Refilling small propane bottles

Discussion in 'Propane - Got Gas' started by grantar2, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. grantar2

    grantar2 Member

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    Realizing how dangerous it can be to say this, I saw a device on ebay and I believe on Amazon as well, that lets you refill your small propane bottles from your large tank. Not sure that coleman and others designed their small bottles to be reused, does anyone have experience doing this, is it safe, does it work?
     
  2. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I have thought abut doing it. I've seen much conversation on the internet about doing it. I would search this site and do a google search. I think I even saw a utube
     
  3. fritz_monroe

    fritz_monroe New Member

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    I've seen it mentioned quite a few times. It brings out some strong feelings both ways.

    I've seriously thought about doing it. The only thing that stopped me is that I've had several small bottles that had bad seals and wouldn't allow me to remove them from the stove or lantern they were attached to without spewing all the propane out.
     
  4. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    It has been discussed here quite a bit. Do some searches. It's probably in the Propane forum.
     
  5. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    I have and use a HF adapter, and I got it because I have 20+ 1#?? (small tanks) and didn't want to toss them in the trash. We also have a small table heater on our patio, so we were using quite of bit of Propane w it.


    Depending on how FULL your 20# tank is, you will only get a partial fill on the 1#.
    But with all the tanks I have, this has been worthwhile, to use.
     
  6. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    The question I always have is: is it worth the risk. I get my tanks at lowes or wally world. At Lowes, 4 worthington throwaway tanks cost about $12 and I get a 5% discount, so my cost is about $11.40 for 4. I use in a good camping year maybe 6 tanks, since most of my cooking is on the low pressure stove. So to me is it worth the effort, risk of leaks, or bodily harm???

    I do have a y fitting for my 20 lb tank that has a 1 lb fitting, so I would not need to buy the adapter. I have save about 6 bottles, but have never refilled the tanks because I don't see it as a good option.
     
  7. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    When I have needed to use Mr. Heater, I have used an entire bottle to heat the PUP in one night.


    Would need to do more testing, but that particular trip w/o the furnace working (thermostat) problem, it saved the trip (the batteries for the fan were missing as well).


    Have use Mr. Heater twice as a fall back position and I was very glad we had it!!


    So, my first reason was this collection of empty canisters, that I wanted to see if they could be re-used rather than placing them in the trash. It was not so much the cost factor. If the canister is damaged, then I would toss it.
     
  8. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    You can only partial fill the tanks because of the laws of physics. Any two tanks of the same gas at the same temperatures, that have liquid expansion room, regardless of volume will have the same pressure. So to fully fill the tanks you have to do the process cooling down the 1lb bottle and warming up the 20 lb tank, 2 or 3 times while watching the weight. This is because as you start the flow of propane the 20 lb tank will cool down, like an evaporator coil in an HVAC unit as the liquid changes to a gas.

    But the real concern is if you over fill the tank it will rupture on a hot day because of the hydrostatic pressure.. Most tanks are only 80% filled to liquid volume they can hold. So if you do fill the tanks use a scale and make sure you do not over fill the bottles, error on under filling them.
     
  9. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    But how many bottles do you think you use in a year? I carry 3-4 bottles with me. I can not see you filling the tanks in the field because you have to put the 1 lb bottle in the deep freeze and you have to warm up the 20 lb bottle to 80 or so degrees to get maybe 8oz in the 1 lb bottle. If they are both the same temps, they are at the same pressure and you will get nothen in the 1lb bottle.
     
  10. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    As was mentioned above, a great place to ask propane questions and learn about propane is in the propane subforum.

    When I tent-camped, I used to refill 1-lb cannisters all the time. Obviously, some people are wound pretty tight and will regale you with tales of the Hindenburgh.

    But, it's pretty simple. Freeze your empty cannisters. Attach the 1-lb to the 20-lb. Open the valve and turn upside down. Close the valve after equilibrium is reached. Turn back around and remove the tanks from one another. Done. No more dangerous than standing next to the gas station attendant as he refills your 20-lb tank.

    Where I'm at, a 20-lb tank costs $25 and 20-lbs of propane around $12. 1-lb cannisters are ~$3.50. The fitting is around $15. So, the capital investment is around $55. Therefore, the payback occurs before you empty the first 20-lb tank of propane and it's all gravy after that.

    When I was tent camping, I was going through 6-10 cannisters per trip to feed my heaters and stove. Made it a pretty easy choice to start refilling. Eventually, I got 20-lb adapter hoses for the heaters and upgraded to white gas stove and cannisters went the way of the dinosaur for me. With the PUP came the official retirement of the heaters.

    Good luck.
     
  11. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    hydrostatic pressure actual helps in the filling. Liquid transfer.

    I like doing this on the tailgate, it is easier to open and close the valve without crawling on the ground.

    Follow the directions on the package. An ice chest is handy in the field to cool the small bottles.
     
  12. bearman512

    bearman512 Well-Known Member

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    Personally I would not bother as the savings and the amount that can be pushed into these 1# bottles will not run a Mr Buddy more than 4 hours on high. Just my [2C]
    This is what I use in my expedition vehicle:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Tacoma_Jim

    Tacoma_Jim Member

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    I'm lucky and have an outside stove hook-up, so I just bought a hose to hook to BBQ. If I didn't I wouldn't fuss with the refilling, I'd get one of these and a hose and do the same thing. The only thing I have 1 lbs bottles for anymore is my lantern on the picnic table.


    http://www.mrheater.com/product.aspx?catid=357&id=85
     
  14. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    I would not bother to do it, due to safety concerns and the fact we buy the 1# canisters at a good price.
    We don't use them for much, though we have one propane Coleman lantern, which we take if we need two lanterns or there are fire restrictions on white gas. At that, we have had a couple of canister that did not reseal when we took them off of the lantern for travel.
    If we needed to use more propane in the campsite, we'd buy the adapter and a smaller tank such as bearman512 pictured. We have friend who use a Coleman LP stove and they have the small tank - they have found that not only is it more cost effective and handy than the 1# bottles, their stove seems to work better off the larger tank.
     
  15. grantar2

    grantar2 Member

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    Thanks all. caml48 good explanation. My problem stems from the fact that the previous owner of my pup didn't have a furnace installed. Seems odd given that the Jayco 1207 isn't a low end model. Can't imagine not wanting a furnace. Were using a Mr. Buddy, looks like the hose kit is a better idea than refilling the small bottles.
     
  16. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    I look at a lot of campers through out the tears and have heard many time I never used the furnace. I cam see an owner that is a fair weather camper not buying a furnace.
     
  17. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    Since your original question asked if anyone has used the adapter, I explained that I have one and have used it, but since I use Mr. Heater only as a back up, I also have a 20# hose:
    http://www.mrheater.com/product.aspx?catid=355&id=47.


    As Bearman512 a 1# canister is gone in one night, and carry a second 20# tank for the CampChef Fire Pit. So if you are looking for a either or going w a larger tank is what I usually do.
     
  18. grantar2

    grantar2 Member

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    Thanks ChocoChock01,
    I think the hose kit will likely be how I go. We carry one 20# bottle, but my rig is designed so it can carry two side by side.
     
  19. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Everone seems to agree about the safety concerns of refiling, and in the US it is illegal to transport a refiled bottle.
     

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