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Old 22-10-2010, 10:56   #16
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So what's going wrong with the vertical tank that I have layed out horizontally anyway? Hard to imagine that even on a "properly" set up tank it never sloshes up to the top and gets sucked in.

Specifically, what happens?
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Old 22-10-2010, 12:24   #17
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How do you want me to answer this?

Did God invent cars to drive on their roofs?
Pretty funny... but every forklift has a horizontal propane tank.
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Old 22-10-2010, 12:34   #18
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Pretty funny... but every forklift has a horizontal propane tank.
Bad drivers. Ever seen a careful forklift driver???



I dunno. Propane etc is liquid, I thought it would run down your pipe and out the breather of the atmospheric regulator.... either that or run down as a liquid into the stove and make your eggs flambe

We've filled gas bottles up by invereting a joined bottle...
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Old 22-10-2010, 13:27   #19
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Ok - thanks everyone for your replies! Very informative. Well, most of them anyway.

New plan! Please check me for sanity...

- Purchase a 20lb (or preferably 30lb) horizontal tank, mount it permanently in the propane well and plumb gas lines to the stove.

- Purchase one or more 'Lite Cylinder' tanks for propane transport and/or "jerry can" style fuel storage.

- Refill the permanent tank by connecting the transport tank (with a sane, safe valve configuration) and use gravity to transfer liquid gas from the transport tank to the permanent tank.

Does that sound reasonable? This is my first time working with propane on a sailboat, I've never touched the stuff past little green Coleman bottles or refilling a BBQ cylinder...

Now - last question - should I go with steel or aluminum for the permanently mounted tank?
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Old 22-10-2010, 13:34   #20
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Also - doing the math, I figure that running all four burners of my Force10 stove at max will be about 18,400 BTUs/hour, and with a full 20lb tank I should be able to run all four burners at max for approximately 24 hours straight. I find that I run my current single burner for about an hour per day cooking and making tea, but about twice that when the girlfriend is aboard, so I'm figuring about a month of use out of a full 20lb tank of propane.

Liveaboards: how much propane do you carry, and how long does it last you?

(Math: 1 gallon of propane = 91,960 BTUs. 20lb tank = 4.73 gallons, so 433,693.7 BTUs per tank. Divide that by 18,400 BTUs/hour, you get 23.57 hours.)
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Old 22-10-2010, 13:59   #21
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Pretty funny... but every forklift has a horizontal propane tank.
--which has a different method of use from a stove.
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Old 22-10-2010, 14:02   #22
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My yacht has 2X 10KG or 13KG tanks. These are ideal as almost any of the domestic exchange tanks will fit. I have adapters to fit most tanks. Including the small camping gas tanks if we are desperate.
We use more propane than anyone I know. My wife loves cooking and makes home (boat) made marmalade, soups, cakes bread etc. We also use propane for heating shower water.
In winter we get about 30 days from a 10KG tank in summer this increases substantially to about 75 days.

I think the world is gradually changing to use exchange tanks and you need a system can make use of this. To have a large gas storage using domestic tanks (rather than small camping tanks) is a real advantage. In some countries the initial purchase price of tanks is high so you need to able to store at least one bottle on board making the idea of permanent gas tank impractical. If you intend to cruse internationally.
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Old 22-10-2010, 14:43   #23
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I did some digging around in regards to why storing a vertical tank on its side isn't a great idea:

Propane Safety

Quote:
Liquid propane is not only flammable, but it is also a very effective solvent. Yet the vapor, or gas is not. This may not seem important, but regulators are designed to handle only gases. Solvents have the capacity to damage the internal components of regulators, a good reason why tanks should be kept upright and relatively immobile.
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Old 22-10-2010, 16:26   #24
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I should be more clear:

I am not intending to store a vertical propane tank horizontally.

I am intending to purchase and use a propane tank that is designed to be stored and used horizontally. These tanks are common, and are not the same as forklift tanks.

Here is an example: 20lb Aluminum Horizontal Propane Tank
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Old 22-10-2010, 17:38   #25
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Quote:
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I should be more clear:

I am not intending to store a vertical propane tank horizontally.

I am intending to purchase and use a propane tank that is designed to be stored and used horizontally. These tanks are common, and are not the same as forklift tanks.

