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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Propane on stern rail - doing it right.
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Thread: Propane on stern rail - doing it right. Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-15-2010 10:22 PM
GaryHLucas I installed a 10 lb aluminum tank under the horseshoe bouy on the stern rail of my Hunter 27, in 1980. You really had to look to even see it was there. It fed the cabin stove and the gas grill on the opposite side stern rail. Once we had the grill on the stern rail we almost never used the inside stove again. Even coffee was faster on the grill.
Tank valves are pretty bullet-proof if you remember to close them. Solenoid valves, not so much. I usually replace a couple of the 20 or so on every job we do at start up. They aren't bad, they get damaged from the slightest touch, which often bends the little tube inside of the coil.

Gary H. Lucas
07-13-2010 09:52 PM
cghubbell
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
I know. I was offering a Canadian alternative.
While my boat is a Canadian Sailcraft and I live on Lake Ontario, I'm actually on the US side at the Port of Rochester. I still appreciate having alternatives though, and will look into both.

I haven't seen this model in any of the US based catalogs though, so they may not have much distribution this way.
07-13-2010 11:44 AM
mitiempo I know. I was offering a Canadian alternative.
07-13-2010 01:48 AM
sailingdog The Xintex I linked to above has a switch for the solenoid control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Chris
I'm not sure what the availability is like in Ontario but out west the most popular propane sensor/solenoid control is th Electro Systems. Propane Detectors for Boats and RVs
Made in Victoria since 1973. Comparable in price to the Xintex and designed for 1 sensor (included) or a second optional one.
Here's the one with solenoid control.
07-13-2010 01:25 AM
mitiempo Chris
I'm not sure what the availability is like in Ontario but out west the most popular propane sensor/solenoid control is th Electro Systems. Propane Detectors for Boats and RVs
Made in Victoria since 1973. Comparable in price to the Xintex and designed for 1 sensor (included) or a second optional one.
Here's the one with solenoid control.
07-13-2010 01:04 AM
mitiempo Chris
ABYC doesn't require a solenoid valve on any boat unless you are not able to close the valve manually from the appliance. That means unless the tank is on the cabintop as on some Bristol Channel Cutters with a valve accessible under the deckhead you need a solenoid. ABYC doesn't distinguish between stern mounting and lockers. You also need a pressure gauge between the tank and the regulator.

From ABYC A-1:
07-12-2010 02:51 PM
cghubbell You guys with the big boats definitely have more stern space to play with. My CS27 (with external rudder) doesn't have enough room to mount tanks on the transom without making it look like it has butt-cheeks.

I have enough room (in my visual opinion) to put one 10lb tank on the rail and I don't really like the aethetic impact at all. It is, however, a very functional compromise considering a horizontal tank would eat an entire locker up, and a vertical tank would be very hard to drain from a bulkhead mount.

The SS mounting looks very sharp, but will have to wait until the budget recovers from this refit. I just use a steel plate which screws to the transom top, and has one "leg" that supports the outboard portion. It's painted the color of the transom, so not too obtrusive.

As for the solenoid, I completely agree about the convenience. I like the idea. I just think they are an expensive piece of convenience in my case. I'll look more closely at the ABYC standards again and see if I can deduce whether the solenoid rule applies to stern rails. If not, I think I'll keep it simple and upgrade later.

My boat is just about stripped to the hull and going through almost complete electronics replacement, woodworking restoration, painting, blister repair, running rigging replacement, and more... So, I'm trying to watch every penny as they add up incredibly fast across systems. Not skimping, or being dangerously cheap, but trying to prioritize what's truly necessary to get her back afloat before I go nuts.

I've worked with the manual valve for a while and had no objections to the convenience, so I know I could happily live with it for a year or two and add a solenoid later as long as its not required by ABYC for stern rails. If its requiredm then I'll certainly make it happen one way or another.

Thanks again for all the input!

-Chris
07-12-2010 01:40 PM
JohnRPollard
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
JRP—

Leaving the burner lit when closing the valve on the tank or the solenoid will allow the stove to burn off most, if not all, of the propane that is in the line.
Dan, I have heard that claim, but I think it's erroneous for the reasons I mentioned above.

I would argue that if your line evacuates when you close the valve off and leave the appliance running, you probably should run a pressure check of your propane system. Because something has to replace the propane that is passing through the hose to the appliance, or else a vacuum would form. If it's not more propane from the tank, it would have to be atmosphere from outside the system being sucked in.

I do turn off the solenoid before extinguishing the appliance, but only to confirm that the valve closed properly. On our boat, the appliances extinguish almost instantaneously. And I've never noticed any lag when the valve is turned back on within a short period of time, suggesting the line remains full of propane.

Compare that to the lag noticed if the appliance hasn't been used for a while (days/weeks). But that is due to the permeability of the propane lines themselves -- a certain amount of the gas passes through the hose walls over time.

Either way, closing the valve is a good idea, and as Faster said -- because of human nature -- making it convenient to do so via a remote solenoid is the best approach.
07-12-2010 12:50 PM
sailingdog JRP—

Leaving the burner lit when closing the valve on the tank or the solenoid will allow the stove to burn off most, if not all, of the propane that is in the line.

I agree that having a solenoid is a best practice, but don't believe it is a requirement.

I don't think that's a very clean looking installation. The tanks are far more likely to get exposed to salt water there and the regulator is hanging by the hose by the looks of it. Of course, if you're going to do an installation similar to that, you're really best off using COMPOSITE tanks rather than aluminum or steel tanks.

Also, I don't know if having the tanks mounted where they can bet hit by the rudder is such great idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
The vapor-tight compression fitting that SD showed is definitely the way to go. By the way, they are VERY easy to install, so no worries in that respect.

I would still advocate for a remote solenoid shut-off. In fact, I'm not sure if ABYC makes any distinction as to where the tank is mounted -- I think the remote switch is required regardless for any propane installation. If so, you should follow the requirement as it can affect insurability of the vessel, and it's the best practice anyway.

As an aside, I don't believe closing the propane valve (whether at the tank or solenoid) while continuing to operate the appliance "empties" the line of propane. I think this simply stops the flow of propane and extinguishes the appliance. If new propane is not entering the hose from the supply end, a vacuum is created and the flow simply stops.

But there isn't enough volume of propane in the line to worry about anyway. The worry comes from not closing off the supply. Which is why the remote shut-off is so important.

Make sure your hose is continuous all the way from the tank/solenoid to the appliance. No splices or extensions.

As for mounting your tank to the stern rail, you might consider an arrangement that looks a bit cleaner. These folks mounted two small tanks in brackets to the transom:

07-12-2010 12:38 PM
josrulz
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
...As for mounting your tank to the stern rail, you might consider an arrangement that looks a bit cleaner. These folks mounted two small tanks in brackets to the transom:

Wow, all things considered, that's a slick installation at least on that particular boat. With rudder and self-steering back there anyway, it's hardly noticeable.
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