Butane Cannister Shortcomings - Page 2 - ClubTread Community

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post #16 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by aklinz

For Time2clmb: Sigh.... Yeah, you're probably right. I really love the comment about deleting certain posts, etc. So much for the "concept" of a free exchange of ideas, eh ?
Have a good one !
Andrew Klinzmann
Nothing wrong with exchanging ideas. Your post doesn't come across as an exchange of ideas, more of a do this to solve this it works great. Some people disagree about the safety of it.
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post #17 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 08:12 PM
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yah don't try this at home kiddies, all the reasons listed above.

aklinz, don't get in a hissy fit over it. Its your prerogative to build bombs saving a few bucks here and there. We're just trying to point out that this is a blatantly bad idea, though creative, you get points for that.
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post #18 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Splitboarder: "Hissy Fit" ??? Really ? Check out Matt's calm, sanguine, Ghandi-esque reply..... And the only one here who's priority to "save a few bucks" is PackRat. Don't attribute his incoherent "red herring" to me, please
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post #19 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 08:50 PM
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Certainly any fuel can will explode if too hot but improperly using a fuel canister increases your risk.

The commercially available small cans of propane that you reference are of a different design and have thicker walls than the canisters used for isobutane.

Have you tested your propane canisters to see what temperature and pressure they can be subjected to before they fail?

Sorry I called you cheap I should have used some other words.
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post #20 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 10:46 PM
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I dug through the backpackinglight.com site and found a similar thread about refilling canisters and many experienced users over there also think that it is a bad idea. Also note that they are mainly talking about refilling with the original blend not 100 percent propane.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...e_pagination=1
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post #21 of (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 11:49 PM
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Having a stove that doesn't work when it's -37C is the least safe option of all. If you really want to use an LPG stove in super cold weather, there are a couple other options.

1. Get an LPG stove (or modify one) to take in liquid fuel instead of vapour. The MSR wind pro stove lets you do this by turning the canister upside-down.

2. Make a canister heater by wrapping some copper wire around the canister and sticking the end of the wire into the flame. This method is also "Not recommended" by the manufacturers of LPG fuel canisters, but at least you are only increasing your risk while cooking, not all the time. It would be wise to monitor the temperature of the LPG canister so you don't overdo it.

As for the safety of running propane in a canister designed for butane, it's really a matter of the storage parameters: Maximum storage temperature (which governs the pressure), and acceptable probability of a canister failure. Since we don't know enough about the reliability of the canisters that are pressurized beyond their specification I won't go there, but we can analyze the temperature and pressure. Primus specifies a maximum temperature for their powergas canisters of +50C (125F) http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source...9x2tg5tVcNLD9Q I'll assume that other canisters are rated to a similar temperature. Here's a good reference chart for the vapour pressure of propane and propane / butane mixes: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/pr...ix-d_1043.html If this table is correct, then 30% propane / 70% butane at 110F is 93psi and is "safe". Pure propane at 60F is also 93psi. So you just have to keep the propane canister below 60F (about 15C) to be "safe". That should be no problem in Alberta in the winter. Probably if the air temperature actually hits 15C you should drop everything and run before you get smoked by a huge avalanche. It's more difficult in Arizona in the summer. Just make sure your on top of it and empty those canisters before spring sets in.
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post #22 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2010, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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SCOTTN: Hello. Thanks for the REASONED reply. Yes, we have checked the various vapour pressures pressures of gasses, and allowable pressures. If one checks the literature of the lindal valves used in these cannisters, one sees that they begin to fail when pressures reach around 250 psi. Have never tried to make one fail intentionally, but have viewed videos of valve failures. Gas simply begins venting, and when this happens, the valve is basically shot and no longer usable.
Also there are interesting threads out there about the so-called "mixed gas blends" sold by various brands. Butane and Propane DO NOT MIX. Period. So a so-called 80/20 Butane/Propane mix is simply 20% Propane on top, with the remaining Butane on the bottom. So running one of these cans on a LPG stove results in the stove first burning pure propane. Where are the howls of protest ? Where are the so-called "bombs" ? These stoves CAN burn Propane quite readily, actually.
Heating the fuel cannister ? No thanks ! Never liked that idea. The MSR Reactor running pure propane burns extremely well at -37C and also at altitudes up to 8000 ft msl. We have been using these for about two years now. And yes, we do take the usual precautions when storing and handling these cans, such as NEVER leaving them inside a vehicle in the summer, etc.
Regards, Andrew Klinzmann
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post #23 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2010, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by scottN

So you just have to keep the propane canister below 60F (about 15C) to be "safe".
Room temperature is typically 21°C

I've also had canisters out in the sun quite warm to the touch even when the ambient temp is near freezing.

Two things to consider.



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post #24 of (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 01:02 PM
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I don't really see any point to this. It's dangerous. When it's cold, butane can and will behave just like any other volatile liquid fuel. To get it to vaporize, just add heat. In cold weather, turn your butane cannisters upsidedown and let the liquid butane flow into the burner, at which point, you'll ignite it and it will behave just like a liquid fuel stove. If you don't have a stand alone cannister stove, adapters to make it one are available...this is common practice and I have done it for years of winter camping trips.
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post #25 of (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by aklinz

SCOTTN: Hello. Thanks for the REASONED reply. Yes, we have checked the various vapour pressures pressures of gasses, and allowable pressures. If one checks the literature of the lindal valves used in these cannisters, one sees that they begin to fail when pressures reach around 250 psi. Have never tried to make one fail intentionally, but have viewed videos of valve failures. Gas simply begins venting, and when this happens, the valve is basically shot and no longer usable.
Right, but it isn't just the valve you need to be worried about. I would be more worried about the canister itself blowing up. I'm not saying it will blow up, but the safety factor will be reduced, whether or not you are comfortable with that is likely a personal decision.

