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Old 10-14-2016, 02:36 PM   #1
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For those who use the 1lb propane tanks

Amazon has a new refillable setup which looks interesting.
https://www.amazon.com/Flame-King-YS...ing+refillable
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Old 10-14-2016, 02:57 PM   #2
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I did that for a while, but found it way too much of a pain. Even stowing the bottles in the freezer for a while only allowed for them to fill not much more than half full at best.

I am using those 1 lb bottles with the stove and BBQ with my temp trailer. What a pain. I am so looking forward to a low pressure connection with my 5.0.

Others may like doing the exercise though.
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Old 10-14-2016, 02:58 PM   #3
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I've been refilling 1 lb. cylinders for years. I made my own adapter but there are commercial ones available.

There's been previous discussions about doing this. Some folks are dead against doing it for a variety of reasons. Personally I've never had an issue.

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Old 10-14-2016, 03:12 PM   #4
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Manchester introduced a refillable one-pound cylinder (Manchester Tank: 1# Refillable Cylinders) a few years ago, which looks well-designed; it has a proper service valve. The Flame King design looks to me like a disposable cylinder, just upgraded in construction; that might be okay, but seems less desirable.

It is the filling arrangement which disturbs me about the Flame King "system". This is the classic home hack which involves inherently unsafe handling of the source cylinder. I'm not so concerned about Ron doing this, but most people don't have a clue what they're doing and things can go wrong. Manchester's hose connects to a proper liquid service valve, avoiding this problem. I think one reason that Manchester's system has never caught on well is that they will apparently only sell the required fill hose to qualified propane dispensers so most people can't get the fill hose - and wouldn't have a liquid source anyway - and so they don't have a good way to fill the small cylinders.

What I consider to be a significant problem with the Flame King systems is that there is no sound control of the fill amount. With little pressure driving the fill, the small cylinder will not over-fill in a reasonable time; however, if you leave it long enough there will be inadequate (or no) vapour space remaining in the small cylinder... and most people won't check, and have no good way to dump excess propane.

The Manchester refillable cylinder has a fixed liquid level "gauge" - the same sort of bleed valve connected by a dip tube to the 80% volume level in cylinder as larger cylinders. This lets the person filling the cylinder stop the fill when liquid appears, just as with a conventional cylinder.

A member of FiberglassRV converted his Trillium to use a "forklift" tank instead of the usual "barbecue" tanks. Combined with Manchester's one-pound cylinders and fill hose, this seems like an ideal configuration: metered fill of the forklift tank whenever desired, real level gauge in the forklift tank, and inexpensively filled small cylinders to use wherever needed for stoves and grills.
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Old 10-14-2016, 04:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the vote of confidence Brian. When this topic came up before, about a year or so ago, someone mentioned videos on YouTube. I checked them out. Some of them made me cringe

I do weight the cylinder while filling and I'm careful not to overfill. I do it myself for two reasons; first I'm using up the propane in a 100# cylinder that I otherwise have no use for and I use the cylinders for a variety of uses. Works for me.

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Old 10-14-2016, 04:45 PM   #6
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I have friends that came oh-so-close to several 1# refilled propane canisters destroying their 5th wheel, I'd never consider it. I bought a regular 10# propane tank for those times I need a smaller canister. YMMV
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Old 10-14-2016, 05:41 PM   #7
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yep. propane be very scary if not treated with 100% respect. I had a 1 lber with a leaky nozzle once. coulda blown up me and my micro bus.

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Old 10-14-2016, 05:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatpick View Post
yep. propane be very scary if not treated with 100% respect. I had a 1 lber with a leaky nozzle once. coulda blown up me and my micro bus.

steve
That's the scenario of my friends, several refilled that leaked. They were carrying the pounders in a milk crate in the "basement" of their 5er. When my friend opened the hatch, the propane smell was nearly overwhelming. Never again, never again.
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:10 PM   #9
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I quit messing with the 1# years ago and carry a 5# tank. The propane company thinks it's cute when I bring it in to refill.

https://www.amazon.com/Manchester-Ta.../dp/B000243QA0
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:23 PM   #10
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I have a Coleman propane lantern. To put it back in the box, I have to remove the one pound cylinder. Often a cylinder that was half full or so will be empty when I get it out of storage to reattach. I wouldn't have confidence in refillable cylinders.
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:17 PM   #11
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I've been doing essentially the same thing for years, except with the propane/butane mix used for backpacking. It is slow and time consuming, and after a couple of refills the leakage rate goes up. I don't recommend it unless you are somewhat obsessed with saving pennies and reducing waste. I made my own jig from used hiking stove parts.

One trick is to keep the bottle being filled submerged in ice water. Then weigh very carefully. Even a few percent overfilled can cause a rupture. (Don't ask me how I know this...)

(Can't believe I am admitting to this in a public forum.)

