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How Can Cheap Butane Canisters be Modified to Work With Canister Stoves?


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable How Can Cheap Butane Canisters be Modified to Work With Canister Stoves?

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 57 total)
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  • #3695105
    Andrew Marshall
    BPL Member

    @andrewsmarshall

    Locale: Tahoe basin by way of the southern Appalachians

    Roger Caffin discusses how you can modify and use cheap butane canisters with canister stoves in this MYOG article.

    #3695110
    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member

    @balzaccom

    Locale: Wine Country

    As an additional note, we have a small one-burner Coleman stove that uses this type of butane for fuel.   It DOES NOT work well below about 40 degrees F (4 C).  that’s a problem if you’re going to be using this fuel in the mountains, and/or any time in the shoulder seasons or winter.

    #3695384
    Rob St. John
    BPL Member

    @robstjohn

    Locale: American Intermountain West

    I wonder how many regular canisters made for my stove(s) can I purchase for the cost of a CNC lathe and bits?

    #3695394
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    use one of these

    $9.99

    transfer fuel from one of those cartidges to an empty canister and then use regular stove

    yeah, it’s a problem below about 40 F, maybe down to 32 F.  There are techniques for using at cold temperatures

    pre covid, I bought cartridges for $1.25 at the Korean grocer.  I don’t feel like shopping, so I bought 12 cartidges for $24 from amazon delivered.  That should do me more than a year.

    #3695415
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Rob Paul is quite right about cold weather. For that you need either propane/butane mixes or some very special tricks. But for summer time at low-to-medium altitudes, it’s fine.

    The little adapters Jerry showed work well. But only $2-3 from ebay, delivered. Amazon is NOT cheap!

    how many regular canisters made for my stove(s) can I purchase for the cost of a CNC lathe and bits?
    CNC lathe AND CNC mill, please.
    Sigh, yeah, but I already had the CNC machinery from stove making.
    OK, a poor excuse. How about ‘having fun’?

    Cheers

    #3695471
    Emily W
    BPL Member

    @wildflower

    Well beyond my capabilities….  are you starting a business making these?

    #3695479
    Paul Wagner
    BPL Member

    @balzaccom

    Locale: Wine Country

    I don’t think that was Rob, Roger.   :>)

    #3695541
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Sorry Paul: posting corrected.

    Emily: you don’t need one of my modified adapters if what you have is a ‘conventional’ remote canister stove with a screw-thread connector. You just need the ebay adapter.

    Cheers

    #3697240
    Bill in Roswell
    BPL Member

    @roadscrape88-2

    Locale: Roswell, GA, USA

    Great stuff Roger. You cover the loose ends. My nephew in law has a CNC and laser printer, so can have those made. However, I like Jerry’s approach – just fill a Lindle valve canister with the cheap cans (same as I used on my sailboat for years, as cold weather wasn’t an issue).

    #3697243
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    just fill a Lindle valve canister with the cheap cans
    Ahem.
    Yeah, been there, done that.
    The adapter I modified just lets me skip the refill hassles, that’s all.

    Cheers

    #3701867
    Philipp Kaiser
    BPL Member

    @philippkai1

    Liked this writeup. I had good results with the G Works Butane adapter (ebay) and the Soto Windmaster altough the O-ring had to taken out and the diameter just-so slightly reduced with some sandpaper. Use some folding feet to keep it upright. In Japan this was quite useful as the screw-canisters were not that ubiquitous as the wok canisters.

    #3716960
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    Good article

    I bought these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0022BUT2O/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    $25 for 12 cartridges, 8 ounces each

    and use this for $10 to transfer to regular canister

    When you transfer, make sure the notch on the cartridge is down, then the line will draw liquid, not gas.  For normal use, the notch should be up.

    Yeah, below 40F this fuel starts not working, although these torch lighters work pretty good

    1.3 ounces.  If your canister slows down because of cold, just put the flame on it down below

    (torch lighter idea and using to make butane work at low temps is David’s idea, not mine:)

    #3716961
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    and, if post covid I go to the Korean grocer, the cartridges are $1.25.  At H mart they’re $1.50.

    #3717025
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Yeah, Amazon prices are a bit of a rip-off. Cheaper at local hardware for the cans (AU$5 for 4), and much cheaper on ebay for the adapters.

    Cheers

     

    #3717026
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    If they deliver butane cartridges to my house it’s reasonable they have to charge a little more.

    $2 per cartridge is cheaper than good butane canisters, maybe $6 each.

    #3717036
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    The interesting thing about the cheap Korean ‘butane’ cans is that they do not contain straight n-butane (BP: 0 C). They most likely contain an equal-parts mix of n-butane (BP: 0 C) and iso-butane (BP: -12 C). Whether they contain any propane is unknown. The stuff is not highly refined.

    Cheers

    #3717038
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    based on the observed boiling temp, yeah, 50% nbutane, 50% isobutane

    as has been discussed before : )

    the mixture boils at about 21 F so it operates at maybe 26 F – slowly

    I was backpacking this winter.  23 F or so.  My stove slowed down to useless, so I used the David torch on its side.

    #3746756
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    They most likely contain an equal-parts mix of n-butane (BP: 0 C) and iso-butane (BP: -12 C). Whether they contain any propane is unknown. The stuff is not highly refined.

    I might recant just a little here about the fine details. As far as I can find out now, iso-butane has to be made: it does not come out of a gas well. One gets n-butane and propane out of a gas well. So now I think it is more likely that these cans contain an entirely unspecified mix of n-butane and propane. Not a lot of propane to be sure, but some.

