Coleman® Model LQ427
Born in September, 1925

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How to Preheat a Coleman® Generator

“Preheating” a generator simply means to get it hot before starting the appliance.  This makes it light faster and without the flame-up often associated with a cold start.

Pressure lamps, lanterns and stoves run on fuel vapor, not gasoline or kerosene. Yes, you pour the fuel into their fount, but the appliance uses the vapor of that fuel to burn properly. The photo on the right shows what burning gasoline, rather than the vapor of gasoline, looks like.

To vaporize liquid fuel, the generator must be hot enough to convert it to gas vapor.  Preheating is required for certain vintage lamps and lanterns like the Coleman® "Quick Lite" lantern and really old torch-lit lamps. Kerosene lamps and lanterns also require this step because the flash point (the temperature at which the fuel will generator a flammable vapor) of kerosene is much higher than gasoline.

Preheating modern appliances is not required, but it can be helpful. They send fuel vapor naturally found inside the fount to the burner during start-up. This makes lighting easier and faster than vintage lamps and lanterns, but it is not always fool proof. Especially with 2 and 3-burner stoves.

Warning:  If you preheat a generator with fuel already in it, expect the appliance to light almost immediately.

Lamps and lanterns have small generators, and a match or lighter will sufficient to get them hot.  Place the flame directly on the generator, towards the bottom, and allow it to heat for 30 seconds or so.  Then open the valve and light the appliance as you would normally.

Kerosene lamps and lanterns have a small alcohol cup that fits around the bottom of the generator.  All you do here is fill the cup with denatured (stove) alcohol and ignite it.  Allow the alcohol to burn almost completely out, then open the valve to light the appliance.

Two and three burner stoves can also benefit from preheating.  Very old stoves and gas ranges have a small reservoir in the burner area, just large enough to hold an amount of gas to sufficient preheat the generator.

Stove generators are substantially larger than lamp/lantern generators so they are difficult to get hot enough to vaporize fuel.  You can use a small propane torch to preheat them and that works perfectly, and fast.  Heat the entire length of the generator well before opening the valve and a clean stove will light without much fuss.

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