Refilling Gas Canisters
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Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/19/2012 23:35:36 MST Print View

Of course it's possible to refill backpacking type gas canisters. But what are the real risks? What are the practicalities? Is it even worth it?



Please join me as I explore Refilling Gas Canisters

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
url on 01/19/2012 23:42:00 MST Print View

thank you!

Edited by JohnAbela on 01/20/2012 00:16:27 MST.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
hm on 01/19/2012 23:43:57 MST Print View

^

Edited by JasonG on 01/20/2012 12:02:00 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: url on 01/19/2012 23:54:52 MST Print View

Hi, John,

How's that? Happy to oblige.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: url on 01/19/2012 23:57:41 MST Print View

Thanks!! btw, I posted on your blog a quick thought. hit me after I posted... what about being able to transfer from one of those big 500g canisters down into one of the smaller 100g canisters. Those 500g canisters are about 8 bucks, while the 100g canisters are something like 5.50 up here where I live. Person could save some serious money by buying the big 500g canisters and transferring over to the 100g canisters.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: url on 01/20/2012 00:04:34 MST Print View

Hi, John,

The 450g threaded canisters cost $9.00 at the REI and Sport Chalet near me. The equivalent amount of butane is $2.50 (two 227g butane canisters at $1.25 each). I can save a good deal more money by refilling with butane.

There would definitely be advantages to refilling from the 450g canisters though -- you'd have a "four season" blend of gas rather than the "summer" gas that I'm using for refilling. However, you'd need a different refiller than the one I'm featuring in this particular blog post. That particular refiller for whatever reason (popularity?) is roughly double (ouch) the cost of the refiller I'm using.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
ouch on 01/20/2012 00:07:11 MST Print View

So realistically the average hiker (excluding the long distance hiker who happens to be using a canister system, which is getting rare these days) could likely go a season or two and never even begin to pay off the costs involved in the little connector.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 00:15:12 MST Print View

Jim: Small math error in the blog: "a gain of 21 g" after your brief refilling period should be "a gain of 41 g" (184-143=41). It's still all very clear what to do and what the precautions are.

I agree with your logic that if the fuel is much cheaper, you use your stove more. Maybe even take more hot showers on trips, which improves everyone's quality of life!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 00:19:09 MST Print View

Hi all

Just so there are no misunderstandings here. (It's called CYA.)

BPL does not endorse the refilling of gas canisters. Anyone doing that must accept full responsibility for their actions.

A tiresome disclaimer, I agree. But we have both experts and novices reading these pages. I hope you all understand.

Cheers

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: ouch on 01/20/2012 00:25:11 MST Print View

John: Yeah, if you're not using your stove a lot and/or don't want to play with the adapters, just stock on store-bought canisters. The payback would take a while.

In addition to BPing trips, I've gone from white gas to butane and propane stoves for canoeing trips and family mini-BPing trips to USFS cabins where we aren't trying to save fuel.

But for me, it's maybe a point of pride as a plumber, engineer and DIYer that I can repair my car, build my house, assemble a computer, refill my stove, etc. I keep methane, butane, propane, oxygen, CO2, helium, and a few dozen liquid chemicals on hand for home projects, science demos, etc.

I've also got a variety of buildings and locations at different temperatures, with and without any occupants. I wouldn't do as much as I do if I lived in an apartment, in a city, with neighbors within a few hundred yards.

Give a man a canister and he can cook for an hour. Teach him to use an adapter and he can play with his stock of empties for years!

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: ouch on 01/20/2012 00:25:30 MST Print View

John:

If 110g backpacking canisters are $5.00 each, 227g butane canisters are $1.25 each, and the refiller costs $37.00, then you break even just a little past eight 110g canisters.

If for example you bought ten 110g canisters, your cost would be $50.00. The equivalent amount of butane would be $6.25. Add in the cost of the refiller, and your total for butane is $43.25. So, if you use the equivalent of ten 110g canisters but use butane, you'd save $6.75. Any refills after that result in further savings of $8.75 per 227g canister of butane purchased. Paying $1.25 for $10.00 worth of fuel is pretty good. Refilling with butane is cheap.

On the other hand, if you bought a threaded refiller, you're paying $9.00 for the $20.00 worth of fuel, roughly the equivalent of four 110g canisters.

