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Old 13-08-2014, 15:57   #1
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Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

I have a boat built in the UK, my propane tanks; regulator and gas pipes are to UK standard spec

I am now looking at replacing my 10 year old UK rusting UK Calor gas bottles with new Viking Fiber glass propane tanks similar to Viking Fiberglass Propane Tanks

Surprise, Surprise I have found

a) The thread on the UK Propane regulator does not fit the USA style bottle

b) The USA regulators have screw type connectors at the end of the flexible pipe whereas the UK one have a barb fitting for pushing and clamping the flexible gas pipe to

I am currently in Rio Dulce, Guatemala and having checked all the usual suspects in town, the only regulator I can find is a USA one in the West Marine store here with a pig tail fitted to the regulator (I think this is the correct term, fancy sealed fitting on the regulator, a bit of flexible pipe with a screw on female adapter at the other end)

So my questions are

a) Can I fit some kind of thread converter to attach my UK regulator to a USA propane bottle?, If yes does anyone know what the specifications of the different threads are?

b) Does anyone know what the Internal diameter of the flexible gas pipe is on a USA Regulator with pig tail is? I am thinking if I cut the fancy end off the flexible pipe it may fit the existing UK copper pipe using pipe clamps

I am scared Sh**L*SS of Propane and will check all modifications with my hand held gas detector before commissioning and I have no intention of taking the boat to the USA so not too interested in what the USA regulations say
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Old 13-08-2014, 16:28   #2
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

Trident Marine LPG Propane Gas "Camping Gaz" Adapter
Trident Marine LPG Propane Gas "Camping Gaz" Adapter

May be of use, but they are probably rare in Guatemala.
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Old 13-08-2014, 17:01   #3
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

I think UK uses butane for its gas cylinders. Luckily the BTU's per pound and specific heat are the same as propane. What is different is the vapor pressure. Butane is about ~20 PSIG, Propane is ~150 psig. (going off the top of my head here) So a US regulator will work on Butane, but a Butane regulator may lock up due to the higher propane pressures. The secondary side pressure of 11 inch W.C (water column) is the same between the two gases.
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Old 13-08-2014, 17:07   #4
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
I think UK uses butane for its gas cylinders. Luckily the BTU's per pound and specific heat are the same as propane. What is different is the vapor pressure. Butane is about ~20 PSIG, Propane is ~150 psig. (going off the top of my head here) So a US regulator will work on Butane, but a Butane regulator may lock up due to the higher propane pressures. The secondary side pressure of 11 inch W.C (water column) is the same between the two gases.

Propane is widely used in the UK and readily available. It's used primarily in industrial applications like blow torches etc its marketed in red cylinders. Fittings are easily obtained.

I beleive the OP already has a UK propane setup not a butane one, hence the requirement to mate a us regulator to a UK tank.

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Old 13-08-2014, 17:14   #5
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

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Originally Posted by Triumphant View Post
I have a boat built in the UK, my propane tanks; regulator and gas pipes are to UK standard spec



I am now looking at replacing my 10 year old UK rusting UK Calor gas bottles with new Viking Fiber glass propane tanks similar to Viking Fiberglass Propane Tanks



Surprise, Surprise I have found



a)The thread on the UK Propane regulator does not fit the USA style bottle



b)The USA regulators have screw type connectors at the end of the flexible pipe whereas the UK one have a barb fitting for pushing and clamping the flexible gas pipe to



I am currently in Rio Dulce, Guatemala and having checked all the usual suspects in town, the only regulator I can find is a USA one in the West Marine store here with a pig tail fitted to the regulator (I think this is the correct term, fancy sealed fitting on the regulator, a bit of flexible pipe with a screw on female adapter at the other end)



So my questions are



a)Can I fit some kind of thread converter to attach my UK regulator to a USA propane bottle?, If yes does anyone know what the specifications of the different threads are?



b)Does anyone know what the Internal diameter of the flexible gas pipe is on a USA Regulator with pig tail is? I am thinking if I cut the fancy end off the flexible pipe it may fit the existing UK copper pipe using pipe clamps



I am scared Sh**L*SS of Propane and will check all modifications with my hand held gas detector before commissioning and I have no intention of taking the boat to the USA so not too interested in what the USA regulations say

I presume you have as you stated a UK PROPane. Regulator. And not a UK BUTANE. Setup.

