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Old 23-10-2010, 05:31   #31
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Originally Posted by drew23 View Post
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
That alloy tank has a similar tare weight to the fibreglass ones - why not just use them? The alloy would stand up better to the wear and tear of bicycle travel. Get a trailer for your bike - safer and easier.

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Old 23-10-2010, 06:04   #32
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Excellent advice. You can get an assortment of the different hose fittings for Europe and other places at some boats parts stores or boat parts swap stores. Then just like shore power cords you make up an assortment of "adaptors" to enable you to refill your own cylinders from whatever local cylinder is in use.
- - I suspect that in some places that are actually using the same gas as you are you might be able to add the adaptor to your tank and then the re-filling station will attach to that. But where the gas is a different blend - then decanting/transferring from a locally purchased cylinder to your cylinder is the only option. So you need to learn exactly how to decant/transfer gas from one cylinder to another. You don't just hook up a hose and open the two valves.
- - Another interesting new twist is that some locations around the world are getting ticklish about "out of date" tanks. These are tanks that have not been pressure tested/certified in the last 5 years or so (that 5 years varies from 5 to 10 years). So do the new fibergla-ss tanks have pressure testing dates? Can they be re-certified/tested? Or do they have to be thrown away and a new tank purchased?
Metal tanks can normally be tested and recertified (like you scuba tanks) although the process is normally a "rip-off" procedure to just get more money from you.

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Old 23-10-2010, 07:01   #33
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I have 2 of the fiberglass tanks I got for less than the cost of 1 aluminum one. They reside in the propane locker and have held up well, the handles are starting to oxidize a bit.
A 10 lb tank lasts us about 3 months. We use a burner on the stove at least daily, and the oven occasionally for bread or pizza. I kept the old Al 10 lb tank and hooked it up to the grill, I'd say we get 4-5 months from that.
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Old 23-10-2010, 07:59   #34
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Originally Posted by drew23 View Post
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?
40lbs lasts us 6 to 8 months. Cooking daily, lots of coffee and tea, slow
cooking pot roasts (yum), some oven use.

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Old 23-10-2010, 11:02   #35
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While propane is a great way to go, getting them filled can be a hassle. The size vs weight vs longevity should be considered. The larger the tank, the heavier it is and the more it can be a hassle if you're carrying it for long distances. I used alcohol on my last boat but my new one has propane, and a rather strange locker size and container. I can fit 2x 10# tanks but that won't be enough for a long passage. I'm looking for another two tanks for 40# (approx.).

There have been comments elsewhere in this thread about adapters and hosing and I highly recommend considering this as it can make filling easier, cheaper, and more effective.

Finally, somewhere in my stove notes I remember reading about changing the jets when going from propane to CNG to butane. I'm not sure what the heat losses are but if you're going to areas where you're not going to be using the preferred fuel, you might consider looking at that as an option. On long passages, saving a few minutes propane per day can pay big dividends.
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Old 23-10-2010, 12:02   #36
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Originally Posted by capt_douglas View Post
changing the jets when going from propane to CNG to butane. .
Don't know about CNG but I have gone back and forward propane to butane without chaning or adjusting jets etc. But my new oven says the U shaped burner in the oven can be moved 1 cm forward or back. The stove top burners do not change with different gas
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Old 23-10-2010, 12:31   #37
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We have 2 - 10# aluminum tanks. I keep a record of our propane use as I freak out when we are on the last tank. Generally 21 to 25 days. Mostly cooking (my wife loves to cook and when we ordered the boat we got the dealer to swap out the OE 2 burner for a three burner, with oven, of course). We boil water for tea and dishes and sometimes for showers. Cheapest place on the East Coast for propane is Titusville, $7 for a ten pounder. I have paid up to $20 in the Bahamas.
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Old 23-10-2010, 15:10   #38
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Originally Posted by captainKJ View Post
Wow, that is most impressive! I would seriously consider that. Not sure how I am going to rig my Ranger 28 for cooking yet. It has microwave (with shore power only) and some stove I am not sure what it uses yet. LOL Won't know until I get it, but I am not sure about stowing a tank below decks as the Atomic 4 is right there under the cockpit. I'll just have to come up with ideas when the time comes up.
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Old 23-10-2010, 15:35   #39
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Originally Posted by capt_douglas View Post
. . . Finally, somewhere in my stove notes I remember reading about changing the jets when going from propane to CNG to butane. . .
CNG - compressed natural gas is a whole nuther animal from propane/butane. It generally requires an entirely different stove/burner/regulator system. CNG is lighter than air so is considered safer than propane/butane gases that are heavier than air and can sink into your bilge areas. Which is why we have those "gas sniffer" systems on the shutoff solenoid.
- - However, CNG is rarely seen on cruising boats because it is just not available in most places that cruising boat travel. Propane/butane and blends of the two are available most everywhere in the world. It is the variation in tank fittings and local regulations/laws that makes getting refills a pain.
- - We hear advertisements on the Caribbean local cruiser nets from Med people trying to sell off their CampGaz tanks.