To compare the two:
Using 100% butane is $1.25 for $10.00 worth of fuel.
Using 450g threaded canisters is $4.50 for $10.00 worth of fuel.

Butane is significantly cheaper, and the butane refiller is half the cost of the threaded refiller. Consequently, it would take a lot longer to recoup the cost of a threaded refiller.

It's late, so I hope my math is right.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 00:28:59 MST Print View

Small math error in the blog: "a gain of 21 g" after your brief refilling period should be "a gain of 41 g" (184-143=41). It's still all very clear what to do and what the precautions are.
Now we see why David is the engineer and Jim is the blogger. :) (Thank you, David)

I agree with your logic that if the fuel is much cheaper, you use your stove more. Maybe even take more hot showers on trips, which improves everyone's quality of life!
Especially my tent mate's. ;)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Alan Bradley
(ahbradley)
Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor (3) be less hassle/safer? on 01/20/2012 06:47:47 MST Print View

Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor variant (of the one in your Butane adaptor III post) be less hassle/safer than refilling?

http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2012/01/butane-adapters-iii-upright-canister.html

The connector looks like it could do with something to fold into the canister notch and lock it: maybe if a big brand adopted such adaptors and required such improvements...

perhaps reduce the 79g adaptor weight (seems light enough anyway)

Edited by ahbradley on 01/20/2012 06:49:11 MST.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 06:58:19 MST Print View

Thanks, but no thanks. After all by the time I factor in fuel to get to and from the trailhead($50=last time) What is another dollar or two on a canister. I use up the partials car camping in the winter to run the lanterns and such. The empties get recycled. Easy peasy.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 10:53:29 MST Print View

Hi, Ken,

Yeah, definitely not for everyone. Now that I'm married and have a family, I find that 99% of my trips are local, and of those, the vast majority are only about a half hour's drive. Of course, I live in an area where there's lots of hiking opportunities. Not everyone will be in that situation. Anyway, it works for me, but as I say, not for everyone.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 11:00:59 MST Print View

Yes, it is not for everyone and can be dangerous if one is not careful.

But the important thing to me right now is Ken's avatar. So who is running the remote control and making the viewing decisions? Ken or his friend?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 11:32:56 MST Print View

Aren't they in a vehicle looking out? I suppose God then is in control of the view? ;)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 11:46:14 MST Print View

Jim,

Upon closer look and zoom, you are correct. At first it looked like a TV. Well, you and Ken shall experience this too eventually... it is the aging process.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 12:14:08 MST Print View

Already there. I tease you only because I understand it so well. :)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor (3) be less hassle/safer? on 01/20/2012 12:22:31 MST Print View

Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor variant (of the one in your Butane adaptor III post) be less hassle/safer than refilling?
I find that it's easier (at least for me) to do the fiddling at home rather than fiddling with an adapter in the field. Also the adapter weighs more (78g) than many stoves (MSR MicroRocket, 73g), so weight wise it doesn't appeal to me. But that equation will be different for different folks.

However, if one were out on a long distance hike, carrying the adapter would mean that one could use either type of fuel, which might be an advantage. I've seen the butane canisters in a lot of grocery stores, stores that I've never seen a BP'ing type canister in.

The connector looks like it could do with something to fold into the canister notch and lock it: maybe if a big brand adopted such adaptors and required such improvements...
Better still would be a proper stove, for example the ST-310 from Soto.


350g though. A tad on the heavy side. But it's a step in the right direction. I saw a lot of this type of stove in Japan when I was there about a year ago. The side laying butane canisters are quite a bit more popular there. They have multiple sizes, including a 100g size which I've never seen in the US.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Propane on 01/20/2012 13:12:17 MST Print View

Now the big question...

I saw that you can still find Bernzomatic PC8 Torches (i think with can) online. Is it possible to refill the PC8? Because that would then allow all that cool propane adapter stuff you talked about but without having to carry those beasts of a fuel canister.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Propane on 01/20/2012 13:36:00 MST Print View

You could refill those canisters (if you can find some). It would take a different refiller. Working with propane is a different game than working with butane. The risks are greater. I'm actually working on a post about that although I really have more just ideas and concepts. I have been practicing butane refilling for a couple of years. I haven't got that kind of experience behind propane refilling.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Propane on 01/20/2012 13:40:50 MST Print View

Jim: I've been refilling propane for years, but never butane. We're ying and yang. Or Click and Clack. Or Mutt and Jeff?