Personally I would just buy a US tank and compatible regulator and then switch to flexible hose to clamp to your existing copper. Preferably with a metric barb fitting to the copper pipe. ( what have you got right now for connecting the UK flexible pipe to the copper ) , cut off the us female fitting and clamp the flexible pipe onto your hose barb

Propane is no more scary then butane.

Dave


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Old 13-08-2014, 17:43   #6
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

b) Does anyone know what the Internal diameter of the flexible gas pipe is on a USA Regulator with pig tail is? I am thinking if I cut the fancy end off the flexible pipe it may fit the existing UK copper pipe using pipe clamps

Yes: It's about 8mm/5/16". I have just been obliged to do exactly that; I pushed the flexible tubing a good 4 or 5 inches onto the solid copper tubing, which I'd first coated with non-setting gas sealant (the red stuff) then secured it with three jubilee clips.

Regarding regulators themselves, we have been obliged over the years to use propane, butane and 'genuine' French Camping-Gaz, which I understand is a blend of the two? We've also used propane regulators (about 28mb) propane regulators (35mb-ish) and a Moroccan one which was is set at about 31mb so it could be used for either variety of gas; this variety of gasses and regulators have also been used in a variety of combinations - rarely the correct one! - and other than in some really cold weather (propane with a 35mb regulator's definitely the best for that) we've never noticed any significant difference in stove performance. A good job really, as other than the US & UK, whenever I've enquired as to whether it's butane or propane, the reply's generally been a blank look, shrugged shoulders and the answer: 'It's normal/usual/ordinary cooking gas.'
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Old 13-08-2014, 18:07   #7
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

euro style regulators for propane and butane now set at a pressure of 30 mB irrespective.

The very small camping gaz cylinders used in blow torches , gas lights etc are butane /propane mix. All the larger cylinders are butane

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Old 13-08-2014, 20:44   #8
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

Go to Chickie's, or several other places on the Rio and they have regulators with barbed ends that fit US tanks.

Mark
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Old 13-08-2014, 21:33   #9
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

There are HOW TO publications if you do a search. The similar problem exists for US boats traveling to the EU. There are places to obtain adapters. ADAPTALL, McMASTER CARR, PARKER FITTINGS, THOMSON.

Some people have bought fittings and hose for both, cut the hoses and bonded them together using a piece of tubing. Low pressure after the regulator makes this possible.

Tower of Babel.
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Old 13-08-2014, 22:48   #10
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
euro style regulators for propane and butane now set at a pressure of 30 mB irrespective.
Exactly right. For application use, 30mB (12" W.C. US) works for both propane and butane gases in the UK, US and EU. Main difference is butane has a fairly high boiling point vapor temperature, right around 1 degree C. Propane on the other hand is about -42C, so works far better in the winter.

I would expect a propane regulator to work well with butane too or mixed gases. So you really only need a propane regulator for any combination of butane or propane. The only real difference is the propane regulator will be rated for a higher inlet pressure.
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Old 14-08-2014, 02:27   #11
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

I am a Gas Safe Registered engineer with the tickets to work on marine LPG systems.

LPG gases are not the same. Butane has a higher nett calorific value 45750 kJ/kg compared to Propane's 46350 kJ/kg. This means that butane burns hotter.

I suggest that the OP buys a new American cylinder, with the appropriate regulator. Use low pressure LPG resistant flexible hose to connect to his boat's pipework, bypassing any permenently installed regulators. This is the simplest and probably safest solution.

If you check for leaks using a liquid soap, please remove all traces as the ammonia in the soap will attack the brass fittings.
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Old 14-08-2014, 07:15   #12
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

My understanding of the OP's post was that he did buy a US-style cylinder and that his EU-style regulator does not fit. Further, US-style regulators have a threaded female port for the soft hose attachment, while he has a hose barb with no fitting for this regulator.

