Propane Bottles

mpo

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We are heading out of the Med later this year and plan to head towards the Caribbean and beyond. We hope to convert back from the small Camping Gaz bottles to something like the 6 kg Calor Propane bottles we originally had on board. Could anybody advise if there is anywhere to source something suitable between here (Sardinia) and the Canaries, or if there is anyway to have suitable empty bottles shipped to us along the way. Alternatively we have considered sourcing suitable bottles in the Caribbean but would expect to face additional fitting compatibility problems there. We are undertaking this on the understanding that getting our small bottles exchanged or refilled would be both problematic and expensive once across the Atlantic, but would be very grateful for any firsthand knowledge.

Many thanks in anticipation.
 

VO5

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We are heading out of the Med later this year and plan to head towards the Caribbean and beyond. We hope to convert back from the small Camping Gaz bottles to something like the 6 kg Calor Propane bottles we originally had on board. Could anybody advise if there is anywhere to source something suitable between here (Sardinia) and the Canaries, or if there is anyway to have suitable empty bottles shipped to us along the way. Alternatively we have considered sourcing suitable bottles in the Caribbean but would expect to face additional fitting compatibility problems there. We are undertaking this on the understanding that getting our small bottles exchanged or refilled would be both problematic and expensive once across the Atlantic, but would be very grateful for any firsthand knowledge.

Many thanks in anticipation.

I will make an enquiry on your behalf tomorrow and will let you know if there are any propane bottles US type available here.
 

john_q

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We have been in the Caribbean for 6 years and have had no problem getting Calor Gas 13KG propane bottles refilled but not all places can supply propane, sometimes it is butane and sometimes a propane/butane mix

I have seen a few people getting Camping Gaz refilled with what ever they put in the other bottles.

Not sure what the current situation is in Spain and Portugal, we had no problems filling our bottles but things may have changed
 

jimking

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We have been in the Caribbean for a year. We have only used camping gaz bottles. In the French islands the same rules apply as in Franc,e so you can just exchange your bottles. The other islands will refill your bottles. The only exception that I know of is the USVI where US regulations apply.

Regards

JIm
 

mpo

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Thanks all for your input, we will investigate the bottles on offer in Cagliari, although the 10kg one we have sitting in or cockpit for winter ( too big for gas locker ) that we sourced in Alghero has a strange thread that seems to be specific to Italy and Greece only, but if we can get 6kg bottles down south that have standard LHD threads and are rated for propane that would be great. Although it would appear that our Camping Gaz bottles would not be totally obselete in the Caribbean, so we have a few options.

Thanks

Mark
 
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fiveflipflops

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Filling Gas Bottles

Hi

Left UK 2003 as full time live aboard. In Europe (med as far as Balaerics) and Caribbean 07-10 we had no problem getting camping Gaz bottle filled/replaced. Once passed USVI heading North you will need US stamped Bottles.

I believe on leaving the Caribbean to go West, best bet to change to propane Bottles. Best place to do this is St Marrten. Budget marine have all the fittings you will need to covert your UK fittings to US type. They even sell bottles.

Hope this helps

David and Emma

s/y fiveflipflops
 

snowleopard

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Spain and Portugal have local gas companies that exchange 7kg and 13 kg bottles that look very like Calor. Beware that although the same company operates in both countries they will not exchange each other's bottles. If you take a cylinder away to fill elsewhere, e.g. the Caribbean, make sure it is a propane type as they are designed to take the much higher pressure of propane. Never allow propane to be put in a butane bottle.

In some places this side of the atlantic you can only get butane. I found I couldn't tell the difference in stove output despite using the propane regulator. On the other side of the Atlantic places in the US shpere of influence sell only Propane.
 

johnabbott893

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If you take a cylinder away to fill elsewhere, e.g. the Caribbean, make sure it is a propane type as they are designed to take the much higher pressure of propane. Never allow propane to be put in a butane bottle.

Urban Myth!

The vapour pressure of butane is about 30psi, which is about what you put in your car tyres. The vapour pressure of propane is about 100psi, just over what I put in my bicycle tyres. A steel container to sustain an internal pressure of 100psi is paper thin. LPG cylinders are manufactured to withstand rough handling, including bouncing down the road. The forces involved are a completely different order of magnitude to those for the vapour pressure. Thus, the cylinders are not designed around the vapour pressure forces they are designed around the manhandling and hazard (fire, impact etc) forces. Any heavy duty LPG cylinder, such as the calor gas ones, are capable of containing either propane or butane. The little thin walled tins of LPG are another matter but then you can't refill them.

There are some arguments for not putting propane in a butane cylinder but the strength of the LPG container is not one of them.

I get Calor Butane and Camping Gaz cylinders filled with LPG (both propane and butane or a mix) in the Caribbean but it can be difficult finding an outlet that has the adaptors for the Calor Butane cylinders. Sometimes it is difficult to find out what type of LPG I have been given. I use a universal regulator that I got in the UK. The output pressure is a compromise between the ideal Butane and Propane pressures. It makes little difference to a standard marine stove. Be careful of using a cheap butane regulator with propane. Such regulators are 'unbalanced' and the extra vapour pressure might cause a failure. More expensive 'balanced' regulators are probably OK.
 

crisjones

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Urban Myth!

