cable:  5.8 oz/164 g
Extra jets:  Approximately 0.1 oz/3 g each (the postal scale would only measure down to 0.1 oz/3 g)
Multi-tool:  0.6 oz/17 g
Storage bag:  10 oz/283 g
Dimensions
Listed:  8.3 x 8.3 x 5.3 in/210 x 210 x 135 mm

As measured by tester:
  In storage case:  8.75 in/22 cm (diameter) x 5.25 in/13 cm (height)
  Ready for use:  8 in/20 cm (diameter) x 6.5 in16.5 cm (height)
Ignition
Manual
Fuel Type
LP gas cartridge (mixture of propane/butane mix); white gas/petrol; kerosene/paraffin
Output

Efficiency
5,400-7,000 BTU/h (1,500-2,000 W)
8,000 BTU/h per the hang tag
80%
Burn Time and Boil Time
Average Burn Time:  6+ days on a 8 oz/230 g LP canister
1 Liter/1 Qt Boil Time:  2.5 minutes (plus pre-heating time of 45-60 seconds)


GENERAL DESCRIPTION

All The Parts
3.  All The Parts

The EtaPower MF arrived from North American Gear, LLC in excellent condition.  On the top of the Primus box, the manufacturer claims that the EtaPower MF is "the most versatile and environmentally friendly stove."   After removing the stove from the box, I examined each of the parts and compared the parts to the schematic on the front of the enclosed printed manual.  There were no missing parts.  I then decided to see if I could intuitively assemble the stove without referring to the instructions.  With a little trial and error, I was able to properly assemble the EtaPower MF.  With one exception, the stove looked like what I expected after visiting the Primus web site.  The stove in the storage sack and assembled is quite a bit larger than I anticipated.  However, in retrospect, given the 2.1 L/2.2 qt pot, the stove's size should not have surprised me.  The storage case zips open easily and there is a zippered pocket on the interior of the top lid of the storage case which is large enough to store the extra jets, oil, multi-tool, and a small butane lighter.

The EtaPower MF is a multi-fuel stove with an integrated windscreen and cooking pot.  It can burn LP gas LP gas (propane/butane mix), good quality gasoline/petrol (such as Primus PowerFuel, MSR White Gas, and Coleman Fuel), and kerosene/paraffin.  However, LP gas is recommended by Primus as the ideal fuel for the stove and normally requires no priming.   While unleaded gasoline/petrol can be used, Primus notes that it is extremely volatile and contains additives that leave more deposits in the fuel system. Primus also warns that leaded gasoline/petrol should not be used. Primus also notes that kerosene/paraffin burns with a smoky flame and is difficult to preheat.  Each type of fuel requires a different jet.  Jet 32 is used with LP gas and came pre-installed in the fuel system.  Jet 28 is used for gasoline/petrol and jet 22 is used for kerosene/paraffin.

The written instructions were easy for me to read, were written in several languages, and contained the usual warnings.  Of particular interest to me was this warning from Primus, "See too that the flame on the appliance is steady.  The flame shall always leave the stove straight upwards.  Note!  Wind may press the flame down under the burner, if that happens stop the stove immediately and move it to a wind protected area."  The instructions also warn, "Use Primus LP gas cartridges/fuel bottles.  Any attempt to fit another type of LP gas cartridges or liquid fuel bottle may be dangerous."  The EtaPower MF is not designed for use in unventilated spaces, indoors, in a tent, in a vehicle or other enclosed space.

STOVE SET-UP

The Base
4.  The Underside Of The Base Showing Stove Connection And Bottom Of The Pot Supports

As shown in photograph 4, the underside of the base has a metal clip on one side near the base of one of the pot supports and a corresponding slot cut in the metal on the opposite side.  As shown in photograph 3, the stove has a silver colored metal support with beveled ends.  The burner fits into the round portion of the hole cut in the center of the base with the brass tube and fuel connection being lowered into the narrower portion of the cut-out.  One side of the silver colored metal support slides into the slot and the other side fits into the clip.  The slot for the stove base is shown in both photographs 4 and 5.  I had to bend the clip slightly with my fingers to create a secure fit.  The base is now fitted with the stove and is ready to be connected to the windscreen.


