Butane or propane

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by John de Manche, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. John de Manche

    John de Manche Funster

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    When we bought our MH last year, it was equipped with two 13kg butane bottles.
    When we went to Portugal in February there were two cold nights when there was very little gas pressure, as if the bottle was almost empty. Was this due to the butane freezing?
    We had problems with the gas regulator at the same time. After replacing the regulator we had no more problems but the nights were not as cold.
    The two nights which were cold only went down to -1 or -2 so not mega cold.
    Thanks in advance for advice and information.
    John
     
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  2. Yorick

    Yorick Funster

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    Yup. Butane won't light below about 5c.

    Propane will light no probs.
     
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  3. Brisey

    Brisey Funster Life Member

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    The two nights which were cold only went down to -1 or -2 so not mega cold.

    Still cold enough to prevent Butane from gassing. Quite a few people here in Spain
    have had problems when temperature dropped to +4.
     
  4. jollyrodger

    jollyrodger Funster Life Member

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    Wow a proper gassing thread :)
     
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  5. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    The butane isn't freezing but it's boiling point is around - 1C so what is happening is when it gets cold it simply remains as a liquid and doesn't generate any gas. This effect can also happen above - 1C because as the liquid butane produces gas it get colder, latent heat of boiling and all that. This can cause frost to form on the outside of the bottle and usually means no gas to cook on!

    Propane boils at about - 42C which means it will work in most places when it is cold.

    You can get mixtures of butane and propane. Coleman canisters for example, but they are not perfect. In cold weather the propane boils off but the butane doesn't. When there is no more propane things stop.

    Changing your system from butane to propane is not something I am an expert in. Regulators and jets may need to be changed but someone else may be in a better position to advise.
     
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  6. TUCANO

    TUCANO Funster

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    Butane is a bugger (n)
    Propane is perfect (y)
     
  7. gus-lopez

    gus-lopez Funster

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    No, you can use either without any mods.
     
  8. Jimbohorlicks

    Jimbohorlicks Funster

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    Most places that sell calor bottles will swop a butane for a propane -try the garages first some attendants will be too busy to argue
     
  9. Jonkil

    Jonkil Funster

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    Indeed.
    Never saw one in real life before ! :LOL::LOL:
     
  10. Popeye

    Popeye Funster

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    When I first bought my van I assumed it would take the Butane bottles I had at home for the BBQ, it didn't so like a fool I just went and changed the regulator, and it has been fine for three years.

    Went to use it on a cold night several weeks ago and nothing. An almost empty bottle failed to light the stove or the heating system, so Propane or Gaslow on the new van for me......
     
  11. f6c

    f6c Funster

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    Get Rid Propane Wins(y)
     
  12. John de Manche

    John de Manche Funster

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    Thanks very much for the advice. I will use the butane through the summer and then swap to propane. Gas in the morning is very important because Mrs de Manche is not approachable until 2 cups of tea and 2 silk cuts have been consumed.
     
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  13. canopus

    canopus Funster Life Member

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    Here in Morocco people seem to be always having problems with Butane sooting flues and carboning up jets/burners etc so we always go for propane. Touch wood - no problems.
     
  14. Frentchy

    Frentchy Funster

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    Don't let Buttons hear that!!Hes got a thing about Tea Drinkers:unsure:
    Yes Propane is the way to go(y)
     
  15. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    whatever the problem is, it is not Butane causing.. Butane burns cleaner than Propane.

    Which gas should I use, Propane or Butane?


    The physical properties of the two gases are very similar, and when regulated to the correct pressure, they will perform almost identically. However there are some important differences.


    Of the two gases, Butane has the most advantages.


    It is less toxic and so can legally be used and stored indoors.


    Litre for litre, it contains around 12% more energy than Propane and so you can squeeze more running time into the same sized bottle. (Butane is heavier than Propane though, so weight for weight it's a pretty close call.)


    Butane also burns cleaner than Propane (although this isn't normally a serious issue in caravanning.)


    Finally, while it's not strictly a property of the gas, Butane canisters generally use clip-on type connections. These are far more convenient than the Propane screw type connections, especially if you swap bottles around regularly (as you might if you also use your caravan bottle to run a barbecue.)


    Conversely, Propane has only one advantage over Butane - but it's a big one!


    In order to be usable, the liquid in the bottle must be able to boil into a gas.
    In the case of Butane, this will happen at any temperature above -2C, whereas with Propane, this figure is much lower, at -42C.
    In the real world, it's not so clear cut. Whenever some of the liquid boils into gas, the remaining liquid cools. It is therefore possible for the temperature of the liquid to drop to several degrees below ambient. This can easily prevent a Butane canister from producing a useful gas supply, even when the outside temperature is several degrees above 0C. A compromise can be reached by mixing Propane with Butane, but as far as I'm aware, none of the UK 'big bottle' suppliers actually do this. The small gas cartridges that are produced for camping stoves and gas lamps are often Propane/Butane mixes. So choosing the right gas pretty much boils down to whether you need to use it in freezing (or near freezing) conditions. If this is likely, then Propane is a must. If not, then Butane has the edge.

    .
     
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  16. Ethle the wondervan

    Ethle the wondervan

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    When I was motorcycling and winter camping I used to take a small gaz stove (butane) and a smaller PETROL stove. The gaz stove would not light at low temperatures. The petrol stove would light in an ice storm but was far too severe for my delicate culinary creations. Solution :- Place gaz stove on top of petrol stove for 2 or 3 seconds to force the flaming gas out. Result :- Bacon butties done to perfection.
    Mind you, sense prevailed....... I am now vegetarian!
     
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  17. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Can't help asking but is your user name supposed to be Ethel? If it is Jim can correct it. :)
     
  18. Ethle the wondervan

    Ethle the wondervan

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    No, sorry Beekeeper, Ethle it is. Thanks for asking.
     
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  19. Mr Colpot

    Mr Colpot Funster

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    We had a similar issue - no gas on a frosty night so swapped from Butane to Propane at local Farm Shop Calor Supplier and have been warm and toasty since then.
     
  20. stcyr

    stcyr Funster

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    Hi John - in which part of Basse-Normandie are you??
     
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