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View Full Version : Manifolding propane cylinders together



moya034
06-21-2008, 02:15 AM
What do you need to safely manifold propane cylinders together and use 1 regulator? I was thinking it would be nice to have a setup that would let you replace one cylinder while another one is going, so even if you run low, you don't have to interrupt your furnace (or kiln) operation.

Fun fact: I've seen pictures of multiple safety valve systems, so maintenance can be preformed to one safety valve without shutting the whole pressurized system down.

HAVEHEATWILLCAST1
06-21-2008, 03:37 AM
DK, when they plumed the place I worked at for a big tank they used what looked like plain'o water pipe, galvanized fittings and all :shock:
The pipe was black. It was checked out and put in by people who do that type of stuff so ..... I DK if a ball valve in each line is all you need or not.

I look at some BBQ hook-ups and wonder how people keep from blowing themselfs up. :!:

A good place to see about it would be a RV or mobile home center.
( Most have two tanks. )

welder19
06-21-2008, 03:39 AM
Just put a tee on your reg. and a valve on each side and then out of each valve run a hose to each tank.

welder19

Jammer
06-21-2008, 04:39 AM
I used to have a camper that had 2 bottles it had a single three-way valve.
You could shut off one tank and remove it while you were using the other.
The RV dealer would be the place to check, probably high dollar.
2 tank connectors, 2 gas valves and a tee is going to cost, too.

moya034
06-21-2008, 04:44 AM
Is there a place that sells fittings necessary to go into a propane tank, with a normal NPT output on the outside? With that, using propane approved pipe, fittings, valves, and pipe dope, I could easily put a system together.

I would also need a fitting that allows me to hook up the regulator. Oh wait, I just realized valves from propane tanks have 3/4" pipe threads on them. You could pipe everything to a 3/4" pipe, with a coupler, and a standard propane tank valve on the end where you can hook up your regulator. Or is there a better fitting for that purpose?

Also, at typical temps, what's the unregulated PSI of propane?

Edit, having a way hook up, and use up old disposable propane cylinders would be neat too. I have a bunch, and I almost never use propane torches anyway.

moya034
06-21-2008, 04:52 AM
While we're talking about non-standard fuel gas equipment, Has anybody seen any air-natural gas handheld torches for heating or soldering? I've been looking on the internet and been having a hard time finding some.

I'd like something that hooks right up to my nat gas pipes for doing small work in my basement shop.

Oxy-natural gas equipment might be interesting but I dont know how much of a use I'd have for it in the basement, and I don't know how I feel about keeping an oxygen cylinder in the basement. I suppose its' not much of a concern really, I used to keep a small acetylene cylinder in the basement for years, till I started using it outside more often.

Also, air is cheaper :)

Jammer
06-21-2008, 05:02 AM
Now you've lost me.
Are you talking about going into the tank below the valve? If you do that, I doubt if you'll find anyone to fill the tanks. With the new valve regs I'm sure it would be illegal.
If your talking the threads inside the valve, they are left handed for gas.

einstein
06-21-2008, 05:03 AM
Propane isn't a fussy substance, you can put it at tank pressure through black iron pipe fittings without any trouble as long as your threads are tight. Basically just give each tank port it's own ball valve to shut it off, and then collect all these into a common pipe that feeds the regulator.

The result would be something like this:




T---V---|
T---V---|
T---V---|---R-- ------------------------------------->Burner
T---V---|
T---V---|




Which would give you five tanks in parallel, with the ability to replace them without shutting down.

I recommend using a very long pipe between the regulator and burner though, because whenever a tank is changed it will release a cloud of gas from between the tank valve and the manifold valve, and you need to keep it well away from anything hot.

Probably 10-20 feet crosswind (NOT Directly downwind, as sparks from the furnace could reach it) would be safe as long as you were careful how much propane got released each time.

As for handheld torches, it's cheaper to just get a common propane-air or mapp-air soldering torch, they're as cheap as $5.99 around here at least and work reasonably well. I even discovered that I could use a hose clamp as a choke on my mapp gas torch and run it on propane when I didn't need to use the expensive hot stuff with it.

Though you might be able to obtain an old laboratory bunsen burner. They're usually usable on natural gas, as that is what most high school and college labs burn. I've adapted mine to propane, it's easy enough given that it has no venturi and the orifice on mine is an adjustable needle.

