Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 13-07-2020, 11:50   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 396
Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

How do the European boats that use LPG deal with being in the Caribbean (or vice-versa)?


It doesn't seem very practical to "bring enough" for the duration. I know the tanks are different and likely the regulators needed for the system.


Do people just carry 2 sets of tanks and regulators?
NaClyDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-07-2020, 15:09   #2
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 19,346
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Our US propane stoves never minded the butane. We did have to make up filling pigtails to conform to local fillers.

For our usage, we carry two 9 kilo propane tanks, good for a total of ~ 6 months, depending on how much baking I do, and did not change regulators. (We also use it for heating shower water, as well as cooking).

Ann
__________________
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-07-2020, 15:18   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 396
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Interesting. I didn't think local fillers would fill tanks unless they were up to required local standards.


We will only be using LPG for the stove and oven. Possibly also an outdoor grill if we decide to get one of those.


Thank you
NaClyDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2020, 12:43   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Cape Charles
Boat: Lagoon 46
Posts: 24
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Can you post a picture or description of the filling pigtails and do you ever get any grief when trying to fill a propane tank w/Butane?
Thanks
Tracyandkimo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2020, 12:52   #5
Registered User
 
bobnlesley's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Aground in the Yorkshire Dales, awaiting a very high tide.
Posts: 608
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaClyDog View Post
...I didn't think local fillers would fill tanks unless they were up to required local standards...
The local guys want your business and are adaptable, away from the French islands (and even there if you know whom to ask) you can pretty much get any sort of bottle filled, just ask around the anchorages to find out who/where and stoves will work (perhaps not at their prime efficiency) on propane, butane or a mixture of both.
__________________
I chose the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?
bobnlesley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2020, 12:56   #6
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,622
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

"Filling pigtails" are made up of a hose with a fitting for the local tank on one end and the boat tank on the other end. In some cases these may be the same fitting.


They are used with a donor tank that is in compliance with local regulations, perhaps one that is rented or returnable for refund of a deposit. The full donor tank and the empty boat tank are connected with the pigtail. The donor tank is inverted and elevated, and a slight temperature difference is created, usually by putting the donor tank in the sun. Over the course of an hour or a day the fuel transfers.


Safety agencies and propane suppliers consider the practice unsafe. The main hazards are overfilling and frostbite from any liquid propane that leaks out when the hoses are disconnected. Leaks and therefore fire are also a hazard as is hose failure. Liquid propane is a powerful solvent (similar to acetone) and will cause hoses to fail from the inside if they aren't specifically designed for propane. Butane is similar though the overall risks are lessened due to the lower vapor pressure and higher boiling point.
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2020, 13:54   #7
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 19,346
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
"Filling pigtails" are made up of a hose with a fitting for the local tank on one end and the boat tank on the other end. In some cases these may be the same fitting.


They are used with a donor tank that is in compliance with local regulations, perhaps one that is rented or returnable for refund of a deposit. The full donor tank and the empty boat tank are connected with the pigtail. The donor tank is inverted and elevated, and a slight temperature difference is created, usually by putting the donor tank in the sun. Over the course of an hour or a day the fuel transfers.


Safety agencies and propane suppliers consider the practice unsafe. The main hazards are overfilling and frostbite from any liquid propane that leaks out when the hoses are disconnected. Leaks and therefore fire are also a hazard as is hose failure. Liquid propane is a powerful solvent (similar to acetone) and will cause hoses to fail from the inside if they aren't specifically designed for propane. Butane is similar though the overall risks are lessened due to the lower vapor pressure and higher boiling point.
It is good of Jammer to remind us of the possible problems.

In all my years of cruising, however, we never heard of a cruiser or boat being hurt by the shade tree method of almost-filling one's tank. We usually did it under shade trees. Maybe cruisers are smart enough to be careful with it.

Ann

Sorry, we don't have any pictures of the pigtails. They are adequately described in the post above, by Jammer.
__________________
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2020, 15:06   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Toronto area when not travelling
Boat: Catalina 36 Mk II
Posts: 1,151
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

We never had a problem filling North American tanks in places as diverse as South Africa and Oz. Companies had the necessary adaptors. Often this was not big companies but smaller, hardware stores that filled tanks. In the Caribbean they are set up to handle all tanks. I remember dropping a tank off in Antigua (next day pick up). They must have had 20 different kinds of tanks going for a fill.
__________________
Back to Great Lakes sailing on our Catalina 36 MkII after many years ocean sailing on a Bristol 45.5, which was just too big for the yacht clubs on Lake Ontario.
AiniA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2020, 15:11   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 396
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
We never had a problem filling North American tanks in places as diverse as South Africa and Oz. Companies had the necessary adaptors. Often this was not big companies but smaller, hardware stores that filled tanks. In the Caribbean they are set up to handle all tanks. I remember dropping a tank off in Antigua (next day pick up). They must have had 20 different kinds of tanks going for a fill.
Interesting. I've spoken with 2 different cruisers who ended up having to buy one or two different canisters to deal with those issues.
NaClyDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2020, 15:20   #10
Registered User
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 22,873
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaClyDog View Post
How do the European boats that use LPG deal with being in the Caribbean (or vice-versa)?


It doesn't seem very practical to "bring enough" for the duration. I know the tanks are different and likely the regulators needed for the system.