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Old 10-15-2016, 12:30 AM   #12
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The problems which have been described with non-refillable cylinders leaking at the valve when they are reused are a major reason for these reusable cylinders. I don't know how good the Flame King valves are, but the Manchester cylinders use a positive shutoff handwheel-operated valve just like a 20-pound tank, so there is no issue with valve leakage.
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Old 10-15-2016, 12:38 AM   #13
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The Flame King refillable cylinders (not the refill adapter/kit for use with the Coleman cylinders) appear to be legal and certified for refills. Anything that's reasonably safe and helps prevent things like in the photo below, I'm all for it.

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Old 10-15-2016, 12:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
One trick is to keep the bottle being filled submerged in ice water. Then weigh very carefully. Even a few percent overfilled can cause a rupture. (Don't ask me how I know this...)
The challenge in getting cylinders to fill in the no-pump gravity-flow method is that the pressure difference due to gravity is small. Then the vapour condensing in the small cylinder adds heat, raising the temperature of the small cylinder and thus its pressure, opposing the flow. At the same time, vapourization in the supply cylinder cools it and lowers its pressure, also reducing flow.

The point of the ice water is to lower the temperature, and thus the pressure, of the small cylinder below that of the supply. If you succeed in keeping the small cylinder cool enough that its pressure stays below that of the supply cylinder, overfilling is inevitable unless you close the connection first. That's why the 80% level valve on the Manchester valve is so valuable, and one reason that I wonder if the Flame King cylinder is actually suitable for refilling.

Speaking of shutting off the fill... both Flame King and Manchester systems include a quick-acting lever-type fill valve; the home-hack method uses the slow-to-turn supply cylinder service valve.

If you want to cool the small cylinder with less risk, you might try just pointing a fan at it to improve heat transfer, or use circulating room-temperature water.

A key thing to not do in the home-hack method of refilling (inverted 20-pound supply cylinder, no control, no monitoring...) is to heat the supply cylinder to raise its pressure. That's a good way to cause big problems if over-done.
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Old 10-15-2016, 01:01 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
The Flame King refillable cylinders (not the refill adapter/kit for use with the Coleman cylinders) appear to be legal and certified for refills.
It looks like they meet the DOT standard (and perhaps a Transport Canada standard) for pressure vessels, but it's hard to believe that any agency would approve of filling cylinders the way Flame King does it.
Refillable
https://www.propane-refill.com/pages...ne-refill-info

The second site (which is branded Flame King but is from a separate company) refers to exchange (which would be a sensible way to handle the filling challenges), but that's only available at limited locations, apparently in California.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
The Flame King refillable cylinders (not the refill adapter/kit for use with the Coleman cylinders) appear to be legal and certified for refills. Anything that's reasonably safe and helps prevent things like in the photo below, I'm all for it.
I agree, but I'm not convinced that the Flame King system is reasonably safe. There are three definitely safe ways to avoid the disposables:
  1. the Manchester refillable system,
  2. larger cylinders used with a hose to the appliance, or
  3. adapt the appliance to a regulated low-pressure supply, and use the low-pressure propane from a proper system (such as that of an RV)
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Old 10-15-2016, 05:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
The Flame King refillable cylinders (not the refill adapter/kit for use with the Coleman cylinders) appear to be legal and certified for refills. Anything that's reasonably safe and helps prevent things like in the photo below, I'm all for it.

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Yes, California is leaning toward mandating use of refillable canisters to reduce landfill waste.
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:06 AM   #17
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Two of the campsites we stayed at on our trip this summer had big signs by their recycling bins stating that absolutely no 1# propane bottles were to be left there. Guess what was piled on the ground directly below those signs.
Personally I would like to see them totally eliminated.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:48 AM   #18
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U-Haul recently introduced refillable 1 pound cylinders. I snapped one up before our retailer had even put them on the shelf. Works fine so far.

https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/Susta...IN-California/
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Old 10-15-2016, 09:51 AM   #19
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I use some of the one pound disposables. I notice that over time they may bleed dry. I bought a couple of brass caps, gasketed, that work pretty well. I'm going to go to a 5 or 11 lb refillable when I run out of my current supply for cooking at least. I only used the lantern a couple times this season and could hang it and use a hose too. As an aside, a friend of mine with the Indiana DNR, was on a prairie burn one spring. They were done with the active burn and we're taking a break along the road before going out to wet down hotspots where the burn had started old logs smoldering. Someone had discarded several one pounders under one of these logs. Exploding grenade time complete with shrapnel which did not injure anybody but extended the break time and distanced the location between coffee cup and coffee drinker. Needless to say, they did not like the one pounders at all.
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Old 10-15-2016, 12:37 PM   #20
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I switched to a 5 lb (one gallon) refillable tank. While expensive (more than a 20 pound tank) they are far easier to refill, no stripped threads, which was a problem on the disposable tanks, and using it for the stove/grill, one tank last weeks. It also gives you an emergency supply id your main tanks are empty.
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