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post #1 of 6 Old 08-12-2002 Thread Starter
JIO
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Propane system question

I am looking at a European built boat that has a propane set-up for cooking. The boat does not have a solenoid and pressure gauge. When I questioned this, I was told that in many cases, European boats enforce gas lines and attempt to have as few cuts and fittings as possible in the line, which some feel is a major source of problems. Evidently ABYC (US Standards)recommends that a propane system have a solenoid/gauge, but that EC and Lloyds does not have this requirement. Two things for the group: First, I brief summary of the function of the solenoid would be appreciated. Second, thoughts as to whether it is safer/more beneficial to have or not to have in the system.

Thanks.

Jon
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-12-2002
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Propane system question

The original owner of my boat replaced the alcohol stove/oven with a propane unit. He also had an external twin-tank stern-rail mount installed. He also purchased a third aluminum tank which gets used in rotation.

The system does not have a pressure gauge or solenoid valve. I keep the tank valves shut when not in use (which is 99.9% of the time). At some point, I will put in a solenoid valve, but since we hardly use the stove, it is not on the front burner (pardon the pun). A pressure gauge does not seem necessary, since it''s easy to check if one of the tanks is empty. If so, I take it out and install the full spare tank.)

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post #3 of 6 Old 08-12-2002
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Propane system question

The solenoid is basically an electrically energized valve to control the flow of LPG to the burners. Most of them work with devises called sniffers that detect the presence of gas. If too much gas accumulates, the valve will be automatically closed. In the event of a leak or problem, without the valve, the gas would continue to flow and sink to the lowest level of the boat and could potentially explode.

I personally prefer CNG as it is lighter than air and would find its way out of the boat instead of accumulating in it. CNGs availability is its only drawback.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-12-2002
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Propane system question

JIO,

The gauge does not tell you the level of the gas in the tank, you have to weigh the tank to determine that. Weigh the tank and then subtract the empty tank (tare) weight. The gauge is there as a safety measure.

To test the system, operate the stove, then close all the burner valves, but leave the solenoid switch on. Read the pressure gauge, then turn off the manual valve on the tank. After 3 minutes, read the pressure again. If it is unchanged, wait 15 minutes and read it again. Any drop in pressure indicates a leak that must be located (with soapy water) and stopped.


I would be very careful with your setup. This is one area where the ABYC standards are more stringent than the EC standards. I recently read about (in Cruising World, Sailing world??) a UK boat that blew up because of a propane leak. The boat was at dock and when the cruisers were making breakfast.....BOOM. It seems that the EC standard allows the Solenoid to be anywhere from the tank to the device using LPG, and in this boat a leak apparently occurred somewhere between where the tank was and the solenoid. The ABYC standard mandates that the solenoid and the regulator are right next to the tank. A much safer setup.

Take a look here for a little more detail. http://www.boatus.com/boattech/casey/18.htm

Either way, with your set up I would definitely have a propane detector on board.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-13-2002
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Propane system question

how about a propane canister outside, going to an exterior BBQ,would that require a soleniod?

thanks.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-14-2002
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Propane system question

bullseye,

I wouldn''t say that is necessary, since I would assume that the complete system is outside of the cabin and any enclosed spaces, thus allowing any leaks to spill directly into the atmosphere.
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