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Geoff Keyes

Gas delivery problem I can't figure out, help please

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It is a puzzlement.  I am using one of my own burners, just like in the pinned post and it has been working fine, up until now.  We got a new propane supplier and they swapped out the tanks for the house and shop.  I have what is called a 420 tank for the shop.  Pretty much right away I began to have problems with it.  

I have a black iron manifold that feeds my forges.  It wraps around 2 sides of the hot shop.  There is a 1/4 turn shutoff valve at each forge.  The gas comes into the manifold through a length of hose that feeds an acetylene regulator and that dumps directly from the low pressure side into the manifold.  This setup has worked for years, until now.

Before this started, I would turn on the tank (there is no regulator on the tank), go into the shop and turn on the regulator on the manifold, setting the pressure at between 1 and 8 psi, depending on which forge and what I want to do, and go to work, fire and forget.  Usually 1-2 psi is plenty for my vertical forge.

What has started happening is that the manifold pressure won't stay steady.  It burns for a while and then fades off to nothing.  Fiddling the regulator brings it back, but it won't stay.

The HP side of the regulator doesn't move.  In the current temps (30-40 F) it shows about 60 psi, in warmer days it will go up to 100 psi.  When the LP side is moving up and down, the tank side stays the same.

I figured that the regulator had packed it up, so I bought a new one, same issue.  The only new thing in the system is the tank (and now a new regulator).  The big tanks (this one is 120 gallons) don't freeze up, in my experience, and in any case it would normally take a couple of hours for that to become an issue, even on a BBQ tank.  I could take the regulator out of the system, but I don't really want 100 psi in the manifold.

Any ideas?  I'm stumped.

 

Geoff

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Guest

Er so to say each tank regaurdless of the valve has its own escape pressure, im guessing your flame keeps getting smothered out from lack of air? 

I have something like that happen with my ferrier forge i ordered online, if i get a rampand gust of wind passing over the intake the forges flame dies off or i remove a large peice of steel and the pressure changes. I have to go turn the regularator down and then the combustiom kicks in and then turn it back up otherwise im just pumping out gas.

Each tank has its own pressure regardless of the set up, different tank different settings, a pressure regulatator is really just a resistance method. My view on the problem wasnt the gas but the air needed tweaked.

Dunno if that helps.

Edited by Guest

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It doesn't, I think, but I will think on it.  I'm using my own blown burner design, and it has worked for a long time.  The only thing that has changed is the tank, and now the regulator.  I'm starting to think the regulator is not the problem, since a brand new one is showing the same issue.  The tank has no regulator on it, it's going straight into the HP side of the acetylene regulator.

 

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8 minutes ago, Geoff Keyes said:

It doesn't, I think, but I will think on it.  I'm using my own blown burner design, and it has worked for a long time.  The only thing that has changed is the tank, and now the regulator.  I'm starting to think the regulator is not the problem, since a brand new one is showing the same issue.  The tank has no regulator on it, it's going straight into the HP side of the acetylene regulator.

 

Did your propane service guy mess with any of the pressure limits in the gas lines?  I’m just curious.  Even though I don’t use propane.  I’m wondering if the tech could have fiddleded with something he wasnt supposed to.  Just a thought.

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Guest

Andy, Its not like natural gas with an underground pipe, its a tank that gets refilled.

Edited by Guest

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You mentioned using an acetylene regulator. Any possibility that it isn't comparable with a different mixture of , perhaps, the deodorant, from a different supplier?

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thDB7KKI9H.jpgSo this is what I get when I search for a 420 tank! Does it have a regulator at the tank supplied by the company?? That could be the problem if it does!!! 

I would call them and voice your concerns and see what they have to say about it!! It has almost got to be the way the tank is regulated or something different they are doing with their propane from your old company!! This is what I am speaking of different!! It could be a different additive! 

An additive called ethyl mercaptan is added to propane to give it the odor most people recognize. It is added so people can smell gas and determine if there is a gas leak.

 

 

Edited by C Craft

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Thats what I have.  There is no regulator on it.  There is a pressure gauge, but not on the valve.  I will call and find out about the gas mix, it's the best idea anyone has come up with.

 

g

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This is just a guess and a shot in the dark but since you are calling the company anyway you could ask them about the flow rate. Since you are using blown burners and what would seem to be a large manifold there may be some kind of safety device on the tank that senses your set up as a leak and is shutting down the flow. It wouldn't be a problem on a house because the propane lines on the house would still have a little back pressure even with appliances running. Hope you get it worked out soon. 

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could be when the tank was changed they knocked some rust loose maybe use some compresed air and back blow a few things or take a few things apart and shake them might be barking up a tree but look it over with that in mind

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42 minutes ago, dragoncutlery said:

could be when the tank was changed they knocked some rust loose maybe use some compressed air and back blow a few things or take a few things apart and shake them might be barking up a tree but look it over with that in mind

I was thinking the same thing.

