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Old 11-06-2013, 20:23   #1
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Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

Being a German boat, the stove on my recently purchased 37' Bavaria was setup for butane. There was a cute little butane canister in the cockpit fuel locker and the stovetop burned it just fine. But butane is hard to find here in N America so we wanted to convert to propane. Outside of the locker/safety considerations (an 11 lb tank fit in just perfectly) the big question was would we have to replace our perfectly good stove to the tune of $1500 or so. Almost everyone we spoke to (boatyards, suppliers, etc.) told us we'd have to change out the stove or the burners. But according to a Bavaria rep, the stove (and burners) were identical, so I thought what they hey, why not try it.

Well I'll be durned- the thing burns propane just fine. In fact after cleaning the burners out a little, it burns even better than before.

Just wanted to share in the event someone else is in the same position.
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Old 11-06-2013, 20:51   #2
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

Your stovetop will work on propane just fine. Be aware if you have an oven, the air mixture on the oven burner will likely need adjusted to get the flame correct.

The other obvious is changing the regulator as butane and propane boil at different temperatures, therefore the high pressures are different.
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Old 11-06-2013, 22:55   #3
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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post

The other obvious is changing the regulator as butane and propane boil at different temperatures, therefore the high pressures are different.

Not necessary. Europe has had specs for regs to run off both for some time now. En12864

Like these. ...

http://www.socal.co.uk/clesse-30mb-e...mm-outlet.html

Also, various countries use different mixtures of the 2 gasses.
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Old 11-06-2013, 23:03   #4
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What you actually buy around the world is usually LPG. It is a mixture of butane and propane and whatever else will sell. In warm climates and seasons the mix tends to be mostly butane as it is a little less cost. In cold climates they must use more propane as the butane won't boil to a gas.

So if the devices are for LPG then it shouldn't matter. Some specialized devices like camping gear and cigarettes lighters are made for butane only and might malfunction on propane. Household domestic and boat devices should accept either without any problems.

Butane in cold weather causes sad hungry sailors.
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:42   #5
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In the marquesses I had my LPG tanks filled with butane as it was all that was available and we didnt notice much difference. The tech advised that you must remove all LPG from tank to do this, but going LPG on butane was fine, I think it was the pressure difference to make it liquid? But lpg stove ran fine on butane
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:53   #6
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Not necessary. Europe has had specs for regs to run off both for some time now. En12864

Like these. ...

Clesse 30mb Euro Regulator 10mm Outlet

Also, various countries use different mixtures of the 2 gasses.
Cool! I stand corrected. Of course, regulator to tank physical connection issue still applies.

And my user manual on the ENO oven burner shows how to set the damper for butane vs. propane. If it's set for butane, it won't get near hot enough using propane.

BTW, butane boils at ~+31 degrees fahrenheit while propane boils at ~-41 degrees fahrenheit. I find the wide use of butane in EU interesting with the cooler climate (no boil = no fire ??).
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Old 12-06-2013, 08:08   #7
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

We had no problem thruout the Pacific using either. I think the Butane was normally 50 psi as the propane was 90 psi at the tank. The only problem we encountered was doing a gravity fill with butane with propane still in the tanks. I think it was French Polynesia we had to do that as nobody filled US tanks.
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Old 12-06-2013, 08:12   #8
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Cool! I stand corrected. Of course, regulator to tank physical connection issue still applies.

And my user manual on the ENO oven burner shows how to set the damper for butane vs. propane. If it's set for butane, it won't get near hot enough using propane.

BTW, butane boils at ~+31 degrees fahrenheit while propane boils at ~-41 degrees fahrenheit. I find the wide use of butane in EU interesting with the cooler climate (no boil = no fire ??).
Interesting about the oven damper, must have a look to see if my smev is the same. From memory propane is a touch cooler but not much in it.
Though last winter in London wasn't particularly cold I had no coffeeless mornings onboard using butane, wonder if that batch might have had a bit more propane in it than normal. I think propane is more normal for bottles kept outside, butane for RV 's etc, boats seem to get lumped in with them. In uk anyway.
I'm glad the big DIY stores do plastic bottles so cheap over here, wouldn't like to have to dish out $150 a piece for new ones.
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Old 17-11-2017, 11:50   #9
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

