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post #9 of Old 10-28-2004
GordMay
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portable propane stove

Propane and CO detectors are readilly available.
Your NOSE is the best cheap propane detector.
If you smell the familiar "rotten egg" odor of propane:
Extinguish all open flames and immediately leave any area where propane fumes are suspected. Do not light matches or use any electrical equipment. Turn ‘off’ propane supply at the tank/regulator.

DIY “Manonometer” - Propane Leak Tester:
A true manometer is a necessary item for setting the LP delivery pressure, but if you simply want to test for leaks, here''s how. Keep in mind, this test will only reveal IF you have a leak, not where it (they) might be. Fasten a 5-foot length of 3/8" clear vinyl tubing to one side of a piece of plywood cut to approximately 6" x 16". It can be any thickness. Use tubing clamps to affix the hose to the plywood. Start with 15-inches of tubing running straight down the left side of the plywood piece and forming a gentle sweeping "U" at the bottom and back up again for another 15-inches or so. The remaining 30-inch length is to attach to one of the stove burner orifice hoods; leave it hanging loose. Take care not to crimp the hose at any point. Use plenty of clamps to keep the tubing positioned into a perfect "U" shape. Add water to the straight side of the tubing until it fills the bottom of the "U" and up about 7" or so on each side. If necessary, add a drop of food coloring to make it easier to see the water level in the left and right sections of the "U." Be sure the LP container valve is open and all the appliances are turned off. Next, remove one of the burners at the stove top and push the loose, open end of the tubing over the orifice hood, while keeping the plywood piece vertical. Nailing a short perpendicular piece of plywood to the upright will act as a base and help keep it upright. Light an adjacent stove burner taking care to keep the plywood and the tubing away from the flame. Slowly open the burner valve with the tubing attached and watch as the gas pressure will push the water down one side of the "U" and up the other. By the way, if water shoots out the open end of the tubing, the LP regulator is faulty and must be replaced before continuing. After the water level stabilizes, turn off the lit burner. You should notice a slight movement of the water. Now turn off the LP container. Open an adjacent stove burner for just a second to bleed off a tiny amount of LP, and then mark the tubing or the plywood at the new level of the water in the left side tube. Wait ten minutes. If the level of the water in the left side of the "U" drops below your mark, there is an LP leak somewhere in the boat. If the water level happens to climb above your mark, the POL valve on the LP container is not fully shutting off and it should be replaced. There should be absolutely no drop in pressure during the ten minute test! If indeed you do have a leak, further troubleshooting is in order, and I recommend you seek professional service. This is not an area you would want to compromise! Keep in mind this is just to test for leaks. To set the pressure, the manometer must include a scale that actual measures inches and fractions.
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