Do people just carry 2 sets of tanks and regulators?
I found tanks to be readily fillable in the Caribe. You pick your spots to replenish, stay ahead of it. You may have to take a taxi ride or etc to do it. You may find a guy with a truck who is taking tanks to be filled for a bunch of cruisers "next tuesday".
The radio net is your friend for these sort of things. I had two bottles, one smaller for the BBQ and one normal for the stove. That way I had a backup.
There are some adaptor issues, but many places seem to be able to do it if they have a cruising crowd that needs gas.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2020, 20:04   #11
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,622
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Quote:
Originally Posted by NaClyDog View Post
Interesting. I've spoken with 2 different cruisers who ended up having to buy one or two different canisters to deal with those issues.

There are two facts to consider.


1) The problems with propane fills were more serious 10-20+ years ago than they are today (and still more serious 30-40 years ago). Cooking fuel for boats was less standardized then. with more widespread use of CNG and alcohol, and there was more use of kerosene/fuel oil for residential uses, especially in remote areas. The presence of self-serve propane filling stations for propane-powered cars in Europe has also opened up options.



2) Boats equipped for propane with North American tank fittings and certifications largely do fine now everywhere except those parts of Europe that have a highly prescriptive regulatory environment or that operate on a bottle-exchange basis only where fills of customer-owned tanks are simply not offered. Accordingly most of the serious problems involve European boats that are set up for butane having to be converted for propane (which does require changing out the tanks and regulators in most cases), or North American boats making extended stays in Europe without moving around much between countries.
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2020, 08:13   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Cape Charles
Boat: Lagoon 46
Posts: 24
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
"Filling pigtails" are made up of a hose with a fitting for the local tank on one end and the boat tank on the other end. In some cases these may be the same fitting.


They are used with a donor tank that is in compliance with local regulations, perhaps one that is rented or returnable for refund of a deposit. The full donor tank and the empty boat tank are connected with the pigtail. The donor tank is inverted and elevated, and a slight temperature difference is created, usually by putting the donor tank in the sun. Over the course of an hour or a day the fuel transfers.


Safety agencies and propane suppliers consider the practice unsafe. The main hazards are overfilling and frostbite from any liquid propane that leaks out when the hoses are disconnected. Leaks and therefore fire are also a hazard as is hose failure. Liquid propane is a powerful solvent (similar to acetone) and will cause hoses to fail from the inside if they aren't specifically designed for propane. Butane is similar though the overall risks are lessened due to the lower vapor pressure and higher boiling point.
I get the concept but I am unfamiliar w/Butane fittings and was unsure if they were the same size/thread as Propane. Also, curious about the caution of not overfilling. Could I not open the bleeder valve and look for exhaust as I normally would? Thanks again!!
Tracyandkimo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2020, 08:48   #13
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Jacksonville/ out cruising
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 31,311
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Butane and Propane are essentially interchangeable.
If your a mountain climber you don’t want a butane stove, you want propane, the boiling point of butane is much higher than propane, so if its stupid cold, butane won’t vaporize, because it’s colder than it’s boiling point, but for cruising boats, I’d assume they don’t go where it’s that cold, maybe the Arctic guys do?
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2020, 08:52   #14
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Jacksonville/ out cruising
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 31,311
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

Since some years ago all US portable propane bottles have overfill preventative valves, they work off of a float like your home toilet does, you can’t overfill one, the float and valve won’t let you
Used to that you were supposed to fill bottles based on their weight, the bottle should have an empty and full weight stamped on it, in fact most filling stations still put a bottle on a scale, set it, and then ignore the scale.
It’s sort of funny, I’ve given up asking why they do that, I haven’t found one that understood why they did, they were just told to, so they do.

So overfilling isn’t a problem, and if your not smart enough to prevent frostbite, I’d suspect you don’t have what it takes to cruise either.
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2020, 09:46   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: ABC's
Boat: Prout Snowgoose 35
Posts: 1,734
Re: Dealing with LPG gas in different areas (butane vs propane)

The only sure way to deal with it is to either have a big enough or many small cyclinders to last you in countries where you can't fill, or buy local cyclinders.

for example in St Maarten you can get Spanish Repsol, Portugese and Irish cylinders filled. They all use the same fitting, and are aronnd 12-13kg. Two of these would last a year.

You can't get them filled in Martinique, but there is Camping gas available. One 3kg bottle last me around a month. Some people carry 4 or more. If you get full ones before you go to an incompatible country you might be ok.

In Curacao, you cannot fill Spanish style bottles not campingaz. Your only option is a US style bottle, or a local one. They cost about €60 and are made of super fast rust steel. Discard it when you get to back to the EU islands.

Try to find out what you are actually getting. Propane is less energy dense, and in the UK we use 37mbar regulators for propane compared to 27-30mabr for butane.
mikedefieslife is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
propane

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DIY Cooking Gas (Propane & Butane) in French Polynesia chouliha Pacific & South China Sea 0 12-10-2018 11:24
Will my LPG Stove work with Butane Gundy Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 41 16-05-2015 04:47
Propane vs. Butane in a Lehr propane outboard Roy M Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 30 13-10-2014 09:34
Using small Butane Gas Cylinders as backup to main Gas system simonpickard Liveaboard's Forum 5 14-03-2014 08:39
Propane / Butane / LPG whitneycrew Provisioning: Food & Drink 1 18-01-2011 04:38

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:43.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.