Anyway, you're welcome to shoot me your write-up if you want me to review it. I know you're not writing it for an audience like me (never do that!), but I'm happy to double-check it for you. I'm PM you my big mailbox address.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor (3) be less hassle/safer? on 01/20/2012 14:44:05 MST Print View

> for example the ST-310 from Soto.

Now that stove DOES worry me! There is no way with a stock unit to prevent the canister from getting a LOT of heat from the flames, especially with a large pot. Frightening to me. George would have been horrified.

Cheers

Alan Bradley
(ahbradley)
re SOTO stove on 01/20/2012 15:04:39 MST Print View

The SOTO website pictures show a heat deflector above the can, and the stove.

Perhaps a bigger wider circular heat reflector could be added, it looks quite a tall stove.

Hopefully they did the sums/tests...

but its a bit heavy anyway

Edited by ahbradley on 01/20/2012 15:22:37 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor (3) be less hassle/safer? on 01/20/2012 15:52:05 MST Print View

> for example the ST-310 from Soto.

Now that stove DOES worry me! There is no way with a stock unit to prevent the canister from getting a LOT of heat from the flames, especially with a large pot. Frightening to me. George would have been horrified.
Alan is correct. There does appear to be a heat shield and the stove does sit up fairly high.

Who is George?

HJ
Adventures In Stoving





Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Propane on 01/20/2012 16:04:50 MST Print View

David Thomas wrote: I've been refilling propane for years, but never butane. We're ying and yang. Or Click and Clack. Or Mutt and Jeff?
Or Laurel and Hardy? ;)

David Thomas wrote: Anyway, you're welcome to shoot me your write-up if you want me to review it. I know you're not writing it for an audience like me (never do that!), but I'm happy to double-check it for you. I'm PM you my big mailbox address.
I got your PM, and I may take you up on that. So far, I've got some concepts but no track record.

As we've discussed on other threads, I've got all the components for refilling, including a Brunton Fuel Tool. Add an adapter (either propane or butane) to the Bruton Fuel Tool, and you've got a makeshift refiller.


I've successfully refilled CV360 butane cartridges for some time (these are used for small hand torches and Rando 360 stoves) using the above set up.


The problem occurs when I try to refill something like a PowerMax canister.


The majority of the gas comes spurting right back up along the "needle" of the Brunton Fuel Tool. What is needed is a way to seal the valve area around the needle of the fuel tool. A rubber sleeve and "O" ring would probably do it, but I never got around to trying that.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Propane on 01/20/2012 16:18:07 MST Print View

>"The majority of the gas comes spurting right back up along the "needle" of the Brunton Fuel Tool."

Okay, well that torpedos my plans for that adapter I just ordered. Can't ever have too many adapters around the house, but maybe I should impose on some of my EAA (experimental aircraft association) buddies for some shop time. They have some serious shops! And use a lathe to make an adapter from each fuel type to 1/8" pipe thread. Then I can match anything to anything and really get in trouble.

Have you tried chilling the receiving canister first? I never saw it anywhere, but it just made sense to me and I've always done it for propane-propane transfers. And keeping the donor cartridge at room temp or a little above.

Of course I have 3 freezers (kitchen freeze at 10-15F for ready reserve stuff, in-house chest freezer at -5F for the next month of stuff, and the deep freeze at -15F to keep the sockeye fillets as fresh as possible for as long as possible) plus it's been -25F outside for too long this week so I can play with fuel canisters without Kristin noticing.

Back to your Brunton refiller: So that little stem is just a bit too small in diameter? Like by a few coats of paint? Hint. Hint. Or a thin film of 2-part epoxy painted on?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Propane on 01/20/2012 18:22:48 MST Print View

What I was thinking of for my ad hoc refiller is something like this:


The rubber around the "needle" of the fuel tube would seal against the valve assembly. I think.

Have you tried chilling the receiving canister first? I never saw it anywhere, but it just made sense to me and I've always done it for propane-propane transfers. And keeping the donor cartridge at room temp or a little above.