Also, I think newer small propane tanks have a flow limiter on them.  I don't remember the details, but think it came around about the same time they added the OPD valves to the 20lb tanks.  I know I had problems running a weed burner on one, and it would behave very much like you describe.  Maybe there is one on your new 'Big' tank.

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19 minutes ago, Brian Dougherty said:

I was thinking the same thing.

Also, I think newer small propane tanks have a flow limiter on them.  I don't remember the details, but think it came around about the same time they added the OPD valves to the 20lb tanks.  I know I had problems running a weed burner on one, and it would behave very much like you describe.  Maybe there is one on your new 'Big' tank.

That's my guess too.

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11 hours ago, C Craft said:

thDB7KKI9H.jpgSo this is what I get when I search for a 420 tank! Does it have a regulator at the tank supplied by the company?? That could be the problem if it does!!! 

I would call them and voice your concerns and see what they have to say about it!! It has almost got to be the way the tank is regulated or something different they are doing with their propane from your old company!! This is what I am speaking of different!! It could be a different additive! 

An additive called ethyl mercaptan is added to propane to give it the odor most people recognize. It is added so people can smell gas and determine if there is a gas leak.

 

 

I hate auto correct turns "oderant" into "deoderant". I am perfectly capable of screwing up without help

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I will also vote for reduced flow from the tank, kind of like those low flow shower heads that you have to take a drill to the orifice if you want to get wet.

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I have been offered another diagnosis that may explain this.  If the gas or the tank had some moisture in it, that would cause the regulator to form ice on the diaphragm which would randomly and gradually block the outflow.  A bit of fiddling would break that up and things would start to flow again, only to freeze up again in just a few minutes.  I think this covers the problem.  New tank (maybe wet), new supplier (maybe wet), similar failure across 2 regulators (regulators are not the problem), therefore the new tank is the issue.

Now, how do I fix the issue?  One suggestion has been to warm the regulator with a high wattage, old school light bulb.  Is there some sort of dehumidifier that I can plumb into the line?

Research to do.

 

Geoff

Edited by Geoff Keyes

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On ‎12‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 11:55 AM, Geoff Keyes said:

I have been offered another diagnosis that may explain this.  If the gas or the tank had some moisture in it, that would cause the regulator to form ice on the diaphragm which would randomly and gradually block the outflow.

Geoff, that could be feasible. If it is the problem the company that supplied the tank and propane should be responsible! I would tell them due to their negligence I an now dealing with issues in my shop with my equipment! You need to come back and pump out the propane and deal with the moisture problem at their expense!! A good propane man should have known that the new tank needed to be purged! 

Take a look at this! https://www.reference.com/home-garden/purge-propane-tank-9f19aeb56884b4f0

A quick story about responsibility of propane companies in most states: 

Propane companies are supposed to have trained technicians in the field! A couple of buddies I know rented and old house in Al. to stay in while they hunted the their hunting club property near there!! They called for the propane tank to be filled. Anytime a tank has been sitting, as in this old house that had not been used in several years. The tech is supposed to do a safety check of the tank as well as check all gas appliances inside the building after the tank has been filled and gas is on!!! If no one is their to let them inside they are not supposed to fill the tank!!

The tank was filled and he left the valve off at the tank! Two of the guys arrived one night about dark and since the temps were dropping they went out to turn the gas on at the tank! Unloading some equipment they went back inside. Immediately they smelled propane. So they decided to investigate the smell. they split up and began looking!  They did not shut the tank off and even if they had it may have not remedied what happened! 

In the back of the house their was a bathroom the door was shut. When the guy walked in he smelled the propane strongly! Without thinking he flipped the light switch on,...……….. and the room exploded into a ball of flame! The second guy came running peeled off his jacket and rolled the first guy into the floor and put him out. He got real lucky. He wore a beard and burnt the beard off, his eyebrows and most of his hair off of his head and the hair on his exposed arms!!

He spent a few days in the hospital and for the most part had no visible marks except some burn scarring on the back of his neck! 

The house burnt partially down. The owner tried to sue the hunters. Come to find out he was the one that had removed a heater from that bathroom and never capped the line. The whole thing went to court and private investigators were brought in to examine the scene to see who had the responsibility!! 

The explosion and fire was caused by the spark that occurs inside of a light switch! On older switches you can even see that arc in total darkness! Even though the hunters had turned on the gas at the tank and may have been guilty of common sense violations The investigators in the case found the propane company at fault 100% because.  If no one is their to let them inside they are not supposed to fill the tank!!

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The company is coming out tomorrow to see if they have a quick fix.  We shall go from there.

 

G

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The tech from the propane company, I shan't give the name so as to not get him in trouble, fixed me right up.  He installed a 0-15 psi regulator on the tank and the problem went away.  Maybe the purpose built regulator is less fussy or is designed to handle the issue, but for whatever reason, everything is good.  Forged for an hour and no problems.

I don't run venturi burners, but most of them will run at 15 psi, and if I need to I can get a 0-30 psi regulator and swap this one out.

Looks like I'm ready to go.

Geoff 

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