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Old 27-05-2020, 10:35   #1
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European Boat - Propane Tank Question

Hello, I have another question for the group - my boat was built to European specs and the previous owner swapped out the propane tank & fitting for US specs. The US tank is a bit taller than the original and doesn’t fit in the locker so they “modified” the tank with a hammer to make it a bit shorter. Is there another option? Also, there is not an on/off gas solenoid switch. Is this a DIY project or should an expert handle this? Thanks
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Old 27-05-2020, 20:15   #2
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

A hammer? Oh Lordy... But it is what you have.

Adding a solenoid is not a big deal, if you have a little bit of plumbing and electrical knowledge. Getting tanks to fit the locker... than might be a bigger deal. I’d prefer alternative tanks than modifying structure for all kinds of reasons, especially $$$$$!

Are you sure there are no US spec tanks that will fit? Some are pretty small. And there are some that are designed to mount horizontally. They are a bit pricy, but compared to structural modifications they might be a good option.

In general, European standards around flammable gas installations are pretty lax compared to the US. Having seen a boat explode from a gas leak (it was dramatic to say the least!) I much prefer the cautious approach.
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Old 28-05-2020, 00:23   #3
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

Check out the tanks at defender - all sorts of sizes
https://www.defender.com/category.js...276204|2276252
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Old 28-05-2020, 00:43   #4
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by fthurlow View Post
Hello, I have another question for the group - my boat was built to European specs and the previous owner swapped out the propane tank & fitting for US specs. The US tank is a bit taller than the original and doesn’t fit in the locker so they “modified” the tank with a hammer to make it a bit shorter. Is there another option? Also, there is not an on/off gas solenoid switch. Is this a DIY project or should an expert handle this? Thanks

Yikes.


Gas systems can be DIY if you are really committed to thoroughly learning the principles and are confident you can do the work with perfect quality. The cost of even a small mistake can be life and limb. LPG is especially dangerous on boats because it is almost twice as heavy as air, and any leaked gas sinks into the bilge, where it can't run out, unlike the case in a building. LPG has greater explosive power per unit of weight than TNT.



Boat gas systems are pretty simple so it's not a ridiculously involved job to figure it all out, but you have to be fantatically thorough if you're going to do it yourself.


Some basic principles (not a complete list):


1. Make sure gas locker is absolutely sealed from the main hull volume.

2. Make sure gas locker drain is unobstructed and without any rises in the piping which can allow water to collect and block gas flow.
3. Solenoid valve of appropriate type (ignition protected, waterproof). Nerus Gas Alarms sells good ones. Switch with pilot light so you can see if someone forgot and left it open.

4. Quality wiring to the solenoid using tinned cable of adequate size, and waterproof connectors (I use Molex Perma Seal).
5. Only one appliance per piping run; no t joints. Anyway you don't want more than one gas stove/oven and no other gas appliances.
6. Use a quality gas alarm, preferably with two sensors, one under the stove and the other in the bilge. Protect the sensors from moisture.
7. Make piping and hose joints carefully and with appropriate fittings and materials. Test for leaks with soapy water. Don't use non-gas rated PTFE tape. Be damned sure you don't mismatch threads or fitting types

8. If you just bought a used boat, it's a good idea to replace all of the hoses and carefully inspect the piping. You might replace the regulator as well if it looks old. They are relatively cheap and don't last all that long.

9. Install a bubble tester and use it frequently (daily, or not less than weekly) to verify absence of leaks in the system.
10. Be very careful that hoses are not subject to chafe.
11. When you finish using a gas stove, it's a good idea to leave a burner burning, shut off the solenoid, and let the burner burn out, depressurizing the system.
12. Regularly inspect the whole system.