Yes. If you put the receiving canister in the freezer for 1/2 an hour, it helps tremendously. I've also used a freezer gel pack and wrapped that around the receiving canister. That helps also, although it's more fiddle. One can also dunk the donating canister in warm water. Judiciously. Overheating the canister would be a problem of course. But if the water is tolerable to the touch, then it's fine.

For rapid filling I use the chill-the-recipient and warm-the-donor method. The easiest is to hook it up and let it sit overnight, but that only works if you have a nice refiller like the one on my blog. If you're using the Brunton Fuel Tool as a refiller, the warm/chill method is the way to go.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Edited by hikin_jim on 01/20/2012 18:28:49 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Propane refilling on 01/20/2012 18:27:03 MST Print View

Interesting. You're going to seal the gap between the canister and the adapter. Whereas I was going to to make the "needle" a larger diameter. I don't have my adapter in hand yet, but I'll report in when I do.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Propane refilling on 01/20/2012 18:39:47 MST Print View

I'm sure there's a way to get it to work.

I still think this type of adapter is going to be a lot more convenient, but that's a tricky adapter because there needs to be a pin in either end to depress the Lindal valves. Also the valve in the middle is needed or else you'll be spraying fuel all over as soon as you detach one or the other of the canisters.


Just how good are these EAA guys? :)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Propane refilling on 01/20/2012 18:47:33 MST Print View

>"Just how good are these EAA guys? :)"

Jim, you get nervous when you light a new stove or transfer fuel.

These guys go up in airplanes they built from tubes and fabric or FG and resin. They're good or they're dead.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 18:47:40 MST Print View

Addenda:

The type of adapter shown immediately above is referred to as an NN type. "N" apparently means 7/16" UNEF. "NN" means that both ends are threaded to 7/16" UNEF.

I don't know who makes them. I see them on two different websites in Japan:
Tumekaekun
Alva

I talked to my wife, who is Japanese, and she wasn't able to easily discern the manufacturer, but it's been some time (a couple of years) since I talked to her about those two sites.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 18:52:58 MST Print View

These guys go up in airplanes they built from tubes and fabric or FG and resin. They're good or they're dead.
Yeah, I kind of figured.

Show them that adapter and see what they can do. That's the ideal.

Even though they're expensive I'm tempted to get one just so I can refuel the two Bernzomatic PowerCells that I managed to scrounge up. Still, probably close to $100 by the time shipping is paid. Ouch.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Propane on 01/20/2012 19:17:57 MST Print View

Hi Jim

Yes, your ad-hoc refiller would work. But put a little bit of pressure on the rubber.

What is meant to happen is for the thin spout to seal against the rubber flange just under the top of the metal nipple, but not all manufacturers have the same size hole in the rubber. You have met one which is too big.

Corollary: some combinations do not even need that O-ring you see in the base of most connectors. The rubber seals against the valve actuation pin, which is hollow in those cases. [eg CampingGaz and Powermax] But keep that O-ring in place, because you can be quite sure that whatever combination you take on your next trip will NOT seal!

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 01/21/2012 02:13:44 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Propane on 01/20/2012 22:04:58 MST Print View

Thank you, Roger.

I noticed that I was able to fill some canisters with no problems at all whereas with others the majority of the fuel went shooting into the air.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Another refiller on 04/12/2013 00:58:41 MDT Print View

I have had a heap of old gas canisters hanging around, not quite enough gas in them for my trips and I can only use up so many when playing with my stoves. When I purchased my Kovea Spider I noticed on the same seller's site this little device for connecting 2 screw thread canisters so I added it to the order.

Gas Saver

I have just tried out my new "Gas Saver" device and emptied 2 largely empty Elemental 230g canisters into another one and a 3rd into a small 110 gram canister.

While I do not recommend, or even suggest, anybody refill canisters themselves, I reserve my right to immolate myself at a time and in a manner of my own choosing.

I also solved the problem of stopping the canister from being overfilled. I remembered a solution to preventing a canister from over filling being suggested on bpl. That is to tip the canister being filled at an angle to the vertical to maintain an air gap between the top of the container and the lindal valve in the canister. The suggestion was that a 20% volume air gap was required. It was also stated that calculating this would be a nightmare.