The Pot Supports
5.  The Base With Pot Supports Open And Windscreen Attached

Photograph 5 shows the base attached to the windscreen without the stove attached.  Based upon my initial experience in setting up the stove and from reading Primus' instructions, it is best to attach the stove to the base before connecting the windscreen.  With the pot supports in the closed position, I pushed the base up through the opening cut in the bottom of the windscreen and then turned it one quarter turn so that it locked into place under the base plate holders.  The little silver tabs located to the right rear of the base of the pot holders (as shown in photograph 5) are the base plate holders.  I then pivoted the serrated pot holders into the open position.  This "secured" the windscreen to the base.  However, I noted that the windscreen could easily be twisted back out of the "secure" position--i.e., it is not locked into place.

The Base/Windscreen/Stove
6.  The Base, Windscreen And Stove Assembled

Once the base is connected to the windscreen, per Primus' instructions, the fuel hose should be pulled out as straight as possible toward the LP gas canister or the fuel bottle  (see photograph 8 below).  Primus also warns that the fuel hose and canister or fuel bottle should be kept away from heat that radiates from the stove when in use.  The brass pre-heating tube is shown in photographs 6 and 7.  It makes kind of a bent "U" loop around the burner and then connects into the brass tube to the burner by way of a screw-on-cap.  This brass tube leading to the burner also houses the fuel jet for the stove.  By simply grasping the round brass threaded cap and turning it counter-clockwise, I was able to unscrew the cap from the tube leading to the burner and detach the burner from the fuel hose and pre-heating tube.  The jet is located at the end of the pre-heating tube where it enters the tube to the burner.  See, photograph 8.  I then removed the jet from the pre-heating tube with the multi-tool which is included with the set.  According to Primus, an 8 mm/3/10 in wrench can also be used to remove the jet.  I attached a new jet to the pre-heating tube, reinserted it into the brass tube leading to the burner, and the tightened the threaded cap.

Burner
7.  Brass Pre-heat Tube, Jet, and Burner

LIGHTING THE STOVE

LP Gas Canister Use:  Primus recommends that the user check the appliance and pump seals to ensure that they are in place and in good condition before each use.  It also reminds the user to make sure the proper jet is installed in the stove for the type of fuel being used and, if necessary, change the jet as described above.  According to Primus, the canister should be kept in an up-right position when using the stove.  Primus also reminds the user to make sure the valve on the end of the fuel line is in the closed position before lighting the stove.  I was able to easily attach the valve at the end of the fuel line to the LP gas canister simply by lining up the threads and twisting.  Primus recommends that the valve only be tighten to the canister by hand.  With the stove now ready to use, I simply turned the valve knob counter-clockwise to open the valve.  On the top of the valve knob are the symbols "+" and "-" to show which direction the knob should be turned.  The valve knob is made of black plastic and is shown at the top of the canister in photograph 8.  After opening the valve, I could hear gas escaping from the stove and could smell fuel.  Using a butane lighter, I was able to light the stove.   I fine tuned the flame by opening or closing the valve knob.  When the stove is burning, Primus recommends moving the stove as little as possible because moving it may cause the flame to flare.  I extinguished the flame by simply turning the valve knob clockwise as far as it would go.  Based upon my initial experience, there was a slight delay between closing the valve and the burner going out.  Primus noted the delay in the written instructions.  During the field test period, I will attempt to time the delay with various fuels.  Primus notes that the stove should be allowed to cool before taking it apart.

LP Hook-up
8.  The Burner Attached To An LP Gas Canister

Liquid Fuel Use:  I have not yet attempted to light the stove using liquid fuel.  However, according to the written instructions supplied by Primus, except for the following differences or exceptions,  the general lighting instructions for the LP gas canister described above should be followed when using liquid fuel.  Primus recommends that fuel bottle be filled only to the level line with the selected fuel and that the fuel bottle not be filled above the level line.  Based upon my inspection and observations, the portion of the fuel pump that is inserted into the fuel bottle is rather large and will take up a good deal of room inside the fuel bottle.  As such, it is my opinion that if the bottle is over-filled, when the pump is inserted, there is a significant risk that fuel will be pushed out of the top of the bottle.  Primus notes that when threading the pump into the fuel bottle, the fuel pump swivel coupling should be carefully screwed into the fuel line valve until it meets the control valve O-ring and should not be over-tighten.  Primus recommends pumping the pump 15-20 times but more pumping is required if the fuel in the bottle is low.  Primus also states that the fuel bottle should be placed on a level surface with the text "ON" on the pump facing upwards.  For starting the stove, the position of the pump in photograph 9 is incorrect as the text "OFF" on the pump is facing upwards.

