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Old 04-08-2018, 12:25   #1
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Coleman propane stove on board?

Long time listener, first time caller... So we have a 32-foot Fuji ketch in the Chesapeake Bay. Had it five years. Lovely boat. But being of 1970s vintage ('77) it came with a compressed natural gas (CNG) stove (three-burner). As most of you know, CNG tanks are damn hard to find these days, at least in these parts. So rather than search hither and yon, we looked into converting to a modern propane stove...
Well, that would require major surgery, as propane tanks need their own external lockers, take up space, need new plumbing blah, blah. Long story short, estimates are in the thousands of dollars (US) for full conversion/new stove (a little cheaper if re-using and modifying the nozzles on the existing stove). I'm not much of an engineer or do-it-your-selfer. Prefer to hire people who know what they're doing, particularly if it involves gas.
But I had this thought that for $39.83, I can just mount a Coleman Classic propane stove on top of the old one and remove the propane cylinder when not in use (we're mostly weekend gunkholers, not blue water sailors; we don't cook underway).
Is this solution too simple/good to be true? What's the dif between a Coleman camp stove in the galley and any other type of propane cooking system? Obviously would cook on the hook with companionway open. If the danger is leaking propane into the cabin/bilge, wouldn't outside storage of propane cylinder take care of that problem?
Am I missing something?
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:51   #2
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

As long as you are with it full time while inside I don’t see any problem.
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Old 04-08-2018, 13:05   #3
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Ours is only a day sailor, so similar deal. We had a pressured alcohol stove that a Po had "converted"to propane. It was scary dangerous!
I pulled it out, did some reframing, and put in a camp chef oven / 2 burner top. I ran the propane hose to the cockpit lazzerette for some safety, and convenience.
It isn't vented, but is right beside the companionway. I only cook while it is open.
The other downfall is being non gimbaled. But I have still baked pizza while beating, but can't cook on the burners.
So, it can work but be aware of the safety issues.
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Old 04-08-2018, 13:08   #4
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Check out Origo alcohol stoves. No heavier-than-air fuel, so a bit safer than propane. Not without its own set of risks, though.
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Old 04-08-2018, 13:09   #5
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris mac View Post
Ours is only a day sailor, so similar deal. We had a pressured alcohol stove that a Po had "converted"to propane. It was scary dangerous!
I pulled it out, did some reframing, and put in a camp chef oven / 2 burner top. I ran the propane hose to the cockpit lazzerette for some safety, and convenience.
It isn't vented, but is right beside the companionway. I only cook while it is open.
The other downfall is being non gimbaled. But I have still baked pizza while beating, but can't cook on the burners.
So, it can work but be aware of the safety issues.
Good luckAttachment 174902

Where does that lazarette drain to? If it isn't sealed with a drain overboard, it's a long way from safe, I'm afraid.

For a propane installation I consider the following essential :

Burners have thermocouple-based cutoff.
Propane tank is sealed from the bilge, and has external drain.
System has leak detector with automatic solenoid valve.
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Old 04-08-2018, 13:11   #6
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris mac View Post
Ours is only a day sailor, so similar deal. We had a pressured alcohol stove that a Po had "converted"to propane. It was scary dangerous!
I pulled it out, did some reframing, and put in a camp chef oven / 2 burner top. I ran the propane hose to the cockpit lazzerette for some safety, and convenience.
It isn't vented, but is right beside the companionway. I only cook while it is open.
The other downfall is being non gimbaled. But I have still baked pizza while beating, but can't cook on the burners.
So, it can work but be aware of the safety issues.
Good luckAttachment 174902
have to +1 this option
Just need to make the gimbal assembly its not to difficult to do.
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Old 04-08-2018, 14:09   #7
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Campstoves usually run of the 1lb. bottles. For little money you can get a 6' long adapter hose. Buy the refillable 5lb propane tank along with the hose and firmly mount it outside the cockpit onto a stanchion. 5lbs for cooking for 2 will last a week or so. The hose can reach into the cabin to the galley where your Coleman sits, or to a bbq at the stern. Just turn off the tank and undo the hose every time you finish cooking and you should be safe enough.
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Old 04-08-2018, 15:32   #8
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Been using the 1 lb cans for my portable camp stove for years now. As well as for my propane grill.
Some suggestions:
The 1 lb tanks do not reseal well, once connected leave them connected to the regulator. Store them outside in a well ventaledted area.
Used to remove the 1lb can from my grill regulator only to find it empty the next time I used it.

Test for leaks every time used.
OK supposed to use soapy water, I just light a BIC after I smell test it.

The camp stove in the galley stays connected 24/7 while I’m on the boat.
No thermocouple, just the “whiff” test (as well as CO2 and propane alarms)
If I have a leak it is within a 2sq ft area.

