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Thread: Petromax lantern

  1. #1
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    Default Petromax lantern

    Just ordered myself a chrome Petromax 500 lantern with downward reflector. Very excited. I reckon that will heat and light the Tentipi nicely. Will post a pic when it arrives
    PWC
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  2. #2
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    I'm sure it will... The Petromax lanterns are excellent! Out of interest, did you get it from The Base Camp?

  3. #3
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    Default Petromax lantern

    Hi PWC,
    Petromax are very fine and make a very, very
    good light but it is too bright for a tentipi or
    tent. 500 Lux and very noisy - one can use it
    under a large tarp. Attention the fire needs oxygen
    (?? I mean air) you must have enough fresh air in
    your tent, always open the hood!
    If you use petromax in your tipi you will need sunglasses!
    Regards from Hamburg
    Albert
    (petromax user)

  4. #4
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    Just did a 'Google' on Petromax 500 and the third listed result was this thread! That's one popular, powerful and well configured forum we have. Nice lantern, too.

    TF
    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
    And pensive monitor of fleeting years!


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubbyfraser View Post
    That's one popular, powerful and well configured forum we have.
    Almost entirely an accident but I too have noticed that threads are getting indexed much sooner than they used to be. Might explain why we have seen an increase in the rate of new members.

    Looking forward to hearing how you get on with the light.
    John

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    Almost entirely an accident but I too have noticed that threads are getting indexed much sooner than they used to be. Might explain why we have seen an increase in the rate of new members.

    Looking forward to hearing how you get on with the light.
    I spotted that. I tend to find I ask a question here then do a bit of research a few days later only to find my own questions indexed high up in google.

    anyway that lamp looks interesting

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 86inch View Post
    I'm sure it will... The Petromax lanterns are excellent! Out of interest, did you get it from The Base Camp?
    No they are out of stock - I ordered it direct from a supplier in Germany so fingers crossed. Sounds like I'll have to get some sunglasses according to Albert !
    PWC
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    Know less, carry more - you're in a canoe !

  8. #8
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    Lamp just arrived in double-quick time direct from Germany. Beautifully packed, absolutely amazing lantern. My prior experiences are of Coleman and Tilley Lamps, for which read Ford and British Leyand compared to Mercedes (no offence intended to Tilley fans - Tilleys have their own charm). Amazing built-in pre-heat system that even works well on paraffin. Very very bright. Can't wait to try it out in earnest
    PWC
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  9. #9
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    I have a Coleman lantern with 'double mantle' that runs on petrol. I don't know what 'lux' it has but would say this:
    1. It cost me about 45
    2. It came in a cardboard box which was clearly not going to be robust enough -I made my own wooden box to store / transport it in
    3. The mantles are quite fragile. Being double-ended (unlike the usual camping Gaz type) they're also a bit dearer to buy
    4. The unit is bulky - rules out bicycles, motorbikes and backpacking.
    5. Fires up and runs very reliably
    6. A full fill lasts a long time (maybe 10 hours) and is dirt cheap, despite current petrol prices
    6. Coleman fuel is much more expensive than petrol and seems to perform no better
    7. It is easily bright enough to play board games / cards by and to attract insects

  10. #10
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    I have a single mantle dual fuel Coleman which is as bright as I'd want any lantern to be. It cost me 25 from the Bushcraft Uk forum. The mantles are really easy to tie on and as I have a ready supply of unleaded for the mower & strimmer, it's convenient and cheap to run. Solidly made too, though perhaps not quite up to Petromax/Vapalux standards but still fabulous for the money. Fairly atmospheric but again, not as bonny as the aforementioned twosome.

    I bought the Coleman hard carry case for transport/storage purposes and it seems pretty good too. A wooden box sounds better/nicer though.

    Graeme
    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
    And pensive monitor of fleeting years!


  11. #11

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    I'm curious how the petromax runs on paraffin. I'm a recent convert to paraffin pressure lanterns, i think they are great. I got a couple of ex-MOD Vapalux M320's off ebay and they are in gorgeous condition...




    Plenty bright too....



    That's 300cp, so 500cp must be blinding.

    I tested the vapalux with a digital CO meter and got no reading. Good news for inside a tent and they put out about the same heat as a 1 bar electric fire..
    Last edited by Martyn; 30th-May-2008 at 01:05 AM.

  12. #12
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    Fired the Petromax up on paraffin and it works just fine. Even the pre-heating mini-blow torch works on paraffin with no need for separate priming with meths. Very clever. I also found you can reduce the brightness substantially by lowering the pressure in the tank. As you say, 500 cp on full power is dazzling

    I too have a Coleman dual mantle lantern. I used to run it on unleaded but then started worrying about nasty fumes, so I switched to Coleman. Great lantern but the Coleman fuel is expensive

    I also have an old Tilley X246A. Something wrong with it - I think it needs new seals, which I am working on
    PWC
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn View Post
    I tested the vapalux with a digital CO meter and got no reading. Good news for inside a tent and they put out about the same heat as a 1 bar electric fire..

