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I've had my motorhome for just over a year and I use 7Kg Butane (blue) for the gas supply. I have just realised, however, that this can be a problem in winter.

Apparently, Butane will only work when the tempreture is above minus 4 degrees celcius, as this is the evaporation tempreture of the liquified gas. I also notice that as the gas is used, the tempeture of the bottle goes down (release of pressure refrigeration stuff). On cold nights, the gas just stops flowing.

The calor gas supplier says that I should use Propane (orange bottle). I would be interested if anyone has any experience of this and is there any price or other drawbacks with propane ? The weights are different for the same size. Does it last the same ?
 

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Most all year motorhomers and ralliers use propane rather than butane to save messing about in cold weather.
Flow is reduced as temperature lowers not always down to freezing and could give the impression of an empty cylinder.
There is not a lot of difference in performance between the two and you shouldnt notice any difference. Before the pro butane brigade come back arguing, if I have to I should be able to show you figures as I spent my working life in the compressed/idustrial gas business and I probably still have tech data sheets about somewhere.
 

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The biggest obvious difference (apart from the bottle colour :) )in use is the regulator if you use the 6.5/7 kg size.

The regulators are not interchangeable between Butane and Propane.
The Butane bottle takes a clip on fitting and is easy to swop between bottles even in a restricted gas compartment.
With Propane you need a LH screw fitting and it's more difficult to swop over and usually means taking at least one bottle out of the compartment. Why is it these darn bottles always run out when making the first cup of tea in the morning!?

We use 2 Propane bottles each with its own regulator and feed a manual change over switch mounted on the side wall of the gas compartment in order to make changing over more convenient.

Gillian
 

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Hi,

Couple of points:

The regulator fixings on these bottles do indeed come with the snap-on fixing, however, just as common it also comes with a threaded coupling, but unlike the Propane bottle it has a male thread, where as the propane bottle has a female thread, hence the requirement for different regulators.

A point worth remembering is that ALL inflammable gas bottles are fitted with left-hand threaded coupling. So all non-inflammable gas's like compressed air, oxygen, carbon dioxide etc have the more common right-hand thread.

With regard to the outside ambient temperature and which gas to use all depends on your particular vehicle set-up. Most Motorhomes have external gas lockers with no thermal insulation which can easily be effected by the outside temperature. Another consideration is where your gas pipes are routed. If they are routed under the vehicle, they will be directly effected by the outside temperatures. Some vehicles don't strictly comply with inflammable gas storage regulations and are effectively stored within the vehicle, therefore these would be less susceptible to the outside temperature (subject to the routing of the gas piping installation).

I hope the above helps you decide on whether you need to take appropriate action.
 

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Steve, thanks for adding to my pool of knowledge.

We have been caravanning and subsequently motorhoming since 1974. We have mainly used the 6.5/7 kg size except for the odd Camping Gaz when abroad or the 13kg Propane. I have never come across the screw type regulator for 7kg Butane probably because the need to buy a new regulator occurs very infrequently.

Thanks again for adding to my information bank.

Gillian
 

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Gillian, May I ask why you purchase new regs on a regular basis?
__________________________________________________

Heres more info.

I forgot to say left-hand gas fittings have notches machined in to the corners as shown on the following two pickies


Female fitting, normally found on butane regulators


Male fitting, normally found on propane regulators
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Types of gas regulators


Butane screw on regulator with female thread.


Butane clip-on regulator (as refered to by Gillian above).


CaminGaz (butane) regulator.


Propane regulator with male thread.


Propane clip-on regulator as normally used with barbeque equipment and outside heaters.
_________________________________________________________

I hope the above helps you identify what you have and what you need for any conversions.
 

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Averywildwildcamper said:
Gillian, May I ask why you purchase new regs on a regular basis?
Irregular basis, I think.

