Refilling Gas Canisters
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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: Orange County, 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: Orange County, 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: Orange County, 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: Orange County, 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: Orange County, 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: Orange County, 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: Orange County, 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: Orange County, 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: Orange County, 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