Quote:
quote:
Also there are interesting threads out there about the so-called "mixed gas blends" sold by various brands. Butane and Propane DO NOT MIX. Period. So a so-called 80/20 Butane/Propane mix is simply 20% Propane on top, with the remaining Butane on the bottom. So running one of these cans on a LPG stove results in the stove first burning pure
Well, I agree with you that the fuels don't burn uniformly, but I think the ratio of fuel burned likely depends on the ratio of their vapour pressures, so this is going to change with temperature. At very low temperatures I think you'd be right that the propane burns off first (so your canister stove with a mixed fuel will probably work ok at the beginning and then start being terrible when the propane is gone) but at higher temperatures it probably burns more evenly.

Quote:
quote:
propane. Where are the howls of protest ? Where are the so-called "bombs" ? These stoves CAN burn Propane quite readily, actually.
I don't think anyone ever claimed that the stoves couldn't burn propane. The possible problem lies with whether the canisters which are designed for a isobutane/butane/propane mix (ratios vary) can handle pure propane. The canisters vary by brand too. The snowpeak canisters weigh more since they have a larger propane content and therefore require thicker walls for instance.

Quote:
quote:
Heating the fuel cannister ? No thanks ! Never liked that idea. The MSR Reactor running pure propane burns extremely well at -37C and also at altitudes up to 8000 ft msl. We have been using these for about two years now. And yes, we do take the usual precautions when storing and handling these cans, such as NEVER leaving them inside a vehicle in the summer, etc.
Regards, Andrew Klinzmann
Heating the canister is similar in effect to what you are doing though, it may put the situation "out of design parameters." Again, whether or not you feel that is safe likely depends on exactly what you are doing, and your personal risk tolerance.
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post #26 of (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 07:39 PM
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Thank you to Andrew and Scott. You have possibly done a first on this forum and turned this subject around from the beginnings of an all out flame war, back to a discussion... Or at least I hope so.

I have used canister stoves for maybe 15 or more years, because I like their simplicity of use, light weight and safety. I presently use an MSR Windpro stove, that allows me to invert the canister for a better and more complete burn. Also, being a stove separate from the fuel tank and not on top of it, it is more stable and can be better protected from the wind.

While I'm probably not going to get into filling my own tanks, It's good to hear what's involved and I am gleaning bits of information from the discussion. For example, I never knew that the propane and butane wouldn't mix and the hotter propane burns off first. I will invert my tank from the start of the trip and see if that makes a difference in a more even overall pressure and steady burn..

I would like to give a few of my own observations and information:

- Regarding warming a tank to increase pressure: I tried wrapping my tank in 1/4 inch ensolite & duct tape, thinking it would insulate the cold out, but just the opposite! It insulates the cold in when the gas is released and causes an inside tank temperature drop, due to evaporation. Also, I tried the copper wire from the flame, wrapped around the tank and I found no real heat exchange happening. Holding your hands around the tank or placing it in a shallow pan of warm water works better, yet both have their own drawbacks, such as cold hands and the "Catch 22" of having warm water to heat water. Bringing your morning fuel tank into your sleeping bag at night is probably the best bet for an early cup-a-joe, although not very cuddly.

- Regarding steel tanks being stronger than aluminum: Scuba tanks use to be (maybe still are) made from both aluminum and galvanized steel. The aluminum tanks could take a much higher psi pressure than could the steel ones. If lightness and strength need to be combined, then might titanium become a possibility for a refillable tank? I'm referring here to manufactures and not some user made product.

- Regarding spent canisters: They are recyclable through MEC. They will take EMPTY canisters of any manufacture, even if they don't sell that brand (numbers within reason). How does one empty a canister? Well you just use it until it's done and resist the urge to bring a "fresh" canister to start every trip and stop leaving those part filled canisters at home.

Peter

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post #27 of (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 08:36 PM
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post #28 of (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Prother: Thanks for noticing people who are at least "adult" in their communications skills...
About the inverting of cannisters. Brunton makes a neat little item called a Cannister Stove stand. It allows one to attach a cannister stove to it's base and a fuel cannister to it's fuel line. I occasionally use it with my Reactor. Keeps the fuel farther away from the hot stove, is way more stable and allows one to invert the cannister.
Andrew Klinzmann
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post #29 of (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 08:09 PM
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Although the Brunton stove stand will allow you to invert the canister you can get sever flareups if your stove does not have a preheat tube to vaporize the fuel before it gets to be burner.

Stoves like the MSR WindPro and Primus ExpressSpider have preheating tubes or you can fabricate your own heat exchanger to try and vaporize the fuel before it hits the burner.

You should start with the canister upright to light the stove so that you are not feeding liquid fuel to the cold stove and then invert the canister once the stove is going.

Lots of discussion and some examples of home made preheating solutions on this thread.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...hread_id=13468
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post #30 of (permalink) Old 08-02-2010, 08:50 PM
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