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Old 09-23-2012, 02:32 PM   #1
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Propane/LPG accessibility

I am in the process of shopping for a Trawler and I see some have propane/LPG cooking available how easy is that to refill? Here in the states might be accessible but how about other places on the globe! At marina's? I am new to this forum so please take it easy!
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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We have a propane galley and getting our propane tanks filled is a snap. We have two horizontal tanks so when one runs out (invariably in the middle of cooking a meal) we just switch to the other tank, which lasts for months, and refill the first one when it's convenient.

There may be some regions where refilling tanks is less convenient but in the PNW and BC it's no problem at all.

We love a propane galley and would never buy a boat with an electric galley.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:57 PM   #3
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I am in the process of shopping for a Trawler and I see some have propane/LPG cooking available how easy is that to refill? Here in the states might be accessible but how about other places on the globe! At marina's? I am new to this forum so please take it easy!
Gregg
Don't worry about getting your propane tanks filled. Of the 40 plus countries we have been to, only 2 have been a problem and in both of those, we bought local tanks and trans-loaded into ours. The only issue we have had is the butane content gets higher in the tropics so the flame isn't as hot and you may have to adjust your cooking times.

We're in Trinidad now and every Friday morning an enterprising local does a propane run. He picks up the empty cylinders from the various boat yards and marinas and returns with full cylinders that afternoon or the next morning . The cost is less than $15 for a 20 lb cylinder. From our experiance, this is pretty typical outside the US or Canada.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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About 70% of the propane systems I inspect are dangerous. This article will show you what to look for in a Safe Propane Installation. Lots of photos of unsafe systems
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:43 PM   #5
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In our experience, propane is widely available in the US, Mexico, and some parts of the Caribbean.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:06 AM   #6
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IN the Us swopping cylinders is usually easier than finding a fill station.

Outside the US your tanks will be refilled , so being banged up ot switched can be a problem.

Loads of paint will help in dink , taxi trunk and pickup trips ,
DISTINCTIVE paint will help getting yours back.

Mere cooking is very inexpensive ,(3 -4 months a bottle)

propane refrigeration although great for the anchor out folks will eat a 20 LB tank a month.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:38 AM   #7
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Boatpoker:

Could you comment on propane gas detection and shutoff systems made by Xintex and perhaps others. In my experience the sensors fail after 6-12 months and give false positives.

David
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:51 AM   #8
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my sensors seem to last 5-6 years before needing replacement. found some perfectly good replacements on ebay for about $5/ea.

The brand of mine is Electo-systems - I think from Bellingham, WA, it does a self-test each time the unit is powered up, but it is good practice to also test the sensors with acetone or other lighter than air from time to time.
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Old 09-24-2012, 02:49 PM   #9
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Smile Propane

Well you all are awesome so help full and full of info! Can't thank you enough!
Gregg
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:15 PM   #10
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About 70% of the propane systems I inspect are dangerous. This article will show you what to look for in a Safe Propane Installation. Lots of photos of unsafe systems

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Old 09-24-2012, 07:24 PM   #11
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About 70% of the propane systems I inspect are dangerous. This article will show you what to look for in a Safe Propane Installation. Lots of photos of unsafe systems

I read the Safe Propane Installation link, and while I agree that many of the older systems installed in Taiwan built boats among others could be "more safe", it is a bit extreme to call them all dangerous. Safety is a relative thing. The U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada base their safety rulemaking on the safety record of systems in the field, not on the latest and greatest ABYC criteria. Rulemaking must pass a cost/benefit analysis and a public comment process. If there was a serious, documented safety issue with these older installations, there would be rulemaking to force updates. There is not. Transport Canada is not sitting on their "hands" on this, they are doing what makes sense....nothing. Thank goodness that SAMS/NAMS is not in charge of rulemaking...there wouldn't be a pleasure boat industry.

Unfortunately, many SAMS/NAMS inspectors seem to believe that virtually every system in a 30-40 year old boat should be updated to the latest ABYC standard. As a result, insurance surveyors are driving up the cost of insurance and boat ownership through this wrong headed sort of thinking. I refuse to hire a SAMS/NAMS surveyor for this very reason.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:32 AM   #12
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The only thing I would add is to reinforce the comment from FF. When traveling outside the US, do everything you can to hold onto your tanks. In the Dom. Rep., for example, they make and exchange their own tanks there. The tanks are often sub-quality and prone to failure. Most of these failures are within the poor communities of Santo Domingo, but on a boat,...well, you get the idea. Mark your tanks and have them refilled. Try not to exchange tanks anywhere in the Caribbean if you can avoid it.
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:44 PM   #13
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I don't think there's a better way to cook on a boat than a propane range and oven, provided it's built and approved for use on a boat and the propane system is fully ABYC compliant and tested for leaks on a regular basis.

As for tanks, if my tank is old and rusted, I exchange it. If it's bright and shiny, I get it refilled.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:54 PM   #14
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For fun, try having a boat that uses CNG for galley fuel. Our Californian does. Stuff is rare as gold. One of these days we'll bite the bullet & switch things to LPG.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:04 AM   #15
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"I don't think there's a better way to cook on a boat than a propane range and oven, provided it's built and approved for use on a boat and the propane system is fully ABYC compliant and tested for leaks on a regular basis."

For inshore cruising you are right . World cruising ,,,

The Kerosene Primus would be my choice on a world cruise IF I did not have a propane reefer.

One 5 gal can of kerosene will last a year or so including oven baking .

No hassles with rowing bottles in the dink , and waiting , perhaps days for the refill.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:03 AM   #16
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For fun, try having a boat that uses CNG for galley fuel. Our Californian does. Stuff is rare as gold. One of these days we'll bite the bullet & switch things to LPG.
The range should be a snap. Many natural gas appliances I have bought (for home) mention converting to propane by changing the orfice for the burner(s). If you can't get these from the manufacturer, an experienced appliance repair person should be able to convert it using generic replacement parts.

The rest of the system may or may not be a problem. I suspect CNG would be treated much the same as propane as far as lockers, solenoids, controls, etc.

My experience with propane cooking as compared to natural gas (which I have had at home for most of my life) is that propane burns hotter so it takes a while to get used to keeping the flame a little lower when cooking.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:16 AM   #17
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Worked (unsuccessfully) to create Actelyne conveter that would allow fuel to be carried as rocks , then placed in water in a pressure tank .

The Brits have fewer restrictive laws so aceteline for stove and light is common in 3000PSI tanks delivered to the dock..

The gas is lighter than air so propane fears do not exist.

Although it was used in headlamps , and many city apartments made their own stove gas in the early 1900's , its harder to do in stove feeding volumes.

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Old 09-27-2012, 06:44 AM   #18
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The Brits have fewer restrictive laws so aceteline for stove and light is common in 3000PSI tanks delivered to the dock..

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Considering that acetylene will detonate at pressures above 15psig, that is quite a feat.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:22 AM   #19
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"Considering that acetylene will detonate at pressures above 15psig, that is quite a feat."

Your local welding shop has the style of bottles that do not seen to explode over 15 PSI..

But there too damn heavy for practical yacht use.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:31 AM   #20
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Your local welding shop has the style of bottles that do not seen to explode over 15 PSI..

But there too damn heavy for practical yacht use.

That's because they don't hold acetylene in gaseous form. They are filled with a concrete-like porous filler that holds dissolved acetylene in acetone. That is why they are so heavy.

It sounds like you might be lucky your carbide cannon project never got off the ground - literally.
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