Can someone school me on how to use a manometer for propane? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-05-2018, 11:11 AM   #1
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Can someone school me on how to use a manometer for propane?

Gordon Lyman on the Scamp Facebook page gave me the basics... like what it's for. I'd like to buy the meter, I don't want to make one. Anyone have a link to the 'right' one?

Soon I will be going out for months at a time. IF this is something I can do for myself, I'd rather do that than need to search out an RV shop... especially in an area I'm totally unfamiliar with.

I want to do this as part of routine maintenance, not for trying to do repairs, etc.


Whenever I take Ten Forward in for bearing/brake service, I ask that the propane be tested. Don't know what they did, but I haven't blown myself up yet...
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:12 AM   #2
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And THIS is why: KAKE.com | Wichita, Kansas News, Weather, Sports - Firefighters investigating trailer explosion in West Wichita
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:16 AM   #3
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This is the one I ordered. Looked good, but never got to use it before it disappeared.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:25 AM   #4
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This is the one I ordered. Looked good, but never got to use it before it disappeared.
That looks like a nice unit and I recognize the name. I wonder with these short trailers (low pressure drop) is it sufficient to just measure after it comes off the regulator or do you really need to measure at an appliance which would be considerably harder?
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:17 PM   #5
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You operate 1/2 of your BTU load appliances and adjust the regulator to the desired pressure. Pressure changes as more items are operated. Some regulators have a test port for your guage.
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:28 PM   #6
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Manometer

Hi Donna
When we bought the 21 from AZ Jack he included the yellow jacket manometer. Looks pretty straightforward. I have not had to adjust the regulator as Jack said he had done that and in ensuing months, we did not have any problems from 500 ft to 7,000 ft elevations where we camped. Heres pics of the unit. Looks like shut tanks off, disconnect pigtail to trailer propane, insert fitting into regulator, slide hose into barbed end. Open tanks, observe reading, turn adjusting screw on regulator to desired water column pressure. Shut off tanks and reconnect pigtail. Hope this helps. If you’d ever come to an Eastern USA rally we could fix you up with a test.
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:14 PM   #7
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If you have the (optional) low-pressure outside outlet, you could put a quick-disconnect plug on the gauge, and just plug it in to use it, instead of disconnecting hoses.
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:17 PM   #8
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ooooh thanks group! This doesn't sound are hard and scary as I thought. I envisioned disconnecting each appliance and testing each one. And yes Brian, I DO have the low-pressure outside outlet.


Feel free to continue the help!
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:42 PM   #9
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Getting a quickie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
If you have the (optional) low-pressure outside outlet, you could put a quick-disconnect plug on the gauge, and just plug it in to use it, instead of disconnecting hoses.
Hey that’s a great idea Brian. I have one of those ends for my campfire in a can and I know where I can get another one. The first one I got for the campfire was a Mr. Heater brand and while it fit in the quick connect, the propane would not flow because it did not seat right. One of the local camper dealers had what I needed though and it’s worked great. I think I’ll get one for the manometer. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:38 PM   #10
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Hey, Donna. Skip bought one a couple weeks ago... It's a Yellow Jacket Water Manometer, similar to what Morgan told us how to make, years ago. $31 on Amazon.
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Old 06-06-2018, 06:12 AM   #11
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Hey, Donna. Skip bought one a couple weeks ago... It's a Yellow Jacket Water Manometer, similar to what Morgan told us how to make, years ago. $31 on Amazon.
I saw those on Amazon Mary, thanks. Reading the reviews, it looks like most of the customers had to replace the tubing because it was permanently crimped. I hope the one Skip got is better! I'm going to be using the propane exterior quick connect, so I think the one Jon and Dave recommended will work for me.
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:10 AM   #12
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manometer

Dave, that's a good looking unit, do you suppose you will have it with you in CO? There may be a 17 that should be checked.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I saw those on Amazon Mary, thanks. Reading the reviews, it looks like most of the customers had to replace the tubing because it was permanently crimped. I hope the one Skip got is better! I'm going to be using the propane exterior quick connect, so I think the one Jon and Dave recommended will work for me.
Okie fine. "Ours was not," Skip says.

I like it because of Morgan. It does seem pricey for what it is, but at least we can now calibrate our regulators (which we got all screwy last summer, trying to get the fridge to work on propane at 9000ft.)

Also, we don't have the exterior quick connect. Not sure that matters in the least, though.

YMMV
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:27 AM   #14
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So a couple of questions based on this thread so far:

1. What is the correct calibration for our regulators? I see that Yellow Jacket makes two versions of the fancy dial manometers, one up to 10” water and one up to 35”, and if we don’t need more than 10” of pressure I’d think the added precision of that gauge would be a plus.

2. Is a device of this type capable of detecting propane system leaks, as Donna implied, or is it limited to calibrating correct system operating pressure?
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:46 AM   #15
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1. What is the correct calibration for our regulators? I see that Yellow Jacket makes two versions of the fancy dial manometers, one up to 10” water and one up to 35”, and if we don’t need more than 10” of pressure I’d think the added precision of that gauge would be a plus.
The appliances want 11" water column which is close but off the scale of the 10" unit. You need the one up to 35".
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:59 AM   #16
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A manometer is super easy to make yourself and simple to operate. I made a few simple ones with some clear plastic tubing, a few brass fittings, a ruler and some colored water when I was doing some fieldwork during grad school. If I was going to measure the propane pressure from my regulator on the Escape, I would definitely build my own.

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Old 06-07-2018, 05:40 PM   #17
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2. Is a device of this type capable of detecting propane system leaks, as Donna implied, or is it limited to calibrating correct system operating pressure?
You could detect leaks to some extent by hooking up the manometer with no propane appliances running, then turning off the propane tank valve and watching for a change in pressure over time. The pressure should go up and down with temperature, but if the temperature is stable the only other reason for a pressure drop is leaking propane. The problem that I see with this is that there is some high-pressure propane in the hose from the tank to the regulator, and the regulator could continue to supply propane from that and mask a small leak.
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:14 PM   #18
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You could detect leaks to some extent by hooking up the manometer with no propane appliances running, then turning off the propane tank valve and watching for a change in pressure over time. The pressure should go up and down with temperature, but if the temperature is stable the only other reason for a pressure drop is leaking propane. The problem that I see with this is that there is some high-pressure propane in the hose from the tank to the regulator, and the regulator could continue to supply propane from that and mask a small leak.

That makes sense. I suppose you could unscrew the lines at the tank to mitigate the bit of high pressure there, no?
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:54 PM   #19
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I suppose you could unscrew the lines at the tank to mitigate the bit of high pressure there, no?
Yes, that makes sense, as long as the regulator effectively checks any backflow (so it doesn't lose propane out of the inlets, which would look like a leak. It definitely shouldn't allow propane out of the inlet from the secondary tank, but I don't know about the primary. So maybe unscrew the hoses, then put them back on (leaving the tank valves closed)?
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:03 PM   #20
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Wouldn't something like this be easier for detecting leaks. At least you'd know where in the system it was.


https://www.amazon.ca/General-Tools-...l_72hocqfw1z_e
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