I have derived the angle by experiment rather than calculation for the elemental 230g canisters. They seem to be identical in profile to KMart's CampMaster 227g canisters and no doubt other brands as well - these are Australian brands but made in Korea like just about all of them. Please note that this angle is dependent on the profile of the canister. It is also dependent on the pressure in the two canisters being equal but this would normally be the case (unless you were filling with pure propane).

I knocked a second hole in an empty canister next to the valve. I filled the canister with water and weighed it - 633g. Subtract the canister 131g to get a volume of 502cc (1/2 a litre). We want an air gap of 20% or 100cc, so I poured out 100 grams of water. I then tipped the canister while aligning it with a protractor and read off 35 degrees just as water started to escape from the hole next to the valve.
Canister filling angle

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Another refiller on 04/12/2013 11:22:49 MDT Print View

To avoid overfill you could do it by weight.

Make sure re-filled canister is 13 ounces (or whatever) or less. Weigh the from and to canisters to see how much they each have and calculate if it's too much. etc.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Another refiller on 04/12/2013 15:20:05 MDT Print View

I'm probably looking at this wrong but how does that device even work? My only experience with anything like this is using a cascading system of several O2 tanks at various PSIs at the fire department to fill up our O2 bottles after a call. Obviously with this system, if the receiving bottle has a higher PSI than the tank then you end up losing O2 back into the tank vs filling the bottle.

As a person who's lost his eyebrows and melted his eyelashes together a couple times, I really shouldn't even consider refilling a canister.

EDIT my asumption is that the device would equalize the presure between the two canisters if there wasn't a pump to transfer the remaining gas.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 04/12/2013 15:22:40 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Another refiller on 04/12/2013 15:32:17 MDT Print View

Take the one you want to fill and put it in freezer. When cold, take it out, connect canisters with the one you want to fill on the bottom, open valve.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Liquid on 04/12/2013 15:35:36 MDT Print View

Since you are transferring liquid so gravity will cause the liquid to flow "down hill". Having a higher pressure in the source vessel just speeds things up as the pressure differential helps push the liquid. This is different from the cascade system for transferring gas. In that case, yes, you can only transfer until the pressure equalizes.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Duh! on 04/12/2013 16:05:03 MDT Print View

That makes perfect sense. Forgot the obvious which is that this fuel is in a liquid state in the canister.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Another refiller on 04/17/2013 12:30:00 MDT Print View

I have had a heap of old gas canisters hanging around, not quite enough gas in them for my trips and I can only use up so many when playing with my stoves. When I purchased my Kovea Spider I noticed on the same seller's site this little device for connecting 2 screw thread canisters so I added it to the order.

I have just tried out my new "Gas Saver" device and emptied 2 largely empty Elemental 230g canisters into another one and a 3rd into a small 110 gram canister.

While I do not recommend, or even suggest, anybody refill canisters themselves, I reserve my right to immolate myself at a time and in a manner of my own choosing.

I also solved the problem of stopping the canister from being overfilled. I remembered a solution to preventing a canister from over filling being suggested on bpl. That is to tip the canister being filled at an angle to the vertical to maintain an air gap between the top of the container and the lindal valve in the canister. The suggestion was that a 20% volume air gap was required. It was also stated that calculating this would be a nightmare.

I have derived the angle by experiment rather than calculation for the elemental 230g canisters. They seem to be identical in profile to KMart's CampMaster 227g canisters and no doubt other brands as well - these are Australian brands but made in Korea like just about all of them. Please note that this angle is dependent on the profile of the canister. It is also dependent on the pressure in the two canisters being equal but this would normally be the case (unless you were filling with pure propane).

I knocked a second hole in an empty canister next to the valve. I filled the canister with water and weighed it - 633g. Subtract the canister 131g to get a volume of 502cc (1/2 a litre). We want an air gap of 20% or 100cc, so I poured out 100 grams of water. I then tipped the canister while aligning it with a protractor and read off 35 degrees just as water started to escape from the hole next to the valve.
Mark,

I too had noticed that G Works canister refiller. I like it. I think it should be pretty safe when refilling like to like. What I mean by "like to like" is that refilling, say, a 70/30 butane/propane canister from another 70/30 butane/canister should be pretty safe, so long as one is careful to not overfill -- which with your angled refilling should never happen. I think that's pretty good how you've worked out the angle. Of course I'd want to confirm by weight as well.

