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Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Bad Gas Canister? on 02/21/2011 15:30:32 MST Print View

I just returned from a partially aborted backpacking trip, largely due to equipment failure. Long story short--my stove setup failed on me, leaving me with no means to melt snow for food and water, so I went home earlier than expected.

Here's what I was working with
1) Primus Express Spider remote canister stove
2) Snowpeak 220 gram large canister

Heres what happened:
Cooked dinner a couple of days with the stovesetup...things went as good as possible for a gas canister stove in winter conditions. I used the gas canister inverted everytime. When the gas canister wasnt being used, it was either in my down parka, or placed in my sleeping bag. Here's what happened on the bailout morning. Woke up, and went to setup the stove for breakfast. I noticed that the valve at the end of the spider's remote hose had some ice caked into it. This was likely due to the fact that I stored the spider stove inside my cookpot which probably had a small amount of water in it . I left the cookpot sitting around in the tent, and not in my bag, so whatever moisture was in the pot/stove froze. Anways, I cleared the ice by dipping the hose/valve in some warm water that I had been saving as seedwater for snow melting. This water had been in my sleeping bag, so it melted off all the ice fine. Hooked up the stove to the gas canister, turned the valve on, and could hear sputtering. Unscrewed the setup, warmed the gas can a bit more in my bag, and tried again. This time after I reconnecting it, and opening up the stove's valve, I got nothing, no sputtering, just nothing. When I went to unscrew the setup to reinspect, a bit of gas hissed/escaped as I unscrewed it. It never worked again during that morning. Thankfully, a couple in a nearby tent had a jetboil that I was able to borrow. All this time, I cursed the weight of the jetboil, but here it was saving my A**. I used my own gas can (the same one), but with their jetboil, and it worked out okay. The flame would flare like crazy at times, but I figured this was due to the cold temps. At this point, I believed the primus spider was soley responsible for my misery, since the same gas canister was working on their jetboil. I thought perhaps something was blocking the valve in the spider's remote hose, or something was frozen and not letting gas through

I get to the comfort of my own home that night to make sure that my stove is okay and that it was only a temporary bust. But here is where it gets weird. I hook up the stove to the same snowpeak canister used during my trip, and its working kind of half-ass...turning the valve does nothing to control the gas output/flame intensity...but it does produce a constant flame. I hook up the same snowpeak canister to a different canister stove (optimus crux), and I can't even get that crux to turn's as if the stem on the crux isn't long enough to hit the gas-release stem on the gas canister. Confused, I grab another older partially used 110g snowpeak gas canister from my gear closet. I hook this older gas can up with my questionable primus spider, and it works flawlessly--valve controls flame output etc. I then try this older 110g canister on crux canister stove (the one that wouldn't even turn on with the questionable larger 220g snowpeak can) and it works flawlessly too. For good measure, i retry both stoves, with the larger snowpeak 220g gas canister (the one used over the weekend) and now both of the stoves won't turn on, even though it was working half-ass just minutes before with the primus spider. Seems like the gas-release stem on the larger 220g canister isn't resetting itself properly, so that when I attach a stove to it, the gas canister's stem isn't high enough for the stove push down on--so no pressure on the stem= no gas released.

Anyone want to give me their thoughts on this? Anyone ever have a bad canister before? Maybe both my canister and stove were acting funky because of the temps (5-10 degrees). I'm thinking next time I will def sleep with the stove in my bag, and maybe bring two 110 gram gas cans instead of one 220 gram canister so I don't put all my eggs in one basket.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 02/21/2011 15:40:53 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Bad Gas Canister? on 02/21/2011 16:03:22 MST Print View

"Anyone ever have a bad canister before?"

I would guess that I see no more than 1% bad.

Yes, two 110 gram cans are heavier than one 220 gram can, but it is a more foolproof solution. Keep in mind that there is a fool who can overcome any foolproof scheme.

I get a little nervous if I go out on a trip with a single butane can. That's why I take white gas for winter use, and I have never had a complete failure with white gas.


Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Bad Gas Canister? on 02/21/2011 16:20:08 MST Print View

Sup, K?

Man I thought you were gonna tell the same story that happened to me.

I used my Spider a few weeks ago and while inverted, the valve/ screw top piece froze.
God, I mean Roger, said "hmmm, interesting... may be faulty valve"
gonna trade mine in...

But sounds like you have a bad can.
The only constant was that can.

Bummer you had to come in early.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
frozen valve on 02/21/2011 16:26:56 MST Print View

yo Jeff! Hmmm, i haven't ruled out the fact that both were acting funny. What happened when your valve froze? Did it just suddenly stop working halfway through the burn? During the same trip, that happened to me. I blamed the cold temps...and re-lit the stove...worked fine probably not a frozen valve during that one time.

Edited by Konrad1013 on 02/21/2011 16:28:33 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 02/21/2011 17:02:40 MST Print View

I had a canister that the valve didn't close after I unscrewed the stove. Hissed faintly.

I just screwed the stove back on and left it on the canister until the canister was used up, no big deal.

When you shook the canister, could you hear fuel sloshing around inside? Had the gas just mostly leaked out?