If this is the case, he will have no problem in the Rio Dulce finding a US regulator with a hose barb outlet. Chiqui's has a pile of them, as do several other places there.

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Old 14-08-2014, 08:17   #13
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

Wow just signed back in and lots of replies, Thanks everyone

Just to confirm, I already use propane and the UK regulator has a barb fitting

So, in summary it looks like I either cut the USA fitting of the flexible pipe and connect to my existing system or source some adaptors to achieve the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sestina View Post
If you check for leaks using a liquid soap, please remove all traces as the ammonia in the soap will attack the brass fittings.
I have never heard this before, thanks for that hint

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobnlesley View Post
b) Does anyone know what the Internal diameter of the flexible gas pipe is on a USA Regulator

Yes: It's about 8mm/5/16". I have just been obliged to do exactly that; I pushed the flexible tubing a good 4 or 5 inches onto the solid copper tubing, which I'd first coated with non-setting gas sealant (the red stuff) then secured it with three jubilee clips.
Thanks for this, the ID is what I needed and this looks like the solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobnlesley View Post
other than the US & UK, whenever I've enquired as to whether it's butane or propane, the reply's generally been a blank look, shrugged shoulders and the answer: 'It's normal/usual/ordinary cooking gas.'
Yep, Belize is a Propane/Butane mix, Guatemala I do not know but the gas seems to have no smell and the East Caribbean who know, but if you are set up for propane anything seems to work, but sometimes more slowly

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
My understanding of the OP's post was that he did buy a US-style cylinder and that his EU-style regulator does not fit. Further, US-style regulators have a threaded female port for the soft hose attachment, while he has a hose barb with no fitting for this regulator.

If this is the case, he will have no problem in the Rio Dulce finding a US regulator with a hose barb outlet. Chiqui's has a pile of them, as do several other places there.

Mark
Unfortunately having tried El Dragon, Chickie and most of the other Ferreterías, at the moment the only USA regulator in town is the one at RAM West Marine store with the pigtail, all the others say “tal vez mañana”. The joys of life in Central America!!!
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Old 14-08-2014, 09:02   #14
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

Oh boy..

Most requirements for propane are less than 50 mbar of pressure, its marked on your cooker. I’ve had to do the conversion on my boat and in my case 37 mbar converts to .5 PSI. I repeat ..... 1/2 PSI. Two burner cooker with oven.

If replacing the old propane regulator, Ace hardware or any local hardware store will sell propane regulators. Make sure you buy the proper size!!!! Again 1/2 PSI is all that is required.

I discovered this the hard way by not paying attention to what the hardware store clerk selected as a new propane regulator. I then spent 30 days plugging every 'leak' around the valves in the stove when the 20 PSI regulator he sold me shot flames everywhere. Yes, I removed the stove from the boat before firing her up...but I still singed my eyebrows.
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Old 14-08-2014, 10:23   #15
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Re: Propane regulators differences between the USA and UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by sestina View Post
I am a Gas Safe Registered engineer with the tickets to work on marine LPG systems.

LPG gases are not the same. Butane has a higher nett calorific value 45750 kJ/kg compared to Propane's 46350 kJ/kg. This means that butane burns hotter.
Ah, Butane does has more caloric heat per cubic foot of gas. Your info shows propane has more caloric heat per unit weight, which is also correct. Tricky things these gases.

The properties are not identical no. Butane does have a higher calorific value per unit of gas. But since most gas burning appliances cannot utilize the heat content of the water vapor, gross calorific value is of little interest. Fuel should be compared based on the net calorific value.

I think that the typical marine stove top burner will work within acceptable limits with propane or butane at proper working pressure.

Ah, I see your an engineer in the skilled with tools fashion. Quite fine. That's what we here in the states would call a union plumber. I'm only a licensed professional engineer, the designing gas systems type.
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