Pump And Fuel Bottle
9.  The Fuel Bottle With Pump

According to Primus' written instructions, the valve is opened and the stove primed by turning the valve knob counter-clockwise and leaving it open for a "short time" to allow liquid fuel to flow toward the jet.  Primus does not say just how long a "short time" is.  Primus simply says leaving the valve open for longer than a "short time" will cause a longer pre-heat time.  I will attempt to time and report on the length of time needed to prime the stove.  Primus warns that the user should check for fuel leaks at all connections.  If no leaks are found, Primus states that the proper way to light the stove is by the user keeping his or her head and body away from the stove.  According to Primus, the liquid fuel that has flowed into the stove by this time will burn for about 45 seconds if using gasoline/petrol and about 90 seconds if using kerosene/paraffin.  Primus reports that during this pre-heat period, the fuel vaporizes and at the end of this period a crackling noise will be heard.  Per the written instructions, the pump valve should then be opened slowly.  If the flame is yellow and relatively large, Primus recommends that the valve be closed and the pre-heating period allowed to continue for a short time.  On the other hand, if the flame is relatively blue and small, Primus says the stove is ready to use.

The written instructions note that to shut off the fuel to the stove and empty the fuel system, the user should turn over the fuel bottle over so that the text "OFF" on the pump is facing upwards as shown in photograph 9 above.  When the flame has gone out and only air is traveling through the fuel line, Primus notes that it is time to close the pump valve.  According to Primus, this process takes about 1 minute.  I will attempt to verify the amount of time necessary to shut down the stove while using liquid fuel.  Again, Primus suggests allowing the stove to cool before taking it apart.

  ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Frying Pan
10.  The Frying Pan/Lid With Handle

The pot lid can be converted into a frying pan and an aluminum handle is included with the kit for that purpose.  More than once in the written instructions, Primus warns the user not to use the windscreen with the frying pan or other pots.  The windscreen should only be used with the EtaPower pot.  As such, the stove is secured into the base and the pot supports twisted into their fully extended positions.  The frying pan or other non-EtaPower pots are then placed directly on the pot supports.

According to Primus, when using liquid fuel, the jet must be cleaned regularly for optimal performance and if inferior fuel is used for a "long period" of time the fuel connections will also need to be cleaned.  The written instructions provided by Primus state that after removing the jet as described above, the operator should use the wire on the multi-tool to clean the interior of the jet, remount the jet on the brass pipe, and make it leak-proof by tightening it with the multi-tool.  To clean out the fuel tube, Primus recommends the following steps:
  • Using the multi-tool, unscrew the hose from the fuel connection;
  • Pull the cleaning wire out of the fuel pipe using the multi-tool;
  • Work the wire backwards and forwards inside the tube until the fuel connection is clean;
  • With the jet disconnected from the fuel pipe, connect the fuel pump/bottle to the pipe;
  • Pressurize the fuel bottle with the pump, open the control valve, and flush 1/2 cup/3.65 ml of fuel through the fuel connection; 
  • Reassemble the fuel line and hand tighten; and
  • Check for leaks in the line using soapy water.
Per the written instructions, if the fuel pump fails to pressurize the fuel bottle, the operator is directed to stretch the leather gasket slightly and oil it or apply saliva or a mineral based oil; unscrew the pump rod and pull it out; and then rub oil onto the gasket until it is soft and pliable.  If these efforts do not resolve the problem, Primus recommends replacing the leather gasket and/or the "O" ring on the back valve.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The EtaPower MF is easy to set-up and very versatile.  Because it can use a wide variety of fuels, it can adapt to various weather conditions and altitudes.  Primus asserts that the flame from the EtaPower MF can also be controlled sufficiently to simmer.  This is an aspect of the stove that I have yet to test.  The EtaPower MF also is large enough that it could handle the cooking needs of a small group.  The pot/lid doubles as a frying pan and with the non-stick coating, should be easy to clean.  However, that is also an aspect of the system that I still have to test.

Size Comparison
11.  The Stove In Storage Case

On the negative side.  The EtaPower MF is heavy and large.  In the blue bag on the left in photograph 11 is my usual backpacking cook system which includes a Primus Micron stove, a spice container, an 8 oz/227 g LP gas canister, a butane lighter, and a titanium pot.  The EtaPower MF dwarfs the cook system I generally use.  At this juncture, given the size and weight of the EtaPower MF alone, I am concerned that if I were not personally testing the EtaPower MF, I would not backpack with a cooking system like this unless I was traveling with a group of three or more to justify the significant increase in size and weight.  I will report on whether that concern continues after using the EtaPower MF in the field.