If the gas slowly leaks, it cools off, so ice can form.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: frozen valve on 02/21/2011 17:22:26 MST Print View

Well, most of the time I ran it upright and it worked like a champ. It seemed like it only wanted to run at about 1/3 power (which AFAIK is most efficient anyway). I never turned it up really high, but there was a big 'sweet spot' that the flame stayed at even if I made 1/2 turn on the knob.

FWIW I used a Brunton 113g can

I just left the knob there and melted snow all evening every night.

Anyway, towards the end of the trip when I knew I had enough gas to last, I inverted the can to up the output and speed up the times.

I am pretty sure it was about 10deg F

Within a minute or two the valve was icing over and the flame went out. I started holding the valve in my hand and re-lit the stove. It worked ok but eventually (2 or 3 min) my hands cooled down and the valve would freeze.

So I just turned it back over and ran it upright and it worked fine. I used 3 cans over 3 full days worth of cooking.

Per day: 2 FB meals, 6- 8 cups of tea/coffee, melted snow for all 4 people (8L-ish).

so around 11L per day melted- boiling 3L or so.

I cant remember exactly how much we drank and stuff, but I'm pretty close I think. Overall I was pretty impressed how well it worked. It seemed like I was melting snow for hours! I guess I was...

PS: i turned over my 1300mL Caldera Cone and used it for my windscreen. Perfect! Oh man was it perfect- the hose goes out where the pot handles would otherwise be... the cone came up to the top of the pot and had about 1" clearance all the way around. Awesome.


Locale: Western Michigan
Stove Ignition Issues on 02/21/2011 17:44:05 MST Print View

Had an ignition issues with my Brunton Stove Stand, Snow Peak GST100 and Giga Power, 8oz, Snow Peak gas on two occasions. The stove in my situation would refuse to "come up" to its normal configuration though it did ignite the fuel but very weakly and for less than a second extinguishing itself. Also, I had on two occasions when the stove was burning at 100% if I turned the stove OFF reignition was impossible. I tried my back up warmed canister with no luck either. Tried evaluating many variables and the one that worked in my trial an error efforts was wiping off the burner screen when cooled with my liner glove……this was an accident on my part. This issue reappeared every time I shut off the stove on other occasions and I tried to reignite, with the solution of wiping the burner screen working. When I got home I dissemble the stove and did visual with a clean white tissue to find any dirt or residue. None was found.

I am hypnotizing in my case that the manufacturers “odorant” or very stinky chemical (usually a mercaptan) added to the to the gas as a safety measure so you can smell any leaks accumulated on the burner screen when I used the 8oz, Snow Peak gas container in an inverted position and would not let the gas escape. This might be the culprit that did you in.

Hikin' Jim

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Bad Gas Canister? on 02/22/2011 11:55:27 MST Print View

Weird one, Konrad.

Different stoves do have different lengths of pin in them. One time I had a canister not seat closed properly. I used a wooden shish kabab skewer to get it seated AND A PAIR OF GLOVES. (the gas coming out of the tank is freaking cold).

I would think a Ti tent stake if it were the right size, maybe a safety pin, anything of that type could be used. Don't know that would have helped you. Sounds like you just had a bad canister valve somehow.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Bad Gas Canister? on 02/22/2011 12:03:45 MST Print View

"Different stoves do have different lengths of pin in them."

I wonder if that is part of the reason why some stove manufacturers tell you to use only their brand of canister. No, that would be too easy.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
boil boil bubble trouble on 02/22/2011 13:25:02 MST Print View

you know you love jetboils now ;)

you pay about a 3-4 oz penalty by going with 2 smaller canisters vs a larger one ... more than worth it in winter IMO ... also makes em easier to stuff in yr puffay

Cesar Garcia
(crgowo) - F

Locale: Desert SW
quick question on 02/09/2012 14:25:32 MST Print View

Sorry to bring back this old post but wanted to ask how has your Primus Express Spider worked out for you. I was thinking of getting one for family trips and for winter trips.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Stove Ignition Issues on 02/09/2012 23:34:41 MST Print View

> I am hypnotizing in my case that the manufacturers “odorant” or very stinky chemical
> (usually a mercaptan) added to the to the gas as a safety measure so you can smell
> any leaks accumulated on the burner screen when I used the 8oz, Snow Peak gas
> container in an inverted position and would not let the gas escape. This might be the
> culprit that did you in.
I assume 'hypothesising' rather than 'hypnotising' ...

But otherwise, YES. I have noticed this problem with some brands of canister as well. In fact, if you look at you can see the gunge I found on one valve after using an inverted canister. I could readily imaging that this could block up the valve orifice or the jet. That was why I had disassembled the valve in that case anyhow.

Wiping the parts of the stove with a white tissue might not reveal the stuff either - it is white.

As to the other matters: yes, different stoves and different canisters all have slightly different valve and valve pin dimensions. I have spent hours measuring them! Annoying.

I notice that the first poster mentioned that there was a little hiss as he unscrewed the stove from the canister. That means that the pin on the stove was depressing the valve successfully.

Fwiiw, the Powermax canisters were always good for inverted use, and the French CampingGaz canisters were also always good. Well, the ones I bought in Europe were, anyhow. But there are brands which are not suitable.