A fixed orifice with a venturi might be more fussy though.

moya034
06-21-2008, 05:04 AM
Jammer:

Oh hell no.

I'm talking about hooking into the valve with the proper fittings. so you can then run pipe from that.

I'm also talking about a fitting for hooking up the regulator to standard pipe.

Einstein:

What you're talking about is exactly what I have in mind, I'm asking about the necessary tank and regulator fittings I need to do it.

Didn't know I can run nat gas through a propane or mapp torch, that should make life easier. All I need is a nat gas regulator, and a hose with the right fittings on either end.

einstein
06-21-2008, 05:12 AM
Einstein:

What you're talking about is exactly what I have in mind, I'm asking about the necessary tank and regulator fittings I need to do it.

Didn't know I can run nat gas through a propane or mapp torch, that should make life easier. All I need is a nat gas regulator, and a hose with the right fittings on either end.

I don't know about Natural Gas in a propane torch, the jets would be wrong and the pressure would be too low.

What I was talking about was the old-style laboratory bunsen burners, I have one that I refitted for propane since I don't have Natural Gas out here. You could probably pick one up cheap, they aren't quite as hot as a MAPP torch but still do get nice and toasty with practice.

Then again, perhaps if you customize the orifice of a propane torch and install a hose clamp as a choke, you could make a workable natural gas one out of it. I would just as soon use it unmodified on propane, maybe hook up a 20lb tank to feed it if you need more runtime than a 1lb can give you.

As for your manifold, there are two ways to do it.
One is flare-nut copper with brass fittings.
The other is NPT black iron.

Pretty much, of those two materials as long as your fittings don't leak, the hardware is standard Tees, valves elbows and all that. Only fancy thing you will need is the ACME adapter, which some plumbing shops like my favorite one downtown sell, and whatever fittings it takes to couple onto it.

As for the valves, any gas-rated ball valve of suitable pressure rating should work, though I usually find that ball valves for water perform just as well and are usually rated for higher pressures. You want the valves to be quick opening and closing, let the regulator handle the metering.

Jammer
06-21-2008, 05:15 AM
Any place that sells propane acc. should have the fittings for the valve. I think they are 1/4" NPT. Then you can build from there, Like Einstein showed.

HAVEHEATWILLCAST1
06-21-2008, 05:43 AM
Is there a place that sells fittings necessary to go into a propane tank, with a normal NPT output on the outside?

Also, at typical temps, what's the unregulated PSI of propane?

Edit, having a way hook up, and use up old disposable propane cylinders would be neat too. I have a bunch, and I almost never use propane torches anyway.Yes, they sell just the fitting that hooks to the tank.
A good way to get one is to pick-up an old BBQ grill.
Melt the Al and brass, save the fitting. Some would have the new type with OD threads if you want to go that way.
Most of them will have a smaller hole piece inside but you can drill it out for more flow.
All I have seen have 1/4 m pipe threads like gos to a reg.

Don't try to go under the valve, the dip tube would be in the way anyhow.

Propane will run 120 or so psi it depends on how hot it is.
A low tank and cold weather will have you not getting out as much as your useing. Putting the tank in a bucket of warm water (not hot) helps this. Two tanks will too, a lot if both are on, even more so than 1 bigger tank because of the surface area.

Anon uses old disposable propane cylinders to melt in, I have for lead.



While we're talking about non-standard fuel gas equipment, Has anybody seen any air-natural gas handheld torches for heating or soldering?Hey we are building burners here you know. :P
Something like Daggoth's wand burner should work.
http://daggoth.smugmug.com/photos/144993220_jogiZ-S.jpg
http://daggoth.smugmug.com/gallery/2719652_VHYrP#144993220_jogiZ

I see others have posted so get what you can out-of this, If I made any grate mistakes, lets me knows. :lol:

anickode
08-05-2008, 03:41 PM
hey, I see this thread is a little old, but I was poking around the plumbing section at Lowe's and they have the reverse threaded propane nut and stem with a 1/4 inch pipe thread at the other end. It'd work with any propane tank since even the new OPD valves still have the small reverse threads inside. Plumb it all together with flexible copper tubing and flare fittings, then make a manifold that ends up with a 3/4 inch female pipe fitting. Screw a propane tank valve into that fitting and you have a place for the regulator to attach directly. It'd end up set up like a cascade system similar to whats used for filling scuba tanks.

http://www.americanairworks.com/images/cas-reg_01.jpg[/img]

Bobnova
08-05-2008, 04:00 PM
Thats a good call, that'd probably be cheaper then finding and buying the proper old RV manifolds.