This is the first integrated stove/pot system I have ever owned.  As such, I am curious as to just how much the wind and cold affects the EtaPower MF.  During my field use of the stove, I will report on my findings.  I will also report on how diverse I can be with the meals I prepare on the EtaPower MF (and still enjoy eating what I cook).


FIELD REPORT
February 21, 2009

My first field experience with the Eta Power was at Twin Bridges State Park near Ririe, Idaho (elevation 4,820 ft/1,469 m).  This was a solo car camping trip.  After pitching my shelter, I got ready to cook my evening meal.  I was having a simple freeze dried meal with half a bagel and hot chocolate.  As such I only needed to boil some water.  There was a slight breeze out of the southwest. The temperature was 31 F/-0.55 C.  I was using a fairly new canister of Primus Power Fuel.  The Eta Power came with the LP jet already attached so no equipment adjustments needed to be made.  I screwed on the canister, opened the fuel line valve about 1/4 turn and applied my lighter to the burner.  The stove jumped to life immediately with a bright blue flame.  I placed 32 oz/1 L of water in the Primus pot and set it on the stove.  I then opened the fuel line valve a full turn and a half.  I could hear the flame roaring.  I forgot to take my stop watch so simply had to try to keep track of the time on my wrist watch.  Within about 4 1/2 minutes I had a rolling boil.  I closed the fuel line valve and within less than a second, flame went out and I could not hear the sound of any fuel going into the stove.

The temperature in the morning was
17° F (-8° C).  I used the vestibule area as my kitchen.  I placed the stove and fuel canister on a small, flat piece of wood (it looked like plywood) that I found in the campsite.  This made for a stable, flat base and kept the stove and fuel out of the snow.  The entire set-up was protected from the soft southwesterly breeze by the vestibule.  Again, I simply screwed the fuel canister to the fuel line, cracked open the valve and used my lighter to ignite the stove.  It fired up just like the previous night.  The pressure sounded good and I had a good blue flame.  Since I was planning to use the lid to cook with and I already had a good windscreen, I did not use the windscreen supplied by Primus.  I used the lid as a frying pan and fried two eggs.  I was able to vary the height of the flame easily by adjusting the valve.  I then placed my PackFlat Grill on the stove and toasted the other half of my bagel.  I then removed the grill with gloved hands, set it aside and placed a small titanium pot full of water on the stove for my hot chocolate.  The pot only contained 16 oz/473 ml of water.  Within about 3 minutes, I had a rolling boil.  I closed the fuel line valve and almost immediately the flame was extinguished.

I next used the Eta Power on my front porch at home while conducting a "scientific" test of the different types of fuel that could be used in the Eta Power.  My plan was to use propane, white gas and kerosene all in the same environment and record the boil times for each type of fuel.  I planned to boil 1 liter/32 ounces of water with a fuel and record the time.  I next planned to let the pot cool, fill it with snow and record the time to melt the snow and bring it to boil with a type of fuel.  I would then change jets and fuel and repeat the process with each type of fuel.  It was 39 F/4 C during the test period with no wind.  I started with the Primus Power Fuel, then used Coleman white gas and concluded with Klean Strip 1-K kerosene.  The testing went smoothly.  The whole process took about 1 1/2 hours.  Unfortunately, between the testing and the writing of this report, my notes were lost.  I have torn the house inside out looking for them to no avail.  So, I will just give you my best recollection at this point.  The Power Fuel worked just like my previous experience.  I noticed some black smoke with the white gas and even more black smoke with the kerosene.  It took longer to prime the stove for the kerosene.  If memory serves me correct the boil times were faster for the liquid fuels as were the times necessary to melt and boil the snow.  As I was attempting to perform additional pumping while the stove was running with both the white gas and the kerosene, the pressurized flame broke and I had to work with an open yellow or orange flame for a few seconds to get it back to the blue color.  I never really got a clean blue colored flame with the kerosene.  At the conclusion of the testing, per Primus' instructions, I cleaned each jet with the tool and reassembled the stove with the propane jet installed.

