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Old 29-03-2011, 15:28   #1
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Propane Tanks

I'm planning to relocate my propane tanks. First question I have is what type of tank should I use? I plan to cruise the great lakes, east coast and the Bahamas. Maybe a bit further but that's a ways off.
Should I purchase an aluminum or fiberglass/composite tank that I refill or do I want to go with the standard steel exchange tanks hopefully switching them out faster than they can rust.
I plan to use propane for cooking and as a fuel for a back-up generator. By back-up I truly mean back-up. I would store the gen set below and would bring up on deck and connect to the propane only to recharge batteries.
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Old 29-03-2011, 15:34   #2
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Re: Propane tanks

I have both steel and alum on my boat..... I will not be buying another steel tank! Many places in the Bahamas there is no exchange.
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Old 29-03-2011, 16:50   #3
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Re: Propane tanks

My steel tabs are 10+ yrs ld and still in good shape. Cuising other countries, you will have to get adapters as somr are metric.

All you need to do is get a little piece of rubber, not foam to put in upir locker to keep the tanks from banging around.

Unless you ;ole to pay the extra money for the other tanks, also make sure you keep the plastic tanks out of direst sunlight. They have a tendency to crack the carrier, the colored part of the tanks..
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Old 30-03-2011, 07:36   #4
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Re: Propane tanks

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Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
I have both steel and alum on my boat..... I will not be buying another steel tank! Many places in the Bahamas there is no exchange.
Thanks much. That's exactly the input I needed. I'm a land locked sailor on our local lake, great sailing but can't get too far from home. I just purchased a boat to take us elsewhere so I'm not at all familiar with many aspects of cruising, marina's etc.

From Capngeo's comments It looks like I need to design the locker for a refillable tank , Aluminum or composite since I plan on making it to the Bahamas. But until then, can I get away with exchanges in the Great Lakes and east coast? Are they more convenient? or do I bite the bullet and go refillable now?
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Old 30-03-2011, 10:30   #5
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Re: Propane tanks

All propane tanks I've seen are refillable. Exchange tanks are usually a very expensive option. Checked around here and 12$ to fil; a 5 gallon tank, exchange tanks are about 20$.
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:11   #6
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Re: Propane tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsl View Post
. . . From Capngeo's comments It looks like I need to design the locker for a refillable tank , Aluminum or composite since I plan on making it to the Bahamas. . . .
Remember, Propane tanks come in different formats. Steel and Aluminum tanks are pretty much the same size and shape. But the new fiberglass propane tanks are different.
- - If you plan on cruising outside your local area, then refillable tanks are the only option. Exchange tanks are not available outside the USA.
- - So if you are going to build a vented enclosure for your tanks be sure to size it for the tanks you are going to use. Best to probably get the tanks first and then build the enclosure to fit.
- - Also be sure to have enough tanks or larger tanks that will last you several months. It is not uncommon to not be able to refill them in some locations. Other places may be out of propane and again you cannot get yours refilled.
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:23   #7
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Re: Propane tanks

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
... If you plan on cruising outside your local area, then refillable tanks are the only option. Exchange tanks are not available outside the USA ...
Exchange tanks ARE refillable tanks.
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:39   #8
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Re: Propane Tanks

In Bermuda,10 or 20lb refillable propane can be swapped at any Shell/Rubis gas station. If in St.George, drop at Godet & Young hardware for 1 day turn-around on Aluminum tanks.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:02   #9
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Re: Propane Tanks

Duh.. what was I thinking. Yes, exchange tanks can be refilled. So it looks like my decision will come down to horizontal or vertical tanks. I'll try first to design a locker that can handle the standard vertical exchange tank with design allowances for possible use of aluminum or composite at some point. But I'm thinking this will be difficult with the space I have. A horizontal installation may be required giving me no choice but to refill which is OK since I know know it's cheaper. The one day turnaround bothers me. Is that an exception or more the rule? Thanks all for the help.
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:08   #10
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Re: Propane Tanks

I've never seen a horizontal LPG (gas) under 25 gals. Seem plenty of smaller tanks in 10 gal size for LPG (liquid). Most horizontal tanks are used for engine applications. Could be wrong though..
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:57   #11
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Re: Propane Tanks

MMI Marine - SEAWARD - 93137 SEAWARD 10 LB HORIZONTAL LPG TANK (ALUMINUM)

MMI Marine - SEAWARD - 93138 SEAWARD 20 LB HORIZONTAL LPG TANK (ALUMINUM)

http://www.suremarine.com/manuals/as...pane-tanks.pdf
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Old 03-04-2011, 20:11   #12
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Re: Propane tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Exchange tanks ARE refillable tanks.
Difference in word definitions - - Although "exchange" tanks are normal refillable tanks, you do not get to keep your tank. You turn in your tank and get a full tank that came from somebody else. Very much like welding tanks - they are "exchanged" for full tanks. At hardware and home stores throughout the USA there are fenced "lockers" where you after you pay for a refill/exchange the clerk unlocks the gate, gives you a full "exchange" tank and puts your empty tank back in the locker. That's the last you see of your original tank.
- - In Trinidad this could present a problem, especially if after a few "exchanges" back in the USA/elsewhere you end up with somebody's tank that is near its testing expiration. They look at the "date" of the tank and if the tank is "out of date" you must pay a hefty fee to get the tank tested and re-dated.
- - Generally everywhere in the Caribbean/Bahamas you take your own tank in and they refill it and give you back the exact same tank. If you have Aluminum or FRG tanks this is important as you do not want to get a steel tank and loose your high priced special tank.
- - Using a modern tank with a OPV valve - required by USA law - in a horizontal position will not work. The float in the tank will keep the tank "shut off." You need a special tank - actually just an pre-OPV tank that does not have the float valve installed. There were "work-arounds" you can apply to keep your old tank and its old valve in these circumstances.
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Old 03-04-2011, 21:38   #13
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Re: Propane Tanks

I see from GordMay's 3rd link that there are new horizontal tanks with a OPV/OPD valve installed. It would be interesting to see exactly how they made that particular valve as the original versions were simple levered floats that shut off the valve when the propane raised the float.
- - A good economical source of propane tanks are welding supply outfits. They usually have much better pricing than "marine" stores. Second best would be RV stores as they handle a lot of tanks.
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Old 03-04-2011, 21:59   #14
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Re: Propane Tanks

downwind marine in sd has horizontal fg tanks in 5 gal size--also horizontal aluminum ones same size.
in sd to fill tanks i s20 dollars and to exchange is a deposit of over 50 dollars and then 20 dollars to exchange. i prefer to refill mine.
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Old 03-04-2011, 21:59   #15
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Re: Propane Tanks

I stand corrected Gord.

But at that price, I could fill a regular 5 gallon steel tank 30 times
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