Gas, a British farce

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by dethleff, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. dethleff

    dethleff Read Only Funster

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    Hi all
    I have owned my motorhome for 14 years now still going fine, my use is 99%
    long continental trips.with as much wilding and aire camping ,as possible.

    The gas locker holds 2 x13 kg calor bottles, I recently exchanged one at a cost of £26.40p for these 2 ton Tessies.

    Getting older now I began to look for an alternative to Calor.

    First I looked at Gaslow,then I read Droops recent post ,on another site, below.

    "I'm desperately in need of a filling station in (or close to) the Malaga Province.

    I've tried a couple listed elsewhere (at least one if not both gained from this site). Both proved fruitless.

    I really can't believe that it's not available anywhere down here as you can get it in other parts of Spain.

    Can anyone help?

    Out of interest does anyone know if it's available in Gibralter?"

    Do I want to spend money on Gaslow, and have that kind of hassle? I don't think so.

    Next I looked at Calorlite, they only do 6kg bottles, no use to me.

    Next comes the best, BP gaslight bottles.

    Having seen them in many places abroad I researched them on their website, and found "British BP Gaslight bottles" were not exchangeable
    with BP bottles abroad .

    I emailed customer services with regard to this (it said on their webpage, not available YET.)

    Received email back below.

    Good Morning Stan,

    Unfortunately you cannot exchange a UK gaslight bottle abroad yet as we are not part of the European Exchange programme. This is something BP are actively pursuing and should be happening in the near future, please see our website for more info.

    Kindest Regards
    Vivienne
    Gas Light Team.

    What is the European Exchange programme.? are we not part of Europe?

    Merry Christmas

    Stan
     
  2. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    what you need is a propane refill adapter.

    LPG Propane gas red bottle EUROPEAN filling adapter set on eBay, also Mobile Touring Caravan Parts, Caravan Parts, Campers, Caravans Motorhomes, Cars, Parts Vehicles (end time 19-Dec-08 19:33:11 GMT)
    [​IMG]

    or standard UK only

    LPG Propane gas red bottle filling adapter Autogas on eBay, also Mobile Touring Caravan Parts, Caravan Parts, Campers, Caravans Motorhomes, Cars, Parts Vehicles (end time 15-Dec-08 23:48:50 GMT)

    [​IMG]
    these adapters have the 80% fill rates for different size bottles clearly marked on them. Start with an empty bottle and fill as listed. Foolproof even I can do it.

    easy to use but like all fuel refills must be done with care read the instructions.
    Wouldn't be without mine.
     
  3. Road Runner

    Road Runner Read Only Funster

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    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  4. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    But don't forget to add "illegal and get it wrong you can leave an awfully big crater in the ground".

    Whereas buy Gaslow and the safety cut off valve is built in.

    Stan does not say where his travels take him but chose the worse country to put down the Gaslow system. Refillable is probably the best current solution across the EU, it's what you refill that's up for negotiation.


    Brian.
     
  5. dethleff

    dethleff Read Only Funster

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    Hi Brian
    Thanks for reply, my post was not a put down of the gaslow system in itself, but if you have trouble finding a refill point in Spain, a mecca
    for motorhomers, it sort of defeats the point of fitting it in the first place.

    Gaslow for UK fine system.

    Regards
    Stan
     
  6. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Well,
    I have just fitted a gaslow system on our van. I have one 13kg gaslow bottle coupled to an autochange over and the other bottle is a normal swap bottle.

    then when abroad, use a little adaptor so that if in france, gaslow runs out and then other bottle runs out before I have the opportunity to get to an LPG station (possible but unlikely) then I can just change the exchangeable for one of teh countries bottles i am in, use my adaptor which is available at ay good French caravan shop, but not here for some reason, or I aint seen it. Then bobs your uncle as they say. The advantage is that I am not completely reliable on Gaslow or LPG shops.

    The disadvantage is when traveling to the continent I have to swap my english bottle for the French one, wow.

    On the subject of refillables. I know some whom refil their bottles with out a problem with the equipment that Roger reccomends. I know for many they have no problem in doing so and state its easy. (not sure of the legality) and I am sure it is if you are even half clueless, however the only problem with reccomending this is we have to remember that we live in a country whereby a women can think her two kids are twins because they have the same father, different to the other 5 fathers. :Sad:

    so be careful with you recomendations
     
  7. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Google throws up this link:
    http://************************/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=11440

    Which is blocked in here for some reason, so just google "LPG in Spain".

    "Be Prepared" is the answer rather than "Oh I've run out, where is the nearest LPG ?".


    Brian.
     
  8. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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  9. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    It is NOT illegal and no more dangerous than filling a car with petrol and anyone with a modicum of intelligence and the ability to read can use it safely. They are used in the trade to fill bottles that you exchange, the school leavers who do the job must be geniuses then. I suggest you have someone else fill your fuel tank for you, just in case you get it wrong Brian, you can refill the water if you are careful.:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:

    I do get tired of people who hve never seen one or have the intellegence to find out the truth about them knocking them for no good reason, or maybe you sell gaslow?
     