    Just a thought about this- while you get no CO in a well ventilated space, could using it in a tent still use up the oxygen in the air quicker than it is being replaced and eventually lead to a CO build up ?
    All of life is a journey ...

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perthshire Wood Canvas View Post
    Fired the Petromax up on paraffin and it works just fine. Even the pre-heating mini-blow torch works on paraffin with no need for separate priming with meths. Very clever. I also found you can reduce the brightness substantially by lowering the pressure in the tank. As you say, 500 cp on full power is dazzling
    Good stuff, they look great. I almost bought a lovely old, brass optimus 1200 on ebay with pearl glass that was very similar to a Petromax, but it went for 100 quid.

    I too have a Coleman dual mantle lantern. I used to run it on unleaded but then started worrying about nasty fumes, so I switched to Coleman. Great lantern but the Coleman fuel is expensive

    I also have an old Tilley X246A. Something wrong with it - I think it needs new seals, which I am working on
    I'm getting well into parafin, it's much cleaner than petrol, not quite so many calories per gramme, but far less volatile and noxious ...and a helluva lot cheaper too. I do love these Vapalux lamps, they are more hassle to light than the lamps with auto-burners, but their solid construction and bombproof simplicity really appeals to me.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by travellas View Post
    Just a thought about this- while you get no CO in a well ventilated space, could using it in a tent still use up the oxygen in the air quicker than it is being replaced and eventually lead to a CO build up ?
    Good question. I dont know for sure, but I bet the answer is yes. I did suspend the CO meter about 18" directly above the lamp for an hour or so and it was indoors. But it was well ventilated and a tent would be different. That said, the 0.000 reading did make me wonder if the CO meter was faulty, so I blew some smoke on it from a ciggy and it detected the CO straight away.

    With the light and heat these things put out, I'd be tempted to run em in a tent and take a small CO meter along with me as well. They can be had for a tenner. In fact if you are one of the folks who run a wood stove, a paraffin stove and a tilly lamp inside a tipi, I'd say a 100db CO alarm would be a good thing to have anyway.
    Last edited by Martyn; 30th-May-2008 at 10:55 PM.

  16. #16
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    Thanks Martyn- good information
    All of life is a journey ...

  17. #17

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    Just to be clear, carbon dioxide (CO2) might build up, but even relatively large amounts wont do you any harm, it might make you sleepy, a bit knocked out or short of breath, but it wont kill you. It's carbon monoxide (CO) that's the killer. You get CO from incomplete combustion. When something doesn't burn fully, or with a yellow flame when it should be a blue flame and even fairly small amounts can kill. It binds onto haemoglobin but doesnt let go, so fairly quickly all the haemoglobin in your blood gets full of CO instead of Oxygen. You suffocate fairly quickly. The only treatment is to go inside a divers hyperbaric chamber for a day or two, where the pressure pulls the CO off the haemoglobin, making room for Oxygen to stick to it again.

    When these lamps are in good condition, well serviced and burning properly, there is virtually nil carbon monoxide produced. There will be some carbon dioxide, but as said above, that's not really a problem. If the lamps are in poor condition or are faulty, they can burn badly and produce carbon monoxide, that is a real problem and will kill you quickly.

    Even new lamps can be faulty. Of the two I bought, one had a faulty vapouriser which had to be replaced. This was how the lamp looked when it was lit...



    That lamp is producing a lot of carbon monoxide and is a potential killer.

    This is how it should look....



    It's pretty obvious that the first pic shows a faulty lamp, but that was a clear example. It's possible that some lamps could look "almost" right, but maybe just have the occasional yellow flame coming through the mantle, or even just over-pumping a lamp can do this too. Both examples would produce carbon monoxide. If you get any soot on your mantles, then you lamp is probably producing carbon monoxide from an incomplete burn.

    Both mine are in good order now and I would be happy using them inside a tent, but they can still go wrong so I would still take a CO meter/alarm. These lamps are heavy, so you would probably only be using them with a canoe or a car, so taking a small CO meter would not add too much to your carriage and might save your life. But whether you take one or not, if you burn anything inside a relatively small space, it must be ventilated properly and I wouldn't use a petrol lantern inside a tent under any circumstances.

    30 people a year die from camping related CO poisoning in the US.
    Last edited by Martyn; 31st-May-2008 at 10:25 AM.