- - Does anybody know about the "re-certification" process for the fiberglass tanks? How long are they certified for? Can they be re-certified?
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Old 25-10-2010, 08:07   #40
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There are two types of LPG cylinders - liquid ones, which are used on forklifts, and vapor ones, which are used on BBQs and boats. Horizontal tanks have a pick-up tube that is in the vapor space above the liquid propane when the tank is lying down. If you have a vertical tank mounted horizontally, or vice versa, it is a *really* good idea to mount it in its correct position and renew the regulator.

I found out that Trident seems to also be making fiberglass cylinders, but they don't want you calling them. I called the same company again that I called last year and asked about liquid propane getting into the pick-up tube when a boat is bouncing about - so little does that it is a non-issue. The good news is that they are working on a horizontal fiberglass tank! It will be a while before it gets to the market for us, but it is in the works. Maybe Trident will make one too.

Cylinders must be filled in the vertical position for the OPD device to work properly. Metal cylinders need to be re-certified 12 years after their manufacture date (stamped on the collar) and every five years after that. Fiberglass cylinders need to be re-certified every five years and have a 15-year lifespan.

All this is information for the USA.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:12   #41
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Re: Fiberglass Propane Tanks ?

We have a clear fibreglass 20lb propane bottle that we bought in the Caribbean. It has the US connection. Love it. Light weight and you can see how full it is.

However, filling up propane bottles in Spain and Portugal (don't know about the rest of the Med) is a none starter. We ended up buying a local 12kg butane bottle, and then we figured out how to decant from that into our propane bottles. So now we have 2 x 10lb plus 1 x 20lb propane bottles filled with butane, plus 1 x 12kg butane bottle. Should last us the entire summer :-)

Full details on how to decant from one to the other are on our blog:
LIFE: Part 2: How to Decant Butane from Spanish Bottle to US Propane Bottle

Certainly in Spain and Portugal there is no filling of any bottles. That means it is all done on the exchange system and, of course, you can only exchange your bottles with the same brand - so hope that there is the right gasoline station near to your boat when you run out! So you move to another country and who knows which brands they have there? Camping gas is an international alternative, but very expensive. So we went with the decanting route and are pleased we did.

We also ended up with a 6kg butane bottle that we don't need. We bought it to do some decanting, planing to return it after, but it seems that although it cost 33 euro for the empty bottle, you get back on 3 euro when you return it! So we decided to keep it. If anyone wants it you can have it for 15.

Best of luck!

Noel Swanson

Life is too short to live in ugly places.
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Old 14-10-2012, 11:59   #42
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Re: Fiberglass Propane Tanks ?

Forklifts and other motorized units using propane take the propane out as a liquid and convert it to gas at a vaporizer/regulator which is heated by the engine coolant. DO NOT under any circumstances try to use one of these bottles for a stove etc. They have a different fitting at the valve eg male square thread.
Should you lay a vertical tank on its side you will likely get liquid into yhe system which will cause an extremely dangerous situation. All these tanks are purpose designed and should be used correctly.

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