  10. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hi wildman

    I agree with your first statement, if used correctly, but there is a risk, unlike petrol pumps that cut-out when a tank is full, LPG pumps don't know when the bottle is 80% full .. so there is a chance, however small, that a bottle could be overfilled, which could result in liquid LPG reaching an appliance with dire results.

    Commercial bottles are not filled by school levers, they are filled by an automatic filling machine that weighs the bottle as it's being filled and cuts out at 80% ..
    I have maintained and calibrated LPG filling machines, they are tested rigorously, checked daily and certificated by weights and measures and the HSE ..
    The filling machine could be operated by a school leaver but he/she isn't doing the filling simply by using an adaptor and judging when a bottle is full.

    I understand why you have one and I'm sure you use it safely but I don't think they should be sold to Jo Public.. just my opinion.

    Jim
     
  11. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    That's not the risk I was thinking of, if overfilled with cold LPG on a hot day the liquid expands, fills the tank and then pops the safety valve. Now you have a whole lot of gas looking for a spark.

    I've watched this being tested at HSE in Buxton. The test is to put a tank in a shallow concrete bunker and play heat on it until something happens. It passes if the safety valve pops and releases a massive flame thrower. If the metal ruptures it fails. A great sight when stood well away behind blast proof glass.

    I've never heard of a motorhome exploding so it's obviously not a big risk at the moment but the more of fillers that are sold the more the risk increases.


    Brian.
     
  12. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    :thumb: Ok Brian,I can see the point to your arguement but even on Calors own web site it states that bottles are filled in between 80% and 88% full (if my memory searves me right -this can easy be checked but I cannot be bothered to look up exact figures again):Rofl1:
    If a person is capable of doing there 2 x table and doing a simple calculation then there is nothing to go wrong unlike other systems-un-named,that incorperate hoses,joints and 80% full floats,which can and do go wrong (well docomented,leaks):Eeek:If you use a simple 2 bottle system ie empty one fit full one then go fill empty,remembering that 2 ltrs = 1 kg so a 6 kg bottle holds 12 ltrs--- you do not have to fill with 12 ltrs say 11 ltrs to give added margin for expansion,if you feel like it,you only pay for what you put in :thumb::Rofl1:--All the pumps on forecourts are also calibrated so as to give exact amont of gas required (just like petrol etc,) Never been given more fuel than what I have paid for :Rofl1::Rofl1: yet!:Doh::BigGrin:
    There is a lot of scaremongering concerning refill adapters but IF used correctly they are one of - if not the best bits of kit you can buy paying for themselfs after only 3 or 4 refills of a bottle.NEVER TRY TO FILL A PART FULL BOTTLE!!! easy rule to follow.
    IF you are not sure how to do the math then do not get one,if on the other hand you can,then get one:thumb::Rofl1:
    pm me if you want the number of where I got mine or a ebay sellers link--no involment with me what so ever other than v / satisfied customer :Smile::Rofl1::Rofl1::Wink:
    terry
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  13. moandick

    moandick Read Only Funster

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    Mo and I took our European 'fillable' bottles to a Jugoslavian (as it was then) Gas filling Depot at Umag on the Istrian Peninsula, back in the 1970's.

    The chappie took them to a set of platform scales, connected them to a pipe which in turn was connected to a set of 47Kg bottles - turned on both sets of valves - and then casually stood back, took out a cigarette and lit up :Eeek::Eeek::Eeek:

    To this day, I will never forget the surprised look on his face as Mo and I instantly disappeared out of the gate at a vast rate of knots :Eek!:

    We gave it twenty minutes before we ventured back to get our bottles - when I said to the chap "Isn't it dangerous to smoke when re-filling LPG bottles like that?"

    His answer was very simple - "The gas is heavier than air and therefore lies on the ground - I am 6 foot tall and the cigarette is in my mouth - what is the problem?"

    Needless to say we didn't go back there again - couldn't get the stain out of my undies for months afterwards. :shout::shout:
     
  14. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    :)

    It's all very well smiling, but when it goes wrong, it goes wrong BIG TIME.

    It's OK if he kills himself, but you didn't deserve to die that day, did you ?



    Brian.
     
  15. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Well, I remember going into a pub for one plate of food and one pint of beer and this young girl got out her mobile phone to add the two charges together.

    So what is the basis of your simple calculation ? The tare of the cylinder and the weight of LPG. How do you get this ? Do you carry scales ? Do you uncouple the tank, weigh it, calculate the LPG needed ? If you do then indeed no problem.

    A sloppy user would say "Oh out of gas". I *always* put in 25l, OK. Off we go. BANG. Because he wasn't out of gas, it was a blockage, he filled to the brim then the tank warmed up.

    Now am I in a worse situation relying on a the valve on the Gaslow. Dunno. I've talked this over with them when I bought one because someone was slating them in MHF and got a straight answer, decided I have no problem and so far I haven't. Here is one of those emails:

    ==========================
    You are aware we have 2 valves in our cylinders - Filler valve and a
    Service Valve.