The one little thing that keeps tugging at the back of my mind is that a bit of water vapor might get inside the canister as one refills. That water vapor might cause some type of internal corrosion, corrosion that could not be seen from the outside. I haven't ever had this happen, though, and in the several years now that I've been refilling canisters with cheap 100% butane, I've never had an issue of any kind. I do limit refills per canister to about a dozen. After 12 refills, it's off to the recycle bin.

The advantage of course of the G Works adapter that you have shown is that one can refill with better mixes. With the refiller that I showed in the orginal post of this thread, one can only refill with 100% butane, a poor mix for colder weather. With the G works adapter, one can use a fresh 450g can of, say, 80/20 isobutane/propane to refill a 110g canister. The receiving canister should also have an 80/20 mix since the refilling is done in liquid form. An 80/20 isobutane/propane mix beats the heck out of 100% butane in colder weather although 100% butane is generally fine for temperatures above 50F/10C, and 100% butane is very, very cheap (at least here in Los Angeles it is).

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
You can achieve a propane/butane fill on 04/17/2013 17:08:11 MDT Print View

You can achieve a 30% propane 70% butane fill by sorting out the angles. When the canister is vertical (on it's side you) should get a 50% fill so turning it to say 5-10 degrees off vertical should achieve about a 60% fill. For this part of the fill use butane although I have found some very cheap 220g isobutane mix canisters. Turn to 35 degrees and fill with propane up to the 80% level. 33% propane, 67% butane fill.

For the propane filling Kovea produces a propane bottle to screw lindal valve adapter which has a pressure regulator in it should overcome most of the high propane pressure issues.
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/KOVEA-LPG-ADAPTER-for-over-3kg-LPG-Gas-Tank-MADE-KOREA-/140906972077?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20ceb5c3ad#ht_6132wt_1163

I am going to have a play with this now we are moving into winter down here. Less problems with canisters getting too hot.

Standard disclaimer.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: You can achieve a propane/butane fill on 04/17/2013 17:20:19 MDT Print View

lol.

Yes, I thought of that too. If you get a butane adapter like this:


You can connect it to the refiller you linked to:


and fill up to 70% with butane.

Then hook up a propane adapter like the one you pointed out:


and fill the remaining 30% with propane.

Dangerous as all get out if overdo it, but the capability is there. Safer I think to just transfer from one standard backpacking type canister to the other with pre-mixed blends.

Of course, for the very brave, you can "spike" your mix with extra propane. If you keep the canister cold, it should be OK, but you'd want to be EXTREMELY assiduous about keeping that canister cold. Forget and leave it in your pack when you come back to your nice warm home, and... Well, it might be bad anyway. Opens up a lot of possibilities and a lot of dangers at the same time.

Now, I can make my own winter blends though. Quite interesting.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
cheap butane canisters on 04/17/2013 18:32:47 MDT Print View

I saw "Burton" butane 220g canisters at Fred Meyer for $2.50

I used those last summer and they worked fine above 35F or so

Makes refilling less cost effective

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Re: on 04/17/2013 21:09:12 MDT Print View

When refilling a part used blended fuel canister from another part used canister is that the propane percentage, and to a lesser extent the isobutane component, are decreasing as the canister is used. What started out as a 30% propane canister becomes when half full about a 10% propane mix. Thus decanting part used canisters will lead to a rapid reduction in the percentage of propane. This is less true if you always run in inverted mode. For summer this doesn't matter too much, but for winter keeping the propane percentage up is far more important.

I would only use the proposed method when I start with a totally empty canister (known propane content of 0%) and it would need monitoring by weighing the canister after filling with butane and also after adding the propane to ensure the canister is not overfilled. I also agree that the canisters should only be refilled a few times. I plan to discard after 10 refills or if the canister shows any sign of rust or damage.

I terms of payback, 230g canister cost on average $10 in Australia. I purchased a case of isobutane blend 220g canisters for $0.67 per canister so every refill saves me $9.30. I only need to refill 3 times to break even on the cost of my gas saver.

Edited by KramRelwof on 04/17/2013 21:14:18 MDT.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: cheap butane canisters on 04/17/2013 23:44:48 MDT Print View

I saw "Burton" butane 220g canisters at Fred Meyer for $2.50

I used those last summer and they worked fine above 35F or so

Makes refilling less cost effective
Jerry,

Are those standard screw threaded canisters? Directly compatible with backpacking stoves? if so, that's a heck of a price. Can't touch a 220g canister here in Los Angeles for less than $5.