Given the fact that I lost the crucial data, I decided to revisit the test plan with the primary objective of securing the data.  I used the same location on my porch.  The temperature was 41 F/5 C and there was a slight breeze out of the north at 1.3 to 1.8 mph/2-3 kph (according to my Brunton Sherpa).  Again, I used the Primus pot and put 32 oz/1 L of water in the pot.  After screwing on the Primus fuel canister, I opened the fuel valve about 1/4 turn and using my lighter started the stove.  A blue flame and torch like hissing sound was produced immediately.  I set the pot of water on the stove and opened the valve 1 1/4 turns.  Using the Primus Power Fuel, I was able obtain a rolling boil in 3 minutes 52 seconds.  I could see a significant number of bubbles and the water was hot to the touch at 2 minutes, 10 seconds.  After emptying the water, I filled the Primus pot with snow even with the rim and placed it on the stove.  Within 3 minutes, 46 seconds all of the snow was melted.  I had a rolling boil within 6 minutes, 19 seconds.  I emptied the melted snow into my Nalgene bottle and measured 20 oz/600 ml.

I let the stove and pot cool on the cement.  I then removed the LP jet and replaced it with the gas jet.  I filled the fuel bottle to the full line with Coleman Fuel (white gas).  I attached the bottle to the fuel line and then pumped the pump 20 times.  I opened the fuel valve slightly for about one second (until I could hear fuel spitting into the stove.  I then closed the valve and using my lighter, ignited the fuel in both the primer cup and the stove head.  I got a bright orange flame with a small amount of black smoke.  After about 30 seconds the flame went out but I did not hear a "crack".  I opened the fuel valve slightly and applied the lighter.  A bright yellow flame sprung to life and shortly turned to a near blue color.  I set the pot of water on the stove and opened the valve only slightly more.  I left the pump and fuel canister alone.  However, I did have to baby sit the white gas more by micro-adjusting the fuel valve.  I found that very slight adjustments to the fuel valve made a significant difference in the flame.  I obtained a rolling boil in 5 minutes, 14 seconds.  At about 3 minutes, 20 seconds there were lots of bubbles and the water was hot to the touch.  I emptied the pot of water, filled it with snow, and set it back on the stove.  Within 5 minutes, 49 seconds all of the snow was melted.  I had a rolling boil within 7 minutes, 51 seconds.  I then closed the fuel valve and it took 31.5 seconds for the flame to die.  I emptied the water from the pot into my Nalgene bottle and it measured 22 oz/651 ml.

I again let the stove and pot cool on the cement.  I also emptied the remaining white gas out of the bottle and into the Coleman can.  It did not look like I had used much fuel.  Once the stove was cool to the touch, I switched to the kerosene jet.  I then put 1-K kerosene in the fuel bottle up to the full line and screwed in the pump.  I attached the fuel pump/bottle to the fuel line and then opened the fuel valve just a crack.  When I heard the fuel spitting into the primer cup, I closed the valve and ignited the fuel with my lighter.  I got a bright orange flame with a lot of black smoke.  FlameI waited for the flame to die down.  I waited a little over one minute for the flame to go out.  I never heard a "crack" as suggested by Primus.  I then opened the fuel valve slightly and ignited the stove.  Again, I got a bright yellow flame with lots of black smoke.  When that happens, Primus suggests waiting a little longer for the stove to prime.  So I closed the fuel valve and waited.  When the flame was almost out, I opened the valve slightly.  Again, I got a bright orange flame with a great deal of black smoke.  I waited and watched hoping the flame would turn a more blue color.  While I watched, I became aware that the stove was not making the usual "hissing" sound which indicated to me that it was lacking pressure.

I shut the stove down completely and waited for it to cool.  Once it was cool enough to touch, I removed the jet and inspected it.  The entire stove was covered in black soot.  See photograph below.  I cleaned everything off, used the cleaning tool to clean out the jet, and reinstalled the jet.  After hooking everything back up again, I tried the same process over again with the same results.  Frustrated, I re-read the user's manual.  A cleaning wire is stored in the fuel line.  Something I had missed in my first reading.  I undid the fuel line, found the cleaning wire and pulled it out.  I reinserted it and worked it back and forth.  There was clearly a lot of gunk in the fuel line.  After working the wire back and forth a dozen or more times, I reinserted the wire in the fuel line and reconnected all the parts.  I tried to ignite the stove again but got the same results--bright orange flame, lots of black smoke.  I didn't even try to heat the water.