The vapour pressure of butane is about 30psi, which is about what you put in your car tyres. The vapour pressure of propane is about 100psi, just over what I put in my bicycle tyres. A steel container to sustain an internal pressure of 100psi is paper thin. LPG cylinders are manufactured to withstand rough handling, including bouncing down the road. The forces involved are a completely different order of magnitude to those for the vapour pressure. Thus, the cylinders are not designed around the vapour pressure forces they are designed around the manhandling and hazard (fire, impact etc) forces. Any heavy duty LPG cylinder, such as the calor gas ones, are capable of containing either propane or butane. The little thin walled tins of LPG are another matter but then you can't refill them.

I agree entirely with this - in fact I have just exchanged two propane cylinders (11kg) with a reputable UK supplier and one of the full cylinders is quite clearly a blue butane cylinder that has been sprayed orange for propane. If a UK company is happy to fill butane cylinders with propane whilst still meeting all regulatory and H&S requirements then it is a good indication that it is a perfectly safe thing to do!!!
 

oldvarnish

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I suppose if you carried a set of these http://tinyurl.com/4svskmn (swallow hard before looking at the price) and a universal regulator then you could simply buy a bottle of gas wherever you ended up and accept that at some stage you're going to have to chuck it when you move to a different country.
 

johnabbott893

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I suppose if you carried a set of these http://tinyurl.com/4svskmn (swallow hard before looking at the price) and a universal regulator then you could simply buy a bottle of gas wherever you ended up and accept that at some stage you're going to have to chuck it when you move to a different country.

I got a set of those because I was fussing about gas in the Caribbean. So far I have only used UK Calor Butane adaptor and the Camping Gaz adaptor. I am still using my 4.5Kg UK Calor Butane cylinders. The are currently filled with propane. I have had them filled in Cape Verde, St Lucia and Grenada so I know filling can be done at those locations. Additionally, I have a Camping Gaz cylinder which is filled with butane following a cylinder swap in Martinique. I have seen these cylinders being filled with propane in both St Lucia and Grenada.

As I went down the Atlantic side of Europe I decanted from my Camping Gaz cylinder to my Calor cylinders using the 2 adaptors from the 'socal' kit stuck on the end of a bit of water hose.

I was convinced I would have to chuck the UK Calor Gas cylinders and get a US propane cylinder once in the Caribbean. I am most surprised they are still in service. Camping Gaz seems like a good standby to have. Throughout Europe, the Atlantic Islands and the West Indies you can get them swaped or filled very easily. No doubt things will be different in the USA and associated islands.
 

TQA

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This is my second cruise through the Caribbean. The first time some 20 years ago I had Calor butane and Calor propane bottle and was able to get them filled without difficulty EXCEPT in France, the French Islands and the USA.

Venuzuela was the most frightening as it involved a dep freeze and open decanting!

This time I have Ali US bottles and again I can get them filled everywhere except the French Islands. Calor bottles can also be filled in most places as I see them in the collection points and on refill runs.

In your position I would get US certified bottles.

Budget Marine sell these

Aluminium Cylinders
Quality aluminium LP gas cylinders. Lightweight and maintenance free. Fitted with new Type 1 valves. Outside threads fit the new QCC (quick closing coupling) and the inside threads fit the
regular POL coupling used on regulators. Will not discharge gas until the coupling is fully threaded home. Fitted with OPD (overfill prevention device).
Dimensions:
10 lb. 10-1/2" Diam. x 16-1/2" H
20 lb. 12-1/2" Diam. x 20-5/8" H MIND YOU AT $250 approx !

and

Composite Cylinders
Composite cylinders are:

•30% Lighter than Steel
•Corrosion Free
•Stackable
•Constant Tare Weight 10lb & 20lb CHEAPER AT $170 approx

I have 2 x 20 lb ali bottles but they came with the boat otherwise I would have bought composite.
 

GrahamM376

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I know nothing about refilling cylinders but, know a man who does. A dutch guy nearby has an adaptor which allows him to fill his bottles from any garage which has LPG for cars. Evidently his adaptor fits the standard car fitting and he says no-one ever gives him problems when he fills his empty cylinders.
 

vyv_cox

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I know nothing about refilling cylinders but, know a man who does. A dutch guy nearby has an adaptor which allows him to fill his bottles from any garage which has LPG for cars. Evidently his adaptor fits the standard car fitting and he says no-one ever gives him problems when he fills his empty cylinders.

In many countries in Europe it is illegal to refill bottles on forecourts. However, if you have the bottle inside a van or even the boot of a car, who is looking? Ignoring the safety implications, of course. Problems arise if it is a country where self-service is not the norm, e.g. Spain and Italy.

Gaslow do all the fittings although it may be necessary to make up an adaptor to go directly to the bottle.
 
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