Canister Refiller -- WARNING

5:11 p.m. on March 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey, gas canisters are expensive. Why NOT just refill them with cheap gas from a bulk propane tank? 

PropaneTank.jpg
A "bulk" propane tank


Yeah, and on eBay you can get a cheap canister refiller that will do just that.
Propane_Refiller_1.jpg
A very dangerous canister refill adapter


But refilling backpacking canisters with this particular canister refiller is inherently dangerous. Find out the whys and wherefores in my latest post: 
Canister Refiller -- WARNING

HJ
Adventures in Stoving


9:20 p.m. on March 27, 2012 (EDT)
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I would even question reusing any stove canister since they were never intended for reuse, and who knows how many times you can recycle before the canister valve malfunctions.

Ed

9:41 p.m. on March 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Backpacking stove canisters are not strong enough to keep propane under pressure. That I know.

I will read your blog tomorrow since it is late for me.

The hyper-frugal never cease to amaze me. What price do they put on their own safety?

Mike G.

2:04 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Come on Jim, what's the fun in being safe!!  I just know that a 1/4" vinly hose would handle 200+ psig, come on it would be fun!  You own little propane gas thrower, not only burns you from the cold, freeze skin on contact, but once it lights off it will bun you and everything around to to the ground!!  What could be more fun!!!   To make it even more exciting turn the tank over and watch the liquid fuel run!!  OH yea, make sure your smoking something while doing the above death stunt!

Just for the completely moronic, I am being completely sarcastic.  DO NOT US THIS KIND OF SYSTEM!!

Wolfman

:P

2:38 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

I would even question reusing any stove canister since they were never intended for reuse, and who knows how many times you can recycle before the canister valve malfunctions.

Ed

 I've been refilling with 100% butane for a couple of years now.  No problems.  

But 100% propane is a very different animal.  100% butane means I'm filling at pressures far less than the canister and the valve are rated for.  100% propane means I'm way over the pressure rating.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

2:40 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:

The hyper-frugal never cease to amaze me. What price do they put on their own safety?

Mike G.

 The price break is nice, but I mostly do it for convenience.  I basically no longer have a dozen half empty canisters lying around like a lot of backpackers I know.  When they get low, I top them off.  

Basically, I handle them like a white gas fuel bottle:

If I go on a short trip, I just bring what I need not a full canister.

If I get low, I refill.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

2:42 a.m. on March 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

make sure your smoking something while doing the above death stunt!

If you see me using this adapter, I've definitely been smoking something all right.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

6:00 p.m. on March 29, 2012 (EDT)
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hikin_jim said:

trouthunter said:

The hyper-frugal never cease to amaze me. What price do they put on their own safety?

Mike G.

 The price break is nice, but I mostly do it for convenience.  I basically no longer have a dozen half empty canisters lying around like a lot of backpackers I know.  When they get low, I top them off.  

Basically, I handle them like a white gas fuel bottle:

If I go on a short trip, I just bring what I need not a full canister.

If I get low, I refill.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

 Let me re-phrase that, I did a poor job of conveying my thoughts.

People who do things they do not know how to do safely, for the sake of saving a few bucks, never cease to amaze me.

10:44 a.m. on March 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Ah, gotcha.

One of the reasons I refill with butane only is safety.  Go down to a gas station or convenience store some time.  Check out one of those clear plastic lighters.  See that clear fluid in there?  That's butane.  Butane under sufficient pressure to keep it liquid.  Yep, plastic can hold in that pressure.  Now compare that little plastic lighter to a 16.4oz (465g) 100% propane canister from Coleman.  That's the difference between 100% butane's pressure and 100% propane's pressure.

When I put 100% butane into a steel canister designed for a 70/30 butane/propane mix, I've got a really nice safety margin.

And now you know why I hesitate to refill with propane.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving
 

4:27 p.m. on March 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Sure Jim,

I did read your blog and I would not be opposed to refilling my canisters with butane as long as I felt confident doing so.

I am glad you took the time to warn people of the danger associated with refilling with propane.

Mike G.

4:58 p.m. on April 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Ga Boooom

7:02 p.m. on April 1, 2012 (EDT)
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And here we have the safe way of filling the Coleman type bottles. I used to use this a lot but have not ahd a need for years and had to dig it out of the bottom of one of the closets.  Never had one of the Coleman type fuel bottles quit on me (as in the valve failing).  And those of us afflicted with the horrible disease of trying to save money prefer to be called the "Über-frugal " thank you.
DSC05405.jpg


DSC05406.jpg

Now, I'm sure an interemedary hose bypass system can be made to make this much more fun and exciting, but for now this will work.

7:36 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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You still have to be careful with that type of refiller.  Yes, it's MUCH safer than the one shown earlier, but there's still the danger of over-filling.

If you're going to refill, read up on it a bit first and:

1.  Weigh a new canister of the same brand when you first get it home.  This is your maximum weight.  Never exceed this maximum weight.

2.  When refilling, periodically stop and check the weight.  Again, do not exceed the maximum weight.

Overfilling could lead to dangerously high pressure levels in a canister.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

5:24 p.m. on April 19, 2012 (EDT)
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One difference between the light-weight backpacking canister, and the heavier purpose-built propane canister is the built-in safety valve on the propane canister.

I have been known to overfill my propane canisters and that's when the safety valve comes into play, sluffing off excess propane until the valve can reclose and seal the canister.

If you find you've overfilled your canister, keep it outdoors and away from people, buildings or potential combustibles.

While I happily reuse propane canisters to save a little coin and keep them out of the waste stream, the thought of doing that with a flimsy backpacking canister sends chills up my spine.  Good for you if you can do it safely, but count me out. 

As for safe practices, I leave the canisters empty until I'm ready to use them, fill just what I expect to use, and whatever I don't use, I store in the shed, so as not to have it/them potentially leaking in the house.

1:21 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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That hose does not look like it could handle the pressure, "can you handle the pressure"

1:57 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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D williams said:

If you find you've overfilled your canister, keep it outdoors and away from people, buildings or potential combustibles.

 If you attach a stove or lantern, you can just open up the valve and bleed off some gas.  Just a thought.

 

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

July 24, 2014
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