I gave up on the kerosene test, took everything apart and cleaned it again.  I reinserted the LP jet and hooked up the Primus Power Fuel canister.  I opened the fuel valve and started the stove.  I immediately noticed that there seemed to be less pressure than earlier.  The blue flame was not nearly as intense and there was more orange color associated with it.  It acted as if the line were partially plugged.  I let it burn for a while with no real change.  I could not get the flame to change in size nor could I change the pressure by adjusting the fuel valve.  I shut it down, took it all apart and cleaned it again.  Eventually I tried blowing through the fuel line and I was able to do so.  I hooked everything back up and fired up the stove again.  The flame was better but not nearly as intense as before.  Still there was more orange colored flame and adjusting the fuel line valve did not provide much noticeable change in the size or intensity of the flame.  I decided to boil a pot of water.  I placed the Primus pot with 32 oz/1 L on the stove and started my stop watch.  This time it took 6 minutes, 16 second to obtain a rolling boil.  I emptied out the water, added 32 oz/1 L of new cold water and started the watch again.  This time it took 7 minutes, 7 second to reach a rolling boil.  After three hours, I decided I'd had enough fun for one day.  Obviously the EtaPower had also had enough.

SUMMARY

Until I used the kerosene the second time, the stove seemed to be functioning properly.  Clearly the second dose of kerosene has caused some problems.  At this juncture, I not sure just what has happened or how to address it.  I'll give the stove some time and then will only use the Power Fuel for the next couple of times to see if that will clear it out.  Having done it several times, I can report that cleaning the fuel line and jets is a relatively easy task.  The stove comes apart nicely and is easy to restore to its complete form.  Prior to the kerosene fiasco, I was impressed with the Eta Power's ability to boil water.  It also cooked up a mean breakfast for me and I was able to regulate the fuel easily.  Since the kerosene problem, it seems that I have lost some fuel pressure with the propane and, therefore, the flame is not nearly as efficient.  In my next report, I will report on whether this gets better with time or help from Primus is necessary.  I also hope to be able to use the stove with a group.  However, I will most certainly not use kerosene for a while.


LONG TERM REPORT
April 21, 2009

I was able to use the EtaPower MF on three more occasions.  In late February, I traveled to the Kelley Canyon Ski area to take advantage of the snowshoe trails (elevation 6,177 ft/1,883 m).  Kelley Canyon is located northeast of Idaho Falls.  The temperature was 23 F/-5 C.  It was overcast and windy.  The snow pack, typical for late February, was hard and icy.  I was carrying a day pack with a light load (approximately 10 lbs/4.5 kg), including the EtaPower MF stove and a canister of Primus Power Fuel.  According to my GPS, I hiked 2 miles (3.2 km) before turning around and heading back to my vehicle.  The stove seemed to balance well in my pack.

Upon completing my hike, I stopped to have some dinner before returning home.  After putting the stove together and attaching the fuel, I opened the valve a crack and touched off a flicker of flame with my lighter.  The stove jumped to life with a tall yellow flame.  After a couple of seconds, the flame died to a small blue flame and I heard the traditional hiss of a pressurized stove.  I poured 34 oz/1 L of water into the pot and set it on the stove with the wind screen in place.  Within 5 minutes and 32 seconds, the water was at a rolling boil and ready to add to my freeze dried meal and a cup of hot cocoa.  I experienced no problems with the stove on this trip.

In late March, I tested the EtaPower during a car camping trip to
Black's Canyon (elevation 5,437 ft/1,657 m) near Ririe, Idaho.  Since I got a late start, I grabbed something to eat on the way that night.  I planned to use the stove to cook breakfast the next morning.  I again used Primus Power Fuel with the stove.  I really hoped to burn out the residue from the kerosene experiment earlier.  When I fired up the stove to cook breakfast, I initially got a bright yellow flame but within a few seconds, the flame died down and changed to an almost invisible blue flame.  I also heard the typical hissing sound of a correctly pressurized stove.  Breakfast, consisting of bacon and eggs, cooked effortlessly in the lid/fry pan.  I experienced no sticking problems with the eggs and ...

Cooking Eggs
Cooking eggs and bacon in the EtaPower MF lid/frying pan.

The Finished Product
The finished product--over hard and crispy!