Here is an example: 20lb Aluminum Horizontal Propane Tank
Exactly.

BTW, horizontal fork lift tanks are not vert tanks either. They are purpose-built liquid feed tanks.
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Old 22-10-2010, 18:31   #26
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Pretty funny... but every forklift has a horizontal propane tank.
different system, and designed for it....
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Old 22-10-2010, 19:45   #27
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To answer the question about "specifically what happens" I was thinking along the lines of PV=nRT (remember that from General Chem??) Pressure * Volume = number of mols * the gas constant, R * Temperature. In going from a liquid to a gas propane expands in volume 270 times. The pressure inside a tank at 80 deg F is 128 psi and atmospheric pressure is about 15 psi.

Long story short, if even a little liquid propane gets past the regulator your stove turns into a helluva flame thrower. And that would probably be a best-case scenario. Incorrectly handled, propane is very dangerous - the ABYC standards book is HUGE, and they chose to put propane systems first, section A-1, for good reasons.

I did not know that liquid propane can damage regulators - thanks for looking that up and sharing. This is well-explained (PV=nRT again):

"Does the amount of Liquid effect the pressure inside a propane storage container?

"No. And important fact to remember is that since the vapor pressure inside the propane container is governed by ambient temperature outside the container not the amount of liquid inside. A container that is 1/4 full at 80 degrees will contain the same vapor pressure as a container that is 3/4 full at 80 degrees. The vapor pressure is not generated by the amount of liquid in the tank. As long as there is some liquid and not more than 80% liquid inside the container, ambient temperature outside the container will govern the vapor pressure inside the container."

Drew23, you should do some careful research before deciding to transfer fuel INSIDE of your boat. Also be certain that the locker is vapor tight and the drain in the bottom is clear to the outside. As long as they are well secured and protected, it is not a bad idea to store propane tanks on deck.
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Old 22-10-2010, 20:00   #28
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Drew23, you should do some careful research before deciding to transfer fuel INSIDE of your boat. Also be certain that the locker is vapor tight and the drain in the bottom is clear to the outside. As long as they are well secured and protected, it is not a bad idea to store propane tanks on deck.
I certainly agree!

My boat is a large sailing trimaran; the propane locker is out on the starboard wing, vented to the underside of the wing, and well away from any hatches into the main or ama hulls.
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Old 22-10-2010, 21:24   #29
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Huh? Propane comes out of the bottle as a gas - there is nothing inside the tank except the float assembly that is part of the Overfill Protection Device required system. Tanks without the new OPD shutoff would work fine horizontal or vertical.
- - As others have posted there are new tanks where the OPD have been altered to allow the tank to be used horizontally.
- - Steel, Aluminum, or the new Fiberglass tanks is a choice driven by cost and your application. Steel rusts but comes in all the sizes. Aluminum is quite popular as it does not rust like steel and comes in most sizes used on boats. The new Fiberglass tanks are quite nice but are currently limited in size and shape. How well they would hold up mounted on deck in the sun's UV is another question.
- - Here are more horizontal tanks: Propane Tanks & Lockers
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Old 23-10-2010, 03:41   #30
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Drew,

Depending on where you are cruising you may need a flexable setup.

Many countires don't use the same fittings to refil the tanks so you may need to be able to put a tank in that you buy locally, or to have a jury rig fitting so you can decant from one cylinder to another.

We decanted in Malaysia. The people using 3 or so different systems of fittings.

I bought new tanks and reulator in Turkey (cheap!) and France (Expensive!!!!) and I go back to the US/Aus style when I get to the Caribbean. So I currently have THREE tank types!!!

The European CampingGaz is expensive and the bottles small 2.75kgs (About 6 pounds) and last me 20 days. Cost (US$17! and cost of tank with gas is US$70)

No where in Europe have I found someone who will refill tanks, they ONLY appear to swap (hiring a car to go find the filling factory is more expensive). So if Decanting you would have to BUY a tank and then decant it and then on-sell the tank to some cruiser as I dont think they buy the tanks back.

Its just an expensive admin hassel.

Make sure you can switch regulators easily. One boat we bumped into in Turkey had the regulator built into the hull(!) and he was pretty stuffed.


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