  18. #18

    Default petromax lanterm

    Hi Martyn

    Thanks for all the information. I use a Paraffin Optimus 930 lantern and a Optimus 155 2burner stove both purchased in the early 70's and used regularly. Both were used at the recent Coniston meet along with a Yukon
    fire box burning Charcoal in a tipi.I am always carefull with venting but agree an alarm would be a good investment. Could you please advise on what type or make would be suitable. I have been a fan of paraffin and meths as a fuel for a long time. I like your lanterns they look great and like you I also watched the Optimus 1200 lantern go way over my limit.

    regards cliff

  19. #19

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    Nice Lantern Cliff.

    With regards to a detector, just a household CO alarm with a digital readout that runs off a 9v battery should do the job. There are loads on ebay. They are about the same size and weight as a regular smoke alarm and the digital readout shows CO in parts per million. The alarms are triggered if an in built safe limit is exceeded. You can get smaller, pocket versions but would probably pay more, but I would think any would do. I would steer away from the cheap chemical detectors that change colour and go for something with a loud alarm that will wake you if you nod off.

  20. #20

    Default petromax lantern

    Hi Martyn

    Thanks for the information, now I know what is requied I will get one

    regards Cliff

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn View Post
    Good stuff, they look great. I almost bought a lovely old, brass optimus 1200 on ebay with pearl glass that was very similar to a Petromax, but it went for 100 quid.

    I'm getting well into parafin, it's much cleaner than petrol, not quite so many calories per gramme, but far less volatile and noxious ...and a helluva lot cheaper too. I do love these Vapalux lamps, they are more hassle to light than the lamps with auto-burners, but their solid construction and bombproof simplicity really appeals to me.
    Blimey! i didnt know the optimus 1200 s were worth that much, ive got 2 sitting on the fireplace as ornaments.
    Ive had them for over 20 years, im pretty sure they have never been lit, are the mantles easily available.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by rivergypsy View Post
    Blimey! i didnt know the optimus 1200 s were worth that much, ive got 2 sitting on the fireplace as ornaments.
    Ive had them for over 20 years, im pretty sure they have never been lit, are the mantles easily available.
    Well, 100 quid is way over what I was gonna pay for one, but obviously someone thought it a good deal. I dunno if there was anything special about this one particularly, I just thought it looked nice.

    I would be very surprised if mantles are not available. They are just the tie-on type arent they? Maybe even Coleman mantles might fit?

    rik_uk3 is your man to ask about anything "spiritburner" related.
    Last edited by Martyn; 1st-June-2008 at 10:28 PM.

  23. #23

    Default petromax lantern

    hi rivergypsy

    The mantle required is the veritas 3776 from base camp. www.base-camp.co.uk I suspect that if the lanterns have not been used for 20 years they would need an overall and new seals and pump leathers.

    regards cliff

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn View Post
    Well, 100 quid is way over what I was gonna pay for one, but obviously someone thought it a good deal. I dunno if there was anything special about this one particularly, I just thought it looked nice.

    I would be very surprised if mantles are not available. They are just the tie-on type arent they? Maybe even Coleman mantles might fit?

    rik_uk3 is your man to ask about anything "spiritburner" related.
    Cheers martin,i must admit 100 squids is a bit over the top.
    Personally i prefer to use my 7.99 wind up led lamp, its a dam sight lighter in the rucksack.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffc View Post
    hi rivergypsy

    The mantle required is the veritas 3776 from base camp. www.base-camp.co.uk I suspect that if the lanterns have not been used for 20 years they would need an overall and new seals and pump leathers.

    regards cliff
    Thanks for the link cliff,i think youre right! they will need a complete overhall just to be safe.
    I might just put them on e bay as not working, gotta think about this one.

    Cheers cliff

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn View Post
    Good question. I dont know for sure, but I bet the answer is yes. I did suspend the CO meter about 18" directly above the lamp for an hour or so and it was indoors. But it was well ventilated and a tent would be different. That said, the 0.000 reading did make me wonder if the CO meter was faulty, so I blew some smoke on it from a ciggy and it detected the CO straight away.
    Be aware that CO is heavier than air so will sink to the floor. In a closed space with lots of ventilation up high, an appliance that emits it will still fill up the space below.
    Good news is that tents usually are not sealed to the ground!
    As Martyn says, a clean burning appliance should emit no CO.

  27. #27
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    Mine was delivered last week, gorgeous bit of kit!

    Matches nicely with my bell tent..


  28. #28
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    Very nice ! I hope you get on well with it. In the end, mine turned out to be a real turkey, and started pulsing really badly, even though effectively brand new. In the end, after trying everything, I gave it away to a friend and got myself a Vapalux !

    PWC
    PWC
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valbarley View Post
    Mine was delivered last week, gorgeous bit of kit!

    Matches nicely with my bell tent..

    That really is some lantern!

    Gorgeous is an understatement...

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