Those little green Coleman propane bottles - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2008
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A lot of folks use the propane bottles without incident. And refill them, without incident. And use the converter hoses, again without incident.

However, as tblue notes the use of them may be illegal and this is because those throw-away bottles are uninspected, so they can rust out without your realizing it. Or, the little rubber ball (that's all it is) that seals the neck can misfit or leak. In both cases, you can wind up with an explosion. The fact that most folks get away with it "forever" doesn't mean it is safe. After all, the propane/natural gas industry tells you those are safe fuels--but a number of homes and businesses get in the news in the US every year when they blow up from gas leaks, one way or another.

IF you choose to use them, you MUST either know that the gods love you, or treat them as potential bombs at all times. By all means use them, then shut, disconnect, secure, and stow them on the rail or someplace where they can't leak into the boat. A friend of mine was stowing a dozen of them on a 42' boat some time ago, for lantern fuel and other uses, and the propane sniffer in the bilge would go off at least twice a day--with no trace of a leak "sniffable" to either of us. But something was still leaking.

The other cheap stove that some boaters use (with the same dangers) for occassional cooking is the butane stove sold in most oriental supermarkets and now some flea markets, about $20 for one burner in a box/case, uses a can (8oz? 12?) of butane than snaps and locks in. Cheaper and smaller than the propane rigs, not as hot and a little more expensive but if you only need it once in a while, i.e. to boil one pot for dinner and one pot for the kettle...That also works if you remember that fuel is, after all, designed to explode.
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Old 05-10-2008
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We kept a stash of the "greenies" in our regular propane locker in zip lock bags to prevent corrosion. Unlike CD...we did not use them quickly and I often found empty bottles when it cam time to use one. I would never trust them indoors.
I can't speak for world wide...but then neither is propane...or US propane fittings.
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Old 05-10-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueBlue View Post
My experience jft, differs greatly. We had a double 10lb cylinder propane locker on our last boat, but used the disp. bottles for the stern rail-mounted Magma - since the propane locker was midships and usually too much hassle to connect the hose.

We also removed the small bottles after each use. But the occasional unit developed a leak - not enough to make a loud hiss, but if placed close to your ear, there was a slight hisss. Our slipmate, who we cruised with regularly, kept his bottle attached to the Magma - said it's safer keeping the leaky bottles in open air than in his vented lazerette.
This is my approach: green Colemans on the stern rail Magma barbeque, and 20 lb. propane on deck feeding the Force 10 in the galley.

If we are going down the lake, I secure the bottle with shock cord. If the weather pipes up, I remove the bottle and put it in the footwell cockpit, as this has two 3-inch pipe scuppers going aft to the stern. If the weather is REALLY heavy, I remove the Magma off the rail.

The Colemans provide about 6-8 barbeque dinners, which is more than we typically have in a season. Running a separate line from the main propane tank would be awkward and potentially hazardous...it's really not worth it.
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Hmm...I just realized that the bulkhead mounted "coffee cookers" use those propane bottles. Wouldn't they technically be illegal mounted inside a boat?
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Old 05-10-2008
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No, I wouldn't re-fill them... that's probably not too safe.

No, you probably can't get them that easily outside of the USA.

Yes, you can get a low pressure adapter for the stoves or grills in many cases.

I've used some of the "stovetop grills" and they're not bad...but they tend to fairly smokey and you're probably better off grilling outside the boat, rather than having the greasy smoke inside the boat.

Yes, you probably do need to get a marine stove if you're planning on making any longer passages, where you might have to cook under sail. If you don't have a gimbaled stove, cooking can become very dangerous.
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I'll second TrueBlue's experience with propane bottles leaking, particularly if removed from the appliance being used immediately after use or in cold weather. The neck on the bottle cools as the gas leaves and expands, which is the only explanation I have that correlates with my winter-time experience with the bottles always leaking. I use mine on a torch tip and so I leave it attached until the bottle warms up and then I seem to be able to get the seal to seat. I'd leave them attached to something with a more positive shut-off valve, like a grill, just to be safe. I'd also follow TB's advise of placing the bottle up to your ear to check for leaking; sometimes it's just the tiniest of hissing you'll hear.
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Old 05-11-2008
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I've been wanting to order the Magma gas bbq but is not sure the type of bottled gas it uses. Not much description about this. Where I live (Singapore) we do have small camping gas bottles (BLUE not green). Maybe its propane, may be butane. But di I suppose this camping gas bottle works for the Magma BBQ ?
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Lyn W. on this forum is British and has dealt with a variety of international gas fittings and types. Perhaps she can comment.
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Yes, many people reuse the disposable bottles. I made my own refiller device. Never used it, but I got it. The Harbor Freight one is a fair deal. I saw them advertised years ago someplace else for $14. I would have to agree about keeping the disposables and their hoses outside.
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