We started using Butane in 1974 when we bought a 2nd hand caravan which came complete with 2 bottles.
At some later date we started rallying with the Lunar owners Club and as we rallied through the winter we obtained Propane bottles and bought a regulator to match.
I seem to remember some years ago that the older snap-on type were thought not to be safe enough and we bought another snap-on Butane regulator.We had the bottles to use and exchanging blue for red and vice versa wasn't as easy as it is now.
When a few years ago we bought a motorhome we bought another Propane regulator so that we could connect 2 regulators to a changeover switch in the gas compartment.

Gosh, that made me think! :)

Gillian
 

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I'm sorry Steve, I forgot to say thank you for your information.

None of us are too old to learn (look at me on the computer at 70) and it is only by stimulating debate, information sufaces which can turn out to be extremely useful.

Gillian
 

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There is a requirement that industrial gas regulators are inspected yearly. Not all are but there again these are built in superior materials to the LP regulators we all use in our vans.
It is my opinion that few if any dealers test the actual regulator when they do the habitation service and that includes the well known manufacturer who has a string of service centres in their group. If they do I would be happy for them to explain how they test these devices and if a competant person does this.
I think any caravanner who changes the regulator on a regular basis say every couple of years or in fact has a change over unit be it manual or automatic where the regulator use is reduced is very wise
Lets face it a single stage industrial propane regualtor is probably around 60GBP or more, how much do you pay for the one in your van that you rely on for Your safety
 

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While we've never changed the regulators over as a matter of course we certainly change the rubber pipe at least every two years.
We don't wait for it to look worn.

Interesting what you say about testing of regulators. I've never heard of that before.

Gillian
 

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Why Butane??

When we got our Trident earlier this year we imediatley went for Porpane since we are all yearers (sic) but even if we werent I dont understand why anyone would go for Butane. The performance is effectivley identical so why run the risk of the freezing?

"Sorry dear we can't enjoy our £30K+ pride and joy this weekend, the thermometer is too low."

This isn't a critisism of you Butane heads, I suppose tradition has alot to do with it.

Has Butane been around for longer than Propane??
 

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Like a lot of things in life, I think with the equipment used in a domestic situation its tends to be a case of if its not broke, don’t fix it, especially as they have no knowledge of the item.

Moving on its also probably a case of keeping costs to a minimum. As dodger rightly points out industrial regulators used with Oxyacetylene welding/cutting equipment are around the 60GBP, but they are even much cheaper as a service exchange item, and these are two stage regulators. As the regulators we use are so cheap in comparison to the industrial units, its not worth anyone setting up a service exchange service. But as most of the units are crimped together, they are considered disposable. If you are replacing your unit and disposing of the old unit, its probably best to drill a hole through it to avoid anyone else giving it a second life.

Perhaps it would help if manufacturers/test houses stamped them with a test and retest date …. but, I suppose we’ll have to rely on information exchanges like MotorhomeFacts.com to make people aware of likely issues with their MH.

Going back to my earlier question of asking Gillian why she purchased new regs on a regular basis, was to see what reasons she had, to discover if it was because of poor seals or exhausted life etc. as I may have been able to give some additional help.

With regard to the pickies on my earlier post, the male propane fittings come either with or without an ‘O’ ring seal. The ones without the ‘O’ ring will suffer from leakages if the male cone has any sort of scratches on it, as it relies upon a metal to metal seal, and therefore needs unblemished mating surfaces. The fittings with ‘O’ rings can suffer from flattening of the ‘O’ ring over a period of time and as a consequence will suffer from poor sealing capabilities. Camping outlets may sell new ‘O’ ring for the regulators at a price, but from an industrial supplier they will only be pence. Industrial supplier = Bearing supplies, Hydraulic hose supplies, occasionally fixing suppliers, or better still have a chat with any good mechanic/engineer who normally have boxes of various sizes in their stores.

With regard to choice of gas, its all a matter of availability. I try to support my village post office/store as much as possible, they like many other village supplier don’t stock propane. So which do I use? But also my bottle storage and gas installation is not susceptible to extremes in negative temperature.
 

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It just goes to show everyone has their own individual reasons for their choice of gas. Its only with discussions like the above that we can all get a fuller picture of each others reasons.
 
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