If you have any doubts about your own abilities, hire a reputable pro! Good luck!
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Old 28-05-2020, 01:28   #5
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by fthurlow View Post
Hello, I have another question for the group - my boat was built to European specs and the previous owner swapped out the propane tank & fitting for US specs. The US tank is a bit taller than the original and doesn’t fit in the locker so they “modified” the tank with a hammer to make it a bit shorter. Is there another option? Also, there is not an on/off gas solenoid switch. Is this a DIY project or should an expert handle this? Thanks
My current solution is to have the bottle in the cockpit, although I will be constructing a bag to have it secured to the outside of the stern rail eventually. Definitely read up on the do's and don't - I don't dare take responsibility for advising you on the interior plumbing myself! Although I would say that I favour using bulkhead connectors where needed rather than grommets. That said, I have read of at least one fire due to failure to tighten hose clamps on bulkhead connectors properly.
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Old 28-05-2020, 11:59   #6
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

First thing get rid of the tank that has been hammered. Metal could be fatigued and is just waiting to fail.

Then, as Tin Tin said look at tank options. I have noticed that the fiberglass tanks are a little shorter. If you can't find one that will fit try contacting a tank manufacturer about getting one made a little shorter. May cost a fortune bur still better than that old hammered tank.
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Old 28-05-2020, 12:44   #7
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

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Originally Posted by Captn_Black View Post
Although I would say that I favour using bulkhead connectors where needed rather than grommets. That said, I have read of at least one fire due to failure to tighten hose clamps on bulkhead connectors properly.
First, bulkhead fittings are not allowed, second, hose clamps are NEVER allowed in ANY part of a marine LPG system.
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:00   #8
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

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First, bulkhead fittings are not allowed, second, hose clamps are NEVER allowed in ANY part of a marine LPG system.
I hadn't heard that. Maybe the same regulations do not apply in eu. It seemed like a good idea to me. The report I had read about a fire involving them was a few years back, idk if things have changed, but the bulkhead fittings were not criticised in the report. (UK, Poole harbour, I remember)

I do still use pigtails on each length.
A citation would be cool if you don't mind.
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:16   #9
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

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First, bulkhead fittings are not allowed, second, hose clamps are NEVER allowed in ANY part of a marine LPG system.
What is your suggestion for passing a rubber/copper gas pipe through a water tight bulkhead?
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:22   #10
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

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second, hose clamps are NEVER allowed in ANY part of a marine LPG system.
Also, I am wondering how you attach your regulator - regulators from many countries only come with a hose-barb.
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:30   #11
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

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Originally Posted by Captn_Black View Post
I hadn't heard that. Maybe the same regulations do not apply in eu. It seemed like a good idea to me. The report I had read about a fire involving them was a few years back, idk if things have changed, but the bulkhead fittings were not criticised in the report. (UK, Poole harbour, I remember)

I do still use pigtails on each length.
A citation would be cool if you don't mind.
Unfortunately, it's not easy to cite the various regulatory sources directly. The USCG basically adopts the ABYC standards in this area, and the NFPA standards as well, but neither are strictly "legal" requirements for pleasure craft. Basically, NO fittings or connections are allowed outside of the LPG locker. The fuel line must run to the appliance with no other points of connection outside the locker, even to include a local shutoff valve.This is a good single source article that covers all the salient points, with photos.
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:32   #12
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

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Originally Posted by Captn_Black View Post
What is your suggestion for passing a rubber/copper gas pipe through a water tight bulkhead?
Fuel lines (either approved annealed copper tubing or listed LPG hose) must be continuous, so they are run through glands or grommets.
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:34   #13
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

Well, I certainly violate the "no plumbing fittings outside the gas locker" part. But I still don't think it applies in EU and feel that I have taken due diligence with my fitting. But thanks for the info.
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Old 28-05-2020, 13:52   #14
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

I made a genuine effort to find that Poole Harbour report for you, but the MAIB has recently changed their website and the oldest reports are from 2005. If there is an archive I couldn't find it.
The reason I remember the location so clearly is because I used to live there.
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Old 28-05-2020, 14:10   #15
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Re: European Boat - Propane Tank Question

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Originally Posted by Captn_Black View Post
Also, I am wondering how you attach your regulator - regulators from many countries only come with a hose-barb.

As somebody else in this thread pointed out, the EU seems to be very lax in their handling of LPG installations. I know that in the U.S. and Canada, such regulators would not be approved for marine installation, ot indeed for any permanent installation. Only threaded or flare connection is allowed.
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