    Both valves fitted in our cylinders are manufactured to the European
    standard by Cavagna Group who are recognised as a leading manufacture of
    cylinder valves producing over 22 million a year. It is totally
    incorrect that I said they produce poor quality valves - they
    manufacture most if not all cylinder valves for Calor Gas for example.

    What I believe has been misunderstood is that this year we changed
    manufactures of the valves used in our cylinders to a major competitor
    of Cavagna and we consider there valves to be of excellent quality. The
    main reason for changing was to have a level gauge in the service valve
    - this is the one with the on - off tap for using the gas. In addition
    the manufactures also wanted us to switch from Cavagna and buy there
    filler valves and convinced us to do so despite the extra cost.

    So to summarize the above, I do say that the new valves are 'better' but
    that should not be interpreted as saying that the originals are of
    'poor quality'

    It is difficult for me to comment on this Gentleman who is waiting for a
    third tank as I have no idea what the circumstances are but we are a
    company that has been in business for 30 years and have always had an
    ethos of looking after the customer and we will rectify any problems
    this Gentleman has.

    Regarding your concern and to put your mind at rest, there is a simple
    test you can carry out next time you fill. Later after filling simply
    disconnect the regulator hose connected to the on/off cylinder service
    valve. Then, by opening the valve wide and realising some gas to
    atmosphere, you can check the valve. If it blows off clear everything is
    fine and working - and we can state categorically that your cylinder is
    OK. If it blows off in a white mist then we need to change the cylinder.

    We as a company do not do the shows ourselves but we do pay for a stand
    and have one of our customers, CMR limited, run there own sales and
    fitting service. I have taken the liberty of coping this email to Peter
    at CMR who will be at the show and I am sure he will be more than happy
    to discuss this and any other concerns you may have and if needed, would
    check out your system (have a refill before going and he can check the
    valves).

    I hope this covers everything but if you need to discuss anything
    further please feel free to email or give me a ring - 0845 4000 600

    ==========================

    This does indicate now anyone can see if they've overfilled their tanks BUT do it in an appropriate place.


    Brian.
     
  16. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    brian,
    I think at the end of the day those that a) are capable and b) wish to do so, aka brian, roger et al, should be able to do so.

    I have not yet heard of anyone blown up whilst filling their own cylinders, neither would i wish to do that myself, hence the gaslow instalation in my van. But hey this is about choice, all Roger and others are doing is making it known that you can if you wish do it another way. Nothing wrong with that, after all ive just ordered a sog an am currently awaiting delievery. No doubt Brian or Roger will be along to tell me my £100 would of been better spent on a micro switch, a computer fan and a tub of sealent to make my own, as they have done, and rightly so but its just about choice. :thumb:
     
  17. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Is it though ?

    My choice is to ride my bike on a deserted motorway way above the speed limit. I claim that I am safe. What happens if I get caught ? What happens if I don't see that small child run out of a stranded car and kill it, I am a pariah.

    So someone uses one of these iffy re-fillers, gets back to camp, he's having a pee while the guy next door is having a BBQ. And the cylinder vents. Whole family gone, oh what a shame.

    The cylinder is usually the property of some company who says that you are not authorised to re-fill it yourself. There are almost certainly other regulations prohibiting such risky refilling. This is plenty of just cause for the insurance company to say "screw you".

    All I did was bring this into the open, I can now walk off into the setting sun with a clear conscience.


    Brian.
     
  18. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Brian
    quote ----So what is the basis of your simple calculation ? The tare of the cylinder and the weight of LPG. How do you get this ? Do you carry scales ? Do you uncouple the tank, weigh it, calculate the LPG needed ? If you do then indeed no problem.

    :Rofl1: In the case of calor they give you a big hint on the cylinder :thumb: ie 3.9 kg --6 kg and 13 kg --- 7.8 ltrs, 12 ltrs and 26 ltrs respectifly :Rofl1: never bother with scales as I only fill empties :thumb:
    BTW calor say you cannot refill there cylinders :Rofl1::Rofl1::thumb:
    terry
     
  19. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    As I originally said, the adapters have bottle sizes on them and also to number of litres to fill each size to 80%.
    How do you know if the bottle is empty, shake it and if it appears empty open the valve slowly. Only refill an empty bottle. It you do not feel confident to be able to do that then go another route, but remember Gaslow and similar systems rely on a VALVE THAT COULD JAMB AND FAIL, you connect in the same way so same risk there. Either way it is your choice, whatever you feel comfortable with. Don't spend more than you have to just because you think it may be safer. You might be wrong. At least Haganap understood so maybe there are more of you who not only understood but will choose to save money.
    Good luck.
     
  20. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Well you and terry both know what you are doing. It doesn't mean everyone who buys these does.

    There is a small risk of a faulty Gaslow valve, if my time's up the brakes can fail too, but I like the convenience of topping up when gas is available, this should be useful in Spain next year.


    Brian.
     
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