...everything tasted yummy!  I boiled a pot of water for hot chocolate and clean-up.  To do this, I used a non-Primus pot shown in the above photograph.  With both the frying pan and the coffee pot, I did not use the wind screen.  Even though there was a brisk breeze that morning, the stove worked wonderfully.  The water reached a rolling boil in 6 minutes and 27 seconds.  To clean the frying pan, I simply poured in some of the boiling water, added a drop of Camp Suds, added a little cool water to the mix and washed it out with my hands.  I then rinsed with a little more hot water.  The pan/lid cleaned up easily.  The handle was simple to use and worked efficiently.

I last used the EtaPower in April during a backpack trip in the Cache National Forest near Franklin, Idaho (elevation 6,890 ft/2,100 m).  The weather was warming up (64 F/18 C during the day) but the area had suffered from multiple days of heavy rain which had turned to snow in the higher elevations.  There was only a slight breeze most of the day.  Hiking was slow and difficult in knee deep, slushy snow.  I was carrying a light pack weighing approximately
10 lbs/4.5 kg with the stove and a canister of white gas fuel. Yes, I was going to try the white gas again even though this time I was sharing the stove with a friend.  On this trip, the

Boiling water with white gas.
Boiling water with white gas.

plan was to eat freeze dried food so we only needed to boil water.  As such, I decided to try Coleman white gas again.  I filled the Primus bottle with fresh fuel, pumped it the recommended twenty times, bled some fuel into the line to prime the stove, closed the valve, and lit the stove with my lighter.  I again got a tall yellow flame which lasted about 7 seconds.  When the flame went out, I did not hear a cracking sound.  I opened the fuel valve slightly and applied my lighter to the stove.  Again, I got a yellow flame but within several seconds, it began to turn more of a blue color and I could hear the flame start to "hiss" which told me the stove was starting to pressurize.  The yellow flame did not totally disappear but the flame became more manageable.

I placed the Primus pot on over the stove with the windscreen and added 34 oz/1 L of water.  Using my stop watch, I timed from when I first added the water to when the water reached a rolling boil.  6 minutes and 26 seconds elapsed.  I flipped the fuel bottle over and closed the valve.  Within a few seconds, the flame died and after allowing everything to cool down while we ate our meal, I was able to wipe down the components and put the stove away.  The stove seemed to function properly.  I went through the same routine the next morning when I boiled water for instant oatmeal and herb tea.  I didn't attempt to time how long it took to boil water the next morning but it didn't seem to take any more time than the night before.  Clean-up was easy.  As might be expected, the stove and all components take up a lot of space in my pack but all the pieces fit together well in the carrying case and it doesn't rattle.

SUMMARY

In short, I like the EtaPower MF more than I thought I would.  It is very convenient.  I place my lighter and a 7.8 oz/405 ml canister of Power Gas in the carrying case with the other components.  When I use white gas, that fuel container also fits inside the carrying case with the other components.  As such, I have all my cooking needs (with the exception of knife, fork, and spoon) organized in the same package.  It packs well into the carrying case and doesn't rattle around in my pack.

All of the components are still in very good shape.  I can't say the stove looks like new but it looks pretty good.  I have kept the plastic bags on all the components to keep them from getting scratched by other components, the fuel canister, etc.  So far, nothing has broken or is showing signs of excessive wear.

With the exception of the kerosene fiasco, I haven't had any problems using the stove.  In my opinion, the propane/butane fuel seems to work best but it handles the white gas as well.  I'm not sure I will try kerosene fuel again unless I absolutely have no choice.  In my experience, the boil times are not what Primus advertised.  My boil times for 34 oz/1 L were significantly higher.  That being said, I didn't feel the boil times were a problem either.  I'm always doing something else while waiting for the water to boil anyway.

The EtaPower MF is big enough to handle small groups easily.  So far, I have only used it with two people but based upon my experience so far it could easily boil enough water or cook enough food for two more.  The size of the EtaPower MF is still a concern to me.  Unless I'm going to be out with a group of 3 or 4 or I'm going to be car camping, I likely will not pack the EtaPower MF.  It is simply too big and bulky to justify for a solo or even double use.

This concludes my report on the Primus EtaPower MF stove.  I would like to thank Primus and BackpackGearTest for giving me the opportunity to test the EtaPower MF stove.


Read more reviews of Primus gear
Read more gear reviews by Michael Wheiler

Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Primus AB ETA Multi Fuel Stove > Test Report by Michael Wheiler



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