That's good news as I am getting ready to do the same thing to the eno stove on the etap. Did you change out any of the clamps or hoses or just use the existing hoses with a new propane bottle and regulator? What adapter did you use to attach the hose to the new propane bottle?
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Old 20-11-2017, 10:39   #10
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

As a side note to this, I was trying to get a specialty propane tank filled recently (odd valve) and I talked to the guy about gravity filling. He told me that all tanks sold now had different internal pickups and that you could not use them to gravity feed another tank. I dont think he was B.S.ing me, or trying to sell me anything. This is California, so it might be a local law. Has anyone else heard of this? _____Grant.
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Old 20-11-2017, 12:13   #11
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

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Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
As a side note to this, I was trying to get a specialty propane tank filled recently (odd valve) and I talked to the guy about gravity filling. He told me that all tanks sold now had different internal pickups and that you could not use them to gravity feed another tank. I dont think he was B.S.ing me, or trying to sell me anything. This is California, so it might be a local law. Has anyone else heard of this? _____Grant.
My experience has been that the newer valves in the BBQ tanks still allow you to invert the tank and feed liguid into another one. The only time I got stumped was trying to fill a horizontal tank that had a one-way valve going to the regulator and a separate fill valve.
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Old 20-11-2017, 16:24   #12
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

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Originally Posted by Cloroxbottle View Post
That's good news as I am getting ready to do the same thing to the eno stove on the etap. Did you change out any of the clamps or hoses or just use the existing hoses with a new propane bottle and regulator? What adapter did you use to attach the hose to the new propane bottle?

I simply cut the old butane regulator/fitting off (in the tank locker) and installed a new propane fitting & regulator. All other hoses were the same. Fortunately the butane & propane tanks were the same diameter so it fit perfectly. It's been working like a charm for 6 or so years now.

I'm not sure what specific propane fitting I used- but it was common, like any you'd find at the marine chandlery.

Good luck w yours!
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Old 11-12-2017, 09:29   #13
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

Butane and propane and Calor gas use different regulators and different jets in your stove. If you speak to a gas engineer you will be told you must modify the stove. In my experience, i did not notice any difference with stove performance - no need to do a thing to your stove.
However, you must change the regulator as the pressures are very different.
Nor will you be able to get a butane tank filled with propane - it will "cook off" with specular results.
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Old 11-12-2017, 16:34   #14
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

Here in the US it is common for home clothes driers to be sold for "natural gas", meaning the gas that is piped into urban areas, or sold for use in the countryside, where they may require propane or butane as the source. Yes, three different types of gas. And there are usually burner/orifice conversion kits that are used to make sure the drier is properly matched to the gas it is being used with. Using the wrong kit will result in inefficient heating, as the gasses are all slightly different.

We do have "camoing gaz" stoves (originally sold by Bluette, from France) that are quite popular with hikers. Those typically burn a canned mix of up to 30% propane and the rest butane, with the propane required to extend the cold-weather operation. Again, they burn differently but "it works" and some folks refill the cannisters with just butane. Propane liquifies differently, and the excess pressure can cause problems in a butane stove.

So many things work, many variations in construction. If your flames are not a pure blue--either the burners or the mixture needs adjusting.

Most places in US urban areas are not allowed to refill "gas" tanks, and they stock 20 pound cyclinders of propane to swap out. Except, the cylinders now use an overflow preventer valve, so the "20#" tank will only contain 17# of gas.

Those stations that ARE allowed to fill, will usually insist on seeing a current (within 10? years) pressure inspection stamp on the tank, and perhaps a more recent inspection stamp as well. ust be aware--there are logistics besides "finding" a tank, and some shops will try to rip you off with a load of BS while they're doing that.
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Old 11-12-2017, 20:03   #15
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Re: Butane to Propane conversion success! Stove burns 'em both just fine

DOT regulated portable propane tanks have the next-required inspection date stamped right on them.

Getting it inspected may be $15, some places free.

Or exchange an expired one at the usual-ripoff swap outfits, one thing they're actually good for.

Actually buy your propane from per-pound places, not flat rate.

Near me current rate is near $2 per gallon, like $7-8 to refill when nearly empty.

Any butane stove I've ever tried can be easily run off propane, just need adapter fittings for bottle / hoses, no changes to jets.
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