I get 227g butane in the bayonet connector canisters for $1.00 at the dollar store, but 110g canisters are $4.00 at the cheapest. If I refill with butane, my cost goes from $4.00 ea. to $0.50 ea. I've recovered the cost of my refiller many times over.

Still, to be honest, it's a bit of a hassle to refill. Refilling to save money may not be all that attractive to most. I like to experiment with stove related things (if that wasn't obvious by now). :)

The idea however of being able to "spike" a canister with a higher percentage of propane, now that's a very attractive idea to me. If one were assiduous about not letting the canister get hot, higher percentage blends of propane would be reasonably safe. Higher percentage propane blends means I don't have to take a white gas stove. That could be nice.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: cheap butane canisters on 04/18/2013 07:40:43 MDT Print View

Yeah, those are regular canisters like Giga Power or MSR.

I used a couple last summer and they worked fine with my Pocket Rocket.

Regular 220g canisters of iso-butane cost $5.50 I think. Price keeps increasing. $2.50 for butane seems like a deal. As long as you won't be using it below 30 or 35 F.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 04/18/2013 10:37:04 MDT Print View

When refilling a part used blended fuel canister from another part used canister is that the propane percentage, and to a lesser extent the isobutane component, are decreasing as the canister is used. What started out as a 30% propane canister becomes when half full about a 10% propane mix. Thus decanting part used canisters will lead to a rapid reduction in the percentage of propane. This is less true if you always run in inverted mode. For summer this doesn't matter too much, but for winter keeping the propane percentage up is far more important.
Agreed. For summer use, simply consolidating partial canisters into a single full (or nearly full) canister makes a great deal of sense and should be pretty safe and hassle free. If the sum of the weights of the gas in the partials is no greater than the capacity of the receiving canister, then overfilling is impossible and the process is intrinsically safer.

When I refill, I often transfer gas from 227g bayonet connector 100% butane canisters to 227g threaded connector backpacking canisters. Overfilling is impossible.

I would only use the proposed method when I start with a totally empty canister (known propane content of 0%) and it would need monitoring by weighing the canister after filling with butane and also after adding the propane to ensure the canister is not overfilled. I also agree that the canisters should only be refilled a few times. I plan to discard after 10 refills or if the canister shows any sign of rust or damage.
Yes. I would only add propane to a blend where I started with an empty canister and then added butane or isobutane of a known quantity to that empty canister. Adding propane to a canister already containing an unknown quantity of propane could be quite dangerous -- even if one were to stay within the capacity limits by weight of the canister. A fuel blend with an unknown percentage of propane could easily have a higher vapor pressure than the canister is rated for. That might be, well, bad.

I terms of payback, 230g canister cost on average $10 in Australia. I purchased a case of isobutane blend 220g canisters for $0.67 per canister so every refill saves me $9.30. I only need to refill 3 times to break even on the cost of my gas saver.
Yipes! That's roughly double the cost here where I live. That's very nearly robbery.

I take it the case of isobutane canisters you bought are cylindrical, yes? If they were the typical dome shaped canisters, then there would be little incentive to transfer the contents. They would be fine though for a remote canister stove, but only in warm weather since cylindrical canisters would be difficult to invert for cold weather.

That's really nice that you can get isobutane there in Australia in such affordable canisters. I've never seen anything like it here in the US. We have 100% propane, 100% butane, and that's about it (other than backpacking specific canisters). Isobutane is simply unavailable.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: cheap butane canisters on 04/18/2013 11:25:39 MDT Print View

Yeah, those are regular canisters like Giga Power or MSR.

I used a couple last summer and they worked fine with my Pocket Rocket.

Regular 220g canisters of iso-butane cost $5.50 I think. Price keeps increasing. $2.50 for butane seems like a deal. As long as you won't be using it below 30 or 35 F.
[emphasis added]
30 or 35F with 100% butane? (around freezing) Hmm. Actually, I'd feel more comfortable at 50F/10C (at sea level; you can go 2F degrees colder per 1000 feet above sea level).

