Join Date: Jul 2002
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Butane to Propane conversion
Well, congrats on the Ovni! You''ll love it, I''m sure - especially if you really NEED that variable draft.
I''ve written about this issue from the reverse direction, North American boats and what they need to do when arriving in Europe. You still might find some of that info helpful and can find it at www.svsarah.com/Whoosh/NA%20LPG%20in%20Europe.htm
Meanwhile, there are 4 basic issues you''ll need to think about which I can summarize here:
1. Actually burning propane in your Gaz-intended stove probably won''t be a problem. Depending on where in Europe one buys their Gaz cylinder and which season it is, the cylinder could actually contain a mix of butane & propane. You''ll read why in the write-up. I''m not sure you can even ask your stove mfgr. if burning propane is going to be a problem, as they may have no experience with this issue. A better source would be another Ovni owner in North America who''s already been using propane.
2. Separate from the higher heating content of propane (and so the higher heat your stove will see), there is the issue of the pressure your Euro regulator delivers to your stove. What pressure your stove ''needs'' to see - and how wide the acceptable pressure range is - will probably only be known by your stove mfgr, so you might want to check and then compare that with the pressure delivered by the standard U.S. regulator...if in fact you choose to swap to one, which I suspect you won''t find a reason to do.
3. Form Factor of the tank can also be an issue. When Euro boats are built, the propane lockers are often designed with a specific Gaz cylinder in mind (typically the 3 kg cylinder with the spring-loaded valve on top). You''ll need to confirm which U.S. tank will fit your Ovni propane locker, and whether you find the size acceptable. If you can''t - or don''t - you may want to consider continuing to use your Gaz cylinders. For how to do this, see below.
4. Hopefully, a U.S. tank will be acceptable to you since it makes refills convenient. If that''s true, then you can consider simply connecting your existing system to the U.S. tank''s POL Bulnose female valve, for which you''ll need an adapter. I''d start by contacting Trident directly, which makes many propane fixtures, to see if they can help. They make both the adapters we are using here in Europe and so they know Gaz valves. IMO this would be your optimum solution, as you can work with U.S. tanks and keep the rest of the LPG system as it was intended by your builder and stove mfgr.
If there are reasons why you might want to use your Gaz cylinder, another thing to mention is a ''decanting hose adapter'', the purpose of which would be to take a full U.S. tank and decant propane (or butane) into the Gaz cylinder. This hose (6-8'') will need to be made up by a propane distributor (who will no doubt glance at you with a worried look, thinking of liability issues) and you''d need to have a male Gaz connector at one end of this hose to mate with your Gaz cylinder(s). Again, talk to Trident. For instructions on decanting with this hose, check Nigel Calder''s Boatowner''s Electrical and Mechanical Guide, an excellent reference with good LPG safety tips.
Hope that helps. Email me if you have more Q''s.
jack_patricia @ yahoo.com