HAVEHEATWILLCAST1
08-05-2008, 04:09 PM
A 3/4 inch female pipe fitting would have right hand threads.
You can get left ones but pay though to nose for them and still not have the taper inside.

Just use a 1/4 "T" on the reg and come off of it to the others, like the center ones use in your pic.

I save the OPD valve fitting off old BBQs because it would be easyer to be able to hand tighten them to a tank and they would work good for this but you need to drill out the small hole thingy they have. (no biggy to do)

Don't forget a cut off valve for each tank or you would still have to stop to change tanks and the tanks need to be a good way from the furnace to change one with it running.

anickode
08-05-2008, 10:52 PM
I did not mean to screw pipe threads into the valves, Use the propane nut and stem for that. I meant at the end of your cascade, put a female pipe thread 3/4 inch fitting so you can put a propane tank valve on that, and attach your OPD or whatever regulator you're using directly to that final valve.

HAVEHEATWILLCAST1
08-06-2008, 01:14 AM
Well ok then, that will work. :D
It would be a cut off for the whole lot of tanks.

Ron Smith
08-06-2008, 01:21 PM
While we're talking about non-standard fuel gas equipment, Has anybody seen any air-natural gas handheld torches for heating or soldering? I've been looking on the internet and been having a hard time finding some.

back in '87 when i worked at a radiator repair shop we used NG and compressed air for our torch to solder the radiators, was a very simple setup

try looking up auto radiator repair places and see if you can find out where they buy their torches

as far as connecting several propane tanks together, just get the gas fittings to hook up to the tanks, then use pipe tee's and elbow's and pipe to connect however many together that you want

i did it with four 20 pound tanks to keep them from icing up on me during long melts, the only drawback was, if you open all the tanks up they will all slowly level themselves to the same amount of propane
in other words, if you have 5 tanks, 2 of them are completely full and the other 3 are half full, the full tanks will fill the emptyer tanks untill they are all at the same level
when i did it all my tanks ran out of gas at the same time, and that was starting with 2 full tanks a 2 half full ones

all it does is give you more surface area so the tanks dont freeze up as fast, like having a 100 pound tank (except i had 80 pounds)


now i quit reading after the 12th or so post, so maybe i just missed something, but thats what i got out of it and how id go about it



Ron

welder19
08-06-2008, 03:54 PM
The thing to do is only turn on one or two tanks at a time, then just turn off emptys and turn on fulls and you never skip a beat.
If your doing it to keep from icing up then you could have them all on if need be, but then your going to run out at one time like Ron said and then have a bunch of emptys at one time. What I did was got 2 100 lb bottles, now I don't have to worry about freezing up or running out.

welder19

anickode
08-06-2008, 07:53 PM
On the note of 100 lb cylinders, if you're gonna buy them at someplace like Lowes, buy them in the spring when they are like 70 bucks instead of in the fall when the price hops up to 100 bucks.

Matt22191
08-06-2008, 08:22 PM
What I did was got 2 100 lb bottles, now I don't have to worry about freezing up or running out.

No, I guess you don't! :)

The beach house that we stay at in Maine has four huge propane tanks outside. They look like they might be 420 pounders. I'm jealous.

HAVEHEATWILLCAST1
08-06-2008, 11:59 PM
...
all it does is give you more surface area so the tanks dont freeze up as fast, like having a 100 pound tank (except i had 80 pounds)

Ron

Ok, someone do the math to see how many 20lb tanks it takes to get the surface area of a 100lb one. :!:

einstein
08-07-2008, 12:26 AM
...
all it does is give you more surface area so the tanks dont freeze up as fast, like having a 100 pound tank (except i had 80 pounds)

Ron

Ok, someone do the math to see how many 20lb tanks it takes to get the surface area of a 100lb one. :!:

Depends on the shape and size of 100lb tank I think. I've seen hundred pound tanks that are the same diameter as 20lb tanks, just taller.