    In the meantime I have used a lot of these canisters, both directly with my adapter, and indirectly via one of those tiny refill adapters. Mostly on the bench where I have been experimenting: why waste expensive canisters indoors? I won’t say they have been entirely free of dirt, but the ones I have been buying have not been especially bad.

    More on minimising the effect of dirt fairly soon: another article is in the pipeline.

    Cheers

    #3746760
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    If I remember correctly, there are not one but two versions of this black plastic adapter. One of them has daylight showing through the gas hole, and this version is the risky one. I say ‘risky’ because it is OK IF (and only IF) a stove is attached to the top. If you follow this rule, it is safe enough.

    The other one has a floating pin in the hole. Until a stove is attached to the top of the adapter, this floating pin will not depress the actual Lindal valve on the canister. This version is safe at all times.

    Now, while I do have both sorts, the last time I searched on ebay I could only find the safe version. Whether the risky version has come back on the market I cannot say.

    Yes, the adapter (any adapter) has weight – but AU$5 for 4 canisters is a LOT cheaper than what retail charges for the 70/30 canisters (more like AU$10 each)!

    Cheers

    #3746922
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Good question.
    If you look carefully at the middle photo under the Reviews heading on the AliExpress page, the view into the top of the unit seems to hit a brass plug. That suggests that this adapter is a ‘safe’ one. If you can see daylight straight through” unsafe.

    My 2c, nothing more.
    Cheers
    Roger
    PS: Fire Maple is a good brand.

    #3746958
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    The adapter I linked to is simpler and weighs less.  You don’t have to worry about a valve because if you quit pushing it into the canister and cartridge, the Lindal valve on each automatically closes.

    Uh oh – I did it – in June I posted the same thing that I had previously posted in January.  Somebody mentioned doing that somewhere : )

    n butane and iso butane are totally different chemicals.  They have the same number of Carbon atoms and have similar boiling points, but isobutane a little lower so better in cold weather.

    There was another thread about this.  I googled the subject but don’t claim to be an expert.

    The crude oil coming out of the ground contains mostly water and includes a mixture of iso butane, n butane, and propane.    The refining process removes the gas from the mixture.  Then removes the propane which is easier because it’s boiling temperature is much less, and then separates the iso butane and n butane.

    Pure n butane and iso butane are much more valuable.  I think iso butane is used to make plastic.  N butane is used as a refrigerant.

    If a refiner has a mixture of n and iso, they can run it into a column.  There are two output taps – one with a higher percentage of n butane, the other with a higher percentage of iso butane.  If they run the higher percentage iso butane through another column, they can get an even higher percentage of iso butane.  etc.

    If you want high purity iso butane, for better performance in cold weather, it takes multiple passes through columns, the higher the purity, the more passes, thus higher cost.

    There’s a process for taking a mixture of n butane and iso butane and converting some of the n butane to iso butane.  I think this is called cracking.

    A refiner has inputs of gas that has a mixture with different proportions of n and iso butane, propane, and other chemicals.  And they have customers that want different purities of n and iso.  So they have to decide which crackers and columns to feed the inputs and intermediate mixtures into to satisfy customers for the least cost.

    For the refiner, if there is an intermediate mixture that has more iso butane or n butane, then it makes more money if they route those to the processes to get higher purity n and iso butane.

    These cheap butane cartridges are used for cooking indoors, so it doesn’t matter what the ratio of iso and n butane is.  It’s cheapest for the refiner to use a mixture that is about equal n and iso.

    I have experimentally determined that cheap butane from various vendors all have an approximately equal mixtures of iso and n butane.  That is, when I use it in the cold, I have found that at about 20 F, there’s zero gas coming out.  At about 25 F they work but they’re slow.  Above about 32 F they work pretty good.

    I suspect there’s actually just one vendor of cheap butane and then they slap different labels on them for different marketers.  It’s actually all the same.  Same thing for canisters of expensive butane.  Although, expensive butane like MSR isopro does contain mostly iso butane so really is better at cold temps.  I’ve used that at 20 F and it works fine, maybe a little slow.

    #3746982
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    can you say anything about that ebay ad I linked a few messages up?
    I found that there were two apparently identical adapters on ebay, both black. One had the pin, while the other did not. There did not seem to be any other difference.

    I did notice that the unsafe version without a pin went off the market after a while.

    Cheers

    #3747036
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    We call that a “Mulder Strip” here because Mulder first posted about it.  This subject has been exhausted and then re-exhausted and re-re-exhausted here.  From every possible angle…

    I see in that video he was using a BRS3000 stove.  The Mulder strip works really good with a short stove like that.

    #3747125
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Ah. OK.
    Go to the Home page and click on the 3-bar symbol at the top right hand corner.
    Then go to the bottom of the screen where there is a Search box at the right hand side.
    Enter ‘butane’ in this box and you will get hundreds of hits.

    I entirely agree that this is absolutely NOT the best web site design if you want to Search for something. There should be a Search box at the top of the Home screen. Complain!

    Btw, I do not use Google Search; I use Duck Duck Go and miss the advertisements.

    Cheers

    #3754895
    Alan B
    BPL Member

    @ba

    The British designed teg stove uses the A4 canisters discussed in this article in an upright position.

    https://classiccampstoves.com/threads/tegstove.37127/

    Given its complication and hence expense it is no longer made, though I am always puzzled by why no common off the shelf simple basic  camping / fishing / walking summer stoves are sold for these cheaper and more available A4 canisters in the UK. The Japanese have some I think.

     

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