Why? Well, you need to be about 10F (5C) degrees above the boiling point of the fuel in order to have decent power. Butane boils at 31F. If you're at 30 to 35F, then the stove might kinda sorta run, but it'll be tough to get water to boil because your flame will be really puny and weak.

OK, so 10F/5C degrees above the boiling point would be 40F/5C. Why then would I recommend 50F/10C? Well, the canister cools from within as you use it. If you start at 40F/5C, the canister temperature will quickly fall below a really usable point. Starting at 50F/10C means even if your canister temperature falls by 10F/5C degrees, you'll still have decent power.

Of course if you do things to warm the canister, you can go colder.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Propane to Backpacking Compatible Canisters on 04/18/2013 12:35:50 MDT Print View

Now the big question...

I saw that you can still find Bernzomatic PC8 Torches (i think with can) online. Is it possible to refill the PC8? Because that would then allow all that cool propane adapter stuff you talked about but without having to carry those beasts of a fuel canister.
Yes. With the adapter that Mark is showing, one can refill the PC8 type canisters. You would need to combine it with a propane to 7/16 UNEF adapter like the one I show a couple of posts back. Attach the propane-to-7/16 adapter to the one Mark is showing, open up the valve, and you can refill a PC8. I have two of the oh-so-precious PC-8's. Yes, I went out an bought one of the adapters Mark is showing.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: cheap butane canisters on 04/18/2013 14:12:18 MDT Print View

Okay 30 F not so good. 40 F should be okay. I was using it last year at something like that.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: cheap butane canisters on 04/18/2013 14:26:38 MDT Print View

Jerry,

That should work if you keep the canister temperature from going any lower.

Too bad there aren't any Fred Meyers in my area. Sigh.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: cheap butane canisters on 04/18/2013 14:54:49 MDT Print View

I've never really had a need to refill canisters.
If I want cheap gas in the summer, I use the 227g bayonet butane canister with the Kovea KA-N9504 adapter and my remote canister stove. For the rest of the year I use 175g screw top canisters which contain 30% or 35% propane. When used inverted, these work at a MUCH lower temperature than my sleeping bag is capable of keeping me warm!
I do 1 and 2 night trips and numerous day trips when I leave the stove in the car to make a brew when I get back, so using up partially empty canisters is never a problem.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
better winter gas on 04/18/2013 17:32:09 MDT Print View

I've never really had a need to refill canisters.
If I want cheap gas in the summer, I use the 227g bayonet butane canister with the Kovea KA-N9504 adapter and my remote canister stove. For the rest of the year I use 175g screw top canisters which contain 30% or 35% propane. When used inverted, these work at a MUCH lower temperature than my sleeping bag is capable of keeping me warm!
I do 1 and 2 night trips and numerous day trips when I leave the stove in the car to make a brew when I get back, so using up partially empty canisters is never a problem.
Perfectly reasonable.

It's the siren's song of better winter gas that really calls me. Those 175g canisters aren't available in the US, and Coleman Max/Powermax has been discontinued. I've got but two precious PC8 226g 100% propane backpacking stove compatible canisters. I either refill them or have to part with them.

The 100% butane refilling is interesting and cost effective. It's also a good weight saver for those who don't have access to a Stuart Robb UL remote canister stove. ;)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: better winter gas on 04/18/2013 17:55:09 MDT Print View

> The 100% butane refilling is interesting and cost effective.
But sadly not winter-effective.
Sigh.

I am NOT throwing my empty Powermax canisters out!

Cheers

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Refueling powermax canisters on 04/18/2013 17:56:45 MDT Print View

There is an adapter for this? Where can I get one?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Refueling powermax canisters on 04/18/2013 18:40:48 MDT Print View

Adapters for Powermax canisters ... sorry, but MYOG.
I don't think either Alva (jp) or Tumekaen (jp) make anything suitable - but I might be mistaken. I can't read their web sites.

Caution: refilling is officially prohibited, by the lawyers.

Cheers

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Refueling powermax canisters on 04/18/2013 18:48:34 MDT Print View

Larry,

There is an adapter for refilling PowerMax canisters. It's available from Japan. It's expensive though and only refills with 100% butane -- which defeats the whole purpose of PowerMax canisters (winter efficacy). I can't recommend it.

So far, I haven't come up with anything except some kludgey stuff, but I'll keep trying.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving