Calor lite 6kg propane frozen bottle

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Followtheox, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Followtheox

    Followtheox Read Only Funster

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    I have an Autotrail Comanche with a 13 kg calor gas propane bottle and a 6Kg Calor lite propane bottle. The live bottle was the 6 kg and was almost full. The heater stopped working and so I tried the cooker's gas rings and they too were not working. I checked the gas locker and found that the calor lite was frozen. The outside was covered in frost and ice like the inside of an old ice box. The outside temp was -5 degrees centigrade. As propane freezes at -43 degrees I cannot see why this has happened. The large bottle was fine.
    Has anyone else had this problem with Calor Lite?
     
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    A big thread on this a week or so ago. All you can do is heat it a bit. As the gas boils off it needs a lot of heat and freezes itself. Your other bottle will do it just as well. Maybe you could alternate bottles and let one thaw.

    This is how a gas fridge works.
     
  3. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Hi and welcome to fun.

    I have used calor lite bottles high up in the Alps at -30 without issue.

    What makes you think the bottle is frozen?

    Is the other bottle working ok?

    Strange but not impossible, maybe draught up a quick mail to calor and ask them the question. :thumb:
     
  4. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    The bottles do get a coating of ice on them when they are used.. It is the effect of the liquid turning to gas inside the bottle.
    It may well have been a case of the valve partially freezing.. Quite possibly a duff bottle of gas that has some water vapour in it ( had it once, a long time ago ! I took the bottle out and took it for a 50 yard walk, then opened the valve for several seconds to blast it out.. A big glob of ice came flying out after a couple of seconds !!!! )
     
  5. jezport

    jezport Funster

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    Just a thought,

    If the fridge is on gas, the hobs are on and the boiler on full will the smaller bottle be able to supply enough gas when it is extremly cold?
     
  6. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    Just a small point but propane does not freeze at minus 42, that is its boiling temperature below which it will simply stay as liquid. If you have been drawing gas off quite quickly, running a Combi 6 heater for example then the cylinder temperature may have dropped to around minus 40 ish and therefore the liquid will not boil to produce any more vapour till it has warmed up.
     
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  7. cmcardle75

    cmcardle75 Read Only Funster

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    That's a lot of load for a 6kg bottle in -5C. I wouldn't even expect it to work. You might find a chart showing the expected available take off at that temperature and I bet it will be a lot lower than a gas heater, hob and fridge will take.
     
  8. Followtheox

    Followtheox Read Only Funster

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    Pic of gas bottle

    image.jpg


    I am trying to upload a picture of the bottle but it might not work, yes it did, above is the picture, that's how I know it was frozen! It is fine again now and I think water vapour in the bottle is the best explanation as although the heating was on, it was on low and nothing else on
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  9. Spenders

    Spenders

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    I was at Newarl last wekend when the weather was a little, er... inclement.. and on the Saturday morning my Calor Lite bottle looked muchly the same as yours, but as far as I could tell gas was still flowing and everything was working properly!
     

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  10. wasp

    wasp Funster

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    The frost on the bottle shows that you are drawing gas at a rapid rate
    and as such you may not getting the liquid to convert to gas
     
  11. wasp

    wasp Funster

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    It is also a good indicator of the level of gas in the cylinder
     
  12. Peter & Elaine

    Peter & Elaine Funster

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    We too where at Newark and our looked like that all weekend with heating running on medium no problem until battery's went flat quick top with genny and away again no probs
     
  13. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    The frost you see on the outside of the cylinder is moisture from the air condensed onto the very cold cylinder (made so by the rapid draw off of gas vapour which in turn demands more liquid to boil from liquid to vapour, to do this requires energy which is taken from the air surrounding the cylinder, in low temperature situations there is insufficient energy in the ambient air so the liquid inside the cylinder ceases to boil into vapour). This does not indicate the liquid inside the cylinder has frozen!

    I have seen a 11KG cylinder full of liquified petroleum gas stood in the open on a hot summer's day and the tap opened fully, in less than ten minutes the flow of gas all but stopped, not because the liquid had run out but because its temperature had dropped so low that the remaining liquid all but ceased to boil.

    We too were at Newark and we got through about 16 litres of LPG and we only have a 2KW heater, friends of ours with bigger heaters got through 11KGs (22 plus litres) and more in the same time. A 6KG cylinder is too small to support a big draw off rate and regardless of the temperature you set on the thermostat all heaters I've come across will run at full whack till they get close to set temperature, only then will they cut down the burn rate. A Truma Combi 6 will produce 6KW of heat on full whack which equates to around 3 litres of gas vapour per hour. Your 6KG cylinder holds a tad over 12 litres of liquid gas which will make around 400 litres of gaseous vapour but will require quite a lot of heat energy from the ambient air to change state.

    My belief is the take off rate of your heater in the ambient temperature exceeds that of a 6 KG cylinder, hence yourr cylinder has frosted and the liquid gas inside has ceased to boil into vapour.

    D.
     
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  14. Followtheox

    Followtheox Read Only Funster

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    That picture was taken 2 hours after it stopped working, no gas being drawn off, it stayed like that and I was able to show the dealer many hours later. The only gas being drawn when it was in use was the heating on low.
     
  15. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    as already said its the take off rate which relates to the surace area of the liquid in the bottle which is why roofers often have two or three large bottles linked to feed the asphalt pots on the back of the truck
     
  16. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    As the outside temperature was minus 5 why would you expect the frost to thaw off the cylinder? Once it had formed it was not likely to melt in sub zero temps was it?

    Even though there was no gas being drawn at the time of the photograph the reasons are still the same, gas draw off rate was too high for that size cylinder in those ambient temperatures.

    D.
     
  17. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    A small correction to an earlier post where I said a 6KW heater would use about 3 litres per hour, I was mistaken. It would actually use 480 grammes per hour on 6KW which is about 1 litre of liquid or 330 litres of vapour.

    D.
     
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