I find it more comforting to know if I have a leak it is “local” rather than having to maintain and trace down hoses and extra fittings.

Anyway you look at it Propane is a dangerous thing on a boat and should be respected!

PS: I cruise 6 months per year and use aprox 24 -1 lb cans.
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Old 04-08-2018, 20:40   #9
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Propane is a popular stove fuel, and if you take all of the recommended precautions then it is pretty safe. Until of course a safety device malfunctions. Knock on wood. But it is clean and odorless fuel, gets a lot hotter than alcohol which I have tried and found wanting. But for me, the fuel of choice for cooking is plain old diesel. My single burner stove is a Butterfly brand Primus knockoff, modified with a regulated burner. Burns kerosene or diesel equally well. No diesel stink except for just a moment when first lighting off. Good heat, but I can turn it down to a bare simmer and it will stay there for hours. I have it mounted in a vintage Sea Swing gimbal. Safer, cheaper. I just don't LIKE propane on a boat. I do have a Magma propane grill, out on deck, but TBH it mostly gets used at the dock. I haven't been keeping cannisters on the boat the last couple years. They stay in the dock box.
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Old 04-08-2018, 20:40   #10
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Where does that lazarette drain to? If it isn't sealed with a drain overboard, it's a long way from safe, I'm afraid.

For a propane installation I consider the following essential :

Burners have thermocouple-based cutoff.
Propane tank is sealed from the bilge, and has external drain.
System has leak detector with automatic solenoid valve.
Lazzerette has an air vent into the fuel locker, and out the stern.
The rest I agree with if it's a full live aboard, or even just a week or 2.
Ours is a day sailor, with an odd overnight. It just isn't justifiable financially to go to that extreme.
We use the 1lb bottles so have fairly regular changes(inspections) and like stated above we use a smell test as the primary inspection.

It is far from perfect, but we'll within my risk assessment level.
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Old 04-08-2018, 21:47   #11
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

I'd echo the mention of the Origo stove, save your pennies for one, I sure like mine. Granted it is 10x the price of the camp stove but it's complete, simple, no hoses, connections, tanks, solenoids or leaks to worry anyone. I trust my kids can cook on it and be ok. It is a little slower to cook than propane, but I've never felt it was too slow. It's alcohol but not pressurized. I used to have a pressurized alcohol stove many years ago. Now THAT was far more dangerous than a camp stove IMO!
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:57   #12
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris mac View Post
Ours is only a day sailor, so similar deal. We had a pressured alcohol stove that a Po had "converted"to propane. It was scary dangerous!
I pulled it out, did some reframing, and put in a camp chef oven / 2 burner top. I ran the propane hose to the cockpit lazzerette for some safety, and convenience.
It isn't vented, but is right beside the companionway. I only cook while it is open.
The other downfall is being non gimbaled. But I have still baked pizza while beating, but can't cook on the burners.
So, it can work but be aware of the safety issues.
Good luckAttachment 174902
So the critical question about this stove and all the other makeshift solutions to the propane cooking quandry: are there thermocouple shutoff valves on EVERY burner? If not, I don't reckon I'd be shipmates with one.

I've been cooking with propane on board for over 35 years, and I've had so many times that a burner was blown out that I could never count them. Fortunately, the safety valves have always worked, and shutoff the gas flow promptly. If those valves are not present on the stove... well, use your imagination!

For those not wanting to do a proper propane locker installation, simply mounting the bottle on the pushpit with a cover over the regulator is a common and approved practice here in Oz. Solenoid valve on the tank, some copper tubing and a flex at the end if the stove is gimbaled, and there's your multi thousand dollar installation done.

Purists will sneer, but it works for lots of folks here, and the gas inspection rules are pretty tight in Oz.

Jim
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:22   #13
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, CapitanoK.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:13   #14
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Check out Origo alcohol stoves. No heavier-than-air fuel, so a bit safer than propane. Not without its own set of risks, though.
Another vote for an ORIGO stove. Its a proper marine stove, super simple, super safe, easy to install. Cheap, easy to find fuel.

I also had a CNG stove once. A great idea designed and implemented by people who have never been on a boat. Replace the stove...and you can get rid of the high pressure tanks, hoses, regulators, everything.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:15   #15
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Re: Coleman propane stove on board?

With propane stoves inside cabins, ABYC standards indicate that an 8oz propane bottle can be left attached to the stove; 16oz bottles can be used below, but need to be removed when not in use.
We've been using a propane stove with 16oz bottles for over 13 years. We don't remove the bottles when done cooking, and have yet had a problem. When propane leaks, the smell is readily noticeable, at least on our boat. We also reload these bottles from an outside mounted 20lb bottle. The adaptor to do this came from Harbor Freight.
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